Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When it comes to High-Speed Rail, Buyer Beware

One of most nagging problems with High-Speed Rail is its threat to residences near the anticipated rail right of way. That's mostly true in urban areas.  In California, it would be in the Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin.  However, even in rural areas, the rail corridor will impose huge adverse impact on its immediate surround.

Realtors are expected to provide a "Disclosure Statement" at the time of sale of any property within a certain distance from the tracks.  The presumption is an adverse impact on property values, and many on the Bay Area Peninsula have rightly been hugely concerned about this for several years.

Here is a sample Disclosure Statement required for the sale of properties in proximity to the rail corridor: 

Property: ______________________________________________________________________

On November 5, 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A authorizing funding of a high- speed rail transportation system linking various cities in the State. Both the location of the proposed system and the possible effect that the construction and operation of that system will have on residential areas has been the subject of concern and debate. Some news reports have indicated that, depending upon the location of the high-speed rail system, it may have a negative effect on some properties in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is anticipated that construction is likely to begin as early as 2011.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) is the state entity that is responsible for planning, constructing and operating that high-speed train system. The undersigned can obtain more information about the proposed high-speed rail system by contacting the Authority or by going online to:

Precisely what impact, if any, the proposed high-speed rail transportation system will have on any given property is unknown either before, during or after construction. The construction and/or use of the transportation system may affect people differently. Real estate agents are not experts in this area and buyers are advised to satisfy themselves with regard to this issue during their inspection contingency period.
The undersigned acknowledge receipt of this disclosure. Date: _________________ ________________________________________________
Date: _________________ ________________________________________________


And, here is an article by a realtor about this problem.  It's strange that this realtor didn't provide the above language of such a disclosure statement. As you can see, it's certainly vague and ambiguous enough. Basically, having been "warned" you, as a property buyer, are on your own.  You have to do your own homework. Remember, realtors are in business to make sales, not discourage them. Caveat Emptor. 

The Skinny on the High-Speed Rail Disclosure

Cece Blase, SF Real Estate Examiner
July 12, 2011
Toot-toot, my fair friends. It’s time to talk about public transit in San Francisco and how it may affect your real estate purchases – specifically, the city’s high-speed rail disclosure. It is now required that property buyers in the Mission, SOMA, South Beach and Mission Bay, as well as buyers of homes on the Peninsula within a mile of Highway 101, sign this document.

What is this disclosure? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the background: In November 2008, your fellow California voters gave the thumbs-up to Proposition 1A, which authorized funding of a high-speed rail transportation system connecting a number of cities. While plans have not yet been finalized, construction may begin as early as next year.

So the disclosure basically says that you as the buyer understand that the affects of this construction are yet unknown. In other words, let the buyer beware. And speaking of that, here’s a few resources so you can familiarize yourself with the issue before signing on the dotted line:  The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the website for the new San Francisco Transbay Transit Center.

And while I don’t bill myself as an expert on these matters, I do know a thing or two about how infrastructure can affect your real estate transactions. Get in touch and we’ll talk.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners-- and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett's 'City by the Bay.' Call or email at 415-577-0809 or email at

Continue reading on The Skinny on the High-Speed Rail Disclosure - San Francisco Real Estate |

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