Free Property Fraud Alert

Property fraud is a white-collar crime that’s rapidly growing in prevalence in the United States. It’s crucial for homeowners throughout the state of Florida to protect themselves against the growing risk of property fraud. Luckily, free property fraud alerts are now available in Hillsborough County and can simplify the process of property fraud protection. 

Let’s learn more about property fraud and how to sign up for free alerts to protect your home in Hillsborough County. 

Understanding Property Fraud

Property fraud occurs when scammers create and file fraudulent deeds. To do so, the scammer may counterfeit the homeowner’s identity, illegally transfer the property into his or her name, and officially record a document in the county’s official records. Read more

Safety Tips for Wiring Funds for a Home Sale or Closing

Using email and other electronic means to facilitate a home sale or closing is becoming more and more common, even before the pandemic. Now that everyone is staying at home and keeping their distance, almost all closing tables are happening over Zoom with digital signatures and electronic payments.

If this hardly sounds safe, you would be right. Although going digital certainly makes things convenient, it also makes it much easier to successfully commit fraud. The FBI has divulged several different wire fraud scams that have been used repeatedly to illegally obtain real estate closing funds.  Read more

Why Cashier’s Checks for Home Sale Closing Costs Are Nearly Obsolete

If you were expecting a cashier’s check when you arrived at closing, you might be surprised to learn that this isn’t an option anymore for most realtors. When someone buys your home, you likely won’t get a cashier’s check in hand on the spot for your portion of the purchase price. Instead, it is likely that you will be expected to accept electronic payment of some sort. 

Why the change?

Even before the pandemic, the exchange of cashier’s checks is something that has been disappearing from closing tables. More and more people are using electronic forms of payment. Cash is becoming so obsolete that stores don’t even have enough change to give out to customers and are starting to require the use of debit and credit cards. Electronic payment is simply more effective and convenient. There are no waits for banks to open and no question about whether or not the check is legitimate. Read more

Common Inspections You Should Expect the Buyer to Request

For the most part, the inspections you need to sell your home are up to you and the buyer. In most cases, additional inspections requested by the buyer are their responsibility to pay. However, a buyer’s home inspection is much more common than it once was, and there are other inspections that might be requested by the buyer, their lender, or their appraiser. Here’s what you might be able to expect when you sell your home.

Appraiser requested inspections

The buyer’s lender will want an appraisal of the property that you are selling to make sure that it is a worthwhile investment before backing the sale. An appraiser may request certain inspections depending on what they find in their initial appraisal.  Read more

Why Your Spouse Must Sign the Deed and What to Do If You Can’t Find Them

When a parting is mutual and everything is agreed upon, it can be tempting to let your divorce go in favor of spending your hard earned money elsewhere. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of ramifications to not taking care of these legal matters immediately, some of which you are probably unaware. 

In relation to selling a home, leaving your separation in limbo can prevent you from actually signing away the property. This is true even if: Read more

The Best Way to Pay Closing Costs

If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay your closing costs without a checkbook, you’ll be relieved to know that you can’t pay closing costs with a personal check anyway. You actually don’t have a lot of options for paying for your closing costs. Here’s what you need to know and the best method to use.

Cashier’s Check

In years gone by, a cashier’s check was the preferred method of paying closing costs. A cashier’s check is issued and guaranteed by your bank or other financial institution, which is why most closing and real estate agents have preferred it in the past. It seemed like the safest, most guaranteed option to get their money without receiving cash. Read more

How Many Checks Do I Need at Closing, and Who Gets Them?

Most people are aware that they are going to need to pay closing costs, but it isn’t always clear what those costs are, what is paid upfront, and what is paid on the day of closing when you take over your new home. 

You need to be prepared for these costs, and your real estate agent can give you an estimate. Your actual closing costs, checks required, and other details may not be released to you until just a few days before closing. Here’s what you need to know to be prepared.

If you don’t use a closing agent, you’re going to need at least two checks.

The first check you’re going to need is the required down payment, made out to your lender. Your lender will give a check to the seller, although not necessarily in the same amount. The second check will go to the real estate agent for closing costs and fees that haven’t yet been paid, such as title insurance and appraisals. Read more

Things Required for Closing You Probably Didn’t Think About

Whether you are buying or selling a house, there are certain things that always happen at closing that you need to be prepared for. There are specific parties that must be present or represented, and there are associated costs you may not be aware of. Here is what you need to have with you when you meet for closing.

Parties Present at Closing

You know closing involves the buyer, seller, and perhaps a realtor, but it is usually a surprise to homeowners that there are many others that must be present or otherwise represented. Some situations vary; but as a general rule, the following parties must be present or represented at closing: Read more

How Our Services Measure Up to a Realtor When Selling Your Home

Are you trying to figure out the best way to sell your home? You really have two main options—hire a realtor or sell FSBO (for sale by owner). While a realtor will handle everything for you from start to finish, selling your home yourself can save you a lot of money. If you’re certain you can find a buyer on your own, you might consider using services such as ours to handle those parts of the sale you are unfamiliar with.

We can handle all inspections and appraisals.

Most home sales require at least one inspection or appraisal. These can be difficult to arrange if you are acting on your own, but our professional service will handle these for you. We can also give you the reports in layman’s terms so that you know exactly where you stand with your sale. Read more

Real Estate and COVID: Safe Closing Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Many people have postponed moves or new home purchases due to the pandemic. With most people trying to stay at home and avoid travel, buying a home or moving within COVID guidelines for the area could be very difficult. Still, some home buyers may have plans in motion that cannot be postponed for long. 

If you are going to be buying a home before the pandemic is truly under control, you’ll need to take some precautions to keep you and others safe. Some of these guidelines are based on local requirements, while others are based on the CDC guidance.

Mask wearing is important and mandatory in Tampa.

Hillsborough County, which encompasses Southern Tampa, has a mask order in place. You must wear a mask if you will be within six feet of others. Since paperwork is passed from person to person during most closings, it is not possible to social distance, and masks are required. Masks have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more