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Understanding Florida Seller’s Disclosures Law

  1. Understanding Seller’s Disclosures in Florida real estate
    1. If after reading this article you decide you need more answers or are looking to hire an agent to help you sell your home, we are here to help. Call (917) 909-8063 Today, or feel free to schedule a free consultation.
    2. What has to be disclosed in a Florida real estate transaction?
    3. Here are a few examples of issues that might materially affect the value of a property:
      1. Water leaks from the past or that presently impact the home;
      2. Roof leaks and defects;
      3. Environmental hazards like Chinese drywall, asbestos, lead paint, radon gas, and mold;
      4. Problems with the electrical system;
      5. Defects with the HVAC heating and air condition systems;
      6. A faulty foundation, including cracks, or other risks of instability;
      7. Issues with the title to the home or property including liens or clouds.
    4. Additional Disclosures You May Be Required to Make Around Property Ownership:
    5. The Caveat Emptor Rule in a Caveat Emptor State
      1. Overwhelmed by the home preparation process or need guidance during the home buying process? Get the answers you deserve and hire an agent to help you sell your home. We are here to help. Call (917) 909-8063 Today, or feel free to schedule a free consultation.
    6. Limitations to the protection of the law
    7. How Can Florida House Buyers Avoid Buying a Home With Hidden Defects?
    8. Does an “As-Is” contract protect a seller from having to disclose?
    9. A Buyer’s Lender May Have the Right to Deny Funding Based on Material Defects:
      1. Be careful of deals that seem “Too good to be true”
      2. The James Ruff Group LLC has relationships with excellent trustworthy home inspectors, attorneys, surveyors, and specialists. Call today.

Understanding Seller’s Disclosures in Florida real estate

Florida’s property disclosure rules are designed to protect prospective buyers. Gone are the days of “buyer beware” when it comes to transactions in residential real estate. Looking to buy a home in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Coral Gables or The Florida Keys? Good news, seller’s have a legal responsibility to disclose any issues that may affect the value of a Florida home or property, even if the buyer or the buyer’s agent does not explicitly ask about them.

 

However, not all issues are readily observable. Issues like lead based paint hazards, water pollutants, mold, electrical issues, and unlicensed renovations done without permits can cause huge hidden issues.

 

There are federal laws to protect prospective buyers in a house sale. Florida statutes requires sellers disclose property defects via a legal document known as the seller’s disclosure. Disclosure requirements are required when transacting a house in Florida. At the end of the day, Florida’s property disclosure rules are there to ensure fairness between sellers and buyers alike. Seller’s must be honest about any problems they know about, so buyers can make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase a Florida home. It’s the only way to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules.

If after reading this article you decide you need more answers or are looking to hire an agent to help you sell your home, we are here to help. Call (917) 909-8063 Today, or feel free to schedule a free consultation.

What has to be disclosed in a Florida real estate transaction?

As a seller, you have the legal responsibility to disclose any facts about the property’s condition that are known to materially affect the value of your property. This means that it’s important to tell potential buyers and real estate agents about anything that could potentially reduce the value of the property or make it less desirable, which cannot be readily observed.

 

In Florida, there is an additional set of property disclosure rules that must be met when selling a house with or without a Florida real estate agent. The listing agent for Florida sellers has to provide a Seller’s Property Disclosure Form that outlines details about the home and its condition, as well as any needed repairs or improvements that are known to buyers. This helps buyers make an informed decision while also providing legal protection for both parties.

 

It’s important to remember that as a seller, you have a legal responsibility to disclose any material facts or conditions that could potentially reduce the value of the property. By following Florida’s property disclosure rules and providing potential buyers with accurate information about your home, you can help ensure an easy and successful property sale

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Here are a few examples of issues that might materially affect the value of a property:

  • Water leaks from the past or that presently impact the home;
  • Roof leaks and defects;
  • Environmental hazards like Chinese drywall, asbestos, lead paint, radon gas, and mold;
  • Insect and pest infestations, such as termites and other wood destroying organisms;
  • Problems with the electrical system;
  • Defects with the HVAC heating and air condition systems;
  • A faulty foundation, including cracks, or other risks of instability;
  • Encroachment and disputes about property survey boundaries; and
  • Issues with the title to the home or property including liens or clouds.

