Business Address

Law Office of Randall A. Fischer P.A. At Stuart

2100 SE Ocean Blvd #203, Stuart,
Martin, Florida 34996
Phone: (772) 463-7737


Randall A. Fischer, P.A.

725 SE Port St Lucie Blvd #206, Port St. Lucie
St. Lucie, Florida 34984-5232
Phone: (772) 463-7738


Randall A. Fischer, P.A. Law Office At Jupiter

1080 East Indiantown Road #104
Jupiter, Florida 33477
Phone: (561) 316-7111


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Lawyer Jupiter FL

I am getting sued by my HOA

Hiring a lawyer because you have a dispute with your homeowners association or your condo association is usually not a concern prior to purchasing your home or condominium.  Many people purchase a home or a condominium with an association because they appreciate the appearance of the clean community, the amenities, and possibly the safety afforded a manned gate or security system.  The documents governing how the community is managed are just a formality and so is the interview process.  All that was needed was a signature acknowledging receipt of HOA documents, the payment of a fee, and an informal interview and then acceptance into the association.  However, it is very important  to understand how the community operates.  It is important to know and understand the rules and regulations.  It is important to know the finances of your new community.

When a dispute arises with an HOA or a Condo association, often it is the result of an infraction with an existing HOA rule.  The owner never read the rules and regulations prior to closing on the purchase of the home or condominium.  Sometimes these issues can be easily resolved.  However, there are many instances where these conflicts can become very heated.  For example, if an association is pet friendly, know the pet restrictions and follow them.  If there is only a certain number of pets or size limitation, do not purchase a unit where you have more than the number allowed or exceed the limitation.  If you decide to ignore these restrictions, be prepared to be cited.

Whether it is beneficial or detrimental, neighbors in associations concern themselves with the intimate details of their fellow association members.  Frequently, neighbors members take it upon themselves to patrol the grounds and make sure the association’s rules are followed.  Elected board members often take up the mantle as well.  The point of this digression is to make sure you do not put yourself needlessly in their sites.  Read and know your rules and regulations prior to considering the purchase.  Review the financial documents for the association.   Ask questions:  How often has the association has cited a member for noncompliance with the rules and regulations?  What is the most often issue associated with noncompliance?  What was the outcome of these noncompliant cases?  Find out the name of the Management Company hired by the board.  Go to the management company or call and ask questions.  Find out who is on the board and how long they have been on the board.  It is critical to get a feel for the association before you decide to take the plunge.

If the answers you receive do not fit your criteria, do not buy in that HOA.  Do not rely on what your realtor tells you.  They are concerned about the sales transaction, which is their job.  Albeit, there are some very solid and concerned real estate sales agents out there (I know from experience I am married to one), there is still no substitution for sound due diligence.  I have had people come into my office telling me what their real estate sales agent told them and then see their signature on the bottom of the page indicated they had received and reviewed the HOA documents.  If you need help reviewing HOA documents, real estate contracts, have a real estate issue, or end-up in a dispute with your homeowner’s association or condominium association and need a lawyer, give my office a call.

 

Real Estate Pre-Approval Letter

REAL ESTATE PRE-APPROVAL LETTER

An often over looked step when considering purchasing a home is obtaining a pre-approval letter prior to commencing your search.  This is not a legal issue per se.  However, it is a very important aspect of overall financial management.  When you are buying a home, it is important to know how much you can afford to spend.  Before you even begin looking, you will need to know whether or not you will be able to get a loan.  With the recent changes in legislation, it has become more difficult to obtain a mortgage.  It is also important to know how much you will need to put down; what your interest rate and estimated mortgage payment will be; how much you can anticipate your property taxes will run; an approximate estimate of your property insurance costs; and to evaluate the closing costs.  The mortgage pre-approval letter is the first step in this process.

When deciding on who to use as your lender, use a reputable lender.  You may also want to go to a reputable mortage broker.  The difference between a Bank and a mortgage broker is a bank offers its products only.  A broker may work with several lenders.  It is important to feel comfortable and confident in your lender.  If you are facing a purchase which is subject to strict time constraints, talk to not only the lender or broker making the promises meeting the time constraints, but look for reviews on the web and talk to your real estate sales agent to confirm the reputation of the lender or mortgage broker.  The last thing you want to have happen is to have a moving truck full of furniture and no place to put it

Below is a short video explaining the importance of obtaining a pre-approval letter prior to looking for a home.  If you have any issues with purchasing a home or commercial property and need legal assistance, please give my office a call.  I appreciate you taking the time to come to my website and watch the videos.  Thank you and have a great day.

Real Estate Contracts Lawyer Jupiter FL

Real Estate Contract Lawyer Jupiter FL

Buying or Selling a home is one of the largest investments most people will make in their lifetime, yet often they decide to proceed without an attorney.  You may ask yourself “Why should I hire a lawyer?”…”I have a real estate sales person.”  First of all they are not lawyers.  Second, unless you establish the fiduciary relationship up-front, your real estate sales person is a transaction broker and does not owe you a fiduciary duty.  There are many subtle nuances that can become extremely important when deciding to buy or sell a home in Florida.  Read all documents very carefully before signing.  Having a real estate lawyer that is not only familiar with the law but with the nuances of the transactions themselves can save you time and money.

There are issues that surface all the time in real estate transactions, from how much is the appropriate down payment to whether a condition precedent was waived.  Sometimes these issues can result in litigation which can result in monetary damages or specific performance.  One of the best methods to circumnavigate these issues is to hire a real estate lawyer before you sign anything.  If you are selling, before you list your home, give me a call.  If you are buying a home, call before signing a contract to purchase.

