Buyers Due Diligence  aka… Caveat Emptor

by | Nov 3, 2015 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday November 7th , from 9am- 12pm (ish)  (full class)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Tuesday night, November 10th , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday November 14th , from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (SR 500 & 112th/Gher Road)

**please remember that in November & December we do limited classes because of the holidays.  If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy November!!

Well, here’s fall….and I am ok with it!  😀  Now that Halloween is done, we can move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas…finally!  I LOVE this time of year…  October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year, so I am one happy camper.  For me, it’s all about family, and this is the time of year that highlights that.  Now, don’t get me wrong…I like spring, and summer too, but there is something about these three months that just makes me happy.  Is it just me??

I know…I have to keep reminding you about our WINTER CLIENT APPRECIATION event will be held on Saturday, December 19, 2015, for the Opening Weekend of STAR WARS: The force awakens.  The event will be held from 2:30pm-5:30pm, with seating to start at 2:45pm.
Because this is expected to be a pretty big event, Chris Berg (Pinnacle Mortgage 503-320-0295,, & I are also renting out the top living room portion for 21+….and yes, there will be tickets this time that we will have available for pick up at the Pinnacle Mortgage office with Chris.  We are taking reservations now, so please…if you plan on attending let us know how many tickets you need.  The 21+ area is now full, but we currently have plenty (so far) for the general seating area.  We look forward to seeing you there!!  😀

I was trying to keep all my pictures Star Wars related between now and the Winter Client Appreciation Event, but I had to go off that plan and use this one. This sign always cracks me up….so why is this so funny to me?  Well, besides the obvious… I always get this question right around Halloween when showing homes.  There was another facebook/real estate post where a realtor was selling a home across from a graveyard.  On the sign there hung a rider that says, “Quiet neighbors”.  Brilliant!  …and funny.  It does make you wonder though….  When I am showing homes there are some questions I just can’t answer….is the home haunted?  Um….I don’t know?  Has there been a violent crime in the home or in the area?  Um…I don’t know?  Believe it or not, that isn’t considered a relevant fact when listing the home as it doesn’t actually affect the home.  What is a material fact, and what isn’t?  What is a seller supposed to disclose?

Caveat Emptor…  That famous Latin saying, and we all know what it means, right?  Buyer Beware.  In real estate this is very true.  As the buyer you are buying a home, whether freshly built, or x-y-z amount of years old based on the information you can find out about the home.  In real estate there are no ‘take backs’ or returns.  It’s not like that awful present that you can take it back for an exchange, or store credit.  You are buying the home…and just like marriage, it is for better or worse.  You are married to that mortgage until you sell the home.  Scared?  It’s ok…I always tell my clients that buying the home is scary…and if you aren’t scared…you’re crazy.  There is only one thing more expensive than buying a home and that is having a child. 🙂

Don’t be afraid though!  Part of being your real estate agents job is to help you through all the possible pitfalls of buying a home, and to explain everything as we go along.  We do this every day, and need to understand that you don’t.  As the buyer…remember that you are THE BOSS!  No one gets paid until you get keys, and we want you to get keys. 🙂  You have questions?  ASK!!!  …and expect clear, concise, and understandable answers from your agent.  Just so you know…as part of The Real Estate Law of Agency, there is the Vicarious Liability portion.  Our job is to tell you everything we know, find, out, or hear about the property.  Of course, there are limitations.  (I know…surprise!)  If an agent doesn’t know the answer, we shouldn’t tell you anything, but only help you to find a source for the information.  Why?  Agents have been sued for being wrong.  I never trust hearsay….for obvious reasons.  🙂  There is a lot an agent doesn’t know about the home as we are looking at the same information as you are.  We can, however, help you to get more information, or to help you research any information that is found out.  You need to know what you are getting into when buying a home….all the pro’s and all the con’s.  NO home is perfect…even if you have it built, but knowing what you are getting into can help you make the decision on which home is right for you.  A buyers agents job is to help you get there.

So…what about the Sellers Disclosure???

When selling a home, the seller (and sellers agent) is only obligated to disclose known material facts about the home on the sellers disclosure.  The sellers disclosure is about 6 pages long and the seller is ‘supposed to’ disclose all known facts about the home on it.  Now, these are only material facts that have happened during the current owners ownership.  Has the roof leaked during their ownership? If it has, and even if it has been fixed, it is supposed to be disclosed on the sellers disclosure.  However, if anyone has teenagers you know how often ‘supposed to’ gets done.  Some sellers will disclose ALL facts about the homes….even those items that have been repaired, some sellers will only disclose those items that they haven’t gotten around to fixing, and some sellers just have no idea about anything in their home.  Of course, this is why we do a home inspection.  It isn’t that you can’t trust the sellers, but when it comes down to it, most sellers don’t know anything about their home.  This is called ‘Buyers Due Diligence’.  A buyer does have some responsibility for doing some research on the home, and area, that they are wanting, or trying to, buy in.  If your real estate agent knows anything about the home or area then we have to legally disclose it.  However, if it isn’t considered a ‘material fact’, which is considered to be something that affects the home, then your real estate agent may not know about it either.