 

 

How do you avoid issues caused by past and present water leaks?
Water leaks are serious and can cause unbelievable damage due to mold and rot. Past leaks can cause issues that are not visible to the naked eye. If water damage is noticeable have it checked properly and make sure to check public records for anything suspicious.

 

How do you avoid replacing a roof unexpectedly and paying thousands and or tens of thousands of dollars?

Hire a roof inspector and make sure they check the exterior and interior roof. Generally speaking, most licensed home inspectors are qualified for this and if they find issues they will often times suggest a specialist come in.

 

How do you avoid Chinese drywall, asbestos, lead paint, and mold?

Luckily several of these issues are generally not an issue unless the property was built during a specific time. If the home was built outside those years you are generally fine. Mold on the other hand can effect nearly any home and all environments provided there is enough moisture and warmth to let it grow. Hire professional trades that specialize in each of these issues if you suspect a problem after having your home inspected by a licensed home inspector.

How do you avoid potentially devastating pest discoveries after you’ve already closed on the home?

By hiring a pest control specialist to review any signs of infestation. Your home inspector is generally qualified to look for signs of these issues, but few inspectors are qualified to assess the severity of pest intrusion and the cost to remedy it.

 

How do you protect yourself against costly electrical system issues?

By hiring a licensed electrician that can test and check the system and make sure you don’t pay monthly for electrical shorts, or risk fire.

 

How do you protect yourself against any heating and cooling system malfunctions?

By hiring a home inspector to check all of these systems and if there are any signs of issues bringing out a specialist for HVAC.

 

How do you protect yourself against structural issues in the foundation and elsewhere in the home?

By hiring a qualified and well vetted home inspector, and if necessary a structural engineer.

 

How do you protect yourself from property boundary disputes before they arise?

By hiring an experienced surveyor before your real estate contract goes black.

 

How do you protect yourself from title issues?

By working with a trusted title company and getting title insurance.

Additional Disclosures Sellers May Be Required to Make Around Property Ownership:

  1. Nuisances in the Neighborhood
  2. Death in a home when violent in nature
  3. Health Hazards like toxic waste
  4. Homeowner’s association, condo, and co-op rules & monthly or quarterly fees
  5. Repair history
  6. Missing items (what won’t be left behind after the sale)
  7. History of infestations (differs by local laws)
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The Caveat Emptor Rule in a Caveat Emptor State

The Caveat Emptor Rule is a Latin legal term that means “let the buyer beware.” In certain states, like Florida, the law requires buyers to conduct their own due diligence before purchasing a property. This includes researching the home’s history and its condition. The seller must inform buyers of any issues they know about but it is ultimately the buyer’s responsibility to make sure they are aware of any potential problems with the home prior to closing. The disclosure rules apply mostly to home sellers that want to pass their problems on to someone else without addressing them before hand.

 

When it comes to buying a home, it’s important to use your best judgment and take the time to thoroughly inspect the property. Seller’s disclosure responsibilities are not obligated to disclose any readily apparent issues such as broken windows or visible holes in walls. However, they must alert buyers of any property conditions that negatively impact the home’s value – those that cannot be seen during a normal inspection. Common latent defects include mold, wood rot or water intrusion. As a prospective buyer you should still use common sense and do any appropriate home inspections. As a seller, you can pre-empt costly inspection negotiations upfront by doing a preliminary inspection and resolving the issues before the property is listed.

 

We at The James Ruff Group LLC understands that this process can feel overwhelming and we are here to provide our expertise and guidance. Our experienced building and construction experts are available to investigate any hidden or latent defects you may encounter in your home buying journey. We’re here to ensure your peace of mind and to help you protect your investment.

