Home Buying in Orange>Question Details

Cahomebyr, Home Buyer in Orange, CA

No Seller Property Questionnaire?

Asked by Cahomebyr, Orange, CA Wed Jul 27, 2011

I'm looking at buying a home from a flipper. They say they won't complete a Seller Property Questionnaire because they've never occupied the home. My agent says that a supplemental statutory disclosure will still be required and that therefore they must still disclose known problems.

Is this correct? Should I be concerned with anything?

Help the community by answering this question:


Let me toss my own question in here because it may educate a few of us. If an investor buys a messy home, then remodels the kitchen, must the investor disclose modifications/alterations/remodel? FYI, 95% of the investor remodels I see lack the permit(s) for such as required by law.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
Flippers must still disclose known problems even when they've never occupied the home supplemental statutory disclosure will still be required .
The fact that they did not want to provide one raises suspicion. I am suspicious even when a disclosure is signed and delivered.
The best remedy is a thorough inspection by a true and professional inspection company with a track record .
The other is due diligence conducted on your own in city building and zoning department. Check for violations, permits, special assessments history. Contacting insurance companies provides further insight on elevation flood zones.
Not leaving anything to chance the last and final and most important protection is Title Insurance.
There is no insurance for problems that creep in areas that are not visible to the naked eye or inspectors have no access to. Home ownership has it’s risks one of the bets protections is not overpaying for it.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 22, 2011
Hello Cahomebyr,

The Seller(s) in this example are not exempt from completing the required disclosures. If your Realtor checked the box next to Seller Property Questionnaire on the Residential Purchase Agreement and the Seller(s) did not counter this out then the form must be completed. Even if they have not actually lived in the home. They still have owned the home for a period of time. And when they purchased the home, detailed disclosures where given to them as well. Unless they purchased the home from a Bank Foreclosure. Furthermore, all standard disclosures including the Transfer Disclosure Statement, Lead Based Paint, Smoke Detector Installation, Water Heater Strapping, Supplemental Statutory Disclosure, and the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement must be completed by the Seller(s). A separate Natural Hazard Disclosure Report should be ordered and turned over to you as well. Your Realtor and the Listing Agent must also complete their visual inspection of the home and complete their AVID disclosure forms as well. These forms must be completed by the Seller(s), signed by all parties including the Realtors involved and turned over to you within 7 days after offer acceptence unless otherwise agreed to in writing by you and the Seller(s). Lastly, make sure that you read all of the disclosures and complete all your property inspections. Do not cut any corners. It is your responsability as the Buyer to complete your due dilligence on the home prior to removing any contingencies. Should the Seller(s) continue to refuse to complete these required forms then I recommend that you cancel the escrow within your 17 day inspection period and get your deposit back. I hope this helps. Good luck with your escrow!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
Hi Cahomebyr,

Technically, an investor is not exempt from disclosure. In your purchase agreement, you had the option of requesting an SPQ or a SSD. If you asked for a SPQ and the seller didn't remove this in a counter offer, they have to provide you a SPQ completed to the best of their ability. If it wasn't checked in the contract, it's a little bit more of a gray area. No matter what form they provide, the information will be limited since they've never occupied the property. When purchasing from an investor, it's very important to conduct your own due diligence. Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase!

Thank you,
Karen Fenn
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Hello CaHomeByr,

The best thing to do is talk with the agent and/ or their Broker/Mgr and if all else fails talk to a Real Estate Attorney.. We can say what an agent should do or provide not being in your situation.. I recommend the above for you to do for your best interest..

Ingrid Ski Realtor
First Team Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
I strongly suggest that you seek legal advice in any of your real estate transactions.

