Property Q&A in Fergus Falls>Question Details

Jc, Home Buyer in Fergus Falls, MN

when a real estate agent is the owner of a house can I expect the owner/agent has looked into the attic before selling the house? jc fergus falls

Asked by Jc, Fergus Falls, MN Sun Mar 6, 2011

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Jc,

Looking back through your questions, it appears that you are in a tough situation with a house that you bought. I assume based on one of your posts that you are in pending litigation on the matter. No matter what any of us say here on Trulia, we aren't expert witnesses to your case and will be of very little help. Focus your efforts on talking to the neighbors, previous owners, previous real estate agents for the property, and anyone else who might be helpful to your case.

Should an owner know what their attic looks like - yes. Does the fact that he/she was an agent change that - no. If it was a rehab property is it less likely that the owner/agent looked at the attic - yes.

I've lived in my house for 8 years and I haven't the foggiest idea of what my trusses look like in my attic. There isn't an attic scuttle in my house and had we not stuck our head up in the attic to look around during a bathroom remodel a couple years back, I would have no idea what it looked like up there. I couldn't see the trusses because they were covered with blown insulation.

Any homeowner's duty to disclose is based on information they have actual knowledge of. They aren't obligated to investigate things that they suspect or could possibly be wrong. I encourage over disclosure so if one of my homeowners suspects something, I ask them to put it on the disclosure just in case, but my understanding of the law is that they aren't obligated to. In the end though, your plight will be your ability to prove that the owner know there was a problem and that they concealed it from you. Simply stating that they should have known will not be enough.

Cameron Piper
Coldwell Banker Burnet
Web Reference: http://www.campiper.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Hi, Jc!
I think the big issue here that nobody has mentioned is that the SELLER is an agent, or even, possibly, the LISTING agent of the house. Is that right, Jc?

If that's the case, the State of MN mandates that the owner/seller disclose anything they know to be true with regard to defects of the property. And, an additional layer of protection is that agents are bound by their licensure to do the same, only with even more diligence!

HOWEVER, if there is a defect that the seller/agent did NOT know about but was discovered later, there is no way they can be held accountable for same. And, unfortunately, the burden of proof is on you as the buyer to prove they had prior knowledge and did not disclose. Sorry. :(

Consult an attorney about your options if you decide to pursue litigation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
Cameron, good job with your answer... Jc, sorry to hear of your headaches!!

The only thing I would add to Cameron's post is this situation is one of the reasons why it is important for buyers to have a home inspection by a qualified professional.

Good luck with your chosen resolution path!

Chris Rocheford
Keller Williams Realty Integrity NW
Licensed in MN
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
Hi Jc, We assume there is a problem with the attic area that you should ask this question.
Our first question is did your home inspector inspect the Attic? If they did and something is wrong and that it was something that could be easily detected then we suggest that you look toward the inspector as well as Home owner.
Second there is a bit of Let the Buyer Beware here as well sorry to say but in some cases this will apply.
Third if the Home Owner covered up something that was in the attic this could be a problem for the Owner.
and lastly as an Agent we can only say that in NJ the rule is if it is in your eye range or something that you know of and you don't disclose it, it can become a violation and as a Realtor can be fined or worse,again only if it was something the Agent was aware of, or it is blantly obivous.

We should tell you that we bought our house years ago and only have been in the attic once, and that was when the inspection was going on, mostly because we don't have pull down stairs or regular stairs to get there.


All the Best
Dave & Lisa
Web Reference: http://www.urhomerealty.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 6, 2011
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