Florida has long been a popular destination for retirees and for snowbirds who like to spend their summers up north and their winters in the sunny south. South Florida has also been popular among foreign buyers, mainly investors, who want to capitalize on desirable real estate. If you’re looking to purchase commercial or residential real estate in South Florida, it’s important to have a local real estate attorney to help guide you through the process.
As the South Florida real estate market continues to heat up, local home buyers are encountering many challenges in the path to home ownership. Securing a mortgage loan has become difficult as lenders tighten their standards, and the rash of foreign investors combined with low inventory has created an interesting environment.
For those looking to sell their homes, the hot market has produced good and bad results. Sellers are unloading their homes in mere days or weeks, even when they include a long list of demands, including 10-20 percent down payments, large deposits in escrow, and quick closings, as well as declining offers with FHA loans and requesting the bypassing of an appraisal, which could potentially bring the sale price down if the appraisal doesn’t match the asking price. Sellers are also getting close to, if not more, than their asking price.
“Ghost town,” “almost deserted” and “scary and depressing in the evening” are just a few ways recent visitors have described Fort Lauderdale’s Riverfront. A once bustling area of downtown with packed bars, restaurants and shops, the old hot spot has devolved into little more than a movie theater and a couple of dining options.
The economy played a big part in Riverfront’s downfall. Tourism dollars and local patronage weren’t coming in like they used to. Real estate experts agreed that the space would be best served as a mix of residences, offices, a hotel and retail. A 2007 plan to make it just that fell through when the residential market went bust. It turned out to be a sour deal for taxpayers too, as the city of Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County School Board lost about $3 million in deals leading up to Riverfront’s development in 1998. It was eventually purchased at public auction by one of its lenders who saw no competing bids.