When residential real estate is transferred to a new Buyer in the State of Washington, the Seller is required to provide the Buyer with a Sellers Disclosure Statement (Seller Disclosure). The Seller completes the 6 page Form, with over 160 questions, about everything from the water source, environmental issues, any defects in the property, the history of the land and building(s), etc. Unfortunately, some of the questions are a little confusing and Sellers answer incorrectly or skip the questions altogether. Be very careful. If any question is skipped or lacks an explanation, if required, the Buyer can terminate the transaction up until “Closing” and receive their Earnest Money Deposit back from the Seller.
Here’s another twist. The Listing Agent is not allowed to answer any of the questions for the Seller on the Form. I recommend the Listing Agent forward the Seller Disclosure Statement from the Transaction Desk on our NWMLS platform and allow the Seller to complete the Form. The Listing Agent should review the Form and provide guidance to the Seller for the proper completion of the Form.
If you’re the Seller, you have the options of answering Yes, No, Don’t Know and NA(not applicable). If you answer Yes to any question with an asterisk, you must provide further explanation on the bottom of page 5 or, on a separate sheet of paper that you attach to the Form. If you answer NA and, in fact, the question is applicable, you’ve answered incorrectly.
If the Buyer waives the right to receive the Seller Disclosure Form, which they’re allowed to do but, it’s not recommended, that does not release the Seller from future lawsuits if there is an environmental issue with the property.
The Seller Disclosure Statement is not considered a legal document that is attached to the Purchase and Sale Agreement and it should not be transmitted to the Escrow Company. The Seller has 5 days following Mutual Acceptance to provide the Buyer with the Seller Disclosure Statement and the Buyer has 3 days to review the Seller Disclosure and terminate the transaction based upon the information in the Disclosure. If terminating the transaction, the Seller should use Form 50 – Authorization to Disburse Earnest Money along with Form 90A – Notice of Rescission of Agreement Pursuant to RCW 64.08. They should not use Form 51 – Rescission Agreement.