By law, Sellers are required to disclose every MATERIAL fact they know about the property they are selling. A material fact would be anything that a Buyer would want to be aware of when deciding to purchase a property. For example, if you had a plumbing leak 4 years ago and have since repaired it that should be disclosed. Properly disclosing that would go something like this: there was a plumbing leak in the master bathroom shower in July of 2009 which was repaired (attached is a copy of the reciept). Another example of a disclosure would be during heavy rains, water at times pools up in front of the garage. You also describe to the Buyer any improvements that you made such as remodeling the kitchen. The 2 forms that address disclosures are the Transfer Disclosure Statement and the Seller Property Questionnaire. We take time with our clients when filling these forms out – they are the first thing lawyers will look at if there is ever a law suit. Thankfully, we’ve never been involved in a law suit and detailed disclosures are a best way to limit the chances of one.
Per the contract, all disclosures are to be delivered to the Buyer within 7 days of getting an accepted offer. It there is any significant disclosure that may discourage a Buyer from purchasing the property it is prudent to make those disclosures right up front – no sense in accepting an offer only to have the deal fall apart a few days later when you drop a bomb on the Buyer.
You should be careful how you represent information about your property. For example, unless you are absolutely 100% certain you have ALLcopper plumbing don’t make that representation. Rather say we believe the plumbing to be all copper – Buyer to verify through independent inspections. Sellers are at times afraid they may scare a Buyer off with too many disclosures but in our experience, we find that most Buyers are happy to be dealing with an honest Seller. Even more importantly, full and thorough dislcoure to a Buyer is in a sense building a suit of armor to defend yourself in the event a dispute turns into a lawsuit.
Under no circumstances should you try to hide something significant from the Buyers. Buyers have a way of finding things out (neighbors are a common source of information) Not only is it illegal to do so but it’s also stupid – especially in a highly litigious state like California with more lawyers per capita than many parts of the United States.
If you’re selling a condominium, you should gather information relating to the HOA. Buyers will typically want to know if the building has earthquake insurance (many do not); if pets are allowed and if there are any restrictions; and if there are any restrictions on remodeling such as installing hardwood floors. They will also want to know if there are any special assessments coming up and what amount the building has in reserves. This information is given to the Buyer during escrow but it’s a good idea to have the answers to these questions when you first start marketing the condo to potential buyers.
Contact Kevin at (310) 200-4916 or email email@example.com
Contact Brian at (323) 273-5104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org