Overview Of Florida Real Estate Transactions

Dated: 05/22/2019

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Making your way from the first tour of a property to closing the transaction can be a frustrating and complicated ordeal. However, you can take some of the confusion out of the process by being prepared throughout the process.

While every transaction is different, Florida buyers and sellers will generally go through the following steps in a real estate transaction:

  • Offer acceptance. The process begins when the seller of the property accepts the buyer’s offer, and you both sign a contract agreeing to the sale at the proposed price. At this time, the seller may request a deposit—known as earnest money—be paid to an escrow agent or attorney. The signed contract is then typically sent to a title company or Attorney to legally transfer the title of the property to the new owners. At this stage, your Title Company or  Real Estate Attorney should confirm details of the property, such as the correct address, items to be included in the sale, area and description of land, and other matters listed on the deed.

  • Disclosures. The seller must warn the buyer of any known issues with the property. Commonly called disclosures, these may include past repairs, environmental hazards, and anything else that could affect the value of the property. Sellers must provide a list of disclosures to the buyer before the closing date, and the buyer must acknowledge all disclosures before the sale is finalized.

  • Inspections. It's the buyer’s responsibility to perform inspections on the property within the time period outlined in the purchase contract. There are many different kinds of inspections. In the purchase of a residence, a home inspector is usually the first person called to scrutinize the property. Prospective Florida property owners may also be required to perform a termite inspection and a drywall inspection to ensure a structure—whether residential or commercial—is sound. The buyer and seller are also required to sign a drywall disclosure form attesting that the seller has no reason to believe there are any drywall defects at the time of sale. A real estate surveyor may also be needed to determine accurate boundaries of the property, whether access to the roadway isn't impeded, and if there's anything encroaching onto the property that could cause problems for the buyers.

  • Negotiations and buyer requests. After inspections are complete, buyers may ask the seller to complete repair work, reduce the sales price, or pay for some of the closing costs based on the inspection results. The buyer may also request that the seller offer a home warranty to cover major portions of the home, such as the roof and furnace, for a year or more after the sale. The seller may agree to some or all of the buyer's requests, decline to make repairs, negotiate price. If the buyer doesn't accept, he can continue to negotiate with the seller or end the transaction and have his earnest money fully refunded as long as the due diligence period of the contract hasn't lapsed.

  • Securing a mortgage. In most cases, buyers must secure pre-approval with a lender before they can make an offer. Once a final price is agreed, buyers who require a loan to purchase their home must apply for a mortgage.  Once a buyer is approved for a certain amount, the lender sends a licensed appraiser to the property in order to estimate its value. If the purchase price is more than the value of the appraisal, the buyer may request a reduction in price from the seller. Many times a lender may require proof of homeowners' insurance, flood insurance, and other policies to at closing. Cash buyers do not have to have a home inspection or appraisal but I would highly recommend it.

  • Pre-closing. During pre-closing, a closing date is prepared and all of the paperwork for the sale is collected. This includes the deed, title insurance, lender forms, and copies of all documents necessary to close the sale. The buyer is provided with the final cash figure that he or she will need to bring to the closing, usually in the form of a Wire Transfer. (NOTE: Wire Fraud is Real, Never Wire Funds without CALLING to confirm the correct wiring instructions. ) The buyer is responsible for performing a final walkthrough just before closing to ensure that the property is in the agreed-upon condition before the sale is finalized.

  • Closing. Closing takes place in an attorney’s office, real estate office, the title company office or a remote agreed to location when necessary. The buyer and seller must be present to sign all documents in person related to the sale, however not always at the same time, The representative from the title company then files the new deed into the municipal records. After all documents are signed and payment is given to the seller, the buyer takes possession of the keys and officially becomes the new owner of the property.

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Tony Holden

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