How to verify an agent is being ethical

4 Replies

My wife and I purchased a flip off the MLS a little bit ago. Everything went along well till a bit of a hiccup at the end when the seller (owns the neighboring property) realized they didn't have a direct driveway into the property and tried to 3 hours after anyone signed get an easement off of us to get access to use our driveway (no way too much liability). Well that same neighboring house is now under contract and I'm concerned that the selling agent may not have disclosed that the driveway isn't communal. Is there anyway to verify because the last thing I would want is a problem for the new buyer and me because the old owner didn't want to dish out money to put in a drive way on his property.

Oh that's a weird problem.

Find the selling agent and let them know the deal. I think you should be quite firm here too. If there is any discrepancy later (and it sounds like there will be), you'll want that email to show you said that driveway was not community use and you want it to be CLEAR that she was sly, and you were upfront.

Originally posted by @Jackson Pontsler :

My wife and I purchased a flip off the MLS a little bit ago. Everything went along well till a bit of a hiccup at the end when the seller (owns the neighboring property) realized they didn't have a direct driveway into the property and tried to 3 hours after anyone signed get an easement off of us to get access to use our driveway (no way too much liability). Well that same neighboring house is now under contract and I'm concerned that the selling agent may not have disclosed that the driveway isn't communal. Is there anyway to verify because the last thing I would want is a problem for the new buyer and me because the old owner didn't want to dish out money to put in a drive way on his property.

- To answer your question directly, have your agent get a copy of the disclosures associated with that listing. 

- I'm-not-a-lawyer-but-what-I'd-do-in-your-shoes: I'd probably put little surveyor flags up along the property line, effectively letting people viewing that home know. Maybe even block your driveway with orange cones... buyer's agents showing the house may otherwise pull into your driveway, implying to a reasonable client that access to that driveway comes with the home - this sort of "implication" to a "reasonable person" is where otherwise reasonable people can get into disagreements! A lot of homebuyers don't read the disclosures or look at the plat map, but they will notice cones and surveyor flags all over the place. Take pictures of this, maybe even go down to kinkos or fedex and spend $20 to notarize the date of the pictures so a judge can later line those pictures up with the adjacent home being listed for sale with certainty (so no one can say "I didn't know" or "I never saw any flags or cones, you're crazy").

- Speaking of implication... read up on "Implied Easements," maybe buy an hour or two of a real estate lawyer's time. 

Good that you're thinking of this now and being proactive, rather than reactive. 

@Jackson Pontsler   It's the agent that should be the most worried about failing to disclose the lack of access.  

Misrepresenting driveway access is a fast ticket to getting sued by the buyer.

In addition to the other good suggestions here, I'd suggest a certified letter / return receipt to the broker at that agency.  

You can also look at the listing to see how many and what kind of parking spots are claimed there.  If it says "on street parking", you should be OK.  But if it claims driveway parking, it's time to step things up.  You could consider posting a sign that says "Private Driveway - no access for 123 Main St".