Real Estate Summary: T – Data Transfer Statement



The simple definition of disclosure is “the act of disclosing new or classified information”. An equally simple and profound antonym is concealment. In California real estate, the Transfer Disclosure Statement is what sellers must provide to buyers when they transfer or sell their property. The second disclosure is the seller’s ownership questionnaire, which provides a more detailed disclosure of the structure, site, district, etc. Both forms are a series of questions that the seller answers.

Some questions are soft, for example, do you have a landfill, garage, smoke detectors? Others require more thought, such as what kind of roof do you have and how old is it? It is easy for the seller to answer such questions. You either have it or you don’t, you either know the type of object and its age, or you don’t. But then questions arise that often make the salesperson pause and ask themselves or us, “Should I tell them this?” Questions such as: “Should we tell them that we had a leak in the roof since we repaired it and it was over five years ago?” We chuckle and let them know that if you ask, the answer is yes.

Real estate disclosure should be viewed as an opportunity to tell potential buyers everything you know about the property; Good bad evil. Buyers receive this information within a week of an accepted offer. Our practice is to disclose information to sellers as soon as an offer is accepted. Think of it this way. Do you remember when you met your spouse? In the beginning, when you were head over heels in love with them, they could tell you anything and you would still like to marry them.

The house is not so bad. Especially in this market, where buyers have to fight to get their offer accepted, once they “win” the house, they will fight like everyone else to keep the house. So, if you don’t tell them that the property is frowned upon, there is little that can scare them away. On the other hand, if you delay disclosure, buyers may already have a tiny remorse about the price they had to pay or complicating the buying process. Whatever the reason, immediate delivery is always better. Delayed delivery may also fail.

The key to disclosing information is in the above definition. Buyers know nothing about the property they are buying, except that they like it. They like the location, the style of the house, the price, the area, the amenities, or all of the above. But they don’t know anything about what’s inside the house. They don’t know what works and what doesn’t. They don’t know what you have repaired or what might need to be repaired. They don’t know about the area or the larger community.

Disclosure is the seller’s ability to tell him everything he knows. Hint, it’s okay to tell them something isn’t working. Or that you had a water leak that got you an insurance claim that paid to have all those beautiful new floors. Not only is it okay to tell them, but it’s imperative to tell them.

Letting the buyer know that something is not working allows you not to repair it. Let me explain. Buyers receive all information disclosed by the seller within seven days of acceptance, unless that date is changed in the purchase agreement or counter-offer. Buyers have the right to inspect the property within 17 days of acceptance, unless this date is changed.

A professional home inspector will conduct an inspection of the home and provide a report highlighting defects requiring repair or safety issues. If, for example, you report that your roof is 29 years old, and the home inspector mentions that the roof is nearing its end of life, the buyer may ask you to replace it, provide additional warranty coverage for the home. or refund the cost of replacement. However, since you indicated its age and you have never had any leaks, you should not be held liable in any way for possible future repairs.

We recently had exactly this scenario and sellers were on the sidelines. They never had any leaks and revealed the age of the roof. The moment buyers received the Seller’s Title Transfer Disclosure Statement notifying them of the age of the roof, the buyers could have waived it, but they didn’t because they really wanted the house.

Another time we had an ad that included an elevator. Sellers said he hasn’t worked since they bought the house in 1992. Every customer who looked around the house knew that the elevator was not working. After that, buyers could write an offer knowing this. Early disclosure is so important.

Look at the antonym: concealment. This is a bad word. Sellers, if you know, tell yourself. If you don’t know, you don’t come up with an answer, you say you don’t know, or “no”. Remember what I said when you first met your spouse. Ask yourself if there were things he told you early on that you accepted as part of who he was? And you loved them, knowing that they told you the truth. Real estate is no more difficult. Share what you know and customers will trust you and appreciate your honesty.

Many years ago, the buyer we represented found himself in a situation where the seller was not very interested. Their backyard was flooded several times due to faulty irrigation lines and lack of drainage in the neighbors’ yard. The leaks were repaired, a drain was installed to prevent this from happening again, but the vendors never mentioned this to anyone or included it in their disclosures.

During the last round, which takes place just days before the close of the escrow, a curious neighbor looked over the fence and asked the buyer if the seller had told them about the flooding from her yard to their yard. No matter how hard they tried, the sellers were unable to roll back enough money to save the deal. The buyer refused and found another house.

The seller’s transfer of ownership statement and property questionnaire are tools to help you, the seller, get out of trouble. They provide the foundation that builds trust between the seller and the buyer. Don’t let your nosy neighbor be your spoiler. Tell us what you know and rest in peace.

Kim Murphy can be contacted at [email protected] or 760-415-9292 or 130 N Main Avenue, Fallbrook. Her brokerage license is # 01229921 and she sits on the board of directors of the California Association of Realtors.


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