How much should a Realtor know about a residential survey? In New Mexico, most residential transactions include a requirement for a new "survey", usually an "Improvements Location Report" (ILR), which is less than a boundary survey but acceptable to lenders and title companies. As qualifying broker in this office, I review our closings to make sure we have adequate information in the file to meet our Real Estate Commission requirements. One of our associates recently did a deal in which the ILR showed an encroachment into a set-back required by the CC&Rs of the subdivision. The ILR did not show the limits of the setbacks, only the utility easements. When I questioned our associate broker as to whether he had advised his buyer of and the potential consequences of the encroachment, his response was that he considered it the title company's responsibility to disclose that to the buyer, and "What am I, a lawyer? How am I supposed to know this information?". He, in essence, considered it someone else's responsibility. When I suggested that he was the one to advise the buyer of such things, he was in disagreement. In discussing the situation at one of our office meetings, the general consensus was that it was the Realtor's responsibility to know of and advise on such things. Who else is the buyer to rely on? Our Code of Ethics is pretty clear about this. Article 1 (honesty), Article 2 (disclosure) and Article 11 (competence) set the standards in this area. The good news in this particular situation was that I already knew that the Homeowners' Association had previously granted a variance for this encroachment. The learning point was, however, that our associate broker did not know this.
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