Riverside Realty Group
2053 W. First St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Phone: 239-313-5544


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New Real Estate Laws go in effect July 1

New Fla. laws go into effect July 1


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – June 28, 2017 – Seven real estate laws drafted by the 2017 Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott go into effect Saturday, including a Florida Realtors priority: estoppel fee caps.

Laws effective July 1

  • Cap on estoppel certificate fees – Sellers of properties who live in an HOA, condo association or co-op will have a limit on the amount they'll pay for an estoppel certificate, a document that informs a buyer if the seller is current with their dues and assessments. SB 398 (Sen. Passidomo, R-Naples) caps estoppel certificate fees at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. Associations may charge an additional $100 for expedited estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days) and another $150 to owners who are delinquent in their assessments. The bill sets the price of estoppel certificates for multiple units owned by the same person and establishes a uniform, statewide format that ensures buyers and closing agents receive the appropriate information needed to close the real estate transaction. This bill also requires certificates to be valid for 30 days if delivered electronically or 35 days if delivered by mail.
  • Florida's natural resources – More than $500 million is earmarked for Everglades restoration, beach renourishment and springs restoration. During the session, SB 10 (Sen. Bradley, R-Orange Park) served as the primary piece of policy legislation for Everglades restoration and establishes how the funding will be used for these projects. A key provision of SB 10 is the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that is designed to curb nutrient and salinity levels that are harmful to Florida's valuable natural resources.
  • Condominium termination law – Legislation passed in 2015 to protect condo owners from being forced to sell – possibly at a loss – has several loopholes that real estate investors and bulk buyers exploited. SB 1520 (Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater) fine-tunes the rules and modifies the process by reducing the percentage of owners required to reject the termination – from 10 percent to 5 percent.
  • Condominium oversight – A South Florida news report of fraud in condo board elections, misappropriation of funds and rigged bids resulted in a Miami-Dade grand jury recommending changes to Florida's Condominium Act. HB 1237 (Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami) provides several new condo oversight rules: (1) a condo association with more than 150 units must publish its financial reports and other documents (bylaws, articles of incorporation, condo rules) on a password-protected web page; (2) if an owner is denied documents and fraud is proven, persons responsible for fraudulent activity could face felony charges; (3) the term of a condo board director is limited to eight years, with some exceptions.
  • Private flood insurance – As Realtors petition Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Florida lawmakers continue to work to attract private flood insurance capital to Florida. HB 813 (Rep. Larry Lee Jr., D-Fort Pierce) accomplishes two primary goals: (1) Rating flexibility for flood insurers is extended from 2019 until 2025 before they must follow guidelines similar to other lines of coverage – a way to encourage private insurers to enter the Florida market; (2) insurance agents can place flood policies with surplus lines insurers for two more years – until 2019 – before they must make a "diligent effort" to place the coverage with carriers regulated by the state. Diligent effort requires an agent to seek coverage and be rejected by at least three regulated carriers writing the same type of coverage.
  • Drone regulationHB 1027 (Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville) preempts the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) by local governments and grants oversight to the state of Florida. This will prevent drone operators from having to potentially comply with ordinances adopted by 400+ local governments.
  • Pollution notificationSB 1018 (Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid) sets a threshold for when an operator is required to notify the Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Environmental Protection about a pollution event. It also provides a timeframe for the notification and defines what a reportable event means. This legislation is the result of pollution from a sinkhole at the Mosaic fertilizer facility in Mulberry, Fla., last summer. The Scott administration created an emergency rule that shifted the burden of pollution notification from the state to the owner of the property where the spill occurred. Florida Realtors was part of a coalition that successfully challenged the legal authority for this rule, creating an opportunity for the passage of this friendly legislation.

This Article is from Florida Realtor.org

Lake Okeechobee reservoir bill becomes law

 It's the law: Build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb disastrous discharges to the St. Lucie River.

 Last week Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 10, the legislation authorizing a significant increase in water stored south of Lake Okeechobee to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from the lake.

The reservoir was Senate President Joe Negron's top priority during the Florida Legislature's session that ended Monday.

"After 20 years of talking, southern storage is finally becoming a reality," Negron, a Republican from Stuart, said Tuesday in a news release. "We are well on our way to putting the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the pages of history, instead of the front pages of daily newspapers."

The shovels aren't coming out right away: The legislation calls for the state and the Army Corps of Engineers to each pitch in $800 million to build the 78.2 billion-gallon reservoir. So Congress has to authorize it, and President Donald Trump has to add his signature, as well.

Smaller, deeper

The reservoir is two-thirds the size of the 117.3 billion-gallon project Negron originally sought, but farmers south of the lake and members of the state House of Representatives recoiled at his plan to buy 60,000 acres of farmland south of the lake.

