In Research Mode...Holding Ourselves to the Higher Standard

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097



Private Eye microsoftBuyers may not realize it, but Sellers do not have a duty to disclose material facts about their property…however, REALTORS do. At least they have a duty to disclose material facts that they know about or might be expected to know about.

That means research. There is probably a huge segment of the population who believe that REALTORS write up Listing Agreements all willy-nilly, take a few lousy photographs, put a sign in the yard and wait for the phone to ring. Sure, we all know there are some REALTORS who do business that way, but not at MoonDancer Realty. For one, the Office Manager would never stand for it and for the other…we just aren’t built that way.

Again, I say…that means research. We’re getting ready to list a couple of properties that the Sellers honestly don’t know much about and that happens a lot. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission however, is of the opinion that the public has a reasonable expectation that licensed agents should make an attempt to research things having to do with zoning, water sources, sewage sources, rough idea of property lines and general condition issues among other things.

So, today we are in research mode. Since our fiduciary responsibilities are to our sellers and possibly our buyers that means that in order to do the best job possible for them, we’d better learn as much about the property as possible. I’ll be visiting Jackson County’s Department of Environmental Health to learn as much about the septic system and shared well as I can, the Jackson County Planning Department to see if the property can be divided and sold as two parcels and the Jackson County Clerk of Court and Register of Deeds to fill in as many blank spaces in the history as possible.

No willy-nilly here. Real estate should be a very intentional business and much as I’d enjoy attending today’s AR webinar about social media…or walking about the Town of Dillsboro with camera in hand…or reading blogs …or enjoying a three martini lunch (okay, maybe not so much that one), we’ll be doing our utmost to have the best information possible about a listing we’ll be taking the responsibility for marketing and selling…and that means research and lots of it.

We learned early on…do your research upfront, disclose EVERYTHING you can and you eliminate a lot of hassle, headaches and heartaches later.

REALTORS are held to a higher standard than their Sellers and should be. They have a duty to disclose all material facts that they know or can be reasonably expected to know…it’s a public service we take seriously.

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MoonDancer Realty Team Photo Collage copyright 2012 Mona Gersky

 

 

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Tree Dude Border 1 copyright 2012 Mona Gersky

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Rainmaker
255,314
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Windermere, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

Thank you for the refreshing post.

Up until now, most agents blogs say "I don't do it","I won't do it, "not my job", "too much liability" etc.

The reality is that if you are truely going to represent a buyer or a seller, IT IS YOUR JOB TO INVESTIGATE...despite the liability.

Good job for putting your clients best interest above your own!

Eve in Orlando

April 19, 2012 04:15 PM #11
Rainmaker
784,263
Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

Mona, I see why you don't cross the office manager.  Good for you all for during a first class job.  It's a breath of fresh air.  

April 19, 2012 04:27 PM #12
Ambassador
1,505,528
Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

It's so sad tehat all agents/brokers and firms don't function with this same attitude and practice.  Not only does it do justice for your seller client, but is ultimately helpful to then entire process.

April 19, 2012 06:29 PM #13
Rainer
15,678
Yvonne Schnee
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Lumberton, NJ

Sienna does a great job running the office! I agree with the comments posted by Mike & Eve above. Love hearing How to get the job done rather than complaining. Refreshing, informative & well written post. Thank you!

 

April 19, 2012 06:52 PM #14
Rainmaker
485,167
Elyse Berman, PA, ABR, GRI, Realtor
Realty Associates Florida Properties, Boca Raton, FL - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton, Delray & Highland Beach- 561-716-7824

Mona,  Tammy said it so well.  I've run into that same problem from illegal room additions to not knowing the rules and regs of a community.  I applaud you for a job well done.

April 19, 2012 06:55 PM #15
Ambassador
2,387,345
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Mona, I work in three jurisdictions (DC, MD and VA) and each has its own ground rules for disclosure.  Whatever laws we think might allow our sellers or ourselves to keep known defects, my policy is discloure, disclosure, disclosure. 

