It never fails. As soon as the For Sale sign goes in the ground in front of my residential listing I hear from the local busybody about the neighborhood wacko. This is exactly the information I don’t want to know. Disclosure laws dictate that every material fact be passed on to buyers. Having been the victim of not enough information, I agree that consumers must be protected. But snitches are the bane of my career!
I’m holding a Broker Open House. The meddlesome lady-next-door wanders in and gleefully states, “Did you hear about the drive by shooting last night? The house across the street is full of a bunch of gang bangers.” This is something the seller failed to mention. But since it was brought to my attention and confirmed by local new stations I can’t plead ignorance. Still I hate Ms. Meddle for bringing it to my attention.
I visit another agent’s Broker Open House. He tells me that the guy next door howls at the moon, loudly. I know about the howler. He used to live in my neighborhood. Yep, full moon- loud howling. Actually, the moon didn’t even have to be full. I pity the poor agent.
What would happen if a seller or agent failed to disclose these items? We might be drawn and quartered, flocked with feathers, ferried out to the buoy and fed to great whites. We might be bullied into surfing Mavericks. Horror of all horrors, we might be forced to give a public speech in front of a large audience that doesn’t like the project we were proposing.
Or we might get sued.
I had a listing, very popular west side Santa Cruz location near the lighthouse. First open house for the public in walks the next door neighbor and says, “Too bad about old Hank. Died falling down the stairway. Don’t know if he was pushed, had a heart attack or what. Has a son with a loose screw. Son still lives around here, pissed that he didn’t inherit the house.”
Great I think, disinherited, crazy, angry son who lives close by. My favorite kind of relative.
I recently put a house in escrow. It was bank owned. Of course the bank knows nothing. Disclosure rules don’t apply to them. During our due diligence period we discovered that the former owner, now a tenant next door, is on Megan’s Law Database as a registered sex offender. My clients have three kids. Duh. Cancel escrow. Many escrows later the bank sold the property at a substantially discounted price to an investor. Poor sucker.
My current dilemma: New listing. A near by neighbor raced over as soon as the sign was placed, “Yeah, too bad about Fred. I shouldn’t say anything, but he’s a wacko!”