If you’re in the market to purchase a property in Tampa, Florida, there are costs associated with closing the sale. And there are also costs the seller is responsible for. Here are the usual closing costs that a buyer and a seller must both pay.

Buyer: Closing Costs in Florida for Cash Deals

If purchasing a property in Florida with cash, make note of these three closing costs:

  • Deed recording fees
  • Inspection
  • Attorney fees

Buyer: Closing Costs in Florida for Financed Deals

Here are eight additional closing costs you must pay if you finance the purchase:

  • Taxes/recording fees on mortgages and notes
  • Intangible tax on mortgage
  • Recording fees
  • Survey
  • Lender origination fees
  • Lender’s title policy and endorsement
  • Appraisal fees
  • Pest inspection

Seller: Closing Costs When Selling a Property in Florida

The seller’s closing costs are stated in the real estate contract. These costs include:

  • Surtax on the deed and documentary stamp
  • Charges for title search
  • Leftover HOA/Condominium Association fees
  • Recording and other fees when curing the title
  • Attorney fees
  • Realtor’s commission

Important Note for Buyers and Sellers About Title Insurance

Purchasing title insurance protects you against claims that you aren’t the rightful owner of the property. If financing, lenders require you to purchase it. Cash buyers aren’t obligated, but it’s recommended they do so to protect themselves in the future. In some counties in Florida, the seller must pay for the title insurance.

Remember, though, that sellers can’t require a buyer to use a specific title company as a condition of the sale. Buyers can sue a seller who violates this provision.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

There are two types of real estate contracts in Florida, including the ‘as is’ real estate contract. In a nutshell, an ‘as is’ real estate contract specifies that the person purchasing the property must do so in its existing condition without demanding the seller make any upgrades or repairs. The contract also states the purchaser has a short time period – usually 15 calendar days – to get the property inspected. Upon inspection, if the property needs repairs, the purchaser can ask the seller to lower its selling price or provide a credit at closing to cover the future repair costs. If the seller declines, the purchaser can back out of the contract within that time period.

Sellers Must Disclose Things About the Property to Prospective Buyers

If you’re debating whether to purchase a property using an ‘as in’ contract, it’s important to note a seller must disclose the following things about the property:

  • Potential or actual complaints, claims or legal proceedings
  • Disputes regarding boundaries
  • Pest damage and infestations
  • Potential or actual damage from sinkholes, whether past or present
  • Environmental hazards
  • Problems with HVAC, plumbing, roof, electrical, etc.
  • Homeowners association rules to comply by

Although it gives you less time to inspect the property, an ‘as is’ real estate contract offers more flexibility to back out of a deal if you’re a buyer.

Stephen K. Hachey can help you wade through this difficult process to reach a positive solution. Call 813-549-0096 today!

***The opinions in this blog are those of the author whom takes full responsibility for the content. Like all other content on the site, this does not constitute legal advice and is for general information purposes only.***

A title company holding escrow cannot refuse to release your buyer’s deposit if the seller has agreed to release and cancel the contract, and under the terms of that contract it is clear that the buyer is entitled to retrieve it.

In real estate transactions, buyers are often expected to include an earnest money deposit with their purchase offer in order to affirm that they are serious about purchasing property. Once an offer is accepted and the purchase contract is signed, the money is deposited in escrow or held by a title company. If all goes well, the money is used for the down payment and closing costs of the sale. Should the deal fall through, however, the title company freezes the funds and then determines whether the buyer gets the earnest deposit back under the terms of the purchase agreement.

A buyer is able to rightfully back out of a sale if the seller fails to fulfill the terms of the purchase contract, be it an issue with the appraisal or due to a failed inspection. Additionally, the buyer may be unable to secure financing to finalize the sale which, unless otherwise stated in the contract, would also entitle them to a refund of the deposit.

Whatever the case, unless the buyer did not go through with the sale for a reason that was not explicitly written into the purchase contract, the buyer is entitled to get most (usually there is a cancellation fee), if not all of the earnest deposit back. If the title company is refusing to release your buyer’s funds, consult with a real estate attorney in order to take legal action and protect the interests of your buyer.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Navigating the ins and outs of real estate foreclosure isn’t always simple. Purchasing a home at auction can seem like a lucrative and astute method of acquiring property, but what many prospective bidders do not realize when entering a foreclosure auction is that when they purchase a property, they are liable for any and all outstanding liens against that property. It pays to know exactly what you’re getting into before biting off more than you could chew.

Florida Statute §718.116 expressly states that “A unit owner, regardless of how his or her title has been acquired, including by purchase at a foreclosure sale or by deed in lieu of foreclosure, is liable for all assessments which come due while he or she is the unit owner. Additionally, a unit owner is jointly and severally liable with the previous owner for all unpaid assessments that came due up to the time of transfer of title.”

