real estate disclosures california

Real Estate Disclosures California: Seller Forms & Checklist

Every seller has responsibilities, and understanding them is key to a smooth property transaction. That’s where real estate disclosures in California come in — these forms and checklists help you comply with state laws and disclose important information to potential buyers.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various disclosure forms and provide a helpful checklist to ensure you don’t miss any crucial details.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. We are not experts in legal matters, and readers are encouraged to seek the proper professional legal counsel for specific guidance.

Real Estate Disclosures in California Sellers’ Guide

So, what do you have to disclose when selling a house in California?

Well, the State believes that buyers should have all the necessary information about a property before making one of the biggest purchases of their lives. This includes any known defects or potential issues that could affect the value or safety of the property.

Being transparent is vital to stay on the right side of California real estate laws.

By being forthright, you not only comply with state laws but also provide a more secure and reassuring home-buying experience for the potential buyer. Remember, your candidness today could protect you from legal trouble down the line.

What Are the Mandatory Real Estate Disclosures in California?

There are several mandatory disclosures that sellers in California are required to disclose during a real estate transaction. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)
    • A critical form required by California law. Sellers must complete this document, which outlines the property’s current condition and known issues. 
    • Comes in 2 forms — Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (real property) and the Mobile/Manufactured Home Transfer Disclosure Statement (personal property).

Other California Real Estate Disclosure Forms

In addition to the mandatory real estate disclosures, there are other forms that may also be relevant depending on the specific circumstances of your property or real estate transaction:

California Real Estate Disclosure Requirements for Buyers

Just as sellers have responsibilities to disclose certain information, buyers also have specific requirements to meet in the realm of California real estate transactions.

These obligations are designed to promote transparency, protect all parties involved, and ensure a smooth, fair transaction process.

Note that in most cases, sellers qualify for an exemption from this tax withholding requirement. If not, then these disclosures are typically handled by the escrow company involved in the transaction. 

If you’re buying a commercial property, we also recommend looking up the following:

  • Do easements transfer to new owners? Easement is a right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose, such as accessing a driveway or crossing their land.
  • Are there any zoning restrictions that would affect your intended use of the property? Zoning laws dictate how property can be used, so it’s important to research this before making a purchase.
  • How are utilities handled on the property? Make sure you understand who is responsible for paying and maintaining utilities, especially if you plan on renting out the property.

California Real Estate Disclosures Checklist

As you’ve seen, navigating the California real estate landscape can be a complex process, especially when it comes to meeting all the necessary disclosure requirements.

It’s essential for sellers to be thorough and transparent in providing all required information to potential buyers.

To help guide you through this process, here is a checklist of steps to follow as a seller:

  1. Review the list of mandatory real estate disclosures and relevant forms.
  2. Complete each required form, providing full and honest information.
  3. If necessary, consult with experts to gather or verify information (for example, getting a home inspection to check for mold infestation and signs of water damage).
  4. Make sure to disclose information about any existing conditions, even if they are not specifically asked for in the forms. If there’s water in the crawl or space or if the house needs a roof replacement, then these are things that must be disclosed to the buyer.
  5. If the property is located in a specific area or has unique characteristics (such as being in a high fire hazard zone, a condemned home, or occupied by squatters), make sure to provide the relevant disclosures.
  6. Consult with your realtor or a legal professional to make sure you have met all federal, state, and local disclosure requirements.
  7. Before closing the sale, provide the buyer with all the completed disclosure forms.

Final Advice

By staying organized and diligent, sellers can successfully navigate the California real estate disclosure process and ensure a fair and smooth transaction for everyone involved.

Don’t forget that all types of liens in California require you to disclose their presence when engaging in a contract to sell your home legally. Our can you sell a house with a lien on it guide goes into more detail on this.

Getting all your affairs in order when preparing to sell is vital to easily get your house sold, no matter if you go through an agent or via a private sale. While we recommend getting your house sale-ready and disclosing major issues, you don’t have to fix everything — check out our guide on what not to fix when selling a house.

Selling a home as-is in California doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you have multiple disclosure requirements to meet. If you’re in Southern California, reach out to our team for a fair cash offer on your home.

Resources on California Real Estate Disclosure Laws

To further your understanding of California disclosure laws, here is a list of valuable resources that you can refer to:

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