Lien Back…

 

Did you know that Florida law allows municipalities to put a lien against property without actually recording the lien until they feel like it? And if these liens are not recorded at the time a buyer purchases the property, they will not show up in a standard title search. That means a buyer may have purchased a property that comes with the unpleasant surprise of a large unpaid bill from a previous owner. Even scarier is the fact that Florida law gives some of these liens priority over all other liens on the property, including mortgages, which means the municipality could foreclose on the property if these bills are not paid!

This is why it is imperative to conduct a municipal lien search on all property being purchased. A typical municipal lien search involves contacting the local municipality and inquiring about three areas that a standard title search does not cover: (a) unpaid utilities, (b) code enforcement issues/violations, and (c) permit issues. Because each municipality has its own process for returning the information for these searches, the turnaround time on these searches can vary drastically. Some municipalities take upwards of 30 days to return these search results! This can put the buyer in the precarious position of being ready to close without knowing if there are any unrecorded liens on the property. We’ve seen buyers close on property prior to receiving the search results, only to find out after closing that they just inherited an outstanding issue. If the title insurance company doesn’t have the full municipal lien search results back prior to closing, they will not cover anything that show up in that search after closing.

Because of this harsh reality, we always urge the parties to consider the timeframe in which their municipality generally returns searches results prior to setting a closing date. For example, for properties in the City of Tampa, we would inform you that a rush closing might not give you enough time to get search results back. This simple step could help prevent a situation where the parties have to postpone closing, or even worse, the buyer is on the hook for an issue they had no way knowing about. If you would like more information on the general turnaround times for a certain municipality, or would like to know if a municipality can place a lien against your property for a specific issue, this is something your real estate attorney can help you understand better. And if you are part of a transaction where the parties must close prior to receiving the results of a municipal lien search, we strongly encourage you to contact your real estate attorney to discuss potential risks and solutions.

Sincerely,
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Bishoy M. Habib , Esq. bhabib@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

www.berlinpatten.com

SARASOTA
3700 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34239
P (941) 954-9991 F (941) 954-9992

VENICE
247 Tamiami Trail South, Suite 201, Venice, FL 34285
P (941) 955-9991 F (941) 484-9992

LAKEWOOD RANCH
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 100, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
P (941) 907-9022 F (941) 907-9024

TAMPA
442 West Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 312, Tampa, FL 33606
P (813) 467-7500 F (813) 251-1662

Did you find this real estate law content useful, but need actual legal council?

Speak to a real estate attorney!

, , , , , , , , ,

Survey Says…

    So what exactly is a survey? A survey is a drawing made by a surveyor which outlines the boundaries and features of your property, including the house and other improvements. It shows things like where the house sits in relation to the property line, where your driveway starts and ends, if your fence is actually on…

Permitted To Close

Open permits, expired permits and code enforcement violations can wreak havoc on a closing when not properly addressed. Picture this scenario… contract negotiations were a breeze, the inspection results were perfect, title came back clean, and closing is looking oh so smooth. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, the municipal lien and permit search results reveal…

Making a Listing, and Checking it Twice

So you just finalized a listing agreement for an exciting property that you can’t wait to advertise to the world for your customer. Like any good listing, you really want this one to stand out among the other similar listings in the area. After spending time at the property and with the owners it is…

Runaway Buyers: Seller’s Options When Left Alone at the Closing Table

What happens when a buyer leaves a seller at the closing table and it is not related to unforeseeable circumstances? In Florida, the FAR/BAR contracts are the mainstream residential transactional sale agreements and they generally provide the parties with a reasonable expectation of their rights and remedies upon a buyer or seller default. When Johnny…

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back…

Florida law allows a residential property owner the ability to pull a permit and serve as an Owner-Contractor so long as the residence is for occupancy of such owner and NOT offered for sale or lease (Note: the owner is also required to sign a disclosure statement confirming the same at the time the permit…

Time (Of The Essence) Is On My Side, Yes It Is…

Contracts are full of language that may seem unimportant, boilerplate, confusing, or just plain useless. Real estate contracts are no different. The standard FAR/Bar forms for sale and purchase of residential property, “AS IS” contracts, and even vacant land contracts all contain provisions that you see all the time, but rarely have to really address.…

When In Doubt, Write It Out…

We have been asked recently whether an agent’s email containing a counteroffer is binding. That’s an interesting question in itself, but it also opens up broader questions: what are the legal implications of acting as someone’s agent, and are there any “best practices” that can help keep an agent out of trouble? Generally, an agent…

When Estates Become Part Of Your Closing

We routinely get the frantic call from a realtor or closing party to address a title issue or incident involving a deceased buyer or seller, or even a prior party further back in the chain of title. Those inquiries come with the urgent questions: Can you fix it? Can it be done before closing? How…

Lending a Hand on Loan Approval

During these uncertain times, providing buyers with the confidence and security to move forward with a transaction is paramount. A well-drafted offer can lead to a smooth closing process while protecting the buyer’s interest in the event of unforeseen issues. Section 8 of the Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (the “Standard Contract”) and the…

