Disclosing Information That May Affect The Sale of a House

Hello ,

If you were approached by a potential buyer for a property in your neighbourhood and they asked you for your opinion on whether it was a good buy, would you tell them the truth?

What if you knew that the property would soon be affected by the removal of the railway crossing which is only a 100metre away and that there will be disruptions to trains, road closures, and an increase in traffic in the local area? Current traffic is already a nightmare during peak hour on that street and its going to be worse.

What if there were talks that the nearby residents ( including the new owners of the property for sale) could be relocated temporarily because of the noise and light disturbance which will be 24/7 for weeks? Would you tell them?

I'm conflicted: on one hand, I don't want to get involved , would rather mind my own business ; on the other hand, they are a young family who are going to end up overpaying for a property that is going to be unliveable for at least a year :( Should I say something?

Edited 9/03: Thanks ozbargain for letting me use you as a sounding board once more. Much appreciated :) After reading your replies ( but mostly after reading my own replies to your ones) , I've decided to do what IMHO is the right thing to do and warn the music teacher.

Turns out, that while I was in the midst of an ethical dilemma, my mrs has gone and told the potential buyer about the crossing removal project and that it would indeed be an inconvenience but has also stressed how ideally situated the place is ( walking distance to school, park, beach and train station). He was grateful and said he might still make an offer.

If he doesn't , I might get the seller or his RE to post the address on here since so many of you thought the construction work was more a plus than anything else. Who knows? He might be able to find a taker for his property on ozbargain :)


    • +3

      I would.

      • +3

        There’s your answer. Remember the Golden Rule. In any case, what is your conscience telling you? You may find yourself living with your decision for a very long time.

    • I'm sure you would want random strangers on the internet to give you money too.

      Reverse those roles and give me cash please.

  • +1

    If someone I knew asked me I don't think I could knowing withold information.

    It would be:
    "Did you know they're going to be removing the crossing?"
    rather than:
    "I think you're paying too much"

  • you've been asked, do the right thing, as others have said reverse it, you would be dirty if you asked a neighbor and were not told the truth on a large issue like this.

  • +1

    That's how real estate sell houses, lie through their teeth, to get you to buy the house. Not until you live in the house you find out how many things are wrong.

  • +1

    Tell them, I previously rented an apartment and decided to move out after series of incidents, so during the inspection I told the new potential renter (hush hush) that the reason I moved from this place was I almost got robbed twice and some of the residents here don't care about your garage space, they'll park there or block your access and there's nothing you can do about it, I called the agent/cops nope they can't do a thing about it so at least I told them about my experience so its up them if they still want to do it.

  • +1

    Just give them the facts; nobody can accuse you for telling the facts, be it from the Governement or any reliable sources.
    Then you can sleep soundly at night.

  • It sounds like the potential buyer is an acquaintance too? If you say nothing, I imagine they would be a bit dirty on you if you say nothing.

    Having lived in the area of a fairly controversial level crossing removal, the disruption to those directly next to the train line had been huge. Loud, unplanned works during the night, failue to be relocated while unacceptable levels of noise were occurring, subsequent mental health issues etc. My opinion is I couldn’t in good conscious let someone go through that if I had a chance to warn them about it first. Especially with young kids.

  • all opinions are different. so you wouldn't be able to say ' yes its a good buy ' or ' no, its not ' because everyone's needs/values are different. as others have mentioned you can offer some facts and not just talk about the upcoming railroad works that are coming up but also talk about some of the good things. I.E you mentioned kinder, beach etc. considering you used to live there you can comment on the friendly neighbours, community etc and they can make up their own mind whether or not its a great buy or not.

  • You have to decide for yourself, whether or not you should tell them.
    We can't decide for you.
    That being said, I would tell them.

  • Absolutely yes.

  • So you are aquaintances with someone who lives 1km away, and their house is being bought by someone who is also your aquaintance in a densely populated area.

    How many aquaintances do you have?

    Also sounds like you want to tell the buyer, just tell them.

    "Yea its a great location, will be real good when the crossing removal is completed aswell, will reduce the congestion"

    They probably know already anyeay, they definetly should, been going on for a while now.

  • +1

    Dont be a rat.

    And the buyer should be doing their homework.

    • Spoken like someone who doesn't like being ratted out on. Also recently used by Donald Trump to describe Michael Cohen.

      While I agree a buyer should be doing their homework, as mentioned elsewhere this is part of doing their homework, tapping into someone you know who has information about the area and its developments.

  • +1

    “Have you heard about the level crossing removal works? It might be a bit chaotic during the construction, but it’ll be great once it’s done”.

    Remain positive and don’t hurt vendor nor potential purchaser

  • In this circumstance, you should definitely tell them.

