Once upon a time there was a lovely home, a beautiful 2 story house on a hill, with a great view. The property was re-sold 3 times in 10 years and every couple who lived in the house ended up divorced!
This is a true story, and I was the Realtor involved in all of these sales. At this point, I am dreading the call to sell the house again, as I am beginning to feel responsible for the marital dysplasia that surrounds this piece of Real Estate. I am thinking the house is jinxed, or worse….. What if its me? Ok, maybe thats’ just a little paranoid.
As a Professional, I need to keep to the facts and provide the best representation I can to the clients that hire me. Is it legally necessary to disclose this to a potential buyer?
It may not be a legal requirement in Alberta, but an ethical one of “full disclosure”. In the end it is important that clients inform their Realtor about issues they may have regarding past events in a home so it can, at the very least, be looked into. My experience has taught me that some clients are far more sensitive to the fact someone may have passed away in a property than others. Or that the neighbours consider the home possessed by evil spirits….that forces couples to divorce (I knew it!)
I once had a foreclosure property listed that had flooded repeatedly. During the process the foreclosing bank had been party to media controversy regarding a certain ‘killer mould’ that may (or may not) have been present. After extensive testing it was determined the moulds were of the everyday garden variety, not really healthy but certainly not deadly. But the property was indeed stigmatized to the point that new buyers had to sign a phone book sized disclosure to cover everyone involved, much to the relief of the seller.
It can be a very difficult, during the buying process, to find these things out, and only the neighbours may be aware of the gossip surrounding a house and it indeed may be urban myth and hearsay, not provable reality. There are rarely inexorable facts to support these kind of stigma. Regardless, the mythology that has grown around the property may really freak a buyer out, and needs to be disclosed. (When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose!)
As a Realtor I am committed to serving my clients needs, so make every reasonable effort to know what they are. The only foolish questions are the ones you don’t ask!