Unusual Listing Disclosures

David Bates / June 27, 2012-11:36 am

Maybe real estate buyers should read the listing disclosures section first?

Real estate listings attract your interest in a home by posting pretty pictures and writing enticing prose about the home’s features and benefits. If there is an ugly little truth about a property, the revelation is often saved for the “Disclosures” section of the listing. I scoured recent MLS listings and have provided below several of the more unusual ones I found.

A Wellesley home disclosed a ½ bathroom as only a “3-season bathroom.” Gee, I hope nobody has to use the ½ bath when it’s out of season.

A Beacon Hill two bedroom disclosed that “the second sleeping area is a permanent easement.” I wonder if a buyer has to roll over to the other side of their bed every time a neighbor wants get to their parking space?

Sometimes there is no evidence of a possible time-wasted showing or deal-killing detail until the disclosure was read, like the Dorchester condo’s disclosure that a “Billboard on the property provides income,” so there are no fees, budget or reserve in the association. Perhaps a great benefit….that is if you are ok with finding out that THERE’S A BILLBOARD ON THE PROPERTY, information which wasn’t obvious in the photos or remarks.

Make sure you read the disclosure before setting up a showing for this Boston home.

See the attractive kitchen of the ‘comfy’ Hyde Park home shown to the right. Want to move in? The disclosure reads, “There is known mold in the home. Bring a mask.” At least it sounds a little better than the Lincoln home — nearly three times the list price — whose disclosure reads “Severe mold issue… Need to wear a respirator.”

One Boston home’s remarks rave about its “lovely living space” and touts flexible possible uses for the property. One use not mentioned, however, was the home’s previous use, which was only revealed in the Disclosures section: “Property was formally used as a funeral home.”

Disclosures may be important to know before deciding to view a property, but are often missed by buyers because they aren’t in the main body of the Remarks section. Could some creative spin promote these revelations from the Disclosures section to the Remarks section? For example, the South End condo which had the disclosure that much of living space was “under seven feet,” could possibly be repositioned as a benefit in the Remarks section as a “Great Condo For Short People.”