Buying a home is one of life's most stressful events. You are dealing with banks, realtors, title companies, and the seller of your prospective home. While many of these people are working on your behalf, the seller of the home you wish to purchase is not. Failure to properly evaluate your home prior to buying it can quickly turn your dream of homeownership into a nightmare.
There are some problems with a home that you can easily see. A roof that needs repairs, cracked tile on the floor, or that kitchen that needs to be updated are all things you can see when making the decision to purchase your home, but what about the hidden problems?
Under Florida law, where the seller of a home has actual knowledge of facts materially affecting the value of a home, which are not readily observable and not known to the buyer, the seller is under a duty to disclose them to the buyer. This is the law regardless of whether the home is being sold "as is".
So what exactly is a fact that materially affects the value of a home? While there is no exact list of which non-disclosures are considered to materially affect the value of a home, here are some facts that have been considered in Florida:
Facts That Do Not Materially Affect The Value of a Home
- If the home has been the site of a homicide, suicide, or death;
- If a sexual predator lives in the neighborhood;
- If the home lies in a flood-prone area;
- Any fact which is readily observable to a buyer.
Facts That Do Materially Affect The Value of a Home
- Cracks in the foundation;
- Existing restrictions that will prevent the type of use by the purchaser for which he is buying the home for;
- Water damage to the home causing mold and poor air quality;
- Pending code enforcement actions against the property;
- Prior sinkhole claims.
It is important to know your rights when buying a home. Whether you are thinking about purchasing a home, or you have recently purchased one and have been unpleasantly surprised by undisclosed problems, the real estate attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A. are here to help. If you would like additional information on the home buying process and what information you need to know before buying a home, please give us a call to schedule a consultation.