The state of California requires that home sellers disclose details about the property they have on the market. These obligations apply to the vast majority of homeowners in California who are selling their homes. Selling a home without careful planning can put you in a position of considerable risk and liability.
The experienced Bay Area real estate lawyers at the Law Office of David C. Winton can advise you on important rules and regulations, including the state’s strict disclosure requirements. We are ready to protect your rights and interests as we handle all the legalities with care. You can count on us to make sure you follow the rules while maximizing your profit in your real estate transaction.
Adhering to the correct procedures will allow your transaction to go as smoothly as possible and help you avoid legal liability. Listed below are some of the key legal requirements for selling a home in California. Please note that this list is not comprehensive. To learn more about your rights and obligations, talk to an experienced California real estate attorney at the Law Office of David C. Winton today.
You Must Disclose Details That May Impact the Property’s Appeal
Home sellers in California are required to let potential buyers know all details about the property that could affect their desire to buy it. Key facts related to the property’s condition are often referred to as “material” facts. A home seller who does not disclose the material facts may face stiff penalties. As a rule of thumb, if you are not sure if an item needs to be disclosed, disclose it.
You Must Disclose the Risk of Natural Hazards
Unfortunately, California has plenty of natural hazards, most notably wildfires and earthquakes. California requires that home sellers give the buyer a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement within a week of them accepting the offer if the home falls under any of the following areas:
- A wildfire area
- An earthquake fault zone
- A flood hazard zone
- An area of possible flooding due to dam failure
- A seismic hazard zone
You Need to Use a Title Company
California home sales must involve a title company. The company will do a search of the home’s title history and come up with a Preliminary Title Report (PTR). The buyer and seller are then allowed to decide who pays for the title insurance.
Make Use of an Escrow Agent
Buyers and sellers in California use escrow agents. An escrow agent safeguards the assets and enforces agreements in transactions. The buyer will deposit funds in escrow, which is essentially a contractual arrangement where a third party receives and disburses property for the primary transacting parties. The escrow company will hold the assets until all conditions are fulfilled.
You May Need to Pay Transfer Tax
Whenever property has exchanged hands, a document has to be filed to indicate that the property switched from the seller to the buyer. A transfer tax is then imposed at the time of this document. The party who pays this tax is negotiable with the buyer. However, in general, if you are selling a house in Northern California, the buyer will usually pay the tax. In Southern California, the seller typically pays.
Contact Us for Assistance Buying or Selling a Home
Whether you are buying or selling a home in California, the team at the Law Office of David C. Winton are ready to provide you with experienced legal representation. Call us now at (415) 985-2111 for a confidential consultation with one of our skilled California real estate attorneys.