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Understanding a Seller's Duties in the Sale of a Single-Family Residence in California


Selling a single-family residence in California comes with a number of duties and obligations that sellers must fulfill to ensure a smooth and lawful transaction. As an attorney specializing in California real estate law, I've noticed that many sellers are unaware of these responsibilities, potentially leading to disputes and even litigation. In this blog post, I'll outline the key duties of a seller in the sale of their single-family residence in California, offering insights on how to navigate the process successfully.

Completing a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS):

A critical obligation for sellers in California is completing and providing the buyer with a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). This document discloses any known defects or issues with the property that may impact its value, including structural, electrical, and plumbing issues. Sellers must disclose any problems they are aware of, even if they've been fixed, to ensure the buyer has a clear understanding of the property's history and condition.

Providing a Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) Report:

In addition to the TDS, California law requires sellers to provide a Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) report. This document outlines any known risks associated with natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, or wildfires. By law, a third-party expert typically prepares the NHD report, which the seller then presents to the buyer.

Complying with Pest Inspection Requirements:

Another crucial duty for sellers is obtaining a pest inspection report. California law mandates that sellers provide a Wood Destroying Pest and Organism Inspection Report detailing any termite or other pest infestations, as well as recommendations for necessary repairs. While the seller is not obligated to conduct repairs, they must disclose the report to the buyer, who may request repairs as part of the purchase negotiation.

Adhering to Local Disclosure Requirements:

In addition to statewide disclosure requirements, sellers must also be aware of any local disclosure ordinances. These can vary from one municipality to another and may include specific disclosures related to local hazards, historical preservation districts, or other unique property characteristics. It's essential for sellers to consult with a knowledgeable real estate attorney or agent to ensure they meet all local requirements.

Maintaining the Property During the Sale Process:

Throughout the sale process, sellers have a duty to maintain the property in its current condition. This means that any damage that occurs between the time of signing the purchase agreement and closing must be repaired or otherwise addressed. Sellers should also ensure that the property remains clean and presentable for showings and inspections.


Selling a single-family residence in California involves numerous duties and obligations that sellers must be aware of and adhere to. By understanding these responsibilities and working with a qualified real estate attorney or agent, sellers can help ensure a smooth and successful transaction, avoiding potential disputes and litigation down the line. Remember, a well-informed seller is a successful seller!

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