  • +1


    I certainly would not be telling them if I was intending on selling my place at any point in the near future as I would not want to bring down the value of my place through either discouraging a potential buyer for mine or potentially driving down the comparable sale prices.

    If I was not in this situation, I'd probably keep to myself as it's up to buyers to do their own due diligence.

    • OP has drip-fed that he actually now lives several suburbs away so this won't affect his house value at all

      • +1

        Yes, I've noticed the drip feeding coming through now. The full story/question now seems to be, "which one of these two people should I favour over the other?"

        • It is insane to favour either. Honest replies or a "sorry I know both parties and so it is not my place to comment either way" should be the only avenues of choice. Personally if I was conflicted I might say "I can't really comment as it is not my place as I know both parties. It is a great area, I currently live just a couple of km's away, but ensure you do your research around current roadworks"

  • +1

    "on the other hand, they are a young family who are going to end up overpaying for a property that is going to be unliveable for at least a year :( Should I say something?"

    That's just your opinion/speculation. If requested, I'd hope you stuck to the facts.

    • That's just your opinion/speculation [..] If requested, I'd hope you stuck to the facts.

      Why? I was asked for my opinion.

      • +4

        When you're suggesting they're overpaying & it's unliveable for at least a year… I think it's more poison than facts. I think it's doing them a disservice to sway in one direction.

        I had a pedestrian underpass & then a train station built DIRECTLY behind my house. WOW, the sky was falling, and the FUD was infectious. But there were less than 5 "SRSLYWTF?!" nights. Our house prices boomed once completed. And I sat beside a lot of now-happy hypocrits on those trains to town.

        I work in construction, and neighbours often froth, despite being courteous & working within the curfew times. I remind them they're living in a built home, too.

  • +4

    Is something as basic and well-publicised as a pending level crossing project within 100m really the only thing you're grappling with telling them?

    Potential things I would want to know from someone living in the area:
    * Parking issues especially that close to a rail line (across driveways, on paths, turning around in your driveway at 1am, used as all day parking for local retailers etc)
    * Noise and traffic at various times of day (back streets used as rat runs at peak times, frequented by fire trucks late at night, very loud 2am Sunday night drag races along the highway a couple of blocks over, weekly freight trains)
    * Council experience (planning permits, footpath maintenance, cost and enforcement of local parking areas etc)
    * General amenities and local access issues (shops around the corner are all crap and the next good ones are actually 3km away, streets that look very direct on the map are actually one-way or some have no footpaths)
    * Property-specific (you know the owners have issues with plumbing or wiring, soil in the area makes it hard to grow produce, you walked past a few months ago and saw excessive rot but it's just been clad and painted to look good for the sale)

    • -1

      well-publicised as a pending level crossing project

      Not as well publicised as you would think. There was an uproar from the community when the project was announced and understandably so. Who would want an overpass obstructing their view of the bay? A compromise was reached but officials are keeping a low profile and all signage have been removed. The place still looks as idyllic as ever and you wouldn't know that major work is scheduled to start sometime this year.

      • +2

        There's a dedicated website though, and level crossings generally have been all over the news and the recent elections to the degree that I'd certainly check the plans for any crossings within 5km of a house I was buying…

      • Who would want an overpass obstructing their view of the bay?

        Anyone wanting to travel between the two sides of the bay, presumably. Some people do care about practicality over views.

        • Some people do care about practicality over views

          I'm sure they do but part of the appeal of this property ( hence the asking price) is that you currently can have both.It is walking distance to the station while still having a view glimpse of the beach.

          Also practical-minded people tend to live in practical suburbs. This is more a toes-in-the-sand-organic-soy-latte-in-your-hand-gentle-seabreeze-in-your-hair-walking-your-labradoodle-along-the-beach-every-morning kinda suburb :)

  • +4

    Plot Twist: Interested buyer already knows about proposed issues and is actually testing your integrity :O.

    I would tell, acquaintance aint gonna see you again once they move away right?

    • +1

      Plot Twist: Interested buyer already knows about proposed issues and is actually testing your integrity :O

      Then he'll know which are fat liars and which aren't; and will either call them out on it on the spot or later down the road have a revenge scheme waiting for them to be trapped in!

      • Plot Twist #2: Seller is conducting a ?social experiment on neighbours and has no interest in selling property and has paid an actor/actress to raise this moral dilemna with OP. Either way, Seller finds out he cannot trust OP with sensitive information, or shames OP for lacking moral compass.

        • Honestly it's such a minor issue, OP just sounds overwrought and unable to make decisions for themselves.

          • @HighAndDry: I had a chat with someone who was interested in the property and attended the auction a couple of weeks ago. He said the general consensus among the bidders was that the place was worth 25% less due to the imminent work, road closures and possible relocation. The house was passed in at auction.

