Last Update: 02/22/16
In most every real estate transaction in which a seller signs a Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Contract, the seller makes several representations and warranties to the buyer. Most sellers are unaware of these representations because all they see are 11-20 pages of pre-printed black text on white paper and the only real issue they care about is the sale price.
What Are The Seller’s Obligations And What Representations Do They Make When They Sell Their Home?
Below is a list of several representations the seller makes when he or she signs an As-Is Contract, including:
- At closing, Seller delivers occupancy and possession of the property to the Buyer free of tenants, occupants and future tenancies, unless the property is subject to lease or occupancy after closing.
- If the property is subject to lease, rent, or third-party occupancy after closing, the Seller shall disclose the facts and terms of same to the Buyer as well as copies of any written lease(s) within 5 days of the effective date of the Contract.
- At closing, Seller shall remove all personal items and trash from the property and deliver all keys, entry/access devices and/or codes
- The Seller represents he or she knows of no facts materially affecting the value of the property which are not observable and which have not been disclosed to the Buyer.
- Except for anything disclosed in writing by the Seller, the Seller represents he or she has not received any notice (written or verbal) from any governmental agency/entity regarding any uncorrected building, environmental, or safety code violation.
- Seller intends no warranty and does not make representation of any type regarding the physical condition or history of the property.
- Other than anything disclosed by the Seller to the Buyer in a written disclosure, the Seller does not know of any improvements made to the property without required permits or pursuant to permits which have not been properly closed.
- If the Buyer’s inspection identifies any open or needed building permits, Seller shall promptly deliver to Buyer all plans, or other written documentation in Seller’s possession, knowledge, or control relating to improvements to the property which are the subject of the open or needed permits and shall cooperate with Buyer’s efforts to obtain estimates of work necessary to resolve any permit issues.
- Seller must maintain the property.
- At closing, and at Buyer’s option and cost, Seller will assign all assignable maintenance, repair, and treatment contracts and warranties to the Buyer.
- Seller shall inform Buyer in writing if the Seller is a “foreign person” as defined by FIRPTA (Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax).
- If the Seller has an owner’s policy of title insurance, a copy shall be furnished to the Buyer and closing agent within 5 days of the Contract effective date.
- At closing, Seller shall pay the full amount of any liens imposed by a public body (not a Condominium or Homeowner’s Association) that are certified, confirmed and ratified before closing.
- Seller represents that there is ingress and egress to the real property (meaning, their is access to and from the property).
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but simply an illustration of how much responsibility a seller has when selling their home. Most of these representations and obligations are pretty straightforward; however, several are important enough that a seller should have guidance with meeting and fullfiling these requirements.
What Should You Do?
If you are selling a home, a good piece of advice before signing any documents (including a real estate agent’s listing agreement) would be to talk to an experienced real estate lawyer about your rights and obligations. Getting someone to review all of the paperwork isn’t as costly as most of us think it is. Most real estate lawyers, like Larry Tolchinsky, offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person, whichever you prefer) to answer your questions.
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