E-Sign Me Up

  Where would we be without technology? The current pandemic has demonstrated how integral technology is to thrive in the real estate business. Such a vast array of tasks can be done electronically: sending wires, signing closing documents, remote online notarization, virtual open houses, signing contracts, etc. When a buyer and/or seller signs a real…

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

The COVID-19 pandemic (a/k/a the “coronavirus”), has hit very close to home when it comes to homeowners being able to make their mortgage payments on time (or at all). Where many Floridians are being furloughed or laid off from their employment, there is increasing anxiety over how that 1st of the month mortgage payment is…

Commercial Leases & the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many of you have asked us about acquaintances, friends, or family members who cannot pay rent due to COVID-19. Some have been forced to shut down, others who remain in business simply cannot pay their bills. What is a tenant supposed to do? Consider the following: Some tenants may want to just stop paying rent.…

Da do Ron Ron Ron, Da do Ron Ron

By now you have probably heard of Remote Online Notarizations, commonly referred to as “RON.” RON is being hailed as a tool that will revolutionize the closing process, and some day it will. But for now, the process of conducting closings using RON is going through some growing pains as we all race to understand…

COVID-19 Closing Conundrum…

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on business relationships is still a huge unknown, and we are all aware of how much uncertainty it has injected into our daily lives. Fortunately, the good people at the Florida Bar and the Florida Association of Realtors had the foresight to consider an event like this when drafting…

Your COVID-19 Closing Related Questions, answered by Berlin Patten Ebling

We know you are all tired of receiving COVID-19 related bulletins, but due to the flood of questions we have received on the topic, we felt that this would be a useful and timely topic. This Q&A will answer some of the most common questions we have received over the last few days. We will…

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Is your closing at risk?

The team at Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC is extremely sensitive to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The effects of COVID-19 have prevented or delayed performance across virtually all sectors. Fortunately, we have yet to see very little impact to the local real estate industry and we are still seeing robust market activity, great attendance…

Homestead Exemption Revocation: Welcome to Florida, Now Pay the Tax Man!

  Knock, knock, BOOM…this is the sound you hear when opening a notice of tax lien from your local property appraiser. The property appraiser’s letter states that you have 30 days to pay taxes, penalties, and interest, or there will be a tax lien filed on your home. There must be some mistake…how did this…

I Love You…Now Sign This!

  It’s that time of year again. Love is in the air, and spouses all over the state of Florida are scrambling to come up with the perfect way to show their significant other that they love and appreciate them. For far too long, spouses have stuck to the same unimaginative and uninspiring routine of…

Can I Get A Pre-Nup (Or A Post-Nup)?!?

  With respect to real property transactions, understanding contracts is a daily challenge.  Whether it is a listing agreement, an “As Is” agreement, or even a warranty deed, contracts are at the heart of what real estate agents deal with (outside of the actual clients.)  On occasion, non-real estate contracts will creep into a transaction…

It’s Not Over Until It’s Really Over…Selling Real Estate After A Divorce

As you all know, real estate professionals constantly wear an abundance of different “hats.” Working in the real estate world demands that real estate professionals have at least a minimal understanding of a variety of topics including, but not limited to, family law, wills, trusts and estates. Even with divorce rates slightly declining, it is…

When Is It Critical To Review Your Estate Plan, and Why?

Just like other important life tasks, your estate plan deserves your time and attention. It’s important that you work with us to review your estate plan at least once a year. Think of this as your estate plan’s annual physical exam, and remember-prevention is the best cure. An annual exam isn’t necessarily the only time…

Color Of Authority To Sign Listing Agreements & Contracts

A contract (which, for purposes of this Blog shall focus on Listing Agreements and Residential Contracts For Sale and Purchase), is only as good as the authority of the Seller and/or Buyer to sign them. Many times, I receive calls from agents asking who has authority to sign the Listing Agreement, and then the Contract…

No Leaks, No Damages, No Problems!

  Congratulations!  Your client entered into a new Standard FARBAR Contract on the purchase of a single family home in Sarasota.  The only contingencies are inspections and marketable title. Your client immediately hires a professional home inspector to conduct their home inspection.  During the Inspection Period the home inspector provides a “clean” report only notating…

The Repair Escrow Agreement: Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

In Florida, more likely than not a buyer will identify his or her requests for repairs early in a real property transaction and prior to closing pursuant to the standard FAR/BAR contractual provisions with little fanfare. Nonetheless, as in life and in realty, there are unforeseen circumstances where a closing extension would be difficult and…

“Options? We All Got ‘Em, We All Want ‘Em, What Do We Do With Them?”

We see option contracts for real estate purchases frequently, and we run into problems with those contracts just as frequently. In this blog we’ll go over what option contracts are, what they require to be effective, and we’ll identify some common pitfalls. An option contract is a promise by the owner of property to sell…

New Construction, Review Before You Execute

  New construction agreements can be extremely complicated and it is important that the buyer have a thorough understanding of the contract and terms prior to executing.  The construction agreements provided by developers are typically one sided and do very little to protect the buyer/owner in the event that an issue should arise.  It is…
Real Estate Firm

Your Condo Purchase-Treat It As An Investment

Condominium purchases by their nature involve property rights that are more complicated than typical single family lots or properties.  We have written several blog articles relating to investigations that buyers and their realtors should undertake prior to their purchase (links are included at the end of this blog). It is said that ownership of real…

Check Out My Title While BPE Resolves It!

