Do I need to disclose that?
Do you know which disclosures are recommended when selling your real estate property?
So the story begins………..
You have decided to sell, and you invite me over to discuss what needs to be done, consult on the price and find out the current market conditions. As in almost all consultations, we end up at the good ‘ole kitchen table to have a chat. We go over the market, the paperwork, the timeline, etc. I do ask lots of questions (just ask my kids) and tonight wasn’t any different. So I ask “Is there anything else about your property I should be aware of that we haven’t already discussed”? … and BINGO!…there it is – a myriad of different answers from many different sellers regarding defects.
OK, so what needs to be disclosed? Well, it depends on which Realtor® you ask. There are a tremendous amount of different answers and opinions. Here is mine.
The defects (the property disclosures) are going to be either physical or psychological defects.
There are two types of physical defects – patent or latent.
A patent defect is one that is easily observed during a showing, or when a home inspector inspects the home. An example would be a hole in the wall, or a broken railing, or even a broken window. In this case, it’s buyer beware (Caveat Emptor) and the seller has no obligation to disclose these defects.
A latent defect, on the other hand, is hidden or not easily observed when viewing the house or having a home inspector inspect the home. The law clearly states that if a seller is aware of a defect that renders the property uninhabitable, dangerous or unfit for the buyer’s intended purpose, then it must be disclosed. A true latent defect is one that was not known to either the seller or the buyer at the time of sale. Liability arises when a latent defect renders the premises uninhabitable or dangerous and it can be proven that the seller was aware of the defect and didn’t disclose it. Some examples would be leaks in the basement in the spring, grow-op operations, electrical issues, no permits that were required for renovations, and much more.
A psychological defect is a touchy subject. Remember, the law states the defect needs to make the property uninhabitable. Does a suicide, a murder or a haunted house make it uninhabitable? My suggestion would be to disclose it, so it doesn’t become a potential lawsuit in the future. Because..trust me…the new buyers will talk to the neighbours. However, as a Realtor®, it is my duty to follow the lawful instructions of you, the seller client. If you decide not to disclose a psychological defect, then it won’t be disclosed, unless I am asked. I am obligated to tell the truth, when asked by a buyer or a buyer’s representative. So, my suggestion is to disclose everything you are aware of, so it doesn’t become a legal issue after closing.
Read the article about suicide written by Bob Aaron here: http://www.aaron.ca/columns/2009-01-17.htm
Read the article about buyers purchasing next to a nude beach by Mark Weisleder here: https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2009/05/22/the_bare_facts_on_full_disclosure.html
Disclaimer: This article is for general reading purposes only. Consult with your Realtor® or lawyer for your unique situation.
If you would like to have a consultation at your “good ‘ole kitchen table” with me to discuss property disclosures, just send me a text, or call me @ 613-315-5966
Looking to purchase a rural home close to the city or town? Read some helpful hints here: buying-a-rural-property-in-lanark-county