One of the more common questions that buyers and sellers ask is what types of disclosures California law requires sellers to make when listing a property. Sellers want to know this information so that they don’t unnecessarily expose themselves to legal liability by not doing so. Buyers ask this because they want to know what they’re getting into in terms of whether the house may have costly repairs that they need to perform down the road.
It can be helpful to know what your obligations are or what expectations you should have, depending on whether you’re looking to sell or buy.
Which sellers must make disclosures in California?
California real estate codes require anyone who owns between one and four units to make a written disclosure available to their buyer. The two primary exceptions to this rule are if the home is being transferred from a co-owner to a sole owner and the property is subject to a court order.
Which details must sellers disclose about their home?
Sellers must generally make an agency disclosure and confirmation, and document the advisability of title insurance on this form. Some other details that you should include are:
- Carbon monoxide detector disclosures and detector compliance
- Knowledge about any potential flood risks
- Groundwater basin comprehensive notice
- Any knowledge of a ranch or farm nearby
- Evidence of the home’s location in an earthquake fault zone
- Fire home hardening and defensible space compliance information
- Notice of a gas and hazardous liquid transmission
- Acknowledgment of the presence of an airport in the area
- Any knowledge about whether there has been a death in the home during the prior three years
Additional required disclosures that sellers must make include ones highlighting military ordinances, mining operations, natural hazards, pest control, smoke detectors, water conservancy and the water heater. There are many booklets and pamphlets regarding seismic activity and lead paint dangers that sellers must convey to buyers.
You’ll want to review the complete list of disclosures that sellers must make to buyers to ensure you comply with existing requirements. Your obligations vary depending on the size of the property and the nature of the sale. You may unnecessarily expose yourself to legal liability if you fail to comply with these requirements.