Barbee Dream Homes ~ Real Estate Group, LLC
Barbee Dream Homes Real Estate Group, LLC
Home repairs are part and parcel of home ownership, but when it comes time to sell, does a home disclosure have to include those repairs?
It can be a conundrum. Buyers want (and deserve to have) a full picture of the house they're buying and the condition it is in. However, disclosing a previous home repair may actually turn off a potential buyer. A foundation that's had repairs for leaks several times over in recent years, for example, may signal to the buyer that they could have a major water problem on their hands. Both legal and ethical considerations come into play when you're debating whether or not to 'fess up to a previous repair. So let's dig in!
What do you have to disclose to the seller?
Federal seller disclosure laws require sellers to be open and honest about the existence of lead-based paint in a home, but most laws regarding what a seller must share with a buyer are made at the state level. That means your state may or may not require that you disclose a previous repair, says Kathryn Bishop, a Realtor® with Keller Williams in Studio City, CA. To find out the laws in your state, do a search online for "[your state] seller disclosure laws."
Does home disclosure include a previous repair?
In Bishop's home state of California, law dictates that every significant repair made since purchasing a property needs to be disclosed. Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on what regulations must be followed in your state, so it's best to disclose a previous repair to them at your first meeting about the sale. And note there are some exceptions to the law. You don't have to share every single fix made in all the years you've lived in a house—just the big ones.
"I don't mean when you've changed a faucet washer," Bishop clarifies. "I mean when you had to repair a plumbing break."
Nor do you technically have to disclose work done by the previous owner, even if they disclosed it to you. That said, many experts advise that sellers share that information too.
Because they might very well find out on their own, anyway. During the home inspection phase, buyers may request a copy of your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report—a free report that details every claim made to your homeowner's insurance in the past seven years. And even if you paid for a repair without the help of insurance, an eagle-eyed home inspector may note fresh paint on a ceiling repaired after a plumbing leak or start asking why the hot water heater, furnace, and other basement appliances seem to be brand new. Failing to disclose any of these things could put you in serious legal trouble.
The ethical side of seller disclosure
Even when disclosure isn't required by law, or a project was done by a previous owner, Bishop still discusses disclosure with her clients. After all, you don't want the seller caught by surprise with an issue that preceded your home ownership.
"If the previous owner disclosed in writing that they had a serious case of mold and it's been cleaned up, I will advise my client who is now selling to pull out those old papers and disclose," she says. "We know that what typically happens is the new buyer moves in, and the next-door neighbor asks if the mold has been cleaned up!"
The ways seller disclosure helps you
If following the law and being ethical aren't reasons enough to disclose a previous repair, there's are other benefits to doing so, says Michele Lerner, author of "Homebuying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time." Among them:
Buyers might prefer negotiating with sellers who have proven they are upfront with information about their home, as opposed to those who are just spinning everything to attract buyers.
Buyers want to know that sellers have maintained their property appropriately, so providing an example of your diligence in repairing your bathroom and fixing your ceiling can have a positive impact.
Your disclosure can protect you from future disputes with the buyers.
Buyers may feel relieved that you have already made necessary repairs, since that becomes one project they don't have to handle in the immediate future.

Joe Barbee – ABR,MRP
Broker/Property Manager
Barbee Dream Homes Real Estate Group
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This article was originally published on by Jeanne Sager

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Joe has been are buying agent for 2 homes. No question he has earned his commission before, during, and after our purchases. Without his hard work we could have never gotten our 2nd house, and on top of that his referrals to various contractors has saved us thousands of dollars.


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Most trustworthy, hardworking, and knowledgeable agents in the middle GA area! I would not go through any other team BUT them! If you worried about who you can trust and who is going to work the hardest for you, let me put your mind at ease and refer you to The Barbee Dream House Team!!! Joe and Jennifer will work their hardest for you!


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By far the best agents I've ever used. Great service. They go above and beyond to exceed needs. Very professional and knowledgeable.


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We have worked with Joe on several occasions. He recently sold one of our rental houses for us. He was also the one we bought the home from as well as another rental house that we purchased with his help. Joe has always been honest and extremely helpful. I remember one time we were looking at a house and he told us we could look but that he wouldn't let us buy this house because it had too many problems and wasn't worth buying. He was very good at the negotiations and always had our best interest in mind. We recommend he all the time when we hear someone needs a realtor!


~ Pam Cliffe

Joe is very honest and hard working. When I purchased my first home he took care of everything made sure my family settled in to a nice house at an affordable price.


~ Aaron Meredith

I could not ask for a better Realtor than Joe Barbee. He is the most honest and trustworthy person I have dealt with. He never made us feel pressured to make an offer. It was a GREAT buying experience and we are so happy in our the home he helped us purchase!! He returned every call we made to him and was available ANY time we wanted to view a listing. I will use him again and I recommend him to everyone I know looking to buy or sell.


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Joe always returned my phone calls and emails promptly which was extremely important to me as I had dealt previously with a realtor who was not very responsive. He was very flexible with the times he was available to show me houses. He's very friendly, laid back and approachable.


~ Jessica Gaskins

Joe Barbee is our hero! He is very straight-forward about a house's assets and sort-comings and never tried to "sell us ON a house", but instead searched high and low for the perfect home for our needs, desires, and price, so that THE HOUSE sold ITSELF to us. His diligence and dedication continue to amaze us. Our lengthy circumstances presented him with numerous challenges and obstacles in the selling of our home and the purchase of another. But he hung in there with us from start to finish. Every issue that arose was handled quickly and professionally, and usually before we even knew there was a problem! I would definitely recommend Joe Barbee to anyone looking to buy or sell real estate in Middle Georgia. We are extremely satisfied customers.


~ Domino Persson

Working with Joe was fantastic. He really took the time to ensure our needs were met. I have never seen anyone work harder to get the job done right and in a timely manner. Plus, his demeanor was so easy going that I truely felt that I was talking to an old friend. I would recommend him, without reservation to anyone in need of his skills.


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