 

In Florida, all sellers are bound to disclose any known property defects in the property by the Florida property disclosure law and must sign a Seller’s Property Disclosure Form prior to closing. The mandatory Property Disclosure Form is a written document that details the conditions of the property. This form should be completed honestly and thoroughly by the seller.

Overwhelmed by the home preparation process or in need of guidance during the home buying process? Get the answers you deserve and hire us as your agent to help you sell your home. We are here to help. Call (917) 909-8063 Today, or feel free to schedule a free consultation.

Limitations to the protection of the law

In Florida, the statutory language around the law stipulates that the seller’s disclosure of any material defects of which they have knowledge at the time of sale be made before the sale. Seller’s must sign this Disclosure Form outlining these conditions prior to closing. There is at least one standard purchase contract in Florida that requires the seller pays for any issues found during the buyer’s right to inspection period provided they hold the buyer to the contract. It is imperative that this form be completed honestly and accurately to protect both parties involved in the transaction. The largest limitation with the Florida law surrounding the seller disclosures is that the law requires the seller have actual knowledge of the defects at the time of the sale, which is difficult to prove in many cases. However, an experienced construction law attorney can assist you if you find that you have been a the victim of a seller’s intentional withholding of information that has caused you harm.

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How Can Florida House Buyers Avoid Buying a Home With Hidden Defects?

When buying or selling a home in Florida, the seller has a legal responsibility to disclose any defects that affect the value of the property that are not readily visible. This includes any structural issues, electrical wiring problems, plumbing damage, and other known issues with the house in Florida. Your first line of defense, whether selling your home or buying a new home, is to hire a qualified agent by making sure you ask the right questions to properly vet an agent before you entrust such a significant amount of responsibility to them. Asking your real estate agent and their broker for talented, trustworthy home inspectors before you agree to purchase the house in Florida is the first step in protecting you during the home purchase process.

 

At The James Ruff Group, we have protected many buyers and sellers from entering into would be disastrous transactions. We work with highly skilled home inspectors who never leave a stone unturned. If something is found we then negotiate on your behalf to make sure you are in the best position possible. Buyer’s need beware that there are some unscrupulous sellers out there who would happily pass you a lemon and unload their burden onto you. Working with a great team of professionals can help you avoid costly issues later.

 

When purchasing a home, you need to be aware of the risks posed by unethical sellers who may try to hide costly issues in order to shift their burden onto unsuspecting buyers. There are sellers who have invested huge sums of money into their homes, only to find out they have issues that could cost them thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because of this financial risk, their temptation to pass the buck to unaware buyers can be very real. The James Ruff Group is here to help protect buyers from these bad actors, working with experienced home inspectors and construction attorneys so that you are safe A great real estate attorney can be priceless in a transaction with murky waters. Investing in the right experts can save you from a costly mistake down the line. We are dedicated to making sure home buyers in Florida are aware of their rights under state property disclosure rules and protected from bad sellers who seek to take advantage of them. Make sure to read your disclosure document carefully and ask us for guidance if you have any confusion or concerns around real estate disclosure law.

Does an “As-Is” contract protect a seller from having to disclose?

No. Aside from Federal law protections, Florida law provide no exception for a home or property that is sold “As-Is!” A seller must disclose any hidden facts they are aware of or face severe legal trouble.

 

Although real-estate contracts may contain an “As-Is” Clause, sellers are still obligated to disclose any latent issues about the property which could materially affect its value. In Florida, property disclosure rules prescribe that sellers must provide potential buyers with all pertinent information before selling a house in Florida via a seller’s disclosure statement. Failing to do so can result in legal liability, so it is important that sellers of Florida houses take their disclosure obligations seriously.

