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Top legal mistake home sellers make

FALLBROOK – When it comes to home selling, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle the process. At Broadpoint Properties, we work with the team at CRES Insurance to make sure that our sellers get top quality legal coverage during their home sale. To that end, there is one top way to avoid litigation after sale – and that way, is to properly disclose defects. Check out some information on proper disclosure below (source:

Disclosure duties in real estate sales, and liability for real estate fraud and undisclosed defects

The rules in California are very stringent in the disclosure of known defects with real property. Every seller of real property has a duty of disclosure. Failing to disclose defects can result in significant consequences to the seller of real property. Understanding the requirements can help individuals avoid legal problems associated with defects on the property.

California's Civil Code as well as case law dictate that a seller of real property has a duty to disclose any known defects that materially affect the value of the property or a potential buyer's desire to purchase the property. This includes physical conditions of the property as well as other defects. The conditions of the property that materially affect it may be a single issue such as a roof leak or a more general condition such as the tendency of the property to flood.

Whether a defect is material in nature depends on the characteristics of the property and the buyer's statements to the seller. If the buyer would not have purchased the property had he or she been properly informed of the defect, the defect is generally considered material. However, the evaluation of whether a defect is material is usually based on what a reasonable person would believe was material or if the seller knows that a particular fact is important to the particular buyer.

The buyer does not have to ask about conditions on the property in order to learn of such defects. Instead, the seller has an affirmative duty to report this information. Additionally, this duty is ongoing in nature, so if a problem arises after the initial purchase contract is executed, the seller must report any problems until the escrow closes.

Additionally, the seller must provide a transfer disclosure statement to the buyer. The Transfer Disclosure Statement and another form called the Seller Property Questionnaire provide a checklist of some of the most commonly experienced conditions on the property and required disclosures. If completed properly and taken seriously, it helps sellers avoid a world of problems.

Before buying or selling real property, it is important to talk to an agent and to understand the process and understand the risks and rewards. Our Broadpoint Properties agents have hundreds of years of collective experience and can support you when needed.

While we are not attorneys, we can also refer you to a professional real estate attorney in the event you require one. "A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure." When you select the right real estate team to represent you, you are on your way to the pound of cure. Feel free to contact our team for all your real estate needs.

This article first appeared on Broadpoint Properties' website,

Submitted by Elisabeth Hartig Lentulo, broker associate, who can be reached at 760-532-1057, [email protected] or CalBRE #01904564


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