Is there anything I can do to ensure complete disclosure from the sellers on the house I may buy?

Is there rotting wood under the carpet in the living room that’s hidden for a reason? Has the basement never flooded, even during heavy thunderstorms? Every buyer has those lingering questions in the back of their head when looking at potential houses, regardless of how descriptive the initial disclosures appear to be.

Disclosure laws vary depending on whether the property is bank owned (REO), whether it’s for sale by owner (FSBO), or whether an agent is involved or not. Most buyers don’t know they have access to a CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) that shows

Most buyers don’t know they have access to a CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange) that shows the type of insurance policy, dates of insurance claims, insurance companies that were involved, and cause of claim (flood, fire, tornado, etc).

This is the CARFAX report of the real estate market. The report will also show other losses like vandalism, theft, and dog bites. Only current homeowners can order this report and it covers a 5-year history.

This report is important to a buyer for a couple reasons. The first reason is it’s important to know if there were previous problems to ensure they were fixed appropriately. Another reason this is important is because if there were previous claims YOUR insurance could be higher as well.

Here is how to request a CLUE report when putting a contract on a house: 1) ask the seller or their agent to order the report 2) ensure the address is correct and the seller’s information is correct 3) place a contingency in the contract dependent on viewing the CLUE report (report only costs $15-$20 depending on where in St. Louis the real estate is located).

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