In California, a residential property seller has a strict duty to accurately complete state required disclosures about condition of the residence that will be given to a potential buyer in a residential purchase and sale transaction. The seller must disclose known, material facts about the property which could affect the value or desirability of the property to a prospective buyer. The purpose of these disclosure obligations are to give the buyer as much information as possible about a property to be able to adequately evaluate it’s condition including the need for any potential repairs or necessary upgrades to the home. The strict disclosure requirements are meant to encourage seller to be truthful about the condition of the property because they can be sued if they fail to disclose problems or defective conditions.
There are many required disclosure forms in a California residential property transaction. Additionally, there may be additional forms required for transactions in some areas. The required Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (“TDS”) covers a wide variety of subjects including structural information about your home, roof condition, appliances, room additions, permits for construction, building code violations, neighborhood noise and nuisances in addition to many other items.
When to give the Buyer the Disclosures
It is suggested that the seller give the buyer the required disclosures as soon as possible to allow the buyer to investigate further and decide if they want to purchase the property. A transaction may go more smoothly if the seller has all of the disclosures and other seller paperwork completed prior to listing the property so the information can be given to a serious potential purchaser when an offer to purchase is made.
Consequences of Failure to Disclose Material Property Conditions
If the seller does not accurately describe the condition of the property to a buyer, the result could be a long, drawn out dispute where the seller could ultimately be held liable for damages for the failure to disclose to the buyer material property conditions. A dispute can get very expensive, very quickly. It is worth it to get help in completing the disclosure forms so that property conditions are fully disclosed prior to closing the transaction.
Hire an Attorney to Protect Your Interests in the Process
For further information, a knowledgeable real estate attorney can advise you on real estate matters including understanding the terms of the purchase and sale agreement, negotiation of the transaction, what to disclose about your property and many more real estate related issues.
Lisa Wills of the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills is a knowledgeable real estate attorney in Pleasanton, CA helping educate real estate buyers and sellers so they can successfully close their real estate transaction. If you are looking for assistance with your real estate deal, contact Lisa Wills by email or (925) 463-9000.