I’ve written about this topic of full disclosure before, but I thought it was worth talking about again. Our current Barrie Real Estate market is moving very fast. With the shrinking supply of listings comes an increased urgency on the part of Buyers to snap up what they can. Sometimes this means that they throw caution to the wind and go after a house with an aggressive offer that has no conditions. There are two risks with that approach. One, you better be really sure that you will be approved for financing, if you need it. Second, you better be ready to deal with whatever issues come with the house that may (or may not) have been discovered in a home inspection.
In a regular transaction, the Buyer is given time to secure financing and perform a home inspection. If there is an issue with the home that wasn’t readily discovered in the general course of viewing the property once or twice, then this issue can be discussed and resolved to some extend following an inspector’s report. If a Buyer chooses NOT to do an inspection, are they really on the hook for absolutely everything that might be wrong with the house? Well, I guess that depends on what the issues are.
There are things known, in the real estate and legal worlds, as ‘latent’ defects. According to a recent article that I read written by Toronto lawyer, Martin Rumack, “These latent defects cover two categories: defects that render the property unfit for habitation; and defects that make the property inherently dangerous.” What the heck does that mean and what are home owners responsible to tell potential Buyers? I’m so glad you asked!
Sellers can’t be expected to know what will bother potential Buyers, but using a little bit of common sense can help with most of these. And if you are a Seller and aren’t sure if something about your house will affect the sale, check with your REALTOR or lawyer.
Some examples of issues that should be disclosed to potential Buyers are things like proximity to a dump, wind turbines, or a nude beach, history of radioactivity with neighbouring homes, ghosts or ghost-like incidents in or around the home, and a suicide or violent death in the home. The prior existence of mould, flooding, grow op or other unlawful activity, even if totally remediated and no longer an issue, should also be disclosed. The general rule of thumb is that if you, as the Seller and current home owner, know of an issue that could be a financial or emotional hardship for a new Buyer, it’s the Seller’s responsibility to disclose it. The Buyer has a duty to investigate all aspects of a home they are interested in, but there are instances where a Seller could be held legally responsible if they do not disclose what they know.
This is not a black & white topic and should be fully discussed with your Real Estate Sales Representative or lawyer, but it’s always better to be safe then sorry!
If you have any questions about a Seller’s responsibility when it comes to full disclosure of latent defects, we love to find the answers for you. You can reach John Weber at John@JohnWeberTeam.com or by cell at 705-727-6111. You can reach Christie Bond at Christie@JohnWeberTeam.com or by cell at 705-220-1152.