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What do California real estate sellers need to disclose?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Real Estate Litigation

Buying a property is strewn with pitfalls for the unwary. Thankfully, California state law makes it obligatory for sellers to disclose specific things to a prospective buyer.

Sellers of real estate must complete a Transfer Disclosure Statement. It allows you as a buyer the chance to see if you wish to go ahead with the purchase or not. The seller must declare any defects they know the property has.

What does a Transfer Disclosure Statement cover?

Here are some of the things sellers must reveal:

  • Structural defects: If the roof leaks or the bedroom wall is about to fall down, the seller must say so.
  • Contamination: Some older properties contain harmful lead paint. Others are situated on sites where gases such as radon are a health issue.
  • Legal issues: Owners must reveal zoning issues, boundary disputes, easements, and other legal matters that could cause you problems.

The state also requires sellers to complete a Natural Hazards Disclosure. This form alerts you to the risk you lose your home to a natural disaster. For example, the seller must mention if the property sits in a zone susceptible to floods, fire or earthquakes.

What if a seller did not know about a property issue?

Carrying out your own surveys before buying a property reduces the chance you get caught out by a dishonest or honest but uninformed seller.

If you discover an issue and confront the seller about it, they will probably say they did not know about it. You will need help to find out if they are telling the truth or not. If you face, real estate issues understanding more about disclosure laws can help you determine the best course of action.