In FLORIDA, and in GENERAL, all recorded liens must be satisfied in order for the seller to give you "clear title" at the closing. That means tha the SELLER pays for those debts that are liens against the property unless they have disclosed otherwise to you in advance and you have AGREED to pay those debts. (These could range from past due Homeowner's Association Dues to a water bill) The problem can arise when liens become known at a later date AFTER you have purchased the property. This is one of many reasons why we , as Real Estate agents and brokers, recommend that you retain your OWN closing agent to review documents and represent/protect your interests. In particular, I recommend an attorney for this function even though in the state of Florida an attorney is not required to handle a real estate closing. They can review all documents, perform their OWN lien and permit searches, review the findings of the survey that you DO need to get and advise you of any potential title or encroachment issues. I am happy to provide you with name and contact information of several firms that my clients have had positive experiences with for their closings. Just send me a prive e-mail and I will reply with that information.
There are a LOT of things that need to be considered when purchasing a property, especially if it is a Foreclosure (bank owned) property. An Agent who is educated, credentialed, and experienced can help you avoid many of the unpleasant surprises that can creep up during one of these transactions. Just look for designations like, SFR (Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource certification) or CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) and talk to a few agents. Ask them about how many BUYERS they have represented who have purchased foreclosures and for name and numbers of those buyers so that you can get first hand information about the way that agent performed their professional services in those circumstances.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have other questions that I can help you with. And GOOD LUCK with the purchase of this or another property!
Thanks and take care,
Karen Schwartz, Broker-Owner
Prime Residential Brokers, Inc.
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202