When buying a home in Florida, it is important to be aware of the seller’s disclosures. These are documents that list any problems with the property and any material facts about the property that could affect your decision to buy it. Here are the eight key seller disclosures.
Seller’s disclosures to watch out for
- Homeowners Association (HOA) information
- Known or potential hazards
- The pest inspection report
- Lead-based paint disclosure for all homes built before 1978
- Structural and mechanical issues
- Boundary lines disputes
- Haunted or other stigmatized property but it isn’t a must according to Florida Statutes 689.25
- Liens on the property
What to do when a seller hides critical information
If you’re in the process of buying a home and the seller refuses to provide any of the required disclosures, walk away. It’s not worth taking on the risk of purchasing a property sight-unseen without knowing what you’re getting yourself into.
If you’ve already made an offer on a home and the seller refuses to provide any of the required disclosures, you can:
- Terminate the contract and get your earnest money deposit back
- Sue the seller in real estate litigation courts in Florida to disclose material facts about the property
- Report the seller to Florida’s real estate commission or consumer protection agency
Tips when reviewing a disclosure document
- Review the disclosure document with a professional like your real estate agent or attorney
- Hire a professional to conduct your own inspections
- Compare the disclosures with your professional’s reports and other official local documentation
- Understand the risks, and consider if fixing the issues is worth the time, money, and stress
You need a seller’s disclosure to have a clear picture of your investment. While there will always be problems with a house, however how good of a condition it is in, this information can help prevent or prepare you for potentially bigger issues.