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Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa

What Is a Real Estate Non-Disclosure Agreement?

A real estate non-disclosure agreement is a legal tool that’s commonly used in real estate transactions to protect the sensitive information, and interests of the parties involved. While these disclosures are typically one-sided documents, intended to protect the seller, they don’t have to be.

A properly worded and executed real estate non-disclosure agreement can be utilized to protect the seller’s interests, the buyer’s interests, and even the broker’s interests without creating an excessive burden on any of the 3 parties. 

The Purpose of Real Estate Non-Disclosure Agreements

The purpose of real estate non-disclosure agreements is to protect parties involved in a potential real estate transaction.  That protection can take many forms, depending on your situation and role within the transaction.

Typical real estate non-disclosure agreements are initially designed to protect the seller from having proprietary information spread to the public with no oversight.  A prospective property seller doesn’t want to find themselves in a position where they are being inundated with telephone calls from random people with lowball offers.  There may also be times when a seller doesn’t want tenants to know that a property may be sold in the near future, for fear of losing lease revenue on their commercial property.

From a broker’s perspective, a real estate non-disclosure agreement offers protection from a broker being cut out of the deal. A properly worded real estate non-disclosure agreement will stipulate the broker’s role in the transaction and will protect the commission owed for the broker’s work product. Without a binding real estate non-disclosure agreement or other valid contract, there may be no legal document proving the broker’s role in the transaction, and could result in the broker being cut out of the deal and losing commission payment. If you’re a broker, and asking yourself can a real estate agent be sued for misrepresentation, the NDA in real estate could be the answer to your concerns.

Some buyers may readily sign an offered real estate non-disclosure agreement in their haste to get an opportunity to purchase a property they desire. Others, however, may question the need for a non-disclosure agreement, and will need to have the benefits explained to them. Thankfully, a real estate non-disclosure agreement that protects seller, broker, and buyer is an easily achievable goal. Real estate lawyers will have the necessary skills to create a non-disclosure agreement that protect the interests of all involved parties. For a buyer, this might be income and expense information, or it could be their intended future use for the property in question.

Requirements for Binding Non-Disclosure Agreements in Real Estate

An experienced real estate attorney is your best choice for crafting a useful, binding non-disclosure agreement, as well as helping you with aspects of construction contracts that are often overlooked. There are just some situations when utilizing the professional services of a specialist is the wise course of action. 

Your real estate non-disclosure agreement will need to carefully list all involved parties and their roles. For a mutual non-disclosure agreement, this could include the seller, buyer, broker, and perhaps even lender. All parties that will be part of the transfer of sensitive information for this transaction should, potentially, be included.

The information to be protected should be clearly defined for all parties. From a buyer’s perspective, this may be income information, or the intended utilization of the property after purchase. The broker will be concerned with ensuring their role is specified to ensure they don’t get cut out of a potentially lucrative deal. The seller could request several pieces of information be held confidential. These can include property income and expense information, environmental reports, appraisal data, lease information, or other proprietary business information.

The scope of the confidentiality obligation should be clearly defined. What steps should be taken to prevent the accidental disclosure of the protected information, and who will have access to it, should be detailed. A broad scope can help to protect the interest of the divulging party, and can provide an avenue for financial relief, should the agreement be violated.

You’ll need to ensure that any allowable exclusions are included in your agreement. In a real estate non-disclosure agreement, for example, some of the information considered protected, may need to be shared with a lender in order to finance the transaction.  Often, county appraisal data is both publicly available, and easily searchable, however, the lender will likely request an official appraisal of the property in question.

You’ll need to establish clear terms for the length of the non-disclosure agreement. Your attorney, if you have one, will be able to help establish an acceptable term length for the agreement in question.  This is particularly important from the buyer’s perspective, because often buyers are nervous about signing a non-disclosure agreement in the first place, and will need to have the benefits of it explained to them.

