SELLER DISCLOSURE

Q:

When we bought our house a year ago no one told us about all the highway work that went on forever, or the possibility that the ferry schedule could change and have fewer boats, or a whole lot of other things we’re just now learning. Isn’t all of that suppose to be in the seller’s disclosure? Don’t the real estate people have to tell us about those things?

A:

 

What must be disclosed is a very tricky subject. There are real estate classes and seminars on this topic all the time. The bottom line is that a Realtor is “obligated to discover and disclose adverse factors reasonably apparent to someone with” a real estate license. In other words, anyone paying close attention. Potential future changes in the ferry schedule are not even possible to know, much less disclose. Plus, sellers generally must only disclose those issues that relate to the specific property.

Road work is sometimes announced only a few weeks ahead of time but there is really no way that it’s impact can be predicted. The good news is that now we have a great, new roadway! Likewise, the Washington State Ferry system makes changes to their plans constantly and it’s hard to keep up, even if you’re paying close attention.

It’s critical, in my view, that buyers spend some time researching the issues concerning the ferries, particularly since they are planning to live on an island. It’s also important to go online to look at projects underway or planned by the County. Buyers should check out crime statistics, school ratings, County regulations, etc. That should happen even before buying here.

There’s no way anyone can anticipate what may happen in the future. It falls to the buyer to research those things that concern them. For instance, is there a County sign announcing a zoning change or new building permit? Then go online and find out more. Have you checked out the changes to the schedule planned for the ferry service from the state’s website? If not, do that research and attend local meetings about the proposed changes.

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