In California, there are typically over fifty pages involving real estate transactions. Among those are disclosures that are required by law. Things ranging from whether the property is in a flood or earthquake zone to things such as whether a person has recently died on the property. There are also disclosures relating to the physical condition of the property. Here is where the “As-Is” clause comes to be most relevant.
The best way to demystify the process and the common questions relating to “As-Is” real estate sales is to shed some light on it. Following is a brief yet informative description of what this all means and all the aspects covered, particularly here in California.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SELL A PROPERTY “As-Is”?
During a real estate transaction, the seller needs to disclose defects relating to the property that they know of or can be “reasonably” perceived. The buyer also has the right to inspect and take note of those defects. This is so that there is no accusation of the seller intentionally lying or covering defects relating to the property that will become a problem for the buyer later on. Having the “As-Is” clause gives some protection to the seller because everything that could have been known or seen prior to the sale was disclosed to the seller, and in spite of the disclosure, the seller accepted to purchase the property. This part of “disclosing” issues with the property can be very relevant for properties in probate sales since, most of the time, the seller has not lived on the property and may not be aware of what those could be.
The majority of contracts in probate sales do and should contain an “As-Is” clause. Although in probate, the administrator is not required to use the services of a real estate broker, this area alone is sufficiently important to re-evaluate the decision. The disclosure documentation is significantly extended, and if done incorrectly, it can open the door to future litigation against the seller, which is a situation no seller ever wants to have, particularly one pertaining to a probate sale. The more that is disclosed, the better; it will always be more cost-effective than future litigation.
HOME INSPECTION REPORT FOR PROPERTIES IN PROBATE
These reports are done on all aspects that are reasonably observable. Things like electrical, roof, appliances, and A/C. And not just for probate alone but with any other regular sale transaction, this is an important and critical part of the transaction. This provides the disclosure of the physical shape of the property. And although the property may be on the older side, it does not mean that the price will necessarily be affected. Probate properties in California require a minimum accepted sale value of at least 90% of the appraised value, as per an appraisal done within a year of the sale.
This means that even if the home inspection found considerable issues, the price of the property cannot fall below 90% of appraised value threshold. Additionally, just because they exist, it does not mean that the seller has to agree to fix those issues. There is still room for negotiation, of course, but the seller can choose to ask for “reasonable” repairs, request a reduction to take care of the fixes, or walk away from the transaction.
This goes back to the point of including an “As-Is” in the probate sales transaction. Passing on the liability to the seller to make the purchasing decision in spite of the disclosure of any “issues”. With California as a highly desirable market for private purchasers or investors alike, this is typically not going to be a deal breaker for the transaction. And the “As-Is” clause protects the seller against possible future claims for issues that are known prior to the consolidation of the sale.
ADDITIONAL DISCLOSURES REQUIRED BY LAW IN CALIFORNIA
As already mentioned, there are many other real estate disclosure forms that are required prior to the sale of probate property; among them are:
- Termination Right
- Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
- Local Option Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
- Natural Hazards Disclosure
- Mello-Roos Bonds and Taxes
- Property Taxes
- Ordnance Locations
- Window Security Bars
- Industrial Uses
- Methamphetamine Contamination
- Earthquake Guides
- Smoke Detector Statement of Compliance
- Disclosure Regarding Lead-Based Paint Hazards
- California’s Environmental Hazards Pamphlet
- Delivery of Structural Pest Control Inspection and Certification Reports
- Energy Conservation Retrofit and Thermal Insulation Disclosures
- Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act
- Notice and Disclosure to Buyer of State Withholding on Disposition of California Real Property
- Furnishing Controlling Documents and Financial Statements
- Concerning Common Interest Developments (CID)
- Notice Regarding the Advisability of Title Insurance
- Certification Regarding Water Heater’s Security Against Earthquake
- Data Base – Locations of Registered Sex Offenders
Is it in the best interest of the seller to provide disclosures that are complete and accurate? Having an expert probate real estate broker guiding and assisting the seller can be the key to completing the probate sale smoothly and without liability.
WHEN TO CONTACT A PROBATE REAL ESTATE BROKER FOR YOUR HOME
The decision to move forward with a probate real estate broker for the sale of probate real property should be one that is not taken lightly but also done as early as possible. Probate sales are time-consuming and filled with legal procedures and forms, and counting on the right expertise on the seller side is imperative in any market condition.
The founders’ shared experiences give The CREM Group, a boutique real estate company, something special. Both Mark Cianciulli and Daniel Taylor have a history in real estate law, and they each bring knowledge of real estate investing as well as litigation to the table. For the advantage of their clients, they openly share their experience on every transaction.
The CREM Group is happy to have serviced hundreds of satisfied clients in their probate real estate transactions thanks to their wealth of prior expertise and superior working knowledge of the real estate markets in Los Angeles, Orange County, and the surrounding areas. possessing a high level of experience and the self-assurance to lead and counsel their probate customers through challenging real estate deals.
DISCLAIMER: This content is meant purely for educational purposes. It contains only general information about real estate and related matters. It is NOT legal advice and should not be treated as such. We recommend consulting a legal or tax professional before acting on any material, opinion, or point of view described herein.