For most sellers, the most tedious part of the real estate transaction is spending the time it takes to gather the forms and complete the sellers disclosure. Getting all of the forms for you area is difficult (which is why most sellers hire the us to handle the complete process and use our transaction coordinators). The disclosure questions are mostly drafted by federal and state agencies. The questions are repetitive, tedious and sometimes confusing.
However, for three important reasons, sellers should complete the packet immediately after listing.
1. Complete disclosures now to eliminate the buyer’s easiest termination right.
It is in your best interest to complete all disclosures and present them to potential buyers before they submit an offer. If you fail to do so, you have created an easy termination right for the buyer.
More specifically, law require that should delivery of any disclosures or an amended disclosure occur after the offer is submitted, the buyer has the right to review the disclosures and terminate the offer to purchase real estate without penalty.
This termination right lasts 3 or 5 days, or as negotiated in the purchase contract, from delivery of the disclosures or amended disclosure, depending on whether you personally gave the disclosures to the buyer or mailed them to the buyer. (See Hawaii Chapter 508D for the details.)
Effectively, therefore, if you get an offer without first giving the buyer your sellers disclosure packet, you have made it easy for the buyer to cancel the purchase without penalty. As the seller, you never want to make it easy for the buyer to cancel.
Therefore, you are best off completing disclosures in advance of offers and emailing the disclosure packet to any potential buyers who view your home. You can even ask us to add a note to your listing that says:
Please review the disclosure packet prior to submitting an offer. As part of your offer, acknowledge that you have reviewed disclosures.
2. Complete disclosures now to make it difficult for the buyer to renegotiate.
By completing disclosures and giving them to the buyer in advance of the buyer submitting an offer, you make it difficult for the buyer to attempt to renegotiate during escrow. You make it especially difficult when you also have real estate inspections done prior to accepting offers, as discussed in the final section of this post on the request for repairs process.
The reason is as follows. What we typically see with disclosures and inspections done during escrow, as opposed to prior to escrow, is:
- The buyer receives the disclosure packet and inspection reports.
- The buyer reviews them.
- The buyer adds up all the needed repairs (or at least the repairs the buyer and their agent thinks he needs).
- The buyer asks the seller to make the repairs or credit escrow a dollar amount for the repairs.
Effectively, the buyer is asking you to take less money in exchange for your home.
You do not want to be in that position as the seller. By giving the buyer disclosures and inspection reports prior to the buyer submitting the offer, you make it very difficult for the buyer to ask for repairs and credits. From a moral perspective, the buyer knew the problems with your home prior to submitting the offer, and presumably factored them into the offer price.
3. Complete disclosures now to shorten escrow and speed up the sale of your home.
As explained here, you can also shorten escrow and help you sell your home faster by completing the sellers disclosure packet in advance.
To sell your home, you are going to need to complete ALL disclosures and inspections.
You are best served by pre doing the work. In so doing, you help eliminate buyer termination rights, make it difficult for the buyer to renegotiate while in escrow, and speed up your sale.