When you are getting ready to put your house on the market, you will probably be making repairs and getting things in order. During this process, discovering unsightly black growth around a water heater, or seeing a suspiciously dimpled area of your wall or wood floor can make you start to worry. When you take a closer look and see mold and termites, your worst fears are confirmed. When your house has mold and termite damage, you may wonder: Can I still sell?
Evaluate the Situation
First, you are going to have to assess the damage. How many areas does it impact? If there is a small amount of mold around a leaking water heater or pipe and you got to it early, you may have a manageable issue. However, if mold extends throughout your air ducts, attic, basement, and sheetrock, the repairs could be extensive. Call a mold inspector and have them evaluate the property, so you have a complete picture. The same holds true with termites. Often water damage and termites can be found together. Look over your property for signs of both, note any visible problems, then call a termite inspector and exterminator.
In Arizona, sellers are required to disclose material facts that they know about their property. In general, the courts consider a material fact to be one that a reasonable person would consider to be important to know before buying a home. Immaterial facts would be facts that a seller should disclose but would not necessarily impact the decision. A standard Arizona residential purchase contract is going to have a section called the Seller Property Disclosure Statement, or “SPDS”. The seller is supposed to complete the SPDS form and provide this information to the buyer within three days of the acceptance of the contract. If the seller knows about a problem, it must be listed in this document.
Sellers also warrant that all latent defects, or defects that could not have been discovered through a reasonable inspection of the property have been disclosed. The buyer will then have a period (usually, ten days) to inspect the property themselves and pay for their own professionals to examine any issues.
Whether your home had termites and mold remediation ten years ago or ten days ago, the issues would have to be disclosed to a buyer. Depending on the extent of the damage, having these problems may reduce your price or make it harder to sell. However, if you are in a seller’s market such as Phoenix, buyers tend to be more willing to accept major defects in order to get into the right zip code. Further, certain buyers may not be concerned about the property’s condition because of their future remodeling or demolition plans.
Attorney Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who can help you examine your disclosure issues, whether you are a buyer or seller. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.