AVOID SELLER LIABILITIES
If you are selling a home, you wish to sell it at the highest possible price, quickly, with the fewest possible costs and complications. You also want to avoid potential liabilities after the sale. Blackburn Law Firm will help you meet your goals. When you are selling a home, the earlier in the process Blackburn Law Firm is involved, the better. For those considering a transaction without a real estate broker this is especially important. Below are some suggestions to protect your interests.
Preliminary Title Search
As soon as you are ready to list your home, a preliminary title search should be conducted. As the seller, you must give marketable title, which is title of such quality as to assure its ready acceptance by a future purchaser or lender. You must correct title defects such as mis-spelled names, incorrect deeds, unreleased mortgages or judgments, unpaid taxes, construction liens, code violation liens, and utility liens, among others. Many sellers are caught unaware and do not discover potential defects until well after a contract is signed and a closing date is set. About one third of all title searches uncover defects in the title. Blackburn Law Firm will provide a preliminary Title Search to identify potential title issues before they delay or cancel the sale for a flat fee of $50.00.
If you are selling your property without the assistance of a real estate agent, or you have question and/or concerns with a contract and your agent is unable to answer them sufficiently, contact us immediately. Below are a few items to consider when presented with a sales contract.
Did you know: The Florida Association of Realtors/Florida Bar Association standard real estate purchase contract requires the Seller to close out all open building permits, provide property free of termites and termite damage, and provide property in good condition and repair – or pay up to 4 ½ % of the sale price to correct these issues. The “As Is” sales contract, most often recommended by Blackburn Law Firm, treats these issues differently often saving the seller thousands of dollars.
Blackburn Law Firm will provide you with an appropriate purchase contract and assist you with filling it out, or review the purchase contract submitted by a potential buyer, for a flat fee of $100.00. Deposit funds may be deposited into Blackburn Law Firm’s Real Estate Escrow Account to be held until closing. Blackburn Law Firm will also provide all seller disclosures required by law such as: radon gas, lead based paint, flood zone, mold, Homeowner’s Association, Planned Unit Development, and other disclosures.
Often negotiation is a simple matter between buyers and sellers moving quickly from contract to settlement and closing. Unfortunately, complications do occur occasionally and negotiations are necessary to bring a property successfully to closing. Some potential issues requiring negotiations may be:
- Personal property and appliances to go with the property?
- Closing date & possession of property (lease back?)
- Repairs, required or not, found during a home inspection.
- Seller payments toward Buyer’s closing costs.
- Financing issues or special financing for FHA or VA loans.
- Tenants and income producing property.
- Home warranties, who pays the cost?
Blackburn Law Firm is available to assist with any issue that may arise to ensure your property sells and that you are represented effectively. Fees for such services will be discussed and agreed upon in advance.
Title Insurance “Peace Of Mind Comes At No Extra Charge”
A title insurance policy protects the new owner and/or the lender against problems such as fraudulent sales, liens, encroachments of fences and boundary lines, unreleased mortgages and tax liens, and other problems with the title to the property. The purpose of a title insurance policy is to provide reassurance to the homeowner, so that the owner actually owns what he or she thinks they own!
Before issuing the title commitment (the promise to issue the policy after closing), Blackburn Law Firm will do a thorough search of the real estate and court records in your jurisdiction to make sure the seller actually owns the property being sold and that there are no matters impairing title to the property. If a preliminary title search was completed earlier, this process is simplified and quicker.
After doing the research (which may go back 20 years or more), Blackburn Law Firm will issue the title commitment, underwritten by Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, listing any problems it has found with the property. Blackburn Law Firm will work with the seller to address and fix title problems prior to the sale.
The insurance and settlement fees associated with Blackburn Law Firm and Old Republic Title Insurance Company are about the same cost as using a title agent who is not a lawyer. Insurance premiums vary based upon coverage required and sale price of the property and are standard according to Florida Statutes. Some fees, such as the closing fee and lender’s title insurance, are customarily paid by the buyer in the contract. Other fees are paid by the seller. Blackburn Law Firm will provide you with an estimated closing statement, disclosing fees and approximated gross amount due to you at closing.
Settlement or Closing Services
Settlement is the formal process that accomplishes the transfer of ownership. At settlement, the parties execute the various documents necessary to meet their obligations under the contract. All parties should be present, usually in the office on First Avenue North. Blackburn Law Firm will handle the financial accounting and explain all documents to buyers and sellers at the closing. The Firm will receive and disburse funds among the buyer, seller, new and old lenders, surveyor, termite inspector, title insurance company, and homeowner’s or condominium association. After settlement, the Deed will be recorded in the city or county land records.