I don't know your laws of state, nor am I familiar with your contract and disclosures, so your agent is best to rely on.
What I know about this business is there are so many different personality styles. I've had a seller so cautious that she would change words too. Some clients have just enough law classes to make them paranoid.
If you honestly want a direct yes or now answer and you are not getting it, then you will need to make a decision which feels right to you. It is either important or you are standing on principle.
Decide what is important and focus on that. Then have your agent assist you.
All the best to you.
I'm a Pennsylvania Broker and a licensed instructor in Pennsylvania. The seller is within their rights to answer" I do not know" in the seller disclosure. However if you believe that they do know information that they are concealing that is a serious problem for the sellers. (They can be sued if you can prove that they did know about defects) If you are relying on the seller disclosure and not getting a home inspection them I recommend that you complete a home inspection within the time frame allowed in your contract.
If you are not getting help with this problem from your buyer agent I suggest that you call the broker in the office who will be motivated to get to the bottom of the issue becasue he/she will not want this to resurface later after you own the property as a complaint or a lawsuit.
There is not necessity for you to sign the seller disclosure. It will not invalidate the contract to purchase. The seller disclosure is put in place to protect consumers, sellers and agents. It is not a home inspection and I take everything that I see on the seller disclosure with a grain of salt.
Talk with a real estate attorney before you make any drastic move like terminating the contract for this reason. You want to make sure that you are within your rights to terminate the contract and make sure that your deposit is not at risk. Just because the seller wrote "I do not know" on the sellers disclosure is not listed as a reason to terminate a standard agreement of sale.
Briefly (as possible for me): my agent is in transition from one brokerage to another and until it's complete, the new broker is my rep "on paper" and does help but the original rep does the bulk of the agency work (I'd already terminated my first buyer/broker agmt - and if anyone's wondering, I found this house after I terminated). So I couldn't exactly call the new broker to complain about the new agent - they're the same person! ;)
Anyway, at 4:55 I left both of them a message that since I couldn't reach either of them, I had no choice but to walk; I'd decided to sign the disclosure but they didn't know that. At 5:05 I received an email with a fully executed AOS - which had nothing to do with my 4:55 message!! The relo co. had refused to sign until I first initialed that bogus disclosure, and they'd also refused to have it updated by the owner. But I dug in my heels and fought for the house (and for the principle of what a disclosure is for) anyway. The 5pm deadline was set by me, not them, because of other now-resolved issues, and I wasn't giving them more time to see if a "better offer" came in; and I needed to know once and for all (this has been dragging out a long time) because there are open houses I want to see this weekend. I'm the A+ buyer here, I and wasn't going to let a "Goliath" relo company bully "little David" any more. Plenty of houses come onto market almost daily. If I had to lose this house, so be it. It's not like losing a spouse, as much as I love the house. BUT, the relo co. knew of my 5pm deadline, knew I was about to walk, and they caved at the last second, without knowing that I was about to relent myself and rely on the inspections! So they sent the AOS to my broker/agent without my first returning an initialed disclosure! My new broker, who was in a closing when I was trying to reach her (that's why she couldn't call right back) immediately forwarded it to me from her phone, and called me 1/2 hr. later, also in shock that they caved. She'd never seen that happen before, said relo companies are notorious for being staunch and unyielding. But they just "politely asked" that I simply acknowledge receiving the disclosure and they'd have it updated and properly completed ASAP, that promise to be in writing by addendum on Mon. Also, as a few mentioned here, I realized that I probably was (ok, I *definitely* was!) being over-cautious (occupational hazard) and the seller and I had clashed. Once I sat back and thought it all through unemotionally, re-reading all of your replies, I realized that it's true - the inspection will either be my savior or my "out" and I will give the inspector the disclosure to pay close attention to those questionable items.
At the end of the day (literally!), everyone's now happy, addenda will follow, and I'm already locked in at 3.75%! (How so soon?Too long a story for this thread but it's done - in writing; let's just say I'm proactive and I move fast, and I have a great lender rep who moved equally fast on my behalf; the process was started days ago and they already had my signed aos and financials, and had confirmed with my agents that everything was agreed-up, with f/e aos to follow. No one could know then that the relo co. would throw a wrench into the works at the last minute, after I'd already signed and delivered the aos.
BTW, I've printed this page to keep your names and perhaps one day I'll have the chance to refer people to those of you who took the time to help me. I have friends all over the country, and more than 9700 Google+ followers and friends, almost 5k FB friends and a huge readership. (Sorry, I had to use a pseudonym name because I'm known in my area. If I have the opportunity to refer, I'll include my name). THANKS AGAIN TO ALL OF YOU!
If you are uncomfortable with the answers you should move onto the next property. A Home Inspection should always be completed however they don't always find previous issues. Unless there are people knocking down the door of the Seller's Home they probably will come back to you with a Changed Seller's Disclosure as you have requested.
My biggest question is how are the Seller's pulling "fast ones" on you if you are represented by a Buyer's Agent and my even BIGGER question is, if you have a deadline of 5:00 today why is your Buyer's Agent not available to take your call??
There should always be some type of caution involved when purchasing a home. Are you overcautious? You could be but that is your right.
Breath. It sounds like you really want this house.
If your contract is an "active" contract vs "passive" contract. You would need to remove your seller disclosure contingencies in writing. The passage of time doesn't make you accept. If it is passive it is the opposite.
Since we are not a party to your contract we are going to tread lightly so as not to give you bad information. In California your seller disclosures have a paragraph that states "Are you seller aware of any of the following" Then there are yes or no. I'm not an attorney so I can't speak to the legal nature of the seller changing Not to "not aware of" except for the fact that perhaps he at this moment isn't aware of anything and doesn't want to say no.
It's ok to proceed with caution. The seller disclosures are there so that you know where to focus your concerns. Since he is saying he knows nothing, then you need to do a more thorough inspection. Knock on your neighbor doors, go to the police station, call schools, interview local businesses... what ever you need to do go feel comfortable with your purchase.
Your concerns are not unusual, especially for a first time buyer. It probably will turn out just fine once you have more information.
If you can't get a hold of your agent and you feel you need to respond in 40 minutes or less, call the agent's office and ask to speak to their managing broker and allow them to give you your options.
All the best.
You still have an out if the inspection shows up with issues and you can't get to resolution on it. If you feel it's completely dishonest - that's one thing but you may be able to investigate whatever it is. I say - signing an agreement doesn't mean you signed your life away - it's just an agreement with many holes for the buyer to get out. Due diligence before moving completely forward.