What You Need to Know When Buying a House in Florida In different states are different laws and practices pertaining to buying a house. In Florida, you need to know the following essentials: Using an Agent Before buying a house, condo, or any other home in Florida, work with a well-reputed real estate agent who can help you look for properties and manage all the complex procedures involved in the transaction. A real estate agent gives you a range of advantages, from neighborhood market knowledge to negotiating ability and more. Best thing is, they won’t cost you a thing. The seller typically pays the whole real estate commission (5%-% of the house sale price, split equally between the seller’s agent and yours).
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State law in Florida states that sellers should disclose any fact or condition pertaining to their property that makes a considerable impact on the value of such property and which others cannot typically take notice of. Seller disclosures are critical for you as a buyer, because just looking at a property may not be enough to show you what exact problems were encountered by its owner with living there. Moreover, sellers of structures built prior to 1978 must follow federal Title X disclosures on lead-based paint and hazards. Home Inspections However, buyers should not solely rely on the seller’s disclosures, but instead hire an independent home inspector to verify the content of the seller’s disclosure. A lot of buyers base their offers on a satisfactory inspection report to ensure the absence of material defects and to identify the presence of such issues as termites and other pests, erosion, electrical, plumbing and HVAC irregularities, and so on. Real Estate Purchase Agreements A purchase agreement is a legal document containing all the material terms and conditions of the real estate transaction. It must be signed by both the buyer and the seller, and include an offer to buy or sell, an acceptance of the offer, the sale price, and an accurate and sufficient property description. Title Issues A buyer has to obtain a title search from a title company prior to purchasing a home. The title company looks into public records and other sources to find any liens, easements, or other encumbrances or title restrictions that could affect the property. Also consider buying a title insurance policy to shield the title from adverse third-party claims or any issues on the title that may have been skipped by the title search. Working With a Lawyer Finally, as opposed to other states, Florida does not require home buyers to involve a lawyer in the transaction. But even if it’s not required, you may decide you need one at some point in the process–for instance, if you are purchasing property in a planned unit development with complex CC&Rs, or if you are buying a house jointly with other people and need help in drafting your co-buyer agreement.