This morning I called on a listing for my buyer. My clients curiosity peaked when they read there was over 70k in overall improvements and upgrades on this 150k home. I was just as curious. That's an awful lot of money spent on a 150k home. Perhaps there was an insurance claim. We wanted more information. When I asked the listing agent for verification or an outline for such upgrades I was told that this information was provided by the Seller and they had no "exact" documentation, but if I "really needed it," they'd try and find all the receipts.
This response made me and my buyer both nervous and slightly annoyed.
A buyer who makes an offer on a home does so with the knowledge they have been provided. If the Listing Agent says there's a new air condition, the Listing Agent better have some proof. A 5 year old air condition isn't new. If the Listing Agent says there's 70k in upgrades they better be able to substantiate such a claim. Not doing so could put them in a legal fiasco of he said - she said. Deceptive Trade Practices are the number one reason people sue in real estate.
Realtors aren't the only ones who should be careful about making bloated statements when it comes to upgrades and improvements. Home Sellers aren't necessarily immune and shielded because they have a Realtor. It's always best to be truthful, transparent and honest about your homes improvements and upgrades.
I once had a Seller tell me that his backyard pool and landscaping was worth well over $100,000.00 and that is how he wanted me to market his home. After further research I learned that he and his friends constructed the entire backyard on their own for about $35,000.00. The work was marvelous, but they weren't pool or landscaping appraisers and I am in no position to make such grand assumptions. In the end, we agreed to have a pool company and landscaper provide written quotes on what it would cost to duplicate such a beautiful scenery. The cost? About $70,000.00.