To Disclose, or Not to Disclose... That is the question!

Posted by Mike & Michelle Grizzell on Monday, May 1st, 2017 at 8:05pm.

Are you preparing to sell your Tampa home this year? It’s important to make sure you’ve learned what the expectations are for you to disclose as the seller to potential buyers. Some pieces of information you may wish to not disclose, such as some home damage or defects of the property. You can find yourself in a bind if you don’t disclose things that legally must be disclosed.

You’ll find yourself trying to decide what items to disclose, just like every other seller does, since you know the most about the property’s history and its condition, which makes it your lawful duty to inform any potential seller despite the risk of losing the deal. Here is your guide to knowing what you must disclose during a home sale.

Florida’s laws on the issue

A good place to start is to understand more about what Florida’s laws are on the things that must disclosed before selling your home.  The law states that you’ll need to disclose any defects and damage to the property. If you neglect to disclose any known defects and damage, you would be going against the ruling of “Johnson v. Davis” in which the seller has a duty to disclose known facts of the home which aren’t readily observable or known to the buyer that affects the property. This nondisclosure claim includes four parts:

  •          The seller has to have knowledge of the property’s defect
  •          The defect must be disclosed if known and will materially affect the property value
  •          The defect would have to be observable and unknown to a buyer
  •          If failure to do so, the buyer would have to establish that the seller failed to disclose the defect.

Some wonder if an item that is defective or damaged and the buyer didn’t know about, but should have known about, is included in this situation? Sellers are given protection from being liable about defects that weren’t known even if they should have known.

 In Florida, the seller is only liable for things he or she actually knew about rather than things he or she should have known about. The law doesn’t want sellers to guarantors of the condition of the property that was sold.

What about “as is” sales?

In the case of a property sold “as is,” the seller still is obligated to disclose defects of the home. Due to the ruling of Solorzano v. First Union Mortg. Corp, the duty on the seller to disclose remains.

Does this apply to the realtor of the seller?

If your realtor has been handling everything, you may wonder if the law applies to your realtor too. In fact, the law is also extended to a realtor of a seller. The law applies to sellers and extends to realtors as well, which means that your listing broker has the duty to disclose hidden defects of your home as well.

How to protect yourself as a buyer or seller

What is the best way to protect yourself during your upcoming sale? The best thing you can do is work with an experience real estate agent that would know about this law and how to avoid getting into trouble. You can also get help from a real estate attorney for questions on legal issues.

Be sure to carefully review your Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, as well as allowing potentially buyers plenty of time to inspect the property, and being open to questions that a buyer may have.

You are legally bound to disclose any defects and damage of your home to a potentially buyer that could affect the value of the property. Make sure you understand the laws before selling your home in Tampa this year.

 

 

 

 

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