Boston Real Estate for Sale

From an article in the Globe:

Dear Barry,

The house next door has a central heating system that is very noisy at the roof vent. It’s not so bad during the day, but at night it wakes everyone in my home. Recently, the house was listed for sale, so I wrote a letter to the agent and informed her of the problem, hoping that someone would have it fixed. She acknowledged receipt, but nothing more was said. After the house sold, I spoke to the new owner. She said the agent had never mentioned the noisy heater vent. How could the agent have failed to disclose this after receiving my letter? –Mike

Dear Mike,

Agents and sellers are required to disclose any conditions that could be of concern to a buyer or that could adversely affect a buyer in any way. The agent who received your complaint but failed to disclose it to the buyer was in violation of that requirement. This omission was as foolish as it was unethical because it subjected the parties of the transaction to potential conflict and liability.


I don’t know about that. I certainly agree that anything material must be disclosed to the buyer. In this case, it seems more likely that the neighbor has had a real problem with the owners, over the years, due to the noisy vent. Apparently, the owners either didn’t want to get it fixed, or didn’t think it was as noisy as the neighbor said. The sales agent presumably asked the sellers if they considered it a problem, and presumably, the sellers said no.

Does an agent have to disclose every single thing somebody says? No.

It’s implied by the story that the buyers closed and moved in. It’s not mentioned whether or not they think there is a problem.

Maybe the neighbor is a total whack job.

More: Listing agent keeps noisy vent hidden from buyers: Why neighbor’s complaint warrants disclosure – By Barry Stone, Inman News, by way of The Boston Globe

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Updated: January 2018

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