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Real estate disputes persist over preservation of older homes

A battle is going on concerning the preservation of a mansion sitting on Miami Beach’s Star Island.  The home was built in 1925 and designed by the first registered architect in Florida.  The mansion is now scheduled for demolition.

Developers are hoping to tear the home down in order to create a 20,000-square-foot estate at or near the same location.  However, while reexamining whether historic homes like this can be saved, there is a push going on to save the mansion.  Miami Beach officials have now held a number of meetings looking for ways to update preservation laws that would protect these mansions from being torn down and preventing certain kinds of structures from being erected.

The tearing down of the Art Deco Senator Hotel in 1988 resulted in the creation of legislation to protect historic buildings. Home preservationists are hoping for similar legislative action to be taken concerning historic homes as well. While Miami Beach commissioners did approve certain changes back in February, many preservationists are of the opinion that the new laws did not provide enough protection.

Changes to these laws may not be easy to accomplish and there is concern that many older homes will be destroyed before any new laws are put in place. The circumstances in Miami Beach may have been made even more complicated in that the land in the area is often valued at more than the house itself.

Real estate disputes often pit one side in favor of more restrictive regulations against those that want fewer impediments upon the manner in which they use their property. Resolution of such disputes may require attorneys and other authorities getting in the middle to negotiate with both sides concerning real estate solutions.

For more information about real estate disputes, contact our experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: Miami Herald, “Battle to save Miami Beach’s old homes may not be over,” Christina Vega, March 3, 2014

Core commercial real estate luring in investors

Investors have become more cautious since the real estate market debacle in 2008.  A great many high-risk property fund managers that relied heavily on debt financing ended up in collapse during this period.

One response has been for investors to take a greater interest in core real estate.  Though the increased demand for “core” buildings has resulted in lesser returns, many investors are looking at core real estate due to inflationary concerns.  JP Morgan Chase & Co. has in place a $21 billion core fund.  Blackstone Group LP has also been moving into the core business.

While many of these core properties have been purchased, there are still a substantial number of opportunities for investors. Three-year net returns through 2013 are notably higher than returns have been in a number of decades. The return on core real estate has been better than commercial bonds over this same period.

There are relatively lower debt levels with core buildings than with many of the so-called high risk assets. Also, the majority of real estate investment overall now includes core assets.

We need to keep in mind just how large the real estate investment market is. Worldwide it is close to $29 trillion with the U.S. accounting for $7.3 trillion of this.

When speaking of real estate luring matters, experienced attorneys are needed when it comes to commercial closings and disputes. These attorneys can also provide advice when it comes to tax and title issues, financing, zoning, construction, etc. Considering that millions of dollars are invested every year in Florida alone, having a second set of eyes to make certain that transactions are properly conducted is an invaluable service.

If you have questions or need more information about core commercial real estate luring, contact the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Office Towers Better Than Bonds Luring Global Investors,” Hui-yong Yu, March 11, 2014

Possible real estate scheme leads to florida taking legal action

One Boca Raton-based land trust company was named in a judgment involving hundreds of homes across Florida. The company acquired close to 100 homes in Palm Beach County and was said to have owned more than 250 properties statewide. However, the state shut the company down in September 2012 over what the Florida attorney general stated was a foreclosure-rescue scheme.

A judgment against the firm rescinded deeds that were signed over to the firm in Palm Beach County. A suit brought by the attorney general’s office in Broward County continues, however.

The scheme involved the firm telling homeowners that they could cancel the mortgages by suing the lender after the homeowner signed over the deed to them. The firm would then offer new mortgages to borrowers through another company.

The judgment on this matter stated that the firm “made false and deceptive or unfair promises and representations to consumers” and those titles were transferred without consideration while consumers were asked to pay thousands of dollars in advance fees for undeliverable services.

While deeds were signed back to the original homeowners, attorneys continued taking steps to ensure that titles were cleared. This was necessary due to an order by the attorney general freezing the assets. There was also concern that alleged scams such as this makes it difficult for other consumers who have legitimate defenses to foreclosure.

Please speak to licensed attorneys rather than firms who provide advice and options that are too good to be true. Such a circumstance indicates just how difficult and complicated real estate disputes can turn out to be. Home buyers and sellers need legitimate real estate solutions along with ethical representation concerning ownership issues.

For more information about real estate law, contact the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Clouded titles cleared in land trust case,” Kimberly Miller, March 17, 2014

Investor strategies may artificially drive up home prices

Since the end of the economic recession, home prices have been on the rise.  Home prices rose across Florida last year by 20 percent or more.  Not everyone is pleased as middle-class buyers have still not always had a place to turn.

Many real estate investors have been moving into the residential market and buying distressed properties in bulk.  These investors are aiming at properties that are subject to short sales or foreclosures.  Investors have been spending billions on these properties and then often placing the homes back on the market as rentals.

