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Disclosure obligations on selling your home in California

Paper House Under A Magnifying Lens

Ojai, California, real estate is considered prime property, so most homes sold here do not last long in the market. However, the process of home selling does not end with finding the highest bidder or the buyer with the least contingencies. California’s real estate laws require certain disclosure obligations from sellers that essentially protect them from any financial or legal liabilities post-sale. You can actually begin disclosing issues regarding your home and the surrounding community as early as listing time.

Real estate disclosure is tantamount to laying all your playing cards on the table so that the homebuyer does not come in blindly with a purchase offer. They will see you as a legitimate and trustworthy seller who is totally transparent with regard to your home sale.

Learn more about your legal responsibilities as a home seller below:

Types of disclosure forms

Disclosure forms stated below provide buyers with important information that may affect their decision to purchase a property or change the amount they’re willing to offer:

Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)

The TDS form covers many areas, but it essentially lays out all known issues of a home. From defective wiring to damaged roofs, everything must be disclosed to homebuyers.

When filling up a TDS form, include the status of the following parts of the home:

  • Roof
  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Ceiling
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Electronics and wiring
  • Plumbing
  • Insulation
  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Fences
  • Foundation

Apart from a home’s structural issues, any deaths that occurred on the property within the last three years must also be mentioned. According to California law, sellers cannot hide or give wrong information when asked about deaths that occurred on the property. The only exception to this rule is HIV/AIDS–related deaths, which are classified as disabilities. Disclosing these is considered discriminatory.

California Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) Report/Statement

You must also declare if the property is situated in a hazardous area. This includes properties that are in:

  • Areas vulnerable to potential flooding and designated flood hazard areas
  • High fire-hazard severity zones
  • Wildland areas with substantial forest fire risks and hazards
  • Earthquake fault zones
  • Seismic hazard zones

Other important disclosures

You may also need to prepare other important disclosure statements that have bearing on purchase money liens and special study zones. This will depend on your property’s location and the purchase agreement.

A seller is also responsible for informing buyers about any registered sex offenders in the area. Let them know that they can contact local law enforcement agencies for information on such individuals.

Submission of disclosure forms

Necessary disclosure forms can be obtained from your realtor, who can guide you on how to fill out this form, although you must do so on your own.

Putting your real estate for sale in Ojai, CA? I am realtor Donna Sallen. Call 805.798.0516 or email donna4remax(at)aol(dotted)com.

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