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The Laws: California Real Estate Disclosures

SellersDisclosure Form with keys to the house on topWhat are my disclosure obligations when selling a home in Santa Barbara?

Do you know real estate disclosure laws vary from state to state? The law when it comes to California real estate disclosures requires residential property sellers to report, in writing, details about the property for sale. See,  California Civil Code Section 1102.
Why are these disclosures so important to potential home buyers? Because a buyer needs to know as much as possible about a property in order to evaluate whether he or she wants to buy it. This information includes offering an appropriate purchase price and knowing about any potential repairs or upgrades needed. California home sellers have a legal responsibility to be open about a property’s condition and can be sued for hiding problems or defects.

Who Makes Seller Disclosures?

As a general rule, all sellers of residential real estate property containing one to four units in California must complete and provide written disclosures to the buyer. There are a few exceptions, but if you’re offering your home to the public for sale, you can pretty much count on this requirement that applies to you.

When Must Sellers Provide Disclosure Information?

While there is no specific deadline for which you need to provide these disclosures to a prospective buyer, it’s best to give the disclosures to the buyer as soon as possible. Keep in mind, if you do not give the required disclosures to the buyer by the time the two of you have signed the purchase agreement, then the buyer has the option to terminate the deal.

Standard Disclosure Forms

California’s seller disclosure requirements are very strict and thorough. California law provides a standard format, which must be used by sellers in making these disclosures. The resulting form, called the “Transfer Disclosure Statement” (TDS), can be obtained from your California real estate agent. There’s also a draft online from the California Association of Realtors.
Sellers in California must also complete an additional disclosure form, the Natural Hazard Disclosure Report/Statement, before a home sale. The TDS form covers a broad range of topics, from structural information about your home, such as a leaky roof, to whether any deaths occurred on the property in the last three years. You will need to include information about all appliances in the home, including which are included in the sale as well as whether they are operational. You will also need to disclose any room additions, damage, or neighborhood noise problems.
California real estate disclosures are designed to protect both buyers and sellers. Remember, just because you disclose an issue doesn’t mean you are obligated to repair or correct it. For further information, a local California real estate agent like me is qualified to advise you on real estate matters. For legal advice, consult your attorney.
If you’re looking for a new home or want to sell one in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. I’ve been buying and selling real estate in Santa Barbara for more than 25 years, and am happy to help you with all your real estate needs!

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