Unfortunately, some sellers do misrepresent or "under-represent" property defects on their real estate condition report. And it happens more often than we'd like to see. Based on our experience, failures to disclose are most likely to happen with For Sale By Owner and Limited Service listings.
One fairly common omission is a seller's failure to disclose previous water intrusions. We know this because some water problems can be easy to detect. Mildew, water stains, soft wood, and elevated moisture readings are all signs of previous problems. When a seller does fail to disclose a water issue, that's a tip-off to be on the look out for other issues, too.
How to protect yourself from sellers who under-represent
One way you can protect yourself is to treat each showing as an opportunity to visually inspect the home. In other words, be on the look-out for defects and signs of deferred maintenance when you tour each property. When you do fall in love with a home, taking this approach will help you do so with your eyes wide open.
Another way you can protect yourself is to hire a reputable buyer agent. A conscientious buyer agent will help you view each property with a discerning eye, and she'll help you identify issues before you write your offer. You'll feel more confident about your decision to write when you have a good buyer agent by your side.
Last, we recommend you write a home inspection contingency into your offer. Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions of your life, so don't just hire an inspector based on price. Hire an inspector with a reputation for being thorough and knowledgeable. Choosing the right inspector will give you peace of mind that you'll be happy in your new home for many years to come.
Remember, we attend your home inspection with you, so we have the information we need to advocate for you when defects are found by your inspector. For more information on our buyer representation services, please reach out to one of our full-service real estate agents.
This article is published courtesy of: Dan Miller, REALTOR Mad City Dream Homes & RE/MAX Preferred