Real estate agents are required to disclose a home’s material defects to buyers before selling a home. But agents can’t disclose what they don’t know. Enter the simple safety check.

Despite mandatory disclosures and even a thorough home inspection, sometimes important safety issues fail to surface prior to the sale, according to an article published on Boston.com. If that happens, buyers might be more than unhappy after the sale.

“…due to the Breach of Duty regulations, a real estate agent can be at risk of a lawsuit if a home buyer finds problems with the house that were not disclosed during negotiations,” according to an article on RISMedia.com.

Safety check before selling a home

One of the ways in which agents can avoid problems and reduce the risk of a lawsuit is by doing a thorough home safety check, inside and outside the property. The check not only helps ensure the home meets basic safety parameters before the sale but also helps make the home free of hazards for showings, inspections and more.

Home safety checklist: Pools, spas, lawns

Pools can increase a home’s value but decrease its safety. The CDC reports drownings are the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages one to four years. But there are ways to make a pool safer.

  • Agents and sellers should make sure pools and spas have drain grates or covers that meet safety standards. This includes installing drain covers that are compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act), when needed.
  • Make sure to safely store hazardous pool chemicals.

Lawns surrounding homes might look beautifully manicured but still harbor potential safety hazards.

  • Remove items from the lawn, including pet feces and hard-to-see hazards, such as rocks or glass.
  • Check for and remove poisonous plants.
  • Make sure to safely store weed killers with hazardous chemicals, so that children and visitors can’t get easy access.

Home safety checklist: Fire safety

Home fires can cause costly damage, not to mention the risk to lives of residents. Checking for simple fire hazards can reduce the risk of being held responsible later if a fire would occur.

  • Check the home for smoke detectors and have functioning detectors installed.
  • Look for other fire hazards including frayed cords, damaged plugs and appliances and overloaded outlets and circuits, according to ConsumerSafety.org.
  • Make sure there’s a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Agents who do home safety checks might identify and address issues that could prevent accidents before and after selling the home. And, according to RISMedia, these simple measures could prevent negligence lawsuits.