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Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Hay­den Groves

When sell­ing real estate, the agent is most com­monly act­ing for and on be­half of the seller and is obliged un­der an industry Code of Con­duct to fol­low the seller’s in­struc­tions, un­less it is un­law­ful or un­eth­i­cal to do so.

Un­der the same code, the agent is also obliged to be “fair to all other par­ties” in­clud­ing the buyer. But what does be­ing fair re­ally mean in the con­text of a prop­erty trans­ac­tion?

The an­swer has sev­eral grey ar­eas but cer­tainly agents are obliged to dis­close any “ma­te­rial fact” about a prop­erty prior to a con­tract to buy be­ing formed. What is a ma­te­rial fact? Ma­te­rial facts are loosely de­fined as be­ing in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to the prop­erty that could cause a buyer to re­think their de­ci­sion to pur­chase. While this may sound straight­for­ward, it can ac­tu­ally be quite tricky to de­ter­mine what a ma­te­rial fact is. It’s of­ten very sub­jec­tive be­cause in­for­ma­tion which might be con­sid­ered unim­por­tant to one buyer may be of crit­i­cal im­por­tance to an­other.

Al­though be­ing fair in­cludes an­swer­ing ques­tions hon­estly and pro­vid­ing gen­eral ad­vice, this does not nec­es­sar­ily ex­tend to sug­gest­ing which con­di­tions a buyer may want to in­clude as part of their of­fer to pur­chase. The agent is work­ing for the seller, and it’s in the seller’s best in­ter­est to re­ceive as few con­di­tions as pos­si­ble.

Of course, the depth of in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to the buyer can vary. Some agents may sug­gest the buyer in­cludes a se­ries of standard con­di­tions in their of­fer. While this sug­ges­tion is tech­ni­cally out­side of the agent’s man­date, it is a com­mon, industry-ac­cepted ap­proach, par­tic­u­larly when deal­ing with in­ex­pe­ri­enced buy­ers.

Con­versely, some agents will sim­ply ask the buyer if they wish to add any con­di­tions to their of­fer and leave it at that.

Ei­ther way, it’s in the buyer’s best in­ter­est to be well pre­pared be­fore mak­ing an of­fer. Ask the agent per­ti­nent ques­tions about the prop­erty’s age and con­di­tion (and re­ceive an hon­est an­swer), but don’t as­sume they are there to pro­vide you with guid­ance on what con­di­tions you need.

My ad­vice is to pre­de­ter­mine what spe­cial con­di­tions you think you re­quire prior to mak­ing the of­fer. If you do de­cide you’d like to in­clude con­di­tions with your of­fer, be sure they are drafted in a man­ner that pro­vides the con­trac­tual pro­tec­tion you’re seek­ing.

It’s also pru­dent to be vig­i­lant af­ter set­tle­ment to en­sure these con­di­tions have been ful­filled. If you are un­sure whether to in­clude con­di­tions in your of­fer or how to draft them, con­sider ask­ing a buyer’s agent for ad­vice.

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