This means that both the previous owner and the new deed holder are jointly and separately responsible for the HOA assessment lien on the property. The good news is that there is a statutory cap on the amount the HOA can collect from the new purchaser (up to 12 months’ worth of assessments or 1% of the original mortgage debt); however, full liability remains with the previous owner and the Association is within their rights to seek out full restitution.

If you are considering buying property at auction in the state of Florida, perform a title search of the particular real estate you’re looking to own prior to bidding in order to determine what kind, if any, liens are held against the property as you will be responsible for all of them, not just the HOA. Taking this extra step will eliminate ugly surprises and leave your feel-good memory of having the winning bid unblemished.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

At the peak of the housing bubble, real estate scammers were crawling out of their proverbial fleapits in troves, running get-rich-quick house flipping scams or posing as mortgage brokers issuing predatory loans to susceptible borrowers. When the bubble burst, it seemed real estate scammers were at an end, but soon the same charlatans were back at it, capitalizing on the misfortune of millions of desperate homeowners hoping to save their homes from foreclosure. Today, real estate scammers have only become more astute and sophisticated, using elaborate cons to fool impressionable renters and vulnerable homeowners out of their hard earned cash.

Since the market crash, federal and state governments have taken numerous measures to prevent real estate scams. Nevertheless, crooks continue to thrive at the expense of unsuspecting consumers. Taking the following precautions can help you safely navigate the often complicated world of real estate whether you are renting, looking to invest or you are a homeowner facing a tough economic downturn.
Renters should be suspicious of any listings that are not immediately available for viewing or require money up front, have excessive application fees or ask that payments be made to a third party.

Homeowners struggling with their mortgage should proceed with extreme caution when entering any loan counseling or modification program. If the counseling agency is collecting exorbitant fees up front in exchange for modifying your mortgage loan, is not listed by the US Department of HUD (Housing and Urban Development), or persistently promises you will retain your home, this is most likely a scam. Investors should research prospects thoroughly, cross-check listings and verify brokers before making any monetary commitments.

Finally, follow your instincts; deals that seem too good to be true probably are. Never sign anything you haven’t read thoroughly and ask questions if and when you do not fully understand any particular thing. As a consumer, being proactive is your single best defense against con artists; following these simple safety precautions can help you avoid being taken for a ride and ultimately save you thousands of dollars.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Purchasing a home is always an exciting milestone. But before you dot the I’s and cross the T’s, a final walk through of the new property is always advised. Participating in the last inspection of the home will be strongly advised by your real estate agent.

In most cases, the final walk through is done five days prior to, or on the day of closing. This allows you, the buyer, to survey the property and make sure it is in the condition that you agreed upon in your contract.

Vacant properties, or properties that the seller has moved out of prior to closing are the most important to check. Without a resident in the home, it’s possible that repairs go unnoticed for an extended period of time. Partaking in the walk through will allow you the opportunity to catch potential maintenance issues that were overlooked in the inspection period or that have developed since that time. Repairs that are caught in time can be dealt with before closing or outside of closing between buyer and seller.

If the owners of the property do not move out until the day of closing, it’s best to complete the walk through with them. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the home and learn the house’s idiosyncrasies from those who know them best. It’s also a time to receive input on renovations or upgrades you may be planning. Taking the chance to speak to the sellers about any concerns or ideas you may have is an excellent start to settling in to your new home sweet home.

Once the walking through is complete, you can proceed in closing your purchase of the property and begin to enjoy your new home.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

With the recent housing crisis, more people started asking whether buying or renting a home is the better option. While the housing market is on the rise, buying still might not be your best option. Or maybe it is. Before you decide on whether to buy or rent your home, take these pros and cons into consideration.

When you buy your home, you become your own landlord. Not only will you be allowed to do whatever you choose with the property (taking homeowner association laws into consideration), purchasing your home allows you the stability of knowing that you won’t have to move unexpectedly should a problem arise with the property or the lease runs out.

On the other hand, things happen. Maybe you aren’t settled into your career, you’re still looking for a life partner, or you are hoping for a promotion that might send you elsewhere. Having a lease allows you the freedom to move about as you wish. It also prevents you from having additional costly expenses.

Many people believe that paying off their mortgage is the equivalent of paying rent, except they receive an asset in exchange. While this is true, there are several costs involved in owning a home including closing costs, regular maintenance, lawn care, home repair, bills, insurance, and home improvements and upgrades. When you rent a home and your refrigerator stops working or you have a leak, your landlord is responsible for purchasing and replacing the appliance or paying for the plumber to come and make the proper repairs.

