Earlier this week, we looked at the lies Buyers tell their real estate agents. Of course Sellers can lie too. Here are our favourites:
“I’ve never had any issues with a leaky basement.” Some Sellers, unfortunately, feel that if they are honest with their real estate agent about what’s wrong with their house, they’ll never get the price they want. The law is clear about what Sellers need to disclose – and the consequences of not disclosing can be significant. Click here to read more about the need to disclose defects when selling a house.
“We’re selling the house because we want to move” (but really, we’re getting a divorce). This one happens all too frequently and for the record, we can always tell when you’re splitting up and lying about why you want to sell. Life happens and it isn’t always happily ever after. We get it. And while it’s important that potential buyers don’t find out your motivations for selling (and thus assume you’re desperate to sell), you should be able to be honest with your real estate agent. It’s much easier for us to communicate with you when we know what’s going on – and it’s helpful for us to be ready when we’re called upon to help mediate between you and your spouse (which will inevitably happen).
“Yes, we completed the work with permits.” While it’s always great if you did in fact get permits to do your renovations, if you didn’t, it’s best to be up front about it. It’s easy for a potential buyer to check and the last thing you want is to be caught lying. That could be a very expensive lie.
“The neighbours are great.” While we hope this is the case, if there’s a problem with your neighbour, we’d rather know about it at the beginning. One of our favourite real estate stories happened a few years ago when our buyer clients almost bought a house next door to an illegal rooming house, complete with a history of arson and murder. Yes murder. Click here of you missed that real estate horror story.
“We aren’t desperate to sell.” Every single Seller tells their real estate agent this – and sometimes it’s the truth, and sometimes it’s not. If you need to sell, it’s best to be honest about it – the marketing, pricing and negotiating strategies your agent recommends will absolutely depend on your needs. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the maximum price for your home – but how you go about it doing it and what options you have will be different. (we looked at the difference between needing to sell and being willing to sell in an earlier blog).
“The bathroom has just been renovated and the appliances are new.” New means new – not 1 year old, or 5 years old. I realize that your renovations probably feel like you just did them, and to you they are so much better than what you lived with before. But when we’re selling your property, facts matter. And yes, we will look at the photos on MLS from when you bought the home, so if you didn’t do the renovations yourself, we’ll know.
The good news for Buyers is that most Sellers aren’t liars – and if they inadvertently stretch the truth or ‘forget’ to disclose something, a good REALTOR will do their fact checking so that you know what you’re buying. And if all else fails, that’s what your lawyer and the courts are for.