SELLER PROTECTION By Jeff Stewart, CCIM
A local Austin legal firm has come up with an interesting idea for added protection for home sellers. We had a presentation today from attorney Boone Almanza on the particulars of the new product they have named Sellers Shield. Sellers Shield, which costs $240.00, is designed to provide sellers with legal support after the sale in the event of a lawsuit or demand letter from the subsequent buyers. The agreement states that the coverage begins after closing, is for a two year period, and is limited by some conditions and exclusions.
Boone represents a number of real estate firms in Austin and is very tuned in to the types of disputes that unfortunately end up in court. He stated that the vast majority are related to the state-required seller’s disclosure. In fact, the first exhibit filed in court, according to Boone, is usually the seller’s disclosure. Few Sellers realize how critical it is that they give in-depth details in their written disclosure. Several of my attorney friends have told me that if a client asks if something should be disclosed, then the answer is yes . . . period.
In his explanation today, Boone stressed that ANY known problem should be disclosed. This included the problems that were believed to have been solved years ago and even any problems that might have predated the current seller. The old adage in real estate was location, location, location. The new one may be disclose, disclose, disclose!
All of this reemphasizes the need to sell with a good home warranty. Years ago, a national real estate firm conducted a study. They learned that 80% of the lawsuits that they or their clients had been involved in might have been avoided with a simple one year warranty. Indeed, Boone told us that most of the lawsuits he has seen over single family residences have been settled for less than $6000.
None of us wants to look over our shoulder after a sale. These two important products can provide some peace of mind for sellers for less than a combined cost of $750. Considering how expensive Austin real estate is, that does not sound too bad.
PLEASE READ: Texas law requires all real estate licensees provide the following Information About Brokerage Services (IABS) to prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords. To review document click on this link: IABS
Jeff Stewart, CCIM
Stanberry & Associates