By Clifford H. Bloom, Esq.
Bloom Sluggett Morgan, PC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
From Michigan Lake and Stream
April 7, 2017
Potential buyers of waterfront property are not the only ones who face a sometimes daunting task, particularly with regard to “due diligence” investigations. Sellers of waterfront property must also be very careful.
Perhaps the best advice that can be given to someone contemplating the sale of a waterfront property is not to exaggerate or misrepresent any of the characteristics of the property. Should that occur, in many cases, it will come back to “bite” the seller, either in the form of a lawsuit or a bitter purchaser (or both!). For example, if the property involved is a backlot with a shared lake access site, the seller should not advertise or indicate that the property has “deeded access,” riparian rights, or similar potential misrepresentation. Use fully truthful language. Full disclosure (within reason) regarding any problems or “issues” associated with the property is usually the best avenue.
If “deeded access” is normally not a legally-appropriate phrase, what language should the seller of a backlot or off-lake property near the water use to indicate that a nearby lake access is available? Perhaps the best wording is simply to indicate that “limited lake access to Marble Lake is located nearby.” Any language that states or implies that the particular backlot has its own exclusive lake access device, that the backlot has permanent docking and boat mooring privileges, or that the backlot has a lake access device where virtually any use can occur thereon, can get a seller (and potentially, a realtor or real estate agent) in trouble if the wording is not true or fully accurate. This is one area where exaggeration (or what the seller might consider “puffery”) can get a person into trouble.
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