            How would you feel about someone disclosing information that could reduce your property value by a quarter?

      • lol!

  • If you want to have inner peace, you shouldn't give a clear answer.

    Instead tell the buyer to look into any planned upgrade to the rail-line before they buy.

    Let them do the research and decide their purchase.

  • link them this thread

  • I have a number of dimensions.

    The self-interested prat dimension would first ask if i own property in the vicinity, as any property selling low may ultimately impact the value of my own property given buyers will generally check with other nearby sales.

    This points in the 'say nothing' direction.

    The self-interested prat dimension will also calculate that they may well end up being a new neighbour, and may therefore become part of my future while the current owners will soon be part of my past and not matter.

    This points in the 'say everything' direction.

    Actually that's all i've got, as it turns out i'm one-dimensional.

    First Post Wonder

  • The guy doesnt care and was just looking for a reason to talk to you so he could check you out.

    • If that was the case, he would have asked my wife, not me. She's the pretty one.

      • I mean he wanted to meet you to try and figure out if you are going to be a bad neighbor or not.

        Plenty of experts say you should talk to the neighbors before putting an offer in.

  • +2

    I would not give them any advice on if something is a good buy or not. It’s not yours to decide either (this means not answering the question if good buy or not.. its upto them).

    I’d simply present facts in a way tbey can process and decide for themselves (this means mention upcoming roadworks)

    Roadworks is temporary and once its finished the value will soon increase anyway.

    present the facts, dont give advice.

  • Well I'm confused… How would short term construction negatively impact the value of a house? Something that you are buying for long term?

    A open level crossing removal would take less than a year to complete and once complete will mean significantly less congestion on the road surrounding the house.

    If you ask me it'll only improve the value of the house.

    • If you knew this before placing an offer on the house, would you want to put up with a year of pain, possible night works, loud noise and worse congestion?

      A lot of people would pass, or use it as justification for a lower offer.

  • If you give the buyer any sort of credit (intelligence) then they will already know what price they think is good or not, even if you disagree.

    So I agree with everyone else you don't need to talk about this like some backyard BBQ property speculator that everyone seems to want to be these days. Just state the facts from a living perspective: railway crossing removal, is it generally a quiet suburb, etc.

  • +1


    They come to your door and ask about the house, you tell them it’s fine and the neighbourhood is friendly and quiet (depends on what questions they ask).

    They buy the house and a few months later find out they are being relocated or they have constant noise/heavy traffic and it’s horrible to live in. They find out from other neighbors that they were warned months in advance.

    You’d have a pretty unhappy neighbor that knows you lied to them. Depending on how close you live to them, things could get awkward. You certainly wouldn’t want to call on them for a favour or be on friendly speaking terms.

  • +1

    Of course it's a YES, you've already answered the question in your statement - do the right thing and inform them. End of story.

  • Better public transport come soon new park if rail line is going up. There pain with anything worth wait for it my mate with rail going in his area he hate them put it in but now it in love it houses vale gone up 30%

  • Why would it even matter that there is going to be a removal of railway tracks and traffic? It is temporary and for the better in the long run. I wouldn't even mention it unless the house itself was haunted or had structural problems.

    • Part of the attraction of this property ( hence the asking price) is that :

      • you walk down the street , cross the railway lines and you are at the beach . This won't be the case if there's work at that intersection.

      • walking distance to station. With the crossing removal , the station will be closed for up to 3 years. You will have to drive to the next station where there is no parking. As will all your neighbours. Good luck with that!

      • It has a double garage. The street on which the house is situated will be closed for at least a year. You won't be able to park in your garage or in front of your house. All the nearby-streets have a 4-hr parking restriction during the day. you will also have to carry your kids, groceries ..etc to and from wherever you've parked to your house.

      • close to the shopping strip , which is directly across from the station.That shopping strip with all its restaurants will be more than likely closed while work is going on.

      • relaxed lifestyle. How relaxed will you be if there's construction work only a 100 metres from where you live for 3 years?!

      I had a chat with someone who attended the auction a couple of weeks ago. He said the general consensus among the bidders was that the place was worth 25% less due to the imminent work, road closures and possible relocation. The house was passed in at auction.

      • Agreed

      • Hello ,

        That's a good angst of inconvenience list to justify telling a prospective buyer, for an otherwise higher guilt factor.

        Removal of infrastructure, various site remediation, extensive new roadwork, a pollution hotspot, diesel particulates alone, high levels, over, wide surrounding area.
        If sought that, your moral justification, beyond ethical dilemma, Jar Jar Binks.


        Nifty. Make wiki do ewok mini-mum three chin-ups on lower door, per day!
        No moral justification required.

        Troye Sivans hair, looks like noodles.

  • You ruined star wars, you are already terrible.

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