It is extremely important that the seller disclose all known information about their home to a prospective buyer. Failing to disclose known material facts about the property can lead to severe monetary penalties. There are a number of forms you will receive from the seller specifically addressing the seller’s knowledge of the condition of the property and any known outside influences that could affect the future value. Have there been any major repairs? Has the home experienced past slippage or foundation problems? If the property is in an area that has a Homeowner’s Association, will they be raising dues or conducting repairs in the near future? These are just examples of items that would need to be disclosed to prospective buyers.
Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
This disclosure is required under California law for most residential real estate transactions. It is a three page document filled out by the seller that will answer specific questions about the condition of the property. It will be necessary for them to disclose any recent repairs, knowledge of easements or common areas shared with other homeowners among other issues. It also dictates to the seller that they have smoke detectors installed and water heaters braced up to current code. See an example here:
Sample Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Form
Seller Property Questionnaire
This four page document will ask the seller additional specific questions about the condition of the property. This includes more in-depth questions about work the seller has had done during their ownership. It will also tell you about the seller’s knowledge of any reports or inspections they have had done regarding the property. See an example here:
Sample Seller Property Questionnaire
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
If the home was built prior to 1978, the seller must give you this disclosure, which tells you of the seller’s knowledge of any lead-based paint on the property.
Natural Hazard Disclosure
This is a report prepared by a Geologic inspection company that will disclose to you whether the property is in a Special Hazard Zone, such as a Flood Zone or Earthquake Fault Zone. If the home does fall into some of these categories, the lender might require you to purchase additional insurance coverage. See an example here:
Sample Natural Hazard Report