Property Disclosures in Oregon are often the source of contention and fact finding missions. When a seller lists their property for sale they are required to complete a 4 page disclosure statement (really only 2.5 pages of questions) that asks all kinds of questions.
Buyers are provided this disclosure during the escrow period and sometimes prior to escrow. By law a buyer has 5 business days to review and withdraw from the contract if they disapprove of the disclosure. Each question has a series of boxes for the seller to check. The choices they have are yes, no, unknown and on some of them n/a.
Many Central Oregon Sellers are absentee owners, those of second homes, vacation properties or investment rentals. When these sellers complete the property disclosure they often times know nothing about some of the questions. A couple examples are; Has this home ever been used as a drug manufacturing or distribution place. Since a seller does not want to say no and have the buyers find out from the neighbors that the past tenants were selling from the property they will often say unknown.
What does this do to the buyer? It raises a big red flag – they generally assume that unknown on this question is a real yes. Central Oregon does not have an easy website to verify this information – and very few of the homes – in fact last I checked only 1 in La Pine had been “condemned” due to manufacturing. (that home has been torn down and a new home sits on the property now)
Another question that is often confusing and causes red flags concerns underground tanks – almost every disclosure in La Pine should say yes there are underground tanks – however they are septic tanks not oil tanks and you should differentiate this. If the box is marked yes the Seller should mark what type of tanks are on the property.
My message here is two fold – Sellers please answer these questions accurately and to the best of your knowledge – if you do not know the answer – maybe you should do a little checking instead of giving the buyer a reason to doubt you. Buyers when you receive this document please read it carefully, ask your agent questions – research those that you have issues with and let your agent be of assistance.