Stay in the Know: 2019 Business & Real Estate Changes to Florida Law

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By Michael J Posner

Each spring, the Florida legislature meets to debate and consider possible changes to Florida law.  This year’s session was highlighted by a new Governor and the lawsuits surrounding smokable marijuana.  A total of over 1800 bills were introduced and less than 200 were passed, a 20-year low for new legislation and a passage rate of only about 10 percent.  New bills covered a wide gamut of issues, and will begin going into effect this July, including the new ban on texting while driving. There were also a number of bills related to real estate and business that included the following:

Utility Companies Storm Protection Plan

  1. A new utilities bill requires public utility companies to prepare and submit storm protection plans to deal with future issues and provides a mechanism for cost recovery (Section 366.96, Florida Statutes).

State Highway Expansion

  1. A bill contested by environmentalists but heavily supported by the Governor was the expansion of the state highways system to include (a) Southwest-Central Florida Connector, extending from Collier County to Polk County; (b) Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to Jefferson County; and (c) Northern Turnpike Connector, extending from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway. (Section 338.2278, Florida Statutes).

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Closing Costs Confusion: Who Pays for What?

By Adam R. Seligman

Every buyer and seller understands what a purchase price and closing date are, but oftentimes, they are not sure which party pays the closing costs associated with the closing.

Who Pays for What?

In the most recent iteration of the commonly used residential form contract in Florida, also known as the “FR/Bar,” paragraph 9 lists out which default costs are the responsibility of the parties (unless negotiated otherwise).

For example, the party who pays for title insurance is often negotiable, and custom is often what dictates who pays for what. In Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the custom is that the buyer pays for the title insurance, while in most other counties throughout Florida, the seller does. Continue reading

2018 Trends in Home Buying: A Real Estate Attorney’s Perspective

By Michael J Posner

While there has been somewhat of a slowdown in real estate sales in 2018, the market remains hot. Some neighborhoods are in-demand commodities, garnering multiple competitive offers on homes that are priced properly. This is great news for sellers, but maybe not for buyers.

Buying a home in this market can be difficult due to issues such as rising mortgage interest rates, closing cost expenses, approval issues from homeowners and condominium associations, inspection and mold issues, and other matters that make purchasing a home more difficult than ever before. Because of this, buyers need to be proactively prepared before embarking on a house hunt so as to avoid the most difficult issues.

Below, we’ve listed some elements to keep in mind as you consider purchasing real estate.

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Building or Renovating? 6 Must-Do Steps When Hiring a Contractor

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By Jason E. Handin

A fresh start can be exciting, especially when it comes to building a new home or renovating a current home. However, for homeowners inexperienced in working with contractors or design professionals, the undertaking of a major construction project can be a daunting task. The highest probability for success in a construction project relies upon the homeowner being educated in protecting themselves against any potential conflicts that may arise.

In this article are six important steps to take when hiring a contractor or design professional for a new build or renovation.

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How Investment Properties Can Harm the Market and Helpful Solutions

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By Michael J Posner

One of the effects of the great mortgage foreclosure recession is the large increase in rental properties in communities that were once generally owner-occupied (i.e., primary residences or vacation homes).

As prices plummeted after the foreclosure, investor groups sprung up to buy the now-cheap properties and turn them into rental properties as a long-term investment. One such company is Invitation Homes, founded in 2012, that now owns 80,000 properties in seventeen markets, including a substantial number in South Florida. A Property Appraiser search for IH3-IH6 Property Florida, LP (subsidiaries of Invitation Homes) showed ownership of 1,138 homes in Palm Beach County alone almost all available for rent.

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