When selling your home in Northwest Florida, it is important to understand what you are legally bound to disclose to potential buyers and your real estate agent. If you fail to make these disclosures, you could be on the hook for big bucks, sometimes long after the closing. In an effort to remove some of the gray in this area, I’ve compiled a list of items that you, the seller, must always disclose whether selling your home traditionally or “as is”.
1. History of Termites
Hopefully this seems like a no brainer, especially since the buyer will find out during the termite inspection. If your home as any history of termite infestation, you need to disclose this to your agent and buyers. A good practice would be to get a new termite inspection before listing the property, showing that the home is presently free of termites.
2. Water Damage and/or Mold
This is another one that should seem obvious. Any time there is water damage, there is the potential for mold, and mold is a very serious issue for health reasons. Again, this is something that will also come up in a home inspection so it is best to address it before it gets to that point. It is worth noting that water damage is one of the biggest causes for lawsuits related to non-disclosures. If you have had water damage, have a professional inspect the property before you list your home.
Real Estates brokers are adamant about this one. If your home was built before 1978, it is a federal law that you disclose any known lead-based paint. However, this law does not require the seller to have any tests performed. This is why the disclosures form has several options, including one stating that you have or do not have any knowledge of lead-based paint.
This is last on the list because it causes the most confusion, and the specificity varies by state. However, when in doubt, disclose. Any structural repairs should absolutely be disclosed to your agent and buyers. Other repairs to the roof, plumbing, HVAC, etc. should be disclosed as well because again, it will come up in the home inspection anyhow.
Long story short, put yourself in the buyers shoes, and do not assume that you are protected by the buyer beware rule (aka “caveat emptor). Surprises tend to make buyers nervous, and nervous buyers don’t always make it to the closing table. Make sure you read the paperwork given to you by your agent, and ask any disclosure related questions you might have. Your agent’s broker will have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
If you would like to buy a home in Northwest Florida, or sell a home in Northwest Florida, contact Kerry Veach. With over 1,000 closings and a full-time real estate team, it’s no wonder that 95% of Kerry’s business comes from referrals.
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