Seller's Disclosure Notice
One of the requirements of home sellers is filling out a "Seller's Disclosure Notice", disclosing the past and current condition of the property. Sellers often don't want to disclose certain items because they believe it will scare off potential buyers, for instance, a repair that was made on a foundation. Sellers naturally believe that buyers will shy away from their home if they disclose that foundation work had been done. Their thought process is something like, "If it's been repaired, then why do I have to disclose it?"
I'll See You in Court
Mike Statler is a long time property inspector I know who loves to say, "buyers don't mind problems, but they hate surprises." After a buyer moves in, and something goes wrong with the house, the first thing that buyer is going to do is check their inspection report (to see if he missed something) and then check the Seller's Disclosure (to see if you hid something). If they determine that you didn't fully disclose something, well, you've got a potential problem. However, it's hard to pin the blame on the seller if the disclosure was filled out properly.
But, I've Never Occupied the Property
There are cases where the seller is not required to fill out a Sellers Disclosure, primarily if the property is bank owned (foreclosure). In Texas there are eleven instances where a disclosure is not required. Check with your agent if you are uncertain.
If They Love it, They'll Buy it
We buy emotionally, and we justify rationally. This is a universal truth. My experience with buyers is if they really love a certain property, they're going to overlook many potential problems. I've never seen an accurate seller's disclosure scare off a buyer who really wants the property - in fact, I'm certain that in many instances, buyers never even read the sellers disclosure, they simply sign it. So in the end, I believe the actual use of a Seller's Disclosure Notice is to keep the seller out of court after closing. If you're a buyer, please read it, and show it to your inspector!