Realtors commented on-line on the 12-28-2013 Whidbey News Times (WNT) article, Island County officials say real estate agents responsible for proper noise disclosure.
Island County Planning Director, David Wechner, met with commissioners at the Island County Commissioners Meeting on December 18, 2014. He explained that the law currently in effect in Island County requires realtors to disclose far more than they do.
Clay Miller and Rick Schutte, commented on the article on the WNT web site as if they did not understand the content of what Planning Director Wechner explained, clearly and specifically. They took the position that their failure to provide legal disclosure is acceptable, and a signature on the form protects realtors from buyers that would learn about the noise after they bought, hate it, and then complain. Clay Miller said:
But if they were (and every single buyer I have helped in the past 11 years has been) given this form, and they do sign it – then they are on record as being WARNED that they are buying into a noisy area. The title alone should be enough for the average human to understand. If you sign this form and buy the property, you are without excuse. You cannot come back (as a Planning Director or a buyer) and claim ignorance, or blame other people for your choice.
Mr. Miller says that a buyer would have to be below the average human if they needed any more information than the title on the form. Perhaps he is having trouble understanding what the form actually says. Here is his summary:
(1) you are about to buy something in an Airport Noise Zone; (2) you will be exposed to SIGNIFICANT noise, and (3) you should CONSULT Island County ordinance before you buy
Let’s take this point by point:
- How many people know what a noise zone is, and since most don’t, then why not just tell them, as legally required? Mr. Miller is an aviator, and has lived here all his life. But what about an average buyer who had spent time around airports, but has no idea military jets train here?
- All airports have significant airport noise. The more complete description that is in the legal disclosure includes significant jet aircraft noise from a tactical military jet facility. That is much more “helpful.” Any other type of airport on small Whidbey Island would cause little concern. Driving by the OLF wouldn’t help, either. If you took 10 pictures of the OLF from the road, and showed them to 100 people off the island that had never been around a touch and go field, possibly none of them would be able to guess the devastating effect the field would have on their lives if they bought a home in that area.
- The disclosure used by realtors did not recommend consulting the Island County ordinance before buying. Remember, the disclosure used is for builders. It said there are restrictions on building, and you should consult the Island County Noise Level Reduction Ordinance to determine building restrictions, if any. A home buyer or leaser seldom plans to build, and is not interested in checking to see whether or not there are restrictions. If Mr. Miller is an “average human,” he will be able to understand that he has failed his customers through the use of a misleading disclosure, and he was not acting in accordance with Island County law.
The law was written to protect buyers from realtors like Mr. Miller.
Rick Schutte commented on Mr. Miller’s remarks by saying, “Well said, my friend.” He has served in leadership roles in the NWMLS, which coincidentally determines the forms realtors use, and the National Association of Realtors, which provides insurance for agents and brokers to protect them against individual and class action law suits for things like non-disclosure. The NAR maintains attorneys to protect realtors when their actions are within the boundaries of the law. He trains other realtors and likely transfers to them his attitudes towards buyers and their need for disclosure.
Here is his description of his role in the real estate profession:
Rick has been involved in the Real Estate industry on Whidbey Island since 1978. He is the past President of Northwest Multiple Listing Service and has been involved with his local Association of Realtors for many years. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the North Puget Sound Association of Realtors. As the owner and designated broker for Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate, Rick is actively involved in training and supporting the brokers and support staff for this experienced real estate company.
These comments show why ” full disclosure of the noise” is required by law. For many brokers out there, disclosure would not happen otherwise. When buyers then become complainers, the security of NASWI is threatened. They should be told long before they buy. This is an excess of greed at a terrible expense, and these realtors feel they are protected by a form with an obvious intent, and the intent was not to inform buyers.
Click below to see the full text of what each realtor had to say:
The Realtors Defend page includes statements made at an Island County Commissioners Meeting.
Read quotes given to the Whidbey News Times for a more recent article on the filing of the class action lawsuit.