Think You’re Clever, Mr. Flipper, For Not Providing a Disclosure Statement

It’s not often that an idea developed after the second beer of happy hour stands up just as well in the light of day, but this is one of those situations.

We were discussing the idea of the Sellers Property Disclosure Statement and the generally automatic verbiage in investor listings that the SPDS will not be provided because the owner never lived in the property. Not that living in the property has the slightest thing to do with the SPDS, but that’s a slightly different conversation.

In any event, when a buyer adds the language “buyer understands no SPDS will be provided”, what are they really waiving?

(Disclaimer alert: I’m not a lawyer, not even after my second hefeweisen at Rock Bottom.)

When you think about it, it turns out the buyer’s not waiving a great deal. There’s absolutely nothing in the Arizona disclosure statutes that requires a seller to use the Arizona Association of REALTORS’ disclosure statement. That’s more of an agent thing because a wide variety of topics are covered through the six pages of the form.

However, form or no form, the seller is required to disclose anything that may be of material importance to the buyer or language really damn close to that. So if a seller has purchased a house and dropped five figures into its rehab, it would be difficult for the seller to later say that a) they were unaware of the entire consisting solely of black mold courtesy of a plumbing leak and/or b) it doesn’t matter that there was a wall made totally of black mold because the buyer said they weren’t requiring the seller to fill out the AAR form.

In essence, the seller (and more often than not the seller’s agent) thinks he or she is being clever in dodging the touchy subject of disclosure when in fact all the seller is doing is taking a form that will help them cover their own tuchas and throwing it into a trash heap.

Personally, I’m not a fan of waiving the SPDS but in a market where a buyer reasonably can ask a seller to sit and bark like a dog to have their offer accepted, it’s not the kind of thing that is worth losing a house over. Especially when there’s a decent chance the buyer can go back and sue the seller later. (Unless it’s a bank, then all the contract language is a bit different and really does interfere with the state’s disclosure statutes.)

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Two other quick notes for today …

Real estate’s the side show more often than not, but it’s always entertaining reading Elizabeth Newlin’s Real Estate Tangent if only to see women complain that some pant sizes list actual waist sizes in inches rather than using the more pleasing size numbers. Always a good time.

Trulia stock came to the market and tumbled a dollar today. And that was before the good folks at the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS decided to pull the plug on the automated syndication of listings to Zillow, Trulia, HotPads and Yahoo Real Estate. Just one MLS but it’s always just one until soon it’s a bunch.

Bold prediction … pulling listings from Zillow and Trulia will have exactly ZERO impact on the Knoxville real estate market. Sales will take place at the same pace, for the same prices and in the same amount of time post-syndication as they have pre-syndication. The syndicators are little more than snake oil salesmen.

Which reminds me of the final note … if you have a chance, pick up a copy of Charlatan. Hard not to think the flim-flam men and women of days past simply moved online and became social media or online listing syndication experts. (Buy a copy using that link and I think I make like 3 cents or so.)

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

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