As most who work in the California real estate industry know, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reviews and updates important forms related to buying a home twice a year. This is normally done to address common issues faced by agents and homesumers while also helping to protect against issues that have resulted in legal problems or could present the potential for litigation. The updates and adjustments made by C.A.R. also address changes made during the legislative session where key updates are made on the 1st of January and July.
The most recent ZipForms® were released by C.A.R. on June 25, 2018. These consisted of 8 updated forms and 3 new ones, including the Disclosure Information Advisory (DIA).
So, what does the Disclosure Information Advisory actually say? Basically, any seller failing to disclose information can be subjected to costly litigation— whether the non-disclosure is done intentionally or unintentionally – and found liable for their omission. This non-disclosure can result in significant costs that must be paid to the buyer.
Disclosures have always been and still are a hot discussion topic in real estate. The advisory emphasizes the significance of disclosing what is known, particularly the details that directly affect the property’s value and demand. It also asks the sellers to take time and be as thorough and precise as they can be when making compulsory, statutory, and contractual revelations.
Furthermore, because homesumers can often times feel overwhelmed or unsure about completing the disclosure forms, the Disclosure Information Advisory was created to help walk them through details of the three most important disclosure forms including the Exempt Seller Disclosure (ESD), Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ), and the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). The DIA is important, in part, because real estate agents are not licensed attorneys and can only provide limited guidance in filling out these legally important documents. If after reading the DIA, the seller still isn’t sure how best to answer some of the questions on these forms, they can get in touch with a real estate attorney to discuss any questions they may have regarding the disclosure itself or the applicability of the law.
The DIA assures that buyers are provided with all the accurate information that is needed and that the sellers willfully and completely disclose the details. This gives the buyers the peace of mind they need, that everything about the property they are buying is clear.
While most people think DIA forms are only beneficial for buyers, this is merely a fallacy. The DIA ensures fair and informed transactions between both parties and provides protection against lawsuits for sellers, too. Everything about the property being sold is explicitly discussed in the form. In case you have already submitted a DIA and later find out more facts that should be disclosed, it is your duty to submit a revised version of the form.
There are no properties that are “perfect” and without a single flaw. In opposition to common belief, unveiling flaws openly is least likely to get a deal canceled. In fact, it can bring more clients to you due to your honesty and overall repute.
Even if a seller seems to be in a hurry, it is important for buyers to thoroughly examine the form and know the exact condition of the property being bought. This way, they can be certain there are no shocking discoveries later on or when they have finally moved in.
The DIA form has an interesting ending note that says:
“When in doubt, the best answer to the question: ‘Do I need to disclose…?” is almost always ‘YES, disclose it.”Need help regarding the DIA, any other disclosure statements, or real estate issues?
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