Amy Heckler, Saint Petersburg, FL
Amy Heckler is a real estate agent located at 2943 Pinellas Point Drive South, Saint Petersburg, FL . If you have any real estate needs - selling, buying or renting, please see all contact information listed below for this real estate agent.
Selling Your Home in Florida
Whether you're downsizing an empty nest or you've outgrown a starter home, selling your house or condo is complicated and has legal ramifications. Although the steps involved in selling a home are similar regardless of where you live, Florida's real estate laws and practices are unique in some respects.
Becoming familiar with the process early will help you avoid problems later. Here’s an overview of the basics—from working with a real estate agent to making legally-required disclosures to closing the deal.
Most people selling their home in Florida work with a licensed real estate broker or agent. A good real estate agent will help price your house, based on a comparative market analysis (or comps), accurately assessing the current values of similar homes in your area; effectively market your house to prospective buyers; and handle other tasks, such as reviewing house purchase documents and negotiating with buyers.
Before signing a listing agreement with any agent, get references from other home sellers and check customer reviews on sites like Zillow and Trulia.
Once you find a real estate agent you want to work with, you’ll sign a “listing agreement” giving the agent the right to market and handle the sale of your house. Most real estate agents use standard forms created by their local Board of Realtors. A listing agreement usually covers the following:
- The real estate agent commission that you (the seller) will pay. This typically ranges from 6 to 7% of the house sales price, and is split between your real estate agent and the buyer’s agent.
- The type of listing. Most listing agents will want you to sign an exclusive right to sell listing, which obligates you to pay a commission to the agent regardless of who brings in the buyer. Other arrangements are possible, however, such as an open listing, in which you agree to pay a commission to whichever agent brings in a buyer, or an exclusive agency listing, in which you agree that your agent is the only agent authorized to sell your house, but that you will pay a commission only if the agent brings in the buyer (not, for example, if you do).
- Duration of listing. In all cases, the listing agreement will cover a set amount of time, such as 90 days. Usually, the agent will want you to sign up for at least 6 months.
- Listing price. Your agent will recommend the appropriate selling price by comparing prices of similar homes (“comps”) that have been listed in your immediate area, based on his or her experience and data found in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). To educate yourself as to whether the agent is recommending an appropriate price, the National Association of Realtors’ website is a good source of information on prices of houses currently on the market, and websites such as Zillow and Trulia provide data on actual sales prices.
- Items included or not included in the sale. For example, you may plan to leave behind a built-in dishwasher (which is therefore part of the property that the agent is contracted to sell), but exclude a refrigerator that you plan to move to your new home.
- Duties and obligations of seller and real estate agent. Your agreement will spell out how the real estate agent will list or market your house, what type of insurance you must maintain on the property, and what disclosures you must make.
Making Real Estate Disclosures in Florida State law in Florida (Johnson v. Davis, 480 So.2d 625 (Fla. 1985)) requires sellers to disclose any facts or conditions about their property that have a substantial impact on the value of the property and that others cannot easily observe. To aid sellers in making all required disclosures, the Florida Association of Realtors offers a disclosure form, which includes details on the property, including:
- contents such as specific appliances, and whether or not they need repair
- defects in the electrical and other house systems
- conditions such as termites or asbestos, and
- homeowners’ association fees, deed restrictions, and other specified details of the property.
In addition, if your house was built before 1978, you must comply with federal Title X disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards.
Working With a Lawyer Unlike some states, Florida does not require that sellers involve a lawyer in the house-selling transaction. Even if it’s not required, you may decide to engage a lawyer at some point in the process—for example, to review the final contract or to assist with closing details. Or, you may want a lawyer’s help drafting a lease agreement if you plan to rent the home back for an extended period of time after the house closing, or if problems show up on the title report such as a lien on your property. And if you are selling your home without a real estate agent (a “for sale by owner” or FSBO), it may be useful to hire an attorney to help with the legal paperwork.