If you’re in the process of selling a home, when it comes to disclosures, ten different real estate agents will tell you ten different things. Some will say that it’s not necessary to disclose that someone died on your property. Some will say to disclose every nut that’s been tightened and every faucet drip that’s occurred. The fact is laws govern this very issue. While they vary from state to state, there are federal laws as well, the most notable of which is regarding lead-based paint. The best thing to do, especially if you’ve heard a suggestion that seems too extreme one way or another, is to consult a real estate attorney who knows your state’s disclosure laws.
The general rule of thumb is that anything that lowers the perceived value of the property or anything that would affect the buyer's decision to purchase or the price and terms the buyer offers should be disclosed. Some tips: Answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but make sure you disclose everything that you’d want disclosed to you if you were the buyer. If you don’t know the answer to a question answer “Do Not Know.” But not having precise facts about defects you know exist does not permit you to answer “Do Not Know” to every question. This will always raise a red flag. Just use your common sense and be honest and fair.