You and your partner have lived in a local home for the past 15 years. During that time, the home has been
subjected to normal wear and tear. In addition to the usual worn carpets and need for fresh paint in most of the rooms you have witnessed that the basement has flooded on at least one occasion and there have been instances where a bucket has been used to catch moisture that drips from the kitchen ceiling.
Recently the two of you have decided to pull up stakes and move to a new home in South Lake Union. You will have to sell the only home you have ever owned and want to make sure you get top dollar considering how expensive the South Lake Union neighborhood has become in the last 5 years. Who would have ever thought that living near the "Mercer Street mess" would be so desirable.
After some consideration, you decide to retain the services of a real estate broker to handle listing your home and marketing it in hopes of finding a buyer. You interview 3 brokers and listen to the pitch of each of these individuals while they try to convince you why you should them to be your real estate agent. You finally select Ben from AJACKS Real Estate to handle your property.
Ben wants to ask you some questions about the home so that he can market it correctly. First, he wants to know if there are any material defects in the home. You tell him about the wet basement and roof but point out that it has rained in Seattle in over 40 days and so there are no signs of these problems and you don't want to share that information because those issues are not obvious now.
Your agent is becoming frustrated but puts the house on the market and does not disclose the issues that you asked him not to reveal. Ben is not feeling good about his decision to take the listing and is now considering revealing the information that you asked him to conceal.
What are the issues raised by this scenario? Can Ben inform prospective buyers about the problems with the home? What are the options of the agent? What can the principals do if they are not satisfied with the way the agent is handling the listing? If the sellers terminate the agent is Ben entitled to payment for his services. Feel free to discuss these issues and others as you see fit.
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