Realty One Group Inspiration
Richard Vaughn

What You Have to Disclose When You Sell Your Home
Even though you now have all the tools to make your house the most saleable it can possibly be, you need to know that you can’t polish out every imperfection in your home, some problems cannot and should not be taken away by a little bit of elbow grease.

Many states in America now require by law that the seller of a property must offer written disclosures about any unseen physical or socioeconomically problems affecting the property and the property’s neighborhood.

Once you have a potential buyer you are obligated to disclose any major problems that may affect the property’s value.

I know it seems counterproductive to tell a potential buyer things wrong with your home, especially being so close to the sale, but this transparency will not only create a stronger and more trustworthy relationship with the buyer, it will also keep you out of potential litigation or in some serious cases, criminal charges in the future.

Why disclosing negative items actually helps you sell your home.

I know this may sound crazy. But, it’s true. And, I have a crazy story that backs this up. A friend of mine was selling an old used truck. It was about 20 years old and had over 200,000 miles on it.

He put it up for sale and showed it to someone that wanted to buy it. Now, the truck was in pretty good shape for a vehicle with 200,000 miles. But, it did have some problems.
Now, the seller did not want to have to worry about the buyer complaining about the problems after he had bought the truck. And, he didn’t care if he sold it or not.
So, here’s what he did. As soon as he met the buyer he immediately showed him all of the things wrong with the truck.

“The passenger door window doesn’t roll up or down”, he said. Then, he proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes telling him everything that was wrong with it.

“Look at the driver’s side door. The hinge is a little weird and it doesn’t always shut completely. When you accelerate you have to keep steady pressure on the accelerator. Otherwise, the truck may jump out of gear and then kick back into gear.
The entire truck will jerk forward. It’s kind of hard on the transmission when it does that.”

The buyer ate it up!

He bought it on the spot. He knew that most 20 year old trucks would have problems. And, he figured that a seller who was so upfront about the problems wouldn’t be hiding any problems from him.

Now, you would think that the guy was selling the truck for a really good deal. Nope. He had owned it for just over a year and was actually selling it for 30% more than he had bought it a year before.

No, he didn’t buy it for a really cheap price the year before. He actually bought it from a used car dealership for a fair price. Now, he had done a little bit of work on the truck and fixed a few things. But, all in all, it wasn’t a bargain of any sort.

This same strategy works for selling a home. Most buyers are not stupid. They know if they buy an older home, it is going to have some problems.

The more forthcoming you are about the potential problems, then the more relaxed they will become about buying your house. Ok, let’s keep going.

If you see something, say something

One thing you should know is that in most states you don’t have to worry about discussing issues that you have no knowledge of. Don’t run out and hire an inspector to nit-pick every little detail of your home with the intention of finding problems that may not even affect the property value.

The problems you have to report are the ones that you know about. Leaky pipes, rotting wood, basement flooding, and basically anything about your property that has bothered you and you know that it will bother the new residents.

However you can’t be cavalier about the unknown issues. There are certain scenarios where turning a blind eye could get you in some real hot water. Depending on what state you are selling you house in, you may be held responsible for not discovering any unknown potential problems.

It’s very important to educate yourself about the specific disclosures that your state requires. Some states are very strict while others are more lenient. To get a decent idea of what you may be up against, let’s take a look at all the regulations in California, one of the most stringent disclosure report states in the nation.

The Basic Disclosure Requirements:

*Any significant defects regarding walls, ceilings, floors, roofs, windows, doors, foundation, fences, driveways, plumbing and electrical systems.
*Lack of compliance with child safety standards.
*Additions or modifications to any rooms in the house.
*Use of Hazardous substances on property.
*Zoning violations.
*Regular neighborhood noise disturbances.
*Any features on property shared with neighbors.
*Damage to property from fire, earthquake, floods, or landslides.
*Deaths on Property (within three years).
*The location of any publicly registered sex offenders or at least ensuring the buyers have knowledge of the sex offender database.

