If you are planning to sell your home or other property in Florida, there are several legal requirements involved you should know about first. Compliance with state law is crucial from the negotiation phase to closing the purchase. This article provides a brief overview of what regulations need to be met when selling a residence.
Having a Marketable Title
Florida Statute requires property being sold to have a marketable title. This means it shouldn’t have any liens, ownership claims or other deed defects that would bar it from being sold in the first place. To ensure that you are selling a home that others do not have a legal interest or claim in, working with a reputable title company is essential to verifying its marketability.
The agent you’re working with can conduct a comprehensive examination of your home’s history, including any judgments against it, previous owners, known boundary disputes, and so much more. All of which, if left undiscovered or resolved, could eventually cause significant financial harm to the new owner.
Choosing a Contract of Sale
When creating a sales contract, typically, a standard form is used, depending on the conditions of your sale.
FAR/BAR “Non As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase
This standard contract provides for repairs if defects are discovered in the property, such as roof leakage. Under this sale agreement, the seller must make the repairs needed up to a predetermined limit agreed to in the contract. The default cap is 1.5% of the purchase price if not specified.
FAR/BAR “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase
“As-Is” contracts allow the buyer to have an inspection performed and request that the seller make the repairs which could be deducted from the sale price of the home or applied the expense to the closing costs. Should the seller refuse to take care of the issues, a buyer has 15 days to back out of the sales agreement without losing their deposit. Once the sale is complete, the seller is no longer liable for the repair or state of the property, though they must comply with state disclosure laws regarding certain defects like termites or flooding.
Legal Requirements of the Purchase and Sale Contract
It is convenient that standardized forms are available for property sales in Florida, but ensure that everything is in order by taking your paperwork to a seasoned title agent or an attorney first. Some of the most basic information errors can cause significant legal headaches later. When creating the contract, you can expect much of the below terms and provisions to be included:
- Title and survey
- Title insurance
- Purchase price
- What property is or is not included
- Financing contingency
- Closing date
- Inspection report
In case of a defect with the home, make sure the contract includes how long the buyer has to get an inspection performed and how long you have to make the necessary repairs.
Florida Title Insurance Requirements
When selling real estate in Florida, whether a house or office building, the buyer takes on the full responsibility of ownership once the sale closes. This includes improvements, landscaping, the sewer, and more. Title insurance is essential in protecting both the lender and buyer from unseen property defects that didn’t show up during the search. So, if you are selling a home, be sure to encourage the buyer to invest in a policy.
The time between signing and closing is known as escrow. An escrow agent will get chosen to act as a neutral third party during this period. Often, the title agent performs this role and will handle ensure both parties fulfill their obligations in the sales contract, prepare and file necessary documentation, and much more.
Work with a Knowledgeable Florida Title Company
Even though Florida law won’t require you to hire a realtor or lawyer to sell your home, it’s worthwhile doing so to protect the interests of all involved and streamline the entire process. At All Florida Title Company, we are led by attorney Marc Brown, who provides the legal assistance you need should an uncommon real estate situation arise. So list your property with confidence and trust our seasoned team of title agents to assist you from inspections and deed searches to closing. Have questions? Give us a call at 954-566-2200.