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Understanding California Seller Disclosure Rules

November 14, 2016

11-10-16-image1Providing a seller’s disclosure statement is a standard part of a real estate sale. Documenting the condition of your home to the best of your knowledge protects you, the seller. Should you not provide a disclosure statement, you face a greater chance of a sale falling through, especially if a buyer’s inspection reveals something of concern. You could also face a lawsuit without this important documentation to support your knowledge of the state of your home. In California, there are some unique and specific rules to follow when providing a seller’s disclosure report.

Your Realtor® should be able to explain each in detail and help you complete this part of the sale process, but it will help to have a good understanding of the rules as well. The more you understand about the process, you will be better able to make informed decisions. NoLo, which provides an online legal encyclopedia, has a quick review of the state rules for seller disclosures. There are even links to specific state forms and resources.

11-10-16-image2The general terms of seller disclosure obligations include providing the information in writing, answering questions honestly and sharing basic details to the best of your knowledge, in a timely manner. The sooner you provide your disclosure, the sooner the sale of your home can move forward. In California, there are two required forms used, the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) and the California Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement (CNHDS).
The TDS form is where you note any known repairs, or ones that need to be completed. If you have made any updates to your home, be they energy conservation upgrades, or replacing a linoleum floor, for example, you are required to disclose the dates and details of work done. If appliances are included in the sale, you need to list them and their condition as well. Other topics of disclosure on this form include notification of any deaths on the property within the last three years, and any neighborhood noise issues.

11-10-16-image3California has its share of natural disasters. As such, the state has put together the California Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement. This is meant to help buyers make better informed decisions, but will also help you the seller when it comes disclosing liabilities. This is a form with a series of yes and no questions, pertaining to any known past exposure to natural phenomenon such as earthquakes, floods and forest fires.

Per state law, there is also a requirement to include a notice that buyers can search for registered sex offenders in the neighborhood as well. On a local level, there may also be city or county ordinances which sellers must follow as well. These rules are in part designed to give buyers the chance to understand what they are purchasing, and consider any issues or concerns themselves to determine if the property is right for them. Seller Disclosure rules also protect sellers by providing what you know in a documented form.

Seller Disclosure statements are an important part of the real estate sale process. When you are ready to sell your home, having a Realtor® who understands the state, and local rules will help you successfully sell your property. My team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

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