Imagine you spend weekend after weekend looking for that perfect home. Finally, you find the one, the house that fits all your needs! Now, it’s time to write an offer, get it accepted and call it home, right? Not so fast! Your dream home can turn into a money pit if the seller covers up it or does not disclose items properly on the disclosure form. If you don’t know what the major issues are that sellers try to cover up, then you may be in for a big surprise. It is much better to know these things up front to highlight the issues with your inspector so that he can be more aware at inspection time. After you are doing searching for your dream home in Seattle and some of our lovely neighborhoods, like: Ballard homes for sale or Queen Anne homes for sale, you will want to know the following are five items sellers try to hide from buyers and some questions you can ask to get the truth.
- Pests – Things sellers try to hide
Areas of Seattle can have a huge rat problem and this is definitely a big issue sellers try to hide. Homes can be a million-dollar homes or just a perfectly clean beautiful average home and it could still have rats. You can’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to pests. Sellers might be dealing with rats by putting out bait and mouse traps, once the house is listed, they usually remove them so the buyer or the inspector won’t see the problem. There are ways to deal with the rats but it can be expensive and a total nuisance. Asking the seller specific questions over email about the history of the home, so that you have a record of their answers, will generally get the truth when sellers try to hide this. This way you will know how to deal with the problem, what you can expect in the future and/or what to ask for on the inspection response.
- Mold – Things sellers try to hide
Home buyers freak out when they see mold, sellers know this and they try to cover it up. Where we usually see mold is around windows, closets, bathroom, basements and attics. An easy way to deal with the mold is bleach and paint. Once it is painted you will never know it’s there but give it a few years and it can come back. This is a huge health risk for some people and can be a very expensive to remove. Mold is an issue that is able to be solved and depending on where it is at and why it grows, will determine the cost factor. By asking the seller mold questions, it will help you determine the best way to handle it. Also by speaking with the inspector, see if it’s possible to determine if the mold issue is something to be concerned about or not.
- Leaks – Things sellers try to hide
Roofs, leaky faucets, basements and plumbing are all problem areas for water, which we get a lot of in Seattle. Some sellers try to hide this by doing the quickest and easiest fix to solve the issue. Generally, it’s a cover up and not a true solution. Always ask the seller, in writing, if they had to fix any water issues within the last five years. This will weed out any temporary fixes the seller might have done and help the inspector zero in on problem areas. The biggest issue, when discussing leaks, and the most expensive are leaky basements. Getting the true answer to this is highly important. To solve a basement water leak can be as simple as rerouting downspouts but it could be as expensive as tearing out the perimeter and putting in a French drain. You want to void this because it’s not a cheap fix. Make sure to also read What Type of Home Buying Inspection you need after finding out everything sellers try to hide.
- Foundations – Things sellers try to hide
Generally, sellers don’t cover up foundation issues but they don’t disclose them either. Once in a while, we will see a foundation with a pretty severe crack in it but mostly we just discover homes that are not level. Be sure to walk around the house and be aware if it slopes. The best way is with a marble. Many older homes have sloping issues and with the severe ones, it generally costs a significant amount to correct. It can all be corrected but at what cost are you willing to put into a home to correct it?
- Property disclosure statement – Things sellers try to hide
This disclosure statement is a six page document in the state of Washington, which sellers are required to fill out to tell the buyer of any defects to the home. An easy way for sellers to not disclose information is to answer “don’t know” on items. The property disclosure can give you insight as to how forthright and truthful the seller is by seeing how minimum the answers are. When it is filled out with a lot of ‘don’t knows’, we know the seller is an uninvolved seller or it could be a seller who knows there are issues but doesn’t want to disclose them. Keep in mind that most sellers don’t fill out the property disclosure statement well. They need to be reminded of items in the house so give them a little grace but it is their responsibility to give an accurate picture of the home they are selling.
It is in your best interest to make sure not to take a backseat approach when buying a home. You want to pay attention and ask all the important questions so that you don’t get trapped into buying a problem home. If you have a good agent by your side, they will be of big help but it’s also up to you to be diligent in getting your questions answered and take every opportunity to know as much about the house as you possibly can. The best person to answer those questions is the seller, the person that knows it best so get the information while you can before making this large investment.
Other information to know besides what sellers try to hide:
- How to find a good buyers agent
- 10 Top Tips to Find the Perfect Home
- Search Seattle Home Listings: Phinney Ridge Homes for Sale, Green Lake Homes for Sale & Fremont Homes for Sale
Wondering how to go about buying your home in Seattle WA? It’s important you understand the things sellers try to hide but also how to truly find the home that’s perfect for you by talking with an agent who has been working in the area for over 20 years. The information above should be helpful in knowing more about what sellers try to hide but if you haven’t hired a top real estate agent in Seattle WA yet to assist you with finding your home, contact me, and I’d love to discuss your real estate needs further!
Dave Hanson Home Team – Exceeding Expectations – 206.686.7525 – Blog: Things Sellers Try to Hide