California sellers of residential real estate (defined as one to four units) must complete and provide written disclosures to the buyer about the condition of the property for sale. California’s seller disclosure requirements are very strict.
What Must be Disclosed
California sellers of residential real estate are required to disclose, in writing, information about the property to a prospective buyer. Where a seller of real property knows of facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property which are known or accessible only to him and also knows that such facts are not known to, or within the reach of the diligent attention and observation of the buyer, the seller is under a duty to disclose them to the buyer. A real estate agent or broker representing a seller is under the same duty of disclosure.
Examples of conditions that must be disclosed include, but are not limited to:
• Features of the property (i.e., appliances, age of the roof, , garage, etc.)
• Defects and malfunctions
• Encroachments, and easements
• Settlement and drainage issues
• Noise or nuisances
• Environmental hazards
• Zoning violations
• CC&Rs (conditions, covenants and restrictions)
All disclosures to a perspective buyer must be in writing and must comply with any time periods stated in the real estate contract.
How Disclosures are Made to the Buyer
California law provides for a standard disclosure format which must be used by sellers in making these disclosures. There are many different types of disclosure forms required for residential real estate transaction.
Failure to Disclose
If the seller of real property does not adequately disclose the accurate condition of the property as required by law, the seller can be exposed to liability for damages to the buyer. Based on the terms of the written real estate contract, the buyer may be able to file a lawsuit or require mediation and arbitration of the seller to resolve the dispute.
Attorney Assistance can Help Avoid a Dispute
The process of selling your home can be overwhelming. Lisa Wills is an experienced real estate attorney who can help you to identify the necessary information to make sure you meet disclosure requirements to avoid a problem later with the buyer. It is good planning and far more cost-effective to have an attorney assist you during the transaction rather than forced to defend yourself in a lawsuit by the buyer for failing to disclose a material property condition. Contact an attorney to answer your questions and help guide you through the transaction. Call us at (925) 463-9000 or send an email.
Lisa Wills of the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills is a skilled real estate attorney in Pleasanton, San Ramon, Dublin, Livermore, Danville, Castro Valley and Hayward, CA. Please contact Lisa Wills by email at the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills or call (925) 463-9000.