Selling a home is no easy process. Sifting through all the offers you are likely to get in this Los Angeles sellers’ market; negotiating with those buyers and then picking the best one; going through the escrow process with all the negotiations that are likely to come up during that process, especially after the buyer has done the inspection. But you can make things a lot easier if you disclose absolutely everything you are aware of.
Early in the escrow process you will be given paperwork to fill out, part of which will be standard pre-printed, City, County, or State-required disclosures, but you will also receive disclosures that it is your responsibility to fill out. One is the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), which is a more basic form, and the the Sellers Property Questionnaire (SPQ) which is more in-depth and offers you the opportunity to disclose everything you know.
So let’s look at some of the items you may not consider disclosing, because you don’t think it is important. The SPQ questions should prompt you to remember things you may have forgotten also.
- There was a leak in the past that you fixed. The fact that it has been fixed is unimportant. Disclose.
- Are there other problems with your property you feel they are no longer a problem? It doesn’t matter. Disclose.
- You are only obliged to report a death on the property within the past 3 years. Ignore the 3 year rule. Disclose.
- You may hear noise from traffic or your neighbors, but it doesn’t bother you. It may may bother someone else. Disclose.
- There was a disturbance in the neighborhood. You are not sure you should mention it? Disclose.
- Something in the home is not functioning. You don’t use it so it doesn’t affect you. Disclose.
- You heard a rumor that the building next door is going to be knocked down and developed, but you don’t know for sure. It doesn’t matter. You can say it is a rumor, but Disclose.
Also, don’t answer “Yes” or “No” if you are not sure. You should answer “Don’t Know”.
There is also a section on the SPQ that prompts you to write in any additional facts you may know about the property, not previously mentioned. Make use of that if appropriate.
I think you get the idea. California is a litigious state and you do not want to open yourself up to the remotest possibility of getting sued. You cannot get sued for over-disclosing.
If you have any doubts as to how to answer a question, consult with your Realtor®. But bottom line, when in doubt, always Disclose.
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