Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida’s Real Estate Market Is Hot: Sellers Must Protect Themselves

photo of homes with caption: Florida's real estate market is hot. Sellers must protect themselves
Photo: Marcus Lenk via Unsplash | Columbia County Observer graphic

TAMPA, FL - Florida's real estate market is hot. It is important to protect yourself from real estate investors who may try to take advantage of the unwary.

Florida’s real estate market has been hot for some time. Florida’s exceptionally high property values can make this a very tempting time to sell your home.

If you decide to sell your home, make sure the purchase contract protects you and your interests. It is always advisable to consult legal counsel before signing a legal contract, especially one as significant as a contract for purchasing your home. 

Under Florida law, once you sign a contract to sell your home, you may not be able to get out of it. While some contracts have a built-in cancelation period, the standard Florida home purchase contract contains no automatic cancellation period for the seller. This could be added if there is an agreement between the buyer and seller.

Without a cancelation period, if you sign a contract to sell your home and you have a change of heart and decide you no longer want to sell, you may not be able to cancel the contract unless the buyer agrees. The buyer could potentially take you to court for a court order forcing you to close and sell your home.

Real Estate Sharks

There are plenty of real estate investors who do business in an honest way and want a transaction in which all parties receive a fair shake.

However, some are sneaky, saying one thing, but then writing the opposite in a contract knowing a written contract will carry the day.

These sharks also know that many homeowners will not have the resources to take them to court to get released from a contract based on false representations made by the investor.

Make sure to check your closing date. Does the date in the contract match up with what you were told the closing date would be? 

Will you need additional time in the home post-closing? Make sure this is clearly addressed in the contract?

Which party is paying for which closing costs? These costs can be shifted to one party if both parties agree in writing. Does the contract section addressing closing costs match up with what you were promised? 

Is the stated purchase price in the contract the same purchase price you were promised verbally? Did the investor lower the price before sending you the contract, hoping you would sign it?

Never allow your emotions to run too high and sign a real estate contract in a rush. It may prove to be a decision you will always regret.  

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