Ordinarily, anyone wishing to sell a home must disclose certain information about the general condition of the home when presenting it to potential buyers. This usually includes details about such things as the plumbing and the general condition of the roof and electrical wiring along with other things of this nature.
In some places, you may even have to disclose any known paranormal activity before you sell your home. Even if your home isn’t haunted by any of its former dwellers, one other thing you need to disclose when selling it is details about the internet situation.
It’s difficult to imagine life at home without the internet, especially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, a law in Washington state is taking effect that recognizes this. Home sellers in Washington will be obliged to disclose their internet provider on signed disclosure forms that also include information about plumbing, insulation, and structural concerns beginning of 2022.
We discuss the specifics of this new law below. We also explain why being forthcoming about internet details can be beneficial even if you’re not required to do so.
What the New Law Requires
The new Washington state law, which is now in effect, requires home sellers to give details about their internet service provider in disclosure forms. In addition to the new requirement, the state’s disclosure forms also need to include details about insulation, plumbing, structural defects, and any known details that could affect the home’s value.
The law does not require homeowners to give details about speed or anything more specific about their internet service or provider. In fact, the only thing a seller has to do is answer a question that asks if the home currently has internet service. There’s also a space below this question to write in the name of the internet service provider.
Responding to the Increased Reliance on Home Internet Service
Traditionally, not much attention has been given to whether or not a home has internet service, or the reliability of available connections. But this is a 21st century world where internet service is more often than not on par with other home essentials like plumbing, water, and electricity for homeowners.
Even before the pandemic, it was becoming increasingly common for many home-based activities to rely on an internet connection. Today, many homeowners and families are using the internet for work-related, educational purposes, and for their home entertainment such as streaming videos and music, playing online games and facetime with their love ones which makes knowing details about internet service even more important.
Simply not having a home internet connection or wireless internet service provider doesn’t necessarily mean a home won’t be appealing to potential buyers. However, the Washington state law does give potential buyers another valid reason to rescind a purchase agreement.
The updated paperwork required for the home-selling/buying process still gives a buyer the ability to back out of a home purchase within a three-day period after documents are signed. However, buyers have the option to waive this right.
Why Disclosing Internet Details Is a Good Idea (in General)
Even if you’re in a location where it’s not necessary to disclosure your internet situation, you may still wish to offer up such details. Doing so could even boost your potential to attract buyers. For instance, if your home has reliable internet service like Spectrum internet, letting potential buyers know this ahead of time could make your home more appealing – or allow for more room with negotiations.
Closing the ‘Internet Divide’
The use of digital technologies has become indispensable. Digital connectivity is what keeps individuals, governments, and companies connected during times of crisis, from natural catastrophes to pandemics. Despite this, half of the world’s population still lacks access to the internet, with the vast majority living in underdeveloped countries.
As mentioned above, home internet service is a top priority for many people today. The Federal Communications Commission estimates around 15 million or so Americans don’t have access to baseline broadband speeds. Other sources put this figure much higher. What’s been referred to as the “internet divide” tends to be especially noticeable in economically impoverished and rural communities.