I hope this newsletter finds you doing well. This week, I will discuss the importance of protecting yourself from certain real estate investors who may try to take advantage of the unwary.
As you probably already know, the Florida real estate market is “hot” right now and has been for quite some time. Our 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 contract for purchase protects you and your interests. It is always advisable to consult legal counsel before signing a legal contract, especially one with as much significance as a contract for the purchase of your home.
Under Florida law, once you sign a contract to sell your home, you may not be able to get out of it.
In the standard Florida contract for purchase, there is no automatic cancellation period for the seller, although this could be added if agreed to by the buyer and seller. This means that if you sign a contract to sell your home and, after signing, 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. Otherwise, the buyer could potentially sue you for a court order forcing you to close and sell your home.
Now let me speak to the real estate “sharks.” Let me preface this by emphasizing that there are plenty of real estate investors who do business in an honest way and truly want a transaction in which all parties are receiving a fair shake.
There are some, however, who like to be sneaky and say one thing verbally but then say the opposite in the written contract because they know the written contract is what will carry the day, most of the time at least. They also know that many homeowners will not have the resources to take them to court to try to get released from the contract based on false representations made by the investor.
For example, when is your closing date supposed to be? Does the date in the contract match up with what you were told the closing date would be?
Do you need additional time in the home post-closing? If so, is this clearly addressed in the contract?
Which party is paying for which closing costs? These costs can be shifted to one party or another if both parties agree in writing. Does the section of the contract 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? Or did the investor lower the price before sending you the contract, hoping you would just sign it?
These are just a few examples for you to consider. 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.
Be sure to protect yourself, your family, and your home!
Have a great Sunday!
Until next time,
Ryan C. Torrens, Esq.