Basic Elements of a Non-Disclosure Agreement

The basic elements of real estate non-disclosure agreements will be similar in most situations. These elements are:

  • Identification of the parties
  • Definition of what is deemed to be confidential
  • Scope of confidentiality obligation
  • Exclusions from confidential treatment
  • Term of the agreement

Identification of The Parties

In its most simple form, the non-disclosure agreement would contain the disclosing party’s name, and the name of the recipient. In more complicated cases, you may need to put some thought into who will need to have access to the sensitive, protected information, in order for the deal to be completed, and include those names and roles in the agreement as well.

Definition of What is Deemed to be Confidential

What information is to be deemed confidential will need to be clearly defined for each party. In a non-mutual non-disclosure agreement, this will simply be the information that the requesting party wants to have kept secret. In a mutual non-disclosure agreement, it can become a bit more complex and the involved parties may want to use the services of an experienced real estate attorney to draft the agreement.

Scope of Confidentiality Obligation

The recipient of confidential information has a duty to maintain the secrecy of the information for the divulging party.  This could include limiting the number of team members with access to the information and safeguards to ensure the information isn’t accidentally leaked. The recipient of the confidential information also has an obligation to not use the protected information themselves to the detriment of the divulging party. A well-written non-disclosure agreement that is broad in scope will allow maximum protection for all involved parties in the event of a breach.

Exclusions From Confidential Treatment

Exclusions from the obligations of the recipient are written into most non-disclosure agreements. These are intended to address situations where it is unfair or too burdensome to expect the recipient to maintain confidentiality. These typically include information already known to the recipient, information already known to the public, assuming the recipient wasn’t the party who released it, and certain legal processes.

Term of The Agreement

This stipulates how long the agreement will last, and the confidential information protected. Most divulging parties would like to see the term be indefinite, yet most recipients will ask that a term limit be set. Most sensitive information disclosed in a common non-disclosure agreement situation will have a period of time after which it’s value decreases, perhaps altogether. The term of the agreement should be specified so that all parties understand the term of their obligations.

How Can an Attorney Help?

An experienced real estate attorney can help you through all aspects of a potential real estate transaction. This applies whether you’re the seller, the buyer, or even a broker who needs advice to pass on to their clients, or documents, like a real estate non-disclosure agreement, drafted to protect their interests in a transaction.

Your attorney will be able to draft a non-mutual non-disclosure agreement if you’re the seller of a property and simply want to protect your sensitive information, or they can draft a mutual non-disclosure agreement, in more complex situations, or when a buyer is reluctant to sign an agreement that doesn’t protect their interests as well.

They can also draft or review any contracts prior to signatures to ensure that your interests are being protected sufficiently in any given situation. A real estate attorney will be able to help guide you through the sometimes incredibly complex, process of making a large real estate purchase. When you’re making one of life’s largest purchases, it pays to be well-educated and prepared by a professional prior to completion.

What Are the Disclosure Requirements for Selling Nevada Real Estate?

A real estate purchase is typically one of the biggest transactions in your life, and before you sell, or buy, a property you should be familiar with the disclosure requirements for selling real estate in Nevada. These disclosure requirements protect the buyer from buying a home with an unknown defect that may affect the value or usability of the property.

At the same time, they protect the seller from future litigation, should the property turn out to have a defect that the buyer should have been aware of.  While you can’t be held legally responsible for a defect of which you are unaware, you can be, if you fail to disclose a defect that you are aware of.

Real Estate Disclosure Laws in Nevada

Real Estate disclosure laws in Nevada are intended to protect both seller and buyer in a real estate transaction.  As such, they are written in a broad manner, but the Nevada Real Estate Division provides a checklist that is easy to fill out.  This disclosure statement is required, by law, to be filled out by the seller, and signed by both seller and buyer.

Your real estate agent may offer you assistance and knowledge about how the form needs to be filled out, but they are not allowed to fill it out for you.  It is rather difficult to sue a real estate agent for misrepresentation in the state, and because of this, the real estate agent is restricted from filling out disclosure forms for real estate transactions.