This is the first video in a quick series of videos about real estate transactions.  I cannot stress how important it is to call and retain me prior to signing any contract.  I can assist in negotiating your position with your real estate broker.  Most real estate sales agents are honest.  However, there are some real estate agents that are less than honest about aspects of the transaction or the parcel.  They say one thing, but the contract says something else.  When cornered they will say they were”puffing.”  “Puffing” is actually a term used by real estate agents to up-sell a property.  The problem arises when the “puffing” borders on fraud and when determining fact from fiction becomes a blurry line.  Before you commit to any real estate sales contract, give me a call.

I appreciate you taking the time to come to my website.  Please call the office, if you need some assistance.

Can they take my car in Bankruptcy?

Can they take my car in Bankruptcy?

Whether a creditor can take your car or you will lose your car in Bankruptcy is not a simple yes or no question. There are many factors which will determine whether the equity in your car can be reached by a creditor and whether or not they would even consider spending the time and effort to attach your vehicle.

The video below discuss one of the issues which is title to the vehicle. Is the vehicle titled in more than one person’s name and how is that titled. If there is more than one person on the title, then whether you’re potential equity in the vehicle is subject to how the vehicle is titled. If the vehicle is titled between you “and” another party, then your interest in the asset is 50%. However, if the title indicates multiple party ownership using the conjunctive “or”, then either you or any other owner can transfer the asset. This distinction comes into play when determining the equitable stake in an asset.

Another factor in determining the equity is the wholesale value of the asset. In south Florida, most trustees use the Kelly Blackbook value. This is reasonably accurate. However, with each vehicle there can be factors which reduce the value including the operating condition, the overall condition, the mileage, etc… These factors are taken into account when determining the value of the vehicle. For the Bankruptcies I file here in Stuart, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter, I maintain an online annual subscription to the Kelly Blackbook. This gives us the up to date adjustments made to any vehicles value.

The other major consideration is whether or not the vehicle is liened (i.e. there is a loan on the car). The equitable value of the vehicle is the Kelly Blackbook wholesale minus the conditional adjustments minus the lien on the vehicle divided by the number shared owners. This is roughly the process used to determine the equitable value of the vehicle. If the lien exceeds the value of the vehicle there is no equity to attach. Then, when you file for a chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you reaffirm the loan through the bankruptcy. You can also choose to let the vehicle go and discharge your obligation to the lender for any potential deficiency owed on the vehicle (the difference between the value of the vehicle and the amount owed on the note).

If you are facing a financial dilemma and are looking for a lawyer in Stuart FL, Port St. Lucie FL, or Jupiter FL, please give me a call.

Real Estate Brokerage Charges Separate from the Commission

Real Estate Brokerage Charges separate from the Commission

I have received many calls and have had several consultations regarding charges appearing on HUD’s. Often some of those charges are applied without the client’s approval and knowledge prior to reviewing the HUD just before closing. Further, the client does not know what he is responsible for paying and why. Real Estate Brokerage companies like to include these charges on HUD’s when they had not been disclosed and contractually agreed to be paid by the buyer or seller of a home.

It is important to review your agreements with listing agents and buyers agents prior to entering into the contract. When you are deciding on an agent/brokerage firm a lot of the decision making is focused on the personality of the sales agent and the ability to show and sell the property. It is equally important to review the listing contract. This contract dictates your relationship. It governs how the property is sold and how much you are obligated to pay. If there is an aspect of the contract with which you are uncomfortable, let the agent know.  If the agent is unwilling to address the issue or indicates this is how they conduct business, you can either tell them you want to make the changes and if you are uncomfortable with making the changes contact a lawyer or don’t hire them. If you do not address this at the formation stage of contractual relationship, you will be subject to the agreement. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are going to be upset at the closing.

Often one of these charges included in the listing contract is a charge which is characterized as a Brokerage Fee, or Contract Storage Fee, or it is called some other name. These fees are mentioned separately and are included above and beyond the commission. You do not have to agree to pay these fees. If they are contained in the listing agreement, remove them and let your sales agent/Broker know you are not paying them as part of the agreement. This is a contract. You can negotiate the entire document. If they will not agree to remove the fee, you can hire another real estate brokerage company. In the event they are not included in the listing agreement and they just appear on the HUD, tell the sales agent/Broker that you will not pay these fees and that you did not agree to pay these fees. The real estate sales agent and the Real Estate Broker are compensated via the commission received on the contract.  If you have any issues regarding fees listed on the HUD, first talk to the title company handling the closing, explaining that the fees were not agreed upon and are not part of the contract.  If the Title Company and Real Estate Brokerage firm do not agree to remove the fees, call my office before closing.  You will have to pay for the consultation, but it should be less than the fees.  It is also important to make sure you receive the preliminary HUD and review it carefully before closing.  If you do not understand the HUD, first call the title company and request they review the charges and how they arrived at the figures on the HUD.  If they do not properly explain these figures to you, call my office and we can review them.

If you are buying a home and see charges on the HUD to which you had no knowledge and did not agree to pay prior to closing, request to see the source of the fees and where you agreed to pay for them.  You should have received an estimated fee schedule prior to hiring the title company and a fee schedule from your bank, check the figures listed on the HUD against the figures in the estimate.  If there are figures that you did not agree to pay, request they be removed.  If there are figures which are not near the estimate, request the figures be reduced.  If they will not agree to reduce, call my office.  Do not close.

If you have any questions about the fees being charged by your realtor, need help reviewing you contract or closing documents, or need help sorting out a real estate matter, please give my office a call and schedule an appointment.