The Kids Next Door Are Loud ... I Don't Want To Lose My Sale ... Do I Tell The Buyer?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates

Anything that is not readily apparent, and could be an annoying factor to a new Buyer should be disclosed in one way or another.  "Loud" is very subjective, and what might be noise to some ears is music to others.  That includes kids at play - some people chuckle at the sound while others groan.  You can't be the judge for your Buyer, however, so we think you should disclose all such tranquility anomalies. 

We are asked on a regular basis what should be disclosed... "do we have to disclose _______"?  Many want to rely on the Caveat Emptor philosophy that prevailed for so many years in our business - that is, Buyer Beware.  That philosophy was extinguished with the litigation frenzy of the eighties.  It is now law that you complete a Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement as a part of the sale of your home in the State of Nevada, and that Statement can become the basis for litigation when Sellers withhold or misstate pertinent items that affect the quiet enjoyment, safety, or value of the property.  

Not everything is legally required to be disclosed, but from a moral standpoint you can save a lot of grief if you make the facts known anyway.  Things that can be "forgotten" in a Disclosure Statement include incessant barking dogs next door, a neighbor or neighborhood dispute of some kind, a known sex offender living nearby that you know about, water that migrates on your property from a neighbor, the breaker blows when you plug in the toaster, kids cut across your lawn on the way home from school, the neighbor sunbathes au naturel, etc.  There are a number of things that might not bother you but could drive a new Buyer to drink ... and vice versa.  Let the Buyer Decide.  Example - Barking dogs?  What if the Buyer has dogs of his own and wants them to have a buddy to bark at while he's gone during the day?  

Don't think a Buyer won't find out about something.  When the septic backs up and your Buyer calls to have the lines cleared and the person you called says, "We were wondering when you would call."  That's when they find out you had this problem twice a year for awhile and you didn't disclose it.  True story and one of many.  It is what it is ... tell it like that and you'll be fine. 

Our Advice:  When in doubt ... disclose!  With the scarcity of Buyers these days it may be tempting to risk not disclosing something, or, conversely, to not risk disclosing something.  Either way is wrong, of course.  If you lose a sale because of a disclosure that you made then you can take comfort in the fact that you probably didn't lose a sale, rather you prevented a lawsuit.  If it the matter was important enough to the Buyer to cancel an escrow then you surely would have had future problems when they discovered the problem for themselves.  Your disclosure is best if written, but at the very least make sure you have witnesses to your statement, like the agents, and that you emphasize the point when you make it.  Quite often the Buyer is arranging furniture in their mind and not really listening to something you are saying.  A follow up memorandum for the file is good insurance for you. 

Think of disclosure like a marriage - everything is great at the beginning, and anything you disclose will be looked at differently than when it comes time for the divorce, or, in real estate, the lawsuit.  Disclose the reality, or your perception thereof, and you'll not lose any sleep.  Disclose and let the Buyers decide ... only they know what it means to them.  When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs... Experience is Priceless!Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472.  carsonvalleyland@hotmail.com, www.carsonvalleyland.com

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Ambassador
276,334
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

I would not disclose "loud kids" because I do not see that as a problem and would not think of it because I love the sound of children playing. Would I be wrong in that instance?

Jan 14, 2009 05:50 AM #1
Ambassador
1,659,233
Richard Weisser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale

Jim...

I always think that if it disclosed, there is no way it can ever come back and haunt you. We want our buyers to be satisfied with their purchase, and we want referral business, so why not err on the side of caution?

Jan 14, 2009 06:04 AM #2
Ambassador
2,373,692
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

We disclose what we know about the HOUSE, not the neighbors or neighbor's houses, or neighborhood. 

We sell lots with improvements thereon.  We sell land and structures. 

We do not sell ambiance.

 

Jan 14, 2009 06:13 AM #3
Rainer
339,851
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

It isn't about losing a sale - it's about your duty to your seller and what is required to be disclosed.  Loud is subjective.  I know many people who don't open windows thus would never hear the neighbors.

If wse start down that path will we then have to disclose that the neighbors have a party every July 4th and have fireworks and it that is why the current owners are selling?

 

Jan 14, 2009 06:33 AM #4
Rainmaker
122,067
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

David - Maybe, what about the Seller who knows that there is a serious situation?  We just think we'd rather disclose and be safe than have an unhappy buyer later.

Richard - We agree!

Lenn - Disclosing what we know about the neighborhood is important.  Whether it's zoning, potential development or the High School Band that practices at night on the lighted field until 9:00PM ... we believe we need to explain everything we know about the ambience of the area.  Other wise ... one of these things will bite you, especially when they talk to the neighbors and find out it's a well know situation.

Jan 14, 2009 06:39 AM #5
Rainmaker
122,067
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

Kris - Its the "Reasonable Man" thing.  If the seller knows that the neighbor has a dog that they leave outside all night long that barks ... they better say something.  Otherwise, when the new buyer finds out and talks to their new neighbors only to find out that the dog has been a neighborhood problem for years and the seller knew ... who's problem is that?

Jan 14, 2009 06:44 AM #6
Rainmaker
468,836
Janice Roosevelt
Rory Burkhart Team, Keller Williams - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Hmm, is there to disclose in a postive way because as you say "loud' is subjective. What a blessing to have healthy, life-loving kids next door.

Jan 14, 2009 07:01 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,005,622
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner

You know I had a client who lived near a freeway and could not hear it.

great subject!

your friend in Charlottesville!

follow me on Twitter!

Jan 14, 2009 07:05 AM #8
Rainer
126,237
Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv
REISA - 317-663-4173 - Indianapolis, IN

The moral thing is interesting. I would invite the buyers to the house (make up a reason) at a time you know the neighbors are around and let them decide.

Thanks

Tony

Jan 14, 2009 07:14 AM #9
Rainmaker
68,469
Valerie Springer
Benchmark Mortgage nmls 2143 - Birmingham, AL
Home Loan Officer AL, FHA, VA, Conventional and Re

Great post Jim.  I agree with you 100% the more information you give the better.  In mortgages I always try to give my clients the good and bad of each product.  This helps them to make a better decision to their particular needs.  The good for one may be the negative for another.  Everyone IS different.  Like you, I sleep well when I lay down at night because I know I have left no surprises.

Jan 17, 2009 08:26 PM #10
Rainmaker
122,067
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

Thanks Valerie for the comment.  Buyers today can be spooky enough with all the "free" advice floating around the media ... we are happier being safe and telling all.

Have a great year!

Jan 18, 2009 02:15 AM #11
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