This nightmare is one that is being seen more and more. A seller is in the process of listing their home and the sales representative asks if there is anything that needs to be disclosed to potential buyers that they are aware of. In real estate speak this is a material latent defect – a flaw that can not be seen by an average buyer but would effect the sale or sales price for the home.
The other type of defect is known as a material patent defect, this is one that is obvious to all, such as a crack in the driveway or a hole in a wall. This does not need to be disclosed as it is obvious to all that it exists and is present.
When this comes into play is when, after closing and moving in, the new owner discovers this defect either by investigation, something going wrong or even a neighbour asking if they knew. A great example of this is a fire. If a fire occurred and repairs were made so that there were no signs of the damage, a normal person would not have known of this. A neighbour discloses this to the new buyer. Now what?
In a case like this, legal advice is always recommended. Courts have ruled in favour of the new buyer and have levied damages not only against the seller but also their agent, as the real estate boards hold the sales representatives to a higher standard around knowing all the facts about the property they are selling, whether they were aware of them or not.
A personal example within the last month, involves an agent giving out incorrect and misleading information about a building repair. The owner of the unit, a condo, had been informed by the condo corporation that a repair had to be undertaken at the owner’s expense by a certain date.
The agent was informing visitors during his open house that in fact the condo corporation was responsible for the cost of the repair. This repair was going to cost the owner somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. This could be a very costly mistake for the seller and the agent.
Make sure you have an agent who knows everything there is to know about a property before you buy. It takes a few phone calls and some leg work, but they are being paid for this service. If you are looking for an agent that goes beyond the norm and provides you the most information in order for you to make a knowledgable decision in buying or selling your home, feel free to give me a call or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org