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Listing your fixer-upper as-is won’t protect you from defect claims

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Residential Real Estate |

Maybe you inherited your mother’s house when she died, and it hasn’t seen an update since the 70s. Perhaps you and your spouse bought a starter residence, only to achieve career success or become pregnant more quickly than you expected.

When you have a property in need of major repairs, Florida law places certain obligations on you if you sell the property to someone else. It might seem like the quickest and simplest solution to just list the property for sale as-is. That way, there is no implied warranty about the condition of the home.

Although an as-is listing isn’t necessarily a mistake, it won’t absolve you of your disclosure obligations.

Florida places strict requirements on a seller

When you work with a real estate professional, they might provide you with a specific form frequently used by their professional organization. Having a standardized seller’s disclosure makes it easy for real estate professionals to protect themselves from claims that they misrepresented a property or did not adequately inform buyers about issues.

However, the seller doesn’t necessarily have to fill out a specific form. Instead, state law and court precedent require that sellers disclose all known defects. Latent defects may not be immediately obvious to a buyer, an appraiser or a real estate professional. Even if a buyer might not notice, a seller still has to alert them.

A seller has an obligation to tell the buyer about any major issues that would affect the property’s value or habitability. Simply selling the property without any guarantee about its condition will not remove that obligation.

Honest property representation protects you as the seller

The real estate market is currently competitive, which means that you can probably still get a good price for the property even if your listing openly states every major issue with the home. In fact, being completely transparent about known issues can make the sale process a little bit easier, as it will help you weed out buyers for whom the property is not a good fit, limiting how long the property remains listed and how many showings you have to accommodate.

Learning more about the requirements for residential real estate sales will help you avoid mistakes that could lead to financial or legal claims against you in the future.