The larger reservoir, combined with other water control projects already in the pipeline, was estimated to reduce annual average Lake O discharges east and west by about 90 percent. The smaller, deeper reservoir to be built on state-owned land, along with the other projects, is estimated to reduce discharges by up to 60 percent.

The project's size can be increased by possible land swaps and purchases. SB 10 prohibits the use of eminent domain. It also provides grants to establish training programs for agricultural workers.

"I look forward to the work ahead as we continue to work with Governor Scott and our federal partners to expedite the planning and construction of this critical project," Negron said in his statement. "Together, we will end the plague of toxic blue-green algae that harms the health of our citizens and destroys our environment and our economy, once and for all."


After years of stops and starts, the bill puts the reservoir project on a speedy pace. By July 1, the South Florida Water Management District is supposed to ask the Corps to jointly develop what's known as a "post-authorization change report" to revise plans on the A-2 site where the reservoir is to be built.

If the Corps agrees, work on the report is supposed to start by Aug. 1. Congress has to approve the report by Dec. 1, 2019, or the A-2 parcel will revert to its earlier use and the state will have to look for another place to build the reservoir.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Palm City Republican, has said he'll introduce legislation Thursday he's calling the Everglades FIRST Act – it stands for Flow Increases Rely on Storage and Treatment – directing the to expedite work on reports needed for the reservoir and other projects to increase water storage around Lake O.

Another one of the Homes being featured at our Open House event April 23,2017

Fabulous mid-century modern pool home never before on the market. This custom home is being sold by the original owners' family. This 4 bedroom, 4 bath home is located 3 houses from the river. Fantastic layout, high ceilings, custom built-ins, parquet floors, tons of storage and a HUGE bonus room with plumbing make this house truly unique! The bonus room could be a perfect man cave or easily converted into a mother-in-law suite. The large carport could also be converted to a 2 car garage and the driveway has plenty of parking even for your RV or boat! Great views of the river from your front yard. Wonderful screened lanai with large swimming pool and plenty of space to entertain. Walk to the end of the street and enjoy the fabulous sunsets from the neighborhood park. The roof was replaced in 2015 and the plumbing was updated in 2009. Home also has hurricane panels and shutters! Please come see this one of a kind home today and make it your own.

Another one of the Homes being featured at our Open House event April 23,2017

One of the largest lots in Historic Edison Park at .65 acres. Gorgeous oaks and fruit trees surround the property and the fantastic back porch and private fenced back yard gives you the feeling you are out in the country. Fantastic home in Edison Park! Tons of charm and lots of original features, including tile & wood flooring, wood burning fireplace and wood ceilings in the dining room. Some of the updates include kitchen, hurricane windows and doors & cork flooring. The large addition was built with steel insulated panels (SIP) but is in keeping with the character of the house and it includes a large walk-in closet in the master and a very large ensuite bathroom. The fourth bedroom has a separate outside entrance so it would make a great guest room or home office. There is a large detached 2 car garage with workshop and covered boat parking. There is also an attached 1 car garage that could easily be converted to expand the fourth bedroom and make a true in-law suite, or just keep it for tons of extra storage. Please see the virtual tour for additional photos.

Another one of the Homes being featured at our Open House event April 23,2017

Come see this fantastic property in the estate section of McGregor Blvd. This home is directly across from the multi-million dollar homes on the river. It boasts a wonderful floor plan with lots of little reading nooks and cozy get away areas and includes a fireplace with charming built-ins. There is a also a custom bar, home office and a beautifully updated kitchen. The split floor plan is wonderful for entertaining and makes your master bedroom truly private. The master suite with its own private entrance and breezeway has two separate sitting areas and makes you feel like you are on vacation the moment you enter. With incredible views of the pool and patio and the gorgeous backyard you have your own private oasis. The large jetted tub, and walk-in shower complete the package and give you that spa like sensation. There is plenty of room to entertain on the large screened patio and the vaulted ceilings make it feel even more spacious. The back yard is completely fenced and surrounded with gorgeous native plants. The majority of the garage has been converted to living space but there is still plenty of room for all your garden tools and outdoor toys. Please make your appt. today!


Another one of the Homes being featured at our Open House event April 23,2017

Fantastic mid-century modern home on one of the most desirable streets in Fort Myers. It even comes complete with terrazzo floors! Fabulous pool home, with updated kitchen with gas stove and wonderful built-ins in the living room. The master bedroom was added so there is plenty of room in your own private suite. The pool is truly one of a kind, and is reminiscent of old Hollywood and the concrete wall with the 50's flair gives you complete privacy. Wonderful plantings also surround the pool and you are transported back in time. The wood burning fireplace and the indoor grill are just some of the truly unique features. This unique property is within walking distance to the river, but is not in a flood zone! This home is truly one of a kind and you must see this amazing property for yourself. Home is in great shape but to give buyers piece of mind Sellers will provide a Home Warranty!


