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Sellers’ Disclosure Obligations in the Sale of Real Property in California

When selling a property in California, sellers are required to make certain
disclosures to potential buyers regarding the condition of the property. These
disclosures are important for buyers to make informed decisions about the property and
to avoid any surprises after closing. Failure to disclose certain information can result in
legal and financial consequences for the seller. Here are some of the key disclosure
obligations that sellers should be aware of:

  1. Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS): A TDS is a document that the seller must
    fill out and provide to the buyer, which details any known defects or issues with
    the property. The TDS covers a wide range of issues, such as the condition of
    the roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, and any history of flooding or
    fire damage. The seller must also disclose any work that has been done on the
    property, including repairs and renovations.
  2. Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement (NHDS): This disclosure is required in
    California, which has a high risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes,
    wildfires, and floods. The NHDS informs buyers about any known natural
    hazards that may affect the property, such as whether it is in a flood zone, near a
    fault line, or at risk of wildfires.
  3. Homeowner Association (HOA) Disclosures: If the property is part of an HOA, the
    seller must provide the buyer with certain disclosures, such as the HOA rules and
    regulations, fees, and assessments, as well as any pending or current litigation
    involving the HOA.
  4. Lead-Based Paint Disclosure: If the property was built before 1978, the seller
    must provide the buyer with a lead-based paint disclosure. This disclosure
    informs the buyer about any known lead-based paint hazards in the property, as
    well as any previous testing or remediation.
  5. It is important to note that sellers are only required to disclose information that
    they are aware of or that can be reasonably discovered. If a seller is unaware of
    a defect or issue with the property, they cannot be held liable for not disclosing it.
    However, if a seller intentionally conceals or misrepresents information, they can
    face legal and financial consequences.

In conclusion, sellers in California have a legal obligation to provide certain
disclosures to potential buyers regarding the condition of the property. Failure to do so
can result in legal and financial consequences. If you are a seller in California, it is
important to work with a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that you are meeting all
of your disclosure obligations and protecting yourself from potential legal liability.

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