Compulsive disclosure can be beneficial

California law requires disclosure of material facts that affect the value or desirability of the property. A big chunk of what gets disclosed is covered in the Seller’s “Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement” (RETDS) and the “Supplement to the RETDS.” These seller questionnaires are provided to a buyer to help them make a decision on whether they want to buy the property.

Seller Disclosure Forms for a real estate transaction take serious time and energy to complete. And the the number of questions can seem absurd, along with the questions themselves. Because of their length and tedium, some uneducated sellers are inclined to cut corners on the answers.

For instance it doesn’t seem necessary to mention the leaky roof they repaired four years ago, since it hasn’t given them a day of trouble since. To a question about criminal activity in the neighborhood, they might skip the part about the time the bicycles got stolen out of the garage. And in the section that asks about permits, they might omit the fact that they never got the final approval on the permit they pulled for the kitchen remodel.

I always recommend that my sellers go into as much detail as possible when disclosing about their property to a potential buyer. Going into excessive details about disclosures can be a good thing for many buyers, who feel reassured by the knowledge that they most likely know everything they need to about the property they’re buying. Buyers like this are far less likely to back out of the deal, especially if the disclosure is passed on to them in advance of their even writing an offer.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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