What your state expects from you

Many states share the similar strict regulations of disclosure that I posted above. But, you’ll want to find out specifically what is expected from you by checking with your state department of real estate. The state department can get you all the forms and checklists you need to make sure you’ve meet all the requirements of your home state.
It’s also very important to not just take a macro surveying of what needs to done, you need to get micro too. Contact your city planning department to make sure your property is up to date with all the local ordinances, ordinances that would not be covered in the state regulations.

Overlooking issues such as misplaced land borders or an unregulated build could scare off prospective buyers which is the last thing you want on the eve of a sale.

On second thought, get an inspection

As you saw from the very thorough requirements above, and all the local disclosures that may fall through the cracks, you may want to consider hiring a property inspector even if it is not required by your state.

While the results of an inspection may cause unplanned investments in renovations, you will be saving money from what could be a much more costly lawsuit in the future if undisclosed issues are discovered after the sale.

Also, having an inspection beforehand will also give you the upper hand when negotiating with the prospective buyer since there will be no last minute surprises or unfounded demands that set the sale off course.

A disclosure for all

There are some disclosures that every home seller must know because they are required in all fifty states. The use of lead-based paints or other hazard materials can be harmful to the inhabitant of a home, especially if young children will be living there. If any of these materials have been used in your home, the buyer needs to know.

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (AKA ‘Title X’) states that if you are selling a home built before 1978 you must comply with the following procedures:
*Give an EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
*Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. The seller must also disclose information such as the location of the lead-based paint and the condition of the painted surfaces.
*Provide any records and reports on lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards which are available to the seller.
*Include an attachment to the sales contract which includes a Lead Warning Statement and confirms that the seller or landlord has complied with all notification requirements. *Sellers and home buyers must sign and date the attachment.
*Sellers must provide home buyers a ten day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.
These requirements are very important to meet not just for the safety of your buyers but also the safety of your finances.

Title X requirements the buyer can sue you for triple the amount of damages suffered from the exposure. To make sure you won’t have to triple pay, be sure to triple check that you have done all you can to disclose any potential hazard materials in your home. For more information visit the EPA website here:

When In Doubt, Disclose

The best way to ensure there will be no repercussions of liability from lack of disclosure is to just sing like a canary. There is no such thing as "to much information" when it comes to transparency with your buyer.

They have the right to know everything about the home they are buying and it is both morally and ethically your responsibility to tell all.

However, just because you’ve disclosed a problem doesn’t mean the problem is yours. The buyer may negotiate the potential costs of renovations into the deal. For example, if the cost to get the pipes fixed is appraised at five grand, you can take that value off of the sales price and the buyer will use the money saved to get the work done themselves.
Some eager buyers may even look the other way on the minor issue that will not affect their quality of living in order to get a deal done as soon as possible. Both you and the prospective buyer will have a healthier and more productive negotiation when all the cards are laid out on the table.

How to Disclose

Once you’ve figured all that must be disclosed to your prospective home buyer you need to figure out the right way to divulge the information. There are specific forms in many states the will feature prompting questions and fill-ins that make for an easy to complete and understand report of all the problems with your home.

These forms also feature a page that you must sign and date to authentic all your disclosures. The buyer also has to sign and date this form so that it officially shows that everyone is on the same page.

Keep in mind that even if you state does not mandate a form, in order to protect yourself in the future it’s very important to get a receipt or legally approved document that when signed by the buyer officially confirms that they have agreed with and have knowledge of all the relevant disclosures.

In the end it’s all about having an on-the-record candor that helps to ensure you make a successful sale that both you and the buyer feel good about and nothing comes back to haunt you in the future.

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Richard Vaughn - Agent with Colonialtown Realty


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"Richard's experience allowed him to point out items that required my attention in order to get top dollar for the property. That coupled with his knowledge on the neighborhood and his marketing/showing experience enabled the property to sell in it's first weekend on the market for well above market value. I would highly recommend Richard Vaughn if you want top dollar quickly for your property."


