Your Questions Answered
At Ashlar, I firmly b that an educated home buyer or seller is best equipped to make their own decisions. That’s why I take time out of my day each and every day to answer someone’s real estate question. And, when I think the answer can be useful to you as well, I share it here. So without further ado:
Basically the requirement in Florida is you must disclose anything that materially affects the value of the property.
To facilitate this, there is a relatively standardized disclosure form, and on that form it does ask your knowledge of unpermitted work that has been done. So if you know or had work done that needed a permit and didn’t get one will have to disclose that.
Also know that hiding / not disclosing and closing the sale does not end your liability. If you do not disclose what you know and it becomes a problem years after the sale, you can be held liable for it.
Your question on “what happens” if stuff is found during inspection is separate and different from your legal obligation to disclose, and the truth is that there isn’t a standard “fix” on the As Is contract everyone uses, because the As Is doesn’t say anything about repairs.
Just says it’s “buyer’s sole discretion” to determine if the property is suitable for use.
The “Standard” FAR/BAR 5 contract does give some allowance for repairs, but it’s a rare beast. I’ve seen maybe 2-3 transactions with it.
So with the AS IS, it’s up to the buyer. Per the contract they can either cancel the contract and get their escrow back if it’s within the inspection period, or they can proceed with the contract.
The unwritten third option and the way it works in the real world is a buyer will ask the seller to complete repairs or money off so buyer can repair after closing on issues that are a concern to the buyer. Seller can then refuse, agree, or counter.
Some buyers are ok with wildly incorrect electrical. Others aren’t. Some will want to try and negotiate a price reduction, some will want it fixed, sometimes depending on what it is insurance will REQUIRE it to be fixed before closing, and some buyers will walk because there’s a lot more houses for sale now than there was a year ago.
The value of a great Realtor here is that a great one will know what is and is not likely to be a major issue and will market the property in such a way that there won’t be any surprises with known issues when under contract.
Most agents take a “the less I know the better” approach but that is terrible and I looooove working with such agents because they basically give me everything I need to negotiate a major price reduction :).
An inspector is paid to find every thing major and minor wrong with a house, so you may as well just tell the buyer on the seller side you want to remove as many objections from the buyer as possible.
Hiding this stuff is the wrong way to go about it because you are giving ammunition to the buyer.
Market the property correctly and accurately disclose what you know and there won’t be surprises after you’re already under contract.
Also, I do cover Hudson :).