Nobody knows your home like you do. Now that you’ve decided to sell it, and whether you’ve owned it for a few years or a few decades, you will need to disclose (by law, in some instances) the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The sale and purchase of a home is probably the largest expense the average American will ever make. It’s best to keep your records in order; it can mean all the difference in how much your investment will pay off, when you decide to move and buy something else.

At the outset, when you meet with your realtor to list your home, that realtor will likely ask you to fill out a SPDS (pronounced, “spuds”) form which is the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. A seven-page report, if you can’t remember what happened 10 or 15 years ago, a SPDS will help you to remember. It will be one of the first documents that you will be required to fill out, as it will play an important part in the buyer’s due diligence in deciding whether to buy your home.

SPDS will cover items such as your utilities, easements, title issues, safety, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, wood infestation, sewer, airport proximity, flood zones, to name a few.

A couple of other items to keep in your “home” file:

  • Receipts of all work done to the property,

Receipts of all replaced appliances including your water heater, and the dates they were replaced,

  • Instruction manuals on all appliances,
  • Warranties on those appliances, and
  • Lease agreements, especially on solar equipment.

Once you know what you need to reveal in a SPDS, it can be as easy as a punch list. Some homeowners will hire an inspection company to do a prelisting inspection so they know what issues they are dealing with. It also gives them an opportunity to correct those items and make them a nonissue when it comes time to put the home on the market.

Just as a point of reference, here’s what sellers are not legally obligated to disclose:

  • Site of a natural death, suicide, homicide, or any other crime classified as a felony,
  • Owned or occupied by a person exposed to HIV, or diagnosed as having HIV, or
  • Located in the vicinity of a sex offender.

When in doubt, don’t forget to disclose what you know about your property should you decide to sell it. It will make your transaction all the more seamless.

By Susan Cohen, Realtor Realty One Group Mountain Desert, Prescott