Notes from Readers: Buyer's Letters Remorse

Readers respond to coverage of property defects, drone laws, and the emotional nature of letters from buyers.

March 18, 2015

Buyer’s Letters Remorse

Helping buyers detach from the emotional plea is always a challenge (“Don’t Write Me a Love Song"). Thank you for helping explain how it can negatively impact the business side. Great perspective from Christine Smith! —Adrea Nairne, Realty Club Las Vegas, Las Vegas

Property Defects: You Can’t Be Too Careful

Attorney Ronald Rossi provided some good tips about how agents can avoid disclosure problems related to property defects (“Property Defects and You"). However, he did not go far enough. He correctly states that it is important to tell buyers about known defect issues and to document in writing that you did so. However, his suggestion that you can rely on e-mail to accomplish this, “so you both have a record of it,” falls short of the standard of care expected of professionals.

How do you respond when the buyer says, “I never got that e-mail” or “I found it a month later in my spam folder”? The best practice is to do what brokers constantly tell their agents: Write up a disclosure about your concern and get the buyers to sign it. Leave a copy with the buyers and make sure that the home inspector gets one and acknowledges receipt. Put a copy of the disclosure in your file and the original in the office file, and you have a real chance of warding off a lawsuit for damages on the matter if things don’t turn out well for the buyers. This will also help you if the buyers file a complaint charging violations of Articles 1 and 2 of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. You can’t be too careful. As Rossi says, suits happen! —Larry Lowenthal, Century 21 Rose Realty West, Cooper City, Fla.

Drone Prohibition Explained

Editor’s Note: The Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed rules for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft vehicles, or drones, announced in February has generated much discussion among members about the legality of their use in the real estate industry. Many real estate pros are enthusiastic about the prospect of using drones to capture aerial photos and videos of properties for sale, but without an exemption, their commercial use remains prohibited, explains National Association of REALTORS® Associate Counsel Lesley Walker. “A recent decision by the National Transportation Safety Board supports the FAA’s longstanding position that UAVs are ‘aircraft’ under federal law and therefore subject to FAA regulation. While the FAA’s proposed rules would allow for future commercial use of UAVs, until final rules are issued and without an exemption, any current commercial use of a UAV could result in an FAA enforcement action.” NAR will submit comments to the FAA as it finalizes details for the commercial use of these systems.

Send a letter to or join a conversation at one of the blogs. Note: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.