Routine legal documents may not be routine
By Rachel Lee
Ruth and Simon were expecting their second child and decided that it was time to find a larger home to accommodate their growing family. Having signed an agreement to purchase a property subject to sale of their own home, they were persuaded to list their property for sale by auction.
The property was marketed and was sold at auction. Subsequently the successful bidders complained that their finance had been declined because a valuation had disclosed that the floor area of the home was 105 sqm but had been marketed as having an area of 150 sqm.
Ruth and Simon had no idea how the real estate agent had come up with the 150 sqm area but suspected that it was a simple misprint on the agent’s part. On the other hand the agent insisted that Ruth and Simon had told him that the area was 150 sqm.
At the end of the day Ruth and Simon had to accept that they had signed the listing authority with an incorrect description of the area of the home and that they were responsible for the consequences of the misrepresentation. Their argument that the price had been fixed on the basis of the successful bidders’ inspection of their home rather than the description on the documentation was less than a perfect defence.
Ruth and Simon learned an expensive lesson that legal documentation is important and that it is essential that every small detail be checked very carefully.
Rachel Lee, Property Team.
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