At EKAN we recommend that the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) be read and understood by the potential buyer. It is an important document that lists a number of issues that are most relevant with respect to a property’s legacy issues, future use and enjoyment. The list of information in the PDS includes:
- existence of underground oil storage tanks
- presence of asbestos insulation
- limitations on development due to raparian zone or heritage designation
- water or moisture issues in the attic, crawlspace, walls
- unauthorized rental suites
- prior uses of the property as a grow-op or drug house
- renovations without permits
- unregistered easements or encroachments
Listing agents have a responsibility to ensure the PDS is completed and available for viewing by a prospective buyer. However it is all too easy to circumvent the document by ticking off the ‘Do Not Know’ box. From my persective the real value here is to identify any latent defect, which is a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. Home inspectors look for patent defects, those that can be discovered by inspection and vigilance on the part of the inspector or buyer.
As a buyer, I would hold the seller’s agent accountable to review and revise every ‘Do Not Know’ entry in the PDS. Real estate transaction fees demand a high level of service, which includes ‘digging deep’ for answers to the Property Disclosure Statement.
As a buyer, any concerns with the PDS should be brought to the attention of the home inspector.