Closing costs – What are they really? (3/15/2017)
Here’s one common pitfall on the road to a smooth closing:
4 simple ways to avoid legal trouble (3/15/2017)
If you’re not an attorney, don’t give legal advice. If you’re not a tax consultant, don’t point out legal tax deductions.
Property management: A legal overview (3/15/2017)
Most Realtors feel confident about the future, and many are actively growing their businesses. For some that means property management.
Test your ethics: Are these Realtors right or wrong? (3/15/2017)
There’s often a fine line between ethical and unethical behavior. Are these Realtors right or wrong?
Escrow dispute? This could cost your clients money (3/15/2017)
What’s an escrow holder to do if the buyer and seller disagree over who gets the money? If an escrow holder asks a court to take over and files an interpleader action,
You received a FREC complaint. What’s next? (3/2/2017)
If you receive a letter from the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) stating that someone has filed a complaint about your service, you need to respond quickly and appropriately to avoid potential penalties.
Brokers’ top three legal issues today (3/2/2017)
Certain risks never go away, but new issues sometimes don’t even register on brokers’ radar until it’s too late.
FAR/BAR update: Changes worth your attention (3/2/2017)
What has changed in the FloridaRealtors/FloridaBar contract that debuts April 4?
What is a listing’s protection period? When does it apply? (3/2/2017)
This question often pops up on Florida Realtors Legal Hotline. A protection period isn’t a legal concept; however, it’s defined by the language in each specific form.
Most significant change in FAR/BAR update? Financing clause (2/15/2017)
The real estate industry changes and, when it does, the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Residential Contract gets updated. The latest version debuts April 4 and reflects those changes.
Listing status changes: Only MLS rules need apply (2/15/2017)
A buyer and seller sign a contract that includes a specific number of days for the buyer to inspect the property, get financing or both. Should the listing be marked “active” in the
FREC changes CE requirements (2/15/2017)
Fla.’s real estate licensees will soon need to take an ethics course when renewing their license. The change, effective Oct. 1, won’t add hours to the
Closing agent vs. escrow agent: Aren’t they the same thing? (2/15/2017)
The short answer: No, they’re not — except they usually are. In most transactions, the buyer and seller agree to use the same agent for both functions, and some Realtors are surprised by the rare transaction that specifies different agents.
A picture is worth 1,000 words – and maybe a lawsuit (2/1/2017)
“It’s on the Internet” does not mean “I can use this photo wherever I want.”
Is there any leeway in over-55 community rules? (2/1/2017)
The primary rule for over-55 communities – that 80% of units must have at least one resident age 55 or older – isn’t a goal, it’s a minimum fair housing standard.
Power of attorney: When a seller isn’t really the seller (2/1/2017)
Sometimes a third party – often a lawyer or loved one – has the legal right to buy or sell a property on behalf of the owner, who is many times an older adult.
Dear Fair Housing Lady: Did I mess up? (2/1/2017)
A landlord doesn’t accept Social Security benefits, disability benefits or cash as rental income because they can’t be garnished. But he turned down a disabled adult with lots of cash and disability insurance income.
Can I do this – or is it an ethics violation? (2/1/2017)
Can you remove a lockbox without consent? Is it okay to pass on Legal Hotline advice? When showing another broker’s listing, can you float the idea of seller financing with the other broker’s client?
Should I let the owner hold a security deposit? (1/12/2017)
One of our owners insists on holding the security deposit if we manage his property. I am somewhat nervous about this as this owner is not in the best financial shape and may spend the money.
3 ways PACE assessments can impact your closing (1/12/2017)
If a listing boasts about a home’s solar panels and other energy-efficient benefits, how did the seller finance those upgrades?
A fair housing violation? How can that be? (1/12/2017)
If a rental sign says “No Families,” it’s a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act – but other violations aren’t as obvious.
No, you can’t simply copy photos found online (1/12/2017)
A photo, like written content, has copyright protection, meaning someone owns the image and has the right to control its use.
Can you criticize a competitor on social media? (12/20/2016)
Using a personal account on social media to make disparaging comments about another Realtor does not absolve you from a possible ethics violation.
Lease breaks due to medical reasons (12/20/2016)
Every landlord will eventually experience the situation in which the tenant wishes to break a lease due to a family, medical or work issue. Here’s what you need to know.
Can a seller withdraw a counter offer? (12/20/2016)
Your buyers have verbally accepted a counter offer on their dream home. But the seller gets cold feet and withdraws his counter offer. Is the seller’s move legal?
How well do you know RESPA? (12/20/2016)
Here are a few common scenarios involving real estate broker/agent practices that will test your knowledge of what may or may not trigger a RESPA violation.