As the seller, you will be required to disclose any known defects that exist at the time of the transaction, as long as they fit within certain categories.  You are not required to have the home inspected prior to sale in order to locate defects.  The buyer, however, is very likely to do so.  The defects on the disclosure form will generally be items that will affect the value or usability of the property in question.  They will be items that could cause a buyer to determine not to go forward with the transaction, or perhaps to negotiate a price adjustment to account for repair costs.

On the other side of the equation, though, if you’ve honestly and promptly disclosed any defects that you’re aware of, it could be argued that the price of the property has been set after taking those defects into account.  The buyer may choose to move forward anyway, even if they still have the home inspected to look for other defects, unknown to you at the time of disclosure.

The seller will be required to provide the Seller’s Real Property Form at least 10 days prior to closing the transaction.  This gives the buyer an opportunity to investigate and respond, whether that means backing out of the transaction, asking for an adjusted sales price, or simply filing the disclosure form and moving on. 

Deciding What to Disclose

Each real estate transaction should have its own contract, rather than using a standard boilerplate document for such an important purpose.  Having an experienced real estate lawyer draft your contract will help you to ensure that your interests are being protected appropriately.  This advice applies to both buyer and seller in any transaction.  The attorney is going to be your advocate to ensure not only a smooth transaction now, but protection later should one of the parties breach the contract, or if there are potential inconsistencies in the disclosure.

If you’re the seller, while having your attorney draft the real estate sales contract for this transaction, ask them about what items need to be disclosed.  You should also ask about any defects that should be disclosed, even though it isn’t required, and what items you can leave off the disclosure form altogether.  Every transaction is unique, just as every property is unique, so the items needing disclosure will vary depending on your individual circumstances. Your real estate lawyer will be the most qualified person to answer these questions.

Stigmatized properties are one major area where disclosure requirements are questioned.  A stigmatized property is one where a property has been psychologically impacted by an event that occurred, or was believed to have occurred, which has no physical impact on the property.

In Nevada, sellers are not typically required to disclose events such as murders, suicides, deaths, paranormal activity, or criminal activity at a property, unless the property itself was the cause of the death.  Real estate agents are not required to disclose these issues, either, but will be obligated by their duties as a licensed agent to answer truthfully, if asked whether the property has such history.

What Needs to Be Disclosed?

Some items are required to be disclosed by Nevada law, assuming the seller is aware of them.  These include items such as:

  • Foundation Issues
  • Leaks
  • Electrical/Plumbing/HVAC Issues
  • Toxic Conditions
  • Pest Issues
  • Safety Issues

Foundation Issues

Any type of foundation problem, like cracks, heaving, or displacement are required to be disclosed prior to the sale of the home.  These issues have the potential to be very costly to repair, and to affect the usability of the property prior to, and during, the time when repairs are being made.  Foundation issues, can also lead to other times of the house needing to be addressed after repairs are made.


Leaks, whether roof leaks, or a faulty or broken pipe in the ceiling, are a required disclosure item.  Water intrusion has the real potential of causing escalating damage and, if not properly addressed, can provide a favorable environment for mold growth.

Electrical/Plumbing/HVAC Issues

Interior mechanical systems can be both costly to repair, and greatly affect quality of life, or even be dangerous if they are faulty.  For this reason, all electrical, plumbing, or HVAC system defects will need to be disclosed. 

Whether it is improper bonding of a gas pipe, improper connection of the grounding lug in the breaker panel, or an inoperable or missing GFCI circuit, all electrical defects will need to be disclosed.  Something small, but potentially dangerous, like using standard PVC pipe between the water heater and the outlet, can cause major health problems to the user.

Plumbing issues such as a faulty water heater, a currently leaking pipe, or a previous repair that didn’t remediate moisture intrusion are all plumbing items that will need to be disclosed.

