The key to selling a home is often emphasizing its positive qualities and showing them off to the greatest possible advantage. However, this does not mean that you can ignore the negative aspects. As a matter of fact, the laws of all 50 states, including Michigan, require sellers to inform prospective buyers of any known issues on the property. The term for this is a seller’s disclosure.
According to the Lansing State Journal, it is important to be as forthcoming and transparent in your seller’s disclosure as possible. Failure to disclose a known problem can result in the buyers canceling the transaction if they find out about it before closing. If the buyers do not find out about an issue until after the transaction took place but have reason to believe that you knew about it, they could file a lawsuit against you.
However, you need not feel intimidated about disclosing issues on your property. The process essentially consists of you filling out a checklist and answering honestly about matters such as pest damage, prior insurance claims, past repairs or hazardous conditions. If the honest answer is that you do not know, you can indicate that on the form.
While the law only holds you accountable for conditions that you know about, you may run into a situation in which you find out about an issue after filling out the disclosure form. If this happens, you should promptly create a written amendment to the disclosure.
Michigan law does not require sellers to disclose misfortunate events that have happened on the property, such as crime, infectious disease or suicide. However, it may be a good idea to inform potential buyers if you know of such events that have happened on the property in the past.