Bob Ratliff Blog: Water-Damage Disclosure Issues! When Does A Seller Need To Disclose?

Water-Damage Disclosure Issues! When Does A Seller Need To Disclose?

Water-Damage Disclosure Issues! When Does A Seller Need To Disclose?

Sellers must disclose anything that could affect the property’s value or desirability, water damage is usually visible but often times Sellers try to remedy the problem by covering/hiding the problem and don’t understand what the seller disclosure statement means when filling it out. Less than full disclosure can prove to be costly and often times a Buyer may not be able to get insurance. Determining insurability and the affordability of insurance early in a transaction will help eliminate a delay in selling the property to an otherwise qualified buyer.

What does water penetration mean as it is used in the Seller’s Disclosure Notice?
Water penetration typically refers to items related to the structure, such as ceilings, wall, roofs, foundations, and windows. The source of the water is not the determinative factor when ascertaining whether water penetration has occurred. Water Penetration is the entering of water in a place it should not otherwise be by piercing or diffusing through something.

Must a Seller disclose previous water penetration?
If the water penetration has been cured, there is no longer any water penetration. The Seller’s Disclosure Notice requires the Seller to disclose previous water penetration problems especially if an insurance claim has been filled. If water penetration has been cured but the water penetration caused an ensuing defect like a cracked slab the ensuing defect would need to be disclosed. Definition of cured has different meanings for buyers and sellers. We advise to disclose, disclose, disclose.

( Items concerning previous repairs in the TAR Seller’s Disclosure Notice requires to be disclosed are): 

Previous Fires
Previous Flooding
Previous Structural
Previous Termite
Previous Environmental
Added recently water penetration

If a Seller filed an insurance claim for water damage in the last few years, must he/she disclose this fact to the buyer?
Considering that Insurance companies have been increasingly more selective in determining which properties the companies will insure. A Buyer or Seller may find it difficult to obtain affordable insurance for the property in light of a previous water claim. This is a factual issue that is specific to each property. Seller who filed such an insurance claim in the recent past may find it beneficial to determine if insurance for the property is generally available and affordable. The Seller should disclose the fact that the seller filed a previous insurance claim for water damage in order to encourage the Buyer to determine early in the transaction if the Buyer can obtain insurance.

Buyers in Texas will be able to evaluate the insurability of the home and the affordability of the insurance within the Buyer’s Option Period.

Disclose – Disclose – Disclose

Helping our Sellers to understand the importance of Disclosure is just one of many services I provide in our Austin Northwest Market. If you or someone you know is considering real estate in Austin TX area I would welcome the opportunity to consult with you or them about the many real estate options found in our great city and surrounding areas. 

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Comment balloon 11 commentsBob Ratliff • March 05 2013 05:49AM


Hi Bob -

sellers - when in doubt, disclose,

sellers - if you were the buyer what do you now know about your house you would like to have been disclosed?

Disclose Disclose Disclose


Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 over 7 years ago

It's the same here in Colorado. If you know it...disclose it. Have a wonderful day, Bob.

Posted by Debbie Laity, Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO (Cedaredge Land Company) over 7 years ago

Great post, Bob! I am suggesting this for a feature and reblogging!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 7 years ago

Michael, yes Buyers need to know and Seller need to protect themselves


Debbie, I sure will have a wonderful day and I hope you do the same

Barbara Jo, thanks for you comment and please re-blog it give me points and I love points..

Posted by Bob Ratliff, "Sold with Bob" (Robert Ratliff Realty) over 7 years ago

Good Morning Bob,

Great tips for sellers, it's always better to have a full understanding of the state's requirements before complete the disclosure forms.

Posted by Larry Atkins (State Wide Realty Co.) over 7 years ago

You said it all ......... Disclose... Disclose... Disclose!


Posted by John McCormack, CRS, Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me! (Albuquerque Homes Realty) over 7 years ago

Larry, I guess every state is different but diclosure protects everyone...

John, Thanks for dropping by to comment, it's very much appreciated

Posted by Bob Ratliff, "Sold with Bob" (Robert Ratliff Realty) over 7 years ago

I tell my sellers to disclose, disclose, disclose to be on the safe side. Don't hold back.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) over 7 years ago

Great information, Bob Ratliff, for the Austin Texas real estate market.  Wishing you well from Minnesota!

Posted by Marshall Enterprises, Antiques, Lawn Care, and Trashouts (Marshall Enterprises ) over 7 years ago

Here, we use C.A.R. forms: Seller Property Questionnaire and TDS for seller to disclosure all material known facts about the property. The explanation should be clear, complete, and coherent. Regardless of disclosures, buyers have to conduct a careful inspection of the property. 

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) almost 3 years ago

I just went through a horrible process. I found a home I absolutely loved and made an offer on it. I immediately received the sellers disclosure and everything was perfect; no water damage. My boyfriend and I have walked away from so many home we loved because we decided early in that we wouldn’t purchase a home with any previous water/flooding/leaking issues. After an arduous and very sketchy negotiation process, we moved forward and hired an inspector. The day before the inspection, we found out that there had been an insurance claim for.......water damage. Sure enough, the inspection found the damage and the leak. We now want the sellers to reimburse us for the inspection fee because they failed to disclose that there was any previous damage which resulted in a huge waste of our time and money. Are we within our rights to require them to pay for the inspection?

Posted by Deyshia Johnson about 1 year ago