One of the Open Houses featured this Sunday April 23,2017

Wonderful 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, Den home in the fabulous gated community of McGregor Reserve. Located on a quiet cul-de-sac the home is very private and has one of the largest yards in the entire neighborhood. From the moment you arrive the plush landscaping welcomes you and the custom details are very apparent as soon as you enter the home. From the custom front door to the exceptional wood flooring and the designer fixtures you can tell no expense was spared. The kitchen is very spacious with lots of storage and is open to the family room so entertaining is a breeze. The split floor plan allows total privacy in the master suite which features fantastic views of the back yard, and the ensuite includes his and her closets, a soaking tub and a large walk-in shower. There is a wonderful covered lanai for entertaining and even an outside powder room for your guests. The community itself has streetlights and sidewalks and lots of community events. There is even a nice size community pool and coming soon is a children's play area! Please make your appointment today!


New Listing 1331 Morningside Dr.

Wonderful move in ready home on the river side of McGregor. Updated kitchen with loads of counter space and a fantastic farm house sink. The home also features updated baths & fixtures and has plenty of storage! The backyard is quite spacious and is completely fenced with wonderful plantings all around and a poured concrete patio which is great for entertaining. Tile throughout & wonderful open floor plan make this home a must see. Please make your appointment today

This home is featured in the McGregor Neighborhood Open House April 23,2017 from 1pm - 4 pm McGregor-Homes.com


Most Milennials plan to buy home in next 5 years

This article is from the Florida Association of Realtors.

Most Millennials plan to buy first home in next five years

Millennials face significant challenges when it comes to housing affordability. With an expected 1.9 percent increase in salary growth expected in 2017 and average property prices climbing by 4.8 percent last year, the dream of owning a home remains a challenge for many. More than four in five (80 percent) Millennials in the United States who don’t own a home intend to buy in the next five years, according to recent HSBC Group research.

HSBC Group’s Beyond the Bricks — an independent consumer research survey of 9,000 people in nine countries worldwide including 1,009 respondents in the U.S. — found that homeownership is a dream deferred but not dead for many Millennials around the world who name slow wage growth and housing price inflation as the greatest barriers to purchasing a home.

The report also reveals the need for better financial planning as another significant hurdle for Millennials.

According to David Gates, U.S. head of mortgage origination and sales for HSBC: “This study highlights that young people strongly value homeownership, yet there are significant challenges to making the dream a reality for Millennials around the world. The perfect storm of stagnating salaries and rising house prices, paired with the need for improved financial planning can make buying a home a deferred reality.”

Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Millennials are saving more money for a deposit and waiting to earn a higher salary before buying a property, the report finds.

Millennials face significant challenges when it comes to housing affordability. With an expected 1.9 percent increase in salary growth expected in 2017 and average property prices climbing by 4.8 percent last year, the dream of owning a home remains a challenge for many.

Of the 71 percent of Millennials who seek to both save and earn more money, 49 percent feel they are being held back because they cannot afford to buy the type of property that they would like.

More than half (57 percent) of Millennials who bought a home in the last two years ended up spending beyond their initial budget.


The report also finds that many Millennials do not have their house in order when it comes to financial planning for a home purchase. Among non-owners intending to buy a home in the next two years, nearly one in three (32 percent) have no overall budget in mind and a further 54 percent have only set an approximate budget. As a result, 57 percent of Millennials who bought a home in the last two years ended up overspending their budget.

On the other hand, the millennial generation is willing to consider making big sacrifices to afford a home. Among non-owners intending to buy, 55 percent would consider spending less on leisure and going out, 41 percent would consider buying a smaller than ideal place, and 27 percent would even be prepared to delay having children.

Financial support from parents can make a big difference when saving for a home, and 28 percent of Millennials who bought their own home turned to the “bank of Mom and Dad” as a source of funding.

HSBC research identifies four actions that Millennials can take to help make their homeownership dream a reality:

• Plan early and don’t underestimate the deposit.

• Budget beyond the purchase price to account for extra costs other than the home purchase.

• Consider what sacrifices you can make to save more and faster.

• Get a full view of your finances and find a home loan that suits your needs.

Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1998. The findings are based on a survey of homeowners and non-owners aged 18 or older from a nationally representative online sample in eight countries and a nationally representative face-to-face sample in the UAE. The research was conducted by Kantar TNS in October and November 2016. ¦