Is The Listing Accurate?
Let me give you another newsflash so I make this point very clear about checking all records at the town hall. Many people think the information in a real estate listing is always accurate. THAT'S NONSENSE!!!! If you read the bottom of all real estate listings and other data sources, you'll see a statement such as, "Data Is Believed Accurate But Not Warranted." Do you know what that means? Well, I'll tell you anyway. It's a caveat which means that if the information in the real estate listing or data source is wrong, then you cannot hold the listing Realtor or data company accountable for the error. In most areas, Realtors are not required to check the records at town hall to verify the information that the seller tells them to fill out a real estate listing. On a daily basis I see cases where a real estate listing states: the subject property has a 200 amp electrical system, when it only had 100 amps; or the house was connected to the city sewer system, when it actually had a septic system; or the size of the lot was one acre, when it was less than one acre; or the square footage and age of the house was incorrect on the real estate listing, etc.
Let me give you another newsflash to make it clear about checking all records at the town hall. Many people think that the information in a real estate listing is always accurate. THAT'S NONSENSE!!!!
So, remember to tell your clients not to rely on the information found in real estate listings! If there is a "know-it-all " Realtor at the site they're probably going to tell your client that you're wrong. The Realtor will say that their real estate listing is 100% accurate. If any Realtors dispute the advice you give to your clients, then just tell that Realtor or other third party to put their money where their mouth is! Let me explain this since it's a great way to silence an immoral, greedy, or ignorant Realtor or other third party: If any Realtors dispute the advice you give to your clients, then just tell them to write a signed statement that they want to guarantee to your client that if the Realtor or other third party are wrong, then THEY will pay the bill - not your client! Just about every time I get a Realtor who earns a commission on the sale disputing what I say, I prove them wrong. Once you respond confidently and firmly (but not rudely) to know-it-all Realtors, it usually shuts them up for the rest of the inspection or appraisal. I can't even count the number of times that I've had a know-it-all Realtor tell my clients and I, "My real estate listing is 100% correct, I checked it myself." Before the inspection or appraisal is over, I always seem to find something in the listing that's inaccurate. When this happens, these Realtors never seem to admit that they were wrong. Someone needs to inform ignorant Realtors that maybe they don't know as much about real estate as they think they do. We'll talk more about this later.
Realtors (some of them) and other data source employees don't intentionally put inaccurate information into a listing sheet. They generally rely on the seller to provide the information, or else the Realtor may think that they know what they're doing. The seller or the Realtor may unintentionally make a mistake. So it's not that they're trying to hide the truth from potential buyers. It's just that someone can make a mistake with the data. That's why all records need to be checked at town hall. This will help prevent incorrect information from going unnoticed.
At town hall the records will show: the amount of taxes on the house, the square footage and age of the house, the acreage of the site, if there are any building violations, if there are any easements or encroachments, if there are problems with the title and deed of the property, and a lot more. All of this information is very valuable to you and the client. Most people don't even realize how much information is open for the public to view at their local town hall records department. If you're thorough in your trip to town hall and you end up finding something out that's important, then you'll look like a hero. Your client will thank you for finding the important information.