We are no longer living in a "buyer beware" environment. True, we sell properties "as is" ... but with a right to any and all inspections the buyers wish to perform on the subject property.
So, If you’re in the process of selling a home, be mindful of laws covering the issue of disclosure. While they vary from state to state, there are federal laws as well, the most notable of which is regarding lead-based paint.
The seller in Florida has the obligation to tell the buyer of any known problem with the property that would affect its value, desirability or marketability of the property. There is a Seller's Disclosure Statement available to the seller to fill out and make available to the buyers. Listing agents acting to the best seller's interest should offer this form to seller upon entering into a transaction. There is no such a thing as over disclosing.
The buyers, upon reviewing reports and disclosures may continue or cancel the transaction. In some cases buyer will ask for the seller to remedy some or all of the deficiencies; at this point seller may decide to remedy some or all of the deficiencies. There is no obligation by either party to do anything. It's in a way, a second life to the negotiation table.
The best thing to do if you’re unsure what to disclose is to consult a real estate attorney who knows your state’s disclosure laws.
The general rule of thumb is that anything that lowers the perceived value of the property or anything that would affect the buyer's decision to purchase or the price and terms the buyer offers should be disclosed. Some tips: Answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but make sure you disclose everything that you’d want disclosed to you if you were the buyer.