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Say What, Mr. Listing Agent?

Say What, Mr. Listing Agent?
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This week, I read one of the more remarkable sentences that I’ve seen in a near-decade in real estate.

Setting the scenario, buyers make an offer on a property. When they receive the insurance claims report (a.k.a. the CLUE report), they learn there once had been a rather large water leak coming from the refrigerator water line and, while it had been professionally repaired and remediated, it was enough to make the buyers uncomfortable.

(Adding to their angst was the difference in real estate law between their home state and Arizona; unlike where they come from, disclosures are not part of the listing and sellers only need to provide the disclosures after a property is under contract.)

In any event, here is what the response was from the listing agent …

“I personally would think that they would appreciate the fact that it was professionally and extensively repaired. Many people would have passed it by and never disclosed the issue. (Emphasis added)

Seriously?

Keeping in mind I’m not an attorney, I feel fairly confident to say there’s a whole truckload of liability waiting not only for a seller but also a listing agent who doesn’t disclose mold remediation in a property. The idea that the listing agent thinks the sellers should receive plaudits simply for obeying Arizona statute is disturbing to say the least.

One quirk with Arizona’s property disclosures is all the questions are worded “are you aware of”; if a seller isn’t aware, they simply can say no.

However, they are not permitted to willingly and knowingly not disclose what they know about a property. In other words, you either are aware or you’re not – you don’t get to choose.

There’s a reason Arizona has a 10-day inspection period and this, to a large degree, is it.

Get your own inspections. Use your own experts. Trust your own nose if you happen to sense an odd odor in a property. Because you never know when you’ll find a seller whose willing to roll the dice on not getting sued.

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