The Law Offices of Michael H. Merino, P.A. has been assisting buyers and sellers of Florida real estate since 1997. The Firm prides itself in possessing a deep understanding of the intricacies and nuances of Florida real estate law. From property acquisition, disposition and preservation to development, financing, and zoning, the Firm is well equipped to deal with virtually every real estate legal matter a property owner or prospective property purchaser can face when dealing with Florida real estate.
Our Firms attorneys have over 20 years of combined real estate experience dealing with everything from the routine residential real estate closing to the more complex commercial real estate matter dealing with acquisition, development, financing and disposition.
Real estate is often the largest, most important financial investment a person makes in their lifetime. It is vital to have a qualified real estate attorney by your side to ensure your transaction proceeds as it should.
The Firm has extensive experience handling all types of real estate transactions. The Firm’s attorneys can assist with contract preparation, review, and negotiation; title insurance; title examination; due diligence; zoning and land use; clearing title; 1031 tax deferred exchanges; lease review, preparation and negotiation; financing; entity formation including land trusts, limited liability companies and partnerships; and real estate closings. Michael H. Merino, P.A. is proud of its reputation for providing comprehensive, full-service representation in select areas of real estate law.
The law firm’s diligence and attention to detail are key factors in the success of your real estate deal. Every lawyer at Michael H. Merino, P.A. has the knowledge and legal background to resolve Florida real estate matters efficiently.
Real Estate Transactions: The Firm has extensive experience in handling both residential and commercial real estate transactions. From contract preparation, negotiation and review to title examinations, due diligence and the preparation of closing documents, the Firm’s attorney’s are well equipped to handle virtually any real estate related mater. Whether you are a first time home buyer or a sophisticated investor, the Firm’s vast knowledge of Florida real estate law and its wide range of experience in all types of real estate transactions will provide you with the peace of mind you need and insure that you have the best legal representation and highest level or protection in your real estate transaction.
As the recent past has shown, a bad real estate deal can have grave and disastrous consequences for both the parties involved in the transaction and for the national and local economy as a whole. Our attorneys and staff are here to insure that your real estate transaction is successful and profitable and doesn’t produce costly problems after closing.
Representation of Distressed Property Owners and Distressed Properties: The Firm’s attorneys and staff have extensive knowledge and experience dealing with distressed properties. The Firm’s attorneys have assisted many clients over the years in eliminating liability, disposing of their distressed property and also assisting its clients with the preservation of their properties. The following are some of the various methods of property disposition and preservation
- SHORT SALES: The Firm’s attorneys are very well versed in Short Sales and Short Sale Negotiations. We have extensive knowledge of the various government programs available to homeowners such as HAFA, Cooperative Short Sales, Incentive Programs and numerous others. One of our primary areas of expertise is being able to identify which lenders and which loans are eligible for cash incentives and which loans are defective. Having an attorney who knows how to identify which lenders and which loans are defective or deceptive is critical in gaining leverage with your lenders in short sale negotiations. Some of our clients have received up to $40,000 in cash incentives for cooperating with the lender on a short sale.
- LOAN MODIFICATIONS – PRINCIPAL REDUCTION: The Firm’s attorneys and staff have extensive experience with assisting homeowners in preserving their home or investment property through loan restructuring and debt negotiation. The Firms attorney’s have assisted clients with reducing principal, lowering the interest rate, extending the loan term and eliminating liability through various tactics, loan programs and aggressive negotiation and litigation. The Firms staff and attorneys are well versed in programs such as HAFA, HARP, HARP 2.0, FHA Short Refinances, and various other programs. One of our specialties is being able to identify problem loans with defects which in turn provide the Firm’s attorneys with the necessary leverage to aggressively represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf.
- DEED IN LIEU PROGRAMS: A Deed in Lieu of foreclosure is when the lender agrees to accept a deed from the homeowner instead of foreclosing. The Firm’s attorneys are also very well versed in assisting property owners with not only deeding the property back to the lender, but also eliminating the liability created by the difference between what is due the lender and what the property is worth. This difference is also known as negative equity. Property owners must be very careful when dealing directly with the lender in deed in lieu transactions as some property owners have been surprised to discover that despite cooperating with the lender and deeding the property back to them voluntarily, they still remained liable for the deficiency or negative equity.
- SHORT REFINANCES – INVESTOR NOTE PURCHASES & OTHER CREATIVE METHODS OF PROPERTY DISPOSITON AND PRESERVATION: The Firms attorneys have assisted many of its clients with preserving their properties through assisting with short refinances where the Firm assists the homeowner in securing a third party investor to refinance the property at market value. The Firm has also been involved in note purchases in which a third party purchases the existing “upside down ” loan from the existing lender at a significant discount so that the new note purchaser can facilitate a loan modification with principal reduction. We have also assisted property owners with numerous other creative methods of preserving property and eliminating liability such as equity participation transactions and various other creative methods.
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION SERVICES:
The Firm’s attorneys provide the following real estate transaction services:
Real Estate Closings
Buy- Sell Agreements
Title Examination & Title Clearance
Due Diligence Investigations
Real Estate Finance
Entity Formation – LLC’s, S-Corp’s and Land Trusts
Land Acquisition, Development, and Financing
Contract Preparation and Negotiation
Assistance With Evaluating and Securing Financing
1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges
Foreign National Representation
Compliance With Federal and State Law (FIRPTA compliance for foreigners)
Corporation, Partnership, and Trust Formation in Real Estate Acquisitions
Commercial and Residential Lease Drafting
The Firm’s principal, Michael H. Merino, is the owner of Priority Title, Inc., a licensed Florida Title insurance agency. The Firm and Priority Title, Inc. provide settlement closing services, escrow services, and issues title insurance policies underwritten by Old Republic National Title Insurance Company. Please visit the Priority Title, Inc website for more information.
Real Estate Litigation: The Firm also handles all aspects of real estate litigation including: foreclosure litigation and in particular, foreclosure defense, deficiency judgment lawsuits, ownership disputes, easement and boundary disputes, breach of lease/lease options, buy-sell agreements, specific performance disputes, contract disputes and numerous other real estate related disputes.
Foreign Nationals: The Firm specializes in assisting foreign nationals in the acquisition, disposition and preservation of Florida real estate. The Firm’s attorneys are well versed in the intricacies, pitfalls and traps that can arise when a foreign national is purchasing U.S. real estate including how to properly take title to avoid the U.S. Estate tax which can be as high as 55%. The Firm’s intricate knowledge of the specific laws governing the purchase and sale of real estate by foreign nationals is critical in counseling foreign investors. Through its extensive knowledge of the various laws such as the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (“FIRPTA”), the U.S. Estate Tax and numerous other laws, the Firm can counsel foreign investors on everything from property management to entity formation. We can assist you with formation of off shore corporations, domestic corporations and land trusts as well as assist you with all aspects of disposing OF, preserving or acquiring Florida real property.