DEAR BARRY: As a Realtor, I am a big fan of your column, but I’m concerned about some advice you gave in a recent article. A couple was planning to sell their home and wanted advice about disclosure. The home was a "lemon" when they bought it, and they’d undergone great trouble and expense to have all the problems corrected.
You recommended that they provide "excessive disclosure," with which I heartily agree. However, your last paragraph states, "If you think some defects may have been missed when the repairs were done, simply state that the work was thoroughly done, to the best of your understanding."
Am I reading this incorrectly? If they think there are still defects, stating that the work was thoroughly done doesn’t ring true, does it? –Susan
DEAR SUSAN: Your point is greatly appreciated because you’ve drawn attention to a subtle ambiguity that had escaped my attention. In the article, the buyers had purchased a "lemon." After years of litigation against the builder, all known defects were corrected.
In the aftermath of that ordeal, the buyers were left with a lingering fear that some unknown defect might yet lurk in the recesses of the home. My advice was to thoroughly disclose the history of the home and to include in their disclosure that the work was thoroughly done, to the best of their understanding.
If they had expressed a specific concern about a particular problem that they believed had not been corrected, the advice in this column would have been different. In that case, further evaluation of the property by a qualified home inspector would have been recommended.
As I reread the article today, I can understand that you interpreted it differently than was intended, and unfortunately, other readers may have gotten the same impression.
The last thing a seller should ever do is minimize or gloss over conditions that would be of concern to a homebuyer. Total disclosure of property defects is the right thing to do, it is the ethical thing to do, and it is the best way to avoid liability problems after the deal is closed.
DEAR BARRY: We have significant termite damage in our roof framing and along the eaves. When repairing the damage, should we remove and replace our roof, which is old but in pretty good shape, or just do the repairs and wood replacement, with the old roof remaining in place? Which would be more practical? –Sherrill
DEAR SHERRILL: This type of repair is typically done without replacing the entire roof. Eave repairs sometimes involve replacement of the eave shingles, but termite companies and contractors are often able to make repairs without affecting the shingles at all.
Of course, this question is answered best by someone who can view the actual damage. Get some advice from at least two contractors before deciding on the scope of the work.