Selling a home in Oregon: Real estate agent? Check. Moving boxes? Check. Seller’s Property Disclosures? Yes!
Oregon law requires all homeowners to reveal certain information about a home before they sell (there are very few exceptions). After all, a home is not just a material object — it’s a place with a history. Anything that could affect the buyer’s experience in that home going forward should be disclosed.
Fortunately, sellers are not responsible for coming up with a list of relevant information about the home as a free-form exercise. There’s a standardized form that’s actually written into the Oregon Revised Statutes. Everyone in the state is required to disclose the same things about their homes when they sell.
The disclosures form is taken seriously because it’s the only way that sellers can be legally “covered” if should anything go wrong with the house after it changes hands. As a seller’s agent, I often get asked, “Does that really need to be disclosed?” The golden rule is, “If you’re unsure, disclose.” Even if it shouldn’t negatively impact the value of the home, and even if the issue seems to have been resolved. Be mindful that if you don’t disclose what you know, you could be opening yourself up to liability down the road.
The disclosures form used in Oregon real estate transactions has very specific “Yes” or “No” questions. Thankfully there are also boxes for “Unknown” for many questions. The law requires that no stone be left unturned when it comes to a seller’s knowledge of the property. For that reason, real estate agents recommend that Portland home sellers give themselves at least an hour to fill out the form. It may require some research — calling your insurance company for a reminder on any claims made or contacting the county to verify permits. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent if you can’t answer a question or aren’t sure how. We’re here to advise you through the process.
The disclosures form that all sellers must fill out contains a number of questions, but first and foremost it asks sellers to verify that they have the legal authority to sell the property. Again, it’s a simple check of a box, but it holds sellers accountable and prevents homes from being sold illegally, for example, out from under an elderly parent. From here, the form goes into questions that investigate which parties have jurisdiction over the property. These include:
Ah, the all-important ingoing and outgoing services to a home! Sellers might not always know if something is wrong with the plumbing, but they do have access to other key information.
“Is the home standing?” is just about the only structural question not included on the disclosures form. Home sellers need to answer questions about:
Safety first! Potential safety hazards can come from outside and inside the home, including:
Believe it or not, this article just scratches the surface. To preview the entire sellers property disclosure statement form, go to https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/105.464, or just ask your Oregon real estate agent for help.