April 19, 2012 06:57 PM #16
Rainer
107,456
Leslie G. Rojohn
MoonDancer Realty - Sylva, NC
GRI, ABR ~ MoonDancer Realty

The office manager is a task master, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  We could just throw a bunch of garbage into our ads and on MLS and hope someone else will sort it all out as the process plays out, but what in the heck do we get paid for if not for our knowledge and integrity.

April 19, 2012 07:16 PM #17
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Roger, I think the first time I try a martini...I'd want it to be with you.

Sheila, the Officer Manager insists on things getting done the right way.

Sue, thanks for the mashing ;-).  Good catch for Robin on the encroachment.

Belinda, there was no way I could make the webinar...I was disappointed but you are right...business first.

Eve, maybe I'll catch the next Rain Camp.  Thanks for your words.

Mike, breathe deep...all we like is fresh air.

Tammy, as you know if you don't attend to the details early on you could be quite sorry later.

Yvonne, stay tuned and you might catch a complaining rant here once in a while!

Elyse, thanks for the nod.

Pat, disclose is the only thing that makes sense.

Leslie, you are the most ethical person I know when it comes to the marketing of the listings.

April 19, 2012 08:03 PM #18
Rainmaker
661,072
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Mona

When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose

Our standard disclaimer is "deemed reliable but not guaranteed" so it's up to the buyer to "trust, but verify"

 

April 19, 2012 08:28 PM #19
Rainer
157,536
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Even under daily adversity, we should always take the high road.

Good post.

April 19, 2012 10:39 PM #20
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Pacita, yes.  Every purchase screams Due Diligence and verify, verify, verify.

Anthony, there is daily adversity, isn't there.  Thanks.

April 20, 2012 04:07 AM #21
Ambassador
1,091,473
Joni Staples
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

In Texas, sellers are required to disclose material facts that they know. The problem is, sometimes they have no idea. Is the lot they want to sell large enough for a septic system? Maybe, maybe not. The only way to know for sure is to hire a licensed sanitarian to verify it. The cost is about $150.00. Personally, I would not purchase a lot without that report. If the seller does not have that report and will not pay for it. We are quick to let buyers know that they should verify with a registered sanitarian that the lot qualifies for a septic system, what kind, and how much it will cost. All septic systems are not equal. Some can be over in the 10's of thousands +. YIKES  GREAT post!!

April 20, 2012 05:12 AM #22
Rainmaker
177,110
Erv Fleishman
Realty Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates

Sellers are required to disclose material facts, at least here in Florida they are. We have them fill out a form. We do not help them. They sign it. 

Remember, behind every form there is a lawyer waiting to meet you. 

April 20, 2012 05:42 AM #23
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Allen, thank you.

Erv, we do not fill out the form. The sellers fill out the form but they can elect to check either to disclose something or to check the "no representation" box.  If they check that box and the licensed agent knows there is a material fact, we must disclose it.

April 20, 2012 05:45 AM #24
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Joni, thanks. It's always interesting to see how things are done across the country.

April 20, 2012 05:47 AM #25
Rainmaker
892,536
Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Mona, this is the way it should be when taking a listing. When in doubt disclose.

April 20, 2012 06:25 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,267,262
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Sellers are requires to disclose "known" material facts, but hard to prove knowledge of what the seller should know.  So we do our due diligene as the buyers agents and recomment the inspections, etc.  If you are listing you are certainly working for your sellers in that regard, Mona

April 20, 2012 10:13 AM #27
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Michael, with your specialty in commercial real estate, I guess you've really gotten comfortable with disclosure.

Carla, like you I really enjoy being a buyer's agent but when I am a seller's agent...I'm 100% advocating for them.

April 20, 2012 07:50 PM #28
Rainmaker
708,318
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

In our state, Sellers must disclose, and even the banks have to sign a disclosure statement which I think is weird.

April 21, 2012 05:24 AM #29
Ambassador
590,724
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Ron, what happens if it is an absentee seller?  Someone who may never have lived in the house?  Is there an opportunity for them to sign "no representation" on your disclosure?  Wonder what kind of disclosure the lender is signing?  Some sort of good faith estimate type thing?  Yes, if they are disclosing something about the house...that is weird.

April 21, 2012 06:13 AM #30
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Mona Gersky

GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.
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