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You are here: Home » 2017 » November

SELLER’S DUTY TO DISCLOSE

A long time ago, real estate was sold under the idea of “buyer beware.” This meant that the seller didn’t have to disclose anything, and the burden was on the buyer to find out what was wrong with the property. We’ve come a long way since then, and there are now legal requirements for sellers of property to disclose any material defects or facts that affect the value of the property if the seller has: #1. Actual knowledge of and/or #2. Should have known about these issues. We have many pages of questions that help jog seller’s memories about past water leaks, neighborhood noise problems, issues with settling, etc.

There was a recent court case that ruled that the seller had to have had actual knowledge of the problem, not just that they should have known about it. This is a pretty big shift in the burden from seller back to the buyer if this becomes a new legal precedent.

What this means to you if you are a buyer—Do your due diligence. Get your inspections. Talk to neighbors. Visit the property multiple times. Go talk to the City/County offices if there are ANY concerns about zoning, permits, etc. (you will probably need to get the seller’s approval to ask specific questions about their property).

What this means to you if you are a seller—I still advise my seller clients to disclose anything and everything that may be of interest to the buyer. This new court case does NOT mean you are “off the hook” for disclosing questionable items. If you even ask, “Should we disclose ‘X’?” that means you probably should. Better to disclose ahead of time and have the buyer potentially cancel then deal with a lawsuit later.

I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY. CONSULT A LEGAL EXPERT FOR YOUR SITUATION. If you have questions on any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). Voted “Best of Brentwood” multiple times. To search the MLS for free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty.

TREE ROOTS AND REAL ESTATE

The roots of trees that grow from one yard into a neighbor’s yard have been a point of contention for many neighbors. The roots can damage fences, patios, foul sewer lines, etc. But can you just cut back any roots that wind up on your side of the fence? Maybe, or maybe not.

 

There was an old court case that ruled that homeowners have an “absolute right” to cut back any roots that encroach on their property from a neighbor’s tree, no matter what happens to the tree. Many people think this is the law of the land. But there was another case in 1994 that ruled differently. It said that a homeowner does have the right to manage their land HOWEVER that is tempered by the burden of making reasonable allowances for the health of the neighbor’s tree. So, you have rights, but they can’t infringe on the rights of others.

 

So, this means it’s a gray area, and it depends on the circumstances. Let’s say your neighbor’s tree is healthy and located in the middle of their yard and it sends out one long rogue root that is about to cause damage to your expensive pool decking. You could probably trim it back as long as it does no damage to the tree. Now let’s say it’s a “Heritage”’ oak tree that’s quite old but it’s the center of attention for their back yard. Maybe a lot of the roots are on your side but they aren’t harming anything in your yard, but you cut them all off just out of spite and the tree dies because it is so old. You could find yourself on the losing end of a court battle.

 

I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY. PLEASE CONSULT ONE FOR SPECIFICS TO YOUR SITUATION. If you have questions on any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). #1 for Brentwood listings sold multiple years. To search the MLS for free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty.

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