Matthew Rathbun this morning wrote an interesting post on Agent Genius discussing the level of responsibility buyers’ agents have (or ought to have) in disclosing material issues about a property to their buyers.
Laws vary considerably from state to state. According to Matthew, sellers are not required to make any disclosures in Virginia. That’s completely different than here in Arizona – at least when the AAR Purchase Contract is used – and sellers are required to complete a six-page disclosure statement about their home.
As for the buyers’ agents … Matthew uses what seems to be a fairly obvious example, the presence of mold on the exterior of the walls.
You don’t need to be an expert in mold to be able to point out that there’s some sort of issue going on in the photo to the left. But it’s well beyond the scope of my training and licensing to be able to tell you the extent of the issue and what exactly needs to be done in terms of remediation. There are mold experts – people specifically trained in this field – who can help with that type of item.
Experience allows me to point out various items as they come up, whether they be some of the more obvious issues such as the mold above or things to consider from a resale standpoint (which comes up more often in new builds than anywhere else.)
But experience still does not make me a licensed home inspector. I will not be checking all of the plumbing fixtures, running the dishwasher, checking the oven or looking in the attic for insulation – that’s for a home inspector to do. I’m not walking the perimeter of the property looking for termite tubes – that’s for a termite inspector to do.
And at the end of the day, responsibility for due diligence in Arizona falls on the shoulders of the buyer. The AAR contract has a pair of clauses that specifically hold harmless the brokers in the event something is discovered after the fact that could have been learned through the use of professional, licensed, qualified inspectors.[tags]Phoenix real estate, disclosure, agency[/tags]