purchase

Breaking News for Home Buyers in Florida!

Here’s the thing about mortgage rates, that, as a real estate lawyer in Florida, people are always inquiring about:

When are mortgage rates expected to change and how will this affect the housing market?

It seems that when the real estate and financial markets have provided us with lower mortgage rates, we’re constantly questioning how long this will last and when they’ll increase. And of course, when rates are high, we’re asking the same questions – only hoping for rates to go down.

And it’s a smart question to ask, considering most first-time home buyers will require a mortgage, and mortgage approval, to make their home purchase dreams come true.

In the final quarter of 2016, for the eleventh straight quarter, a greater number of mortgage lenders reduced their loan approval standards than those which increased them, according to Mortgage Reports. This is great news for those looking to buy a home in Florida, or anywhere else in the country – but of course, that nagging question of “how long will this last?” creeps up again.

Well, the breaking news that hit the internet airwaves this week answered that question for us, at least when it comes to interest rates.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, a leader in real estate law, estate planning law, and business law, we give you the news that will keep best informed on your search for a new home.

As reported in the Economy section in the New York Times this week, the Federal Reserve just raised interest rates for the third time since the financial crisis.

The second increase in two months, was described by the Fed’s chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as a result of the fact that “the Fed did not share the optimism of stock market investors and some business executives that economic growth is gaining speed.”

Additionally, she added that the longer-term outlook is less clear than it is for the next two years where optimism remains the overall consensus.

So, what does this mean for the real estate market in Florida?

According to Forbes, this change will be good for business!  With lower rates in the past, lenders were not willing to take the gamble on certain people or businesses because the spread (the difference between what they pay for capital and what they charge borrowers)

was too thin. Now, lenders are more likely to actually lend, which means more money for the economy.

It also means, that no matter whether you’re thinking of purchasing, selling, or asking questions related to real estate in Florida, Grimaldi Law Firm is here to keep you informed, up to date, and in great hands.

With an economy that is constantly in flux, and with so much to know regarding the ins and outs of real estate, we want to help make sure you understand every little thing. Consider Grimaldi Law Firm, in Hollywood, Florida your partner in real estate.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

About the Author:  Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note: The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

Do You Qualify for Homestead Exemption in Florida?

As a real estate attorney in Florida, I am asked a lot of questions about how new home buyers can take advantage of Florida’s homestead exemption.

As we recently reported, Florida is a homestead state, meaning Florida homeowners can file for a homestead exemption worth up to $50,000. This exemption reduces the amount of taxes you’ll pay on your property, and puts a cap on how much your taxes might increase on a yearly basis without it.

And who wouldn’t want to save all money after buying a home in Florida?

Grimaldi Law Firm, a leading real estate law and estate planning firm in Hollywood wants to help you get all that organized. 

So, before you run to file your paperwork, it’s important that you know whether you qualify for Florida’s Homestead exemption.

If you have purchased a home, condo, or manufactured home, with up to 20 acres of land used only for personal enjoyment, your home is considered a “homestead.”

Other homestead exemption requirements include that you:

  • Submit the application for homestead exemption before the deadline (between January 1 to March 1 in the tri-county area as of the date of this blog) of the year during which you want the exemption.
  • Own your home on January 1st. (For example, if you purchased your home in May of a particular year, you must wait until the next year to file your application.)
  • Must be an individual homeowner, as corporations and/or entities are not permitted to apply.
  • Use the home as your principal residence on January 1 of the year you are applying, and only claim this property as your homestead – not multiple.

One other great fact to know about the homestead exemption? Once you file your application and you are approved for your exemption, you won’t have to worry about reapplying each year that you live in your home. Your application will renew automatically one year from the date you filed, and if you should sell your house, it’s up to the new owner to file for their own exemption.  You will receive a document in the mail every year asking for any changes to your designation of your homestead: but as long as you are still living there as your primary residence you do not need to do anything!

And here’s another bonus – a homestead property ALSO means that your asset, your home, is now protected from most creditors.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, we are happy to help you with any of your needs or questions when it comes to real estate law. Whether you are buying or selling a home, or involved in a probate case that involves property – we’re here to help, anytime.

Grimaldi Law Firm – where your future, is our present.

Helpful Links:

To apply for your homestead exemption in Palm Beach County:

http://www.pbcgov.com/papa/AdValoremTaxExemption.htm

To apply for your homestead exemption in Miami/Dade County:

https://www8.miamidade.gov/Apps/PA/PAOnlineTools/AutoOnlineFile/ExemptionOnlineMainMenu.aspx

To apply for your homestead exemption in Broward County:

https://bcpasecure.net/homesteadonline/web/index.aspx

About the Author:  Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

You Wouldn’t Go to a Dentist for Back Surgery, Would You? Then Learn How to Hire the RIGHT Lawyer for Your Legal Needs in Florida

As the owner and founder of Grimaldi Law Firm, I can’t even believe I have to say this. Maybe it’s because I’m blinded by the law, always sticking to the straight and narrow and doing things the “kosher” way – but more and more, I’m seeing examples of poor, innocent (or not so innocent) souls having to clean up their legal messes.

Why?

