What You Should Know About the Buyer Inspection Advisory

The Buyer Inspection Advisory comes in two flavors: A Buyer Inspection Advisory from the seller to the buyer, and a Buyer Inspection Advisory from the broker to the buyer.  The two documents are almost identical, the only difference is who provides and signs the advisory: a broker or a seller.

// This post is a part of our series: Your Guide to a San Francisco Disclosure Package. //

The Buyer Inspection Advisory is a *general property* disclosure. It contains language that does not vary from transaction to transaction and is not property specific.

Pictured below is the Buyer Inspection Advisory (BIA-A), which includes a line for the property address and is an advisory from the seller to the buyer. The document is a two-page document (at least, as of 2014) and outlines the importance of understanding the condition of the property, the buyer’s rights to investigate, and outlines a long list of potential types of inspections a buyer can obtain. It also reminds buyers of the broker’s and seller’s disclosure duties in a transaction.

Buyer Inspection Advisory: From Seller to Buyer

Pictured below is the Buyer Inspection Advisory (BIA-B) that is almost identical to the BIA-A but the BIA-B comes from the broker instead of the seller. Other than that, the document is almost identical to the other advisory, and again, outlines the various types of inspections a buyer can obtain, the importance of understanding the condition of the property, and a reminder of the broker’s disclosure obligations and the seller’s disclosure obligations.

BIA-B: The Buyer Inspection Advisory from Broker to Buyer

There is probably a reason for the existence of the two almost identical but slightly different forms, but since I’m not an attorney I can’t tell you what the reasoning is. Regardless, you can expect to see one of these forms, if not both of them, in a San Francisco disclosure package. If you’ve got a great agent, they’ve already reviewed this information with you and none of it should be new information.

Q3 vs Q4 single family home stats – a deeper dive

Our November 21 newsletter took a look at the condo and single family home market data. This blog post is a deeper dive with additional charts that we couldn’t fit into our newsletter.

Q3 vs Q4 Single Family Home Performance

q3 q4 sfr chart

Q3 vs Q4 – Single Family Homes
q3 q4 sfr ppsf
Q3 vs Q4 – Single Family Homes price per square foot change


q3 q4 sfr sales price
Q3 vs Q4 – Single Family Homes sales price appreciation/depreciation


Q3 Single Family Home stats

Q3 SFR Chart
Q3 Single Family Home Data
q3 sfr list vs sell
Q3 Single Family Home Data, list vs sell
q3 sfr over under
Q3 Single Family Home Data, final sales price compared to original
q3 sfr price per sqft
Q3 Single Family Home Data, price per square foot
q3 sfr sales by district
Q3 Single Family Home Sales by area

Q4 Single Family Home Data

Q4 SFR chart
Q4 Single Family Home Data
q4 sfr avg price per sqft
Q4 Single Family Home Data, Avg Price per Square Foot
q4 SFR list vs sell
Q4 Single Family Home Data, list vs sell
q4 SFR over under
Q4 Single Family Home Data, sales price compared to list price, %
q4 SFR sales by district
Q4 Single Family Home Sales by Area

What You Should Know About Inspection Scheduling

When purchasing a single family home, one way to understand as much as you can about the property is to have the property physically inspected by a company or individual that specializes in inspecting properties that are being sold. Inspection scheduling in San Francisco is generally done by the buyer’s agent, unless a buyer is relying upon inspections provided by the seller or choosing to purchase the property without a physical inspection.

// This post is a part of our series: Your Guide to a San Francisco Disclosure Package. //

The Inspection Scheduling disclosure is a *general* disclosure. It does not contain information specific to the property in question.

Inspection Information and Scheduling Request - A Sample Disclosure
Inspection Information and Scheduling Request – A Sample Disclosure

The Inspection Scheduling disclosure is a form that we all have a lawsuit (or lawsuits) to thank for. And while that may sound a bit glib, here’s the essence of it all (in my humble opinion).

Real estate transactions are always time sensitive. Even in “soft” markets, sellers always prefer shorter contingencies to longer contingencies. So buyers typically rely on their agent for advice on who to use for an inspection and to get that inspection scheduled within their contingency timeframe. It raises an interesting question though: will a buyer’s agent select a reputable, honest, reliable inspector or will they toss the inspection to a “yes person” that will keep the deal together even if there are major issues with a property?

In my decade plus years of experience, I always recommend the honest, reputable and reliable inspector because while I know I have to make sure my clients perform within the agreed-upon timeframe, I always choose to take a long term view. I want a good inspection, warts and all, because I want my buyers to someday become my sellers and to recommend me to all of their friends, co-workers, and family.

But not every agent takes that view, and some buyers over the years have felt their agent picked the easy, convenient, or “soft” inspector because they were more interested in closing a deal instead of developing a lifetime relationship.

