Guide to Full Disclosures
In 1984, a California Court of Appeals
ruling in the case of Easton vs. Strassburger greatly extended the
liability of real estate sales. The property owner (home seller)
required to be aware of all the
material facts that would negatively influence the value of his/her
property. The key here is ALL material facts. This means
whether the negative facts are obvious or whether
negative facts are not obvious. Regardless of the situation, the
MUST disclose these facts to all prospective Home Buyers.
Much of California real estate law is designed to PROTECT THE BUYER!!
As a result of the Easton vs. Strassburger
case, California Real Estate Law now requires Sellers of residential
property of ONE to FOUR units to provide a prospective Home Buyer with a
Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement. There are other
valuable disclosure documents that would benefit the home seller to
disclose - contact Access Real Estate for additional information!
The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
identifies items of value attached to the structure of land, attached to
the house itself as well as the exterior and interior of the house
and states whether these items are operational or defected and
in need of repair or replacement. This form requires the property
owner (home seller) to
completely disclose any problems of any kind that might adversely affect
the value of the property. The obligation to prepare and deliver the
Transfer Disclosure Statement is imposed upon the SELLER of the
The following are just some of the wear
and tear items a normal property experiences. This is just an example
of some of the disclosure items a property owner would need to report regarding
operational status and defects as well as performed repairs or replacement
any of these items.
Animal Urine Smell,
Child restraint barrier,
Hot tub equipment,
Worn out air conditioner and furnace,
Broken kitchen cabinet doors and
Broken bathroom cabinet doors and
Broken bathroom or kitchen tile,
Rotted out fence,
Overgrown shrubs and trees,
Termite and other pest damage,
Interior wall damage,
Exterior wall damage,
Interior door damage,
Exterior door damage,
Flaking exterior paint,
Holes in walls,
Worn out or leaky water heater,
Garage door damage,
Garage door opener damage,
Worn out and stained carpets,
Torn or stained linoleum,
Ripped window and door screens,
Broken screen frames,
Overgrown front and backyard shrubs
Oil stains on the driveway and garage,
AND MORE, AND MORE, AND MORE…repair or
replacement items you might not know about!
can visually “see” as well as all the things you “can’t see” is subject
to wear and tear and may need to be fixed or replaced may materially
affect the value of the property being sold must be DISCLOSED!
the home seller must
also be aware of any structural modification performed on the property,
disclose any major damage to the property from flooding, drainage, fire,
or earthquake. Disclose any zoning violation of “setback”
requirements. And the list goes on,
and on, and on. For those disclosure items outside the actual
property line of the home, a Natural Hazard Disclosure is obtained from
recognized firms that specialize in gathering this type of data.
Recent legal decisions and new legislation provide that the
Home Seller has a
responsibility for revealing to the Home Buyer the true condition of the property. The concept of selling a property "as is", with the buyer assuming all
responsibility for determining the property condition, is not acceptable
in the present marketplace. The home seller must disclose the known
condition of the property to the home buyer. This information should be made
available to the home buyer as soon as possible.
The "As Is"
An "as is" home purchase is
acceptable, as long as the buyer understands exactly what the
"as is" condition entails. Thus, it can be said in the
purchase agreement that the Home Buyer accepts the roof and the plumbing
and the electrical system in their present condition and acknowledges
that they have defects. This acknowledgement provides a defense for the
home seller if it is later claimed he did not disclose the problem.
Finally...it is also the buyer's responsibility to perform all necessary
inspections to fully satisfy the home buyer. It is recommended the
home buyer obtain at a minimum a professional home inspection.
Other valuable inspections are a roof, pest, and fireplace inspections.
Bear in mind that each property is different, so the uniqueness of each
property would determine the type of inspections needed. As
always, consult with a real estate professional regarding this matter.
Contact an Access Real Estate Professional Today for
a Consultation to Develop Your Home Buying Plan!