Because believe it or not, there are still people out there who will hire unlicensed people to handle their legal matters, or provide them with legal representation in the state of Florida.

I know what you’re thinking – how could anyone let this happen? Trust me, I’ve had this thought many times before, but each time I take on a case or matter to fix a misrepresented issue, I realize that the client usually did not know better.

Which is precisely why I’m glad you’re reading this - because knowledge is power.

Not long ago, an international client came to me in despair after he had hired a Notary Public in the state of Florida to prepare a deed after his grandmother passed away. Since this client did not know what a legal deed entailed, and the Notary did not know how to properly execute the matters of the deed, only half of the interest for the property was transferred, with the remaining 50% left missing in action. The client was under the assumption that this deed had the inheritance built in and that all the estate matters of the deceased grandmother were taken care of. The problem? Well, aside from this client not hiring a real estate attorney in Florida, the Notary didn't know how to create a document that held weight with the law. This would have cost them only $300 to the first time with a licensed attorney in Florida, but having to backtrack after the fact and fix all the mistakes cost him almost $8,000. Ten years later, when trying to sell the property, they had to go through the court system to fix all of the errors.

Think that’s bad? Just wait, there’s more.

Another client of mine purchased a coop in south Florida, and relied on an out-of-state attorney to handle the trust for them. This attorney sold them an invalid trust document that he printed from the internet, which was invalid and did not protect them in any way. Had I caught the errors any later than I had, they would have had to go through probate.

So what is the average person to do when looking to hire a professional and trustworthy attorney in Florida? Don’t trust just anyone, for one!

  1. Hire a real attorney.

Again, I can’t believe I have to say this, but I just want to make sure I reiterate the obvious. A real, licensed by the Florida Bar Attorney, will be able to represent you the right way, with no mess to clean up later.

  1. Do your research.

Not every attorney has a great reputation. When lawyers make mistakes that are unethical, they are disbarred and no longer allowed to legally represent clients. Do your due diligence and check in the with Florida Bar and get some scoop on the attorney you’re about to hire – by first making sure they’re in good standing with the bar.

  1. Make sure they concentrate on the areas you're looking for legal representation in.

You wouldn’t go to the dentist for back surgery, would you? Looking to hire a real estate attorney in Florida to sell your house? Great, don’t hire a personal injury lawyer. Need to plan for your family’s financial future with a great estate planning attorney? Smart move – just don’t hire a commercial litigator to handle it for you. You get the point, right?

And above all else, consider Grimaldi Law Firm a trusted source of knowledge, law, and professionalism on your journey to resolve your legal situations.

Grimaldi Law Firm, where your future is our present.

Grimaldi Law Firm is conveniently located in Hollywood, Florida, just minutes east of I95.

About the Author:  Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law.  She can be reached at (954) 491-8707 or melinda@grimaldi-law.com.

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

 For more tips and advice on estate planning and probate in Florida, real estate in Florida, or for any of your business law concerns, the Grimaldi Law Firm votes YES to helping you.

Grimaldi Law Firm: Property. Planning. Protection.

 

Stay Calm, Home Buyers! Title Insurance has your back!

For most people, the largest and most important purchase they will make in their lives is the purchase of their home. With so much money saved up to make the real estate purchase, and so much energy put into the process of buying the home, it’s a good thing home buyers in South Florida, or anywhere, most individuals want to feel a sense of security and peace of mind tied to the decision.

The solution to put all worries and home buying concerns to rest? Title insurance.

Grimaldi Law Firm, a leading real estate law firm in South Florida, has committed to helping clients obtain this form of insurance for quite some time now. Title insurance insures an owner or lender against financial loss from title defects, liens, encumbrances, or other problems with the title of real property.

Feeling better yet? Great! But wait, there’s more!

Title insurance also covers losses and damages suffered if the title is unmarketable (or unsellable) or if there is no right of access to the land. The amount of coverage of your title insurance policy is typically in line with the sale price of the property. And Grimaldi Law firm will not only help you obtain the title insurance your property needs, we will answer the many questions along the way.

Although most insurance policies are a contract where the insurer indemnifies or reimburses another party against possible specific types of loss at a future date (such as an accident or death), title insurance generally insures against losses caused by title problems that have occurred in past events. The underwriter or insurance company providing the policy will serve to defend against a lawsuit attacking the title of the property or reimburse the owner for the actual monetary loss caused by the defect, up to the dollar amount of insurance provided by the policy. Title insurance can be issued by a law firm or title insurance company, but it is best to hire a law firm so that you get legal representation throughout your transaction as well.

So what can you expect from the title insurance process?

According to Grimaldi Law Firm owner, Melinda Grimaldi, “Before closing and before a title policy is issued, a title agent will search the public records to develop and document the chain of title and to detect known claims against, or defects in, the title to the subject property. If there are known defects, the title agent will require that the defects be cured prior to the closing. Title insurance will provide you with the peace of mind that your largest investment will be safe.”

And when working with Melinda Grimaldi of Grimaldi Law Firm, you have the added bonus of knowing that this super-professional attorney has your back as well.

After all, your future is my present.

About the Author Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law.  She can be reached at (954) 491-8707 or melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.