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To Disclose or Not To Disclose…What Is A Seller To Do?

DO

  • Fully, completely and truthfully complete the Transfer Disclosure Statement (“TDS”) and the Seller Property Questionnaire (“SPQ”).  As a general rule, all sellers of residential real estate property containing one to four dwelling units must complete and provide writteReal-estate-seller-disclosuren disclosures to the Buyer. There are a few exceptions, such as properties that are transferred by court order or from one co-owner to another. But if the Seller is offering their home to the public for sale, count on this requirement applying. (California Civil Code Sections 1102, 1102.2, 1102.3)  The benefit to you as the Seller is that by thoroughly disclosing more information to the Buyer, it becomes more difficult for the Buyer to later complain that you withheld material information about the property.
  • Review the TDS and SPQ to ensure that each question is completely answered. Review the TDS and SPQ with a critical eye of the average buyer.  Make sure that you checked either “yes” or “no” to each question and provided explanations for each item checked “yes.”  Providing the Buyer with an incomplete TDS or SPQ can create a new right for the Buyer to cancel when you provide more information in response to a Buyer’s follow-up questions do to an incomplete response.
  • If You Wonder Whether You Should Disclose Something, Disclose It.  Sellers only have legal liability for their failure to disclose.  So, if you even wonder if you should disclose, disclose it!

 DON’T

  • Provide the Buyer with an incomplete TDS or SPQ.  You as the Seller open yourself to potential legal liability for failure to disclose if the TDS or SPQ is incomplete.
  • Withhold informational documents referenced in the TDS or SPQ. If you reference another document or report in the TDS or SPQ (like a prior home inspection, or roof report), the Seller should provide the Buyer with the document referenced at the exact same time that the TDS and SPQ are provided.