Home Buying in Somerville>Question Details

Mama, Home Buyer in Cambridge, MA

Does a sellers agent need to reveal an easement on property for sale?

Asked by Mama, Cambridge, MA Fri Oct 21, 2011

I negotiated price to purchase condo.After a price acceptance, my agent fax me some documents and I have discovered on my own, that it is easement attached to the deed and I will have to provide an access to other owners to the cable box, circut brakers, etc.. None of those was mentioned to me before.In a matter of fact the condo is marketed with good future as of exclussive use of "finished basement room". Now I finding on my own, that it is not what I have believe it is going to be. How I should approche this?

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Alan May’s answer
The listing agent (and for that matter the buyer's agent) should disclose anything that may have an impact on the relative value of the property.... IF they know about it.

The agents are not always privy to all every bit of information about a property.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hopefully your attorney included a contingency for reviewing all the condo docs as acceptable to the buyer. I'm not a lawyer so that isn't legal advice, but I have seen that many times in the paperwork of condo sales.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
Better question for your attorney so contact them immediately about your rights. if you havent signed the Purchase and Sale agreement and you are just in your due diligence period you may have an out but agaiin consult your attorney right away and dont sign any more documents if possible.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 25, 2011

This is a great question for your attorney. Easements should be disclosed up front because they have varying degrees of impact. I believe that all items can be dealt with they are known about up front and can be factored into the sales price. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
In this case, if you back out of the deal, I wonder if your agent would be liable for paying for your deposit, if that was not disclosed to you prior to submitting the offer.

Sounds like a job for a good real estate attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 22, 2011
The disclosure should be made to the buyer before the offer was submitted, but there is a good chance that this easement for utilities access may be disclosed in the condominium documents. Usually, the buyer makes an offer that is subject to review of the condominium documents (master deed, declaration of trust, minutes (if any), and financials) by buyer and his/her attorney and lender. If the information is included in the condo docs and the buyer/attorney/lender find it objectionable, I believe they can withdraw from the purchase by invoking that contingency. Check with your attorney for more information.

This type of easement is not uncommon in smaller condo associations and may have very little impact on your actual use and enjoyment of the space, but no one likes to feel surprised or deceived. I highly recommend talking this trhough with a real estate attorney who can help you understand the pros and cons of such an easement.

Homebuying can be a stressful and intimidating process. Take a deep breath, get good advice, and proceed (or withdraw) with confidence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Consult with your Realtor and or an attorney.

Disclosures should be made prior to offers being made, not after.
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Well the first question would be what was disclosed on the listing sheet and marketing materials an also evident upon physical viewing as well as what questions were asked prior to the offer being tendered. Are you using a buyers agent? Do you have an attorney involved? If this is newer construction or a new conversion there may or may not have been disclosures made to the listing agent. It's unfortunate but sometimes these things happen. Your attorney can advise you what legal options are available to you at this point best. This is another example of working with the best team of real estate professionals to hopefully avoid this type of situation.

Hope this helps,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Dear Mama,
as a general answer, the easement must be disclosed as it was mentioned on the remarks below, by the listing agent, if it was known to them. A few questions for you in reference to your approach.
a. you state "my agent, so you mean you buyer's agent or are you using the seller's agent as a dual agent?
b. Have you signed a P&S yet? c. Do you have an attorney working for you?
Best regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
It should have been disclosed up front. If it does not work for you you should be able to back out of the deal if you are not happy with the easement. At the end of thed day how much will the easement impact you?

It is a personal decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Yes, you definitely should disclose the easement and any and all documents you have pertaining to that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Hi Mama,

It is the seller's responsibility to disclose all KNOWN material facts (which this is) to the buyer. In CA, this would have been included in the seller disclosures (which include disclosure completed by the seller, HOA documents if there is an HOA, Title, CC&Rs, etc.). Make sure you've read all disclosures you've received - this may have been on something you've received? In CA, we have so much paperwork with HOAs and CC&Rs many buyers don't read it all as it can be hundreds of pages. As for the seller's agent having to disclose, they only have to if the seller made them aware of the issue - it is ultimately the seller's responsibility to disclose known material facts as they are the ones who live in the property and the agent may not be aware of material facts since it is not their property.

Shanna Rogers
SR Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Absolutely must be disclosed. The saying is "No surprises for buyer later!"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Yes, that needs to be disclosed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
All material facts that affect your enjoyment of the property MUST be disclosed prior to writting up a purhcase agreement. It is your agent's DUTY to provide you with that information prior to writting a offer. Also any type of easments should be disclosed in the seller disclosure forms which your agent should have shown you as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
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