The intent of an investor is to attempt to buy properties at discount and rent the homes out until property values rise.  The homes may actually only go up for sale when the investor feels that they can make a profit.  Meanwhile, homeowners that have gone through foreclosure find themselves renting properties in the same neighborhood.

However, other home buyers may feel left out of the market.  Mortgages can be hard to come by when credit is so tight.  And the bargain homes are usually bought up by investors who can pay cash.  In some circumstances these investors are paying 25 to 50 percent more than the asking price on property.  This obviously will drive up prices.

Due to such circumstances we now have a substantial portion of our population paying at least 50 percent of their income towards housing expenses.  This could result in problems down the road when homeowners are no longer able to make such payments.

Homeowners often need the aggressive representation of lawyers who will look out for their interests.  When a homeowner finds himself in trouble in making house payments, certain foreclosure alternatives are needed.  Please speak to an experienced real estate lawyer to find out what those options could be.

If you have questions or need more information about Investor Strategies, contact the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: NPR, “Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, and Not Everyone’s Pleased,” Greg Allen, March 10, 2014

Financing still tight in south florida real estate market

While the commercial real estate market in South Florida appears to be improving, lenders are still hesitant to finance a number of real estate transactions. A number of critics feel that federal regulators and lenders are in fact slowing down recovery by turning away borrowers that are creditworthy.

The tighter restrictions came about in part due to the loose lending standards that in part led to the housing bubble. However, there is now concern that restrictions are too tight. One Florida County reportedly had 65 percent of commercial transactions involve “all cash.” “That really narrows the pool of buyers, which means it narrows the speed of the recovery,” stated one real estate broker.

Many developers’ credit scores had taken hits during the recession. While credit has become more available, it is still mainly only for a few creditors. Larger home builders are able to obtain credit, but this isn’t necessarily true of smaller ones.

We will need to wait and see as to whether restrictions will lighten in the coming years. It will also likely take time before credit ratings for many borrowers will go back up. In the meantime, developers are often forced to find financing through what are considered non-traditional sources.

Under such circumstances commercial buyers are in need of real estate solutions that certain attorneys can offer. This is especially true when borrowers are faced with tight restrictions placed upon financing. Attorneys can be involved in negotiations concerning commercial closings or disputes. They can also provide additional options for getting a new real estate development underway.

To find out more about financing, contact the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A. 

Source: News-Press, “Credit Catc-22 hampers Southwest Florida real estate market,” Dick Hogan, March 1, 2014

Miami foreclosure rate fell but is still above national average

The foreclosure rate in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall area had fallen to 8.72 percent in December. While this is down significantly from the 14.38 percent rate we saw one year earlier, it is still much too high. The national foreclosure rate is at 2.09 percent. The foreclosure rate across Florida was listed at 6.67 percent in December as compared to the 10.27 percent rate in December 2013.

The mortgage delinquency rate had also improved in the Miami area. While it was listed at 14.99 percent rate in December, a year earlier it was at 20.79 percent. Again, compared to the national rate of 5.03 percent in December, the Miami rate of delinquencies is also significantly high.

We can only guess at why the Miami foreclosure rates are higher than in other parts of the country. But what is significant about these statistics is that a significant number of individuals are still underwater in today’s economy as pertains to their mortgage.

Those facing foreclosure need to understand the legal options that attorneys working in this area can provide for them. Foreclosure defense can include loan modifications or proposal of other alternatives that will keep families in their homes. Short sales where a homeowner sells a home for less than what is owed to the bank are sometimes conducted. And in certain dire circumstances a deed in lieu of foreclosure may be worked out where the homeowner turns the home over to the lender and is thus no longer responsible for any more homeowner obligations.

Though alternatives are available, each option requires careful consideration. Please speak to a qualified attorney in this area before making any decisions.

Contact the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A. today to find out more about for foreclosure rates.

Source: Miami Herald Business, “Miami area foreclosure rate fell again in December,” Martha Brannigan, Feb. 24, 2014

Florida real estate dispute goes back to eminent domain action

A proposed Florida development has been delayed by officials who say they need more time to look over project information.  The information contained in the proposal was delivered by an attorney and concerns a legal dispute, property ownership and storm-water drainage.

The Main Street Redevelopment Board had three board members abstaining on any vote to go ahead with the proposed Daytona Boardwalk building due to possible conflicts of interest.  Other members of the board decided to put off discussion on the matter until the next meeting scheduled for March 12.

The City Redevelopment Director stated that technical and legal issued needed to be resolved. There has apparently been an effort to put a new hotel on a portion of the Boardwalk for around 25 years.

Though much of the land had been acquired a decade ago through eminent domain, a seizure of one particular piece of land resulted in a legal dispute. And even if a decision is made by the board, an appeal could be made by one of the parties to the City Commission.

