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You Did What?
Wow! Tales of Extraordinary Service

Rex Sawdy is all wet—literally. And, because he was willing to become a human tugboat, he closed a difficult transaction.

It was a rainy March morning in 1995, Rex and Angie, a husband/wife team for Century 21 Aztec & Associates in Port Charlotte ran into a snag with a home with a pending contract.

On the day of closing, the sellers were unable to arrange for someone to move their sailboat from the dock. The buyers refused to close until the boat was moved. The sellers’ neighbors agreed the boat could stay at their dock for a few days … but how to get it there on such short notice?

Rex, who’s 5 feet 8 inches tall, got into water up to his chin and tiptoed across the bottom with rope in hand to tow the boat 100 yards to the neighbor’s dock. The sale closed on schedule.

“We jokingly say we go not only to great lengths but also to great depths to help our customers and to get the job done!” says Angie Sawdy.

Want to read about a Realtor who uses Facebook to recruit yard clean-up volunteers? How about a sales associate who handled construction of a Koi pond just to get the transaction closed? We’ve got more stories of exceptional service on floridarealtors.org/learn.


$5,000 Scholarship Winners
Making Dreams Come True
Natalia Smirnova knows that generations of Russians “were conditioned to think that all they deserved was a one-bedroom apartment in a gloomy, polluted neighborhood comprised of identical cement blocks.” But her Russian immigrant family and many others were shown by their Realtor®, Natalie Rubik, that things could be different, says Smirnova. 

Smirnova is just one of three recent Florida high school graduates who received $5,000 state scholarship awards from Florida Realtors®.

The state winners are Erika Barrs of Lake City; Natalia Smirnova of Tallahassee and Ben Thomas of Geneva.

To read their essays, go to floridarealtors.org/learn.


Short Sales
State Issues Doc Stamp Ruling

The Florida Department of
Revenue (DOR) recently issued a ruling, effective immediately, stating that documentary stamp taxes owed on a short sale should be based on the sale price paid by the purchaser and not on the sale price plus any amount forgiven by the home seller’s lender.

A problem arose because Florida law does not clearly explain doc stamp fees on a short sale; consequently, local governments were making their own decisions and charging different amounts. FAR stepped in to officially request a Technical Assistance Advisory from DOR, which would give Realtors® a specific document that explains the short-sale doc stamp procedure. The TAA is available at floridarealtors.org/LegalCenter/HotTopics/index.cfm.

Still have questions? Contact FAR’s Legal Hotline at (407) 438-1409.


Legal Update
New Condominium Form
Beginning Jan. 1, 2009 an amendment to Florida Condominium Act Chapter 718, Florida Statues, requires each prospective buyer who enters into a contract for the purchase of a residential condominium unit from a seller (who’s not a developer) will also be entitled to receive from the seller a copy of a new form called a “governance” form. 

According to the statute, this form will be created by the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes and is intended as an informal educational overview of condominium governance.

The condominium addendum found in both the FAR/BAR comprehensive rider and FAR comprehensive addendum will be modified to include reference to the condominium governance form.

Questions? Contact FAR’s Legal Hotline at (407) 438-1409.



Hometown Hero
One in a Million
To say that Mike Owen’s life has been one disaster after another is no joke. Whenever catastrophe strikes, you’ll find him alongside a team of volunteers working to restore communities—and lives.

Six months after a tsunami struck Thailand in December 2004, Owen spent two weeks working on the “bucket brigade” of Habitat for Humanity International volunteers who rebuilt homes. “We hauled buckets of concrete down a line and poured the slab for a new house,” says Owen, broker-sales associate with Coldwell Banker in Boca Raton.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Owen spent a week with a team of fellow Florida Realtors® building a Habitat home in Slidell, La. “I love the Habitat program because it involves sweat equity from the people who are receiving the home, so you get to work beside them and get to know them,” he says.
 
In addition to his work with Habitat for Humanity, Owen has been active in literally dozens of Realtor® Association committees, boards, trusts and task forces at both the state and national level for nearly four decades.

Owen has also served on trade missions to Argentina and Brazil, and he’s won numerous awards from his local, state and national associations. In recognition for his contributions and service to the real estate industry, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) recently honored him with the Distinguished Service Award (DSA). He is one of only four Florida Realtors to receive the award since it was first established in 1979.

“I’m totally awed and humbled,” says Owen of receiving the award. “There are certainly so many others who are deserving.”

Want to Contribute?
Habitat for Humanity: habitat.org

Know a Hero?
E-mail suggestions to Associate Editor
Leslie Stone at leslies@far.org.