We REALTORS have MANY “opportunities” to inadvertently mislead, omit, err, goof, or fail to honestly disclose as we list and sell real property.
Our clients rely on US to tell the truth and to advise them from a position of KNOWLEDGE so they can act upon their decisions with confidence.
Unfortunately, not all “Professionals” have a commitment to being sure that what they represent is true. Often, information on a property listing is “guestimated” or acquired 2nd (or 3rd) hand from their clients . . . with little effort made to verify accuracy/truth.
The Buyer Representatives must always assume “Guilty until proven innocent” (Inaccurate until proven accurate) and do as much diligence necessary to verify.
Through the years, I’ve witnessed some real doozies:
- Quoted square Footage 10% less than actual
- Quoted acreage as much as 25% less than actual
- Misreporting of school zones
- Listed on “Sewer” but really on septic (a failing system at that)
- “10 minutes to town” – If you happen to own a helicopter
- “Private, Serene Yard” – until the train passes through the shielded easement behind the privacy fence
- “NEW ROOF, NEW HVAC, NEW WATER HEATER” – A quick check of the manufacture dates reveals the units are very clean 5 year old machines.
- “Termite Contract” in place . . . but mysteriously doesn’t exist when the inspector finds termites
I’m sure I have only touched the tip of this ice-berg.
All of this begs the question:
“Whose responsibility is it to VERIFY all of this information?”
If we REALTORS have to do this with EVERY client and EVERY transaction, when will we have time to do all of the other things we must do?
Given the faith our clients bestow in our advice and counsel, I believe there’s no justification whatsoever for failing to verify all information that has been disclosed by the Seller (and channeled through the Listing agent).
Here in Tennessee, we even have a nifty “Cheat Sheet” known as a “Disclaimer Notice” which lists every conceivable issue that might be of concern to ANY Home Buyer and advises that Buyer to “satisfy” himself as to the condition of ALL of them PRIOR to closing (and mostly prior to releasing the Inspection Contingency).
Sure! this notice lays the burden on the Buyer, but whose FAULT will it be if something critical slips through the cracks?
It’ll be the Buyer’s Representative who bears the ultimate responsibility . . . so . . .
Trust . . . but VERIFY!
PS – If you’re in Middle TN on October 9, we’re going to have a Mastermind/Story-telling session all about this stuff.
We’ll talk about Property Condition and disclosure issues and how to handle them.
We begin at 10 AM, and you’re welcome to join the circle.