A buyer in Boston is suing her real estate agent because after buying a condo, she found that the person who lives below her smokes. The agent says that she was never asked if there were smokers in the building. I am not a judge, and not attempting to decide this suit, but it will be an interesting one to watch. If the buyer specifically asked about secondhand smoke, I believe the agent should have done everything in his power to find out the true answer. However, it would be very difficult for the agent to be able to disclose everything that might bother the buyer. If the buyer never asked about cigarette smoke, how could the agent have known she was allergic?
My question is more focused on just what responsibility the buyer needs to take in doing their own due diligence, and how much it is the agent’s job to find out EVERYTHING about the property.
Do I need to disclose that a neighbor has a dog? If we see it out running around, I might point it out, but if he’s inside?? How could I know? If a dog is a deal breaker, let me know, and I will go ask the neighbor if they have a dog.
What about geese? If the neighborhood has a pond, should I remind the buyer that there may be geese on the property from time to time?
What about a garbage dump? If the house is near a garbage dump, prison, airport, railroad track, etc., is it my job to find that out and bring it to the attention of the buyer?
I do try to talk these things over with my buyers, and I always advise buyers to drive around the area to see what is nearby and what concerns they may have. I am not a psychic though, so if you have a concern, like a smoke allergy, just ask, and I would do my best to get an answer for you. If you feel strongly about something, it is important that you discuss it with your agent!
What are your thoughts on this case?