Not every day does something as important to the Florida Real Estate Law occur like it did in 1985. From the Florida Supreme Court ruling on the infamous Johnson v. Davis case, no longer would ‘Caveat Emptor’ (the Latin term for let the buyer beware) be allowed as an excuse for not disclosing information when selling a home. In Florida, all sellers are required to disclose (in writing or verbally) facts materially affecting the value of the property which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer. Yes, for those who are wondering…that even means those selling a home “AS-IS”-you are still required to disclose. This begs the question …what does this mean to you as a seller?
Very simple, complete a ‘Seller’s Property Disclosure’ for the buyer when selling your home. It may sound scary, but it’s not as bad as it seems. In the disclosure, you need to provide information on those items in your home that a buyer cannot see but still should be aware of. For example, it could be something as simple as a window that leaks only on certain rainy days, an appliance that decides not to work when it wants to, or something as complex as building a room addition while you owned the home. Putting together this disclosure not only lets a future homeowner know about their new home, it lets them know you have nothing to hide. No home is perfect and it is important to reduce your liability while following the law of the land. With the proper disclosure, buyers will have a peace of mind knowing that you are being thorough and upfront.
Okay, so you understand why you have to disclose and now you’re ready to choose a method. The best advice would be to make the disclosure ‘in writing’. Have you ever heard the old adage, if it isn’t in writing -it didn’t happen? Without a doubt, this can easily apply in a transaction as large as selling a home. While forms can change based on county, city & state, -the idea behind them remain the same.
Don’t forget, as a seller -this protects you not only through the sales process but after the sale. The last thing you want is a lawsuit from someone who bought your home claiming you held back information. The best approach is -if you know about it, disclose it…in writing.
If you have any questions that involve a Seller’s Property Disclosure or selling a home, Reel Keeper Realty is here to help -please feel free to contact our office.