Depending on your situation, it may be easy to decide the best option. But if you still aren’t sure and you are financially concerned, it is recommended to calculate the Price to Rent ratio (P/R ratio) by finding two similar houses, condos, or apartments (one for rent and one for sale) and dividing the sale price by the annual rent. As the P/R ratio climbs, it becomes more reasonable to rent, especially if the ratio reaches or exceeds 20.

Still not sure? Head to the New York Times ‘Is it Better to Buy or Rent’ calculator and plug in the numbers.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

When you hear people talking about getting a mortgage for a new home, it seems simple right? A mortgage is a mortgage and the hardest part is getting approved for a low rate. But that is not entirely true. There are actually several different types of mortgages.

Fixed-rate mortgage
This one should be obvious. You pay the same interest rate over the entire term, which can range from 15, 20 or 30 years. While this might seem like a nice deal, take into account that if interest rates fall, you will still be stuck with the higher rate.

Adjustable-rate (ARM) or variable-rate mortgage
An ARM is just a broad subheading for all of the adjustable-rate mortgages that are out there. Although it may differ depending on the year, they are all fairly similar. After a period of a fixed rate, the interest rate changes based on a schedule.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loan
These loans are insured by the government, particularly the Department of Housing & Urban Development. They do not guarantee or make loans, however the insurance lowers the risk of default for the lenders. It allows individuals to qualify for a loan even if their FICO score is poor.

VA loan
Unlike the FHA, the VA loan is a government loan offered to veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Services. It may also be acquired by spouses of deceased veterans in specific cases.

Balloon mortgage
A balloon mortgage is very similar to a fixed-rate mortgage, however the payments are lower due to a large balloon payment made right at the end of the loan term.

The title is slightly misleading. These loans allow for an option to make an interest-only payment for only a short amount of time.

Reverse mortgage
Individuals must be 62 years old or older with enough equity to receive this loan. Essentially, rather than making monthly payments to the lender, the lender makes monthly payments to the borrower as long as they live within their home.

Combo/Piggyback Mortgage Loan Types
When the down payment is less than 20 percent, the borrow takes out two loans: They may be either fixed-rate, adjustable-rate or the combination of the two. This helps to avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Closing on your home can be a very exciting time, but for many, it can turn into a disaster. What you see isn’t always what you get. So how does this happen?

The answer is slightly complicated.

When you buy a home, you rely on the real estate agent, home seller and the inspector to be open and honest with you. You expect them to disclose all the pros and cons of the property and you rely on their word. The sad fact is however, not everyone is truthful.

In many cases, there are problems with the house that nobody tells you about and you don’t see until you get settled in. For one couple, this meant finding out that water leaked into the basement every time it rained. The home seller, however, had repainted the entire basement to hide the water damage so the problem went unnoticed until after the sale of the home.

In another case, an inspector may tell you that a problem in the house is a simple and cheap repair that ends up costing the buyer thousands of dollars. In these cases, you should ask that the repairs be done before you purchase the home.

And even more people run into troubles purchasing a home because the paperwork has not been filled out legally. Each state has different laws for selling a home. Different forms must be filled out and certain legal language must be used in each one. If the paperwork is not written up properly or signed correctly, you may find out months or years later that the closing was not legal and therefore not final.

And then there’s the issue we have all become aware of in the last few years–the burst of the housing bubble. Many people have bought property in a housing complex that has since gone bankrupt, leaving their home, or half built home, the only structure standing in a desolate area.

So before you purchase your home, make sure to not only check it out thoroughly, but get second opinions as well as do research behind the area and the people involved to make sure that when you close your home, you know what you are getting into.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Escrow. It is a term we hear often, but what exactly is escrow? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, escrow is defined as a deed, a bond, money, or a piece of property held in trust by a third party to be turned over to the grantee only upon fulfillment of a condition. In the real estate world, this simply means a list of specific instructions that must be done by both seller and buyer before the property’s deed can be handed over. One of the most important aspects of this list is the securing of a loan.

So what happens after the loan has been approved and the documents have been prepared?

If provided in your Purchase Agreement, you should do a final walk through with your agent to ensure that all repairs have been made and the property is exactly as it was promised to you. You will then make an appointment to go to a Title Company to sign the loan documents and escrow instructions in the presence of a notary. The lender will then review the documents one last time before sending the loan to escrow.

When all parties have signed off on the escrow stating that the terms and conditions of the escrow have been met, the escrow officer will set a date for the closing of the escrow and will take care of all of the technical and financial details.

At the close of escrow, you will be required to present proof of homeowner’s insurance. The seller will be required to show proof of warranties, inspection, appraisal, ect. The escrow officer will then list for both parties the amount owed on either side for prepaid taxes, unpaid taxes, down payments, refunds, ect. When all the documentation has been verified and agreed upon and you have signed the mortgage note—the promise to repay the loan—you will receive the deed.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.