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Blog Posts in 2014

  • More On Saying What You Mean

    OK. They have not told me to stop, so I take up my quill, again. Last month we talked about why Realtors and Lawyers should not start with a form, fill in the blanks, and ship it out to do its business. That form will be a child in an adult world. One of last month’s examples of misuse of a legal form was the preprinted provision that the written agreement is complete, when clearly it is not. That ...
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  • Careful What You Say, Someone May Believe You

    These words are about something not likely to do you any good – unless you are among those who write contracts for a living, or read them- and then only if the only thing on TV is the “Kardashians”. But if you have enough wine for something not often contemplated, this is for you. I’ve improved my talent for reading non-verbal clues. I’m now up to about 15% accuracy in deciphering what you really ...
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  • What We Do Is Who We Are

    One day in a certain place a real estate closing happened. This story is about what went wrong in that closing, why it matters who closes your purchase, and about who is at risk when a closing goes wrong. The closing is scheduled for 9:00. At that hour everything is laid out on the table for closing, but a boundary survey has not been received. The property to be conveyed is acreage located at the ...
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  • Let No House Be Left Behind

    Until a year or so ago, I never gave much thought to zombies. Because of late night television, I’ll know what it is when I see one. They used to be human. When the human is gone they get deformed and ugly and they are called “zombies”. Houses in foreclosure are zombie real estate. The owner expects to lose title to the house, and there is not one reason, once that is inevitable, to make another ...
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  • When They Tell You It's Urgent

    This article recounts a real estate scam. I describe it here because it is new, at least to me, and because this is one of the ways people will try to steal your money. The story starts a visit I got from someone older than I. Those of you who know me realize that is a rapidly declining sliver of the population. This man owned some property, was reasonably well-informed about what he owned, and ...
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  • What Do Music And Real Estate Have In Common?

    Last week I was asked whether a parcel of land could be legally isolated such that it has no access at all. I got so wrapped up with the exceptions to the rule that I blew it with the answer. This article is to make amends and at the same time make a bigger point about easement rights in property. The rule is that property can’t be isolated from the rest of the world such that its owner can’t get ...
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  • Why Do You Need a Realtor?

    This is a story of a guy, a senior at the University of Florida, who wanted me to help him cheat on a test. Before we get through this article, I’ll tell you what happened and why, and the lesson learned. But in the meantime, I want you to know what should happen if you sell residential real estate in Florida, and how your real estate broker will help you. The law requires the Seller to reveal ...
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  • Confusion is the Enemy

    Because we do both real estate and estate work, we sometimes have clients who are elderly. This is one real estate lawyer who went through a phase as a psychologist. Please don’t be impressed. There were many phases and in none of them was I either well paid or steller. But I do have an interest in psychology. One thing I see very frequently among older owners and clients is indecision. I know, ...
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  • What is a "Non-Profit"?

    The law allows any one person to set up a non-profit corporation. I write this article because of the wide-spread misunderstanding about what “non-profit” really means. I can’t tell you the number of contributions made to non-profits because of a high-sounding name that causes people to think the company is religious, charitable, or educational. The internet seems to have made the problem even ...
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  • What's Wrong With My Lawyer?

    I have been asked countless times to make a deed to “just give back” someone’s property to the bank. The question implies that if I simply knew a little more about real estate I could, like Elizabeth Montgomery, just wriggle my nose and make it go away. Real Estate professionals know that acceptance is a necessary element of a valid deed. There are others, of course, and acceptance is generally ...
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