~ Todd S

We are extremely pleased that we chose Richard Vaughn as our realtor to sell our home. He was very knowledgeable in advising us as we prepared our house to be placed on the market. He was a wealth of information whenever we needed anything from the very beginning to the closing. He went way beyond expectations in assisting us with what could have been an HOA nightmare. His responsiveness to every detail and issue was exceptional. We highly recommend Richard Vaughn and would definitely use him again ourselves.


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Richard is a great realtor - very knowledgeable and willing to go that extra mile to help you out in any way possible. he has sold a house to me and also helped me sell one. If you are looking for a home to buy or have one to sell, he is your guy.


~ Angela Turrentine

Richard was extremely knowledgeable about the local market and landscape. He is truly a professional’s professional. He went above and beyond at ever turn and was spot on with the market advise he gave me and I thank him and totally appreciate everything he has done to make my selling experience a good one. His marketing was exceptional and honest. He is highly recommended.


~ John Casson

Richard Vaughn is an incredible Realtor. He made sure we were updated and informed every step of the process. He also went out of his way in recommending professionals to help in other areas we were not experts in. They all lived up to the expectations set by Richard as well. I have already recommended him to a friend who is in the market.


~ Joe Denave

Richard was a joy to work with selling my home. Always kind and a smile on his face. I would recommend him to anyone that is looking for a good realtor.


~ Donna Russell

He is very kind hearted person who helped me and my wife a lot anybody would be lucky to have him as a realtor. He helped us look for a house for months always doing the best he can and it’s much appreciated


~ Marlon Barberena

Richard sold our house when other agents couldn’t. He went above and beyond to market our home and found a qualified buyer. He used his expertise and keen eye to recommend areas that we needed to improve in order to sell the house faster, and it worked. He was always available and made it his personal mission to get our house sold. He kept us informed throughout the process through email, texts, and phone calls. If you ever need an agent, Richard is the one!


~ Matt Clinger

"We enjoyed working with Richard. He was thorough, professional and caring. He showed great understanding of our needs and his determined approach was second to none. We would work with him again in a heartbeat and would thoroughly recommend him to anyone." Harpinder Chauhan


~ The Chauhans

Richard is an excellent realtor. He went above and beyond his call of duty. He didn't give up when I wasn't satisfied with some of the homes we looked at. He would just send me more and I would also find some and he made sure I was able to go see them even though they weren't on his website. He helped us find the perfect house. There was a few kinks but he took care of them. He gave extra time even after the sale to make sure everything was finished. If I sent an email, text or called him I got an immediate respond. I WOULD TELL EVERYONE I KNOW THAT IS LOOKING FOR A REALTOR TO CALL RICHARD whether they are buying or selling - HE IS THE MAN.


~ Alice White

Richard Vaughn did a great job selling our home. We were trying to sell our home on our own, but Richard called us and set up an appointment to discuss our home and the real estate market of our area, Winter Park. He was very informative, and not pushy. Over time, we decided to give Richard a try. It was listed right around a hurricane, and we had relocated to another state. Richard moved patio furniture and made sure our home was presented well for possible buyers. He held open houses multiple times, and was able to sell our home pretty quickly in the time frame we had given him. We would recommend Richard for anyone looking to sell their home.


~ Elizabeth Ledford

Patient and friendly, he was on the top of any deal when I ask for a showing, also he can help you to find a good loan and insurance if needed but I prefer to do my own homework.


~ Mohamed Abd el rahman

After meeting with 6 other realtors we finally lucked out by finding Richard Vaughn! He listened to our requests and lead us to different things that were still in our taste as well as budget. Super patient and not pushy. He is informative and kept our expectations realistic. Easy to contact and gave honest feedback. We feel that if we didn't use his advice when making the offer we would not be homeowners today. We would easily recommend him to all of our friends and family!


