Canadian Real Estate Investors Face Competition from Asian Counterparts

Canadian Real Estate Investors | Florida Real Estate Attorney Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami | Boyer Law Firm, PLNow is the time for Canadian real estate investors to buy in Florida before investors from Asian countries become the new Florida snowbird.

More than 500,000 Canadians currently own property in Florida, and many have made a return on their investment since 2008 when the state was one of the hardest hit in the nation by the housing crisis. The price of single-family homes in Florida is currently up 12 percent, according to the Toronto Star.

In 2010, Canadians accounted for almost 40 percent of all real estate purchases in Florida, but they are now facing stiff competition from their Asian counterparts. This competition is mostly over bankrupt development projects around $100,000. As a result, many Canadian real estate investors are investing in discounted homes over $200,000 and $300,000 while they are still available.

Canadian real estate investors are also facing competition from Brazilian investors in Miami and Orlando.

If you are interested in investing in Florida real estate, buying a winter home, or selling a piece of property, contact Boyer Law Firm’s real estate attorneys today. We have attorneys and paralegals who speak both French and English.

Source: Toronto Star

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Orlando International Airport and International Travel

Orlando International Airport | International business travel| International attorneyBeginning tomorrow, April 30, 2013, Orlando International Airport will electronically streamline the international arrival process, making the process paperless and replacing the I-94 form. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recognized the airport as the first in the nation to move to the new process.

While year-to-date domestic travel is down 3.7 percent in Orlando, international traffic is up 13.7 percent, making this new form of screening a necessity. Lines for international visitors at Orlando International Airport become extremely long when travelers have not completed the I-94 form. With the new system, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will gather arrival and departure information from electronic travel records.

So, if you are planning to travel to Florida for business or pleasure after April 30, you may want to amend your travel plans to arrive in the U.S. in Orlando. However, the process will still be relatively new and there will inevitably be some kinks to work out at the beginning.

Source: Orlando Business Journal

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Florida’s World-Class Golf Courses

One of the great things about living and doing business in Florida, in addition to the warm weather and sandy beaches, is Florida’s world-class public golf courses. Whether you are meeting a client or playing a Saturday afternoon round with some buddies, Florida has some of the best golf courses in the country.

Whether you are in Jacksonville, Orlando, or Miami, Florida, there is a world-class public golf course near you.

Here are the top thirty Florida’s world-class golf courses, according to Golf.com:

1. TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium), Ponte Vedra Beach/ Jacksonville

Floridas world class golf courses | doing business in Florida | Business Lawyer Jacksonville Miami Orlando2. World Woods (Pine Barrens), Brooksville

3. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill, Orlando

4. Hammock Beach Resort (Ocean), Palm Coast

5. Innisbrook (Copperhead), Palm Harbor

6. Doral (TPC Blue Monster), Miami

7. PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens

8. Reunion (Independence), Orlando

9. World Woods (Rolling Oaks), Brooksville

10. Camp Creek, Panama City Beach

11. Waldorf Astoria, Orlando

12. Grand Cypress (New), Orlando

13. Sandestin (Raven), Destin

14. Sugarloaf Mountain, Minneola

15. Victoria Hill, Deland

16. Old Corkscrew, Estero

17. Tiburon (Black), Naples

18. Hammock Beach Resort (Conservatory),Palm Coast

19. Turnberry Isle (Soffer), Aventura

20. Southern Dunes, Haines City

21. Breakers (Rees Jones), West Palm Beach

22. Orange County National (Panther Lake), Winter Garden / Orlando

23. PGA Golf Club (Wanamaker), Port St. Lucie

24. The Deltona Club, Deltona

25. Southwood, Tallahassee

26. TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley), Ponte Vedra Beach/ Jacksonville

27. Ponte Vedra Inn & Club (Ocean), Ponte Vedra Beach/ Jacksonville

28. Reunion (Legacy), Orlando

29. North Palm Beach C.C., North Palm Beach

30. Walt Disney World (Magnolia), Lake Buena Vista

For more information about living and doing business in Florida, download our “Living in Florida” guide.

