What costs should I expect at closing?
This answer depends on what specific terms are included in the contract that you have entered with the buyer of your property. The FAR/BAR “As Is” and standard contract allow for the selection of the party who will bear the Owner’s Policy and closing charges. The Owner’s Policy and closing charges include the title insurance premium which is issued at the state promulgated rate, the closing fee, title search, and municipal lien search charges. Outside of the Owner’s Policy and closing charges, if applicable, the seller is responsible for the following costs: documentary stamp taxes calculated at the rate of $0.70 per $100.00; any HOA or Condominium Association estoppel fees; recording and other fees needed to cure title; any seller’s attorneys’ fees and any commission due to the seller’s real estate agent per the listing agreement between seller and agent.
What are my obligations to disclose?
Florida law requires that a seller disclose any known facts or conditions about their property that have an impact on its value or desirability and which others cannot easily observe. There is a commonly used form called the “Seller’s Disclosure” that assists to make the required disclosures. Even when using an “As-Is” contract it is important to keep in mind that a seller is still bound by the same obligations of disclosure. A seller’s liability for failure to disclose can be substantial, so it is best to err on the side of caution.
Why do I need attorney representation as a seller?
If the buyer has chosen the closing agent that will perform the real estate closing, the closing agent has the duty to do what is required to convey marketable title to the buyer and complete the closing. However, as a seller it is also important to have an attorney who represents solely your interests. If this representation is sought out early, your attorney can assist you with negotiation of your contract and any language that is needed to protect your interests. Once the contract has been executed, your attorney will assist you with any issues that come up that require interpretation of the contract such as repair issues. Your attorney will also assist you in clearing up title defects which are your responsibility as seller, assist you in drafting a power of attorney or other documents that may be needed which are your responsibility to provide, and can review your settlement statement and closing documents to ensure that the calculations are correct and per the contract, and that everything that you are executing is necessary and in your best interest.
The buyer of my property is requiring me to make numerous repairs to the house after they received an inspection. What repairs am I required to make?
If the contract is “As-Is” then you do not have a repair requirement and any repairs that you choose to make are optional. If the contract is the standard FAR/BAR contract then you will have the requirement to make “General Repairs” up to the repair limit that you have established in the contract as well as any WDO (wood destroying organism) treatment and repairs up to the repair limit that you have established in the contract. General Repairs are those repairs that are necessary to bring certain items to the condition specified in the contract. Ceiling, roof (including fascia and soffits), exterior and interior walls, doors, windows and foundation must be free of leaks, water damage, and structural damage. Pool, pool equipment, non-leased major appliances, heating, cooling, mechanical, electrical, security, sprinkler, septic and plumbing, machinery, seawalls and dockage must be maintained in working condition, which is the condition in which they were designed to operate. Torn screens, fogged windows, and missing roof tiles or shingles must be repaired and replaced. The seller is not required to repair cosmetic conditions. If you have any questions about the complicated repair section of your real estate contract, please contact your real estate attorney.