Avoiding legal battles is a huge priority for real estate agents nationwide. While the buyer is legally responsible for repairs and condition after the sale of the home, it’s up to the real estate agent to disclose pertinent information about the property. In this article, we’ll cover the top five disclosure rules to follow to ensure compliance and minimize Real Estate Professional Liability.
Divulge any and all reports on the home. Even if it’s dated and you think it’s irrelevant, disclose the information to the seller. If something comes up later that was initially reported, it could cause financial and legal problems for you and the seller. Next, be sure to disclose any information that might affect the value of the home. Even if something isn’t to your taste or liking, value-added items are not subjective. Be transparent about all of this with your clients.
Never fill out paperwork on your client’s behalf.
This is an easy target for lawyers if a client decides to sue you. If there’s a dispute, the seller could claim the sales associate filled out the paperwork improperly and thus was at fault. If the seller is physically or otherwise unable to complete the form, you may fill out the form by asking the seller questions from the form and writing in his or her answers, but be sure to document that the information that the information was provided by the seller, not you. If possible, have the seller initial or otherwise confirm that, explains Realtor.
Be cautious about estimates.
Evaluating a home based on square footage, features and location is part of the job. However, ensure that you explicitly state that estimates are only estimates, not a solid figure. To get an accurate depiction of price, the home has to be measured and evaluated before listing the property on your MLS program.
Don’t claim to be an expert.
You can offer insight in areas you specialize in. However, don’t attempt to answer an important question that the professional should handle. For example, if the buyer needs legal advice, contractor work, or an appraisal, refer them to the coordinating experts rather than answering for them.
Know the rules.
Different jurisdictions require sellers and real estate practitioners to complete different forms and provide different amounts of detail. In addition, some brokerages may have more stringent disclosure policies than others. You need to be well versed in the local requirements.
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