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What You Need to Know When Buying a House in Florida

Different states have their own laws and practices when it comes to purchasing a house. In Florida, below are the most important things you should know:

Working with an Agent

When buying a house, condo, or any other home in Florida, hire a trustworthy real estate agent who can help you search for properties and take care of all the complicated procedures involved in the purchase. 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 generally covers the entire real estate commission (around 5% to 6% of the house sale price, to be divided between your agent and the seller’s).
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Seller Disclosure
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Based on state law in Florida, sellers must disclose any facts or conditions true to their property that have a considerable impact on its value and which others cannot easily notice. Seller disclosures are extremely important for you as a buyer, because simply just looking at a property will not be enough to reveal what issues its owner has encountered with it. 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.

Home Inspections

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. 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 needs to get a title search from a title company before they purchase a home. The title company scans public records and other sources for liens, easements or other encumbrances or title restrictions that have a bearing on the property. As well, it’s worth considering getting a title insurance policy to protect the title from adverse third-party claims, or any problems the title search might 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.