I know everyone says don’t say or comment about something unless you are positive about it, as it might open yourself up to potential lawsuit, etc. But I’m conflicted and need advice on when and how to say some things. Here is an example, but I need advice on a bigger picture basis, not just this example.
What do you do when you see something that could be significant, but you don’t know for sure…and there’s not really any way to know for sure. For example, I found the bottom or floor of a 2008 furnace totally rusted. As was the bottom of the 20 year old water heater 6’ away. Seller disclosed that “basement leaks in heavy rains”. 4" of rain fell in last 3 days and all basement foundation walls (vacant house with unfinished basement, all walls visible) are very wet to the touch, but there is no water visible on floor during inspection. I suspect basement floods occasionally about a couple inches at a time (above floor of furnace), and water gets into the furnace somehow but can’t drain out. That water sits trapped and causes rust. But I have no proof of that other than rusty furnace floor. Should I say to client I suspect the flooding is a couple inches deep sometimes? No way to prove it other than ask seller, who has owned the home for 20 years. I feel strongly that if I do nothing I have not fully represented my client and provided all information about the house…including suspicions that I can’t prove. I know I can’t put it in the report, but can I say something like that in an email? Or tell them only verbally and leave no written trace of my suspicion? Or do I say and write nothing because it is not based on fact? The agent (a very good friend) insisted I say nothing that I am not absolutely certain about, but he’s obviously worried it will kill the deal.
What would you do or suggest that someone do: should they say something that they can’t proof but feel strongly about? When do they say it? And how should it be done? Your insight, as always, would be appreciated.