So you can expect to sign a form that will be similar – if not identical – to the above form saying that you can’t hold your agent responsible for choosing an inspector you don’t like if you’ve given them permission to schedule an inspection for you. And as long as a form was created to share that information, they decided to also mention that agents don’t set rates for contractors, and we don’t verify their insurance, if they are bonded, or any of those other details.

What’s your take away? Let your agent know up front what concerns you have about the inspection scheduling and inspection process. Communicating concerns and expectations up-front is by far the best way to avoid problems down the road.

What You Should Know About the Natural Hazards Report

The Natural Hazards/Tax Data (often called the JCP report because of a popular 3rd party provider)  is an important document to review in a disclosure package. While there are a variety of formats for a Natural Hazards report they all serve one purpose: to help the seller explain information about the land around and underneath a property.

// This post is a part of our series: Your Guide to a San Francisco Disclosure Package. //

The Natural Hazards Report is a *property specific* disclosure. While it contains a ridiculous amount of boilerplate/CYA information, it also contains important information that is specific to the property in question.

A Natural Hazards Report Summary Page from 3rd Party Provider JCP
A Natural Hazards Report Summary Page from 3rd Party Provider JCP

A natural hazards report can be completed directly by a seller, but in almost all cases sellers choose to use a report provided by a 3rd party company. PropertyID is one such company (I believe they are a captive company to Coldwell Banker, but I’m not 100% certain), and JCP-LGS is another company. In the San Francisco market you typically see a report from one of these two companies.

The natural hazard report is a statewide report which means that it covers a lot of conditions that aren’t applicable to San Francisco. The summary page (shown above) is the “cliff’s notes version” of the entire document, which is usually between 30 and 40 pages. The potential hazards disclosed in a natural hazards report include:

  • Special Flood Hazard Area
  • Area of Potential Flooding
  • Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone
  • Wildland Area with Substantial Forest Fire Risk
  • Earthquake Fault Zone
  • Seismic Hazard Zone (Landslide or Liquefaction)
  • County Level Natural Hazard Disclosure Information
  • Former Military Ordinance Disclosures
  • Proximity to Commercial or Industrial Zoning
  • Airport Influence Area Disclosure
  • Airport Noise Area Disclosure
  • Bay Conservation and Development District Disclosure
  • California Energy Commission Disclosure
  • Right to Farm Act Disclosure
  • Notice of Mining Operations Disclosure
Additional Disclosures found in a Natural Hazard Report
Additional Summary Page typically found in a Natural Hazard Report

It should be noted that there are a variety of different maps that the report provider is working with – often state, county, and city level maps. For example, in the above example while it isn’t on a state mapped earthquake fault zone, San Francisco county reports include additional detail that provides information on expected/projected ground shaking severity for an earthquake on either the Hayward or San Andreas faults.

I’ve also been told by various engineers that specialize in soils testing that the maps used in the generation of these reports are approximate. In one case, I had a client receive a natural hazards (JCP) report that said the property was in a landslide zone. We hired a soils engineer to help us better understand the risk, and using his more detailed maps he was able to show that while the property was near landslide zones, the property in question wasn’t actually in a landslide zone.

Some “bonuses” that typically come along with the natural hazard report include:

  • A property tax report that explains how property taxes are calculated, allowing you to estimate what your property taxes will be.
  • A notice of your supplemental property tax bill, which explains that most counties lag in re-assessing property values but that every county eventually catches up and when they do you will be issued a supplemental tax bill for the difference between the rate you have been charged and the rate you should have been charged.
  • Environmental Screening Report, which typically includes information about underground storage tanks that are near the property in question.

As you can see from the long list of items disclosed in a natural hazard report, it is an important document to review. It often provides information about conditions that are not readily obvious or apparent to the visible eye, so it is important to review the document and be sure that you understand the information it contains.

Inner Sunset Redevelopment at Kirkham Heights

The Kirkham project is a proposed redevelopment of existing apartments in the Inner Sunset neighborhood.

Kirkham Heights is the name of the current apartment complex located on the site that is just over 6 acres. The site is currently home to 89 apartments that were built in 1950. The homes are located near 5th Ave. and Kirkham, nestled up against the west side of Mt. Sutro below the eucalyptus trees and trails of the Mt. Sutro open space reserve.

The owner of the apartments, the Westlake group, has proposed to replace the current buildings on the site with new apartment homes that would increase the number of homes in the development to about 460, of which 86 would be subject to rent control.

The project – as of this writing (November, 2014) is just a proposal on paper, nothing more. The developer will be submitting plans for a large project authorization to the city planning department, and if the project were to go forward there would be any number of studies, forums, reports, and other documents generated and made available for review before any permits would be issued.

What are your thoughts on the Kirkham project?

Please note that we do not represent the development group interested in redeveloping the site. If you would like to sign up to learn more about the development, you can visit the developer’s website and sign up for additional updates as more information becomes available.