Your plans to sell your house probably developed over a significant space of time, especially if you love your home and are reluctant to leave it. You may have to do some clearing of clutter, create some curb appeal and find a new place to live. When you put your house on the market, you hope someone will see its charm and make a reasonable offer so you can close quickly and move to the next phase in your life.

However, your desire to move along quickly may create a dilemma. Will potential buyers walk away from the house if they know they truth? Will you be jeopardizing a sale if you tell the buyers about the serious defects in the house?

Disclosures help protect you

The fact is that Florida law requires you to disclose any defects that may change the buyer’s mind because they affect the value of the home. Those putting offers on your home have the right to know that the money they intend to spend is a fair price for the house they are buying. If you hide critical defects from a potential buyer, you may face legal action in the future when the new owner discovers the issue. Some ways to avoid these potential problems include taking these recommended steps:

  • Be thorough and truthful when completing the disclosure form.
  • Update the disclosure form if a potential buyer’s inspection reveals new issues.
  • Annotate disclosure forms if you make any repairs or changes to the house between inspections.
  • Hire your own inspector before you list your home so you can adjust your asking price or undertake the repairs.
  • Present the buyers with a revised disclosure form at closing so they cannot claim you did not share all information about defects in the home.

Most advisors say that it is better to disclose to a potential seller anything you suspect may be a question for buyers. It is better for buyers to know up front what you are offering than to discover the defect for themselves. Not only does it establish a level of trust with you, but it may protect you from legal action down the line.

Every state has a different set of laws about what a seller must disclose, and Florida is no different. Working with an experienced real estate attorney can help you comply with state law and potentially avoid disputes that may arise.