Home Buying in Canton>Question Details

Molly2005, Home Buyer in Canton, MA

When the selling agent is also the home owner does that somehow remove or lessen their requirement to disclose facts , e.g. Set-backs, easements, etc

Asked by Molly2005, Canton, MA Wed Oct 9, 2013

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set backs, easements and deed restrictions are public record. You, your buyer agent and your attorney should have an understanding of your plans for the property you are purchasing and advise you as to the implications of each of the above.

They would not necessarily adversely effect the property and or its value, nor would there be a need to disclose such information unless the owner / agent was aware of such and that it did affect the value.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
We, in the real estate business, are held to a higher standard. And while there is no additional legal obligation... we Realtors and agents, need to take care and not show even the perception of any wrong-doing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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Molly....it would increase their requirement to disclose facts. Agents are held to a different standard than regular homeowners. However, setbacks are not necessarily something that are disclosed. Setbacks are part of the local zoning bylaws. That is something you can find out at the building department. But yes, any issues with the house - easements, flooding, etc. - they should disclose.

That doesn't mean you should rely on their disclosures. Due diligence requires going to the building department to look at setbacks and make sure all permits were pulled. In addition, a home inspection is always important, as is having your own representation.

Good luck with your home search!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
Agents are typically held to a higher standard and are therefore usually more responsible for disclosure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
As Scott pointed out, an agent owned home for sale must alert the prospective buyer of this situation.
This ADDITIONAL requirement is intended to alert buyers they may be at a significicant disadvantage should the choose to purchase without adequate representataion.
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Your question contains reference to Set-backs, easements, etc which is a requirement for the sale of all homes. If not in the disclosures,(such information is rarely in the disclosure document) they will appear most diffinately in the survey the bank will require.
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Be aware, a survey can produce an aritifact of which the current owner was unaware. I've experienced a easement appearing down the middle of a home that was build in 1963, had six owners and the easement appears on my watch.
Stuff happens! It does not mean deception in the cause.
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Now, Molly, you really, really, really should be turning to your real estate professional for what applies in Canton, MA. You do have one...yes?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
Neither. The requirement to disclose material setbacks that they know are the same. If they know, they know. If they don't, they don't.

If you can prove that there was something that they knew and didn't disclose to you, you would have a strong case regardless whether the seller is the agent or not.

That said, I always recommend my buyers to go to the City Building department to confirm status of setbacks, easements and special permits for themselves. Regardless what the seller and/or agent thinks he/she knows ... if you are eventually the owner, it is more important that you know for certain what the City has on record.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
Quite the opposite, it actually INCREASES the requirements to disclose.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 9, 2013
I would agree that it would increase the expectation, but I believe the requirements are the same. It is required of EVERYONE to disclose information that is material to the sale of the house, including disclosing whether one is a licensed agent or not (regardless whether the seller is representing him/her self). The expectation is that an agent would be more informed about what would be considered material.
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