Source: http://www.golf.com/courses-and-travel/best-public-golf-courses-florida-2012

The Copyright Act

The Copyright Act | Copyright Law Attorney | Intellectual Property Lawyer Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Florida

Under The Copyright Act of 1976, an owner of a copyright has exclusive reproduction rights, distribution rights, the right to create adaptations (derivative work), the right to prepare new works based on the protected work, and performance and display rights.

The owner may license or sell any of these rights for a profit. It is common for the owner to place certain limitations on how these rights can be used, such as the period of time in which they can be used, the number of times they can be used, the specific location in which the rights may be used, and more.

A good example of this is getting photographs from the internet. If you search Google images, most of those pictures are copyrighted. This is because copyright protection comes into existence when the protected work is created. However, certain photo-bank sites will license, or allow you to use, their photos if you give credit to the site or pay a fee for the pictures.

If you want to register your copyright, are wondering if you may be infringing on somebody’s copyright, or feel that someone is infringing on your copyright, contact Boyer Law Firm today. We can help you to enforce the Copyright Act.

10 Facts About Florida Wills

Estate Planning Attorney, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami | Will Lawyer, Trust Attorney, Power of Attorney

Here are some Florida will facts you may not know…

  1. The Florida Supreme Court has a program in which lawyers are board-certified as specialists in the area of wills, trusts, and estate law.
  2. A person age 18 or older is of legal age to make a will.
  3. Florida law presumes a person to be of sound mind unless proved otherwise, and proof requires a fairly high standard.
  4. Florida does not recognize handwritten or joint wills.
  5. Mutual wills are an option in Florida but are best for couples who do not have children.
  6. Florida does not recognize nuncupative or deathbed wills.
  7. You can set up a trust for an animal’s care. Florida recognizes a vehicle for this known as the Florida pet trust.
  8. A prior will is only revoked by a new will to the extent the new will expressly states it revokes the prior will and is inconsistent with the prior will.
  9. A lost will is generally presumed to have been revoked by the testator.
  10. A will provision granting anything to a spouse is expressly revoked by statute once the parties are separated with intent to be permanently divorced, or their marriage is divorced, dissolved, or annulled.

If you need to create a will, trust, or have questions about estate planning, contact Boyer Law Firm today.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Defamation and Litigation Privilege

Defamation, Litigation Priviledge | Florida Civil Litigation attorney  Jacksonville, Orlando, MiamiLitigation privilege protects attorneys and parties in a lawsuit from defamation claims stemming from statements made during the trial. This privilege does not extend outside the courtroom, especially to comments made online.

This was the matter at fact in the 2011 case Ball v. D’Lites Enterprises, Inc. 65 So.3d 637 (Fla. 4 CA 2011). After the suit had been filed, the defendants posted statements on their website saying the plaintiffs had violated trademarks. Ball then filed a complaint against the defendants for defamation.

Defamation refers to any statement that harms a person or company’s reputation. Written defamation is called libel and spoken defamation is called slander.

The defamation claim was dismissed by the trial court, but the district court disagreed, stating “We analogize the publication of statements on the internet to calling a press conference with the media or otherwise publishing defamatory information to the newspapers or other media.

The moral of this case is to watch what you say, especially if you are online and/or in the middle of a litigation case.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Siri Stores Your Personal Information

Siri stores your personal informationYou’ve probably heard about Siri from Apple, the virtual assistant app that lets you speak your questions. What you may not know is that Siri stores the questions you ask in a database. Siri also collects other information, such as the contacts on your phone, in order to be more efficient. This information is also sent to Apple.

In Apple’s iPhone Software License Agreement, it says: “By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data to provide and improve Siri, Dictation and other Apple products and services.”

