The House was Owned Only for a Year; Should I Be Suspicious It’s on the Market?

I know the seller has only owned the home for a year, and I’d like to know why they’re selling already. I’m worried that there’s something wrong with the house. Can I find out why the seller wants to sell?

You can always ask, but neither the seller nor their real estate agent are obligated to tell you.

In fact, there are strict rules of confidentiality for real estate professionals. When a real estate professional has confidential information about one of their clients, they need to keep that information confidential. That confidential information includes a seller’s motivation for selling and a buyer’s reason for buying.

If the real estate professional were to share this information with you or others, it could hurt their clients’ negotiating position in the event of an eventual offer to purchase. The seller’s representative needs to look out for their client’s best interests at all times and disclosing confidential information could put their client’s best interests at risk.

Imagine the seller recently lost their job and needed to sell their home quickly to avoid financial difficulties. If a potential buyer were to find out, they may use that confidential information to their advantage when submitting an offer to purchase.

You can always get your real estate professional to ask the seller’s representative, but the only time a real estate professional can share their client’s confidential information is if when required by law OR the seller provides their permission to disclose the information.

You are clearly concerned that the seller is selling so quickly because there’s something wrong with the house. Our experience is that sellers rarely sell because of a problem with the house, and their motivation for selling rarely affects the value of the house. That being said, even without knowing why the seller is selling, there are things you can do to ensure the house is the right one for you.

If you put in an offer to purchase, make sure you include a home inspection condition, so that you can have the home inspected before making it a firm purchase. Likewise, talk to your real estate professional about other concerns you may have, for example, flood plan location, neighbourhood amenities, or quality of schools nearby. Your real estate professional can help you get this type of information, which may put your mind at ease about the property.

The fact is, there’s likely nothing nefarious going on with the house, but the seller’s circumstances have obviously changed, and they no longer want to live there. You need to discuss your concerns with your real estate professional who can help you access the available information that will help you make a sound decision. Good luck.