South Carolina Seller’s Disclosure
Good morning. Thought I’d write a bit about the South Carolina Residential Property Condition Disclosure Report. Beginning in January of 2003, South Carolina required owners of residential real estate to provide the purchaser a SDS (Seller’s Disclosure Statement). There are four pages to the form with the first page being an explanation to the seller. The seller is asked 24 questions regarding the condition of the property. The statement must be provided in connection with the sale, exchange, option and sale under lease with an option to purchase.
One box must be checked for each of the 24 questions. Here’s an example:
1. Roof (leakage or other problem)?
a. Approximate age of roof covering _____
The seller can answer yes, no or no representation. Then they fill in the aprox. age of the roof if they know. If the seller checks yes they must provide an explanation on page 3 and 4. I use the roof question as an example because roofs can be very expensive to replace and I have an example regarding roofs.
Had a transaction last year in a very nice neighborhood. Had a home inspection done and pretty much the normal things you might find on new construction. The buyer was there for the inspection and a neighbor stopped by to say hello. The neighbor mentioned that he knew that they had a bad leak in the home when we had a down pour. He mentioned the listing company was aware and they had assisted in getting a contractor to repair. I questioned the listing agent about it who, by the way is a big listing agent in Greenville. I got pontificated about how new construction, never occupied does not require a SDS. Listen folks, just because it may not be required doesn’t mean you can’t ask for it.
The other point the agent tried to make is there is nothing currently wrong with the property. I asked for a seller’s disclosure and got it. Every box was checked no representation. Now I’ll point out here that on the first page of the seller’s disclosure it states that “If you check No Representation for any question, you are stating that you are making no representation regarding the conditions and characteristics of the property, but you may have a duty to disclose even if you know or should have known of them.” Folks, I’m no attorney but I’m just trying to do my best to protect my buyers. In my opinion checking no representation does not relieve you of a duty to disclose if you have knowledge or should have known. Now some sellers disclose problems even if they have been repaired which is what I think should be done. Here’s why and I told the listing agent this. If you have had a leak and repair it but don’t disclose it, what if the leak caused unseen damage in the walls? If we are aware of it we can explore further but if you don’t tell us the buyer may not see the problem for a couple of years. In my opinion, any material defect or repair that has been made should be disclosed and just because it’s new construction, that should not relieve the seller, builder, listing agent from disclosing problems they are aware of or should be aware of.
Have a great day, I’ll see you tomorrow God willing!