Pavilion from the Ocean

Pavilion from the Ocean

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Miami Home Prices Continue to Experience Double-Digit Increases in February

The performance of the Miami real estate market remained strong in February, as prices continue to rise while properties sell rapidly and near asking price, according to the 31,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

The performance of the Miami real estate market remained strong in February, as prices continue to rise while properties sell rapidly and near asking price, according to the 31,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Median Sale Prices Continue to Increase
Median sale prices again increased significantly for both single-family homes and condominiums in February. The median sales price for single-family homes jumped 17 percent, up to $227,000 from $194,000 in February 2013, marking 27 straight months of growth. The average sale price for single-family homes increased 6.7 percent from $389,368 in February 2013 to $415,312 last month.

Why Short Sales Take So Long

When buyers hear the term “short sale,” they typically think about distressed sellers and good deals — especially in markets where prices have ticked upwards. But the word “sale” can be misleading. In fact, many real estate agents have renamed “short sales” as “long-and-drawn-out sales.”

Here’s why short sales often take a long time to complete.

Banks and Bureaucracy

In a short sale, you need the seller’s bank to approve before you can close. Banks require dozens of pages of paperwork to evaluate whether or not to approve a short sale. Since the seller is asking the bank to accept a sale price that’s less than the mortgage amount, the bank needs to verify that a short sale is the right thing to do. Banks want to make sure the seller is indeed unable to stay in the home and can’t afford to pay off the difference between the market value and the bank’s loan amount.
Just as a bank scrutinizes a buyer’s finances in order to approve their loan, the financial institution wants to closely examine the seller’s finances to be sure that it is not giving its money away. With many thousands of dollars at stake, banks don’t want to rush through this process. By comparison, when you’re buying from a person, he or she is more motivated to keep things moving.

Paperwork Gets Lost in the Process

Banks require many documents, disclosures and signatures to complete a short sale. Many times they request that they are faxed in. If just one signature or page is missing from a file, the bank will likely hold off on the process until the file is complete. Given that these banks are losing money on short sales, they don’t allocate the same amount of resources they would to the customer service department for paying (and profitable) customers. With limited staff and so much paperwork, things get lost — and then the short sale process drags on.

Two Lenders = Double the Time

Many times a short sale seller has two loans. The larger loan is being shorted while the second, smaller loan — usually a home equity line of credit — is being completely wiped out. Often, these loans are with two separate banks. Each bank has its own system that doesn’t in any way communicate with the other bank’s system. The second bank may approve the short sale but put on a 30-day expiration. If the first bank’s approval comes at day 31, the seller must go back to the second bank and start over. As you can see, this too can drag out the short sale.

How to Expedite a Short Sale

Is it possible to work the system and speed up short sales? Absolutely.
If you’re selling a home as a short sale, don’t use an agent who doesn’t not have short sale experience. There are so many areas where short sales can get tripped up, so look for an experienced agent who knows how to push through the process.
If you’re a buyer and you found a short sale home you love, determine if the agent is an expert in short sales. If the agent doesn’t have much (or any) short sale experience, expect a long, rocky road.
Short sales are a different animal from traditional home sales — from how they’re priced, how they’re marketed and the lengthy sales timeframe. A savvy short sale agent will know exactly what they’re dealing with and what to expect, and can shorten the process immense

Meeting Minutes: What do you Include or Exclude?

Ever been to a community association meeting where it takes a half hour (or more) to address the form of the minutes from the previous meeting?  I’ve seen reasonable people debate, argue and become animated over the content of meeting minutes. Criticisms such as “that’s not what I said” or “you only included a portion of what I said” are common.  These discussions create tension that could easily be avoided.  Community leaders asked the following question:
Question:What should be in our minutes? We have entire conversations and “thank yous” to everyone, added in each month. 
The content of the minutes is somewhat stylistic. The minutes must include the date, time (when called to order) and place of the meeting.  Minutes of a board meeting must include the names of the board members that participated (in person or by teleconference).  The minutes must include all motions and how each director voted (or abstained from voting) on each motion.   It is a good idea to attach the notice of the meeting to the minutes and, if an affidavit of mailing/delivery is required, go ahead and attach that document as well.  That way all the documents relevant to noticing the meeting and a record of all actions taken at that meeting are in the same place (the minute book).
While some provisions (i.e. recall procedures) require specific findings in the minutes, as a general matter the minutes are merely a record of all the actions taken at meeting of the general membership, a committee or of the Board.
Minutes of a general membership meeting should reflect the number of members participating, whether in person or by proxy and describe notice of the meeting.  Again, if an affidavit is required, its a good idea to attach that document to the minutes. The administrative rules require a record of certain votes in the minutes.  For example, Rule 61B-22.006(7) of the Florida Administrative Code requires the minutes of the association to reflect the actual number of votes cast by the membership to waive the requirement for audited, reviewed or compiled financial statements and specify the type of financial statement to be prepared as a substitute.
Here is an excerpt of a piece I wrote for a magazine several years ago:
Perhaps Sgt. Joe Friday from Television’s Dragnet said it best when he requested “Just the facts, Ma’am”. In my opinion there are too many opportunities to editorialize when summaries of statements made by the members are included in the minutes. Unless the Secretary (or other person that prepares the minutes) has made a video or audiotape of the meeting, attributing specific comments to specific individuals may provide yet another source of controversy within an Association and the comments rarely help (but often hurt) the Association in the future if the same issues are addressed repeatedly without affirmative action on the part of the Board. Owners often argue that completely accurate statements appear out of context in the minutes and are therefore misleading, not accurately conveying the issue or position of the member on an issue. Creating an actual transcript of the meeting is overly cumbersome and unnecessary.