 

If you are unsure whether the contract you are signing, or have already signed, in a real deal leaves you exposed to inheriting the seller’s issues it is important to seek legal advice. Florida real estate sale disclosure rules require Florida real estate sellers to be honest when disclosing any known issues when selling a house. If you are suspicious of foul play, an experienced construction law, or real estate attorney will be able to review your real estate contract and advise you on the potential risks associated with purchases from dishonest sellers.

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A Buyer’s Lender May Have the Right to Deny Funding Based on Material Defects:

A lender can cancel funding if serious issues to the home are discovered that the lender feels would impact the home’s viability or potential to be resold in the future and all or part of a buyer’s escrow fees could be at risk depending on the contract used.

Be careful of deals that seem “Too good to be true”

The home inspection can reveal many hidden things a seller may prefer not be found. Many FSBO sellers in an attempt to reduce closing costs when selling residential properties are often novices in the selling process. Without guidance from a national association, or support from an experienced agent, and with lacking experience in the closing process, they may be completely unaware of their legal responsibility of disclosure. Or worse, they may choose not to work with an agent in an attempt to avoid the additional scrutiny of a licensed professional who’s bound legally and by the Florida association of realtors. Selling FSBO they may have listed their home competitively as a FSBO listing and paid nominal fees for MLS access. They may even offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs to distract the unaware party in an attempt to fraudulently transfer ownership to you. If the purchase price seems too good to be true, realize some home sellers don’t care about anyone but themselves.

 

Buyers: While most sellers I’ve come across are reasonable decent people, along with their agents who are commonly part of the Florida realtors association, keep your eyes up and your ears open when buying a home.

Sellers: The Federal government and the DBPR don’t mess around. If you’re a seller, realize doing the right thing is often times the least expensive path toward achieving the best outcome when you sell your home.

The James Ruff Group LLC has relationships with excellent trustworthy home inspectors, attorneys, surveyors, and specialists. Call today.

Looking for professional or legal support? None of this should be construed as legal advice, for legal guidance you must seek counsel with a licensed attorney.

We provide Best In Class service, record breaking sales, and relationship you can count on.

Call (917) 909-8063 today or click here to schedule a consultation for all the details!

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The James Ruff Group LLC Privacy Policy

 

We are committed to respecting your right to privacy and protecting your information when you visit or use our services.

This privacy policy also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your personal information and how you can access and update this information.

We want you to understand what information we gather about you, how we use it and the safeguards we have in place to protect it. This Privacy Policy applies to information collected through this website and otherwise. Your use of this website and our services, and any disputes arising from it, is subject to this Privacy Policy as well as the Terms of Use and all its dispute resolution provisions, including arbitration, limitation on damages and choice of law.

This website is a general audience site and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, you should first contact us at info@thejamesruffgroup.com

Email and Email Addresses
We collect your email address when you provide it to us through our website or when you sign up for our blog. We will never sell your email address. We will only use your address to communicate with you regarding the servicing of your accounts or to make you aware of products and services that may be of interest to you.

When you send The James Ruff Group an email, we may retain your message and our response for quality assurance purposes. It is important to remember that regular (non-encrypted) email is not secure.

Online Forms
We collect information from you when you fill out an online form. All online forms are subject to the same policy we have on email.

Planning Tools and Calculators
Information that you input on the web site while using any of our planning tools and calculators is not captured, stored or used in any way other than to provide you with the information you’re looking for at the time you use the tool or calculator. These calculators were built only for the purpose of helping you understand your financial options, enabling you to explore various scenarios and “what if” calculations for items like loan payments, retirement and education planning.

“Cookies”
We may use cookies and other online tracking devices. Cookies are small text files that a website’s server places on your computer. The cookies provide a means for websites that you visit to track browsing activities conducted with your computer. This includes information such as pages and content viewed, the time and duration of visits, search queries entered into search engines, and whether a computer user clicked on an advertisement. Cookies make the personalization of your web experiences possible and can also be used to retain data related to a particular browser such as items in online shopping carts.