HVAC system issues, or items known to be in need of repair, will also need to be disclosed. These repairs tend to be costly, and the buyer should be made aware of them prior to closing on the transaction.  In addition, some HVAC issues have been known to create a moisture collection problem, which can contribute to mold growth.

Toxic Conditions

Any sort of toxic conditions will need to be disclosed prior to completion of the transaction.  These will include the existence of mold, caused by either external leaks, defective piping, or other unknown reasons.  Asbestos and Radon are also items that will need to be disclosed during this process.

Pest Issues

Any sort of pest infestation, such as termites or rodents, will need to be disclosed per Nevada Law.  Failure to do so would place the seller in violation of state disclosure requirements.  Termite infestation, may not be immediately apparent, though rodents typically are easier to notice.

Safety Issues

Safety Issues are required to be disclosed prior to closing on the real estate transaction, for fairly obvious reasons.  These issues can include things like faulty stairs, handrails, and loose or missing spindles.

These items are not the only required disclosures included, they are simply a list of some of the types of defects that you’ll be expected to disclose, prior to sale, if you are aware of them.  Remember, you are not required to hire an inspector to find these items in advance, only to include them on the disclosure.  Be aware, however, that the buyer will most likely hire a professional inspector who will be looking for these issues, in addition to others.

You, as the seller, will be responsible for accurately filling out the disclosure documents yourself, as your licensed real estate agent isn’t allowed to do so.  In fact, filling out these forms for you is one of the few ways they can be held accountable for nondisclosure under the new laws.

An experienced real estate attorney will be an invaluable asset to have on your team for this process.  Not only will they be qualified to advise you on what does, or doesn’t, need to be included in your disclosures, they will be able to help you with other aspects of the process as well.  For example, a real estate attorney can ensure that your contract contains language that protects your rights both during, and after, the real estate transaction, and since they are already familiar with the property and transaction, will be better able to help if there are legal issues regarding this property in the future.

Can a Real Estate Agent Be Sued For Misrepresentation?

You recently bought a property in Nevada and later discovered that the realtor misrepresented specific facts regarding the premises. If you have suffered damages due to that misrepresentation, experienced Nevada real estate lawyers can guide you as to whether you have a basis to file a lawsuit to recover your damages. 

What Are The Duties Owed By a Nevada Real Estate Licensee?

Licensee’s Duties Owed to All Parties:

A Nevada real estate licensee shall: (1) Not deal with any party to a real estate transaction in a manner that is deceitful, fraudulent, or dishonest; (2) exercise reasonable skill and care with respect to all parties to the real estate transaction; (3) Disclose to each party to the real estate transaction as soon as practicable: a. Any material and relevant facts, data, or information which the licensee knows, or with reasonable care and diligence the licensee should know, about the property, and b. Each source from which the licensee will receive compensation; and (4) Abide by all other duties, responsibilities, and obligations required of the licensee in law or regulations.

Licensee’s Duties Owed to the Client:

A Nevada real estate licensee shall: (1)Exercise reasonable skill and care to carry out the terms of the brokerage agreement and the licensee’s duties in the brokerage agreement; (2) Not disclose, except to the licensee’s broker, confidential information relating to a client for 1 year after the revocation or termination of the brokerage agreement, unless licensee is required to do so by court order or the client gives written permission; (3) Seek a sale, purchase, option, rental or lease of real property at the price and terms stated in the brokerage agreement or at a price acceptable to the client; (4) Present all offers made to, or by the client as soon as practicable, unless the client chooses to waive the duty of the licensee to present all offers and signs a waiver of the duty on a form prescribed by the Division; (5) Disclose to the client material facts of which the licensee has knowledge concerning the real estate transaction; (6) Advise the client to obtain advice from an expert relating to matters which are beyond the expertise of the licensee; and (7) Account to the client for all money and property the licensee receives in which the client may have an interest.

Duties Owed By a broker who assigns different licensees affiliated with the brokerage to separate parties. Each licensee shall not disclose, except to the real estate broker, confidential information relating to the client.

