Choose a House and Get the Disclosure

When you've found a house you want to buy, you'll ask the seller for a Seller's Disclosure report.  This is a form that a seller must give a buyer, which details all physical problems and defects that the seller is aware of.  This is like the car lemon law, but for houses. It's a big crime for sellers to fail to disclose any problems they're aware of.  Note, however, that it's no crime if the seller doesn't report a problem on the form simply because (s)he wasn't aware of it.  (Note: All this refers to the law in Texas; I assume it's the same in other states, but I don't know for sure.)

Besides the disclosure, if the home was built before 1980 then the seller must also give the buyer a federally-approved pamphlet about lead hazards in building materials. The seller's disclosure will list any lead paint or other lead items that the seller is aware of.

If the items on the Seller's Disclosure seem major, you can try to negotiate to have the seller fix them or to lower the price.  Or, the price may have already been set low to take into account any problems with the house.

While the disclosure provides you some protection, notice the big loophole: The seller doesn't have to report any problem that (s)he's unaware of.  If you buy the house and discover a problem, how can you tell whether the owner knew about it?  And even if you're sure the owner knew about it and neglected to put it on the disclosure, could you prove so in court?  And if you think your case is strong and you could prove so, would you be willing to actually file a lawsuit, and would you have the money to do so?  The moral here is that while the disclosure gives you some protection, don't make the mistake of thinking that it provides you with ironclad, 100% protection against undisclosed problems with the house.  For better information about problems with the house, you'll hire a professional inspector to check out the house and provide you with a detailed, written report about any problems they find.  We'll cover that a few steps from now.

If you think the price is too high given any problems listed on the disclosure, or if the seller won't make repairs and you're unwilling to do them yourself, then you'll have to start over with another house.  Otherwise, if the Seller's Disclosure didn't scare you off, then you'll proceed to signing the contract....


Amount spent so far.   Red items apply towards the purchase. Amounts are typical, not exact.


Credit Check

To the Lender



If you liked this site then you might like some of my other sites:

How to Find Cheap Airfare     How to Save Electricity     Slot machines demystified

Entire site ©1999-2023 Michael Bluejay Inc. • All information is "use at your own risk"   Contact