Reminders, Renewals & a Special Remembrance

Dear Members,

As we begin to wind down the year, your thoughts might be turning to turkey, football and the holidays. That's nice. My thoughts continue to focus on cyber fraud, GTO renewals and vacant lot scams!  I want to share my happy thoughts so here are some reminders, some new stuff and general info. 
Also a short remembrance of a very nice man.

FinCEN GTO Renewal.  The Geographic Targeting Order that covers Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties has been extended through April 2023. So for those of you handling cash transactions in these counties, it is business as usual. For those of you who think "whew; not me", enjoy your relief now because it is possible these orders will be expanded at some point in the future to cover the entire state of Florida (and probably the entire country).  Here is a link to the latest GTO.

Fund Real Estate Forum. I continue to sing the praises of our real estate forum as a great resource for all Fund Members. Our Forum (a/k/a the Slachter Forum) is an old-fashioned list serve where Members can post questions they are facing in their practices about a myriad of topics (you never know what people will bring up!) and ask for feedback and advice from each other. Title cure period, Positive Pay, mortgages recorded without legal descriptions, evictions, Russian speaking RON, cell phone tower issues… these are all topics in a recent week on the Forum. TONS of knowledge about Florida real estate law is shared every day between Forum Members. Fund Members are so generous with their time and expertise and the Forum is one of the best ways to see that in action. It's free to Fund Members so join up by clicking this link.  Hope to see you soon on the Forum!

Vacant lot scams. These pesky frauds are not going away. We continue to get claims on transactions where a fraud was perpetrated…….despite our alerts and warnings to you! This is real and you do not want to be fooled into handling one of these. Fraudsters are identifying vacant properties and then duping a real estate agent and closing agent into closing the transaction with the fraudster pretending to be the true owner. Recently a Member stopped two scams from happening (and saved two claims!) by simply sending a letter to the owner at the address listed on the property appraiser website via overnight delivery, asking them to confirm that the property was being sold. In both cases, the true owner contacted the Member and said they were NOT selling their lot. Whew!  A simple solution and one we have suggested in a recent Fund Alert. Here's a link to the Alert published in April 2022.

Money, money, money. Handling the money associated with a transaction is one of your most important responsibilities. We all know about the risks associated with communicating wire instructions to the buyer so they properly send their cash to close. Many of you debate what is the best solution: Continue to do wires? Require cashier checks? Technology may be our friend in this challenge. There is a new form of electronic payment - Real Time Payments - being promoted in the industry. RTPs are different than a wire (in some ways), different from an ACH (in many ways). Learn more about this new way of sending and receiving money at my upcoming Title Now Popup Webinar on November 16th at noon. 30 minutes. Free!  Here is a link to register.

Remembering Ira Price. We lost a dear friend recently. Ira Price passed away on October 26 and we are all saddened by this. I've known Ira for decades, primarily through his involvement in The Fund and, more recently, his leadership and involvement in the South Miami Dade Real Estate Council. Ira was also an active participant in the Forum for years. I always enjoyed reading his posts. People who knew him well talk about what a great lawyer and friend he was. He was certainly dedicated to bettering the profession. We will miss him!

That's all for this week.  Let me know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel