Closings on residential and commercial real estate occur every day in Central Florida. Whether it is a condo being purchased as a retirement home or investment rental; homes being sold to families moving across town or to the State; or a transaction involving a commercial building, some may be experiencing Florida real estate laws at work for the first time.
In this posting we will focus on issues that can impact a Florida closing, including but not limited to environmental issues, cash transactions, updates made to time frames and closing documents.
- Environmental Issues. Florida has unique environmental issues. Not only do we have to worry about the threat of hurricanes, but property damage can be caused by mold, sinkholes and other naturally occurring disasters. With these issues, comes State and Federal environmental laws designed to protect real estate, particularly when it comes to residential real estate. Closings in Florida are impacted by several environmental concerns, including requirements to disclose the dangers related to lead paint, asbestos, toxic mold, and/or radon when purchasing a home. The Environmental Protection Agency has an online tool where you can input a location or zip code and learn about the environmental concerns of a particular area. Buying commercial property in Florida also comes with risks, such existing waste contamination that may leave a purchaser liable for cleanup and damages, even if the purchaser did not cause the spill and had no reason to know it existed.
- Cash Transactions. You may be surprised by how many homes are purchased in cash here in Florida. It is common that buyers from foreign countries purchase their Florida condo using cash, and do not obtain a mortgage or home loan. Purchasing a home for cash can make a big difference in a Florida closing. In many ways this simplifies the process because there is no lender involvement. However, the absence of a lender means the buyer needs to be more cautious in protecting their interests in the transaction. Lender involvement can help identify potential risks and problems in the deal.
- Updates to Florida Closing Forms. The disclosure forms used in a Florida residential real estate closing changed on August 1, 2015. For instance, the HUD-1 Form is no longer used (that is the document that shows all of the costs related to closing the transaction, including the costs and expenses related to obtaining a mortgage). Instead, a new Closing Disclosure (CD) is used (it replaced both the HUD-1 Form and the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure form). New time frames are required by the current law, including a three day deadline for mortgage lenders to provide their home loan closing documents. For more on these requirements, you can view the information provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Closing Table Protocols. Some buyers and sellers may not realize that Florida does not require everyone to sit around the closing table, and sign all of the closing documents at the same time, when the transaction closes. Residential closings can be done in what is called a “mail away.” Closing documents can be sent to either the buyer or the seller via overnight delivery, email attachment, or fax. Funds can be provided via online transfer or by wire.
Attorneys’ Closing Services provides quality, professional, timely and cost-effective documents to clients seeking assistance with real estate transactions. Built on honesty, integrity and attention to detail, ACS is owned and operated by Ron Conte and David Trevett, practicing real estate attorneys who are members of The Florida Bar and its Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, and have more than 50 years of combined experience in the fields of law and real estate. When you partner with ACS, you benefit from years of experience and an unmatched team approach. Whether your office needs assistance with full or partial closing processing services, ACS stands ready to assist you at a moment’s notice. We would be honored to work with you on any and all of your real estate closings. To learn more, click here or call us today at 407-270-8855 to see how we can help you.