Real Estate Hurdle: Disclosing Home’s Crime Record

Posted on: June 30, 2015 by Newmark Insurance

As most real estate agents are aware, selling a home requires an ample amount of knowledge and finesse. However, it is inevitable that sometime during your practice, you will eventually encounter a home that has a dark history. Although these characteristics are relatively common and not necessarily deal breakers, it is essential to manage the property appropriately to avoid misleading a potential buyer and suffering personal liability claims. In order to secure your real estate business, implement an Austin Real Estate Errors & Omissions policy prior to your next sale.

Death or crimes that have taken place in a household might be less than ideal for real estate agents, but it is imperative to note them prior to the sale. Max Spann, president and CEO of Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Company bluntly states “If you are aware of anything peculiar, you need to disclose it. It could just be a crackpot, but from an ethics standpoint, as a real estate professional, I think you need to disclose that.” Although not always required by law (some states don’t require you to tell the buyer unless they ask), it is viewed as good business practice to be upfront. Additionally, doing so can save you from potential lawsuits in the future and prevent the sale from coming back to haunt you.

For example, in recent news, there have been reports of a stalker in New Jersey, known as “The Watcher” who has reportedly written sinister letters and terrorized the previous and current homeowners for over a year. When the most recent owners bought the home, the information was not disclosed. What was intended to be strategy for a quick home sale is now a Lawsuit against the previous owners and the escrow company used, claiming both parties were negligent and intentionally concealed evidence of “The Watcher.”

As a seller, there are a few tips to follow in order to help secure the sale. First, refurbish any highly mediatized aspects of the home. If a home becomes infamous and certain characteristics become popular about the home, change them. Further, having someone live in the home until it sells is always helpful, as well. Instead of portraying it as uninhabitable or scary, this will depict the home to be just like any other. Next, maintain the house as usual: get rid of memorabilia and keep it clean, fresh, and updated.

NewMark Insurance Services specializes in providing insurance solutions for the real estate industry. With many years in the field, we fully understand the realistic and sometimes difficult challenges real estate agents face. To learn more about our real estate policies, as well as other professional solutions, contact us today at (855) 777-6549.

Posted in: blog Real Estate E&O Real Estate Liability