Real Estate is a “hot topic” in cities such as New York City and Miami. In fact, many New York residents own multiple properties in both cities. Surprisingly, the real estate transaction processes in New York and South Florida differ significantly. Here are 5 key distinctions between New York and Florida’s real estate sales processes.
Use of Lawyers in NY vs. Standardized Purchase Contracts in Florida
Once a buyer decides to purchase a property in New York, their Realtor will refer to an attorney to handle the contract process until closing, so at this point the Realtor “steps out” of the process. It is the Attorneys responsibility to draft the contract and oversee negotiations. This is one of the most significant differences between Florida and New York, in that Florida Realtors are able to complete the standardized state approved contract (The FAR/BAR, “Contract for Florida Real Estate and Home Purchase and Sale Agreements” | or the CRSP, “Contract for Residential Sale or Purchase”) and can oversee the transaction until the closing (which is handled by a title company or attorney if the buyer elects one). It is the buyer and seller’s rights to use legal council for the transfer of their properties, but is not required.
Fair Housing Regulations in NY more strictly enforced than in Florida.
It is the Realtor and landlord’s responsibilities in both Florida and New York to ensure that no parties are discriminated against during a home search, on grounds such as race, religion, marital status, etc. However, this has been a hot topic in the State of New York recently, so much so that the government is beginning to “test” Realtors with random calls. For instance, should a real estate professional fail to offer assistance to clients using housing vouchers, yet on another call offer assistance to a potential client not requiring vouchers, if caught they may be fined as high as $15,000, and the Realtor’s license can be revoked should their responses not be fair. Florida certainly provides extensive legal protection over fair housing issues, however the persecution has not been an active effort at the time this article was written. Another example – New York agents cannot describe a properties as “Walking Distance” as this is discriminatory against the disabled. Florida isn’t has strict on the topic.
Standard Commissions in Florida vs. New York
Standard 6% commission in Florida is often paid for by the seller, whereas commissions in New York can be as low as 1.5% per side, and buyers may be asked to pay for the buyer fees in some cases. Average sales prices in NY are certainly higher, so the net income of a New York Realtor may not be seen as drastically less due to the smaller commission rates. However, explaining the standard Florida 6% commission to a New Yorker who is familiar with the transaction process in New York State can be seen as somewhat of a challenge. The solution is to provide the strongest value proposition possible…
To MLS or not to MLS… That is the Question
All of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties operate a local MLS, which are maintained through the applicable board of Realtor’s. Searching for properties, pulling reports and gathering CMA’s are straight forward and relatively simple, as all of the market data is accounted for in a central system. These listings are then syndicated to the internet, and made public from there. In contrast, Manhattan, Western Brooklyn (Brooklyn Heights for example) and the Forest Hills Gardens do NOT operate on the MLS. Listings of agents who are REBNY members (Real Estate Board of New York) will have them syndicated to the property database which is only accessible through membership with REBNY. However, REBNY this is a separate entity from the Board of Realtors. Forest Hills (Queens) properties are controlled by a handful of agents, of whom have keen expertise in the area.
New York vs. Florida Co-Op Approvals
A 3 month approval for New York Co-ops is not unheard of, whereas most Co-Op and Condo approvals in South Florida take under 30 days. Both states are notorious for the amount of information the co-op boards request, However, the average processing time-frame is shorter in South Florida.
When relocating to Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties from NY, it’s helpful to work with a real estate agent who understands the various processes in both states. Specifically an agent who understands the local norms and practices, so when in the midst of a transaction, your agent can relate to a previous experience and explain how the new state’s processes may be different, offering an extra level of clarity.