Posted By Alan Donald @ Jul 15th 2013 1:23pm In: Sellers

White Lies Sellers Should Avoid Telling...

Real Estate, seller tips, home inspections, potential buyersMany states have mandatory "Seller Disclosure" laws to protect the public.

Some Sellers may be tempted to tell a few "white lies" when they want to sell their home - after all - how will the Buyers find out if any issues were fixed? Sellers may think no harm is done by omitting facts or "bending the truth". 

However, very few people will tolerate being lied to. Litigation often follows the failure to disclose a known material fact about the house... 

The fact is there are some issues that call for brutal honesty or they may come back to bite you later! As your REALTORS, we always recommend our Seller clients to tell nothing but the complete and unabridged truth - it's their safest course of action!

Here are a few common "white lies" that may get Sellers in trouble:

  1. "There has never been any damage from a disaster here" - previous damage from disasters can be fixed to the point where an untrained eye cannot see it. But home inspectors may be able to read telltale signs, and buyers can also buy a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) which can tell them if any claims have been filed to fix damages (like a "CarFax" for homes).
  2. "This home has XXX square feet more than the tax records indicate", or "This is a YYY acre lot". Unless the sellers have hired a professional appraiser/measurement professional who has measured their home and calculated the exact heated area, or a surveyor who has measured their lot, size discrepancies can be a common source for litigation.
  3. "The roof is new". Sellers often say this if they have  replaced the shingles within the last three years. Unless they have literally replaced the whole roof (including shingles, beams, trusses, sheathing and insulation) in the last year, they may be opening themselves to future litigation.
  4. "This is a very safe community - there is no crime here". The fact is that very few people are really aware of all the crime in their neighborhood (some may not have heard about all the car break-ins that happened last week in the next street, or the attempted rape that happened last month in the community park two blocks away). If buyers ask about safety and crime, it is best to tell them to go to the source (the local police station) to satisfy themselves.

Most Buyers understand that there are no "perfect" homes or neighborhoods. The older the home, the more likely it will have some defects (which the seller may or may not be willing to fix). They just want to know about everything that has happened and what steps were taken to correct the problem, and/or  know how much will it take them to fix the issue if it still exists.

Our advice - tell the truth and direct Buyers to official sources of information for questions that may become controversial later on...

Want to hire an experienced and effective REALTOR to help you sell your home? Call The Alan Donald Real Estate Team at 843-900-0155 or fill out this online form now!

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