The AZ Republic today reports a story about a buyer who is suing the seller of a home in Arcadia and the seller’s real estate agent for failure to disclose that a neighbor was a nuisance. Apparently the neighbor was known for tirades against the seller and other neighbors, shouting profanities and infringing on neighbor’s properties. The seller did not disclose this in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. While it may or may not have been required of the seller to disclose such issues with the property, it certainly could be what is called a “material fact” related to the property that would impact the buyer’s decision of whether or not to purchase the property. The verdict isn’t in but it seems the buyer may have a valid case.
So what’s a seller to do? One key rule when selling a property is “when in doubt, disclose.” Sellers are anxious in our market to get their homes sold and the temptation to not disclose a fact of the property is great. However, to not disclose could be a serious issue ending, as in this case, a lawsuit. So “when in doubt, disclose” is an excellent rule for the seller to follow. Don’t risk serious financial consequences just to get the deal done. Honesty is always the best policy. There’s a reason the Residential Purchase Contract is 9 pages long and the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement covers practically all issues of material fact. That reason is to protect all parties in the transaction. So, protect yourself, regardless of which side of the transaction you are on. Sellers should disclose and buyers should investigate all matters that may be of concern to them.