As stated above, Nevada Realtors have a duty to disclose all known (or reasonably should be known) material facts about a property.  If you later find out and have evidence, that a real estate agent in the transaction had knowledge about material fact and failed to disclose the same, that realtor could be held liable for breaching his or her duties under Nevada law.

Stigmatized Properties

The National Association of REALTORS® defines a stigmatized property as: “a property that has been psychologically impacted by an event which occurred, or was suspected of having occurred, on the property, a such event being one that has no physical impact of any kind.”

For example, this could refer to prior criminal activity, murder, or suicide occurring in the house, as well as alleged haunting or an infamous previous owner. Stigmatized properties in Nevada can be difficult for buyers to sell; they can strongly negatively impact property values for both the home itself and even neighboring homes. In Nevada, sellers typically have no requirement to reveal murders, suicides or deaths, paranormal activity, or criminal activity that occurred on the property – unless the property was the cause of someone’s death. However, the agent should be truthful if asked directly about any of these issues.

Can A Real Estate Agent Be Held Liable for Nondisclosure of Defects Under NRS 113.150?

Recent changes in Nevada law make it difficult to pursue a claim against a real estate agent for nondisclosure of defects under NRS 113.150. Under NRS 113, a Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form is required to be filled out and provided by the seller of the property. The nondisclosure claims and allowed trebled damages pursuant to NRS 113.150 can only be pursued against the seller, not a realtor, unless there is evidence that the real estate agent was involved in completing the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form. Proof of actual knowledge and involvement is necessary for a claim.

Stigmatized Properties Present a Challenge in Nevada

Property sellers and real estate professionals face a tough decision about disclosures when selling a stigmatized property. 

What Is a Stigmatized Property?

A property is stigmatized when buyers find it undesirable due to emotional or psychological reasons. Conditions that might stigmatize a property are:

  • Murder or suicide: If someone was murdered or committed suicide in a house, it may be stigmatized.
  • Public intrigue: If a property was a famous filming location or is recognizable due to a sensational crime, curious onlookers may become a nuisance to homeowners.
  • Paranormal activity: A house may be stigmatized if it has a history of paranormal activity or haunting.
  • Criminal stigma: A property may be stigmatized if someone has committed a crime in the house, such as the production of methamphetamine.

What Should be Disclosed?

When a property is stigmatized, it can be much more difficult to sell. It can take up to 25% longer to sell and have a lower sales price than similar properties. Therefore, it is usually in the seller’s best interest to keep conditions that might cause the property to be stigmatized under wraps. Fortunately, Nevada law does not require disclosure of anything about a property that is not material to its condition. 

In Nevada, Sellers generally do not have to disclose murders, suicides or deaths that occurred inside the property, paranormal activity, or criminal activity that took place inside the property. The only exception to Nevada’s non-disclosure law is if the property’s condition caused someone’s death. Further, they must disclose if methamphetamines have been produced at the property unless the Board of Health has certified that the house is safe for habitation.  However, the Seller and Real Estate Agent should not like about any of these issues if directly asked. 

When Is Disclosure Best for the Seller?

Although Sellers are not required to make disclosures about stigmatized property except under specific circumstances, occasionally disclosure is in the seller’s best interest. If a buyer is likely to discover the stigmatizing condition, it may be better for the seller to disclose the condition upfront to avoid surprises that might derail the sale. A Nevada real estate lawyer can answer questions about what disclosures they must make or what conditions they should disclose.  

Are Inflated House Prices in Nevada Starting to Cool Off?

Purchasing a home in the current Nevada housing market is challenging. However, with the possibility of stabilizing prices, it may be time for mortgage-backed buyers to make their move. 

Why Is the Nevada Housing Market so Difficult?

The housing market in Nevada has been on a wild ride for the last year, with housing prices rising more than 21%. Real estate experts attribute the increase in prices to different factors, such as cash buyers and an influx of new residents. Experienced real estate agents in the state have reported an increase in all-cash buyers. These cash offers make it difficult for traditional mortgage-backed buyers to purchase a home because cash buyers can move faster, waive inspections, and offer above-listing prices. 

