Q: We are due to close escrow on our house in two weeks. Yesterday, the piping delivering water to our ice maker leaked. It ruined the hardwood floor under and near the refrigerator. The contractor who originally installed the hardwood floor is a neighbor who says he needs four to five days for repairs. This contractor arranged to have his plumber replace the copper piping and valves servicing the ice maker. The work begins tomorrow under a rush agreement due to the home sale.

We mentioned the leak and repair to our seller’s agent in passing, never dreaming he would make such a fuss about it. He claims it is a disclosure issue, and the homebuyers need a supplemental disclosure form from us immediately.  When we questioned the purpose, our seller’s agent claimed the homebuyers need 72 hours to consider the new disclosure to cancel the sale or move forward. We feel there is no reason to jeopardize the completion of our home sale. Who is right?

A: Real estate attorneys would agree with your listing agent. However, the quality of your written disclosure is paramount. Poorly written disclosures can and do unnecessarily scare off homebuyers. In your case, if you were to write, “Water leak under the refrigerator — now fixed,”  it could quickly compromise the sale, at least briefly, due to the ominous tone. Conversely, if you list prudent steps of corrections written in the sequence and provide proof of each professional involved, the homebuyers will be impressed instead of distressed. For instance, “Water piping valve to ice maker leaked. Wood flooring affected was removed by a licensed contractor — supplemental inspection and report issued by licensed termite operator while wood members exposed. Water piping and valves to the refrigerator removed and replaced by a licensed plumber. See attached reports, photos and paid invoices.”

When home sellers and their seller’s agents slow down and deftly address every disclosure, sales occur faster, fewer transactions fall apart, and the ever common post-litigation is avoidable. Comply with your seller’s agent’s request. But follow my example; the homebuyers will realize, not only did they buy the right home, they’re doing business with the right home sellers.

Questions? Realtor Pat Kapowich is a career-long consumer protection advocate and Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager. 408-245-7700 Pat@SiliconValleyBroker.com DRE# 00979413 www.SiliconValleyBroker.com YouTube.com/PatKapowich




By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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