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JordanPascaleLogoEarlier this month, Florida Power and Light (FPL) was issued a stunning legal defeat when a $1.5 million dollar judgment was issued against the company for breaking a handshake agreement for the purchase of real estate.  A Palm Beach County jury handed down the decision after finding that the energy giant failed to pay a commission to the realtor who initially informing them of the available tract of land for development.  According to the court file, the Plaintiff and a representative of FPL met at a Parent’s Weekend function their respective children’s university where they discussed the availability of a tract of land for purchase by the company and the subsequent commission to be paid to the Plaintiff should FPL indeed purchase the land.  Subsequently, FPL purchased the land and did not honor the commission, culminating in the court’s decision which provides a textbook example of the validity of handshake/verbal agreements and the difficulty encountered when trying to enforce them in court.

Although there are certain instances where only a written contract is enforceable, for a contract to be valid in the State of Florida, there must be an offer and an acceptance of that offer in exchange for consideration — i.e., money, services or goods that have value — and this includes handshake agreements.  Obviously, the difficulty in court enforcement of a handshake agreement lies with the Plaintiff, who must establish the burden of proof required to establish an agreement was ever present in the first place.  In most situations, a verbal contract is a binary discussion between two parties and there are no additional witnesses to the agreement.  In this matter, the Plaintiff was fortunate to have made the agreement in a very public setting that afforded a number of witnesses, all of whom had to be deposed.  Additionally, the Plaintiff was able to provide phone and email records to indicate his attempts to contact the FPL representative on this very matter.  These proved to be compelling verifications of the Plaintiff’s argument in the eyes of the jury.

Given the private nature of most handshake agreements, proving them in court is an uphill battle, but the above example is definitive proof that even major corporations can run afoul of contract law in certain situations.  The importance of corroborating witnesses is plainly evident — in the case of written agreements the witness is the contract itself, but in the case of a handshake agreement one must rely on additional parties to prove its existence.  At ESQ.title we stress the importance of written agreements — be it a lease, purchase/sales contract, invoice for services, etc., the safest route is to get everything in writing and agree to nothing unless it is written on the page.  However, if you believe you have been wronged in the execution of a handshake agreement, we urge you to contact our office to discuss the matter.  Here at ESQ.title, we pride ourselves on our ability to protect and advocate on behalf of our clients and to relentlessly pursue their interests — it’s what makes us South Florida’s premier real estate law firm!  Call us for a consultation and see what we can do for you!

img_2262By:  Alejandro E. Jordan, Esq.

According to reporting by Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC, commercial real estate mortgage borrowers with maturing loans paid them off at a slower rate as of May 2017.  Peter Grant of the Wall Street Journal suggests this slower payoff rate, and the ensuing swell in delinquent/unpaid loans, can be at least partly attributed to 10-year mortgage loans taken out by borrowers in 2007, which got repackaged into commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS).  This mass of maturing debt, which many are referring to as the “Wall of Maturities,” is coming due and many people are concerned about the effect it may have on the real estate market, as well as the economy as a whole.

We all remember the mess that was created, and exacerbated, by the high risk lending that was prevalent across the country ten years ago.  Continue Reading ›

JordanPascaleLogoIn Florida, as in many other states, properties that fall into arrears on delinquent taxes may eventually be sold at public auction by the county in which they are located.  The process by which this occurs, called a Tax Deed Sale, is detailed in Chapter 197 of the Florida Statutes and can be a little daunting to read through.  We here at ESQ.title have years of experience representing clients in Tax Deed Sales; the following is a short overview to help you get acquainted with the reasons for and processes of these unique real estate transactions.

First, as the name suggests, a Tax Deed Sale is performed to recoup unpaid taxes on real estate properties.  Properties cannot be sold until a number of prior requirements are met and deadlines passed at which time the holder of the Tax Lien Certificate against the property may file to force a public auction of that property.  This is what is referred to as a Tax Deed Sale.

A Tax Deed Sale extinguishes most liens against a property and prioritizes those held by municipalities and counties, which again stands to reason when you consider that the main motivation for a Tax Deed Sale is to pay delinquent taxes.  However, there is still some issue regarding which liens and debts against a property are still applicable after the sale.  As such it is of paramount importance that proper notice be given to the legal titleholder of record and all lienholders, including mortgage companies, and failure to comply with these notice requirements can result in the sale being voided.  Because there is often some questions as to the chain of ownership for Tax Deed Sale properties, purchasers commonly file Quiet Title Actions to permanently “quiet” – or eliminate – all claims to a property’s title.

JordanPascaleLogoMost people never hear of a Quiet Title action until they’re in the midst of one.  Here at ESQ.title one of our main focuses is Quiet Title actions.  Because we believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of effort, the following is an overview of Quiet Title actions in the State of Florida.

What is a Quiet Title Action?

