A material fact? What’s that?

A material fact is defined as something that may influence someones decision one way or another if it was known to them.  In other words if a buyer is looking at your home and they loved it but you know on rainy days your septic tank ends up on your front yard.   Well the buyer was there on a nice sunny day.  They did not see the property on a day that the sewage runs through the yard like the Rio Grand.  This may actually make the buyer not want to purchase the property knowing they will need to put in a new $10,000 septic system.  This would be a material fact.

There is a seller’s property disclosure form that needs to be filled out when a property is listed.  This form is given to potential buyers when they show interest in a property or when they make an offer.  This form is pretty thorough and black and white.  There is a column on most items though that troubles me a bit and does sometimes through up a red flag.  That is the “don’t know” column.  This is fine for some things but if they check “don’t know” all down the line then there is an issue.  Banks, if they even decide to fill one out do this all the time.  Now it is fine because most bank officers haven’t lived it the foreclosure.   The problem is when a person living a property for 20 years doesn’t know if the garbage disposal is working.

There are times that you will move into a home and find a major defect that the previous owner really didn’t know about. This is just bad luck. It will happen from time to time but most sellers know there property as well as you know yours.  I always tell my clients “over disclose” it is much better to tell someone up front and diffuse a situation than to have it blow up during inspections.

As a buyer material facts that pertain to you are the ability of you to financially close the deal and the fact that you will be living in the property as your primary residence.

The thing to take from this article about material facts is JUST DISCLOSE EVERYTHING! It is much better for a buyer to go into a situation knowing the roof leaks during heavy rain that for them to find it with their inspector half way through the process.  The first thing that pops into their head is, “what else is this guy hiding from us?”.

This isn’t legal or real estate advise. It’s just the views of a Realtor.