When selling a home, the seller is obligated to provide a set of disclosures to the home buyer. The disclosures cover almost everything from home condition to local zoning compliance. Even common ownership community (condo/HOA) disclosures are incorporated into the home sale contract. However, buyers always have questions. Some questions are easily answered because they are about the physical property. However, some questions require a call to the county/city or the condo/HOA association for an answer. When the buyer or their agent poses a question that requires a call to the locality or condo/HOA association, whose responsibility is it to gather and provide those answers?
This is not a new issue, and buyer agents usually make the call themselves. But I recently received from a buyer agent asking about a condo listing I had. The agent asked specific questions about the possibility of the property being used as a rental. She asked also asked about general condo rules for rentals in the community. I told the buyer agent to call the condo association and ask them directly. Taken aback expecting an answer from me, she apologized saying she thought I was the listing agent. I confirmed that I was the listing agent and directed her to seek the answers directly from the condo association, because they would be from the source.
Some agents would have given her some information, whether it was accurate or not. To be honest, I did not know the answer, therefore I couldn’t provide her with the info. Even if I did know something about it, I still would have directed her to the condo association for the complete accurate answer.
Whose responsibility is it anyway?
Home buyers rely on the information when making buying decisions, and how much to offer. So, it goes without saying that home buyers want accurate information. That’s why most agree that it’s best practice to direct the buyer/agent to get answers from the source. This way they can make the best decision based on correct answers.
Whose Responsibility is it to verify information? Regardless of what information is provided (or not provided) on the sell disclosures, the home buyer should verify doing due diligence. The home buyer should confirm the accuracy of what is disclosed, as well as investigate any areas of concern. Although it’s easy to verify some information because of its public information availability, some information can only be obtained via a phone call or email to the locality where the house is located.
By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2023
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.