Have you heard the terms “SPDS…pronounced spuds”? It’s the term real estate agents use when referring to the Arizona Seller Property and Disclosure Statement.
What is a Seller Property Disclosure Statement? In Arizona it is a form to assist sellers in making legally required disclosures and to avoid inadvertent nondisclosures of material facts. Sellers are legally obligated to all known material (important) facts about the property they are selling. The SPDS is a six page document that the seller completes. It is divided into six general sections:
- Ownership and Property – general information such as location, ownership and occupancy.
- Building and Safety – physical aspects of the property – you should disclose any past or present problems with the property and any work or improvements made. You will also be asked about the presence of termites (current or past) as well as treatment.
- Utilities – you will identify whether the property receives specific utilities, the provider and the water source and any drinking water problems.
- Environmental – A variety of information is requested including issues relating to soil settlement/expansion, drainage/grade or erosion, noise including traffic and airport noise, odors and other nuisances. Mold growth is an important aspect of this section as mold spores are everywhere and can be present where there has been water damage, excessive moisture or flooding. All water leaks, water damage, dampness/moisture must be disclosed.
- Sewer/Wastewater Treatment: Sun Lakes Arizona is connected to a private wastewater plant (PIMA Utilities) but many homes around the Phoenix area are not connected to a sewer and represented otherwise. It is important to answer all questions.
- Other Conditions and Factors – Additional space is added for you to disclose any other important information concerning the property that might affect the buyer’s decision making process and/or the value of the property.
What is NOT required to be disclosed?
By law, sellers are not obligated to disclose that the property is or has been 1) the site of a natural death, suicide, homicide, or any other crime classified as a felony; 2) owned or occupied by a person exposed to HIV, or diagnosed as having AIDS or any other disease not known to be transmitted through common occupancy of real estate or 3) located in the vicinity of a sex offender. However the law does not protect a seller who makes an intentional misrepresentation. For example, if you are asked whether there has been a death on the property and you know that there was such a death, you should not answer “no” or “I don’t know”. Instead you should either answer truthfully or respond that you are not legally required to answer the question.
Buyers have ways of finding out just about anything they want to know including talking with neighbors. As professional real estate agents provide buyers with an Arizona Buyer Advisory document which they initial and sign. That document provides resources for the buyer to find out what they want to know in order to conduct full due diligence on the home. They will almost always talk to neighbors. Your neighbors may be your friends but when you are selling and someone knocks on their door to ask questions they usually open up and tell them the neighborhood “secrets” so be aware and answer the SPDS questions truthfully and accurately.
Your real estate agent cannot complete the form for you but can be valuable in answering questions to help you answer accurately. Avoid a potential lawsuit down the road and disclose disclose disclose! If the buyer doesn’t buy your home because of one of the disclosures you just saved yourself some money and a big headache. You would rather lose that particular sale than face an expensive and lengthy law suit. And what is bothersome to one buyer isn’t to another.
For more information on buying or selling a home call The KOLB Team at 480-440-0849. We are Sun Lakes Arizona residents and experts in the real estate market in active adult communities.