What is the Importance of the SPQ in California?
The Seller Property Questionnaire, or SPQ, is a California disclosure that is required to be filled out by the seller to make the buyer of any material or potential issues with the property being sold.
Sellers of residential real estate (up to four units) are required, by California law, to share any material facts related to the property and its use, that might influence the buyer’s decision to buy the property. These disclosures of material facts help the buyer make an informed decision and cover many different aspects of the house and its surroundings that can impact the desirability of the property.
Information in the TDS is Limited
is usually filled out in tandem with the TDS. The Transfer
Disclosure Statement, or TDS, is a document filled out by the seller
to highlight what they know about the condition of the property they are
selling. It asks specifically for any defects and issues with the property that
they can identify. They respond with either a yes or a no.
means that the seller knows of the issues or defects. If they are unaware of
the defect, they select a no.
various sections of the TDS require any additional disclosures to be listed,
such as pest reports or insurance claims.
Details of household items such as smoke, carbon monoxide, and burglar alarms; HVAC equipment such as air conditioners and heaters (with proper mounting brackets); water tanks, stoves, and other information is also asked from the seller in the different sections of the TDS.
Additional Information is a Requirement for a Realistic and Informed Decision
The TDS in and of itself is not enough to know the actual condition of the residential property and is considered to be very minimal. The California Association of Realtors came up with the Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ) to make up for the lack of information that buyers need for an informed decision.
November of 2014, the SPQ has been made a contractual requirement on the seller
by the RPA-CA (the California Residential Purchase Agreement), unless there is
an exemption from the TDS for the seller.
The information in the SPQ attempts to fill in the areas where information is less detailed in the TDS. Collectively the TDS and SPQ attempt to paint a clear picture of the property for the buyer and to safeguard the seller against future litigation for failing to disclose issues. This safe proofing against litigation is the greatest reason for both buyers and sellers to use the TDS and SPQ.
The seller and the buyer both benefit from the approximately 50 questions in the SPQ. The buyer gains an informed decision, and the seller gains because it becomes hard for the buyer to claim that material facts about the property were withheld.
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