Just as Concerning as Too Messy

The only thing worse than biting into an apple with a worm is  . . . biting into an apple with half a worm!


Is there really such a thing as a too-clean Seller’s Home Disclosure (required in Minnesota and many other states)?


Even the best-built homes over time have issues.

Roofs can leak or get ice dams; plumbing ruptures or backs up; gutters get clogged and let water accumulate too close to the house.

And on and on and on.

The real issue, as sophisticated Buyers know, usually isn’t that something went wrong — but what the Seller did about it.

Best and Worst Cases

The best scenario:  the Seller had the problem professionally repaired; took any preventative steps that were indicated; and hasn’t had any further issues.

At the other extreme, there’s the “too-clean” Seller Disclosure.

When you see an older home that’s had a long-time owner and nary a problem — like I did the other week in Edina — your (my) antennae immediately shoot up.

The explanation?

According to the listing agent, the Seller had never lived in the home (it was an estate sale), but didn’t want to waive the Seller’s Disclosure or sell “As Is” because “that makes Buyers suspicious.”

Here’s a news flash:  so does a too-spare Seller’s Disclosure.

Much better to simply tell prospective Buyers about the true circumstances (which are usually apparent, anyways).

Piece of advice #2:  use your own words, not your Realtor’s (or attorney’s). 

An overly “polished” Seller’s Disclosure is also fairly conspicuous.

P.S.:  One reason why I think Buyers can place more faith in Sellers’ Disclosures in Minnesota than elsewhere:  state Realtors have an independent duty to disclose what they know.

In other words, if the client won’t tell Buyers about a known problem, their agent has to.

Or resign the listing — which can and does happen.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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