Sellers Disclosure Florida
Sellers Disclosure; what is it?
Sellers Disclosure. The law in Florida requires sellers of Residential Real Estate to disclose all relevant information about the condition of the property (past and present). The Sellers Disclosure should also disclose what repairs have been done and what repairs are still needed.
While Florida Law requires “property disclosures” sellers disclosure not required to be in writing. Typically however, they are in writing.
Why a Sellers Disclosure?
In Florida, a home seller is required to disclose all known defect that could materially affect the value of the house. Withholding important information can be detrimental to the seller as they can be held liable for many years to come.
When does the buyer receive a Sellers Disclosure?
As soon as possible. Sometimes it is available before an offer is submitted. Otherwise, the Buyers Agent can request it when submitting an offer. There are standard Florida State Seller Disclosure forms in addition to custom made forms primarily for Franchise offices. Occasionally you can find sellers disclosures that are watered down that do not dig deep to ask the hard questions. Sometimes they are months old and outdated.
This is just one reason why all buyers need the services of an Exclusive Buyers Agent that will request an updated Sellers Disclosure or make the seller fill out all the blanks.
What should be on the Sellers Disclosure?
Pretty much all the problems or improvements that the seller know about the house. Who worked on the house and were permits pulled? What kind of plumbing and electrical does the property have. Polybutelyane piping and aluminum wiring may not be insurable…or the premium may be quite a bit higher. Nuances about the neighborhood should be disclosed along with the function of the appliances, roof leaks and other house issues.
This is the sellers opportunity to disclose anything that can negatively affect the value or enjoyment of the property.
Do sellers lie on the Sellers Disclosure?
Of course Sellers lie. Sometimes Sellers lie on the sellers disclosure because they do not understand the depth of disclosure required. Other times they simply try to hide the negative so that the buyer does not know. Sellers have faked repair receipts, stuffed towels in a leaky water heater, and put buckets in the attic to hide the roof leaks. They mistakenly think that no one will check.
The State of Florida has a comprehensive sellers disclosure with detailed questions that covers most of what needs to be disclosed. Unfortunately many offices (namely franchise real estate offices) have a “watered down” version of a sellers disclosure that they prefer to have their sellers fill out. It typically avoids the hard questions.
Buyer Beware issues on a sellers disclosure
- Questions answered vaguely.
- Questions not answered at all.
- Seller writes they “don’t know”.
- Disclosure form was filled out 6 months ago.
Sellers do know…or they sure can find out. The most ridiculous is when the seller (or agent) crosses everything off everything on the sellers disclosure and writes SELLER HAS NEVER LIVED THERE SO THEY KNOW NOTHING.
Now that is a lie. Even if the seller has rented the property, they DO KNOW what is wrong with the property. They have paid for repairs and tenants do complain about what is not working. I have rentals and I know exactly which roof needs replacement and which toilet is leaking. Don’t buy that baloney.
Besides in Florida, “Buyer Beware” does not apply in residential real estate and the responsibility falls onto the seller to initiate disclosures to the buyer. Even on an “As-Is” contract if the seller fails to disclose any known defects they are absolutely liable.
There are many Seller Disclosure issues that come up during a home purchase that home buyers are not aware of. Let us help. We are the Buyer Broker experts who watch out for any potential problems and always work in your best interest. Call us to ask the hard questions, 407-539-1053