Top Ten Consumer Rights In California Home Purchase

You have the right to interview and select professionals to assist you in home purchase, including the lender, real estate agent, and home inspection company.

  1. You have the right to use the new Residential Purchase Agreement RPA-CA when making offers or accepting offers on property in California. Copy of RPA-CA available.

  2. You have the right, upon your first contact with a real estate agent (including at an open house) to know what that agent's relationship is to seller of the home as well as to the potential buyer. In fact, it's the law! Copy of Agency Disclosure Form available.

  3. You have the right to have all documents reviewed by an attorney (at your expense) if you have concerns regarding your rights being protected in residential purchase. This is an escrow state and differs from other states in this regard. The role of the escrow company is as a neutral third party enforcing the terms of the contract.

  4. You have the right to approve or disapprove a residential property you have an accepted offer on due to physical condition of the home or neighborhood environment - without financial penalty. The default timeframe 17 days under the new RPA-CA contract unless otherwise expressly stated in the contract.

  5. You have the right, including in new residential construction or resale, to negotiate for repairs to be made or for credit in lieu of repairs, within the approval timeframe of the contract. This is true even when the purchase is considered an "as is" purchase. Copy of Repair Request Form available.

  6. You have the right to conduct tests (typically at your expense) to further investigate environmental or structural issues of the home within the approval timeframe - for example mold or cracked slab testing.

  7. You have the right to have a copy of every document you sign in home purchase and to have that document as well as standard disclosures explained to you by the appropriate professional, including your lender, real estate agent, physical inspector, mover, home warranty and termite company. Ask your realtor for a Consumer Disclosure explanation booklet.

  8. You have the right to move in to your new home as soon as recording of the documents occur and consistent with the provisions of the contract. You may request that you be contacted even if after escrow hours. You may also negotiate for delayed closing or rent back situations if needed, but should also understand the consequences to the purchase and loan if this option is considered.

  9. You have the right to have walk away from a residential purchase you are in escrow with if this is in your best interest, although you should be fully aware and advised concerning the consequences and monetary risk. Your situation should be reviewed with an attorney who practices in real estate and contract matters.

By Ron Porter, Copyright 2003, reprinted with permission.

Copyright © 2003 Shari Randall, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was last reviewed or amended on Jan 17, 2015.