How Not to Get Sued (aka, Top Tips for Disclosing)

Lawyers This comes from a great article I saw last week in the Los Altos Town Crier. Talked about a recent panel of real estate lawyers (now THAT’S a bit of a scary combination of 3 words), discussing numerous issues, chief among them, disclosures.

Here were the highlights:

  • In today’s economic times, when much of the market is in turmoil, litigation cases have increased because there are many buyers who want to get out of deals they have made.
  • When markets are good, the RE lawyers are busy. When markets are bad, they’re really busy.
  • Attribute and disclaim: attribute where you get your information. If you didn’t verify the information, say so, and cite the source of your information.
  • Document, document, document: once in litigation, people make up stories, so make sure you document everything, even telephone conversations. Email works best for this and is easy to confirm.
  • Disclose, disclose, disclose: you can’t disclose enough, and there is no harm in over-disclosing.
  • Agents and their sellers should disclose what they know or what they’ve heard — even rumors.  There’s no need to check them out, but they need to disclose what they’ve heard. How far back should old disclosures be disclosed? Their answer: forever.
  • Intentional failure to disclose is fraud.
  • Keep files as long as possible.
  • Finally, if ever in litigation, the panelists advised hiring a good attorney because there are many incompetent attorneys with little knowledge or experience in real estate law.  Beware of dumb lawyers.
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Filed under Community Info, mt. carmel, real estate, redwood city

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