Archives for December 2013

Good News In The News

Thankfully, seeing significant positive movement both in the statistics (CoStar report) and the reporting of the statistics. Those are two distinct concepts and both are important to economic recovery! The Orlando real estate market, in particular, is looking very positive. Here’s wishing everyone a “2014” filled with whatever you hope it will be filled with, be it increased business and income, personal or spiritual growth, or just plain happiness, in general!  BH


Happy Holidays from!!


It’s the end of “the closing” as we know it, but it feels fine.

Does it seem as if your life revolves around emails, texts, computers, tablets, the internet, the “cloud” and other electronic forms of communication? Well, the practice of real estate law really isn’t any different and it has changed the way real estate closings are typically conducted. In my commercial real estate practice, it is actually more unusual to have a traditional “sit down” closing, with all parties physically present at the same time, than for the closing to be handled electronically or by “mail away.” While residential closings are still often conducted in the traditional manner, although they are changing also, in my commercial practice it is more often the case that communications between myself and opposing counsel are by phone, email and overnight courier such as Fed Ex or UPS.

Typically, documents are drafted by the closing attorney, transmitted by email for review by the various parties and comments are received back via email or phone. The documents are then finalized and sent out for execution by email or overnight courier, executed and returned by overnight courier. Funds are wired in and wired out. In many cases I never meet opposing counsel or their client face to face and, in fact, I would say that has become the norm in more sophisticated transactions.

Personal checks? Unless you feel like waiting a couple of days until that check clears my trust account, forget it. Attorney trust accounting rules are so strict now that delivery of funds by check, even by certified check, just slows down the process. With my license to practice law riding on it, I’m not disbursing a dime until all funds are confirmed by my bank as being in my trust account and available for disbursement, so don’t try to talk me into cutting any corners!

That being said, I kind of like this new style of closing because, if done right, I think it makes the whole process less stressful for the parties involved. True, it can be impersonal, but it is more systematic, there’s more certainty and there is less opportunity for a last-minute dispute to arise at the closing table. However, it takes a lot of planning, attention to detail and good execution to make this all go smoothly.

To make sure your closing go smoothly, engage an attorney who is willing to put in the work early on to make the day of closing a “non-event.” Documents and closing statements should be prepared and provided for review in advance of the closing date. Comments should be provided and changes to the documents should be made quickly. Money should be wired into the closing attorney’s trust account in advance, perhaps a day or two before the closing date, if possible. If the closing attorney has all the executed documents in-hand and all the funds in his or her trust account no later than the morning of closing, the so-called “closing” becomes as simple as issuing notice to all parties that “we’re closed.” In other words, closing becomes a simple, stress-free non-event. That, in my book, is a successful closing.

An experienced commercial real estate attorney will work with you and guide you through the process in order to make your closing as uneventful as possible!

As always, thanks for reading.


Winter Park Office Building Completed

CNL Commercial Real Estate completed construction of Heritage Park, a three-story, 86,000-square-foot office building in the center of Winter Park, FL.

What is Agriculture Law?

I’m often asked “What is Agriculture Law?” As I explained in this article for the Florida Law Journal a while back, there is no particular definition of Agriculture Law because Agriculture Law isn’t focused on any particular legal practice area. It is instead focused on the widely varying needs of a particular type of client, be it an agriculture lender, producer, supplier, service provider or any other agriculturally oriented business. Therefore, the practice of Agriculture Law may encompass any number of practice areas, such as commercial real estate, residential real estate, commercial lending, estate planning, regulatory matters, employment law, commercial litigation, you name it. While my practice is focused primarily on commercial real estate and commercial lending, I do assist my clients with a wide variety of matters to the extent I am capable and comfortable doing so. As the lawyer for a large agricultural lender and a number of private agri-businesses, my role is, therefore, somewhat like an individual’s primary care physician or “general practitioner.” I handle everything I can to the best of my ability, but if a specific legal matter – say, for example, an environmental law issue – comes up that requires specialized attention, I don’t hesitate to consult with or refer the matter to an attorney more experienced in that particular area. I prefer and often do remain involved, however, acting as the facilitator or center of communication between the client, the attorney engaged to provide specialized expertise and any other parties involved. I believe many clients, especially small business owners, can benefit from having an experienced “general practitioner” who can act as their general corporate counsel, guide them through a wide variety of legal issues and, when needed, connect them with other attorneys having the specific legal knowledge necessary for any given issue. I would encourage any small business owner, agricultural or otherwise, to consider the benefits of establishing an ongoing relationship with a trusted attorney so that he or she is readily available when and if needed as legal matters requiring attention arise.

As always, thanks for reading!