Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC

Palm Beach County Real Estate Blog

The potential pitfalls of buying a home together

Being married and owning a home are both large commitments for a Florida couple to undertake. However, some people seem to be more willing to take on the housing project as opposed to tackling a marriage. While buying a home may seem easier than sharing a life together, it may actually be easier to get out of a marriage if things go bad.

For instance, if there is a problem in the marriage, each person can go to their own space until the tension passes. If there is a problem with a house, it has to be addressed immediately before it becomes a larger and more expensive one. Those who want to leave a marriage may only need to file divorce papers and divide joint assets. To walk away from a house, it needs to be sold first. This may be difficult if there are serious issues that need to be fixed.

Millennials and home buying

Millennials in Florida, individuals who were born between 1981 and 2001, may list affordability as one of the main issues that determine whether they may own a home. Just 39 percent of millennials can afford the 20 percent down payment that is often necessary to obtain a mortgage. Even though there are other ways to obtain a mortgage that may not require a substantial down payment, it is important that millennials know exactly how big of a house they can afford before starting the home-buying process.

Student loans are another factor that can affect homeownership. The average student loan debt is $35,000. Eighty-three percent of individuals who do not own a home state that their student loan debt is preventing them from buying a house. It affects how much they are able to put away for a down payment and how much they can afford to pay each month for the mortgage. Student loans also raise a person's debt-to-income ratio, which has a significant role in whether he or she can qualify for a mortgage.

Avoid complications as a landlord by avoiding certain mistakes

As a Florida landlord, you know that you have certain obligation to your tenants. From addressing environmental concerns to dealing with safety issues in a prompt manner, handling matters quickly and effectively is a smart way to avoid problems and reduce the chance of legal trouble in the future.

One of the other ways you can avoid complications as a landlord is to avoid a few common mistakes that many people make. Simply because you own the rented property does not mean that you can do whatever you wish. It is prudent for all landlords to fully understand their options, obligations and rights in order to avoid the possibility of a complex legal dispute with a tenant. 

What unmarried couples should consider when buying property

Florida residents who are in a long-term relationship may find that its not uncommon for unmarried couples to buy homes together. In fact, a report from the National Association of Realtors found that 16 percent of first-time home buyers in 2017 were unmarried couples. That is the highest level since 1981. However, there are steps that may need to be taken to reduce any possible consequences should the relationship go bad.

A formal agreement should be created that addresses what happens to the property if the couple decides to end the relationship. It should also address what happens if one person dies or becomes incapacitated for any period of time. Titling a home as a joint tenancy means that a home is owned 50/50, and if one person dies, the other receives the deceased person's share of ownership.

How to find adequate housing in the current market

According to the Commerce Department, there were 667,000 new homes sold in September 2017. This surge, which was the highest figure since October 2007, could influence how Florida residents and others approach buying their next home. Newer homes are popular among those who aren't able to find affordable existing properties. However, builders are increasingly trying to create more expensive homes, which may further price out those who have a limited budget.

This doesn't mean that there aren't ways for such buyers to find homes that fit their needs and budgets. However, buyers may need to move quickly on properties that they are interested in. Getting an offer accepted may come down to where the buyer's agent works. Those who work at more reputable agencies are more likely to be taken seriously by sellers. Although buyers are urged not to spend too much time looking for hidden bargains, it may be possible to get a better price by home hunting during slower times of the year.

Tax bill expected to alter market for high-end homes in Florida

An interview with a chief economist from PNC Financial Services has revealed insights about how the Republican federal tax law changes could influence the residential real estate market. The economist explained that the $750,000 cap on mortgage interest deductions and the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions would increase the ongoing costs of homeownership for high-end, luxury properties.

Because tax deductions will drop off for owners of million-dollar homes, he expects market demand to shift to somewhat less pricey homes in the $600,000 range. Buyers in the near future will seek more properties priced in the upper tiers of the middle end. Prices for the highest value homes will continue to rise but at a lower rate than what would have happened without the tax law changes.

How to benefit from HECM reverse mortgages

Florida residents who are looking to buy a home with an HECM reverse mortgage may benefit from understanding the new rules surrounding this type of loan. In the past, a buyer could reduce the mortgage insurance premium by drawing less cash. However, there is now a flat fee of 2 percent of the property's value regardless of how much cash is drawn.

Most buyers will look at which loan allows for the highest cash draw. Buyers may also want to consider whether a loan has a fixed rate or an adjustable rate. Typically, loans with adjustable rates will allow for higher cash draws than those with a fixed rate. Buyers may also run the risk of paying a higher interest rate in the future while payments may be more predictable with a fixed-rate loan. Those who choose to buy a home with a HECM reverse mortgage may need to come up with more money upfront.

Avoiding legal complications as a landlord

As a Florida landlord, you know there are various complications that could eventually lead to legal or financial trouble. You would be wise to make every effort to protect your interests, which includes understanding common mistakes and avoiding them.

Landlord-tenant matters can be complicated, and you know that it is important to resolve these issues in a beneficial manner as soon as possible. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate these matters alone, but you can seek experienced guidance in order to protect yourself from unnecessary costs and stressful legal complications. Owning rental property can be a profitable endeavor, but it is beneficial to understand possible mistakes and how to avoid problems whenever possible.

Tenants may not know about sinkhole dangers

Under Florida law, landlords don't have to tell tenants about the potential for sinkholes to develop under their rental properties. One couple didn't find out about the sinkhole risk that they faced until they were already three months into their lease. After asking their landlord, they found out that the house had been underpinned and were told that it was safe. However, the tenants said that the house and driveway had cracks in it and that the foundation was shifting.

As part of a local media investigation, tenants in several rental properties and complexes were told that they were living on top of sinkholes. Many had no idea that this was the case, and they said that they wouldn't have moved to their current location had they known about the risk. A Florida state representative said that he would introduce legislation that would require landlords to disclose sinkhole information just like homeowners do when selling their homes.

Divorce and selling a home

Florida couples who are getting divorced and want to sell their homes are not alone. According to one study, the family home is sold in 61 percent of divorces. There are instances during which one spouse is able to buy out the other spouse, but this does not occur in many cases.

Because selling a home during a divorce can exacerbate an already emotional situation, it is important that the process be guided by a real estate professional that both parties approve of and trust. It is also necessary that the real estate agent and both spouses work together in order to make the transaction proceed without complications.

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