Essentials of Buying a House in Florida
Various states have various laws and standard practices when it comes to purchasing a house. In Florida, you need to know the following essentials:
Using an Agent
When buying a house, condo, or any other home in Florida, find a highly regarded real estate agent who can help you find properties and tackle all the convoluted procedures involved in the transaction. A real estate agent provides plenty of advantages, from local market knowledge to negotiating expertise and more. And the best news is, they won’t cost you anything. The seller typically pays the whole real estate commission (5%-% of the house sale price, split equally between the seller’s agent and yours).
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 crucial for you as a buyer, since sometimes, just looking at a property will not tell you certain problems its owner may have encountered while living there. On top of that, sellers of houses constructed prior to 1978 should comply with federal Title X disclosures that pertain to lead-based paint and hazards.
Buyers should not exclusively depend on the seller’s disclosures, however, but instead must hire an independent home inspector who can verify the information indicated in the seller’s disclosure. Most buyers’ offers are based on a satisfactory inspection report to make sure that there are no material defects and other such issues as erosion; plumbing, HVAC electrical and electrical irregularities; termites and other pets; 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. Signed by both parties (buyer and seller), it must include an offer to buy or sell, an acceptance of the offer, the price of the property, and a correct and sufficient property description.
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 getting a title insurance policy to protect the title against adverse claims by any third party, or any issues on the title that the title search may have missed.
Working With a Lawyer
Finally, in contrast other states, Florida does not require home buyers to use a lawyer. However, even if it’s not required, you may just decide to get one at a certain point in the process–for instance, if you are buying property in a planned unit development with confusing CC&Rs, or if you are jointly buying a house and need help creating your co-buyer agreement.
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