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Recent Posts in Investment Category

  • Florida Real Estate Questions.com

    Like Rip Van Winkle, I have woken up, and have returned to these pages to say the things I had previously forgotten to say. This time I have company. I shall bring with me those whom I met while sleeping. To begin, my long time partner and friend, Harry Barr, though mostly retired, still practices in the firm. The firm is still Chesser and Barr, P.A., but his ownership place in the firm has been ...
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  • Mostly Unwanted Advice for "short-sellers" and for Owners of Property in Foreclosure

    I can’t say “don’t get there”, because some have no choice, and some will be in foreclosure or become short-sellers not by choice but by other considerations that are just as compelling. Whichever is true, don’t rely on advice someone else pays for. Sometimes a lawyer can’t help. There’s enough at stake that I always advise hiring your own lawyer. But even if your lawyer can’t help, he or she will ...
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  • If You Build A House, Build It Well

    Not many lawyers started out as both a licensed plumber and electrician. I didn’t really want to, but my dad was both, and because he was, I was. Along the way, I found myself in The University and then the Army, but my mind never got far from where I started. I learned that when you weld a joint, you must weld the back side too. If you don’t, even though you can’t see the back, the job will come ...
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  • Contracts 101; Avoid Arbitration

    There are two rules in negotiating any contract. The first, before you look at a form or draft, is to make a list of the deal points that are essential to you. The second is to share that list with your lawyer, up front. In a real estate contract your Realtor and your lawyer will work together, but regardless of the nature of the agreement, these two steps will save time and money, and the quality ...
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  • One Legal Effect Of Marriage

    This is an article about property ownership. It expresses a unique and important, yet misunderstood, method of joint property ownership in Florida. I have sat as a member of a bank finance committee; the purpose of the committee was to evaluate requests for loans from borrowers based upon loan applications and financial information presented to loan officers. I was the committee’s only lawyer, and ...
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  • The Power Of Pattern

    Some years ago, I objected to a person’s discharge in bankruptcy on the ground that he had committed fraud in submitting his credit application. The application was submitted to the creditor on a pre-printed form that had lines for revealing all debts at the time the loan was made. When applying for credit he revealed two or three debts only, but when the note was not paid, he produced a financial ...
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  • What Do You Do When Your Artery Is Clogged?

    Does anyone know how much gasoline is used sitting in traffic waiting to get through the City of Crestview? That question can be asked at any time of any day, but certainly after three o’clock in the afternoon and until seven o’clock or so on Friday afternoon. When that answer is added to the value of hours wasted in stalled traffic, most of us could live very well on those numbers. What does that ...
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  • How Much Damage Can One Gas Line Cause?

    Walton and Okaloosa Counties are about to be traversed, once again, by a natural gas pipeline to be built across the north end of both counties. This pipeline will be the same in character, but different in degree from two other gas lines that already run the same path. The others are smaller, with less pressure, and less content running through the pipe. Owners in both counties have been offered ...
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  • Where Do We Go From Here?

    Every one of us has heard the discussion about whether Wall Street or Main Street is responsible for the real estate run up and bust of the last decade. We all know the right answer is that both are responsible. However, I don’t buy the argument that local people mostly made this problem. For my entire professional career most Closing Agents and Realtors had no trouble following most lending ...
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  • Why The Rental Manager Will Be King

    If you own residential real estate that you‘re thinking of renting yourself, you can do it. But you will do it only if you have the discipline of a martinet, or the IQ of a post. Here’s why: 1 Personal Relationships: These are always good - if your relationship is with your brother-in-law who is well employed, and lives in a distant city. Also with some dogs, if they are small, or very old. But ...
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  • "What Do You Do In A Down Market"

    “Computers will never replace the rolodex”, and “air conditioning will not catch on in Florida”. There are other predictions that should cause you to wonder what planet some otherwise bright people ride on. If the above headline were to read “real estate prices will go lower”, I confess that I wouldn’t know the answer. Some real estate prices will go lower, though I believe only temporarily. Most ...
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  • The Underside Of Reverse Mortgages

    Because I question my credentials as a world observer, I have been slow to write about reverse mortgages. Even though they use traditional legal theory, they reverse traditional economic thought in the sense that they advance a loan without an expectation that the loan be repaid until the borrower dies. Accumulated equity in real estate is mortgaged, usually in response to glitzy ads telling us ...
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  • Can We Get America Back

