Navigating the Real Estate Buying and Selling Process: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you are buying or selling residential property or commercial property, it is normal to have a lot of questions. Not only are real estate transactions notoriously complex, there is a lot at stake. It is crucial that you get everything done the right way. Both buyers and sellers need to be confident that they can find the right deal for their specific needs. 

All parties to a real estate sale can also benefit from a smooth transaction that closes without any major snags. At The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg, we have extensive experience representing both buyers and sellers in real estate purchases. Here, our Fort Lauderdale real estate lawyer provides a guide to the key things that you should know about buying and selling real estate in Florida. 

The Six Main Stages of a Real Estate Transaction in Florida

  1. The Seller Must Prepare the Listing

For sellers, preparing the listing is the first and one of the most crucial steps in a real estate transaction. A comprehensive approach is a must. To start, the seller must gather all relevant information about the property, including its physical attributes, size, amenities, and legal descriptions. It is important to price the property accurately. With that in mind, researching comparable sales in the area is essential. High-quality photographs and a well-written description that highlights the unique features and benefits of the property can be useful. In Florida, the seller must also provide a disclosure statement that informs the buyer of any known defects. 

  1. The Seller Must Promote the Property

Once the listing is prepared, the next stage is to promote the property effectively to reach potential buyers. In Florida, the real estate market can be highly competitive. For this reason, most sellers of property will want to use multiple marketing channels to promote their property. Examples include listing the property on MLS, advertising through social media platforms, using real estate websites, and even using more traditional methods like a local newspaper. Creating a comprehensive marketing strategy and remaining flexible to adjust is key to getting the right price. 

  1. The Prospective Buyer Will Evaluate the Property

When a buyer is interested in the property, they will need to carry out a thorough evaluation. Most often, this part of the process starts in full with an initial visit or tour. In Florida, many buyers are also from out of state, so virtual tours might be conducted. During an evaluation, buyers will generally assess the property’s condition, location, and whether it meets their needs and budget. Beyond that, buyers will also typically review the seller’s disclosure statement for any potential issues. The evaluation stage is critical for the buyer’s decision-making process.

  1. The Parties Must Negotiate a Purchase Agreement

Once the buyer has evaluated the property and decided to move forward, the negotiation phase begins. What makes a good real estate transaction? For both the buyer and the seller, price matters. Other terms are also key as well. The negotiation process involves both parties discussing the terms of the sale, including the price, closing date, and any contingencies. 

In Florida, this phase can be complex and may require several rounds of negotiation. It is common for buyers to make an initial offer below the asking price. Once both parties agree on the terms, they will enter into a formal written contract, commonly known as the Purchase and Sales Agreement, which outlines the specific terms and conditions of the sale.

  1. The Property Usually Needs to Be Appraised, and Other Contingencies Must Be Satisfied

Before it can move to closing, a property will usually need to be appraised—a legal requirement if the buyer is getting a mortgage—and other conditions (contingencies) may need to be satisfied. As defined simply by Business Insider, a contingency is “a condition that must be met before a contract to buy a house is enforceable.” Appraisal is a very common contingency. It is a process where a third party evaluates the property to ensure that the agreed-upon price is fair market value. The appraisal is particularly important for buyers obtaining a mortgage—the reason being that lenders will usually only finance up to the appraised value. In Florida, other common contingencies include obtaining financing, conducting inspections, and ensuring the property has a clear title. 

  1. The Real Estate Purchase Must Go Through the Closing Process

The final stage is the closing process, often referred to as “closing” or “settlement.” In Florida, an escrow agent or attorney usually handles this process. During closing, all necessary documents are signed, and funds are transferred. Most often, this part of the process will involve the buyer signing the mortgage documents and the seller signing the deed over to the buyer. Closing costs, which can include attorney fees, taxes, and other expenses, are also settled at this time. Once all documents are signed and recorded and the funds have been distributed, the buyer receives the keys to the property, marking the completion of the real estate transaction.

Real Estate Transactions are Complicated: Proper Representation is Key

Given the complexity and the high stakes involved in real estate transactions, having proper representation is imperative, especially in a dynamic market like South Florida. A top Fort Lauderdale real estate lawyer can review contracts, ensure legal compliance, represent you in negotiations, and help you navigate the closing process. As every residential and commercial real estate transaction involves its own unique set of circumstances, it is crucial that buyers and sellers in South Florida have personalized legal representation. 

Get Help From Our Florida Real Estate Lawyer for Immediate Help 

At The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg, our Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney has the professional expertise that you can trust. If you have any questions about the buying or selling of real property, we are here as your resource. Contact our legal team today to set up your confidential initial legal consultation. From our Fort Lauderdale office, we serve communities all across South Florida. 

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With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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