Does an addendum change a contract’s effective date? (12/15/2016)
You’ve submitted an ASIS Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase and both the buyer and seller have executed it. Two weeks later, the two parties decide to include an addendum. Does that mean the effective date of the contract is changed?
Disclosures: Condo vs. homeowner’s associations (12/15/2016)
Understand the differences in seller disclosure requirements for property located in a condo vs. homeowner’s association for a smooth transaction.
Legal protection for military tenants (12/15/2016)
I recently became a property manager in a town that has a strong military presence. Can you review some of the key laws I should know when working with service members?
Service animals: Can you ask someone to prove need? (12/15/2016)
As a Realtor, the answer is no. But the housing providers you represent may request certain kinds of information of disabled persons.
When ‘no pet’ rules meet assistance animals (12/2/2016)
If you’re working with landlord or community association, knowing the difference between an assistance animal and pet can help avoid legal troubles.
Are you responsible for an incorrect property description? (12/2/2016)
Realtor Regina was excited to take her first listing — a beautiful beachfront home with custom features. In the property description, she made a point to mention the roof was in good condition, since that is what the seller had told her.
Must a rental home’s irrigation system work? (12/2/2016)
New tenants want the property owner to repair the home’s irrigation system, which hasn’t worked in 10 years. Must the owner make this potentially costly repair?
Beware: Wire fraud on the rise (12/2/2016)
Wire fraud cases are on the rise, and buyers are being bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Change your business practices to help ensure you and your customers don’t become victims.
How Airbnb could affect your sales (11/17/2016)
Airbnb, the online service allowing people to host or rent their homes for a fee, has exploded in Florida. But its success is also creating problems for some local governments and hoteliers, and it could impact you as well.
5 Ways to manage social media risks (11/17/2016)
It's great to engage with social media, but there are also some risks that you need to consider, including possible violations of the Realtor Code of Ethics and state and federal laws.
Careful work now can save you from contract pain later (11/17/2016)
At the heart of a successful closing is a contract that’s filled out completely and properly executed by all parties.
Purchase contracts: Deposit required to seal the deal? (11/17/2016)
Several things make a purchase contract legally binding, and earnest money isn’t one of them.
Who’s entitled to a referral fee? (11/17/2016)
As with other payments for real estate services, only real estate brokers may receive referral fees, which they may then distribute to their sales associates. However, Florida law provides an exception to the general rule.
Damage claims and security deposits (11/3/2016)
If a landlord intends to make a claim for damages on a tenant’s security deposit, how quickly and by what means must the landlord file the claim?
Is your website ADA compliant? (11/3/2016)
If your website does not yet meet standards for usability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s time to think about updating it.
6 ways to take title of Florida real estate (11/3/2016)
Who holds title to a property can affect property, income and estate taxes, the ability to transfer title and probate in the event of death.
Can you advertise another broker’s property listing? (11/3/2016)
IDX is a virtual goldmine of data on homes for sale, including photos, narratives and property details. But you have to be careful how you use this information to stay out of legal and ethical trouble.
Resolving escrow disputes starts with this question (11/3/2016)
How a dispute is resolved and who resolves it always starts with the answer to this question: Who is holding the funds?
Deadline nears for Code of Ethics Training (10/13/2016)
If you have not yet completed your NAR mandatory Code of Ethics training, it’s time to get started. The deadline for the current cycle is December 31.
Seller rejects ‘strong’ offer. What are buyer’s rights? (10/13/2016)
Question: I represent a buyer who found his dream home and he submitted a strong offer. The listing agent said the seller really liked the offer. But the seller signed a contract with a different buyer.
Can you solicit another broker’s sales associates? (10/13/2016)
Realtor Tom was disappointed when his top sales associate announced she was moving to a competing brokerage after the competitor recruited her. Tom was frustrated and wondered if it was illegal or unethical for the broker to recruit his salesperson.
How to complete the FHA contract addendum (10/13/2016)
Because the FHA’s lending policies are typically more stringent than those of conventional lenders, you need to pay special attention when helping buyers who plan on FHA financing.
Tax advice for your foreign buyers (9/29/2016)
Establishing a foreign corporation to buy and own U.S. real estate remains a legitimate basic planning tool that your international buyers might wish to consider.
What tasks can an unlicensed assistant perform? (9/29/2016)
Question: There are a number of unlicensed assistants who work with associates in my company.
What happens when a home under contract is damaged? (9/29/2016)
You’ve negotiated a deal and the parties are finally under contract. But then a large storm comes through the area, and part of the roof is damaged. How do the parties handle the repairs? And can the buyer cancel the contract because of the damage?
Cancelled vs. withdrawn listings: Know the differences (9/29/2016)
When sellers terminate their listing agreements, several scenarios can result. It is essential that you handle each carefully to stay on the right side of the law and of your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) rules.