For many people, their real estate holdings are their biggest assets. They may spend years paying off a mortgage and fixing up a property so that they can sell it for the largest amount possible. Even those who have recently inherited property may have an interest in reselling it.
Whether you have lived at a home for years or recently acquired it, California state law requires that you disclose certain defects that could affect the value or livability of the property. Will you need to advise prospective buyers about the fact that your spouse or the prior owner died at the property?
The date and nature of the death affect your obligations
As a general rule, those selling real property typically need to disclose a death at the property if it occurred within the last three years. However, if the death was coincidental and will not negatively impact someone’s enjoyment of the property, their safety while living there or the value of the property, then property owners can potentially avoid disclosing the recent fatality.
When it comes to disclosure laws, sellers often err on the side of caution, providing more information than the law requires so that they don’t wind up accused of not disclosing material facts later. Some property owners may eventually determine that waiting to sell their property until that three-year window of time has passed may be a better choice than trying to defend their decision to not notify buyers about a recent death at the property.
Learning more about the rules that apply to real estate transactions in California will help you avoid potentially expensive mistakes