Who Are the Cash Buyers?

Real estate experts have cited the COVID-19 pandemic as an impetus for people moving to Nevada. The increase in remote work positions due to the pandemic has allowed people to move to areas with a lower cost of living. People have realized that they can move to Nevada from New York, Chicago, California, and Florida, buy more houses for less money, and have a substantially lower cost of living.

However, wealthy investors looking to purchase houses for the rental market are likely behind most of the cash-only purchases. Some individuals are buying additional homes to increase their share of the rental market. However, statistics show that corporations are purchasing large swaths of homes to rent them out. These corporations are betting that increasing home prices will result in increased rental demand.

These investors are not wrong. As of July 2021, the median home price in Reno was $530,000. Realtors report that many homebuyers seeking to break into the housing market have decided to delay their home search after getting consistently outbid by cash buyers, increasing the rental market.  

Stabilizing Market

It appears, however, that the housing market in Nevada may be stabilizing. The median home price in Las Vegas has held steady at $405,000 for two months. Further, real estate experts claim that the housing market will begin to plateau because it is unsustainable for the median home price to continue outpacing the median wage. 

With signs pointing to a cooling Nevada housing market, now may be the time for mortgage-backed buyers to find their homes. However, buyers should still be prepared for stiff competition. Finding an experienced realtor and real estate attorney may help make the process smoother.      

Buying a Home? Beware of These Red Flags

The hot real estate market and fear of missing out shouldn’t cause homebuyers to overlook red flags during the home-buying process. This could cause serious headaches in the future. Missing warning signs that are obviously present could impact future legal rights when filing a potential lawsuit. 

The Home Inspection Process Protects Buyers

The home inspection is a buyer’s best friend when buying a home. Buyers desperate to buy a home are more frequently either waiving the inspection or paying less attention. This is a big mistake. Buyers will usually have to pay for repairs when they discover problems after they buy a home, unless the seller tried to hide the defects. 

Buyers Should Pay Close Attention to the Wood and Foundation

Some of the biggest things to check are a home’s foundation and the integrity of the wood. Things such as moisture, termites, and carpenter ants can impact wood, causing it to rot over time. This is very expensive to replace. Rotting wood that is readily apparent is often a sign of more serious problems. This problem can occur inside and outside of the home. Cracks in the foundation can make a home structurally unsafe and require major work to remedy.  A Buyer sure to hire an experienced and thorough home inspector, including one that can do a pest inspection, to help with the Buyer’s due diligence.

Water Is the Homebuyer’s Bane

In general, buyers should be vigilant about moisture. Water is one of the biggest enemies of a homeowner, causing massive repair bills. Buyers should pay close attention to whether there are water spots on the floors and/or ceilings, as these are signs of leaks. Water will damage floors and wood, and can eventually cause a severe mold problem. A small leak today can become a major flood in the future. Again, a good home inspector should help a Buyer discover potential signs of water damage, including past or active leaks.

One Should Inspect the Workmanship

In addition, Buyers should look at the quality of workmanship in the home. Some sellers may attempt DIY repairs before selling a home to give the appearance that the home is in good condition. However, they may lack sufficient expertise to do a good job on these repairs. Shoddy workmanship is a sign that the homeowner may be doing quick work to cover up problems that are far worse. Also showing what buyers can expect elsewhere in the home. 

Beware of AS-IS Provisions

Buyers should be reluctant to sign “AS-IS” provisions, or at the very least, should have a real estate lawyer review the provision before it is executed.  Certain language in this type of provision could have negative implications for a Buyer’s claim against not only the Seller but potentially other third parties. A Buyer needs to clearly understand the consequences of signing an “AS-IS” provision before moving forward.

Buyers who have issues with defects that they discovered after buying the home can contact a real estate lawyer. They may be able to file a lawsuit against the seller or builder of the home depending upon the factual circumstances. 

