8 min read Jul 03, 2024

Seller Disclosure in Washington State

Selling a home is tough work. From state statutes to disclosure requirements, you have to get familiar with what you have to do and what needs to prepare. Moreover, like any other state, the Washington law requires home sellers to disclose any known major defects that could affect the buyer’s decision to purchase the house. These are major to minor defects—and even features—that the buyer should know before signing any contract.

Remember, you only need to disclose material defects that you have knowledge of and not issues that you aren’t aware of existing. However, if you’re having second thoughts on whether or not an issue is “material”, then it’s just wise to include it in the list for assurance.

» Selling My House Washinton State: Know the process to sell your home in Washington State.

If you are selling a property in Washington, here are all the seller disclosure requirements you need to know:

  1. Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards.
  2. General Disclosure Requirements

» Selling a Home As Is In Washington State: Here is Houzeo’s guide on how to sell your home as-is in Washington State.

3min Video: How to List Your Home on the MLS by Owner


Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction

federal lead disclosure

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed in 1992 requires the disclosure of any lead-based paint or chipped paint in any housing built prior to 1978.

The Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act is an essential part of any real estate disclosure requirements. It provides protection to residential occupants from any possible exposure to lead paint, dust, or lead poisoning. By law, home sellers must notify the buyer whether the property has any reports or records of lead-based paint hazards. You can read more details here on this website.

The seller can provide a 10-day period for the buyer to do a risk assessment or paint inspection for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. For safety purposes, the homebuyers may look for a lead hazard inspection firm by following this link.

» Need To Sell My House in Washington State Fast: Read our blog to know ways to sell your house fast in Washington State.

General Disclosure Requirements

Sellers are required by law to disclose material defects about residential property in the seller disclosure form in Washington state. Completing the form is essential since it tells most about the condition of the property before the purchase is made. As stated in Section 64.06.020 (Revised Washington Code), home sellers should comply with the following disclosures. In summary, sellers are only required to disclose known defects or issues that they are aware of, and are not expected to notify defects that they didn’t fully know exist.

Additions:

As a seller, you have no responsibility to examine or investigate certain issues like the presence of registered sex offenders near your residential property. However, this notice is intended only to inform you of where to obtain this information and is not an indication of the presence of registered sex offenders (Revised Washington Code Sect. 64.06.02).

Henceforth, it’s the sole responsibility of the buyers to investigate on their own, or can look up to the website of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

However, the seller doesn’t have to report every issue about the property. For example, it’s unnecessary to notify the buyer about someone that has suffered from AIDS or any infectious disease. Furthermore, facts about suicide, natural death, or paranormal activity are not necessarily included in the disclosure form.

As a seller and as the only source of all the information in this form, here are disclosure requirements you are obliged to state:

Property Title. These are title issues that include boundary disputes, assessments, zoning issues, covenants, easements, etc.

Water System. Major or minor problems on household water, irrigation, outdoor sprinkler systems, and water rights issues

Sewer/Septic Systems. Maintenance issues or significant issues in the public sewer system, connections, septic tanks, plumbing, drain fields. Accordingly, these changes or repairs add onto the on-site sewage system.    

Structural Issues. These are structural foundation problems, roof leaks, basement flood, dry rot or pests or attic insulation. Although other defects on chimneys, pools, sidewalks, garage floors, exterior walls, driveways, patio, fireplaces, elevators, sidings, hot tub, slab floors, etc.

Systems and Fixtures. Property condition of the plumbing (including pipes, faucets, fixtures, and toilets), heating and cooling, electrical, security systems or satellite dishes.

Homeowners Association/Common Interest. Details about Association and contact information, regular periodic assessment, pending special assessment, any shared common areas like walls, fences, landscaping, pools, tennis, courts, walkways, or other areas.

General. Is the area on a landfill? Drainage problems, natural disasters damages, environmental hazards, i.e., drug-manufacturing, buried fuel tanks, lead-paint, or radio towers.

Manufactured/Mobile homes. Any improvements or alterations? Or permits or variances received?

Exceptions:

Here is the list of items that are excluded to disclosure requirements in Washington (RCW 64.06.010).

  1. Foreclosure
  2. Inter-family gifts (transfer from parent to child or spouse)
  3. Divorcing spouses or domestic partners
  4. Meanwhile all inter-owner buyouts (via partnership, corporation, lease-holder, or in a tax-deferred exchange)
  5. Real property interest that is less than fee simple
  6. A personal representative for the estate of a decedent
  7. When the buyer waives receipt of the seller disclosure
    • “even though Washington law allows the buyer to waive receipt of the disclosure form”
    • “if the answer to any question on the “Environmental” section of the disclosure form would be “Yes,” then the buyer cannot waive receipt of the disclosures”
    •   “Obviously, for a buyer to not waive receipt of the disclosure requires the seller to create one in the first place.”
seller disclosure in washington state

» Sell My House Fast For Cash: Know ways to sell your house fast for cash.

What if the seller fails to disclose any of this information to the buyer?

The main purpose of the disclosure is to notify the buyer of all the information about the property’s condition. Moreover, if the seller intentionally hides the property defects, this could lead to legal trouble (for fraud or negligent misrepresentation)—and worst, void the sale agreement. That’s why it’s crucial to review the form or consult your agent for any questions regarding the property.

Follow the procedures and abide by the law even though the disclosure can seem so stressful. Just fill out the form honestly to your best knowledge. Litigation is a costly procedure and could waste a huge amount of your money. You can always seek advice to a professional real estate agent and attorney to get an in-depth understanding of the requirements and process to sell your property.

» How to Sell Your Own House in Washington State: Are you considering selling your house without a realtor? Here are our tips for a smooth selling process.

Tips To Minimize Problems In Disclosures

Review And VerifyThere’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Purchase and Sales Agreement—also the square footage, home usage, and marketing.
Ask QuestionsAsk questions when in doubt. This would help you avoid future troubles.
Hire A Professional InspectorA professional inspector can help you gather backup information about the property’s condition. You can also opt for a pre-inspection before listing.
» Washington State Home Inspector – Find out the best home inspectors in Washington State.
Disclose EverythingTo avoid problems in your home disclosure statement disclose everything you know honestly. Even though it’s a minor issue, you must disclose it.
Get A Licensed Agent InvolvedThe best way to avoid disclosure issues is to get licensed real estate agents in Washington State. Agents can help you manage and assist you in the process along the way.

» Washington State MLS Flat Fee – Discover The Best Flat Fee MLS Service in Washington State!

Conclusion

Dealing with seller disclosures in Washington State comes with its own set of challenges and can lawsuits in the future if not dealt with properly. This is where Houzeo can help you.

By listing your property with Houzeo, you get access to all forms in electronic format. And that too, for FREE! Houzeo has segregated all the disclosures state-wise so that you don’t have to hunt for Washington State seller disclosures separately.

Check out some of the Houzeo Offers and how it has helped customers around the US.

NoteAll the information mentioned above is just a guide for real estate sellers in Washington. It is still best to seek legal advice from experts if you have anclarifications.


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