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Achieving multiple professional certifications and surpassing customer expectations has propelled Keyes Company Sunset Office Vice President Carlos Garcia to become Dade County's top producing real estate leader within The Keyes organization. Garcia's cumulative sales volume is more than $575 Million since he launched his Real Estate career in 1995. In recognition of his exceptional success, Garcia was appointed to The Keyes Company's prestigious President's Council. Garcia is a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), a graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI), a Certified Relocation Specialist and Luxury Homes Member. In 2010, Carlos Garcia was named Vice-Chairman and Communication Chair for the Master Brokers Forum (MBF) representing the top 250 agents in Miami-Dade County. To better serve his customers with Short Sales and Foreclosure guidance, Garcia obtained his Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation. Prior to launching his career in Real Estate, Garcia served as Vice President of Operations for a major electrical Company in Miami. Carlos has achieved the Number ONE position again in Sales for Miami-Dade County and was awarded the President's Council Award in January 2014 for the 15th consecutive year at the Keyes Annual Awards and has always been ranked amongst the top FIVE sales associates in The Keyes Company which employs over 2,500 sales associates.(press release 2014)

The information on this web site has been obtained from the public record or the property owner and has not been verified. The information, documents and related graphics, may include inaccuracies or typographical errors and should be independently verified. The Keyes Company and/or Carlos Garcia (Associate) is not responsible or liable for the inaccuracy of the information.

Copyright ® 2007 Carlos Garcia, LLC.

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Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Semantics Wont Avoid Liquidated Damages Limit

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck You know the rest. Common sense tells us that you cant change the nature of a thing simply by deciding to call it something else. In at least one situation Allen v. Smith et al. a California Court of Appeal seems to agree with common sense.

The issue at hand was an attempt to circumvent Californias statutory 3 limit on liquidated damages in a residential purchase agreement.

Liquidated damages are an amount that contracting parties may in advance agree to be the measure of damages that would be suffered should there be a default. Thus, if there is a default there will be no need to prove how much the injured party has been damaged. The amount will already have been agreed upon.

Liquidated damages provisions are commonly used in residential purchase agreements. When buyer and seller agree that the deposit and sometimes a second, increased deposit will be subject to liquidated damages they are saying that, should the buyer default, the deposit amount is the damages amount that will be owed to the seller. California Civil Code section 1675 generally limits the valid amount of liquidated damages in a residential purchase agreement to 3 of the purchase price. This limitation is specifically stated in most residential purchase contracts.

Sometimes sellers want to be able to exact more from defaulting buyers than the 3 liquidated damages limit; and sometimes their agents can get creative in trying to help them do so. That is what happened in Allen v. Smith, and the court didnt like it.

Allen submitted an offer to the Smiths to purchase their Rancho Santa Fe home for 1,775,000. With the offer Allen submitted a 20,000 deposit along with an agreement to increase the deposit by 33,250 after the removal of inspection contingencies. The entire 53,250 3 of the purchase price would be subject to the liquidated damages provision.

The Smiths wanted to receive a larger amount, specifically 100,000, if Allen were to default. In order to get around the 3 limit the agent wrote this in the counter offer: "Buyers increased deposit to be 80,000 -- total deposit of 100,000 to be >

Allen agreed to the counter offer, the deal went forward until, you guessed it, Allen defaulted. Naturally, the Smiths held on to the 100,000, so everyone went to court.

Allen, or Allens lawyer, said that the Smiths shouldnt be able to keep the full 100,000 because they had "sought to circumvent the policy of the law concerning liquidated damages in residential sales contracts through a sham mechanism in which [they] labeled the deposit monies falsely as option monies."

The San Diego County Superior Court agreed with the Smiths and let them keep the 100,000 "nonrefundable option fee"; but the Fourth District Appellate Court disagreed. On examining the contract they found that it had none of the characteristics of an option, except for the reference to the deposit amount. For that reason the court agreed with Allen. It allowed the Smiths to keep the 53,250 3 of purchase price but required that the rest be returned, along with Allens court costs.

There were other issues in Allen v. Smith,and I have presented a simplified version here in order to keep focus. Still, a general lesson emerges. While creativity may be an admirable quality in real estate agents, be careful when it extends to attempting to change reality.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.


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Developers Must Be Honest

Note: Although the material discussed below deals with high court cases in both Washington, D.C. and Maryland, courts in many other states will begin adopting the reasoning and the decisions of these two cases.

Did you know that if you bought a new condominium in the District, you can sue the developer if the unit wasnt in the good condition you expected it to be even if it wasnt the one selling it?

And if you bought a resale condo in Maryland, did you know you can sue the association and property management for misrepresentations they made in the resale package, even if they were not the ones selling the unit?

