How can you be sure that sellers are being upfront with agents about their property?

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August 20 2012 - Cicero
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I do all of my homework and have our internal title company research the home before listing.  Then I have software that I use that shows any mortgages or lis pendens.  I check tax records for delinquencies etc.  As far as home disclosures, in Florida we can only disclose what the seller tells us.  Anything that materially affects the value of a property MUST be disclosed.  The good thing is if the seller lies to us, THEY are responsible for damages to the buyer because the courts know we, as REALTORS(R), cannot be psychic.  Bottom line, is you hope for the best and do your due diligence but you never really know for sure~

Jeff Metcalf, REALTOR(R)
Watson Realty Corp.
St. Augustine, FL
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August 22 2012
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The best thing you can do is consult title agencies and county records on updates and permits. There is no way to insure they will be telling the 100% truth, so doing extra homework is best.
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August 24 2012
No prob Christina~ MMT - Metro Market Trends is great. Sometimes it has too much info. haha I am also very blessed to have my own title company in the same building, though. They are an invaluable resource because they can find anything that I miss. My recommendation is to get in good with a title company in your town. Find someone you could do business with and have lunch with. Then whenever you get a new listing, drop off the file with them before you even have a buyer and they will usually be more than happy to research the property to ensure the sellers aren't "forgetting" to tell you something~ ;o)   Just know that once they do the homework they expect to get the closing as a courtesy.  Since whoever is paying picks the title company in Florida this can be tough at times.  But over time you'll build a relationship and they will understand the occassional fall-through.
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August 24 2012
Let's say you've done what a solid listing agent should do which is to check city building violations, pending foreclosure (lis pendens), and other liens.

But you still want to know more.

If you have already signed the listing contract, you may want to show up with a military looking gentleman (check nearby Walmart, country western bar, or VA waiting room), and explain that he was stationed at Guantanamo, and is a top rated military information extractor. You obviously can't threaten them, but you can have this gentleman on the lawn, as you talk, submerging a large watermelon in a bucket of water.

They may decide to disclose that there was a little leak in the basement, and oh yeah, there is some shorting happening in the upstairs bedroom that has never been solved. Oh, uh, wait, yeah, wow, he sure keeps that melon down for a long time, uh, yeah, we also had a fireplace over by the Plasma, but we covered it up after it burned down the front half of the house.

Go get 'em tiger.
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August 23 2012
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You can't be sure that sellers are being upfront as a buyer or an agent. A working relationship with a local title company is a good way to double check information that a seller gives you.
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August 23 2012
Hey Jeff, Thanks for the insight! What software do you use for checking lid pendens and mortgages? Thanks! Christina
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August 23 2012
 
Related Questions
How can you be sure that sellers are being upfront with agents about their property?
Profile picture for MBExclusive
Latest answer by MBExclusive
August 24 2012 | 6 answers
  • Asked by Christina Closson
  • In Agents
  • August 20 2012
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