Mission Viejo Real Estate CSI – Disclosures AND Inspections Tell the Story
Home Seller Disclosures Are Crucial
Remember we’ve talked about homes in Orange County California being sold in their current “as is” condition and the importance of a home inspection? Well there’s a flip side to that story that bears mentioning. It’s called disclosure. In California residential real estate transactions, the seller is required to disclose known material or significant items that might affect the value or desirability of the home. Those are the exact terms the California Association of Realtors’ fleet of lawyers have coined, in an effort to provide clarity between buyers and sellers. And they’ve provided a total of about 21 pages of disclosures to be completed by the seller and acknowledged by the buyer. And these super sharp lawyers have tried to think of all the things that a seller might have done or might know about that might be important for a buyer to know. Like have you done any repairs lately? Have you had any leaks or water damage lately? Have you been making crack in your garage? Have you painted anything lately?
I’d like to think that these disclosures help keep people above-board, focused on the facts and not the drama, and armed with information to use to make thoughtful decisions. They also give buyers CLUES that they might want to dig a little deeper in some areas. Heck, one of the disclosures suggests 37 different items/areas that buyers may want to consider investigating before purchasing the home. Thirty-seven. That’s a lot to think about.
If something smells fishy in the disclosures you receive from the seller, I’d recommend your first line of inspection is to ask the seller questions. Probe into why they painted, why the repairs were done, why they removed a wall or a post or a beam. Then get out your check book and inspect away. Geological inspections, geothermal inspections, mold inspections, soil compaction inspections, plumbing and electrical inspections. If there’s a ton of wood involved, you might even hire your own termite inspector even if the seller provided one to you. Make a trip to the Orange County Courthouse to inspect the public building records on the property. Knowledge is power. Power to re-open the negotiations for repairs or credits or lower purchase price for starters. Or walk away.
What’s the Catch?
The catch is, there may be things you just might not catch. That the seller didn’t know so they couldn’t tell you. Realistically, the inspectors can’t open up all the walls, lift up every inch of the carpet, or look underneath every cabinet. In some rare cases, you might just inherit an issue that’s been brewing for a while and goes south on your watch. Did the seller intentionally hide something they should have disclosed? Did the inspector miss some subtle sign of potential trouble? Remember, we’re all human. And it’s complicated. But if you carefully review the disclosures, consult with professionals qualified to perform and evaluate inspections, you’re likely to limit your exposure to inheriting a huge, costly problem.
I’m Leslie. Just keeping it real in Orange County Real Estate. Especially Mission Viejo. 949-678-3373