Protect Yourself By Making Disclosures
When it comes to disclosures it’s hard to know how far to go. Yes, our Beverly Hills Real Estate Agents suggest you disclose when in doubt. When explaining conditions, remind yourself that “less is more”. Do you remember someone telling you if you are ever required to do a deposition, to answer “that question” and then stop?
Additionally, our Beverly Hills Realtors recommend that you don’t add extra words of explanation, you may only be opening yourself up to 10 more questions and a direction that was never intended.
Let’s say the question is “Are there defects to walkways and sidewalks? Please explain”. It would be safe and advisable to point out the sidewalk that is raised and that walkway and garden walk that has cracks saying “cracks are noted in the following areas”.
Our Beverly Hills Listing Agents say to go further by explaining that the cracks were caused by a tree is not smart because you are marking an assumption, which may be proven wrong.
To disclose that during heavy rains water penetrates the garage is advisable, but to say that the water is coming from a poorly graded driveway may not be entirely correct. What if water is also coming from a neighboring property or from a slab that was not property waterproofed? Let’s suppose you disclose a roof leak near the chimney.
Are you sure that is where the leak is or is the water simply coming in from there? Let’s suppose you believe the problem is caused by a chimney flashing. Are you sure that is the cause? Most Beverly Hills Listing Agents will tell you less is more and that you should make no assumptions. Let’s suppose you fixed the leak and since the repair, it has not rained. Is it fixed?
The answer is you don’t know. A handful of Beverly Hills Real Estate Agents would highly recommend that you say there was a roof leak with the water dripping in near the chimney, we do not know where the leak originated from.
In October 2016 we hired XYZ Roofing Company to repair the leak, work order notice is attached. XYZ Roofing Company could not guarantee that their repairs would survive future rains. We have had only minor rains since and have not noticed any leaks since. Room was entirely painted in November 2016.
Another example is a disclosure saying there is an airport within a mile. This is fine. But now, your neighbor reveals that you complained previously that your plants kept dying and your garden furniture showed traces of jet fuel from presumably jets passing overhead.
The jets causing the problem is an assumption, but the fact that your plants and furniture continued to show traces of a sticky oily substance is a fact, and that should be disclosed.
Our Beverly Hills Realtors say that you should consider the question, “Have you had any plumbing problems?” Let’s assume you have needed to employ a rooter service on several recent occasions to clear a blockage. It is reasonable to say just that. We would not explain that the reason was a diaper, or even tree roots. Are you absolutely sure what caused the problems?
Maybe these things simply aggravated a much more extensive problem. Let’s now suppose the new buyer speaks either with a neighbor or a plumber who proves that you received an estimate to replace the entire sewer line and you chose instead only to do a minimum maintenance. What if a lawyer could prove you knew the entire sewer needed replacement?
If you got an estimate to replace the sewer and had knowledge that it needed replacement, our Beverly Hills Real Estate Agents suggest you disclose that and provide the estimate you received. You might state it as such. “In the past 18 months I cleared the sewer line 4 times, currently it appears fine.
This sewer is old and could need replacement at any time. Enclosed is an estimate we received in December 2016”. With this disclosure, you have made it clear to the new buyer.
Take the disclosure process seriously, but don’t freak out. If you’ve left a trail by getting estimates and making comments to a neighbor who could testify to these statements, cover yourself by making a full disclosure.
For comments, questions, or information, call Ron Wynn at (310) 963-9944 or email: Ron@RonWynn.com