Well what's old is new; let's get ready for the return of verbal (mostly) combat regarding seller's disclosures. Can the seller change the disclosure after contract? Standard real estate answer..."it depends".  Issues with the seller's disclosure tend to be the most common thing buyers and sellers lock horns over. Contracts fall apart as buyers claim things were omitted, information wasn't accurate, something that was to remain was taken...the list is ever growing. Remember all of those buyers that waived the contingencies during the lunacy of '21 - early '22? Now some are having issues and looking to assign blame. A bit late for that, remember that while sellers in Georgia are obligated to disclose latent defects, they are not obligated by law to complete any of the standard disclosure forms. And when you waive everything....

Change the Disclosure

Slow down Timmy...Once both parties agree to the terms of the contract that is a binding contract. Everything in the body of that contract, including items in the seller's disclosure, transfer. If Timmy forgot about Aunt Tillie's light fixture and now wants to swap it out, Timmy might be out of luck. He'll need the OK from the buyer; any changes like that require an amendment to the contract signed by both parties. The disclosure has a rather extensive checklist of items remaining/going as well as sections to write in specific things or provide clarification. It also defines "fixtures" and how the disclosure should be used by a buyer. Georgia is a "buyer beware" state and many buyers are shocked to learn what doesn't need to be disclosed to a buyer.

The HVAC Just Quit

Once that home goes under contract, the buyer expects it to be delivered substantially the same as it was on the date of contract. If a system fails, pipe breaks, sinkhole forms, roof leaks.....the seller is obligated to address the situation and repair/replace it so that it functions to the same level as when the home contracted. The seller is obligated to immediately notify the buyer and update the seller's disclosure. If something significant happens that substantially changes the condition - think fire, major flood or something like that - the buyer may have the ability to terminate the contract. This might happen as well if that 100 yr old oak that Aunt Tillie planted was smoked by lightening or if a home with a horse barn had a fire that destroyed it. Point is, sellers are responsible for transferring the home substantially the same as it was when contracted and notifying all parties if something happens.

Disclose Disclose Disclose

While sellers in Georgia are obligated to disclose latent defects, they are not obligated by law to complete any of the standard disclosure forms. It's not surprising that so many issues both during the contract period and after come back to things tied to the disclosure or otherwise "forgotten" about. Be honest and be candid; be a responsible seller. Agents as well. If an agent has knowledge of latent defects in a home that have not been disclosed, they can get into significant difficulty failing to disclose them. Here's a go to source for this type of info, the general counsel for GA Realtors:

Remember, do the right thing and...DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE.

The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and info@hmtatlanta.com

Posted by Hank Miller on


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