Holding builders responsible for defects with your new home

Few things in life bring more excitement than purchasing a new home. After all, your house is likely your largest investment. You also want a nice place to live or raise a family. If your new home turns out to be a lemon, though, your exhilaration may quickly turn to despair.

When purchasing a new home, you must be diligent. You do not, however, have to be a detective. If sellers or builders try to pass off a defective piece of property, Florida law is likely has your back. 

Not necessarily

Caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “the buyer beware.” In legal terms, the tenet shifts responsibility for the quality of a purchase to the buyer. That is, the buyer must inspect goods before buying them to be certain they are suitable.

In Florida, caveat emptor does not necessarily apply to the purchase of a new home. On the contrary, if sellers know of a defect in the home, they must disclose the information to the buyer. This rule applies to both new construction and existing homes.

Further, sellers have an affirmative duty to tell you about housing defects. This remains true whether or not you ask about problems with the structure. Still, to minimize potential problems, before you purchase your new house, you likely want to have a qualified inspector give it the once over.

Escrow protection 

Because they tend to be both affordable and available, condos are often ideal for Florida homebuyers. Whether you are purchasing your first piece of real property or retiring to the Sunshine State after owning a home in another place, you should know about escrow protection for condo buyers.

Sometimes, condo builders sell units before they complete them. If you purchase one of these, you may worry that you are buying into a pipe dream. Fortunately, you have the law on your side. When you buy a condo before substantial completion, the law requires builders to put any funds you pay over 10% of the purchase price into an escrow account. The funds only release when the sale closes, you default or the contract terminates.

While buying a new home is often exciting, it should not be scary. Fortunately, under Florida law, you have a couple of ways to protect yourself. If you end up with a defective piece of property, you may be able to hold the builder or seller responsible.


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