Buyer Beware - Seller Declare

So you've got a problem with the house.  "There was a leak in the lounge, we patched it up - she'll be right.  They'll never know.  If there is a problem later, we'll be so far gone they can't blame us!  Caveat emptor".  Buyer beware.  The legal phrase we were all brought up to know and respect.  It's up to the buyer to do their due diligence.

Yep, used to be the case.  But not know.  

In real estate we are moving to an environment where the seller must declare problems and issues.  This discussion isn't about the legal aspects of this, so no Fair Trading Act quotations or references to the Weathertight Homes resolution service - thank goodness.  But, those processes and protections exist for the benefit of purchasers.

No, this is about the simple fact that you will get a better, faster sale by simply being up front and honest.  Disclose issues and problems up front if you have, or have had, them.  It will actually save you time, money, and a whole lot of heartache!  I have seen deals fall apart because a purchaser found a problem that had not been disclosed.  Not even a big one.  Issues that if the purchaser had been told about up front, they would have said "oh well, thats ok", and not even thought about any more.  After the fact the problem becomes one of trust, "what else have they not told us?  What else don't we know", and they start looking for things, they start seeing things, they get suspicious.  Believe me the deal is dead.

Not disclosing issues is treating the buyer as dumb.  They are not!  Often they are using professionals to inspect properties before purchase. To protect themselves many Real Estate agents include in their listing agreements warranties from the seller that all issues have been disclosed, and recommend buyers get an inspection done by a building/construction professional.

So just disclose.  You don't have to lead with it, and certainly don't have to highlight it out of all proportion, but if there is a problem make sure the purchaser is aware of it.  Have it in the property description somewhere, or some notes made available to the purchaser.  The best way to handle it is to say - "this was the issue, this is when we discovered it, and this is what has been done about it".  Simple, straightforward, honest.  If the purchaser walks away because of it, then fine - better they do that early in the process - it costs you less.  What that also means is do the job properly - if the lounge did have a leak get it fixed properly, get a proper builder to repair it (not your mate down the road for a few beers), and get it documented.  Its way better than being the respondent in a Weathertight Homes Tribunal case a year or two down the track.

Just realise that if you hide something it will be found out. The best case is that happens before unconditional date and the deal falls over.  The longer it takes after that the more expensive, time consuming, and heartbreaking it becomes for everyone involved.  Time and a lack of trust can make a simple problem a monumental difficulty.  

Don't go there!

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