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Agent Tip of the Week: March 8, 2017

As you may be aware, the changes to the FAR/BAR Residential Contract (both the “AS-IS as well as “NON-AS-IS” versions) will go into effect April 4, 2017.

While full redline versions are attached below:

Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase
“AS IS” Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase

The change which will have the most significant impact on your buyers and sellers is the modification to the Financing section.

Buyers will now be required to obtain a “Loan Approval” within 30 days from the Effective Date, unless otherwise stated. The newly defined term “Loan Approval” is a change from the current defined term, “Loan Commitment”. The issue with the newly defined term is that it is loosely defined in the contract as “approval of a loan meeting the Financing terms”. It is not unreasonable for one to interpret the term Loan Approval to mean “an unconditional approval”, however the contract does not define the term as such. Moreover, by virtue of the conditional language in Section 8(b)(vii), Loan Approval may be conditioned on, at a minimum, property related conditions as well as the appraisal. I anticipate that this issue will need to be clarified – and as the new version makes its rounds – it will. The takeaway here is that, regardless how the term is defined (Loan Approval or Loan Commitment) the buyer should have a candid discussion with their lender prior to the issuance of document which remotely resembles a Loan Approval. The discussion should be centered around the fact that once the Loan Approval is obtained “or deemed to have been obtained”, as the new version of the contract provides, and the buyer then fails to close, the buyer’s deposit could be at risk. Real estate agents and lenders should proceed cautiously with regard to this section of the contract and call upon real estate attorneys for counsel.

In addition to the above changes, the updated version of the contract allows a buyer to terminate the contract for inability to obtain the Loan Approval through expiration of the Loan Approval Period. This is a departure from the current version of the contract which limits a buyer’s ability to terminate the contract to a time period which is no later than 7 days prior to closing.

Agent Tip of the Week: Open Permits and Title Insurance

One of the hallmarks of Association Title Services is our Real Estate Agent Educational Enhancement Program. This program was developed for our loyal following of real estate agents who are continuously seeking to enhance their customer base through the educational enhancement offered by our attorneys. As part of our program, we present you with the “Agent Tip of the Week” and hope you find it valuable.

Open permits are not covered by title insurance. Open permits are considered matters of zoning and therefore are excluded from title insurance coverage. This exclusion is located within the fine print (jacket) of the Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. It is important, when processing a transaction, that the title insurance company order a permit search in a timely fashion to afford a buyer the ability to address the open permits with the owner of the property.

Association Title Services is managed solely by real estate attorneys who have almost a century of real estate closing and title experience. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for more information on how you can become part of our Educational Enhancement Program.

 

It’s Homestead Application Time Again in Florida

All legal Florida residents are eligible for Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify.

A Florida resident is entitled to receive Homestead Exemption on a property if, as of January 1st, that property is the resident’s permanent home. Permanent residence is determined by January 1 of each year.

The timely filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2017 ends on March 1, 2017. The absolute deadline for late filing for any 2017 exemption (if you miss the March 1 timely filing deadline) is September 18, 2017. State law (Sec. 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadline.

Below is the information you will need when filing for Homestead Exemption:

1. Proof of Ownership: In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. If the property is held in a trust, a copy of the trust agreement or certificate of trust is required.

2. Proof of Permanent Florida Residence — preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing — is established in the form of:

A. Florida’s Driver’s License (or — for non-drivers only — a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED. You MUST also have either of the following:

1. Florida Voter’s Registration; or

2. Recorded Declaration of Domicile.

B. FOR NON-US CITIZENS, you MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other “PRUCOL” status); OR proof you are the parent of a US-born (US Citizen) minor child who resides with you.

A property with Homestead Exemption receives a reduced value for real estate property taxes. In addition, the constitutional homestead protections afford the owner protection from forced sale to meet the demands of creditors. There are however some exceptions to the constitutional homestead protections, such as parties to whom the property was pledged as collateral for a mortgage.

In Broward County, you may file online https://bcpasecure.net/homesteadonline/web/index.aspx.

In Miami-Dade County, you may file online https://www8.miamidade.gov/Apps/PA/PAOnlineTools/AutoOnlineFile/ExemptionOnlineMainMenu.aspx