Tenancies of Home Ownership

If you share home ownership, your rights to convey that property or to inherit it depend on what type of tenancy you hold.  In Florida there are three basic co-tenancies to hold real estate title, and each of them have their own “unities.” Tenancy in Common – The only unity is Unity of Possession. Each person in the co-tenancy had the right to possess the property.  The parties can own the property in whatever percentages they want.  Any party can sell their interest to anyone without notice to the other owners. Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship – There are four unities: Unity of Possession (just like Tenancy in Common) Unity of Time (the co-tenants must take title at the same time) Unity of Title (they must take title on the same instrument) Unity of Interest (each party has the same percentage interest as the others) Any of the co-tenants can break the joint tenancy with rights of survivorship by conveying their interest to anyone else.   Tenancy by Entirety – This includes the unities of Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship plus the Unity of Marriage, which subscribes to the legal fiction that husband and wife are one entity. As […] Read More

Home Ownership in Florida Vs. Georgia

Yo Yo Ma does not own his cello.  He plays an instrument made by Stadivari and on loan to him from the Louis Vuitton Foundation.  In a similar arrangement, Georgia residents who hit a wrong note on their home loan can be relieved quickly of playing house.  Florida home-dwellers, however, get to play a different tune. In Florida, a homeowner owns their home even while they are paying off what they borrowed to buy the home.  If they miss a mortgage payment, they still own the home.  If they miss two mortgage payments, they still own the home.  If they have a foreclosure complaint filed against them, they still own their home.  A Florida homeowner owns his or her home all the way through the foreclosure process up until the Certificate of Title is issued (which typically happens about ten days after the foreclosure sale). Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state.  Homebuyers there do not own their homes until they have paid off their home loan.  Thus the bank can move quickly to foreclose on property it owns and without judicial oversight. The Florida foreclosure process gives homeowners greater opportunity to review their legal choices so they can pursue a […] Read More

Pre-Amortization & After

The journey of a 30-year mortgage begins with a single payment, but it does not necessarily end 360 months later.  Home ownership is evolving. Before amortization, you would have an interest payment, then you would have a reoccurring balloon that went over like a lead balloon sinking finances and putting people out of their homes.  Then along came a formula that was level over the term of the loan, completely covered the principal and interest, and terminated at the end of the loan:  amortization. Today, most Americans do not have a loan for more than three to five years.  It is weird to see someone pay off a 30-year loan.  Circumstances change, and a homeowner may sell or refinance. In refinance, you need to know where the break-even point is.  How long does it take to get the money back that I spent?  Be careful what you sign yourself into (or out of).  Words mean things.  Make sure you understand the terms of your loan and how you will be affected if you refinance.  Competent legal counsel can help you review the deal to ensure you are getting what you think you are getting.   Read More