Disclosures & Reports

Disclosures and Reports are an important part of a real estate transaction. Some are required by law. Some are paid for by the seller and some are paid for by the buyer. Here is a brief overview of the most common disclosures and reports.

Disclosures:

A seller is required to disclose any material facts to potential buyers that may influence the buyer's decision to purchase the house. As a general rule of thumb, I tell clients to over-disclose. You never know what someone else might consider a material fact! If you ask me if you should disclose something, chances are that the answer is YES!

  • Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) or PRDS Supplemental Sellers Checklist - these have a series of questions about the current condition of the house, updates made to the house, the neighborhood, etc.

  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure - required if home was built prior to 1978.

  • Water Heater/Smoke Detector Statement of Compliance - CA requires water heaters to be properly strapped and/or braced so it doesn't fall over in an earthquake. Smoke detectors are also required (some counties, like Santa Clara, require one in each bedroom)

  • Environmental Hazards and Earthquake Safety Booklet, Including Federal Lead Booklet, Toxic Mold Update, and Home Energy Rating booklet.

  • Natural Hazard Disclosure - gives details of possible environmental hazards near the home such as being in a flood zone, fire hazard zone, close to underground pipelines, etc.

Reports:

Various reports will be prepared in the course of a real estate transaction. They may be paid for by the seller or the buyer, depending on local custom and market conditions. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Property Inspection report - details the current condition of the home. If problem areas are noted, further inspections may be warranted, or the buyer may ask for repairs (or a credit)

  2. Termite Inspection report - details the presence of termites and other wood-destroying organisms such as dry rot

  3. Roof Inspection - details the current condition of the roof

  4. Preliminary Title Report - prepared by the Title Company, it details any items that may affect the title of the home such as mechanics liens, unpaid property taxes, etc. The presence of utility easements, CC&Rs, the current mortgage, and other things will also show up. This report will also be reviewed by the Title Company's insurance underwriters to make sure there are no red flags or clouds on the title that need to be cleared before they will issue Title Insurance.