There used to be a belief that any defects that had been fixed, or things that happened to previous owners weren’t required disclosure items for today’s home sellers. But it’s gotten very specific now – and beginning July 1st, AB-968 takes effect.  If the home is being sold within 18 months of purchase, all the contractors and their contact information need to be disclosed too on any repair over $500:

Did You Know ~ All About Historical Disclosures:

  • Past defects, even if repaired by the seller or others, are to be disclosed. Not only that; the seller should provide all relevant information regarding the repairs to any prospective buyer. They must also disclose any improvements or modifications made to property with or without the benefit of permit.

  • The disclosure would include, but not be limited to,  the person(s) who performed the repairs (i) the property owner (ii) a licensed contractor  or (iii) an unlicensed tradesperson.  The documentation would also include all related documentation for all repairs   /improvements/modifications to the property.

  • The authority here  may be found in the  Seller Property Questionnaire (“SPQ”),  Question Number 5. This paragraph specifically prompts the seller to provide whatever material documents they have in their possession.  Questions 7A/8A of the SPQ  also address the importance of full disclosure. The Disclosure Information Advisory (“DIA”) is an excellent tutorial for sellers and should be reviewed with the homeowner before the disclosures are completed.

  • Let’s think about it; if a seller and/or their agent fail to disclose past defects and/or repairs, the buyer will not have the information they need to make an informed decision. For example,  if a past roof leak, flooding, or other water intrusion issues/repairs are not disclosed the buyer may not choose to inspect for other damage that could have occurred as a result, such as environmental hazards or wood / drywall damage that may not be visible. The informed buyer may wish to verify that the repairs were done correctly by a licensed professional, and/or ask for more details on the repairs themselves or the tradespersons or contractor that performed the repairs. It doesn’t matter how long ago the information was obtained; if you’ve got it produce it and by all means document delivery with a Receipt for Reports or similar documents.

  • The fact that a neighborhood or property specific defect exists, even if “well known” by the local residents and real estate community, disclosure is still required.  The buyer may be from out of the area or simply unaware of the issue.

  • Full and accurate disclosure is always the best practice and remember Gladys Kravitz is lurking and just ready to pounce on the buyer and share all that she knows.  You can count on Gladys to be the town crier.

  • When it comes to improvements and modifications to the property the same logic applies. Some homeowners take great care to ensure that all modifications and improvements and even repairs are made with the benefit of permit, comply with code, and are performed by licensed contractors, many others do not.

  • The key is disclosure! The buyer needs to know what they will be dealing with once they become the property owners. In order to make an informed decision, the buyer needs to have sufficient information to do so.

  • Neither agents nor sellers should “cherry pick” or “decide”  what documents are relevant, no matter how well intended. All disclosures, investigatory reports, and inspections, estimates, invoices and receipts, environmental analysis, invoices, estimates, surveys or maintenance records that are in the possession of the listing agent and/or seller are to be provided to the buyer in their totality.  Regardless of when they were obtained and whether the disclosure packet is delivered prior to an offer being written or after the sale is ratified.

  • Last note on this subject for now; disclosures should be thorough and accurate and ought never be minimized or glossed over. Explanations should be clearly stated for the buyer’s review.

author avatar
Jim the Realtor

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