New Year. New Issues.

2019 is here.   Can you believe it?  I always enjoy taking the time in January to look ahead and get a sense of what the year will look like for The Fund and for our Members.  
Dear Members,

2019 is here.   Can you believe it?  I always enjoy taking the time in January to look ahead and get a sense of what the year will look like for The Fund and for our Members.   Here are the things that come to mind:
  • Digital Closings are coming!  We will make sure you have the knowledge and tools to handle these paperless (or near-paperless) transactions.
  • Remote Online Notarization (RON) is coming…..I hope.  This will give you great flexibility with closings in which buyer or seller are not able to come to your office in person.  Questions?  Call/email me!
  • Disruptors will continue to push their way into many aspects of our industry.  I-Buyers, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence – all of these will continue to be key trends that we will keep an eye on.  Some of these are very good for you – and some are not so good.  We will keep you informed.
  • Fund Advisory Council program.  We will continue to improve this key channel for getting feedback from Members on how we are doing.
  • Real Estate Councils – we are going to focus a lot more on building an effective relationship with Florida Realtors, using the Real Estate Councils across Florida to implement a lot of our ideas.
  • Our first graduates of the Real Estate Paralegal Certification program through Seminole State College will come in the summer.

Many of you have been affected by the Government shutdown.  The most common issue we have heard is the difficulty of communicating with IRS – to get payoffs or new EINs.  There are limited work-arounds in these situations so we feel your pain!  I hope this will all get resolved soon so transactions can get back on track.
You might be interested in some of the other issues that affect real estate:

The lending industry is the hardest hit with borrowers running into roadblocks for either loan approval or funding.  Approvals are delayed when a lender is unable to verify a Social Security number or obtain copies of a tax transcript from the IRS.  And if the applicant is a federal employee, verbal verification of employment is problematic.  The GSEs (Fannie and Freddie) appear to be suffering the least for the time being due to their reliance upon the Desktop Underwriting proprietary software they use.  The impact on FHA loans is more severe as they are only endorsing new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program (except for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages). It will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown.  The Rural Housing Programs are nearly at a standstill as the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not issue new rural housing direct loans or guaranteed loans. Scheduled closings of guaranteed loans without the guarantee previously issued would close at the lender’s own risk.  As for Veterans’ Administration loans, it’s business as usual since the staff who approve VA loans are paid through borrowing fees.

Rental property owners who participate in the HUD and USDA affordable house programs are also feeling the pinch.  Vouchers provided under the Sections 8 (low-income), 202 (elderly), and 811 (persons with disabilities) have been suspended and HUD has suggested landlords dip into cash reserves rather than seeking eviction.


This topic keeps showing up like a bad penny.   It is so important that you approach every single aspect of your closing process as a potential vulnerability and susceptible to criminal intrusion. The latest threat we’re hearing about is mortgage payoff fraud, where the bad guys, posing as the lender to whom a loan payoff request is directed, generate a spoofed payoff letter with bogus wiring instructions. This new twist on computer fraud will be among the topics addressed at an upcoming Fund Town Hall, Insuring Against Mortgage Payoff Fraud, Business Email Compromise Fraud & Other Social Engineering Frauds. Michael Rothman, Fund Legal Education Manager, will host this free webinar at noon on February 19, 2019 (EST). I urge you to tune in. Please check the Fund’s website for more details.


Look for an email in early February to register and get the Early Bird Discount.  The program is better than ever and I encourage you to attend to hear about the Florida economy, what the 2019 legislature did or didn’t do, an update on Cyber fraud, easements, marketing…..and much much more!

Let me know how we can help you.