    The title to this article implies that you might be about to read something political. You are not. While we all have thoughts about what “America” is politically, no one has asked to hear my opinions about politics. Fortunately, real estate is a different matter, and the “America” addressed here is the economy and real estate market we knew before this one. Those markets existed before what I’ve ...
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  • Cut Your Losses - Carefully

    I spent time in a professional office last week, waiting for someone to do embarrassing things. During the exam I was asked, for about the millionth time in the last 18 months, what to do about over-financed real estate. The answer to that question sounds so simple you’ll think I’m making this up. I’m not. See your lawyer, now. Here’s the setting for the question. The person said, just like many, ...
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  • The Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Keeps Rolling

    Last month I took the deposition of an independent mortgage broker who did business in our area until a couple of years ago. This broker is indicative of a breed of participant in our business. All came in for the good times, in title insurance, real estate, and finance, and almost all are gone now. I learned that this particular broker’s office did business in a large room, divided into cubicles ...
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  • The Rest of the Story

    Nowotny Interference- A chess dilemma in which two black pieces obstruct one another’s ability to protect vital squares Most of us really don’t understand the causes, effects, or fixes of the mortgage and real estate confusion arising out of the Silly Years. Here are some things that I do understand: The urge many people felt to buy real estate was not morally or intellectually wrong, and in fact, ...
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  • A New Year Prediction

    I have not put an article in this space for a couple of months, for several reasons. One is that I was secretly hoping someone would notice. No-one did. Another, and more important reason, is that there is so much being said about real estate that nothing new seems likely to be said. But there is something. A prediction. Buy. Now. Don’t be stupid, and don’t buy something you can’t hold, but buy. ...
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  • The Legacy Of The Silly Years

    What follows is pure opinion. Like all unsolicited ruminations, it is based on some knowledge, more than a little prejudice, and complete confidence that everyone needs to hear it. The opinion has two parts. The first is that every new couple or single person of employment age should purchase the place where he (or she) lives. That place should be the centerpiece of his lifetime investments. This ...
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  • Beyond The Silly Years

    We’ve come through the real estate storm which I have called in these pages the “silly years”. We haven’t recovered, but clearly the storm is over. I sat in a committee of very smart people during those years, considering requests for development loans, each for millions of dollars. Today, because too many of those loans have gone bad, that committee doesn’t feel so smart. The question we all have ...
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  • Introduction To Short Sales Presentation To The Attorney's Title Insurance Fund

    Three years ago real estate lawyers were in the paper business. We believed that our clients did well in real estate, or business, in part because we documented what they got themselves into. They had smiles when they came in for real estate deals because they were selling, and taking profits that were the result of wise investment decisions, or they were expectantly getting on the real estate ...
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  • Siren's Song

    Long ago I practiced general law. I did a little personal injury, a little criminal law, and a whole lot of just about everything that came in the door. Before long I decided that in the practice of law my income sometimes depended upon my ability to convince others of something I did not believe myself. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I really wasn’t very good at trying to convince ...
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  • Amendment to Fla. Stat. §702.06

    It shall be legislative policy to promote the private ownership of homes within the State of Florida, and to encourage Lenders to provide loans for that purpose upon procedures and terms which are fair to be both Borrowers and Lenders. The Legislature is aware of unprecedented mortgage foreclosures of private, primary residences within this State, and considers that trend to be a threat to its ...
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  • If You're Watching The Market You're Not Watching The Ball

    Let’s assume you’re interested in buying real estate, or on the other hand, you must sell. When is the right time? You’ve read my opinion in these pages about holding property you can’t afford…don’t. Get out, because the market will not come back strong enough to recover some of the really stupid purchase prices we saw in 2002-2004. Make up your losses on a deal made today, not by holding on to an ...
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  • What Is A Ponzi Scheme?

    I can’t provide all of the details of a Ponzi scheme. I am satisfied that check kiting is much simpler. A Ponzi scheme requires a great deal more energy and imagination, but some of it I understand. A Ponzi scheme begins with an asset. It is important that the asset have a value which is not easily discernible. For instance, if I could persuade you to invest in an oil well not yet drilled, and ...
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  • A New Year's Wish

    I’ve been told by people I respect that this is the wrong article to carry a New Year’s message of hope. They’ve told me the message is way too heavy, and not fun. But if I care about the reader, and feel strongly about the message, may I be excused again for bringing the elephant in the room into the conversation, just briefly, even if the elephant weighs down the discussion? That being said, ...
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