How the Historic California Rains Affect Home Sales

Since the beginning of 2023, California has experienced rainfall levels so high that large areas of the state have been deluged. The central coastal region has not seen this much rain in more than a century. This has impacted real estate sales. Heavy rains cause damage to land and structures, which in turn increases sellers’ maintenance and repair costs and property disclosure obligations. Inclement weather and a reduced supply of homes also discourages people from searching. Ultimately, these factors affect prices and the velocity of the residential real estate market.

Selling a house in a rainy season can be problematic. Houses don’t show as well on rainy or overcast days. For buyers, getting in and out of the car to view properties while fussing with raingear can be tiresome and many shoppers just wait for better weather. For sellers, having prospective buyers track mud through pristine homes means more maintenance. Sellers’ agents are less likely to schedule open houses. In addition, some sellers must halt showings to repair damage caused by the extreme rainfall.

Seller delay of listings and showings reduces the supply of homes on market, which in theory should put upward pressure on prices. However, the downward price pressure caused by slackening demand is even greater. Lately, home prices in California have been softening, with the rainy weather contributing to the reduction.

The historic rainfall levels also require sellers to be more rigorous in their property disclosures. Under California law, a seller of residential real estate must disclose all property defects and other conditions that might be relevant to a buyer’s decision to purchase. The extreme rains have caused issues that had not existed in the decades prior, such as surface water intrusions into basements and ground-level living areas, leaking roofs and water accumulation on patios, driveways and other external areas.

Sellers must be very careful to disclose any and all repairs made due to water issues and any latent conditions that, though previously unknown, have manifested themselves during the wet weather. Sellers who fail to make the appropriate disclosures put themselves at risk. Someone who purchases a property after the rains end might later experience water-related problems with the home. If the seller knew about the conditions but failed to disclose them, he or she may be liable for damages.

Water abatement can be very expensive. Preventing water intrusion in a roof or foundation can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, water leakage or accumulation often causes mold. Remediation can be prohibitively expensive and even render a home uninhabitable. Sellers should therefore fully and meticulously disclose every known problem and potential issue to avoid disastrous post-closing property disputes.

Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell, PC is a general practice firm serving the North Bay region of California. We have offices in Fairfield and Vallejo. If you are buying or selling a home, feel free to contact us online or call 707-674-6057 for a consultation.