Real Estate Sales Contracts

A real estate contract is a binding document that obligates both parties to its terms, and great care must be taken when drafting it. Any imprecise terms or sloppy drafting could come back to haunt one or both of the parties, especially the one who drafted it. One way to avoid the risks of a contractual mistake or oversight is to hire a real estate lawyer to review all terms. 

Each Transaction Should Have its Own Contract

There is no such thing as a typical real estate contract. Each transaction has its own terms that are negotiated by the buyer and seller. For example, there could be repairs that need to be made, and the contract will specify who is responsible for them. 

Every deal may have its own contingencies, and these need to be spelled out in the agreement. Otherwise, parties will not have the contractual protections necessary for their situation. Someone should closely review the contract, both as it is drafted, and before it is signed. After the real estate deal is closed, the parties lose the legal right to change the contract, and a judge will enforce what is written and interpret any ambiguities.

Everything should be in writing and included in the contract itself.  Text messages, verbal conversations and emails that include negotiations but that do not expressly make it into the contract will likely be deemed unenforceable.   

Clearly Address the Inspection Process and Other “Outs”

One important contingency is the inspection process. This is often what can hold up the deal and cause disputes between the seller and buyer. The reason why this is a contingency is that the buyer has the ability to walk away from the deal if the property cannot “pass” an inspection. Another common contingency gives the buyer an out if they cannot obtain the financing to buy the property. 

In addition, the contract should clearly specify what is included in the sale. The seller may wish to include some personal property items as part of the sale. The contract should exclude what the seller wants to retain, so the buyer does not expect to take possession of these when the deal closes. Otherwise, the buyer may be entitled to them as part of the transaction. All important material terms should be included.

Perhaps the most important part of the real estate sales contract is the provision that covers what happens when one of the parties does not live up to their obligations under the contract. This will give the other party the legal right to enforce the contract and penalize the other side when they have breached the terms. Parties need to watch out for provisions that might waive their right to a jury trial and it is important to include prevailing party provisions so there is an ability to recover attorneys fees and costs if a dispute arises.  It is also important to understand liquidated damages provisions before you sign.  Having a real estate attorney review a contract before execution may save time, money, and heartache for the parties later down the line.

Reno’s Real Estate Market Is Red Hot. Here’s Why

Reno home prices are going up, and the short-term prediction is that this will continue for the foreseeable future, However, some factors could stop increasing prices in the longer term. In the meantime, buyers should expect tight supply and multiple bids on each property.

Low Rates and Supply Mean High Prices

The story in Reno is much the same as the rest of the country. Historically low interest rates and short supply are combining to light a fire under the real estate market. The few homes that are on the market are available only to the bidders who manage to beat out everyone else. This freezes some potential buyers out of the market. 

Many homeowners have stayed put because of the pandemic. Some people have put off moves because of the uncertainty of how their lives will unfold in the future. Others need to relocate, but there is not an available supply of homes. Even as the pandemic begins to recede, the housing market still seems in flux.

The low interest rates mean that buyers can afford more houses for their money. Currently, mortgage rates are just above record lows, stretching homebuyers’ budgets. This often emboldens them in a bidding war. The result is that prices keep running away from the average buyer. This may stop when mortgage rates invariably head higher, so buyers need to be cautious, lest they end up in a repeat of the Great Recession housing bust.

Portable Jobs Increase Competition for Homes

The pandemic’s housing effects are far more magnified in Reno. Some buyers can move practically anywhere in the country and still keep their jobs, and Reno is one of the most desirable destinations. Housing prices are up over 20% year-over-year. While Reno has become expensive and has priced out many buyers, it is still less expensive than some metro areas in the neighboring state of California. Families from California may be able to cut their housing expenses by moving to Reno, leaving some locals priced out of the market. 

People are coming to Reno from all over the country, and that has put the market into a frenzy.  In fact, there appears to be a great migration of people from large cities to more rural areas. While buyers need to be careful about paying too much, they must be prepared to pay up if they want a home in Reno. In the meantime, there is little relief from high prices for prospective buyers in the real estate market.

