ISABELLE ANDREWS P.A.
305.546.5421
theteam@groveexperts.com

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When purchasing real estate in Florida, it is important to assemble a team of professionals that will look out for your best interests. In addition to a seasoned real estate agent, many home buyers and sellers hire a real estate attorney to ensure that all legal issues are addressed and handled in their best interests. This professional can perform a number of services, including the following:

Review Documents

A real estate attorney can review an offer you make or receive. He or she can check for the legal responsibilities included in the offer and the effect contingencies can have on the transaction. Additionally, many real estate attorneys review deeds and other documents to ensure that the title is clear.

Draft Documents

A real estate attorney can ensure that all legal duties are clearly spelled out in the offer and purchase agreement. In case of legal trouble, it helps to have an attorney on hand who can help prevent ambiguity. While standard forms may work for many buyers and sellers, an attorney can draft an agreement based on the specific details of a transaction. A real estate attorney may accompany you to closing or advide you beforehand to ensure that all of the necessary documents are in order and accurate.

While you technically can buy or sell a property without a lawyer’s assistance, this may be the largest purchase of your lifetime, so it is usually prudent to ensure you have competent representation to protect your legal interests.

A Note on Title Companies

Real estate attorneys should not be confused with title companies, which insure good title to the property. A title insurance company insures that a title is free and clear of any encumbrances or clouds on the title that could negatively impact the value of a property. While this is an important service, title insurance companies do not practice law. Any lawyer that is working for such a company represents the title insurance company’s interests, not yours.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

Florida homeowners who own real estate that is their primary residence or who have a dependent who resides in such property can qualify for a homestead exemption. This exemption has important tax and creditor implications.

Tax Implications

In Florida, homeowners who qualify for a homestead exemption can receive an exemption off of the amount of property taxes that would be due, up to $50,000. The first half of the exemption applies to all property taxes, including taxes for school districts. The remaining $25,000 exemption applies to the assessed value of the home between $50,000 and $75,000. The second half of the exemption applies only to those taxes that are non-school district taxes. In order to receive this exemption, you must file the necessary paperwork with the county tax assessor.

Creditor Implications

Having a property considered a homestead in Florida carries important implications for creditors. Florida does not permit most creditors to levy or execute property that is considered the debtor’s homestead. According to Florida law, the homestead is the debtor’s principal place of residence and includes up to one half of an acre within a municipality or 160 acres outside a municipality. Even if a creditor has sued a debtor, won the case and seeks to satisfy the judgment, the property cannot be attached in this manner.

There are certain exceptions to this rule. The property can still have a lien on it because of back taxes or from a contractor who has made improvements to the property. Additionally, banks and other lenders who have provided a mortgage on the property can still have a lien on the property and execute its sale. The exemption only applies to property that was purchased by a natural person or trust and does not apply to purchases made by corporations, LLCs or similar entities.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

Florida real estate taxes can vary widely from one area of the state to the next because of complex rules that determine the value of a property. In order to determine how much someone will pay in Florida real estate taxes, this sequential process is followed:

Appraiser Determines Just Value

The property appraiser assesses all real property on January 1. This is often between 85 and 95 percent of the value of the home. A new homeowner’s assessed value is the just value. For other property owners in which the property is their homestead, the following year’s assessed value cannot legally be increased by more than 3% or by the Consumer Price Index, whichever figure is less. For non-homestead properties, an increase in appraised value can be up to 10% each year.

Exemptions and Limitations Are Made

Limitations and exemptions are then subtracted from the original figure. These may include the homestead exemption, veteran’s exemption, widow’s exemption or other limitations or exemptions permitted by the state or county. Once these deductions are made, the new figure becomes the property’s taxable value.

Millage Rate Is Applied

The final number that is used in this computation is the millage rate, which is established by the taxing district. The taxing district determines this rate by dividing its total proposed budget by the total taxable value of all real property in the taxing district. The millage rate is the amount that is applied per $1,000 of assessed value. For example a millage rate of “25” would result in $25 per $1,000 of the assessed value. For a home with a taxable value of $1,000,000, the tax liability based on this computation would be $25,000. Property owners may receive a discount for paying taxes early.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

We are very excited to share big news about us. This is our third year achieving the Chairman’s Club-Diamond Level Award. The award goes to the EWM Realty International/Christie’s Top Producers each year. We could not have done this without the support and business of our fellow Grovites and past clients. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude for the continued business.

