Jim Valentine: Notes about some real estate forms
Residential real estate is all about the forms. Agents use computer form programs that are mostly a fill-in-the-blank format. There are, however, many disclosure and addendum forms that may be required depending on the nature of the property.
Every residential sale must have a “Sellers Real Property Disclosure” completed. It is important that you understand what is being represented with this document. The criteria for filling out the form is the question, “Are you aware of any problems and/or defects with any of the following?” It then lists the many systems or potential systems of the home. This is not a warranty, simply a disclosure of what the seller knows. If the seller inherited the property or has not lived in the property, there will be little known to disclose. This does not replace the need for a physical inspection where a trained, certified, bonded professional inspects the home for defects.
The “Right to Farm” disclosure has been a county requirement for any real estate transaction in Lyon County for several years now. It puts the public on notice about the agricultural operations in the area and the fact that they are allowed to occur. A small portion of the form includes the following: Buyer could be subject to inconveniences or discomfort arising from agricultural operations. These might include but are not limited to the spraying, cleaning and maintenance of irrigation water deliver systems as well as traffic, noise, odors, dust, chemicals, smoke, inspects, operation of machinery (during any 24-hour period), aircraft operation and storage and disposal of agriculture byproducts, including manure. There is much more detailed information on the form that must be signed by the buyer of any real estate transaction in Lyon County.
There is a relatively new form for Douglas County that addresses the subject, but it is vague and more of a public notice form that a detailed disclosure. Douglas County supports the right to farm and has strict guidelines and practices for disclosure including the requirement for the assessor to mail the following notice when mailing the annual tax bill: “Douglas County has declared it a policy to protect and encourage agricultural operations. If your property is located near an agricultural operation, you may at some time be subject to inconvenience or discomfort arising from agricultural operations. If conducted in a manner consistent with proper and accepted standards, these inconveniences and discomforts do not constitute a nuisance for purposes of the Douglas County Code.” It does not, however, require the disclosure to be a part of every real estate transaction.
Nevada law requires that in every residential transaction the agent shall present the buyer and seller with the Nevada Residential Disclosure Guide, the disclosure of the disclosures. The acknowledgement form must be in the offer package. Some brokerages require their agents to have the disclosure a part of vacant land sales just to be on the safe side. It doesn’t say which forms one should use; rather, it is a disclosure of which forms are available for a party to a transaction to use.
Our advice: Don’t assume all the forms an agent presents to you need to be signed. Some are required by law, others are required by the broker as a means of liability protection but aren’t legally required. If you don’t understand what you are signing, ask questions. If you are uncomfortable with a non-essential form, tell your agent and have it removed. The transaction is yours and therefore should meet with your approval.
If you don’t like the boilerplate language on a form, you can change it to suit your wants/needs. Ask your agent about the consequences, don’t make changes that will take you out of the running to buy the house you want. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs … Experience is Priceless!