The sellers lawyer has added a clause to the contract under the Property Condition Disclosure Act Section stating that " Upon receipt of such credit all responsibilities of the seller to the purchaser shall cease.." Our lawyer says that the law this addresses in no way goes as far as this type of release and is inappropriate in a residential real estate transaction. Our lawyer has crossed it out and apparently now the seller refuses to sign! Any input if our lawyer is right or she is trying to hide something?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Usually, the seller can either sign Property Condition Disclosure and then be liable if something goes wrong as far as property condition concerned, or a seller may give to the buyer a credit of $500 instead of signing the disclosure and this credit takes care of all the potential liabilities of the seller.
It is a matter of negotiations between the parties.
Your lawyer is spot on. The law says that the seller can make the disclosure; or he can refuse to make the disclosure and pay the $500. It does not say that upon paying the $500 the seller is off the hook. But if you sign the contract that the seller's shark added, you would have no remedy.
Now here's the angle: I am sure that the seller did not stipulate this when he signed up with his real estate broker. The brokers have earned their commission by producing you, a person ready, willing and able to buy on the seller's terms. So you could really stick it to this seller by telling the broker that you'll be willing to back him up on his claim for the commission, which he surely deserves to get.
Oh, and one more thing: count your luck stars you did NOT buy this money pit. The seller' attorney protected him so well, he killed the deal. Seriously notify seller, attorney and broker immediately that your offer to purchase the property is off the table, and if you gave a check, stop payment on it. It's still a buyer's market.