Sellers disclosures are filled out by the sellers on all homes….however, if the seller is a bank, or it is an estate, or an investor then there won’t be any sellers disclosures, or if there is, everything will be “don’t know”.  Even when you do receive a copy of the sellers disclosure though…remember to take it with a grain of salt, and hire a good inspector.  Many sellers now will even just put a majority of ‘don’t know’ answers on the sellers disclosure so as to not have any liability.  The majority of sellers aren’t trying to ‘hide’ anything about the home, they just truly don’t know.  A realtor will hand the sellers disclosure to their client, the seller, and that is it.  We, real estate agents, can not help the seller fill out the sellers disclosure at all.  If you have any questions regarding anything on the sellers disclosure, your buyers agent can request more information (if there is any) from the sellers through their sellers agent.  Make sure you also address any concern you have regarding the homes condition to the home inspector you hire.  He (or she) should be able to help you with that.  The inspector I usually refer out encourages the buyer to walk with him during the home inspection so that the buyer is part of that inspection.  I like to call it a ‘crash course in homeowning’.  🙂  By the time he is done with the inspection, my client usually knows more about the home than the current owner does!  I can’t stress it enough….ask questions!

Your realtor will help you find out as much about the home as possible.  Your real estate agent should be present at your home inspection, and so should you.  However, whether or not the home is haunted or not, we really can’t help you with.  Whether or not there has been a violent crime in the home or area is another thing that we really can’t help you with, but we CAN help you by providing some places where you can do some research.  Has anyone died in the home?  Again….I don’t know…, but if it is an older home, and an estate?  Maybe you should leave out some milk and cookies occasionally?  🙂

What about that new building being built in the neighborhood?  Your real estate agent probably doesn’t know what it is, and we shouldn’t guess.  That is something that a buyer will want to do some research on.  Is that garage conversion permitted?  Call the city/county.  Is there a landfill in the area?  Contact the city/county.  Your buyers agent will help you find the information, but when it comes down to it, because of past legal problems, we are now limited on the extent that we can delve into everything….but we can help you get there still.  It is weird, but there it is.  There is a lot your buyers agent will do for you, and we will do all that we can to make sure that you are getting the best customer service possible.  Your real estate agent should help you to make sure that you are performing your buyers due diligence to make sure that you won’t get any unexpected surprises later.  Now, does that mean there won’t be surprises?  Well, I wish I could tell you that you won’t have any, but that isn’t the case. You never really know a home, or neighborhood until you are actually living in it.  This is why we have a 10 day inspection/disclosure period.  It is during this time that you, the buyer, should be performing the home inspection, doing research on the home & neighborhood, researching the area, the schools, and whatever else is important to you.

I am a huge fan of talking with neighbors….neighbors are a great source of information on a home.  🙂  Please remember that you are not just buying the home, you are buying the neighborhood.  One of the questions I always ask my clients is if they have thought about the area they want to move to?  Have they looked into schools, if that is important.  Have they considered locations regarding work, or family/friends?  I encourage my clients to drive around.  Vancouver doesn’t really have a ‘good side’, or ‘bad side’…Clark county has a lot of ‘pocket neighborhoods’.  In a two mile radius you can have million dollar homes, new developments, ‘sketchy’ neighborhoods, and established ‘homey’ neighborhoods.  So definitely drive around…check out how well the neighbors are taking care of their yard, what vehicles are around, where are the parks?  Just remember that Clark County has something for everyone!  🙂  What are you looking for in a home/neighborhood?  What are your top 3 things you want (not counting price)?  As a realtor we can not ‘steer’ you towards, or away, from any neighborhood.  Our job is to help you find the best home we can, in your price range, that fits what you want.  As a realtor, I will help you get all the information I can, or direct you to places that can help you get that information.  For example… is an excellent site to check out neighborhoods, and schools.  Check it out!  🙂

So…buyers due diligence….talk to neighbors, walk around the home, and neighborhood… and write down a list of questions.  Ask your inspector about these questions to check out.  Ask your buyers agent to help you find out some answers to these questions, or if they can’t find the answers, help you find some places where you can do some research or ask questions.  Your buyers agent is here to help you!  Make sure you know what you are getting into….and any questions?  ASK!  …and keep asking until you get answers!   As always, if you have any questions, please call or email me…I am always here to help.  🙂  Remember…I am a real estate broker, and I look forward to helping you on your home buying adventure…and assisting you to get those keys.  😀  Whether you are buying, or selling your home, my goal is to be the real estate broker you think of.  I really want to help you with your first time, and every time.  I believe that real estate is about relationships…..and no…that is not a shameless plug!  LOL

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  

As always….this is just a quick overview…. please remember that your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

.   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:  Septic vs Sewer,   &  “When do I get KEYS?”

Last Week:   Heating Types (but I want AC)
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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