Apple does not specify where the data is stored, how long the data is stored for, or what “subsidiaries” and “agents” have access to the information.

Because of this, IBM banned its employees from using the software at work.

Fictitious Names for Businesses

Doing Business As - Fictitious nameMany businesses operate under a name different than the one the legally registered their business with (the one that ends in Inc. or LLC). In order to do this legally, the business must register the name their doing as a fictitious name, also known as “doing business as (DBA).”

Some facts to know:

-          Registering a fictitious name does not give you legal rights to the name.
-          It is your responsibility to check for previous trademarks, service marks, or corporate name rights. If your fictitious name violates one of these, you will probably be sent a cease and desist letter. If you do not comply, you may be facing a lawsuit
-          The name to be registered must be advertised once in a newspaper.
-          Fictitious names are valid for five years
-          You register fictitious names with the Division of Corporations
-          If ownership of the company changes, you must file a cancellation and re-registration within 30 days of the change.

Fictitious names are one of the many aspects of starting a business. If you are looking to incorporate, need a business litigation attorney, or need assistance with business planning, contact Boyer Law Firm today.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Invest in a Restaurant Chain for a Visa

Foreign InvestmentFlorida restaurant chains, such as Sonic’s, Miami Subs, and Voodoo BBQ are encouraging foreign investors to invest at least $500,000 into their business in exchange for an EB-5 visa from the U.S. Government.

A group expanding their high-end restaurants, including Scarpetta and the Fontainebleu in Miami Beach resort are also encouraging foreign investors through this program.

An EB-5 visa allows for foreign investors, along with their spouse and children under the age of 21, to live in the United States if they invest at least $500,000 into an economically disadvantaged area or $1 million to a non-disadvantaged area. The investor must also create at least 10 jobs, which is why investing in a franchise is so convenient.

Franchises are also attractive for investors because they tend to succeed at higher rates than stand-alone businesses, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Restaurant groups are jumping on the “EB-5” bandwagon because they find it hard to get funding from U.S. banks after the recession and easier to go through the immigration process. With the new immigration bill on the horizon, we will see how long this holds true.

From January to September, 2012, the government approved 3, 677 EB-5 visas for foreign investors. This number does not include those investors’ spouses and children.

Source: Sun Sentinel

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Pure Salon & Spa Grand Opening – Congratulations to Our Client

Please join us in congratulating our client on the opening of their new business:

Pure Salon Opening front

Contracts and Minors

Contracts with MinorsThe law gives minors the ability to void the contracts based solely on their age, even if they misrepresented their age to the other party.

In order to void the contract, the minor must still be under the age of 18. Once the individual is no longer a minor, the contract is ratified, becomes legally viable, and can be held up in court. If a minor chooses to void a contract, they must void the whole thing; they cannot void one part and agree to another.

Additionally, if the contract included the purchase of goods, the items or money must be returned when the contract is voided. If there is damage to the goods, such as the purchase of a car, the minor must pay restitution. If a minor chooses to void a contract and does not return the goods, they could face criminal charges.

There are certain exceptions when a minor cannot void a contract. These include:

-          Sports or Entertainment Contracts
-          Contracts for goods that are necessary to the health or safety of the minor
-          If the minor has been married

Before entering into a contract with someone, especially if you think they may be a minor, you should check the person’s identification if they are not known to you, consider asking for a co-signer, and have a business law attorney review the contract before you sign it.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Small-Medium Sized Businesses & International Trade

International TradeEnterprises engaged in international trade and cooperation are twice as likely to be successful as those that only operate domestically, according to a study done my HIS Global Insight and DHL Express.

We are becoming a more globalized world, and businesses need to be able to keep up with this trend in order to survive.

“[We] firmly support the view that international trade creates tremendous value for SMEs (small- to medium-sized businesses). It not only opens up new markets for their products and services, but also gives them access to international best practices and innovations,” said DHL Express CEO Ken Allen.

