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Florida Real Estate: What Is an “As Is” Residential Contract?

Anyone looking to buy or sell ‘as is’ Florida real estate must use a specific ‘as is’ residential contract. If that’s you, you must be aware of some important information and duties. It’s also advised that you work with an experienced Florida real estate attorney to help you fill out all paperwork correctly and to protect your sale or purchase. So, let’s get to it – what is an ‘as is’ residential contract?

What Is ‘As Is’ in Real Estate?

In Florida, real estate sold ‘as is’ means it’s sold in the current condition. If the buyer inspects the property and notices a huge problem or the seller informs them of a potential problem, then the seller need not worry. The seller will not need to make repairs, regardless of their severity. This makes ‘as is’ purchases and sales significantly different from conventional sales, where there are usually negotiations for repairs. An ‘as is’ residential contract is signed by both the buyer and seller.

A Seller’s Duty

In an ‘as is’ residential contract, the seller must make mandated disclosures about the property to the potential buyer if applicable. Put simply, a seller cannot hide problems that may require repair work. This includes:
  • Any potential or actual claims, complaints or legal proceedings
  • Any boundary disputes
  • Any environmental hazards
  • Any termites or pest damage or infestations
  • Any damage or potential damage from sinkholes
  • Any known problems with important components including HVAC, plumbing, electrics, roofing, structural integrity etc.
  • Any condominium or homeowner association rules
The last thing you want is to be in hot water for missing a necessary disclosure. By working with a Florida real estate attorney, you can ensure you check every box.

How Do Florida ‘As Is’ Residential Contracts Work?

Usually, in Florida real estate contracts, the buyers and sellers can fill out a section that details repair payment agreements. But with an ‘as is’ contract, this section becomes irrelevant because repair payments are irrelevant. That’s why there is a specific ‘as is’ form. This form removes the repair payment section and instead states that the agreement:
  • Is subject to a satisfactory inspection
  • Then the buyer is on their own, and the seller has no involvement with any repairs.
  • If the buyer’s lender requires repairs, the buyer must pay it themselves.
Read ‘How to Fill Out the Far-Bar “AS IS” Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase

When to Use an ‘As Is’ Residential Contract?

Deciding whether you should use an ‘as is’ residential contract is a big decision. You should always speak to a Florida real estate attorney before making or signing any purchase or sale agreement.

As a Seller

If you’re a seller and don’t want to pay for any repairs, you should use an ‘as is’ contract. This will protect you from having to pay for costly repairs but may lower the interest and value of your property.

As a Buyer

If you’re buying a home, the preferred option would be a conventional real estate contract due to the additional protections over repairs. ‘As Is’ residential contracts give the buyer 15 days to complete an inspection of the property. If the inspection reveals that repairs are necessary, they can usually ask the seller to lower the sale price or give a credit at closing to cover the cost. The seller has the right to refuse the requests. The buyer then has the option to withdraw from the deal within the 15 days period, without losing their deposit.

Quick Sales

‘As Is’ residential contracts can allow sellers to get the property off their hands fast. In most cases, a seller will be desperate for money or need a quick move due to a major life event. It also speeds up the process by bypassing the usual work involved in a home sale, such as repairs and renovations.

How to Get Out of a Florida Real Estate Contract?

There is no easy route to getting out of a Florida residential real estate contract, which may feel necessary if you realize the repair work is too much to handle. As a buyer, you may lose your deposit if you back out of a real estate contract. However, a Florida real estate attorney can put in place contingencies that may protect you. As a buyer, you have very strong rights to back out during the inspection period. As a seller, the best bet is usually to refund the buyer’s expense and try to communicate with them personally. Hopefully, they can empathize with your situation and come to a fair agreement. Regardless of your situation, you should speak with a Florida real estate attorney who will provide expert advice to help you get out of the contract with minimal pain.

What Is a FAR/BAR ‘As Is’ Contract?

A FAR/BAR ‘As Is’ residential contract is used for ‘as is’ sales approved by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) and the Florida Bar Association (BAR).

Why Use an Attorney To Help With Florida ‘As Is’ Residential Contracts?

If you are considering using an ‘as is’ residential real estate contract in Florida, the best thing to do is to contract a Florida real estate attorney. With firsthand experience, they’ll ensure you’re protected from breaking rules, missing important repair information or essential paperwork. They’ll also help you answer any important questions and ensure your sale or purchase goes smoothly. Although you can legally write your own real estate contract, it’s not wise. People without legal expertise are prone to making small but costly errors when interpreting the law.

Hire a Residential Real Estate Contract Attorney in St Petersburg, FL

If you’re making a sale or purchase of an ‘as is’ property in St Petersburg, Florida then contact us today. Our attorneys, Ross and Purdun at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. have extensive experience that can help you draft and review your contract and advise you on the next steps to secure your transaction. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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