(Vol 1.44) October 2, 2014
By Craig Franklin Chambers Esq. 7851 S. Elati Street #204, Littleton, CO 80120
The Littleton Lawyer.
As a Littleton lawyer practicing real estate law and divorce and family law in the Denver area, including Denver, Englewood, The Tech Center, Littleton (including Ken Caryl, The Valley and the North Ranch), Grant Ranch, Highlands Ranch, Roxborough Park, and Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson County, one of the biggest problems I come across is the failure of the Seller to fully disclose the condition of a home in a residential real estate transaction. The buyer should perform his own due diligence in inspecting the physical aspects of the home, the fiscal health of the governing homeowner's association, and the details of the loan he is seeking to acquire.
The Buyer expects the fundamental features of the home such as the roof, furnace, and structure to be functional, and, as part of the due diligence, he usually inspects them along with the cosmetics of the home in his home inspection. A typical buyer will spend $300-500 for a home inspection and will review the seller's property disclosures. Based on that, he will proceed with the transaction.
The problem with the Seller's Property Disclosure is that the Seller is completing it in contemplation of selling the home. He may understate the problems with the home. Some Sellers are more detail-oriented than others; some have better memories; and some are plain dishonest. The Seller's Property Disclosure should be treated more as a rough sketch of the home than a reliable representation as to the condition of the home. The real estate brokers, too, anxious to bring the deal to close, may understate the problems with the home.
The problem with home inspectors is that they have no governmental regulation and or required training. Real Estate Brokers, Lenders, and Appraisers, are all licensed and regulated by the Colorado Real Estate Commission. Not professional home inspectors. Anyone can be a professional home inspector. That is why I recommend home inspectors with professional degrees or experience such as degrees in civil or structural engineering.
My best advice is to not only rely on the real estate brokers, home inspections or the Seller's disclosures before you purchase a home. Do your own due diligence. Find out as much as you can about a property before buying it.
Don't be shy when you are purchasing a home. Hire the best and most thorough experts. Beyond that, check with the county where the home is located as to what permits have been pulled and whether the county has signed off on them.
If it is the purchase of a new home, check on the reputation of the builder and if any lawsuits have been filed against him. Attend the HOA meetings, review the minutes from the meeting, and talk to the neighbors.
You would be surprised what the neighbors know about the home you are considering, and the culture of the neighborhood is often just as important in many respects as the amenities in the home you are buying.