10/30/2007

What Repairs Is A Seller Supposed to Disclose?

The recent fires in Southern California unfortunately destroyed over 1600 homes, and while I don't know for a fact, some may have been in escrow. I know I saw "for sale" signs in front of some houses shown on TV coverage. First of all, the California Association of Realtors has established a Disaster Relief Fund for the fire victims, including fellow Realtors; the National Association of Realtors is contributing $500,000.

If you were lucky enough to escape major damage or total destruction, this information from CAR's legal advisors might help you now or in the future for selling your home (it applies to other situations as well) when you're wondering what the law says about potential disclosure issues:

"Q. Must a seller disclose the fact of a fire when there was major damage to the property but it has been repaired?
A. California law does not clearly answer whether a seller must disclose past property defects and repairs. At the present time, the law does not appear to require disclosure of past defects and repairs unless the problems may be persistent. In other words, a defect which has been fully repaired and no longer threatens the value or desirability of the property probably need not be disclosed. On the other hand, defects which are difficult to remedy and which may continue to plague the property may have to be disclosed. Given some uncertainty in this area of the law, many sellers may prefer to resolve doubts in favor of disclosure to minimize the risk of liability."

'Voice this!

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