Friday, March 15, 2019

Proper Identification at the Closing Table

Did You Remember Your ID?

Marlen Rodriguez is President of HomePartners Title Services

Buying or selling a home is an incredibly detail-oriented process. Outside of either finding and agreeing to purchase your dream home or finding a buyer who is willing to make an acceptable offer for your current home, there are copious amounts of paperwork involved in getting to the closing table. 

Once you get to the table to sign closing documents, you won't want to waste a moment on an easily avoidable mistake like forgetting a proper form of ID. Not all identification documents are acceptable at closing, and some correct forms of ID might not have the correct signature. Simple enough, right? 

Not to worry. Marlen Rodriguez is our guest blogger today and has years of experience navigating the closing process with buyers and sellers during her time with our Family of Services division Title company, HomePartners Title. I'll let her explain it.

One of the most important items you need as you get to the closing table is proper identification. In order to defend against fraud and forgery, state notary laws include requirements that parties signing documents in real estate transactions provide acceptable forms of identification at closing.

The best documents include a valid state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID, a United States passport, or a valid U.S. military ID. The documents must be current, have your photograph, physical description and signature of the party. They must also contain a serial, or other identifying number.

Unacceptable forms of ID include a temporary driver’s license without a photograph, Social Security card, employee ID badge, or a permanent resident ID card.

It’s also important to note that the signature on the closing documents must match the signature on the documentation that you bring with you to the closing table. An abbreviated form of signature may be acceptable, but you should clear this with your lender and your title agent prior to the actual closing date. A good tip is to discuss this with your title agent early in the process.

If you have any questions or concerns about forms of ID or signatures on documents, our representatives at HomePartners Title are ready to answer them and make sure you are prepared for your closing.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Why Did My Home Insurance Cost Increase?

Two Problems Hiking Your Home Insurance, and One Legislature with the Ability to Stop It

Ryan Papy, President of Keyes Insurance
The purchase price of a home is not the only cost associated with being a homeowner. You are also on the hook for property taxes, closing costs, and (importantly in Florida) home insurance. 

If you have bought a home or renewed your insurance policy recently, you likely saw the cost increase over previous policies. There's a reason behind that. 

Our guest writer this week is Keyes Insurance's President Ryan Papy, who explains why the current Florida Legislative Session might be ready to finally fix the problems that caused your increase. 

The Florida State Legislature is now in session. As an industry, we are waiting to see if they decide to look at two main policy items that currently affect our state’s homeowners and their property insurance costs.

The first, which has been the main driver of increased insurance costs, is the assignment of benefits issue regarding property damage and repairs. Assignment of benefits is the policy holder’s ability to pass their insurance benefits off to a contractor who, in turn, makes the necessary repairs to a damaged home before suing the insurance company for a much larger sum. That action hurts the profitability of the insurance company, which passes on those costs to the community as a whole by driving up rates.

The second issue is Florida’s one-way attorney fee policy. According to Florida Statute, this “loser-pays” system works in only one direction. If an insurance company fights a claim from an insured, whether for alleged fraud or other reason, and loses, they are obligated to pay the attorney fees for both parties involved in the case. Precedent has been set where settlement of a claim also constitutes a verdict in favor of the insured, meaning that the insurance company is forced to pay any attorney fees. The statute is meant to discourage insurance companies from contesting valid claims but has also given rise to potential fraudulent claims. In turn, insurance companies in Florida have raised rates to balance this uneven distribution of rights.

Both of these policies affect insurance rates. We have seen recently that, in order to help get mortgage approval for new business transactions, we have had to look for ways to cut insurance coverage. The industry is at a point where we can’t cut more cost from policies without leaving homeowners vulnerable. We hope the legislature will pick up these two policy issues and help stabilize the rates offered to policy holders. Stay tuned!

Have questions about your coverage? Want to shop around and see if you can get a better rate? Email us for a FREE quote at: 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Keyes Commercial Brings Wild Fork Foods to Miami

20,083 Sq. Ft. of Reasons to Choose The Keyes Company's Commercial Division

Is your business looking to capture a new customer base? What about launching a new product line and needing more space to showcase it. Maybe it's time to downsize and really focus on the services that bring you the most revenue.

No matter your reason, the motivating factor is the same. Your business doesn't fit the space or location you have any more.

When it comes to helping you with whatever commercial real estate goal you have, for yourself or your business, it pays to trust The Keyes Company and our Commercial Division team.

Wild Fork Foods did, and now one of the world's largest meat producers is getting ready to launch their brand to the Miami market.  

Click here to check it out: 

For your commercial real estate needs, contact Keyes' Commercial Division Manager David Joseph at


The Keyes Company is the largest independently owned real estate firm in Florida and a Top 30-ranked firm in the entire United States. In 2018, Keyes generated more than $6 billion in real estate services across its Keyes Family of Companies, with over $322 million of that transaction volume coming from a growing Commercial Division team.

Friday, March 1, 2019

We Are Unable to Offer You The Property

Protecting Yourself and Your Rental Property

Benjamin Gene is the President of KPM,
and has over a decade of industry experience

Rising property values and a smaller inventory of affordable starter homes have led to a boom in the rental market. Few places can boast as strong a market as South Florida, where great rental opportunities get filled as quickly as they come up for rent.

This has led to a situation where landlords or agents get themselves into trouble with Fair Housing Practices in the way that they turn down prospective rental applicants. Today's guest post comes from Benjamin Gene, President of Keyes Property Management with a word of advice on how to do this and make sure you don't open yourself up to potential liability.

I’d like to discuss declining tenants for a rental. As some of us have seen, there are now “Professional Tenants” who will call around to speak with agents or owners of rental listings to try and trip them up on Fair Housing issues before suing them for breach of those laws.

What I would like to do today is tell you how to legally decline a prospective tenant. It’s actually very simple. Simply state, “I’m sorry. We are not able to offer you the property at this time.” No matter their response, including when they ask why, repeat the phrase again.

This way, you don’t open up any avenues to allow them to claim that you violated any Fair Housing laws. They may get frustrated at your insistence on repeating that phrase, but it will protect you or the owners from violations.

Additionally, at, KPM will provide owners and agents with a summary page of why a tenant has been declined. This is based on criteria that they agree to prior to filling out the application. The only reason you must put in writing why you decline a tenant is for credit reasons. You do this by providing an Adverse Action letter. At, we provide you with this letter. Remember, the only thing to say is, “I’m sorry. We are not able to offer you the property at this time.”