Property disclosures are an important piece of the overall property acquisition process. But beware! Sales agents should not fill out any sellers’ home disclosures lest the agent is the seller or a party to the operation. Still that doesn’t deter some credulous agents from completing disclosures on behalf of their clients and opening themselves up to detrimental lawsuits. It is because of lawsuits, in fact, that the creation of the disclosure forms are suggested to start with. The safest way is to have a qualified home inspector jot a review with figures and facts.
Material facts are interesting to understand and are commonly referred to as anything that would affect the buyer’s decision to acquire a given property, or alter the price and terms the buyer offers. In short terms: if you have knowledge about a defect, it should be disclosed. If the sale of the property is due to a recent death, it should be mentioned. Some folks are keen to this issue particularly if a violent death took place. Maybe AIDS related issues can be omitted to avoid privacy discriminatory issues, as an exception. A lawsuit can follow the agent if they were aware of the fact but decided to omit it. Remember: Neighbors can fill in the newcomer of this and many other facts: Is the property under the flight plan of the local airport?
Caveat Emptor besto pretium est inxpectrix“Buyer be ware, best to hire a professional inspector.”
Home Condition and Repair Concerns
In most cases, any identified defect in the structure needs to be disclosed as a Material Facts item. Clearly, a prospective buyer would either change their mind or their primary offer if they find out about a complication with a underground water cistern and/or the foundation, roof etc. Electrical issues are a considerable concern in old houses: i.e. Out of code and aged conductors, faulty switches and receptacles to mention a few.
Some items other inspectors omit…
- Noise pollution
- Flood areas
- Earthquake damage
- Termite damage
Rule of thumb: If you’re wondering whether you should reveal a fact or disclose a material fact to avoid potential legal matters later on, just do it. For agents and brokers who want to succeed without lags, it’s a lot easier to keep the best interests of your buyers at the top of your list.