For Realtors

Buyer’s Agents: Buyers depend on agents to give them sound advice concerning their future investment; it is your obligation to make sure they are aware of potential liabilities.  We see many instances where owners complain of agents not warning them of leaking tank liabilities when they purchased their property years ago.  These owners might be perfectly happy until they are ready to sell their property again and interested buyers start investigating their tank situation.  As an agent for a buyer you must recommend to your clients; 1) inspection of a heating oil tank for leakage, or 2) investigate the potential presence of a tank on premises even if a tank was not disclosed by the seller(s).

If a buyer declines to investigate a tank condition or the potential presence of a tank, make sure you get something in writing from your client (the buyer) that he/she declined to investigate. We recommend you saving that written proof in case you need it for future references.    We have created an Acknowledgement-of-Liability-Buyers for buyers to sign if they decline to investigate a potential tank liability.  The form is attached for you to print and use if you wish.

Seller’s Agent: The biggest liability for a seller’s agent is to not properly disclose the presence of a tank or any other environmental concern(s) there might be.  You must make sure you are protecting your seller and yourself when selling an older home by disclosing the presence of a tank or former tank.  In order to be safe disclose when in doubt.

It has become more of a trend for seller’s agents to recommend to the seller to remove a tank prior to placing the property on the market.  Agents are realizing tanks can dissolve a purchase agreement after months of hard work to get to the agreement phase.  We see many transactions fall apart at the eleventh hour when mortgage companies and/or insurance agencies require removal or inspection of the tank prior to providing services to the buyer.  The fewer obstacles a sale face during the contractual and due diligence phase, the better chance one has to close on a property making the process more efficient for all agents.

 

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