Real estate disputes involving complex issues like eminent domain and building of commercial property require experienced representation. Attorneys who thoroughly understand real estate law and have provided a variety of real estate services are needed when these sorts of disputes arise. The transactions involved in such disputes can be complicated and may need to be traced back a number of years. Also resolution of the dispute can often determine which parties can control a particular piece of land.

Find out more about real estate and domain action by contacting the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Board delays vote on building proposed for Daytona Boardwalk,” Eileen Zaffiro-Kean, Feb. 12, 2014

Commercial real estate refinanced to have more time to sell

One South Florida property owner has refinanced in order to be provided more time to sell the land. The loan has been negotiated by a Miami-based firm for $36.5 million and involves vacant tracts in Hillsboro Beach and Boynton Beach. The commercial real estate lender has provided the loan over a period of 24 months.

The parcels in question are said to allow buyers the ability to develop “very unique projects.” Some of the tracts are zoned for condominiums or luxury homes. One site has been approved for a shopping mall. And for one other piece of property, an application for a zoning change has been made in hopes that a resort hotel could be built there. The lender is confident that the real estate will increase in value over time.

Loan modifications and other real estate solutions can often mean the difference between providing a profitable enterprise and a missed opportunity. Attorneys that understand this area of law can also provide a wide variety of solutions when it comes to trying to figure the financing out. They can make certain that clients understand the benefits and possible consequences when it comes to reworking of a loan.

These attorneys can also provide additional services when it comes to real estate matters. This can include representation at closings and the intervening in disputes that could prove costly. Commercial real estate ventures can involve millions of dollars trading hands. It can also result in disputes when misunderstandings arise concerning the ways that land can be developed or used.

Contact an experienced Foreclosure Defense Attorney in Miami at the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “South Florida landowner refinances, buys time to sell,” Paul Owens, Jan. 31, 2014

Home prices rose significantly during 2013

According to a home price index, home prices including distressed sales increased nationwide by 11 percent from December 2012 until December 2013.  During that same period (and excluding distressed sales), Florida home prices increased by 11.5 percent, which was the fifth highest in the nation.

The 11 percent increase was the highest rate seen since 2005.  These increases were seen in almost every statistical area.  It’s important to note that these increases were at an all-time high for 10 separate states.  While this will likely unlock a pent-up supply due to the attraction of sellers, prices are likely to moderate during 2014.

It is hoped that the home price gains in 2013 will help provide for a continuing recovery for the housing sector throughout 2014. This also bodes well for a lasting recovery in single family residential housing across the nation.

Hopefully with a stronger market better real estate solutions will be available for those underwater on their mortgage. There are already a number of laws in place to assist individuals under these circumstances.

Foreclosure defense attorneys can provide such individuals with a number of legal options. These attorneys can negotiate with banks and other lending institutions and such negotiations can often work to the advantage of both the homeowner and the bank. Attorneys may also be familiar with a number of programs that provide incentives for loan modifications to take place. This can involve loan modifications or a number of other legal defenses. Forbearance agreements can also be obtained that will allow for a foreclosure to be delayed.

Contact an experienced Miami Foreclosure Defense Lawyer for more information about the rise of home prices and foreclosure at the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.

Source: National Mortgage Professional, “CoreLogic: Annual Home Price Growth Strongest Since 2005,” Feb. 4, 2014

Number of investors buying real estate in florida goes up in 2013

Despite rising home prices, the Florida real estate market appears to remain strong. While nine percent of home purchases in Florida were made by institutional investors in 2012, this number rose to 12 percent in 2013. On a national scale, seven percent of purchases in 2013 involved investor sales. There were 5.8 percent of sales made up by investors on a national scale in 2012.

Local investors appear concerned many large out-of-state investors are overpaying on homes and thus driving up prices. This would include Wall Street investors such as Blackrock that owns Invitation Homes. “It’s what I call the corporatization of residential America,” said the chief executive of a research and consulting business. This individual feels that homes in many communities are being purchased in large percentages by corporations. However, the long-term consequences for that community are not being discussed.

Commercial real estate disputes are complex to begin with.  Large investors are likely becoming involved in such investments because they view investments as a means of making even more money.  Unfortunately, this can place smaller investors at a disadvantage in the event that they are harmed due to the practices of large investors.

In such a market as this, commercial investors will require various real estate solutions that can be provided by capable real estate attorneys.  This can include handling of commercial closings or representation in the event of real estate disputes.  It can also involve consultation regarding possible red flags that could be raised during a commercial real estate offer.

Contact an experienced Miami Foreclosure Defense Attorney  at the Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A. to find out more.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Florida real estate investor invasion,” Kim Miller, Jan. 27, 2014