Monday, 28 May 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

California Association of REALTORS To Release New And Revised Forms

Written by Posted On Monday, 14 May 2018 19:19

Twice a year, in June and December, the California Association of REALTORS (CAR) releases both new standard forms and revisions to existing standard forms. Recently, at their May meetings in Sacramento, CAR directors were given an advance look at the items set for release next month. We'll review some of them here for the sake of readers who may be affected.

Three new forms will be released: Buyer Homeowner Association Advisory; Disclosure Information Advisory; and Tenant Flood Hazard Disclosure. All forms received some minor technical changes (e.g. changing references from the Bureau of Real Estate to the Department of Real Estate), but eight received more substantial ones. The major revision, which will be discussed here today, consists of changes made to the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (SBSA). The existing SBSA is twelve pages long; the revised version is 14. But, really, it's not that bad. A significant part of the size increase is simply a matter of reformatting, not additional disclosure items.

As its title indicates, the SBSA is an advisory given to both buyers and sellers, though its provisions are generally more relevant to buyers than to sellers. The form grew out of a recognition that many of the issues about which principals needed to be advised were common throughout the state. At that time, then, you had a situation where, literally, hundreds of brokerages were creating their own advisories about the same issues. Some people came up with the very good idea that it would be beneficial for CAR to create a standard form dealing with matters that were common in many regions throughout the state. Thus, the SBSA advises regarding issues that relate to such things as easements, square footage, building permits, seismic hazards, Megan's law data base, contract terms, homeowner associations, and on and on. No wonder its size.

A significant improvement is that the new SBSA will be divided into categories. The earlier and present versions were pretty much a hodgepodge, making it somewhat difficult for most people to locate quickly any particular section among its twelve single-spaced pages. By presenting a table that shows how the topics are arranged within various categories will make it considerably easier to find one's way around the advisory.

Seven general categories are presented. They are: A. Investigation of Physical Condition; B. Property Use and Ownership; C. Off-Site and Neighborhood Conditions; D. Legal Requirements (Federal, State, and Local); E. Contract Related Issues and Terms; F. Other Factors Affecting Property; and G. Local Disclosures and Advisories.

There are, of course, a number of specific revisions and additions that have also been made to the SBSA. These include:

1. There is new language on page one informing the parties that different reports may not be consistent with one another and that brokers have not verified the information in the reports.

2. There is new language regarding hiring proper professionals if square footage and boundaries are material to the buyer.

3. A new paragraph addresses Accessory Dwelling Units.

4. A new paragraph addresses the Buyer's Intended Use of the property.

5. Additional language has been added to the section regarding marijuana use and California law.

6. There is a new paragraph regarding short-term rentals and the possibility of local restrictions on short-term rentals.

7. Added to the current very long paragraph addressing "Neighborhood, Area, Personal Factors, Buyer Intended Use, High Speed Rails, and Smoking Restrictions" is some language and references regarding drones.

8. To a section on advertising new language has been added regarding staging and explaining that some furnishings and decorations may not be included in the sale.

More generally, it is highly beneficial that a number of web sites have been added that will provide helpful reference material.

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Bob Hunt

Bob Hunt is a former director of the National Association of Realtors and is author of the recently published book, "Real Estate the Ethical Way." A graduate of Princeton with a master's degree from UCLA in philosophy, Hunt has served as a U.S. Marine, Realtor association president in South Orange County, and director of the California Association of Realtors, and is an award-winning Realtor. Contact Bob at scbhunt@aol.com.

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