In reality they are to indicate what items have been completed recently, what problems they have had. Items repaired by insurance. Lawsuits. All kinds of good stuff. It's important as a buyer to know as much as possible about the home they are buying. Who better to tell than the seller, right?
When I list a home for sale I usually wait until we get an offer in and then sit with the sellers while they complete the disclosures. If they have a question, I'm right there to make sure they complete the legal documents in their entirety. The longest I sat with a seller on this was 4 hours! He had a lot to write down.
I wait as things may have changed from list date to contract date and these disclosures should be as accurate as possible.
I always tell them 'Disclose, disclose, disclose'. Never hide anything as it may bite you in the butt later on.....when you least expect it!
Now, the hardest part is when I'm representing a buyer. We get a whole different type of disclosure packet from every different type of seller working with all kinds of agents.
You can definitely tell if the seller read them, asked questions about how to complete them, cared if they were accurate or not.....and if the agent just highlighted the spots for initials and signatures and dumped them at the sellers door. Oh, yeah, you can tell.
But what do you do in that instance? You can go back and forth and continue to ask questions of seller. Yes you can. That's your right as a buyer. Any questions you have, you can ask.
Keep that in mind when selling or buying a house. Disclosure correctly and eliminate future problems. Ask questions to avoid future lack of knowledge.