Protect Your Clients from Wire Fraud!

Did you read the September 2018 edition of the Florida Realtor Magazine?

We found the article written by Mike Pappas and Rose. M. Sheehan to be very informative, urging brokers to protect their unsuspecting clients from wire fraud.

They recommend having clients bring a void check to the Title Company at closing, verbally verify information, be vigilant for changes in wiring instructions, and stay in contact with the sellers and the buyers. It is very important to protect your clients not only for their protection but to protect yourself from legal ramifications and from damage to your reputation.

We strongly advise all Real Estate Agents become familiar with and practice steps to protect their clients. We also urge agents to find out what their brokerage and others are doing to protect themselves and their clients. As you can see from the infographic above wire fraud, online fraud, and mortgage fraud were the top types of fraud in 2016 and have only been growing since, therefore, agents need to be vigilant not only for themselves but their clients.

 

Thinking of Switching Brokerages?

Considering switching Brokerages? Check out this article published by Florida Realtors Magazine that providing advice on choosing a new brokerage.

 

Does the Listing Agent have to Affirm an Offer has been Submitted to the Seller?

Beginning January 1, 2019, the Realtors® Code of Ethics is requiring listing brokers to confirm that they have submitted the offer to their clients upon the cooperating broker request.

It is not an automatic requirement to inform the potential buyer’s agent that the sellers have seen the offer or have signed a written notification that the seller has waived the obligation to have the offer presented. Confirmation only needs to be provided upon request.

This requirement only applies the Real Estate Agents and cannot be enforced upon the buyers or the sellers.

Lastly, any Real Estate Agent that does not submit an offer unless instructed otherwise by the seller will be in violation of Article 1.

 

To learn more visit the Florida Association of Realtors website.

Are you in Compliance with Fla. Chapter 455?

You are in compliance with Fla. Chapter 475 but are you in compliance with Fla. Chapter 455?

Chapter 475 requires agents to report felonies while 455 is similar it has more requirements than most realize. Under chapter 455 a licensee cannot offer to practice beyond the scope permitted by law. A licensee is also required to self-report any crime such as a misdemeanor within 30 days. Self-reporting can be done via an online form from the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

 

Want to Learn more? Visit the Florida Realtors website where we sourced our information.

 

Are You Aware of the Cyber Security Risks in the Real Estate Industry?

Please read this article about cyber attacks in the Real Estate Industry. We believe this is an important topic all Real Estate Agents should be knowledgeable about. Please provide us with opinions about cyber threats to the industry.

Can You Be Held Responsible if Your Seller Withholds Information?

Seller’s can be held legally liable when they willingly withhold property defects and material facts. Real Estate Agents can also be held liable for not disclosing defects discovered in the scope of servicing your client, the seller. Whether you know about the defects or not your reputation as a Real Estate Agent could be tarnished and it is best to advise your seller about disclosing defects for their safety and your own.

Deliberately withholding information from the disclosure form can be used to prosecute your clients and possibly you as their agent for fraud. Encourage your seller to be transparent and encourage the buyers to search for professional guidance on further inspection of the home. If you suspect your seller is hiding something they will not disclose consult your broker for advice immediately. As a Real Estate Agent, it is your duty to protect your clients from making this mistake by providing them with this information and warn them of the implication of withholding information.

 

For more information read “You Could Be the Fall Guy for Your Seller’s Lies” by Danielle Braff.

https://magazine.realtor/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2018/09/you-could-be-the-fall-guy-for-your-seller-s-lies

Tiny Homes Big Obstacles

Ever thought about buying a tiny house? Susan Taylor Martin wrote an article about the not-so-tiny obstacles tiny home owners have to overcome. Financing and zoning laws are not the only burdens tiny home owners are facing. Tiny homes are considered accessory dwellings with each city having different requirements for the homes. In St. Petersburg an accessory home can be built on the same lot as an existing home if the lot is at least 5,800 square feet while in Tampa accessory homes are not allowed on lots zoned for single families. While zoning is difficult, financing is becoming easier to obtain with the gaining popularity of tiny homes. So, what does this mean for the future of tiny homes in our area? Recently in St. Petersburg the city approved the construction of two permanent tiny homes located in the Eco Village on 15th St. N. Want to know more? Read Susan Taylor Martin’s article in the Tampa Bay Times.

How to be Prepared for Your Vacation

Looking for a guide to make it easier to take a vacation and not worry about your business? The article “Out of Office (really)” by Carrie McKeegan in the Tampa Bay Times outlines the steps you should take to ensure your business is prepared for your departure. 1. You should schedule Transition Days to ensure you are prepared for your vacation, 2. Appoint a colleague or employee that is in charge of your business while you are gone, 3. Schedule a message that you are out of the office and refer to the individual assisting your business, 4. Give the person who is assisting you a way to contact you, 5. Send scheduled reminder before you go therefore everyone is informed, and 6. Relax and do not worry about working on your trip. These tips are extremely useful when preparing to take a vacation.

Tampa Home Prices

 

Interested in knowing how the Tampa home price stacks up compared to other cities in Florida?

Check out this article from the Tampa Bay Times!

This article breaks down the differences in what is required to own a home in one of these areas.

Is Poor Communication Costing You Money?

Have you read the September 2018 edition of the Florida Realtor Magazine? If not, the article “Is poor follow-up costing you sales?” is a must read. The article states critical areas where following up is crucial to closing more deals such as: sign calls, email inquiries, buyer calls, open houses, cranky sellers, referral leads, and during the transaction. It should always be a priority for agents to respond to any type of call, email, or contact in a timely manner. Taking too long to respond can cost you. Unhappy customers will hurt your business.