Seller sets seeds for future lawsuit
Got a call the other day from a fellow Realtor®. He presented to me a scenario with all the aspects of a future lawsuit.
His broker, knowing I have been a real estate expert witness in numerous lawsuits, suggested he get my advice about a property this agent wanted to list. The home has an “in-law,” built without permits, unknown to the city, and the unit is rented to a tenant with a written lease.
The question was how I would handle disclosures to prospective buyers. I told him my concerns:
I told the agent that detailed disclosures should be provided to the buyer regarding the above. He explained that he had covered most of my points with the seller, who refused to allow the necessary disclosures. The seller was willing to make a simple statement that there was an in-law done without permit, but he felt saying any more would “scare buyers away.”
His broker had asked the agent to call me because he, the broker, does not take listings without proper disclosures. After our conversation, the agent and I agreed that it would be a good idea for him to call the seller again and, based upon my substantiation of his position, try to convince him that full disclosure was required by law and in his best interests.
The seller reiterated he would not allow full disclosure and would find an agent to do it his way. There is no doubt that agent will be found. This is exactly the type of case I am often called to give my opinion on as a real estate expert witness. That could be years from now. Meanwhile, let the buyer beware.