Selling Your Florida Home? A Few Legal Requirements to Know

by Jeffrey Lopatin 01/10/2021

Photo by xdfolio via Pixabay

Ready to sell? Here are some Florida-specific rules and customs to keep in mind. 

What Will Your Costs Be?

By custom, Florida home sellers usually pay listing agents a 6% sale commission. Is it a fair deal? Consider that your agent:

  • Applies care, diligence and skill on your behalf, following Florida law.
  • Seeks buyers for your home, negotiates the price and concessions that lead to a deal. 
  • Sets up escrow and closing meetings.
  • Helps sellers find staging experts, home appraisers and inspectors.

Additionally, a seller is required to pay documentary stamp taxes and county recording fees.

What Must You Disclose to the Potential Buyer?

Sellers must tell buyers about a home's condition and background—even if it's sold as is. All homeowners must point out issues that the buyer might not notice, but that impact the desirability or value of the home. 

Ask your realtor for the standard disclosure form, made available courtesy of the Florida Association of Realtors®. You'll fill in questions about possible boundary disputes, or other current or potential legal claims impacting your property. You'll also need to note:

  • Any applicable condo or association rules.
  • Any known or past issues with sinkholes.
  • Toxic chemicals or insect damage. If your home was built prior to 1978, you must disclose any lead-based paint present.
  • Problems involving the roof, wiring or plumbing.
  • HVAC or other major appliance issues, or problems with other essential features of the home.
  • Alterations contrary to the building codes.

A seller must give the buyer a property tax disclosure summary too, as notice that the amount of property taxes you're paying could change.

A Florida seller need not inform the buyer that someone lived in the house who was diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, or that someone died in the home.

Closing on Your Florida Home Sale

The closing agent will:

  • Prepare the deed and all related forms need to transfer the title. 
  • Records the transfer with the county recorder of deeds.
  • Disburse the buyer's purchase money.

Closing day is the brilliant reward for all the work of listing and preparing a home for sale.

All Systems Go

A scheduled closing won't happen on its planned date unless the closing agent announces that the paperwork is complete. Delays, alas, are not uncommon. Know that your realtor is checking on the closing office, to be sure everything is in order from your end.

If you think you need legal expertise in this transaction, it is always possible to consult a real estate attorney. Especially if the survey or title search brings up issues, it makes sense to involve legal counsel and understand your options for legal problem solving. 

Here's to a smooth sale!

About the Author

Jeffrey Lopatin

Jeff Lopatin’s successful second career as a Real Estate broker of the Tampa Bay area’s premier boutique concierge agency began following a stellar career as a Southeastern United States garment manufacturer owner. He transitioned his acquired business skills of sales, banking and negotiating tactics providing a full service experience for his clients. His clients from Maine to California and points in between regard him as one of the best Realtors in the Southeast. Jeff’s credentials include Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, Million Dollar Guild; Graduate of the Realtor Institute, Certified Residential Specialist and Licensed Community Association Manager. He garnered a coveted Florida Realtor Magazine award as one of the Top Ten Realtor Websites