Yes, there are probably sellers out there who don’t disclose everything they should. But I don’t typically assume that sellers are hiding pertinent details about their homes. The homeowners with whom I’ve listed properties have generally tended to go out of their way to disclose even the most minor deficiencies.
Not to pat myself on the back, but I typically sit down with sellers while they complete the extensive disclosure package, going over each form line by line and clarifying the questions. It’s this approach that I believe leads to more thorough disclosures for buyers. It also gives me the opportunity to learn all the property details before the marketing begins, which results in clear, accurate fact presentation to agents and prospective buyers.
California requires an extremely long list of seller disclosures; we are not a “buyer beware” state. (However, this isn’t the case for foreclosure properties, which are, in my opinion, “buyer beware” scenarios.)
Sellers, hook up with a reputable broker, provide the required San Francisco building/hazard reports, and take the time to thoughtfully complete your disclosure package—preferably with your agent sitting next to you. The couple of hours you take to fill out paperwork will certainly not exceed the time it will take to sit in mediation, arbitration or in attorneys’ offices down the line.