Let me know if I can help you get FREE or discounted legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
The owners may actually not know much about the property if they have not occupied it. They are also not the best qualified if they are not licensed inspectors. Your best protections are to hire an inspector, and I advise you to talk to the neighbors about any possible knowledge they may have about the property. It could possibly be stigmatized property, such as a violent death, a meth lab, or crime scene of some sort could have happened in this home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
You have great answers here and just because the seller did not live in the property they should not be exempt from filling out the property disclosures. But worse I think would be for a listing agent of a property it is their duty to make sure that the listing incorporates the necessary documentation in order to list the property for sale. For example I have seen listings that do not incorporate lead disclosures when they are needed and some have lead disclosures when they don't. So, if the proper disclosures are not attached to a listing that a buyer is interested in the buyers agent should point this out in perform any necessary follow up about the property. Like one of the responses here where that permits not pulled for a flip would be a big concern for a potential buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012
Yes, the seller still needs to complete and sign the Seller Property Questionaire. I've seen several flippers just answer with, "seller has no knowledge as we have not lived in property" to every question on this disclosure and others. This is not acceptable as so many of the questions they will have answers to including whether the home is in an HOA, whether there are shared fences or easements as well as has the home had any remodeling, painting etc done. It sounds like your agent is protecting you. Stick with her.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Well here in Montana I become concerned if someone won't write out on the property disclosure forms "never occupied property have no knowledge of condition". If they won't do that and they did the remodel what are they hiding? If there is nothing to hide then what is the problem. Better for a buyer to know up front and make a decision or let them back out than to have to defend a lawsuit later. Education is a buyer's best ally.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
have your agent look up and see the previous MLS listing and the condition it was in when the current sellers bought it. During the inspection period, I would want to know whether there was a previous pest report, are they going to pay for a current pest report, what work did they do since they owned the house whether or not they lived in it and whether any permits were required, and whether they got permits. You should get a full home inspection if you are still interested in the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 26, 2012
Dear Cahomebyr,
They do have to disclose what they know, obviously they can't disclose what they might not be aware of. Please spend the extra money and get a good home inspection. Home inspectors will find out exactly what is going on with the house and you can then make your decisions based upon professional findings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 25, 2012
Yes, it is correct, they did not live in the house, so they do not have to provide one. They are still required to disclose any known problems.

I would start by doing a walk through inspection. You do not want the expense of going into escrow if there is some sort of easy to spot problems. If the utilities are off, that may be hard because you will not be able to tell if many things like the hot water tank, heater etc. are working. So before your buy it, do not skip on the home inspections. Also, make sure that you are not being over charged pricewise. You do not want to pay for home inspections or appraisals, only to have wasted your time and money.

As a side note. You also may have a hard time getting financing, my company does loans on them. We require 2 appriasals though, we ask the seller to pay for the 2nd one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 24, 2012
Disclosure is required every time (If there is a known problem). Unfortunately a lot of people will say anything or not say something to make money. This is very common.
My answer is that if you feel uncomfortable, a quality inspection by a reputable company is priceless. I highly recommend getting one done. You will most likely find a lot more than you bargained for, and it will give you more detailed information than most sellers or agents would be willing to provide.
I tend to trust 3rd parties with no interest in the transaction other than doing their job. An inspector does not care if you buy the home or not.
I hope this was helpful.

Debbie Brown
Orange County Real Estate Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 23, 2012
As clear and concise as it gets Gabriel
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 22, 2011
Well said Joe! That is why disclosure is a must!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
Wish I could vote you best answer Joe. You're spot on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011

The best thing to do is have your agent talk to their broker and or legal dept. There are certain forms, that do not have to be filled out in short sales, REO's, Probates and Investors.. The agents brokerage can instructure your agent presenting you on how to proceed.. The would be the best and most advantageous way to help you. Good Luck. Ingrid Ski Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
I totally agree with Gerald. Your agent should resolve this issue. Do you really want to buy a house where a flipper won't complete the Questionaire. Sounds fishy to me!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
As owner they have to disclose all items they know are wrong with the property, not having lived in the property makes no difference here. If they made any repairs in the time they owned the property they have shown that they did indeed have knowledge of the property and enough to make changes or repair!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
If you really want the home don't ponder on principal or detail. Get it inspected and close the deal. I've seen a lot of folks dicker themselves right out of a good deal by getting caught up in trivial minutia that could have been creatively and quickly resolved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
Home Cahomebyr, it is very common for investors and banks to write "Exempt" on these disclosures. I really don't think they're trying to pull one over on you, just that they truly don't know.

All the best!
Web Reference: http://www.ajsocalteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Karen, great response. Glad to see you're imparting your knowledge on others. Love it...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Hello Cahomebyr,
The seller is correct in stating that he shouldn't complete a property questionnaire since he has never occupied the property. Your agent appears to have a supplemental disclosure form which should suffice.

I'm in agreement with Ron that you should have a full house inspection. Also, ask the seller if any warranties are included.
Good luck with your purchase!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
I would prefer that they take the form and write on it that they have no knowledge of the property and cannot disclose anything.
That way at least you have something!

I would also recommend that you do intensive Inspections for both obvious reasons.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
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