California has strict real estate disclosures laws which state that home sellers must provide buyers with a Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement (in addition to a few other disclosures). The Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement includes information about the likelihood of floods, earthquakes, fires, environmental hazards and other natural hazards that may affect the home.
The Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement is a straightforward one-page form, containing several yes or no questions about your property. The form specifically details whether your home fits the criteria of any of the following:
- Special flood hazard areas
- Areas of potential flooding shown on a dam failure inundation map
- High fire hazard severity zone
- Wildlife area that may contain substantial forest fire risks and hazards
- Earthquake fault zone
- Seismic hazard zones (including landslide and liquidation zones)
On the disclosure form, you must indicate whether or not the threat applies to your property. You may also mark the answer “do not know and information not available from the local jurisdiction,” but to select this answer, you must first attempt to get the relevant information.
Exceptions to the Disclosure Rule:
In rare cases, you don’t have to give the buyer a Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement. However, you are only exempt if you’re selling the property to another co-owner. For example, if you and your friend own a house together, they are already the co-owner, you can sell the property without disclosures. Properties transferred by court order also don’t require disclosures.
California doesn’t set deadlines for when sellers have to submit disclosure statements. However, the laws imply that the disclosures need to be provided to the buyer in a timely fashion. Buyers have three days to review disclosures that are hand delivered and five days to review disclosures sent through the mail. We recommend you fill out your disclosure packet right away when you decide to list to eliminate the risk of facing any delays as you head into escrow.
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In California, the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement is only one of several disclosures sellers must make. You also have to provide documentation on topics ranging from whether or not someone has died on your property in the last three years to whether or not your home has lead-based paint.
If you list with Home Bay, we’ll help you identify which forms you need, fill them out accurately and quickly and easily meet your seller disclosure requirements. We’ll also help you with every single step of the home sale process!
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