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Don’t forget the Seller Disclosure Declaration

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Anyone who’s sold a house in Quebec will already know that a seller’s declaration is one of the most important legal documents involved in a real estate transaction. Here are the basics components of a seller’s declaration:

What is the Declaration by the Seller of the Immovable?

The Declarations by the seller of the immovable is a mandatory form that protects the interests of both the seller and the buyer against unexpected elements, defects, and annexes. It requires the seller to disclose all known information about the property before the act of sale, so that the potential buyer can make an informed decision based on all the details about the home.  In doing so, the seller also protects him or herself against legal recourse down the road. For example, if a seller omits a detail about a water leak in the basement, the buyer may bring charges months or years after the sale has been finalized. In some cases, the sale could even be annulled post-notarization because of an undisclosed detail.

What do you need to include in the document? 

Your broker will help you determine what you need to declare about your property.

The main sections of the declaration include the general information about the home (date of purchase, year of construction, etc), the infiltration, land/soil, basement, air quality, roof, plumbing, drainage, energy, heating and air con, pests, and existing inspection reports.

Each of these sections need to be filled out in good faith and to the best of your knowledge.

What if you omit a detail?

A hidden defect (a defect that isn’t immediately apparent to the naked eye, and that may even go unnoticed in an inspection, such as weak foundations) can be brought to court after the sale if it hasn’t been disclosed in the seller’s declaration. Sellers are protected if they can prove that they were unaware of the defect. To be safe, sellers can opt for hidden defect insurance, which protects them from legal claims is made regarding a hidden defect, by providing you with the fees necessary to assert your rights in the transaction. This could be an interesting option for sellers of older homes, where hidden defects are more common.

Do you need to fill out a declaration if you’re selling on your own?

Yes. Sellers are legally bound to producing a declaration regardless of whether they sell with a broker or on their own.

 

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