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Mandatory disclosures of known property defects

Buying a home is a big undertaking for many California residents. In the Bay Area, the down payment for a single family home can be a significant sum of money, and the monthly commitment of a mortgage may constitute a large percentage of the purchaser’s income. Before they sign on the dotted line to buy a new or existing home, an individual will want to be certain about exactly what they are getting with their investment.

Mandatory disclosures for existing properties

Under California law, sellers must disclose many known defects and property conditions to their prospective buyers. While sellers need not investigate every possible defect that may exist in their properties, certain conditions must be disclosed under the law. They include, but are not limited to:

  • The presence of lead paint;
  • Pest issues or reports; and
  • Other known hazards.

It is important that sellers are truthful with their buyers to avoid future claims of dishonesty and possible liability for defects. A real property attorney can help a buyer sort through the many disclosures that are mandated by the state when real estate transactions involve existing properties.

Disclosures and defects for new construction

A home that is built new for a buyer should conform to all current building codes and regulations. It should use appropriate and safe materials for the type of structure that it will be and should be completed in a workmanlike manner consistent with the standards of the building profession. When defects arise in new construction projects, buyers may have legal options for pursuing their damages from a variety of parties, including their builder, contractors, and others.

A home is an expensive commitment that can take years for a person to prepare to buy. Problems in construction and existing defects can add to the stress and cost of home ownership. Those who face problems related to defects and disclosures can seek legal assistance from real estate attorneys. This post should not be read as legal advice.