Buyers Due Diligence
Posted November 1, 2021 in Real Estate Trends
When I am showing homes to clients, I get asked many questions about the home, some I can answer and some I can’t. Some of the answers we can find out, and some you will never know until you are living in it. What are some questions I cannot answer? Is the home haunted? Has there been a violent crime in the home or in the area? Believe it or not, these are not considered relevant facts when listing a home.
What is a ‘material fact’? This is something that structurally affects the home. The sellers disclosure is a 6 page document where seller discloses all known facts about the home. The seller is only obligated to disclose known material facts about the home, and only information about the home during the current sellers ownership.
Some sellers will disclose ALL facts about the home, even if items have been repaired. Some sellers only disclose the items they haven’t gotten around to fixing, while some sellers have no idea about anything in their home. Therefore, we do a home inspection. ‘Buyers Due Diligence’ means a buyer has some responsibility to research the home and area they want. If your buyers agent knows anything about the home, they have the legal responsibility to disclose it. In Washington, all sellers are required to fill out the 6-page sellers disclosure on their own. Their Realtor cannot do it for them, or even help them fill it out. However, if the seller is a bank, investor, or if it is an estate, there won’t be any sellers disclosures. If there is, most questions will be answered with “don’t know”.
For every question on the sellers disclosures, there are 4 choices to answer: yes, no, don’t know, or NA. Every question must be answered. Many sellers will mark most of the answers as ‘don’t know’. A majority of sellers aren’t trying to hide anything about the home, they truly don’t know. When you receive a copy of the sellers disclosure, hire a good inspector.
Make sure you address any concerns you have regarding the home’s condition to the home inspector. The inspector I usually refer out encourages the buyer to walk with him during the inspection. I like to call this a ‘crash course in homeowning’. By the time the inspection is done, my clients usually know more about the home than the current owner! Your agent should also be present at your home inspection along with you.
What about that new building being built in the neighborhood? That is something you should do some research on. Is a garage conversion permitted? Call the city/county. Your Realtor will help you find the information, but we are limited to the extent of what we can delve into because of legalities. There is a lot your Realtor can and will do for you to make sure you are getting the best customer service possible. Your Realtor will help make sure that you are performing your buyers due diligence to make sure that you won’t get any unexpected surprises later. Talk to neighbors, walk around the home and neighborhood. Ask questions to your inspector. Ask questions to your real estate agent. If they can’t find the answers, they will help you find resources. Your Realtor is here to help you!
I am a real estate broker, and I look forward to helping you on your home buying adventure! Whether you are buying or selling your home, my goal is to be the real estate broker you think of first.