Last week, I blogged about why sellers have to disclose certain issues to buyers. This week, I want to talk about agents.
The seller is liable if he or she hides something. However, if the seller doesn’t try to hide something, but the agent discourages the buyer from investigating, the agent can be liable. In a case out in BC, a couple bought a home through the seller’s agent. A previous deal had fallen through because of a home inspection that revealed mould around a window. The seller thought he had fixed it, and would have allowed a future buyer to do a home inspection. The agent, however, told the buyers that they didn’t need to have an inspection. After closing, they discovered extensive black mould that cost almost $70,000.00 to fix. The court found that the seller had no responsibility for the cost, because he had not tried to hide anything, but found the agent fully responsible.
The lesson here? If you are an agent acting on both sides, you must be very careful to ensure that the buyer has enough opportunity to be aware of what they are buying.