The South Florida Business Journal named the following countries the top trade partners of South Florida:

  1. Brazil – $13,688.3 MILLION in total trade, January – October 2012
  2. Colombia – $8,101 MILLION in total trade, January – October 2012
  3. Switzerland – $7,539.7 MILLION in total trade, January – October 2012
  4. Costa Rica – $6,147.1 MILLION in total trade, January – October 2012
  5. Venzuela – $5,494.5 MILLION in total trade, January – October 2012

The DHL study revealed that small to medium sized businesses are concerned with the lack of available information on foreign markets, high customs duties, difficulty establishing contracts with different foreign enterprises and the ability to generate an overseas customer base. Here at Boyer Law Firm, our expertise in International Law can guide you through every step of this process.

Sources: South Florida Business Journal

Florida REALTORS® Lobby

RealtorFlorida REALTORS® have a set agenda of what they will lobby for during the 2013 Florida legislative session, according to Orlando REALTOR® magazine.

They will focus on five key issues:

- Funding for affordable housing
- Eliminating a tax on commercial rents
- Capping Estoppel fees for condominium associations. (During the title search on a condo, an estoppel letter furnished by the Homeowner’s Association is usually required. The fees to obtain these letters can be very high in some cases.)
- Sustainable and affordable property insurance
- The state’s judicial foreclosure process. (Florida REALTORS® want to ensure that any policies or procedures put into place for the purpose of speeding up the foreclosure process have safeguards that will protect all parties.)

The 2013 Florida legislative session runs March 5 through May 3.

Source: Orlando REALTOR® magazine

Business Plans and Business Planning

Business planningA business plan can be an easy thing to overlook if you are a Florida business owner, but not having one could cause you problems and cost money in the long run.

Most business owners have a general idea of where they want their business to go, but it is not the same unless you write it down on paper. A typical business plan is for 3-5 years. Business plans for immigration investment visas are a little different and usually require a 5 year plan.

Some business owners know where they want their business to go, but they need some help with the specifics. A business law attorney can help you with your business plan along with advising you on various other aspects of opening and maintaining your business.

Most business plans detail:

-          How the business will start up
-          Plans for personnel
-          An analysis of your target market
-          An analysis of your competition
-          Plans for marketing
-          Small details you may have not normally factored into your economic plan
-          The rate at which your assets will depreciate (meaning when you will have to get more equipment, etc.)
-          And more.

A business plan should also reflect your income and spending habits, so you should tweak your business plan every six months.

Attorney Francis Boyer is not only a business law attorney, but he also has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. With offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami, Florida, Boyer Law Firm can help you with all aspects of your business planning.

 

Investors Bring Life Back to Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown JacksonvilleA group of investors recently bought multiple buildings in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida, joining the growing trend to bring life back to the vacant buildings of the area.

SouthEast Holdings, a real estate investment trust lead by Steve Atkins, bought the Laura Street Trio, which consists of the Florida Life, Bisbee, and Florida National Bank buildings. They also purchased the Barnett Bank building at Adams and Laura streets.

Other downtown investors have recently bought buildings to open retail stores, bars, and more.

Although Atkins did not go into much detail with the Times-Union, he did say that SouthEast Holdings’ project would be of mixed use and would include a university-level education center with student housing and a parking garage.

He also said that the SouthEast Holdings hopes to help further development of Downtown Jacksonville. Currently, there are about 3,000 people living in the area, but the city has a goal of 10,000.

Stache Investment Corp., which is headed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, lent SouthEast Holdings the money to buy the buildings.

Source: Florida Times-Union
Photo credit: StevenM_61 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Florida’s Luxury Home Markets: More Than Just Miami

Florida Luxury HomeFisher Island, Florida, located off the coast of Miami Beach was named Florida’s wealthiest ZIP code by Forbes magazine, but there are many other real estate markets in Florida that offer luxury homes, including Naples, Amelia Island, and Sarasota.

