Minimize Your Risk

Real estate professionals shouldn’t use staging to hide defects

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

When the real estate market is hot, buyers will often make competitive offers and may choose to overlook major issues at properties. Buyers may accept a property with problems like a bad foundation or a leaky roof in their desperation to secure a home.

As the market softens and there is less competition between buyers, those hoping to find a home often become more selective about the properties they view. As a real estate agent representing a seller, it is in your best interests and your clients’ best interests for you to maximize how much they earn on the transaction.

Making the property as attractive as possible to potential buyers is an important part of getting your clients the money they deserve. However, you need to be careful that your efforts at staging do not cross the line into actively hiding defects in the property.

Written and visual disclosure protects you and your clients

Buyers can potentially take a seller or their real estate agent to court over undisclosed defects. Florida law requires that sellers advise buyers of any issues that they know about with the property, ranging from bad seals on their windows to issues with the wiring.

Some issues are problems that you could potentially hide by putting down a carpet or covering over cracks with a little bit of putty and paint. Although it may seem like a smart idea to minimize the visibility of certain defects, the more you try to cover up issues, the greater the risk that buyers will make a claim against you later.

Honesty is crucial for real estate professionals and their clients

If you want to avoid issues that could cost you your license or derail a pending transaction, it is important that you make the property look as nice as possible without actively trying to hide signs of defects from the buyers.

If you notice issues with the property, adding those issues to the written disclosure is often a smart idea. Real estate agents wary of prior activities that could put their license at risk or concerned about angry communications from someone who bought a client’s home may benefit from discussing the situation with an attorney familiar with Florida real estate laws.

Being proactive about protecting your reputation and your license is important for you as a real estate professional working in Florida.