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What defects do you need to disclose when selling a Florida house?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Real Estate

Selling a house can be a nerve-racking experience. You have to host open houses or individual showings that require that you leave your home so that other people can walk through it. You have to review the terms on different offers on your property to select the best offer possible, and you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get from an accepted offer to the closing table.

Modern buyers are often picky, demanding move-in-ready properties. Issues that you have discovered while living in your home might deter someone from making a competitive offer on your property. Avoiding those disclosures could create financial liability after the sale.

What do you have to disclose to your potential buyer?

Florida law requires that you disclose all known issues that affect the structure and its systems. Do your windows stick when the humidity gets high? Have you had the patch cracks in your drywall that are indications of uneven foundation settling? Have you had a termite infestation in the last few years?

If you know about issues with the property, even if they aren’t easy to spot or if you made cosmetic repairs to cover them, you have to disclose those problems. Even listing the property in as-is condition won’t protect you if you intentionally withhold information about the property condition from the buyer.

If a buyer discovers undisclosed defects at their new home, they can take the seller to court over the violation of real estate disclosure laws in Florida, potentially demanding the cost to repair the property or the difference between what they offered and what the property is worth because of those defects.

What about issues that don’t relate to building systems?

Property issues that aren’t really structural can also impact the value of a home. If you know that the previous owner made meth in the house or grow marijuana there, you may need to disclose that because of the chemical contamination or mold risks associated with those activities.

However, despite what you may have seen in the movies, Florida does not require that you disclose any recent murder, suicide or death by any other means that occurred at the property. You also don’t have to tell the buyers if you or other tenants have suspected ghosts or similar paranormal activity at the property, although you will need to tell them about the colony of bats in the attic.