Naples

Naples, Florida, located in Collier County, is considered the crown jewel of Southwest Florida. This beachfront city is known for world-class shopping, dining, and challenging golf courses. Naples’ semi-tropical climate attracts both year-round and seasonal residents. The city has a median home price of $220,000.

Amelia Island

Another unknown gem of Florida is Amelia Island, located just northeast of Jacksonville. Amelia was voted one of the Top 10 North American Islands by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards (AmeliaIsland.com). It is known for its 13-miles of pristine beaches, abundant sunshine, natural wildlife, and superb golfing. The average listing price for a home is $800,490 as of March 20.

Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida has the feel of a small beach town with all the amenities of a large city. It is known for its location on the Gulf of Mexico, shopping, dining, and cultural events, such as the Sarasota Film Festival. Lido Key and Arlington Park are two of the most popular neighborhoods in Sarasota, with average listing prices of $1,635,857 and $215,773.

Fisher Island

Real estate prices on Fisher Island currently range from $175,000 for a one-bedroom to $15 million for a seven-bedroom house. The island has its own beach, marinas, nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, club, spa, and more. In addition to the beautiful beach view and amenities, the island can also brag about their immaculate security.

“I think [Fisher Island] is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Jill Eber, who has lived on the island for 13 years. “[It has] the most amazing security. I can walk out of my home to walk my dog at 2 o’clock in the morning and feel fine. It’s a very homey feel.” She also spoke about a time that she lost her cell phone and FIVE security guards assisted her in finding it.

The island has been home to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Andre Agassi, Mel Brooks, and more. There are around 226 property owners on the island, and only about 30% of those live there year round.

Top-Notch Real Estate Calls for a Top-Notch Closing Agent

If you are buying or selling real estate in Florida, especially a luxury home like those on Fisher Island, be sure that you have a reliable, experienced closing agent to perform a title search and more in order to ensure that your dream home does not become a nightmare.

Source: Trulia, Florida Trend

Florida Repeals International Driving Permit Requirement

As part of a continued effort to make Florida a tourism-friendly state, lawmakers are in the process of repealing a law that requires international visitors to acquire an international driving permit to drive in Florida.

International driving permitThe law was originally designed to help law enforcement officers determine if international visitors had valid licenses, especially when the driver’s license was in a foreign language, but the law had unintended consequences.

This law hit Canadians, the largest group of international visitors to Florida, the hardest. Many Canadian “snowbirds” were not able to obtain this permit because they were already in Florida, and the law required them to obtain the permit from their home country.

The repeal of this law was passed unanimously by both houses of the Florida legislature, and Governor Rick Scott has said that he will sign the repeal into law. The law requiring the permit took effect on January 1, 2013.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

 

How to Reduce Your Business Bills

business billsMost businesses are paying more than they need to for basic business bills because companies and suppliers know that most business owners get too busy with day-to-day operations to pay attention. As a result, they often just cut a check and miss the fact that the bill prices are increasing.

The best example of this is phone and internet. Most companies will offer you an introductory rate as a promotion, but once this promotion is over, the rates go through the roof. The same may be true with your suppliers.

If you are willing to do a couple hours of work, or delegate the work to a trusted employee, you could save a lot of money in the long run.

First, gather all of the statements of the business bills you pay regularly and get ready to do some research. Gather pricing information from both your vendors, service providers, and their competitors. By gathering this information, you are building a foundation on which to negotiate.

The next step is to make the call to your current vendor or service provider. Call your sales representative or the customer service number and then ask for a lower rate. Then, don’t take no for an answer. This is where your pricing research comes in handy. Tell them the data you found and make it clear to them that you WILL switch companies if you have to, and mean it. If the service representative is still not being helpful, ask to speak to a supervisor or someone who has the authority to offer a discounted rate.

If the negotiations don’t work, then be willing to switch to a different company.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com