An ambiguous headline?
It is meant to be in a way.
I want to grab your attention – as all headlines are meant to – because this is an important subject.
Does it mean – don’t sell? No! Don’t Buy? No!
What I want to discuss is when you sell your own home or use an agent, or you are buying, don’t simply take someone’s word at face value.
It could cost you.
A little due diligence can go a looooong way!
The reason I want to bring this to your attention is a recent conversation I had with a client who had decided to sell her own property.
Whilst her situation was unique, it is an issue that occasionally raises its head, and can lead to pretty serious implications.
I’ll refer to her as Cathy.
The issue didn’t arise from Cathy selling privately, she was doing a great job – dealing with enquiries and engaging buyers.
The issue arose from when she bought her property.
A few years earlier, when Cathy bought the property, the agent had apparently promoted it as a twenty-two (22) acre allotment and sold it as such.
As it was a big lump of land, she took the information on face value and decided there was no need to question the size of the block as is was purported.
However, things got a little interesting when Cathy came to an agreement with a buyer just recently.
Based on her purchase of the block, and what she believed to be fact, Cathy promoted her twenty-two acre property in good faith.
When Cathy and the buyer agreed to a price and terms, the buyer did a little due diligence before signing on the dotted line – which is advisable with any property purchase.
To Cathy’s dismay, the buyer had discovered, via a title search, that the block was in fact nineteen (19) acres, not twenty-two.
Cathy had taken the word of the agent she bought through and placed her faith in the legal representative that handled the contractual obligations when she bought it.
She was mortified.
You can imagine that the buyer immediately believed he was being ‘dudded’, however, Cathy in no way, shape, or form had gone out to mislead anyone.
This buyer had proven to be flighty in the early stages of negotiation, and this unforeseen and completely unintentional oversight was enough to exacerbate his ‘flightiness’.
Happily, the deal has stuck and once a couple of standard conditions on the contract are satisfied it is all systems go.
For buyers, the moral to this story is don’t simply take anyone’s word – an agent, a seller, even a legal eagle – on face value. A little due diligence can go a loooong way.
In most cases, none of the players involved intend to deceive or misrepresent a property, but some vital information can be missed or slip through the cracks.
Ask questions and do a little homework to be certain.
Hey, before I got into Real Estate sales I bought a property that was promoted and plugged by the agent as being three (3) acres – then after I dived headlong into a career in Real Estate, I found out that I had bought two point six (2.6) acres. As it was a lifestyle acreage block, with very little chance of it ever being a development proposition, I thought, “Well, big lesson there. Hey Tony (the agent), you owe me 1600 square metres!”
For sellers, know what you are selling.
Know your block sizes, know if any easements exist, know the approximate size of dwellings/houses on the block, know the approximate age, be up front with any improvements that have been carried out…disclose any ‘material fact’ about the property that could be seen to affect the buyer once they take possession and ownership.
Providing transparent and accurate (as possible) knowledge of your property, that can be verified, will satisfy even the most suspicious buyer and prevent any nasty repercussions.
Take my word for it.