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What sellers have to tell buyers of residential real estate

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2017 | Residential Real Estate |

The traditional rule of “caveat emptor” means that a Fort Lauderdale resident who wants to buy a new home needs to check out the property and make sure it is free of serious problems and, more generally, is somewhere where they can live long-term.

Florida laws in some situations uphold the doctrine of “let the buyer beware” and, in other situations, have very detailed rules about what a seller must tell a buyer. For instance, a seller does not need to tell a buyer that someone who lived in the property has HIV. Perhaps more importantly, a seller also does not need to tell a buyer whether someone died in the home, even if the death was by suicide or even a murder or manslaughter. Assuming these things matter to the buyer, such details are for them to figure out.

On the other hand, a seller has an obligation to give the buyer a fair warning that the buyer should not just go to the local records and rely on them to determine how much the property taxes are going to be. Instead, Florida law requires the seller to give a precise warning that the property taxes may well change after the sale.

More generally, sellers of residential property in Florida need to recognize that “buyer beware” is no longer the absolute rule in Florida, particularly when it comes to the buying and selling of private homes. Instead, someone who is selling a home has a basic obligation to disclose physical or title problems with the property provided that they know about those problems. If you have questions regarding the sale of property, whether as the buyer or seller, you may wish to speak to a real estate attorney.