Thank you, muchas gracias, merci and grazie.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

Repairs

The traditional FAR/Bar contract obligates the seller to repair or provide a credit to the buyer for repairs up to a certain amount. The default amount is 1.5 percent of the purchase price. These repairs, including any mold found, items needing structural repair and wood rot from termites and other wood-destroying organisms. The seller is required to make the necessary repairs up to the contracted amount and the buyer is obligated to move forward with the contract. In comparison, the as-is contract specifically states that the seller will not be responsible for any repairs. However, the buyer can still have an inspection completed on the property to determine any problems with it.

Permits

Under the traditional Far/Bar contract, the buyer agrees to close open permits and acquire permits for any unpermitted improvements up to the limit provided in the contract. In the as-is contract, the seller must cooperate with this process but does not have to expend any funds for this purpose.

Inspection Period

The Far/Bar contract provides for a longer inspection period than the as-is contract. The Far/Bar contract allows for an inspection of 15 days after the contract’s effective date of five days before closing to complete inspections, whichever is earlier. The inspection period for an as-is contract is fifteen days after the effective date of the contract or the period designated by the seller if written in.

Right to Cancel

One of the primary differences between the two contracts is how cancellation is handled. The Far/Bar contract gives the buyer the absolute right to cancel the purchase agreement for any reason until the expiration period. With the as-is contract, the buyer can still cancel, but only within a certain number of days from when the home inspection is completed and before the inspection period expires.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

The Florida As-Is Contract is the most commonly used standard real estate contracts. This form is often required for bank-owned foreclosure sales and short sales. Knowing the key characteristics of this form can help buyers protect their legal interests.

The foundation of the as-is contract is that the buyer agrees to purchase the property is its current condition and the seller makes no promises to pay for any necessary repairs. REOs, shorts sales, foreclosures and other distressed sales commonly use this type of contract because banks usually are not willing to perform additional repairs when the owners are already underwater in the homes.

However, the buyer is usually able to have an inspection completed. The seller does not have to repair anything that is discovered during the inspection. The buyer has the right to cancel the contract at his or her sole discretion. Even if the buyer has disclosed known problems about the house and this information is included on the Property Disclosure, the buyer has the right to cancel the purchase if he or she does not like the information revealed in the property inspection. The buyer can essentially back out of the purchase agreement for nearly any reason. However, he or she must exercise this rights within the permitted timeframe after the inspection is completed. If he or she cancels the contract within the proper timeframe, he or she can usually receive the earnest money back, also.

Although the seller does not have to make any repairs, the parties still have the right to negotiate if they encounter a major problem. Although the term “as-is” may seem intimidating and risky, the ability to have the inspection and cancel the contract provides a safety cushion for buyers who enter into such agreements. A Florida real estate agent can discuss your options regarding such contracts and whether this type of contract will protect your interests in your particular situation.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

Today during our search for waterfront properties in Coconut Grove, we stumbled upon these scenes. We have lived here for the past eleven years and are still astounded by the beauty that we see every single day. We wanted to share the moments.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

There are significant differences between buying a home outright with cash and financing its purchase through a mortgage. Some of these key distinctions include:

Mortgage Qualification

If you are buying a house with cash, you can completely sidestep the often lengthy and exhausting process of applying for a mortgage. Those who do finance with a mortgage must meet with one or more potential lenders, complete applications and submit a long list of forms to determine whether or not they will qualify for a mortgage. A person buying with cash can purchase the property without worrying about his or her credit score or whether he meets a minimum level of income.

Closing

While you will still be responsible for some closing costs if you pay with cash, many of them are eliminated. For example, you will not have to pay a mortgage origination fee, underwriting fee or appraisal fee if you do not want to have the value of the home independently assessed. Additionally, the closing period for a cash transaction is often faster than it is when using a lender, often completed within 30 days or less.

Tax Consequences

In most instances, a buyer’s mortgage interest payments are tax deductible, which results in a lower tax liability for the buyer.

Insurance

Cash buyers can opt whether or not they wish to insure their home and for what premiums. Mortgage buyers do not really have this choice as the lender will require specific insurance to protect its own interest in the property.

Tying Up Funds

When a person purchases a property with cash, the cash is gone. A person with a mortgage may have greater access to funds because the home is only costing the mortgage payment and other related payments. If a person is purchasing a property as an investment, it may not make financial sense to skip paying mortgage interest when the buyer could otherwise invest in something that would yield a higher return.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, call Isabelle Andrews at 305-546-5421, Alba Biondi at 305-323-2595, or email us at theteam@groveexperts.com.

Grove Experts

EWM 2015 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2014 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

EWM 2013 Chairman's Club - Diamond Level

We Believe Coconut Grove is Extraordinary.
Our Purpose is to introduce Coconut Grove to the world as the ultimate neighborhood for people in search of beauty, tropical elegance, and a high quality of life. The pursuit of our client's happiness and satisfaction is at the heart of our team's culture.



 

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