I recently heard of a case in which a local home seller was forced to buy back the house he had just sold to a buyer, because the buyers were upset to discover there is a dog in the neighborhood that barks during the day, creating a noise annoyance. (Yes, you read that right. The buyers sued because there is a barking dog in the neighborhood!) The buyers were able to win this case because the sellers had not checked off the box on their sellers’ disclosures for “neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances.” As crazy as this case seems, it is the perfect example of why it is so important for sellers to disclose EVERYTHING.

In Poway, this means that residents in (and AROUND) Candy Cane Lane must disclose that there is a significant traffic and parking problem in the neighborhood in December. Homes within walking distance of Poway High School must disclose that the football games can cause traffic and noise problems, and band practice can be a “noise nuisance.” And pretty much every neighborhood in Poway has a barking dog in it, so check that box!

I have sellers call me every time I send them these disclosure forms whether they need to disclose some random fact about their house. My answer is always the same: “If you have to ask, the answer is yes.” The fear, of course, is that if the buyers know, they may decide to back out. On the plus side, you are also able to disclose what was done to fix or alleviate the problems. In the long run, however, it is much better to find out that the buyer can’t live with something DURING escrow, rather than after close. The financial repercussions are simply too great to gamble.

Bottom line: When in doubt, write it out!

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