What Must I Disclose When Selling Real Estate?

One of the responsibilities that the seller of a home has to the buyer is disclosing any factor that may make the property less-than-desirable. Should information be deliberately concealed from a buyer that later leads to costly repairs, they may choose to take legal action against the seller. Important to note however, is that the only information that must be disclosed is information that the seller themselves were aware of. Therefore, you won't necessarily be required to hire countless experts to try to find problems with the home before selling it if you are not already aware of some.

How can I make sure I abide by the laws?

California law requires that sellers provide buyers with information on any defects or damages that may affect the price of the house within three years of their occurrence. In addition, buyers must be informed of any natural hazards that may occur on the property, such as earthquakes, floods, or fires. They must also be made aware of the government database listing the residences of convicted sex offenders.

In order to make sure that you are abiding by the law and disclosing all relevant information:

  • Be sure that you don't turn a blind eye to problems you should have known about
  • Hire a property inspector to look over the house before placing it on the market
  • Obtain an inspection report of the findings and use this to price the home and negotiate with prospective buyers about the house
  • Err on the side of caution and disclose all information, even if it does not seem particularly relevant to the buyer or something they should know
  • Discover what disclosed issues need to be repaired right away and what can be used in negotiating the price of the home with the buyer
  • Always disclose the presence of lead-based paint and other lead hazards, especially if the home was built before 1978 and has not been updated

Selling a home is serious business. Not only is this usually the most valuable asset people own, but it is generally considered a long-term investment. Buyers looking at homes generally make this purchase with the understanding that they know what they are getting into and will accept responsibility moving forward. Like any business transaction, information that can prevent or change the details of the deal must be laid out to ensure transparency for both the buyer and the seller.

Wondering what you have to disclose when selling your home? Protect yourself from legal action by checking with the Law Office of Steven R. Lovett before placing your home on the market.

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