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What is a Disclosure

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Disclosure statements are a buyer’s opportunity to learn as much as they can about the property. Seller disclosures range from knowledge of leaks to loud neighbors to information about community issues.

Not only do disclosure documents serve as vital information for buyers, they can protect the sellers from future legal action. It is the seller’s obligation to disclose anything that can negatively affect the value, usefulness or enjoyment of the property.

Disclosure laws vary by state, city and county level. California has some of the most stringent disclosure requirements such as: a Preliminary Title Report, Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, Lead Based Paint Disclosure, Municipal and County Advisories and Market Conditions.

The seller is responsible for answering a series of questions detailing the specifics of their home and their experience living in the house.

The work and upgrades they have done to their property. Was that work done with or without final permits? If the work was done with permits, buyers are advised to cross check the seller’s disclosure with the city building department records. If the work was done without permits it may not have been performed to local building codes. Buyers should investigate any non-permitted work. Disclosure statements are legal documents that can stand up in court.

As Realtors reviewing disclosures with our buyers, we like to see a comprehensive set of disclosure documents. It shows that the seller is thorough and upfront. This goes a long way toward giving buyers peace of mind with their purchase.