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What Are the Rights & Responsibilities of a Landlord?

A landlord owns property that is rented or leased to someone else – the ‘tenant’ or ‘lessee.’ Both responsibilities and rights for landlords are defined by law – usually state and local codes in the US. Responsibilities for landlords may cover property, contract, and tenant issues.

Rented properties must meet safety requirements and other municipal codes, as well as safe and livable ‘habitability.’ Contract terms including price, late penalties, contract length, and cancellation notice are also frequently defined by law. Likewise, tenant selection, treatment and eviction requirements are often spelled out by applicable regulations.

Landlord responsibilities are different from property ownership. State and local laws define the ‘game rules’ under which landlords and tenants work together. In Florida, residential tenancies are governed by Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes under what is commonly known as the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. And, of course, the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: How Homeowners Should Prepare for an Appraisal

How Homeowners Should Prepare for an Appraisal

How Homeowners Should Prepare for an Appraisal

It’s not often that you have an appraisal done on your home, especially if you haven’t been in a position to sell houses multiple times. One of the first things you may think is, “What do I need to get ready for this?” Here are some helpful tips you can use to prepare for a visit from an appraiser.

Make Sure the Appraiser Knows Your Neighborhood

While most appraisers are familiar with the area, you’ll occasionally get one who isn’t local. Since there are sometimes some intricacies that need to be pointed out, be sure to bring them to the appraiser’s attention, and ask if there is something specific they should know about the area.

You Don’t Need to Clean the House

Appraisers try to view your home as a potential buyer. While it would be nice if every home was professionally cleaned, that’s not always doable. Appraisers inspect hundreds of homes per year and can look past the “messy teenager room” and the dishes in the sink.

Information on Recent Similar Sales in Your Neighborhood

If you are aware of a home in your neighborhood that is similar to yours and was recently sold as a private sale or FSBO, be sure to let the appraiser know. Also, if you have any information on sales in your neighborhood that are similar to yours but had extenuating circumstances (divorce, estate sale, pipe had burst and the house had major water damage, etc.), bring that to the appraiser’s attention too. Sometimes the information is disclosed on the MLS (multiple listing service), and sometimes it isn’t, so it never hurts to let them know.

List of Updates and Repairs

The appraiser is going to ask you about any recent updates or repairs you have completed in your house. It’s helpful if you think about this ahead of time and make a list of upgrades, estimated costs, and a general time frame of when each item was completed to streamline the appraisal process.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Beware of Title Agents with a Suspended License

Beware of Title Agents with a Suspended License

Beware of Title Agents with a Suspended License

In a previous blog post, we discussed an incident where a title agent was operating with an expired license. Which, on a good day, could be chalked up to negligence—not necessarily a quality you’d want in an agent who is handling critical files pertaining to the sale or purchase of one of your largest assets. But an agent who works in the title industry with a suspended license? That veers straight into shady conduct, since you’d better believe the agent is aware that they are operating illegally.

In one particular incident, a title agent had their license temporarily suspended when they were charged by the Florida State Attorney for Uttering a Forgery, which is a first degree felony. Some time later investigators conducted a follow-up investigation and found that the agent was still doing business in violation of the order…by using another title agent’s license to issue title insurance commitments and policies!

The two agents had agreed that the agent with the suspended license would split the commissions they earned with the other agent in exchange for using their valid license. Needless to say, the suspended agent was quickly put out of business, and their accomplice was put on 1-year probation on top of being fined $5000.

Fortunately, you can avoid running into this sort of scandal by using the Florida Department of Financial Services Licensee Search to search the name of the title agents you want to check on. It will give you the details of the status of their licenses along with other information.

At Title Junction, all of our title agents are professionally licensed and in compliance with title regulations at all times. But you don’t have to take our word for it—search the name of any of our title agents at https://licenseesearch.fldfs.com for your own personal peace of mind.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: What Is Litigation?

What Is Litigation?

In US law, one party can bring a lawsuit against another party in court. In civil cases, the party bringing the suit—called the plaintiff—generally claims to have incurred loss through actions of the other party—the defendant. In criminal cases, the state—whose legal representative is called ‘the prosecution’—charges the defendant with breaking the law. The court decides the case; judgement may include remedy of the loss and damages in civil cases, or sentencing in criminal cases, plus injunctions to force action and other legal consequences. The overall conduct of a lawsuit is called ‘litigation.’ The parties on both sides are generically ‘litigants,’ and the attorneys who represent them are ‘litigators.’

