South Florida has one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the entire country. At Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we work closely with buyers, sellers, and lenders in complex real estate transactions. With experience in residential and commercial property transactions, our firm is committed to protecting the best interests of our clients and helping them achieve their goals. We want to make sure that our clients have the knowledge they need. Here, our Coral Gables real estate law attorney answers five of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about real estate transactions in Florida.
- What is an Earnest Money Deposit and How Does it Work When Buying a Home?
The personal finance company NerdWallet explains that earnest money is a “good-faith deposit you make on a home to show the seller you’re serious about buying.” In virtually every residential real estate transaction that is completed in Florida, the buyer will have been required to put down some form of earnest deposit money. In effect, earnest money “holds” the property for the prospective buyer while the purchase contract is being finalized. The amount of earnest deposit money required is generally negotiated by the parties. Most often, it is between one percent and three percent of the total sale price.
When the transaction is finalized, the earnest money will simply be applied to the sale as part of the down payment. What happens if the home purchase agreement falls through? It will depend on exactly what happened and why. The terms of the contract matter. There are many circumstances in which buyers can get their earnest money back—such as when they have a contingency for a home inspection, and they do not like the results of the inspection. However, there are also some circumstances in which a seller may be justified in retaining the earnest money.
- What Steps Should a Buyer Take Before Purchasing Real Estate in Florida?
Are you considering purchasing residential or commercial real estate in Miami-Dade County or elsewhere in South Florida? There are several important steps that you should take to protect your rights and interests. Key things that prospective real estate buyers should do include:
- Carefully determine your budget and financing options so that you are in the right position to find the best available property;
- Comprehensively research the area to ensure that you have a full understanding of what is available;
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage (or ensure other financing is in place), get the property inspected by a reliable professional, and initiate a title search; and
- Consult with an experienced real estate attorney who can help negotiate and review the purchase contract to ensure you are fully protected.
- What is a Title Search in a Real Estate Transaction and Why is it Important?
A title search is an important part of a major residential or commercial real estate transaction in Florida. As simply defined by Investopedia, a title search is “an examination of public records to determine and confirm a property’s legal ownership.” Put another way, a title search helps to ensure that the property being purchased is actually owned by the seller and that there are no outstanding liens or claims on the property. Most often, a title search is a process that involves examining a wide array of public records to determine the ownership history of the property, as well as any encumbrances, such as mortgages, liens, or easements, that may be attached to it.
The importance of a comprehensive title search cannot be overstated. From the perspective of a residential homebuyer or commercial property buyer, the purpose of a title search is to provide peace of mind that they are purchasing a property that is free and clear of any legal issues that could potentially arise in the future. As a title search is often a prerequisite for obtaining title insurance, it also helps to protect the buyer from unexpected financial obligations or disputes over ownership.
- What Makes Commercial Real Estate Transactions Different?
While residential real estate transactions are certainly complicated, commercial real estate transactions in Florida tend to be even more complex. Some notable reasons why commercial real estate transactions are different than residential real estate transactions include the following:
- The unique type of property involved;
- Zoning and other land use restrictions or requirements;
- Issues related to the financing of commercial property;
- Assignments of leases and other commercial leasing matters; and
- The size, scope, and complexity of the transaction.
Overall, commercial real estate transactions are different from residential real estate transactions due to the type of property involved, the purpose of the property, the size and complexity of the transaction, and the financing arrangements.
- How Can a Florida Real Estate Attorney Help With the Purchase or Sell of Property?
Whether you are buying or selling residential property or commercial property, it is crucial that you have the right professional representation. Real estate is a major transaction. A South Florida real estate attorney can provide a range of services to help with the purchase or sale of property. This includes reviewing and negotiating the terms of a real estate contract, conducting a title search to determine the ownership history of the property and identify any liens or encumbrances, handling the closing process, and providing legal representation in the event of a dispute or legal issue related to the purchase or sale. You do not have to navigate such an important transaction alone. An experienced Florida real estate lawyer will ensure that your rights and interests are properly protected through every step of the process.
Contact Our Coral Gables, FL, Real Estate Transaction Attorney Today
At Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we are dedicated to assisting buyers and sellers with the purchase and sale of real property, including residential and commercial property transactions. Give us a call at 305-669-5280 or contact us online to arrange a fully confidential, no-obligation consultation. From our Coral Gables office, we represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions throughout South Florida, including in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.