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Navigating the Purchase of a Single-Family Residence in California


Purchasing a single-family residence in California is an exciting and complex process, and buyers must be aware of their responsibilities throughout the transaction. As an attorney specializing in California real estate law, I've seen how a lack of understanding of these duties can lead to frustration, delays, or even legal disputes. In this blog post, I'll discuss the key duties of a buyer in the purchase of a single-family residence in California, providing guidance to help ensure a successful and seamless transaction.

Securing Financing:

One of the primary duties of a buyer is to secure financing for the property purchase. This typically involves obtaining a mortgage loan from a bank or other lending institution. Buyers should begin the pre-approval process early, as it can be time-consuming and directly impact their ability to make offers on properties. Remember, being pre-approved for a loan can make your offer more attractive to sellers.

Conducting Due Diligence:

Buyers have a responsibility to conduct thorough due diligence on the property they intend to purchase. This process includes reviewing the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) report, and any other applicable disclosures provided by the seller. Buyers should also inspect the property, review the title report, and investigate any other relevant factors such as zoning or permit records.

Obtaining Inspections:

Another important duty for buyers is obtaining inspections of the property. In addition to the pest inspection required by California law, buyers should also consider obtaining a general home inspection, as well as any other specialized inspections (e.g., roof, pool, or foundation) based on the property's unique characteristics. These inspections will help buyers identify potential issues with the property and can be valuable during the negotiation process.

Reviewing and Approving Disclosures and Reports:

As part of their due diligence, buyers must review and approve (or disapprove) various disclosures and reports provided by the seller. This process involves carefully reading and understanding the information presented, asking questions, and, if necessary, requesting additional documentation or clarification. If a buyer discovers issues with the property during their review, they may be able to negotiate repairs or concessions with the seller.

Meeting Contractual Obligations and Deadlines:

Throughout the purchase process, buyers are responsible for meeting various contractual obligations and deadlines outlined in the purchase agreement. This can include submitting an earnest money deposit, removing contingencies (such as financing or inspection contingencies), and adhering to the agreed-upon closing timeline. Buyers should work closely with their real estate attorney or agent to ensure they understand and fulfill all contractual requirements.


By understanding and fulfilling their duties during the purchase of a single-family residence in California, buyers can help ensure a smooth and successful transaction. Partnering with an experienced real estate attorney or agent can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, helping buyers navigate their responsibilities and avoid potential pitfalls. Happy house hunting!

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