~ Maurine Sylverain

Richard was a great asset to have in my first time home buying experience. From the very beginning he was extremely accommodating to my last minute requests for showings, even going so far as to take my friends to see new listings at my request when I was out of town. I never felt pressured to act quickly and felt like I had someone on my side every step of the way. Being new to the process I had quite a few questions. Richard was knowledgeable, but more importantly honest when he did not know an answer and was happy to get back to me with the correct answer. Thanks again Richard.


~ Tyler Pyle

Richard was amazing! Our first ever real estate experience wasn't as seamless as we had hoped for, but Richard was by our side, helping us through the entire process. Without Richard, we may have given up on the house of our dreams, but with all of his help and "can-do" attitude, we persevered and are comfortably moved in to our new home! I would absolutely recommend Richard to anyone!


~ Overstreet

We were first time home buyers in the Orlando area so we selected the Mainframe Real Estate Team based on reviews we saw online and we were so lucky to have chosen them. We worked with Richard Vaughn and he was wonderful! He had a great knowledge of the surrounding area and knew exactly what we were looking for. He was very responsive to our needs and was always available when we needed him to be. Anyone looking to purchase a home would be lucky to work with Richard.


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I happened across Richard when I was looking for another Realtor and what an amazing find! He's a breath of fresh air, He listens to your wants and needs, he's patient and kind, honest and very down to earth. He's not one to pressure you and however many houses it takes to find the one that's right for you. He will be right by your side through every one of them. Richard is incredibly knowledgeable and if he doesn't know an answer, he finds it. Richard will guide you through the entire process to the very end. My Husband and I HIGHLY recommend Richard Vaughn! We couldn't be happier.


~ Nicki "Goose" Heasley

Richard was very professional and attentive to all our needs. He provided excellent customer service and clearly explained the process of buying a home. Mr. Vaughn provided excellent referrals that did not disappoint. Richard Vaughn is highly recommended. The Browns


~ The Browns

Extremely helpful through the whole stress home buying process. Always there when we had questions, always answers our calls. Very knowledgeable of the home buying process. Made the entire process as enjoyable as it could be. :3


~ Gensler - Childer

Richard was a great help in selling our home. He brought his designer wife over who made some suggestions regarding staging our home, colors, etc., and after that our home sold. Richard also has a great rapport with the other agents and helped make this closing possible. I would definitely recommend Richard.


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The closing on 2032 Illinois Street was the culmination of working five months with Richard Vaughn as my listing agent. I was quite pleased with the outcome on a number of fronts, and he has my full recommendation as an agent. Richard was a tireless advocate, undeterred, an exceptional problem solver and maintained a positive outlook despite some substantial obstacles we faced through the closing. He wasn’t afraid to spend countless hours to get the job done, keeping all parties calm, and he never passed the buck. And I would be remiss to add that I received a very strong value for the property – one 18 months prior I didn’t think was possible. The home was well marketed on a number of media platforms, and had strong interest from the moment the sign went in the ground. We were under contract within 3 weeks from listing – a time period that included both Christmas and New Years. I cannot recommend him more highly.


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I feel that we got Top Dollar for our home. Richard positioned us to get 8 offers for our home after only 2 days on the market. It was an all-around great experience with an all-around great realtor!! Trustworthy and smart and if he can sell our home in two days obviously he is diligent!!!!


~ Jessica Beman

Dear Richard, Thank you so much for your assistance in helping us find and purchase the home for our daughter! We could not have been happier with the service that you provided for us. My wife, Susan, and I have bought and sold homes in the past but this was our first experience with buying what turned out to be investment property. After letting you know what we were looking for in a property, you were able to put together a list of houses that met our requirements. Incredibly, we found the perfect property in only 4 days and closed on it the following month! You were able to guide us though all of the details of purchasing investment properties – and there were a lot of details to attend to before closing! We would (and will) recommend you to family, friends, and anyone else that we hear might be looking to buy or sell a house. Thanks again! Sincerely, Darrell Johnson


~ The Johnsons

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