There are other devices for tracking online activity including web beacons. A web beacon is a small string of software code that represents a graphic image on a website or in email. Web beacons can be used for many purposes – including website traffic reporting, unique visitor counts, advertising/auditing/reporting, and personalization of a website.

Working with Other Companies
From time to time, our partners may establish a relationship with other partners on the Internet to provide you with additional value and new products we may not offer ourselves. In these circumstances, we will treat information you provide us in the same manner described in our Privacy Policy. Our partner website may offer access to other sites either through the use of hyperlinks. In some cases, the other site will also collect information from you. Please review the privacy policies of these third parties prior to providing any information to them when you link to their web site.

 

  1. Collection and Use of Your Personal Information

We collect Personal Information from you only when you voluntarily submit it in order to obtain certain information, including without limitation (A) requests to find out more about our programs; (B) requests to contact us; and (C) requests to forward your information to one of our affiliates.

We honor all “do not track” requests and settings. If you use any signal(s) or other mechanism(s) that provides you the ability to exercise choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or online services, we will not attempt to override such signals or mechanisms, nor will we track your use of any such signal or mechanism. When you use our website, no other parties can collect personally identifiable information about your online activities over time and across different websites. Your choice is indicated by your settings in your web browser. A “do not track” indication sent from your web browser will result in any tracking activity (i.e., tracking cookies) within the website to be programmatically disabled.

We collect the following personal information from you:

  • Contact Information such as name, email address, mailing address, and phone number

We use this information to:

  • Send you requested product or service information
  • Respond to customer service requests
  • Administer your account
  • Send you a newsletter
  • Send you marketing communications
  • Improve our Web site and marketing efforts
  • Conduct research and analysis
  • Display content based upon your interests

By clicking the Submit button, you agree to have your information shared with us and for us to contact you via telephone, mobile phone (including through automated dialing, text SMS/MMS, or pre-recorded messaging) and/or email, even if your telephone number is on a corporate, state, or the National Do Not Call Registry, and you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Special Notice to California Residents. If you are a resident of California, in addition to the rights set forth in this Privacy Policy:

  1. We will not share any personal information about you to the extent prohibited by applicable California law or to the extent your prior consent to share is required by applicable California law; and
  2. You have the right to request information from us regarding the manner in which we share certain categories of information with third parties for their direct marketing purposes. California law gives you the right to send us a request at a designated address to receive the following information
  • 1.1. the categories of information we disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes during the preceding calendar year
  • 1.2. the names and addresses of the third parties that received that information; and
  • 1.3. if the nature of the third party’s business cannot be determined from their name, examples of the products or services marketed.

The rights of Users

We adopt this Notice to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). Any terms defined in the CCPA have the same meaning when used in this Notice.

Users may exercise certain rights regarding their Data processed by the Owner.

In particular, Users have the right to do the following:

  • Withdraw their consent at any time. Users have the right to withdraw consent where they have previously given their consent to the processing of their Personal Data.
  • Object to processing of their Data. Users have the right to object to the processing of their Data if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent. Further details are provided in the dedicated section below.
  • Access their Data. Users have the right to learn if Data is being processed by the Owner, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing and obtain a copy of the Data undergoing processing.
  • Verify and seek rectification. Users have the right to verify the accuracy of their Data and ask for it to be updated or corrected.
  • Restrict the processing of their Data. Restrict the processing of their Data. Users have the right, under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of their Data. In this case, the Owner will not process their Data for any purpose other than storing it.
  • Have their Personal Data deleted or otherwise removed. Users have the right, under certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of their Data from the Owner.
  • Receive their Data and have it transferred to another controller. Users have the right to receive their Data in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that the Data is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on the User’s consent, on a contract which the User is part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.
  • Lodge a complaint. Users have the right to bring a claim before their competent data protection authority.

Details about the right to object to processing

Where Personal Data is processed for a public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in the Owner or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Owner, Users may object to such processing by providing a ground related to their particular situation to justify the objection.

