Here are some tips for sellers of Florida real estate from a Florida Bar board certified real estate lawyer in Florida:
Don’t agree to anything until you’re ready to sign a written contract. The last thing you need is someone claiming you agreed to sell them your Florida real estate and threatening to sue you if you try to sell it to someone else.
Don’t take a cash deposit from a buyer without a signed written contract. Part payment might be evidence that you had a contract to sell your real estate when you did not intend to be legally bound.
Don’t sign a listing agreement with a broker until your lawyer reviews it. Some brokers word their listing agreements to provide they are entitled to be paid a commission when a buyer is found rather than when there is a successful closing.
Don’t sign a contract until your lawyer reviews it. Contracts are complicated. You always need a lawyer.
Don’t make representations and warranties unless you intend to stand by them. Generally, the seller wants to avoid being sued by the buyer after the closing. Entering into an “as is” contract and allowing the buyer the right to perform due diligence before closing might be one way to limit risk to the seller of being sued after the closing for defects in the real property.
Don’t sign and deliver the deed until you’ve received a cashier’s check or wire transfer. If for any reason the buyer’s funds do not make it into the seller’s bank account, the seller might not ever get paid. In one Florida case, the buyer got to keep the deed even though the seller never got paid. Jones v. Lally, 511 So.2d 1014 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1987).
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