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Legal Requirements to Sell a House in FloridaLegal Requirements to Sell a House in Florida

What Are the Legal Requirements to Sell a House in Florida?

21 Jun 2021

The process of selling a property in Florida involves several factors. In this sense, it is crucial to ensure full compliance with state law from negotiations to the closing of the transaction.

In this article, you will discover the legal requirements to sell a house in Florida. 

Marketable Title – Why Is It Essential When Selling a House in Florida? 

As provided by Florida Statutes, Chapter 712, “a marketable record title is free and clear of all estates, interests, claims, or charges, the existence of which depends upon any act, title transaction, event, or omission that occurred before the effective date of the root of title.”

Since selling a house involves transferring the title of the property from one party to another, state law requires that the title of the property must be marketable, meaning it can be transferred to the new owner without the existence of title defects.

Buyers do not expect to acquire a property to which someone else can lay a claim and try to challenge their ownership rights. In this context, it is crucial to work with an expert title company in Florida to ensure the marketability of the title before selling a property. 

Usually, it is addressed in the contract for sale whether a title is marketable or not. Unless the contract has a specific provision noting that there is still a claim on the property being sold, the contract should have an implied provision that the seller has a marketable title.

Drafting and Signing the Contract of Sale – The Basics 

In Florida, both home sellers and real estate agents tend to utilize standard forms in real estate transactions, which can be a Florida Realtors (FR) form or a Florida Realtors/Florida Bar (FR/BAR) form. 

There are two main types of forms used by both categories, which are the Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase and the “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase.

While a Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase permit buyers to negotiate a possible reduction in the price of certain repairs, an “As Is” contract will release the seller from certain obligations regarding the property’s condition and repair. 

Duty to Disclose When Selling a House in Florida 

In Florida, sellers have the responsibility to disclose known defects on their property. Also, they have to disclose defects they should have known about, such as water damage, poor drainage, roofing issues, faulty plumbing, and general disrepair.

Accordingly, the duty to disclose is mandatory for sellers, realtors, and brokers in Florida since 1985, when the Florida Supreme Court determined that the concept of “caveat emptor”(lat. buyer beware) did not apply in the context of residential properties being sold.

Legal Requirements to Sell a House in Florida – Purchase and Sale Contract 

Although most people use standardized forms when selling a house in Florida, it is essential to work with an expert title attorney to ensure everything is in place before the closing. In this sense, the basic terms and provisions in this type of contract are:

  • The transaction’s purchasing price 
  • A list of personal property included or excluded in the sale 
  • Financing contingency
  • The transaction’s closing date 
  • Inspection’s report 
  • Title and Survey 
  • Title insurance 

Regarding title and survey, the contract must provide what party is responsible for fixing any existing issues in this aspect of the property.

As a title search is crucial to determine if the title of a house is clean, a property survey is fundamental to determine the boundaries of the land where the house is located, providing a full picture of any existing encroachments or easements that may impact its ownership. 

In case there is an issue with the property, the contract must also provide how long the seller has to identify the issue and the period the responsible party (seller/buyer) has to fix the issue.

Also, it is possible to include a provision giving the seller the right to cancel the transaction and return the buyer’s deposit if he/she is not willing to solve the issue. 

Selling a House in Florida – Title Insurance 

In Florida, it is traditional for buyers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to choose the title company and pay for the title insurance. 

Meanwhile, in other counties, both parties have their share of liability, as the sellers usually pay for the owner’s policy while the buyer pays for the lender’s policy. 

Avoid Wasting Time and Money – Work with Marina Title 

The guidance of an expert title company is crucial when selling a house in Florida. Waste no time with uncertainty. Call us today at (305) 901-5628 or send us an email at Romy@MarinaTitle.com to schedule a consultation.

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