In an ordinary real estate transaction, in which the building has already been built, this is not an issue. If, however, you are purchasing or selling raw land, you need to be aware of the Sub-Division Map Act. California Government Code Section 66410 et. seq. Government Code Section 66499.30(b) prohibits the sale, lease or financing of any parcel of a sub-division until an approved sub-division map is recorded, in compliance with the law.

In 2007, the California Court of Appeal underlined this rule. In Black Hills Investments, Inc. v. Albertson’s Inc. (2007), 146 Cal. App. 4th 883, a buyer was permitted to void a contract to purchase two parcels of property, upon which a map had not yet been recorded. The seller tried to escape the law, by a clause in the contract that required the seller to either get a map approved, to terminate the contract or to get the buyer to waive the condition. Not good enough, said the Court of Appeal. To be enforceable a contract must be expressly conditioned upon a map being recorded