What should a seller disclose about his home when he shows it to you? The age of the roof and the hot water heater? That he has had water in the basement, every spring? That he had water in the basement, back in 1982? That his grandmother died in one of the bedrooms? That someone was killed there?
The easy answer is, the seller should disclose everything.
The other easy answer is (and it’s completely contradictory), buyer beware.
The New York Times ran a story about this very topic, a week or so, ago.
Disclosure about a death is sometimes a matter of state law, which regulates what you can say and not say. Disclosure of anything “relevant or material” is a requirement of any real estate agent who is licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
When you buy direct from someone, I’d say all bets are off. You’re on your own.
The reason I’m bringing this up?
The Boston Herald did a story this week, profiling a nice property for sale, on Clarendon Street, in between the South End and Back Bay.
From all accounts, an attractive home.
From the article:
The condoâ€™s current owners only occupied the place part time, so the unit has only been lightly used.
The living/dining space features like-new oak floors and two closets – one for coats, the other containing a stacked Maytag washer/dryer.
With light beige walls and recessed lighting, this room has a clean and modern look, with a Victorian touch of molding along the ceilingâ€™s edges.
Thereâ€™s a contemporary drop-light fixture over your dining table. The room also gets lots of natural light from a three-bay bow window overlooking Clarendon Street.
Additionally, the space features a fireplace with green granite surround and a white molded mantel. Thereâ€™s also an alcove thatâ€™s perfect for a bookcase and/or writing table.
The unitâ€™s 10-by-6-foot galley kitchen features oak floors and 16 white cabinets with a European look. Two cabinets are glass-fronted to display china.
So … here’s the question I have for readers.
Suppose a developer was putting up a $624 million, 980,000 square foot multi-use complex, directly across the street from this condo building.
Suppose a developer planned on putting up a 35-story tower with 162 luxury condominiums and 207 hotel rooms, a 14-story building with 217 condominiums, a 600-car, four-story parking garage to be surrounded on three sides by townhouses with a total of 140 condominiums, fifty-four affordable units, a new rectangular, half-acre park alongside the 14-story building and a new triangular, quarter-acre park, and ground floor retail, including a 10,000-square-foot grocery store?
Should the seller and/or seller’s agent be required to mention that to a buyer, before the buyer makes an offer?
Or should the seller figure the buyer will find out, on his own, and/or that the project across the street isn’t really relevant, since, one, it hasn’t even broken ground yet, and may never be built and, two, it’s not really relevant what’s going on over there, because it’s not part of the building, to begin with?
What do you think?
Clarendon call: Condo has best of South End, Back Bay – By Paul Restuccia, The Boston Herald
Some Buyers Regret Not Asking: Anyone Die Here? – By Stephanie Rosenbloom, The New York Times