Reno Real Estate Market: Inventory Hits Record Lows

Available residential real estate has dropped to record low levels in Reno and many parts of the country. As the pandemic drags on, an increasing number of buyers are seeking homes in areas such as Reno-Sparks, which offer fresh air, plenty of space, and a quieter way of life. It is most certainly a sellers’ market for the time being.

As of February, there were only 165 homes on the market in the Reno-Sparks area. This is a decrease of 73% from last February’s 621. Further, the median sales price has increased nearly 11%. Both of these data points highlight the advantages in favor of sellers, but also present difficulties that buyers need to overcome. 

Asking Price Is a Starting Point

Inventory is low, prices are rising, and buyers are motivated to move. It is a perfect storm of conditions that all favor sellers. Across the country in communities with similar conditions as those around Reno-Sparks, this means sellers are receiving bids far above the listing price. In some cases, sellers are receiving dozens of offers, many sight unseen, within days of listing the property. For sellers, it is not a matter of waiting for offers; it is a matter of choosing which offer comes with the best price and the fewest contingencies. 

Inventory Will Not Quickly Recover

Home construction remains sluggish across the country. Production of construction materials is down, the global supply chain is still wounded, and rolling lockdowns have made it increasingly challenging to build new homes at a fast pace. It may take several years for new construction to absorb the increased demand for additional housing in areas such as Reno-Sparks. However, it may take longer as vaccination rates rise and an increasing number of buyers seek to relocate from congested cities into more relaxed and less densely populated regions.   

Naturally, prices have risen and this is reflected in the sold-to-list price ratios in the region. During the first quarter last year, the average listing price was $420,000. By the end of fourth quarter, it rose to just under $450,000. Moreover, around 99% of sellers are receiving their asking price or higher. It’s a trend that will no doubt continue throughout the year as Reno’s star continues its rapid rise as a comfortable, quiet, and fun place to work, play, and raise a family. 

Due to the high number of offers being submitted and quick closings, it is important to carefully review the terms of your contractual sale documents and it may be wise to have an attorney review, should you have any questions.  The attorneys at Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa, LLP are here to help. 

What Is Inverse Condemnation?

While governmental bodies may use eminent domain to seize land for the public’s benefit, property owners may file inverse condemnation actions when they do not receive just compensation for the land that is taken. Landowners must receive fair compensation from the government whenever their property is seized through eminent domain processes. While eminent domain is initiated by the government, inverse condemnation is initiated by property owners who have not been fairly compensated for the land that has been seized.

Eminent Domain Rules

Property owners enjoy constitutional rights against seizures of their property by the government under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, eminent domain has been recognized as an exception to this right under both federal and Nevada state law. Nevada has established laws about when the government can exercise eminent domain to seize property and how the process works. The government can seize property to use for the public’s benefit. However, it must fairly compensate property owners for the property that is taken. When property owners do not receive reasonable compensation from the government for their seized land, they may file inverse condemnation actions.

Understanding Inverse Condemnation

Inverse condemnation refers to a legal process by which landowners may sue the government for fair compensation for the lands that they have lost. This action may be filed when the government seizes a portion of property outright or when its actions result in an effective seizure of a portion or all of a piece of property. For example, if a government redirects a waterway in such a way that it causes a landowner’s property to flood, it could be considered an effective seizure of the landowner’s property. Inverse condemnation actions provide a way for landowners to recover the compensation they should receive for the loss of use or ownership rights of the affected land.

To prove an inverse condemnation claim in Nevada, property owners are required to show several things. They must prove that taking of the land and their real or personal interests in it occurred. They must also show that the land was seized for the public’s use without receiving just compensation. The seizure must have been proximately caused by the actions of a governmental agency in the absence of formal eminent domain procedures. Inverse condemnation actions can be complex because of the types of evidence that may be needed to prove these elements.  

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