The buying and selling of residential real estate goes on at a dizzying pace in California. If you are about to put your home on the market, what do you need to tell a prospective buyer?
From drainage issues to bedbugs, here are six types of disclosures that the law requires you to make, some of them very surprising.
1. Property damage
Do not fail to tell a prospective buyer about any leaks, drainage issues, mold or similar problems. The new owner will find out about them at some point, and you could be in legal hot water.
2. Boundary issues
You and your neighbor may not have a problem with boundary issues. However, the new owner of your home might take exception to the neighbor’s fence since a plot map confirms its location on your property.
3. Lead paint
Lead-based paint was common in homes built before 1978. In California, as in every other state, the seller must disclose the fact that this kind of paint was present in the home, even if it all appears to have been removed.
4. Pest problems
If at one time you have had a problem with mice, bats, squirrels, bedbugs or any other kind of pest, tell the would-be owner, even if the issue no longer exists.
5. Emotional defects
“Emotional defect” is the terminology for a violent crime, murder or suicide that happened in your home. If it occurred more than three years ago, you do not have to bring it up. However, if the prospective owner asks, you must explain what you know.
6. Paranormal activity
If you believe there may be a ghost in the house or if someone performed an exorcism, you must divulge the information. The prospective owners may not believe in ghosts—but some people do.
Your legal obligation
Nondisclosure is a common problem when it comes to selling a home. As the seller, you must disclose anything that may affect the value of the property. For example, if you failed to report that a squirrel once raised her family in your attic crawl space, you may not have done so on purpose, but if the buyer discovers some structural damage, you may face a lawsuit.