Rhode Island Real Estate Continuing Education - RHODE ISLAND School Permit: REE.0001035
3.0 hours Risk Awareness Course Syllabus
3.0 Elective Hours.
When an agent makes a representation that relies on something someone else says, they should source it. If an agent finds information in the county records, she can then make that representation saying "I am representing X based on what is reflected in the county records. The information is available and this is what it says according to the county records."
First, you must source the representation if it relies on a statement from another person. Second, it must be reasonable for you to make that representation based on the facts, regardless of whether it was made by someone else.
For example, an agent is going to tell someone that the seller has represented that the property line generally follows the fence line. There are two ways she can say that: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, the property line generally follows the fence line." If the agent does that, who made the representation? The agent. The agent stated it as a fact.
However, is the agent says that the seller has informed me that the property line follows the fence line. Whose representation is that? At that point, it is the seller's representation. Is it reasonable to make that representation even if you are sourcing it to the seller? Well, obviously the facts surrounding the representation and what you see on the land are going to determine that.
A good way for an agent to handle this situation is to say to the buyer: "If you are concerned about the property line, perhaps we should ask for a survey and make the transaction contingent on the satisfactory survey.
Most states today have some sort of mandatory seller's property disclosure. Seller disclosure forms are valuable. They are essentially a checklist of items and the seller's knowledge of their condition. But this is not something that an agent should follow blindly. This course aids the real estate professional in how to avoid misrepresentation. Examples and case studies aid in understanding.