large-home-389271_1280If you’re a real estate agent, you probably have dealt with the fact that a house you were selling had some defects that you didn’t know how to handle. Well, we are here to address the question on whether or not you should disclose housing defects when you’re representing a seller. While we cannot provide you with legal advice, we can provide some guidance. As an Orlando title insurance company, we work so closely with Realtors, and we definitely want to make sure that you do the right thing when confronted with this situation.

First, you should definitely get familiar with the National Association of Realtors code of ethics and standards of practice. Within those code of ethics, standard of practice 1-9 would be particularly relevant to this situation. Within this section, it states that Realtors and brokers should “not knowingly, during or following the termination of professional relationships with their clients reveal confidential information of clients.” In addition to that, it states: “information concerning latent material defects is not considered confidential information under this Code of Ethics.”

If you’re looking for the definition of “latent defects,” look no further. They are defined as a hidden or concealed defect, “one which could not be discovered by inspection, using reasonable care.” The opposite of a latent defect is a patent defect, which is very visible.

Are you having a hard time applying that jargon to real life circumstance in which you may be involved? Let’s review some examples that would specifically apply to this scenario.

When a house is wired backward, which is commonly called reverse polarity, that would be discovered during a house inspection, which would be a patent defect.

If a home or a structure is built without a permit, that would be a latent defect, because while that information is public record, it is not something that would be uncovered during part of the standard inspection process.

If there is a structural crack in the floor, foundation, or basement that is covered up, that would be a latent defect, and the seller, by painting over the crack, would be intentionally trying to hide this housing defect.

Real Estate Closing Solutions is a Orlando title insurance company that focuses on working with the best and most reputable Central Florida Realtors. If you’re representing the seller, make sure to use us for your closing and title services. Contact us today to learn more about our services.