The seller's disclosure is one such document for home sellers in Florida which might be perplexing, especially when you’re a first-time home seller.
While every state has its own set of rules on disclosure and what is required when selling a house, both sellers and buyers should be informed of what to anticipate.
To begin with a basic understanding of a sellers’ disclosure, it is a brief overview of any serious faults or deficiencies that may have an influence on the value of a residence.
Minor wear and tear (such as scuff marks on a hardwood floor) are often ignored since they don’t pose a serious threat to the new owner, but major problems - such as floods or a shifting foundation – have to be included.
The sellers’ disclosure document gives a holistic view of the ins and outs of the house to the new owner and what to expect while also protecting the seller from any legal issues in the future as well as a bad reputation.
An important point to note is that Florida does not compel sellers to submit information on the official Florida Association of Realtors form.
They only require the seller to disclose any known significant facts about the property.
When you use the official form, chances are that you don’t miss out on important aspects and have covered everything that is required by Florida laws.
Although Florida disclosure legislation does not even need a written disclosure; the same can be done verbally— something which is not recommended because it would be your word against the new homeowner's word if things were to ever go south.
Stick around to the end of this article to get a better understanding of sellers disclosure Florida law expects a seller to disclose.
Why is Sellers’ Disclosure Important?
When you’re selling your house, it’s important to come clean and reveal things about the house the new owner should be aware of.
Check out these reasons to get a better understanding of why sellers disclosure is important when selling a house in Florida:
New Owners Don’t Have To Face Unexpected Surprises
Disclosures aid in communicating the flaws that exist on the property. They guarantee that all parties involved in the transaction are properly informed of the property's history.
New Owners’ Cannot Go Legal against You
You won't have to worry about complications during the inspection if you correctly report all known facts and flaws in the house.
You Position Yourself as a Genuine Seller
When selling your home, honesty, truth, and transparency are critical. Disclosures are one approach to accomplish all of these goals while also increasing your reputation.
What Do You Disclose In Sellers Disclosure Florida?
Information about Your Home
In this part, you must specify which objects are installed and in working order (unless otherwise specified) in the house. Any information about items such as a refrigerator, gas, electric devices or other utilities, bathroom mirror, dishwasher, in-ground pool, or solar panels should be included.
Are there any hazardous chemicals (such as asbestos, radon gas, and propane) present on your property or was a clean-up that could have left some chemical residue? A lead paint declaration is required for any home built before 1978. You should also evaluate if your property is environmentally sensitive (such as a wetland) or historically significant.
Legal Problems / Litigations
In this area, the seller must specify if the property is subject to any assessments, legal actions, or other encumbrances. If local authorities have alerted you that your home is in need of specific repairs, mention the same in the sellers’ disclosure. This section contains information about any pending legal or administrative action affecting shared areas (such as a neighborhood tennis court).
HOA/Condominium Association Restrictions
You must inform the new buyer of any HOA dues that must be paid, as well as where they must be paid. Also mention any limits imposed by HOA-type groups, including selling or leasing restrictions.
Many homeowners may need to make a note of anything in this area, which includes structural damage to the property (such as floods) as well as any improvements done (such as the addition of a sunroom, or knocking down a wall). Don’t forget to include the necessary permissions that were acquired, along with the names of any contractors you hired for the job.
In this part, you must specify if the property's access roads are public or private, as well as whether your land is zoned for its current use.
In this part, you must record the approximate age of your roof, if it has ever leaked, and any repairs or replacements that have been performed. Provide a soft copy of your roof warranty roof along with the disclosure report.
Sinkholes are frequent in Florida due to the abundance of limestone, which slowly dissolves when exposed to acidic water. Mention to the new owner to keep track of any soil movement, as well as any insurance claims for sinkholes.
Should you have plumbing difficulties, or problems with the drinking water supply and sewage system, mention it in the report. Also mention the age and condition of the septic tank, (if you have one).
Electrical System Information
If you've had any issues with faulty switches or electrical system damage, make a note of it here. You should also consider whether your home includes an aluminum wire (aluminum was utilized in the 1970s when copper costs were at their highest - though it's a superior material, gadgets at the time weren't designed to deal with aluminum, and it might be a possible fire danger as a result).
When it comes to residential bug problems, Florida scores top. If you've ever had a problem with termites or ants, even if you were able to handle the situation, make a note of it here. Any problems with wood-destroying fungus should also be highlighted.
Is your house in a flood zone, which may necessitate additional flood insurance? If so, make a note of it here. Section 17 also addresses boundary concerns and common access points, such as a pier or well. It's worth noting that, unlike other states, Florida does not compel homeowners to reveal a home's flood history, despite the fact that Florida is prone to flooding - so buyers should be especially cautious.
This Florida Statute 689.261-mandated notification indicates that the transfer of ownership does not imply that the buyer would pay the same amount of taxes that the seller previously paid. Furthermore, taxes may be reassessed as a result of property improvements or changes in ownership.
Any Other Information the Buyer Needs To Know
If someone has a right of first refusal when it comes to someone buying the property, such as a current tenant or an HOA, you must record it here. Section 18 further addresses homestead tax exemptions, current legal proceedings affecting the property, and so on.
What Happens If A Seller In Florida Lies In The Sellers Disclosure?
Home sellers frequently worry about how identifying concerns like prior termites would affect their home's desirability, but they should remember that buyers expect certain faults with the properties they buy and stating issues on the disclosure form will not make a home unsellable. In most cases, buyers will instead negotiate concessions from the seller to pay some or all of the cost of the necessary repairs.
If you're undecided about recording anything (for example, a problem that has been totally rectified by the time of sale), you're typically better off documenting it anyhow. This reduces your obligation in the future. Real estate disputes are prevalent, and you don't want to get trapped in a protracted legal battle if you don't have to be.
When completing the sellers disclosure, it is critical for sellers to state the truth as much as they know it to be in order to reduce their future responsibility as a result of non-disclosure.
What If A Seller Doesn’t Know About A Defect?
The seller's disclosure obligations are limited to what the seller is aware of (or should be aware of). If you include your dishwasher in the house sale and properly record its age, and it breaks down during the first week of ownership, you are not liable. On the other hand, if a gap in your basement wall leaks water every time it rains, you'll be expected to notice it - you can't just say you didn't see an apparent, recurring problem with your property.
This is why it is critical for property buyers to arrange home inspections - so that they may identify any problems that the existing homeowners are unaware of.
Real estate transactions may be complicated, with plenty of possibility for disagreement among the participants. To successfully navigate these murky waters, it is prudent to seek the advice of a Florida attorney with extensive real estate experience.
Florida's seller disclosure rules are a little confusing. When you are Selling a house FSBO is typically a smart idea, but you will be responsible for all disclosures. This necessitates that you be aware of all of the disclosure rules since any error might cost you dearly.
That is why it is beneficial to hire professionals like Houzeo to take care of sellers’ disclosure of Florida matters and keep you out of legal trouble. You must read Houzeo Reviews for more information.
If you want to know more about Sellers Disclosure in any other state click on the links below:
Texas: Sellers Disclosure Texas
Virginia: Virginia Real Estate Disclosures
Michigan: Sellers disclosure Michigan
New Jersey: Sellers Disclosure NJ
Pennsylvania: Sellers Disclosure PA
California: Seller Disclosures California