Thats the decision of the high court in Maryland..

When you are considering buying an older unit, the condo association is required to prepare a resale package. This contains lots of material about the association, including declaration, bylaws, rules, and plats and plans as well as financial data and insurance information.

Marylands law is based on a case called MRA Property Management v. Armstrong. In that case, a number of buyers alleged that a property manager and the Tomes Landing Condominium Association in Port Deposit, provided resale packages which failed to disclose major defects in the condominium buildings - defects which were known at the time of the disclosure.

The Maryland Court of Appeals decided that the manager and association violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, despite not being the actual sellers of the units. In this case, the plaintiffs reviewed the misleading resale package and based their purchase decision at least in part on >

In the District, prospective new condo buyers receive a public offering statement, which contains a lot of information on improvements the developer made, such as the installation of a new roof or replacement of outdated plumbing and wiring.

In D.C., a dispute between condo buyers and developers is playing out in a suit filed by Adam Wetzel and Jonathan Rushbrook, who signed a contract to buy a new condo unit. Before they took title, they were living abroad and did not see the property. According to papers filed in the case, Wetzel and Rushbrook "had >

However, before they went to closing, the first-floor area was destroyed when large amounts of rain entered through the walls and the windows. After buying, they spent more than 14,000 just on mold cleanup.

The defendants accused the developer, Capital City Real Estate, of fraud and violating the Districts consumer protection laws. The case made its way to the Court of Appeals, which came to the same conclusion as in Maryland: You can sue the developer even if it was not the actual seller of the property. The case was sent back to the Superior Court where it is pending.

"Developers will need to be very careful in making representations about residential homes and condominiums in which they are involved, including on developer Web sites and in other advertising, public offering statements, sales contracts and other materials provided to consumers," said Roger Winston, a real estate attorney with the law firm of Ballard Spahr in the District.

Whatever the outcome of the Wetzel case, the takeaway is this: Buyers in Maryland, the District and Virginia which has no similar reported cases should beware.

Obviously, if you plan to buy into a community association, you must carefully read the documents about the property. But you must do more.

Go over to the building on a weekend, introduce yourself to some of the owners and ask them about the project. Talk directly to the president of the board; ask if there are any problems with the building units or if there are special assessments in the planning stage but not yet formally authorized.

Its your investment. Do your homework.

Benny L. Kass is a Washington and Maryland lawyer. This column is not legal advice and should not be acted upon without obtaining legal counsel. For a free copy of the booklet "A Guide to Settlement on Your New Home," send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Benny L. Kass, 1050 17th St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20036.
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Financing You Can Feel Good About

The mortgage industry has a history of screwing things up. Maybe the intentions are good but the process couldnt be more confusing. Throw in all the confusing lender jargon like amortization or APR and the borrower gets foggy at the outset.

Mortgage loan officers can have a hard time translating what they know into language the borrower can understand. Try to compare a 30-year loan with 20 percent down to a 20-year loan with 25 percent down. Throw in paying a point on one loan but not the other and you can see why comparing loans leaves many borrowers ready to give up and just do what their loan officer tells them to do.

One borrower was so frustrated with the process of refinancing her home, that she started her own software company two years ago to take the confusion out of purchase loans or refinancing. Based out of New York, Nicole Hamilton founded Tactile Finance to provide loan officers with a patent-pending tool that visually displays mortgage loan choices instead of simply quoting an interest rate. Its a "data visualization meets the mortgage industry" thing and loan officers can use it to explain various mortgage choices for their clients.

From that, a consumer site was born called Tacfi.com, where consumers can log in on their own and enter various financing scenarios to see how their choices affect building equity over time, financing costs and accrued interest. Theres even a tool that shows borrowers what they would net out of the sale proceeds should they sell their home at a specific point in the future. Thats kind of amazing.

Whats even better, its a lender-free zone. There are no banner ads nor does Tacfi sell borrowers information. If the borrower does want to speak with a loan officer, they can find one on the site but theres no requirement to do so. The site also contains articles about the lending process as well as a fun-to-read blog written by Realty Times alumnus David Reed.

When a loan officer quotes rates, this comparison is sent to his prospect. You can compare different scenarios and move the "mouse" that appears on the equity screen.

Immediately below, notice the "Share Screen" button. Its a patent pending app that allows a loan officer and multiple borrowers at different locations to share the loan officers screen as the loan officer walks them through different scenarios. Its similar to "Gotomeeting" but theres no need to download anything, its all in the email link.

To see the benefit, you should get your hands on the site and get the tactile feel for yourself. Youll find its very different from going on a lenders site and getting a rate quote or looking at a bar chart that may be far afield of what you can actually expect from the loan.


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