Selling a home is a time of great possibilities, of potential, of hope. But when you make plans to sell your home, it’s important to know what is expected of the seller.
Like most states, Florida requires sellers to make certain disclosures about the property’s condition and history. Courts have determined that sellers are in the best position to know the facts regarding the properties and should disclose those facts to the buyer or face legal liability.
Florida Association of Realtors helps
The Florida Association of Realtors has a standard form sellers can use to notify buyers of essential information, which includes:
- Any claims, complaints or court proceedings affect the property
- Whether the property is subject to homeowner association dues
- Any disputes about the property’s border
- If the property contains any sinkholes
- If the house contained environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead, mold, Chinese drywall and other problems
- If the house has endured infestations from termites, carpenter ants or other wood-destroying pests
- Whether there has been problems with the roof, plumbing, wiring, appliances, HVAC and other essential components
It’s always best to get all your interactions with the buyer in writing in case there is any need for proof later.
A property tax disclosure can be included with the discovery form or as a separate document.
You can’t know what you don’t know
Florida law states that the homeowner will not be held responsible for any information about which you did not know. If the home has a defect after the purchase and the new owner wants to sue, the owner will have to prove:
- You knew about the defect
- The defect has a substantial effect on the property’s value
- The buyer didn’t know about the effect on the value when he bought the house
- The defect would not have been easy for the buyer to detect
- The seller did not tell the buyer about the defect
There are several things a seller does not have to disclose: if anyone who lived at the property had HIV or AIDS, of if a murder or suicide had occurred on the property.
Even if both the buyer and seller agree to sell the house “as-is”, you still need to disclose everything you know about the house, although you don’t have to make any repairs.