When’s the right time to disclose a defect?
This is something that has come up a lot in my real estate career in the Edmonton area. Many sellers have a little problem with their home that’s just a little problem to them, that they don’t want to impact their sale. To many buyers these can be bigger deals, and in some case deal breakers as they just don’t want the hassle, cost and uncertainty of dealing with these defects. So when should you disclose a defect? It depends.
It depends on the nature of the defect, and its seriousness.
What type of defects are we talking about?
In the Edmonton area common defects may include water in the basement (currently or in the past), a crack in the foundation or a lack of development permits. Its hard to speculate how many homes have had water problems in the basement, but the number would be pretty high. The climate in Edmonton isn’t very forgiving with the ground freezing, then becoming ultra soft with excess water everywhere in the spring. Then there are the permit issues – just about everything needs a development permit these days. A development permit, electrical permit, occupancy permit, deck and hot tub permits are just a few permits required by the city.
Put yourself in the buyers shoes. Most people prefer transparency and feel more comfortable knowing what’s going on then getting a surprise mid way through the transaction. Ultimately it is up to you to instruct your agent when to disclose. Of course, extra care should be taken when considering buying a property where the seller is representing themselves, as they are often completely unaware of what it is they should be disclosing.
About Sheldon Johnston
Sheldon is very familiar with the ins and outs of real estate; he has been licensed to sell Real Estate in Alberta for over 25 years. Sheldon has served on the Real Estate Council of Alberta, the Real Estate Insurance Exchange and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. Find Sheldon on Twitter @edmontonsheldon.