Top Ten Consumer Rights in California Home Purchase

Consumer Rights in California

If you are purchasing (or planning to purchase) a home in California, it is important to know your rights as a consumer before you start your search. Many unscrupulous sellers and brokers rely on the fact that home buyers have not done their research and are not aware of their rights in the exchange. Such assumptions can lead them to attempt to take advantage of you as you are searching for a home.

However, if you show them from the onset that you are educated about your rights, you’re much more likely to settle on a fair deal.

  • As a consumer, you have the right to select your own lender, real estate broker/agent and inspector.
  • As a consumer, you have the right to use California’s approved Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA-CA) when participating in the process of making offers or accepting an offer.
  • As a consumer, you should always be given up-front information concerning the real estate agent’s relationship to the seller. This information is usually given through an Agency Disclosure Form and should be available to you at all times.
  • As a consumer, you have the right to hire an attorney or mediator to review all of the documents involved in the sale or potential sale of the property. As California is considered an escrow state, you will also deal with an escrow company, which acts as a neutral third party in ensuring that the contract is upheld properly.
  • As a consumer, once you have signed a RPA-CA contract, you have 17 days to change your mind after your offer has been accepted. While there are certain conditions to this–such as dissatisfaction with the condition of the home or the neighborhood in which it is located–you can back out of the offer and contract without being penalized.
  • During the 17-day timeframe provided to you in the RPA-CA contract, as a consumer, you have the right to negotiate with the seller regarding repairs that you believe should be made or credit that should be applied to the asking price to cover the cost of those repairs (if they are not made by the seller). Even if you purchase a property that is sold to you “as is,” you have this right.
  • As a consumer, you should be given a copy of every piece of documentation signed pertaining to the property’s purchase.
  • As a consumer, you always have the right to walk away from the purchase while it is in escrow, although you could be penalized financially for this decision. It is important to speak with an attorney or mediator if you choose this route to make sure that it is in your best interest to do so.
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