In the context of owning a house, a lawsuit could occur if a person or other entity tries to claim ownership of the title from the current owner, such as an unknown heir of the previous owner. If the defendant has title insurance, their title company will defend litigation in which their policyholder’s claim to the title is challenged and cover the attorneys’ fees, court costs and related expenses.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: FSBO Safeguards Provided by Title Companies

FSBO Safeguards Provided by Title Companies

FSBO Safeguards Provided by Title Companies

Choosing the right real estate title agency makes all the difference if you’re selling your Fort Myers or Cape Coral property without the help of a real estate agent. An experienced and professional title agency will give you a smooth and hassle-free for sale by owner (FSBO) experience.

Many people wonder why FSBO transactions require the services of a title agency. The fact is, title agencies provide necessary services for all real estate transactions, for sale by owner or not.

Title Services For Your FSBO Transaction

One of the most important things to remember is that the title agency works for you, whether you are the buyer or the seller. As the facilitator of the entire closing process, the title company wants the sale to go through. Title agencies and the agents who work with you are impartial service providers.

A FSBO transaction requires the same basic services from the real estate title company as a realtor-assisted transaction; a title search and title insurance. A full-service title agency will also offer escrow and notary services. All of these things are required in order to complete your FSBO transaction. The benefit of hiring a full-service agency to handle your FSBO transaction is that you get all of these services under one roof, so there is less confusion and room for error.

Safeguarding Your FSBO Purchase

It’s helpful to think of the title company as providing safeguards for the entire FSBO property purchase. The title search itself is an important safeguard since it determines whether the property is legally available for sale. A title agency reviews the public record to determine if any liens or judgments have been placed against the property. Title agencies have this process down pat and are very familiar with the routines, procedures and terminology that is used.

The second safeguard that the title agency provides affects the FSBO property purchaser and the mortgage lender; title insurance. Title insurance protects the buyer and lender from unforeseen claims that may arise against the property in the future, such as unpaid taxes or property liens that were not caught in the title search. Although the title search is supposed to find these liens, it’s always possible for a lien to be missed or a claim to arise against the property from an unknown source, and title insurance safeguards against either of these occurrences.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Selling Features Agents Forget to Mention

Selling Features Agents Forget to Mention

Selling Features Agents Forget to Mention

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an agent is not mentioning all the “selling features” of the property you are listing. When you post the listing description online or print marketing material, you want to make sure you are referring to all of the focal selling points of the house. There are the obvious selling points such as the home being located in a desirable neighborhood or sitting on acres of land. However, there are some selling features that are not quite as noticeable, but still have the potential to draw in buyers. Here are 3 selling features that real estate agents sometimes forget to mention that could attract potential buyers.

1. Surrounding Attractions and Amenities

Mentioning that a house is located in a desirable neighborhood or gated community can often be obvious, but some agents fail to mention the close proximity to certain attractions and amenities. Just because a buyer might be familiar with or has heard of the neighborhood, don’t assume they know everything there is to know about it. Some buyers could be relocating from out of town and may not be familiar with the area, and they would appreciate knowing what attractions and amenities are around.

With a lot of people being health conscience these days, short walking distances can be a real perk. Put in your listing description if there are any restaurants, parks or other attractions within reasonable walking or biking distance. The fact that the home is within walking distance of shopping districts, universities and some big-time employers could seal the deal.

2. Energy Efficiency

Everyone is looking for ways to cut down on their monthly bills, and one way to do so is by having a home that is energy efficient. Energy saving amenities such as double paned windows, new insulation and lower than average energy bills for the area are well worth mentioning. While being energy efficient isn’t the “most attractive” feature of a home, it could be the icing on the cake for budget-friendly buyers.

3. Storage Space

One big selling point that often gets overlooked is having a lot of space to store things. This is a huge selling feature in bigger cities where space is a valuable commodity. Don’t be afraid to mention that the property has extra storage in the basement, added closets in the master or built-in storage in the garage. If they are coming from a rental, they will appreciate the extra space since most rentals come with very little storage.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: 1099-S: The Tax Form Your Title Company Files For You

1099-S: The Tax Form Your Title Company Files For You

1099-S: The Tax Form Your Title Company Files For You

Taxes are never a fun subject to talk about, since they’re often unnecessarily complicated and generally end with you having less money in your pocket. To add to the complexity of filing taxes, the IRS requires that you report not only your standard income, but also certain miscellaneous earnings, such as the profit you make if you sell your house.

Yes, if you sell any real property, the IRS will want to know about it through the 1099-S tax form. But there’s good news! If you use a title company to close on your property, they will file the 1099-S form for you. Just don’t forget to tell your accountant that you sold a property come tax season!

