Handling Escrow Disputes: Don’t Be a Cliché

By: Shannon L. Widman, Esq. of Porath & Associates, P.A.

No one wants to see a good deal go bad. As a Realtor® your business plan survives on closed deals, not cancelled deals. Nonetheless, the more deals you do, the more likely you will, at some point, encounter the dreaded escrow dispute.

Seller Financing: Still an Option?

By John St. Lawrence, Esq, Legal Education Attorney, The Fund

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Loan Originator Compensation Rule went into full effect in 2014 bringing a subset of small mortgage lenders under a previously unknown level of federal regulation.  As a result some types of private mortgage financing are now too risky or cumbersome for many to contemplate.  This is unfortunate since seller and private financing are very popular and legitimate financing sources for intra-family loans, underserved communities and rural or non-conforming properties.

What Real Estate Agents Should Know about Sellers’ Disclosures

By: Marshall C. Deason, Jr., Board Certified Real Estate Lawyer, Older Lundy & Alvarez, Tampa, FL

In 1998, the Florida Supreme Court decided the case of Johnson v. Davis, which created a new duty for sellers of residential real estate.  In this case, the Court ruled that sellers must disclose any material defects in the property which are known to the seller and which are not open and obvious.  In the line of cases which followed over the next several years, courts ruled that the duty to disclose applies to real estate brokers and agents and that making a sale “AS IS” does not eliminate or limit the duty to disclose.  In addition, a buyer cannot waive the right to receive disclosure.

What is the Title Insurance Commitment Really Saying?

By: Rene’ Rutan, Real Estate Council Relations Manager, Florida ARECS

In 2010, Florida was the last state in the U.S. to approve the American Land Title Association (ALTA) 2006 Title Insurance Forms, which accomplished numerous objectives, one of which was to simplify the legal nature of the language.  Despite these efforts to simplify, title insurance still has its own language so let us help you understand what the title commitment is really saying.

Keeping Pace with P.A.C.E. Loans

By Charles D. Nostra, Attorneys’ Title Fund Services, LLC

As we discussed a few months ago Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans, which are used to make certain qualifying energy efficiency and hurricane hardening improvements to commercial and residential properties, are increasing in popularity but unfortunately many buyers and sellers do not understand how they work and how they can complicate the real estate closing process.  Here is what you, as a real estate professional, need to know about this increasingly popular financial product.

Documentary Stamp Taxes: A Break for Spouses

By: Nomiki Zervos, Associate Attorney, Davis Basta Law Firm, P.A.

Transferring property can be both exciting and complicated. It’s not as simple as tendering the purchase price to the seller or changing the name on a deed. Before reaching the end result, purchasers typically find themselves amongst a midst of several charges and cash flows.  Amongst these is the documentary stamp tax.

What Are Community Development Districts (“CDDs”) and How Do They Work?

By: Rene’ Rutan, REC Relations Manager, Florida ARECS

If you have been shopping for a new home recently, as I have, or working with a buyer who is, you have undoubtedly encountered the Community Development District or CDD.  Many large, multi-phase communities with lifestyle amenities are now relying on this method of funding development so it is essential that homebuyers and the real estate agents serving them have a full understanding of what CDDs are and how they work. 

Do I Really Need Cyber Crime Insurance?

By: Michael Rothman, Esq., Fund Legal Education Manager

Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud and other social engineering frauds remain a real concern for all those engaged in the real estate profession. A single uninsured and misappropriated wire transfer in the hundreds or even tens of thousands of dollars can cripple one’s business. 

AS-IS v. Standard FR/BAR in the wake of Diaz v. Kosch.

By: Michelle Gomez Hinden, Esq., B.C.S. and assisted by Flor Leiva, Law Clerk

After 6 years of litigation arising from a $2,850,000 residential real estate contract, the 3rd District Court delivered its noteworthy opinion...

What Is a PACE Loan and Is It Right for You?

By: Charles D. Nostra, Esq.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs provide an alternative way for Florida property owners to finance certain energy efficiency and wind resistance (i.e. hurricane hardening) improvements.

What's in Your Black Bag?

This article first started where the last one left off. That one told of a bank-owned repossession, a commercial lot, burdened by a billboard easement. The person buying was new to the English language, and didn’t know that the easement, which I called a “blanket easement” prevented use of the entire property.

The opinions of any particular author are not necessarily the opinions of Attorneys' Real Estate Councils of Florida, Inc., any of the local Real Estate Councils or Attorneys’ Title Fund Services, LLC.