In the state of Florida, property owners are required to disclose any serious problems about their homes before selling them. If an issue is discovered before a sale closes, a buyer may be able to walk away from the deal. If an issue is discovered after the sale closes, a buyer may take legal action against the previous owner. The Florida Supreme Court in Johnson v. Davis held “that where the seller of a home knows of facts materially affecting the value of the property which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer, the seller is under a duty to disclosure them to the buyer.” Let’s look at some other reasons why it’s important that all necessary disclosures are made before ownership of a house is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
Damage to a home could significantly reduce its value
A house that has a damaged roof, a cracked foundation or a mold problem may be worth significantly less than what an individual paid for it. Furthermore, it can be harder to resell a property that needs significant repairs. Depending on the severity of the previously undisclosed issue, the new owner may be unable to live in his or her home while it is remedied.
Home repairs can be expensive
It’s not uncommon to spend $10,000 or more to replace an asphalt roof. It’s also not uncommon to spend thousands of dollars to get rid of mold, repair water damage or replace a pipe that has roots growing in it.
Your insurance company may refuse to acknowledge your claim
In the event that your home is damaged after you take possession of it, your insurance company may refuse to pay for repairs. Although you may eventually be reimbursed for the cost of repairing a defect that you weren’t told about, it may be necessary to take the previous owners to court to obtain compensation. A real estate law attorney may be able to talk more about what you might be able to do if an insurance claim is denied.