SELLER'S DISCLOSURE

Florida law requires that you disclose any material defects or other factors to the buyer.

In 1998, the Florida Supreme Court decided the case of Johnson v. Davis, which made it mandatory for sellers of residential real estate, to disclose to buyers any known defect, which are not readily observable or obvious to the buyer.  Its important to understand  that if you use the“AS IS”  contract in the transaction, it does not remove or limit the duty to disclose any known material defects.  Anything that materially can affect th value of a property, must be disclosed to the buyer.

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You must disclose any material defect which can affect the purchase price of the property. This includes but is not limited to appliances which are not in working order, leaky roofs or windows, work done on the property by unlicensed contractors, and sinkhole activity on the property or surrounding properties.  If you have actual knowledge of a defect, you must disclose it! 

One important disclosure which is often overlooked by sellers, is the lead paint disclosure.  If your property was built before 1978, you must inform the buyer of the possibility of lead paint being present, whether you have knowledge of it or not.  You must also disclose the possibility of radon gas also being present.  Radon gas is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that's formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation.  

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What must I disclose to the buyer?

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Does the disclosure need to be in writing?

The simple answer is no. However, we recommend that you make the disclosure in writing, rather than orally, to avoid any possible law suit in the future, if the buyer finds a serious material defect, then claims you never informed them.  It's important to understand that your seller’s disclosure does not have to be a comprehensive report on the property, but should contain all known defects that can affect the property’s value.  Additionally, if you know of other factors that are necessarily material defects, but can affect the property’s value, you must disclose those to.  An example of this can be the building of a new school or the widening of the street, which may increase traffic in front of the property and affect its value.

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If you've experienced any major plumbing issue with your home, you should disclose it and inform the buyer that it was corrected. 

What sort of things must I disclose to the buyer?

Although this is not a comprehensive list, below you will find the most common items that need to be disclosed:

 

  • The condition of roof/ ceiling (any leaks?).

  • Is the foundation of the property if it has cracks or is unstable.

  • If you have a seawall or dock, is it structural sound.

  • Are existing major appliances in working order? A/C, kitchen appliances, electrical components, sprinkler system or alarm system.

  • Are any appliances, water heater or other components leased?

  • Does the property have termites, fungi or other wood destroying organisms or damage from them?

  • Has the property been treated for wood destroying organisms?

  • Has the property suffered from any type of water intrusion?

  • Are there drainage or flooding issues with the property?

  • Is the property located in a flood zone?

  • From where do you get your water? Public source, private or well?

  • Does the property connected to the sewers system or does it have a septic tank?

  • Have you had plumbing leaks since you’ve owned the property?

  • Has the roof ever leaked during your ownership?

  • Are the any defects with any of th roofing components, such as the fascia, soffits, flashings or gutters?

  • If you have a pool or spa are there any leaks?

  • Have you ever filed an insurance claim because of sinkhole damage?

  • If your house belongs to an association, is participation mandatory?

  • Are there any homeowner association restrictions?  Any proposed changes or charges? Any pending lawsuits?

  • Are there any code violations or liens on the property?

  • Are there any open permits?

 

These are just a few of the areas in which a written disclosure will help you outline the major areas you must disclose to a buyer.  We will provide you with a seller's disclosure form, to help you satisfy this legal requirement.

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If you've experienced any major electrical issue or have added new circuits to your electrical box, you should disclose it and inform the buyer that it was done with a permit.

Call us for a private consultation, about your personal selling situation.

786-553-7530

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