5 Disclosures every SF 1st Time Home Buyer Should Know

1. (Required) Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (aka ‘R.E.T.D.S’ or ‘T.D.S.’) This state-mandated disclosure summarizes (along with the SF Seller Disclosure, or if outside SF, Seller Property Questionnaire) the known condition of the property during the Seller’s ownership of that property. The seller MUST indicate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to these questions, and typically a ‘yes’ warrants additional description. These material facts include:

    1. Any encroachments or easements on the property?

    2. Any substances that could be considered environmental hazards on the subject property?

    3. Any alterations or repairs made without necessary permits?

    4. Neighborhood noise problems or nuisances?

    5. Any lawsuits by OR against Seller affecting this real property?

2. (Required) SF Seller Disclosure(*OR* if outside San Francisco, the Seller Property Questionnaire, or ‘S.P.Q.’) is similar to the R.E.T.D.S. but with a different, more locally-specific set of questions/material facts that include:

    1. Are you involved in bankruptcy proceedings?

    2. Are there any yet-unrecorded loans secured by the property?

    3. Has the property been identified as being contaminated by methamphetamine?

    4. Are there ANY other matters that could affect the delivery of clear title to the property?

    5. Is the property or any part of it, currently leased, rented, or occupied by a non-owner?

3. (Required) 3R Report is the ‘Report of Residential Building Record’ describes the current legal use of this property as compiled from the records of City Departments, HOWEVER, there has been no physical examination of the property itself. This report conveys:

    1. Present authorized Occupancy or use (e.g. Single Family or Multi-Family Dwelling)

    2. Zoning district in which located & Building Code Occupancy Classification

    3. Construction, conversion or alteration permits issued, (if any) back to original construction or earliest city records

    4. Is this property currently under abatement proceedings for code violations?

    5. Is the building in the Mandatory Earthquake Retrofit of Wood-Frame Building Program? If yes, has the required upgrade work been completed?

4. (Optional) General Home Inspection Report (aka Home Inspection or Property Inspection) is a report produced following a physical inspection of the subject property by a qualified/accredited professional (typically a contractor.) This report is a limited scope of the property health and condition for a specific date in time. It should be regarded as an important, if comprehensive, list of all of the items. Home inspectors look at such items as:

    1. Foundation*

    2. Substructure/Framing

    3. Seismic bracing features

    4. Drainage/Moisture/Insulation

    5. Exterior/Stairs/Decks/Doors/Windows

    6. Interior/Walls/Floors/Doors/Attic

    7. Electrical system

    8. Water Supply/Drain/Waste/Vent/Fixtures

    9. Gas Supply

    10. Water Heater

    11. Heating/Cooling Systems

    12. Roof Type/Conditions/Defects*

    13. Fireplace*

    14. **Note** items with *asterisk may require additional inspection

5. (Optional) Pest Inspection Report is exactly what it sounds like, the report generated by an accredited pest inspector who has toured the property. Similar to the home inspection report, this report is a limited scope (typically to readily accessible areas) inspection of the property for the current and/or past presence of termites, dry rot, fungus, etc. There are a few important things to understand as you read through a typical pest report:

    1. Section 1 (aka ‘Phase 1’) - Section 1 contains items where there is evidence of active infestation, or infection, or conditions that have resulted in or from infestations or infection. TYPICALLY, Section 1 of a pest report has a quoted bid to remedy the work outlined.

    2. Section 2 (or ‘Phase 2’) - Section 2 items are conditions deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection BUT where NO visible evidence of such was found.

    3. Further inspection items are defined as recommendation to inspect area(s) which, during the original inspection did not allow the inspector access to complete his inspection and cannot be defined as Section 1 or Section 2 (such as inaccessible crawl spaces or “drilling holes” through walls for testing.) Supplemental Phase 1 inspection should be performed on a case-by-case basis, but is frequently advisable.