When you buy property in California, the seller must make certain legally required disclosures. Failure to do so can result in legal action if you find a defect with your home after purchase.
Familiarize yourself with California real estate disclosures and learn how to take action if your seller does not disclose pertinent property details.
The state has a standard form that sellers must use to provide real estate disclosures. It covers extensive details about the property, including everything from structures, appliances and systems to the home’s history, such as fatalities that occurred there.
California requires sellers to disclose environmental issues such as noise, prior damage to the property, and additions or changes made over the years. The home must have smoke detectors and the seller must secure the water heater so it cannot move during an earthquake.
California also mandates the completion of a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement. The seller has to answer a series of yes or no questions that cover the property’s risk for forest fires, floods and earthquakes.
Failure to provide accurate disclosures
If you have not yet purchased the property, you can call off negotiations at any time if you did not yet receive disclosure forms. You might also find that the seller provided only limited information about the property in the disclosures. Generally, he or she must report only major issues that would influence your decision to purchase the property.
When you find defects after settlement, you may have legal recourse if the seller knew about them but did not report these issues.