Jul 17 2015 14429 1

Dated: July 18 2015

Views: 162

Disclosure is always a touchy subject in Real Estate for both the buyer and the seller.  Seller wants to disclose as little as possible, buyer wants seller to disclose EVERYTHING.  So what is right?  Well here at Keller Williams one of our core principals is that we always seek to do "The Right Thing".  Unfortunately "The Right Thing" in one persons mind can be totally different in another's.  So lets look at what is legally required of the seller.  The law requires the seller to disclose "all known material defects" to the property.  For the agent, we must disclose those as well, even if the seller asks us not to do so.  For agents is goes a step further and says that the agent is required to disclose material defects that they "should have known" as a Real Estate Professional.  Your agent should be able to recognize most material defects on a property and inform the seller of the need to disclose.  The best rule of thumb, which has guided my career as an agent for the last 22 + years is "When in Doubt, Disclose" and "Disclose Early and Often".

What happens if I do not disclose properly?  Well, it would seem that the stakes have just gotten much higher.  Traditionally, we always assumed you would be liable civilly, but recently a high profile case in our area may signal a shot across the bow from the federal government.  We have a couple from Springhill, Fl who sold their home in the last couple years.  Their home had been damaged by a sink hole.  They received an insurance payout for this damage but still proceeded to sell the home and failed to disclose this history to buyers going so far as to lie on the seller's real property disclosure form.  The federal government has not jumped in to prosecute this couple for wire fraud and others.  This couple faces significant time in the federal penitentiary .  This is very much unprecedented for the federal government to step into a case like this.  The thinking is that the federal government is not only seeking to protect individuals but also the banks.  

My advice to everyone is to not risk this kind of trouble.  If you do not mind the moral hazard you should at least head the warning the government is putting out there.  They are serious about this and you should be too.  Disclose, disclose, disclose.

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