Frequently asked questions of California Real Estate Agents

As transaction coordinators for California Real Estate Agents, we get all sorts of questions and requests related to ongoing purchase and sale transactions. Here is a list of the top 4 questions we have received in 2019 and the latest 4-1-1 on how agents should proceed.

Buyer’s Agent: I am in a transaction where the listing agent says the seller is exempt from providing disclosures, but I am not so sure. What should I do?

Answer: There are two forms that may be helpful in this scenario. One is the Disclosure Information Advisory (DIA) form. If you actually read the form, it carefully states who is exempt and who is not. The second form is the Exempt Seller Disclosure (ESD). If a seller and/or his or her agent believes that the seller is exempt, all parties should definitely check out these forms. Lots of agents are under the misconception that if someone has not lived in the home and the home is in a Living Trust than the seller is exempt. In most cases, this is just not true. Of course, it’s always best to check with your broker or an attorney or have your sellers investigate further.

Buyer’s Agent: I have a listing agent requesting that my buyers sign a Notice of Supplementary Tax Bill (SPT) form, but my broker does not require it. Why should the buyers sign this form?

Answer: Some agents and brokers may choose to use this form. However, the California Association of Realtors® has incorporated this advisory into the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (SBSA)–a required form. As such, the SPT is not required. Even though it is an extra form that isn’t required, we would provide it if a particular office requests it. Why make waves? It’s just one extra signature and some buyers may not understand that they will have to pay a supplementary tax bill, so it is a good opportunity for buyers agents to have that discussion with their clients.

Listing Agent: Do my clients have to sign the bottom of the Contingency Removal form? When it populates into Docusign, their signatures come up as required.

Answer: Good Question! The only time sellers would need to sign a Contingency Removal form is if they need to remove a contingency, such as the Contingency for Locating Replacement Property.

Listing Agent: My broker requires a Water Heater and Smoke Detector Disclosure (WSD) and the Carbon Monoxide Disclosure (CMD), but another agent told me they are not required. What’s the deal here?

Answer: The deal is that if there is no Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) then these forms would be required. But, like the SPT, these have been built into other forms–in this case, the TDS. So, they are not required. Many brokers have been in business since before the TDS incorporated that information and so they may not realize that these two forms are not required–or they may want to be 100% certain that this information is not overlooked when disclosing.

The California Association of Realtors® puts out all sorts of information regarding changes to forms, forms updates, and minimum requirements for fully compliant office files. Our most recent list of possible forms required for a transaction listed 99 different forms to make a fully compliant office file. If you or your office doesn’t want to deal with the nightmare of figuring out what is required and what is not, call us! We’ll be happy to provide you with transaction coordinating services.