What do I need to disclose when selling my property?
Ever wondered what needs to be mentioned to your agent or potential buyers when it comes time to sell your home? Well wonder no more. There are indeed certain things you need to disclose if they pertain to your home.
So, in the interests of providing a fair, honest and legal transfer of any property, here’s a quick guide to the type of things you might need to disclose.
In the interests of full disclosure on our behalf, we need to mention that specific rules vary from state to state when it comes to the type of details you should provide about your property at the time of sale.
For example, if you’re in Queensland, you’ll need to point out if your property is in a flood zone. In New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, bushfire prone zones need to be declared, and in Tasmania, you’ll need to be upfront about any graves on your land.
Other than that, most states are also interested in things like covenants and council zonings that impact your property and its usability.
- Covenants (including environmental covenants that specify only a percentage of the land can be developed)
- Leases – which specify the land or property is being used for a set purpose for a set period of time
In addition, you’ll also need to let potential buyers know the zoning – as in the purpose that the property can be used for, such as residential, rural residential, commercial, industrial etc.
Most states require a seller to disclose any defects with a property, including structural issues, insect infestations (such as termite damage past and present), along with the presence of asbestos and damp.
That’s despite the fact most buyers will conduct their own pest and building inspection. It is also why it pays to assess any problems with your property and have the professionally dealt with in advance of any sale.
It might be tempting to erect structures without council approval, but when it comes time to sell, building consent needs to be declared.
As a seller you will need to provide documentation that shows all structures on a property have the necessary approvals and permits, and that they are constructed according to code.
This one’s particularly important if you have additions like pools on your property. They must be constructed and secured in compliance with the relevant legislation.
That means pool fences must be up to code, along with gates and safety information.
In recent years, a number of states have become a lot stricter when it comes to declaring “sensitive issues” that may affect a property’s perceived value.
Although it’s unlikely, this can include vicious and violent crimes like murder or even the presence of previous drug labs, which can have health implications.
The bottom line
The days of buyer beware are long gone, with the onus now falling on sellers to declare known issues with any property prior to sale.
If in doubt, discuss the matter with your agent, but bear in mind, failing to disclose a potential problem could be a costly endeavour. As a minimum, it might cost you a sale, but potentially it could be far more expensive if a buyer discovers a problem they should have been told about prior to purchasing.