Users must know that, however, should their Personal Data be processed for direct marketing purposes, they can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn, whether the Owner is processing Personal Data for direct marketing purposes, Users may refer to the relevant sections of this document.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided in this document. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible and always within one month.

We may provide this information in a standardized format that is not specific to you. The designated email address for these requests is support@ylopo.com

Consent to Receiving Emails, Auto-Dialing & Auto-Texting:

By registering, you are giving us and our professional real estate clients and advertisers permission to contact you via text message, email, or telephone using the email address and/or telephone number that you have provided during the registration process. Such contact may, from time to time, include attempts to contact you via auto-dialing or auto-texting technology. You may opt out of receiving these forms of communication by unsubscribing from any email communication or texting STOP as a reply to one of our text communications. There is no fee charged by us or its advertisers to receive text messages, however, your mobile service provider may charge you for sending and/or receiving text messages and air-time, as well as any other standard applicable rates charged by your mobile service provider.

Information Sharing

We will share your personal information with third parties, including with one of the participating lenders associated with this site, only in the ways that are described in this Privacy Statement. We may provide your personal information to companies that provide services to help us with our business activities such as offering customer service. These companies are authorized to use your personal information as is necessary to provide these services to you.

We may also disclose your personal information:

  • As required by law such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process.
  • When we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud or respond to a government request,
  • To any other third party with your prior consent to do so.
  • We may share your personal information with other companies so that they can market their products or services to you. If you do not want us to share your personal information with these companies, contact our website vendor and advertising provider at support@ylopo.com

Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We may use cookies, for example, to keep track of your preferences and profile information. Cookies are also used to collect general usage and volume statistical information that does not include personal information.

We may use another company to place cookies on your computer to collect non-personally identifiable information to compile aggregated statistics for us about visitors to our site.

Links to Other Web Sites

Our Site includes links to other Websites whose privacy practices may differ from ours. If you submit personal information to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy policy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the privacy statement of any Web site you visit.

Security

The security of your personal information is important to us. We follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. No method of transmission over the internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure, however. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. If you have any questions about the security of our Web site, you can contact our website and advertising provider support@ylopo.com

Additional Policy Information

Our Web site includes Widgets, which are interactive mini-programs that run on our site to provide specific services from another company (e.g. displaying the news, opinions, music, etc.). Personal information, such as your email address, may be collected through the Widget. Cookies may also be set by the Widget to enable it to function properly. Information collected by this Widget is governed by the privacy policy of the company that created it.

Our Web site offers publicly accessible blogs, social media, or community forums such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. You should be aware that any information you provide in these areas may be read, collected, and used by others who access them.

Visiting our Websites From Outside the United States.

This Privacy Policy is intended to cover collection of information on our websites from residents of the United States. If you are visiting our websites from outside the United States, please be aware that your information may be transferred to, stored and processed in the United States where our servers are located and our central database is operated. The data protection and other laws of the United States and other countries might not be as comprehensive as those in your country. By using our services, you understand that your information may be transferred to our facilities and those third parties with whom we share it as described in this Privacy Policy.

No Rights of Third Parties.

This Privacy Policy does not create rights enforceable by third parties or require disclosure of any personal information relating to users of our websites.

Notification of Privacy Policy Statement Changes

We may update this privacy statement to reflect changes to our information practices or changes in regulations governing privacy. If we make any material changes we will notify you by email (sent to the email address specified in your account) or by means of a notice on this Site prior to the change becoming effective. We encourage you to periodically review this page for the latest information on our privacy practices.

This Privacy Policy was last revised on October 1, 2022. We reserve the right to modify or amend this policy at any time by posting the revised Privacy Policy on the website.

At The James Ruff Group, we respect your privacy.

If you have questions regarding our Privacy Policy, please email us at info@thejamesruffgroup.com. We hope you enjoy our site!