That being said, it’s important that you provide the title company with all of the information they need to properly file your 1099-S form, such as your tax ID and social security number. Failure to do so will not only keep the title company from being able to provide the IRS with correct information about the sale of your property—you could be subject to civil or criminal penalties for failure to provide the information.

Your 1099-S amount reported is the gross proceeds of the sale, not your net proceeds. Gross proceeds include cash received, notes payable to the seller, and any liabilities of the seller assumed by the buyer. Gross proceeds don’t include separately stated cash received for personal property.

It should be noted that if the sale is your primary residence, the transaction may not be reportable depending on certain circumstances, but always ask your tax professional.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: The Basics of Intellectual Property

The Basics of Intellectual Property

To understand patents, trademarks and copyright—the main forms of intellectual property—let’s compare them to board games. Imagine a game rule that says, you can make up a new rule. If the banker allows the rule, you get exclusive use it for 20 turns. If others like it, they must pay you to use it during those turns. That’s roughly like a patent; patents protect new and useful ideas for a time, so inventors have a chance to profit.

Trademarks are about names and designs that identify & distinguish things. Picture a game where only one player gets to use the label ‘HotelsIncluded’ to describe the properties they sell – which always have a hotel. Other players could sell property with hotels, but can’t use ‘HotelsIncluded’ to describe them. That’s the basic idea of trademarks.

Finally, picture a game that includes blank cards. Anything a player writes or draws on a card becomes theirs to own, sell or trade. Since their original ideas are fixed & written down, their ownership rights are protected. That’s a loose analogy for copyright – creators of original works that are fixed & tangible have legal rights to those works.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Stay on Top of These 4 Home Maintenance Items

Stay on Top of These 4 Home Maintenance Items

Stay on Top of These 4 Home Maintenance Items

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to sell your house in the near future or down the road—it’s wise to keep up with the maintenance of your home. If you don’t properly maintain your home it can affect the property’s value…not to mention potentially be dangerous for you and your family. A well-maintained home is something most homes that sell fast and for top market value have in common. Here is a list of a few home maintenance items a lot of homeowners fail to think about but could be imperative to the sale of your home.

1. Make Your Front Door Inviting

The front door is the first thing buyers are going to see as they enter the home, and first impressions mean a lot. This doesn’t mean you have to replace your front door. It may need something as trivial as a new door handle and lock or a fresh coat of paint. What kind of maintenance the front door requires depends on what it’s made of. If it’s a hardwood door that has a natural finish to it, it may require cleaning, sanding and applying a new polish. Also, a fresh-looking front door will help with the curb appeal.

2. Check Your Water Heater

The water heater is one of the most common appliances people fail to think about maintaining. It could be the fact that most water heaters are in places that are rarely seen like in the corner of basements and garages. Where ever yours may be located, we recommend checking it out once a year or maybe even twice a year for older units. Having it checked is better than coming home to a deluge of water because the water heater has busted. It could end up costing a lot more than just a new water heater if you have to start tearing out drywall and replacing flooring.

3. Have Home Filters Checked Regularly

You’d be surprised how important it is to change the heating and cooling filters. Your air conditioning unit has to work extremely hard to push air throughout your entire house. Failing to change filters or have them cleaned on a regular basis makes your unit work harder than it has to and shortens the life of the unit. To ensure your unit is running as efficiently and effectively as possible, it’s wise to change the filters on a monthly basis or as recommended depending on the type of filter you use.

4. Garage Doors Need Maintaining

When you check to see if your garage doors are functioning correctly, start with the remotes. Make sure they have batteries and are working correctly. Next you want to make sure the doors are running smoothly on the tracks without much jerking and you may also need to lubricate the chain. It’s also common for garage door systems to have sensors or electronic eyes at the bottom near the garage floor on each side of the door to detect movement. This is important to ensure the safety of small children and pets.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: The Legal Basics of Divorce

The Legal Basics of Divorce

When a couple marries, they gain the legal right to do certain things together, such as own property or owe debts. Divorce is the legal termination of marriage; the legal status, responsibilities and arrangements of the married couple are cancelled. Divorcing requires that these all be resolved in some way. Property and debt has to be divided. Custody, visitation and support of children must be addressed. If the divorce settlement commits one spouse to financial support of the other after marriage — called ‘alimony’ — that must be defined as well.

Legally-acceptable reasons for divorce may include both ‘no-fault’, where parties divorce without officially blaming each other, and fault-based divorce, where individuals’ actions are accepted as grounds. While there are other forms of change in marital status, such legal separation and religious annulment, they are not the same thing as legal divorce.


At Title Junction we care about helping you stay informed throughout your real estate transaction. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post: Fireplaces in Warm Climates

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