That question is hard to answer because we do not know in advance what you may run into in a real estate transaction.
Two years ago I represented two women who bought land in Farmington, NH, which is over two hours from Brattleboro. We had continued our agency relationship after a failed transaction in Cheshire County which I terminated after discovering a permit problem that the seller refused to cure.
Had they been working with an ordinary agent, it is almost certain that they would now be the proud owners of a lovely property with a “sleeping” cloud on the title.
It was a really nice 15 acre, mostly flat parcel with a driveway, a nice homesite, and pleasant views. But on a plot plan, which I found in the Registry of Deeds, I saw a wetlands within 25 feet of the driveway. In order for this to be a legal building lot, a variance would be needed.
In the town records, I found the variance, but there was a technical defect on it, which the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) normally would correct upon request.
On behalf of my clients, I asked the listing agent to have the seller go to the ZBA to correct the error. To our amazement, they refused. According to the listing agent, there is a stubborn curmudgeon on the ZBA whom they were afraid to approach.
The seller’s agent said we should let sleeping dogs lie because it was just a filed document which no one would ever notice.
But if my client’s were to purchase this property with the title problem uncured, then if in ten years they wanted to sell it, they might find that they were stuck with an unmarketable title.
My clients’ attorney agreed, and with her help we terminated the deal and got the deposit back.
In addition to the title defect for this particular property, my clients felt that if the local town government is so dominated by the “ol’ boys” that people are afraid even to make normal requests, then perhaps it would not be such a good idea to live there.
They switched gears, and ended up looking in Farmington, where I continued to represent them. The land they purchased was charming… I remember finding wintergreen berries all over the place, bending down, picking them, and popping them into my mouth!
Real estate is full of surprises… even surprises which will not hit you until years later. Most transactions go well and you land safely. But even when nothing ugly rears its head, it still feels good to go through the process with a buyer’s agent who is — heart and soul — on your side.