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Naples Real Estate Law Blog

Yes, you can bounce back after foreclosure

No homeowner wants to lose a home in foreclosure. Unfortunately, many can and do go through this every day in the U.S. If you are among those who have recently lost a home, you can be feeling hopeless, embarrassed and scared about the future during this difficult time.

However, you must understand that you are not alone and you have options that can help you recover from a foreclosure and even get another home.

Disputes over land use can be a slippery slope

Imagine you have recently bought a home in Naples. The property wasn't cheap, but you loved the area and the views. And while you love the home, maybe there are some changes you want to make. Your options can all be pretty straightforward in this situation, unless you share some of your property with your neighbors or are part of a homeowners' association.

In these situations, your options for changing your property can be far more limited or difficult than you expect because someone else can have a say in what you do. And when disputes over land use arise, they can quickly get nasty and expensive.

Does your Homeowners' Association (HOA) have to be incorporated?

Yes, it matters if your homeowners' association (HOA) is incorporated. Pursuant to Florida Statute ยง720.303, "an association must be incorporated. . . ."  You can view the entire statute here.  The governing documents must be recorded in the official records of the county where the HOA is located.  The governing documents include, but are not limited to, articles of incorporation, which establishes the existence of the corporation.

It is important to note that the board of directors of an HOA has authority to act on behalf of its members, including, but not limited to, the bringing or defending of particular actions.  However, members (unit owners) of an HOA may not act on behalf of the HOA.  Only the Board and its duly elected officers can act on behalf of the association. Therefore, it is important that your HOA is properly formed and operated.

Unit owners do have many rights. For instance, they have the right to attend board meetings to listen in on the board's deliberations.  Unit owners also have the right to records of the corporation.

Real Estate Purchase and Sale - Can I get my deposit back?

When you are buying, building or renting a home, it is common to pay some sort of deposit. This money can serve different purposes. A security deposit for a lease can be used for things like repairing damage done by a tenant. If the deposit is for a new home being built, it can be used to reserve land. An earnest money deposit on an existing home can be considered an indication of a buyer's serious and good faith intention to purchase the home.

No matter what type of deposit you pay, it can be a substantial amount, which means that you will want to be sure that you are getting what you were promised in exchange for the deposit. If this doesn't happen or if an agreement falls through, getting your deposit back can be a top priority. While it can be difficult to recover your deposit, it is not always impossible.

Online shopping and its impact on commercial real estate

What commercial real estate markets are like and what businesses and investors are looking for from commercial properties are constantly shifting things. They can be affected by all different sorts of factors, including: economic trends (local and global), demographic shifts, financing conditions, political environment, business trends and general society trends.

One trend that could have big impacts in commercial real estate in upcoming months and years is the trend of people moving more towards online purchases when it comes to their shopping habits. This trend has led some businesses to change their focus regarding what they use their brick-and-mortar locations for.

Report: Women are more likely to face predatory lending penalties

Imagine you are barely making ends meet and have a mortgage payment coming up in a few weeks. You watch your spending very closely and cut expenses, and think you are in the clear and can cover your mortgage when a pipe bursts in your house. All that money you saved for your mortgage now needs to go to the company fixing your pipes.

If this is not the first time you've missed a mortgage payment, you could be facing foreclosure. In an effort to avoid this, imagine you take out a payday loan. Unfortunately, this decision could ultimately make your situation much, much worse. And according to a recent report, women find themselves in this position more often than men.

Protecting property from unwelcome parties with legal guidance

Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable, safe and free to do whatever you want. However, there are many situations in which your ability to do these things can be jeopardized by unwelcome guests. If you are currently dealing with someone or something that is unlawfully accessing your property, legal action can be necessary.

There are many ways people violate the rights of a homeowner by using property improperly, all of which should be taken very seriously.

Community Associations - Dealing with HOAs when you miss a payment

If you live in a home that is part of a homeowners association, you should be well aware of your expectations to pay regular fees. These payments go toward maintenance of shared areas and amenities, building improvements and repairs as well as other expenses and services shared by members of the association.

Missing a payment to the HOA may not seem like a big deal, but the fact is delinquency is taken very seriously by associations all across Florida. If you miss a payment, you could be in some legal and financial hot water.

Real Estate Disputes -- Buyer's Right to Possession

What can I do when I buy a house but the Seller won't move out? Can I force him out? YES.

This doesn't happen often, but it does happen.   I was once consulted by a home buyer who did everything right.  She wired her funds to the title company, attended closing and signed all the paperwork requested.  The Seller did his part (up to a point)-- he timely signed and delivered the deed, etc.  But then the Seller just didn't move out!

Most purchase and sale agreements require the Seller to give the Buyer possession and occupancy upon closing.  The FAR/BAR contract, a standard agreement used throughout Florida, says clearly that TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The NABOR contract, often seen in Naples and Marco Island, FL, is not as definite, it says: 'Time is of the essence for closing,' which would likely amount to the same thing in this particular situation.

(Sometimes, there is a post -occupancy agreement, but there was no such agreement in this situation).

What could the Purchaser do??????

Same Sex Marriage and Real Estate -- Florida Homestead

Question: If my same sex spouse and I were legally married in another state, but now live in Florida, are we entitled to all homestead protections and benefits?

Answer:  Yes, it appears so, as to at least some aspects of homestead law. Florida homestead is not merely a statute, it's part of the Florida constitution and has several parts. It is a lot more than an exemption on your property tax bill!  While we must wait for Florida court cases to be absolutely sure, it seems extremely likely that a legally married lesbian or homosexual couple's homestead property would be entitled to protection from the claims of creditors.

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