Seller disclosures vary from state to state, but generally list material problems with the home, including structural problems, electrical problems, roof leaks, etc. However; in the current real estate market, it may be tempting for sellers to omit details in the disclosure documents in order to close the deal. This makes it important for buyers to not solely rely on the disclosures and to do their homework first before purchasing a property.
Although sellers are expected to fill out disclosure documents honestly and not conceal issues with the home, what isn't disclosed could cost the buyer later. And even more difficult would be finding proof that the seller had knowledge of the issue and chose to not disclose it.
Buyers: To avoid pitfalls, catch any issues before buying with the help of a professional home inspection. An inspector will document any notable defects of the home, providing proof for you to show the seller. Buyers should also speak with neighbors to receive additional information regarding the home's history and other details.
No home is perfect, so buyers should set realistic expectations before purchasing an existing home. However; knowing all of the truths regarding the property can help to set the buyer's mind at ease before making a decision.
For more information, read Amy Hoak's "Don't Fall Victim to a Lying Home Seller."