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Issues With The Seller’s Disclosures

My daughter is in escrow on a home in West Hollywood. There were three bids, and hers was selected. After she completed her inspection, she was given the disclosures provided by the home seller. In addition to the defects discovered by the inspector, she learned that someone had died in the home. She was also made aware that there was a dispute with a neighbor over the fence and whether it was on the correct property line. Now my daughter feels that she was deceived and, knowing this information up-front, would not have made such a high offer. What are your thoughts? Jane K.

Dear Jane,
I agree that these are two genuine concerns that should have been disclosed to your daughter at the time of her offer. Note that the other bidders would be concerned about these issues as well. Your daughter should discuss with her Realtor about re-negotiating her offer based on this new information.

I can understand your daughter feeling deceived. How I handle my listings is much different. To avoid issues with the seller’s disclosures, we provide them to the buyer when an offer is received. There are several reasons to do so. One is that if there is something that will cause buyers to change their offer, we want to know before opening escrow. Another reason is that we want to avoid a canceled escrow. For some, a death in the home is unacceptable and would result in a cancellation of the contract.

Your daughter needs to take the dispute with the neighbor regarding the fence seriously. Her Realtor should contact the listing agent and request that they contact the title company. The title company sometimes hires outside inspectors who measure the property based on recorded public information. Although this is not a survey, the cost is approximately $200 and much less than a survey. Hopefully, the seller will pay this additional fee. Your daughter may consider discussing the dispute with a real estate attorney if she opts to move forward with the purchase.