Disclosing real estate defects when selling a home

| May 7, 2021 | Real Estate Law |

Selling a property can be a stressful experience, and it is understandable that some homeowners in Hawaii might feel eager to get it over with as soon as possible. However, those who are in a rush might be more likely to overlook important steps in the process. Skipping a step — such as disclosing real estate defects — can ultimately backfire. 

What problems should be disclosed? 

Sellers sometimes struggle to decide what they actually need to disclose. For example, it is not really necessary to inform potential buyers that a house might need a new coat of paint. Instead, real estate disclosures should focus on: 

  • Material defects 
  • Termite damage 
  • Known lead 
  • Other potential problems that affect the structure or livability of a house 

What about property inspections? 

It can be helpful to hire a professional to inspect one’s property to identify possible problems. This can be helpful should a buyer later try to say there was a defect he or she should have been informed of, but that was not present on the official inspection report. These inspections might also bring to light problems that the seller was not previously aware of, though, which could affect the property’s overall value. 

In Hawaii, sellers must also be sure to disclose all known real estate defects in a written statement. It is not necessarily required for the seller to fix these problems, and indeed many choose to simply notify potential buyers of the problems and pass on the cost of fixing them. Since this can possibly affect the value of the home, sellers might find it helpful to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can better guide them through the process of selling their homes.