One of the most frequent questions we receive from realtors involves the status of title to the property. The answer to the question “how is title” can be a source of great anxiety or a source of great relief. As a result, most people involved in any real estate transaction want the answer to that…

Not Quite Sure When A Contingency Ends? Read This!

We are fortunate to have holidays and weekends to provide us with time for relaxation, fun times with friends and family, and time away from work to recharge. Legal holidays and weekends follow a different rule for contract contingency deadlines. Throughout this week and into the weekend, while most of us will be celebrating the…

Balancing a Closing with Summer Vacation

During the summer when everyone is jet-setting on vacation, and year round as part time residents move in and out of Florida, we experience an increasing amount of closings where one or both parties cannot be physically present on the day of closing.  As this is a common occurrence, there are many ways to accomplish…

Breaking News! “RON” Remote Online Notarization is coming to Florida

  The much-anticipated remote online notarization (“RON”), is set to arrive in Florida as of January 1, 2020. Florida will join the ranks of twenty-three other states that have either passed or have pending bills that allow online notaries to perform notarizations anywhere in the world (Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,…

Hurricane Season: The Good, The Bad and Still Closing

Often, parties seeking to buy and sell real property only concern themselves with Florida’s Selling Season and do not take into consideration the other season – Hurricane Season.  Florida’s Hurricane Season is kicking off and now that Hurricane Irma is approximately two-years in the rearview mirror, Berlin Patten Ebling would like to remind our buyers…

Look Before You Leap…Into A New Listing!

Real estate transactions can often be quite complicated and confusing for even the most savvy of Sellers and their agents. You would think that the most basic and straightforward step in the process would be determining who are the owners and who has the authority to convey the property and sign related paperwork, such as…

LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU WALK AWAY FROM A DEAL

While it may not happen often, on occasion we have experienced situations where one of the parties “walks” from the transaction.  In this instance, the buyer or seller is often left in a difficult position and wondering what remedies they may have against the breaching party, if any.  A well drafted contract will typically set-forth…

Foreign Buyers & Sellers-Speaking Their Language

In Florida we are fortunate to have many foreign buyers and sellers of real estate. Sometimes they show up on a realtor’s threshold and are ready to purchase a property to use as an investment, or a vacation home, or a reason to remove their money from their home country, or to house their children…

“Up a Stream without a Paddle-Closing without Title Insurance”

The immense value of title insurance has been well documented. Generally speaking, title insurance provides three somewhat distinct, yet significant coverage’s: Fatal title defects that could cause one to lose their property altogether, such as fraud, forgeries, inheritance issues, or execution/signing issues; Defects that could require the expenditure of significant amounts of money to cure…

Getting Up Close and Personal (Property)

When real estate agents are out and about showing homes, those homes are usually staged, lived in, and/or full of furniture, appliances, etc. So when agents get the property under contract, what exactly is conveyed with it? The “As Is” and Standard Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contracts are useful tools and have been drafted by attorneys…

DON’T BE CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN

Have you ever represented a Buyer that literally waits to the last second to inform you, via email, that they want to terminate a contract?  As a Realtor, what are your obligations?  Generally speaking your obligation (as Selling Agent) is to deliver the written notice of termination (or signed Release and Termination) to the Listing…

What Happens During My Real Estate Transaction?

Indispensable Components to a Real Estate Transaction The Contract is signed; the earnest money paid; and the title agent selected. What do we do now?  Well of course we start the due diligence, which begins with procuring a title search of the property. Seems like simple stuff, right?  Not so fast, however. The purpose of…

CRSP-12 and CRSP-12 Addendums Debut

Originally Published: 8/10/2012 Effective August 20, 2012, the FAR-9 Contract will be replaced with the Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP-12). In addition, the Comprehensive Addendum (FARA-10) will be replaced with the CRSP-12 addenda. Please see the attached link to the summary list of the changes between the FAR-9 Contract and the CRSP-12 Contract.…

IMPORTANCE OF OBTAINING NEW SURVEYS AND HAVING THEM REVIEWED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FLORIDA REALTORS/FLORIDA BAR CONTRACT

Originally Published: 6/8/2012 The following are excerpts of a more comprehensive article previously published by Julie A. Horstkamp, Esquire, Berlin Patten, PLLC, Member of Sarasota Association of Realtors/Sarasota County Bar Association Joint Committee, and Chair of the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Joint Committee. We receive a number of questions regarding the survey provision under the Florida…

The Importance of a Municipal Lien Search

Performing a municipal lien search is crucial when purchasing property in this day and age. In many cases there are unknown or undisclosed fees, costs or other issues that will impact a buyer post-closing. In addition a municipal lien search generally will assist a seller in complying with contractual terms to avoid a default. Examples…
Menu