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Legal requirements when selling your California home

Real estate agent with a house model

When preparing a house for sale, sellers need to know their legal obligations and requirements. Here are the most important things you need to know before putting your property up for sale in California.

You must disclose material facts about your home

Sellers in California must provide a written disclosure including all pertinent information or material facts about the property to the buyer. According to California law, sellers must use the Transfer Disclosure Statement form. This form covers a range of information such as the condition of the appliances and structures on the property.

The details must be disclosed as soon as possible before the transfer of the title. If you fail to provide the required disclosures, the buyer can terminate or back out from the deal. Failure to disclose the needed information also means you are liable to any damage the buyer suffers due to the omission.

Other required disclosures include the Natural Hazard Disclosure statement. This disclosure form details whether the property is on or near earthquake faults, had flooding hazard risks, draining issues, and similar defects.

You must employ the services of an escrow agent

Home sellers in California need to use an escrow agent or company when finalizing their sale. The escrow agent acts as a neutral third party that handles the transfer of money and property between the seller and buyer.

The purpose of the escrow agent is to ensure the transaction follows California real estate law. The independent escrow agent documents every step of the sale to protect you and the buyer throughout the transaction.

You need to use a title company

Sellers are required to use a title company to conduct a title search. The title company will also write the Preliminary Title Report. This will be used as the basis for the title insurance for the buyer.

You need to agree with the buyer on the title company and title insurance company to use beforehand. Sellers typically shoulder the cost.

Find out the required municipal inspections

Research the required municipal inspections in your city or neighborhood. Every municipality has its own rules and regulations regarding inspections. Depending on the local laws, your property could be subject to special inspections.

Always investigate your community’s rules and regulations before putting your property up for sale.

Your official paperwork should be in order

There are tons of documents involved during a home sale. Make sure you have all your bases covered. Some important documents include:

  • Sale contract
  • Disclosure statements
  • Mortgage statement
  • Homeowners’ Association documents
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Appraisal for your property

Need help selling your California home?

Navigating the world of real estate can be intimidating especially for first-time home sellers. For the best results, you need expert guidance. I’m Kathy Seuylemezian, one of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s top agents.

I’ve been helping sellers in La Cañada Flintridge and surrounding communities achieve their real estate goals for years. Give me a call today at 818.949.5205 or send me an email at kathy(at)imuragent(dotted)com. Let’s start your real estate journey today.