Sould The Listing Agent Help The Seller Fill Out The Sellers Disclosure?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642
https://activerain.com/droplet/4zMd

Earlier this week I requested a Sellers Disclosure from a Listing Agent. My buyers were interested and before submitting an offer they wanted to review what the seller had to say about their house. Normally the sellers disclosure is online for agents to review, download and ultimately provide to the buyer for initials and signatures.

The agent I called told me she was 'helping her seller' fill out the sellers disclosure because she was elderly and needed assistance. 

At first I thought it was really nice of the listing agent to help her client out. I envisioned her talking with her seller over hot tea at the kitchen table as she filled out all the little boxes for her client. Then my next vision was the listing agent explaining in court the "why & how." 

In no circumstance would I ever fill out a sellers disclosure - for anyone. I'd love to help an old lady across the road or put her groceries in her car, but I'm not attaching myself to a legal disclosure document. It's not the seller I am afraid of, it's the legal exposure that concerns me. Now that I think about it, I may be afraid of a seller here and there - or maybe her kids. 

"HE FILLED IT OUT, NOT GRANDMA!!!"

 

I typically go over a blank sellers disclosure with my sellers and have them fill it out. I am happy to explain what a french drain is and what a gas heater is versus an electric one, but I'm never going to advise a seller how to word a previous fire, flood or lightning strike. I would never want anyone to think I used suggestive wording to help myself or even my clients out, not when it comes to the sellers disclosure. The sellers disclosure is a tool and and an opportunity for the SELLER to be forthright about what they know about their own house.

If the selller disclosed to me they thought their home was haunted or that there was a murder in the living room then it's my obligation to tell them what the rules of dislcosure are and then advise them to get "legal" advice, it necessary.It really is that simple. It should be. And keep in mind if you don't disclose something - the neighbors probably will. 

All known material defects must be disclosed. Client confidentiallity doesn't mean I'm gonig to keep my lips sealed about material defects. Sellers who reveal defects to their listing agent should know that their agent is requried to disclose that same information to everyone else. 

 

 

 

 

Posted by

 

 
Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)

www.GiveMeMyHomesValue.com

www.EverydayHoustonHomes.Com

 

 

The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  

 

 

 

 

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Rainer
12,445
Ashley Alred
Pullman, WA

I go over the blank form and give to my sellers to complete. If they have questions understanding the questions (some people don't know onsite septic etc.) than I explain but I never fill out for them.
If they need help writing I bet they have a friend of family that can assist with that task.

Mar 15, 2015 05:38 AM #1
Ambassador
2,559,638
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I do review the forms with the sellers, but ours are far simpler as we have 3 boxes to fill in for each line item, yes, no, and unknown and many older people will just check off the unknown.  May not be right, but it is legal.

Mar 15, 2015 06:25 AM #2
Rainmaker
564,123
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

I agree with you, Greg.  Under no circumstances would I fill out a seller's disclosure for them. There is simply too much liability.

Mar 15, 2015 08:58 AM #3
Ambassador
2,864,479
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I had a vision impared seller last year and I filled it out.  I asked the questions, he verbally gave the answer and I checked that box.  I also included a statement on it that the seller had verbally answered all the questions because he was visually imparted and that I had checked the box that he verbally answered so we disclosed that fact to every buyer who requested a copy.  

It closed, no issues came up at the time or in the 14 months that have passed since the disclosure was filled out.  And I'd certainly do it again if a client needed it.

Mar 15, 2015 09:12 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,143,921
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

WOW I see nothing but potential problems from this and would run from it fast

Mar 15, 2015 01:09 PM #5
Rainmaker
889,505
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

I will not fill it out. Nope will not do it.

Mar 15, 2015 10:44 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,086,367
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

You crack me up, Sussie.

Mar 16, 2015 02:37 AM #7
Rainmaker
442,659
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC
Realtor/Broker

My first Broker-in-Charge told me, "Your handwriting should never under no circumstances appear on the Seller Disclosure."  Good advice, and I've followed it.

Mar 17, 2015 09:21 AM #8
Rainmaker
798,259
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Greg - All known material defects must be disclosed, and it is for the seller to complete the disclosure statement, not the agent. I couldn't agree with you more.

Mar 17, 2015 12:14 PM #9
Ambassador
779,617
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

The problem with explaining terms on the disclosure is such conversation can easily steer to, "but I don't have a problem with that, right"?

An agent in my old office got busted for the scenario you described. At court, all of the sudden the elderly client was sharp as a tack and remembered everything. Go figure...

Mar 17, 2015 10:41 PM #10
Rainmaker
723,329
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Greg Nino in some cases it's too bad that we have to be so risk averse. But we do.

Mar 18, 2015 01:48 AM #11
Rainmaker
365,149
Carolyn Nelson
Realty One Carolina, LLC - Burlington, NC
Your Triangle to Triad Real Estate Expert!

I had a seller willing to his property with me until i explained to him that the agent does not complete this form, he has to complete, sign, and date the seller disclosure statement. Oh well!

Mar 18, 2015 06:21 PM #12
Ambassador
413,687
Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker
Hello Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

It is the "seller disclosure" and not the "agent" disclosure. Good to the point post!

Mar 19, 2015 02:44 PM #13
Rainmaker
507,995
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

My first client in the business was in her fathers will provided she kept up his attack against a local Real Estate Company he sued over the agent completing the disclosure.  He eventually won in court, after several appeals, but his mission will go on for generations. 

Apr 01, 2015 06:54 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,060,712
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Never!  I tell sellers to put down everything and anything they can think of on the form. 

Apr 17, 2015 08:35 PM #15
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Greg Nino

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