A Quiet Title action is a civil lawsuit brought in the circuit court to “quiet” any and all claims on a piece of real estate.  Essentially, Quiet Title actions are intended to establish an individual’s right to ownership of real property against one or more adverse claimants.  In other words, Quiet Title establishes who the true owner of a property is and resolves all issues, or “clouds” from the title.  These cases are filed in Circuit Civil court.

img_2262By:  Alejandro E. Jordan, Esq.

Ladies & Gentlemen, we have already arrived at the second week of May, which can only mean two things:

1. The Miami Marlins are almost out of the playoff hunt (already); and

JordanPascaleLogoESQ.title is pleased to announce the expansion of their practice to Palm Beach County. The firm is opening an additional office located at 2701 NW 2nd Ave., Suite 206, Boca Raton, FL 33431. We look forward to continuing to serve your legal needs and providing the highest level of service to clients in Palm Beach County and all over South Florida.

ESQ.title is a business and real estate law firm founded by attorneys Alejandro E. Jordan and Daniel T. Pascale to provide quick, tenacious, and cost-effective solutions for their clients. With extensive local knowledge and know-how, our attorneys are well positioned to advocate for their clients, help resolve their disputes, achieve their objectives, and gain them a competitive advantage.

Continue Reading ›

img_2262By:  Alejandro E. Jordan, Esq.

The Miami Downtown Development Authority’s Annual Residential Market Study Update for the Greater Downtown Miami area, prepared by Integra Realty Resources (IRR), came out in early February, and is full of interesting/useful information. In this post we will discuss a few of the attention-grabbing tidbits from the Miami Downtown Development Authority (MDDA) report, and begin to address how some of these developments are going to affect you as buyers/sellers here in the Miami area.

According to the Senior Managing Director for IRR, Anthony M. Graziano, and Market Research Analyst, Dan Bowen, a big picture view on the state of the market should recognize that while inventory is up, there is no distress in the market. New pre-construction deliveries closed out successfully in 2016, demonstrating buyer confidence.

Resale pricing retreated modestly (6% – 7%), reflecting both a correction after five consecutive years of growth, as well as a stronger US Dollar, resulting in nominal price increases for most foreign buyers, according to the MDDA report.

With regard to condo delivery, the report notes that the greater downtown Miami area saw the largest volume of delivery (2,202 units delivered in 2016) since 2008, although it was also noted that this figure is mostly in line with the expected 11-year and 15-year cycle of absorption.

Continue Reading ›

img_2262By:  Alejandro E. Jordan, Esq.

“Our Real Estate Consulting Model will Revolutionize the entire Real Estate Industry,” says Alejandro E. Jordan, JD.

As you know, in today’s real estate market, everything that is listed on the multiple listing services is available to be seen on hundreds of duplicated websites at no cost to you.  Independent surveys state that over 95% of buyers search the Internet to find a home.  Virtually no one surveyed said their agent found them a home that they had not seen on the Internet or by driving around.  If you are one of the over 95% of the buyers out there doing their own homework, we figure why not pay you for your efforts so that you save money on your transaction closing costs.

Serving the Next Generation of First-Time Home Buyers

Today, Millennials (even Gen X and Gen Y) prefer to research information online or through their friends.  Our clients are savvy home buyers.  They’re involved in their search and know what they want.  They don’t need an agent to look on the Internet for new listings.  There are plenty of online tools they can use for that.  They don’t need an agent to drive them all over town every weekend.  And, they certainly don’t want to pay a full commission just to close the deal.  Buyers want someone who is on their side and who is hired to represent their interests.

How does the Real Estate Consulting Model Work?

Continue Reading ›

DanPascale-214x300By: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

Within the State of Florida especially, it is common to encounter real properties encumbered to more than one party– be it by inheritance, speculative investment, marriage, or some other such instance of shared ownership or tenancy in real estate. When these relationships are legally severed, such assets must be fairly and equitably divided between all invested parties, and in the State of Florida this is referred to as Partition of Real Estate or, more colloquially, Partition Law. Codified under Chapter 64 of the State Statutes, partition matters are a unique area of real estate law and subject to defining rules and regulations that set them apart from other, more familiar forms of litigation. The following is a brief synopsis to help illustrate the process of partitioning real estate in Florida.

Continue Reading ›

img_2262By: Alejandro E. Jordan, Esq.

Due Diligence Checklist for Commercial Real Estate Transactions in South Florida

Commercial real estate investments in south Florida can provide lucrative returns when they are selected and managed properly. Rather than just rushing into a transaction, an investor will be more likely to realize those returns if he follows a due diligence checklist on commercial real estate transactions in Miami and anywhere else in the State of Florida. The key items on that checklist are as follows:


Both Purchaser and Seller must confirm that they are satisfied with the purchase contract and all ancillary documents, including corporate authorizations and approvals, escrow agreements, and disbursement instructions.


The transaction should not close until the Purchaser has reviewed the title policy and any applicable surveys, and has concluded that no exceptions will preclude him from acquiring a clean title to the commercial real estate.

Continue Reading ›

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