Am I Legally Required to Sign a Real Estate Condition Report?

November 17, 2014

Am I Legally Required to Sign a Real Estate Condition Report?


Although many Sellers are told that they are “required by law” to fill out and sign a Real Estate Condition Report (RECR), the relevant statute provides a number of exceptions. For instance, “personal representatives, trustees, conservators, and fiduciaries who are appointed by, or subject to the supervision of, a court” are excepted from RECR’s. (Wis. Stat. 709.01(2)).

Moreover, even if you are just a normal seller, you may be excepted from filling out a RECR. For example, the statute provides that if the buyer signs a written waiver, then you do not have to fill out the RECR. (Wis. Stat. 709.08). Similarly, if the buyer proceeds to closing without receiving the RECR, the buyer can no longer rescind the contract because of the lack of an RECR. (Wis. Stat. 709.08).

What’s the Harm in Filling out the RECR?

The consequences of incorrectly filling out an RECR can be very expensive. Recently, Attorney Thompson of our office presided over an arbitration hearing concerning a dispute of an RECR. Neither the Seller nor the Buyer retained an attorney; they shared the same Real Estate Broker; and neither opted for inspections of the property.

However, the Seller did fill out a RECR and stated that there were no known defects to the property. After purchasing the property, the Buyers found a number of different defects, including standing water in the basement, water dripping from the ceilings in various rooms, towels in the attic used to stop water leakage, and evidence of rodents in the attic. Based on the representations made by the Seller in the RECR, the Buyers were awarded over $60,000.00 from the Seller for their costs to remedy the situation.

Have you signed a Listing Agreement with a Realtor?

Unfortunately, many listing agreements state that “Seller agrees to complete the real estate condition report.” By signing the listing agreement with the agreement language, you’ve contracted to fill out a RECR and must fulfill the terms of the contract or else you will be in breach. Additionally, Real Estate Broker’s are required to disclose to the Buyer any errors that they perceive in the RECR.

Have you already signed an Offer to Purchase?

Many Offers to Purchase include the RECR as a part of the contract. Oftentimes referring to the already filled out and signed RECR by date. If your contract includes language that makes the RECR a part of the contract, then you must fill out the RECR, unless the Buyer waives this obligation.

The Real Estate Condition Report is not just a simple form to check boxes and sign. The representations that a Seller makes on the RECR can come back to haunt the Seller. Please consult an attorney before making any such representations.

For more information concerning RECR’s, please find Attorney Pollard’s interview with here: