There are times when a property may have an issue around it, be it physical such as a fault that you may not want to or can’t rectify, or something that has happened in the property such as a serious crime that may cause buyers to shy away from its purchase. These issues are commonly referred to as ‘material fact’.
The more common issues are repairs which can be readily repaired, albeit at times expensively. While there is no definitive list of issues that must be disclosed, the law in brief describes a material fact as anything that could have a bearing on a buyer’s decision to purchase.
Not disclosing a material fact to a buyer by an agent is a serious breach of the law. It is generally accepted that if an issue warrants asking whether it is or not a material fact, then it probably is, and best practise would say to disclose it.
Vendors should not be concerned about having an issue disclosed by their agent as firstly it only needs to be disclosed to buyers that have shown interest in purchasing the property and importantly before negotiations commence. This insures the property is not unnecessarily stigmatised to the public.
Secondly, buyers will invariably find out through other ways such as in the case of physical problems during their pest and building inspections. Discovering problems that they may consider were trying to be concealed does not go down well with buyers.
Its far better, let alone a legal requirement of the agent to disclose up front, as when buyers are told beforehand, they are more likely to accept issue for what it is and proceed anyway, and in a lot of cases with little impact on the sale price.
Should the buyer not proceed due to the issue, you’ll find that there’ll be another buyer that won’t worry about it.
If you have an agent that is not prepared to disclose the issue, perhaps you need another agent as some issues if discovered even post settlement can result in legal claims back to the seller and the agent. Likewise, if you insist that you don’t want the agent to disclose the issue, then the agent if reputable and professional will politely excuse themselves from acting on your behalf.
Disclosure is not something that needs to be feared, in fact, in some cases it can be used to your advantage. Please call me should you have something that you feel may affect your property.