Recently, I attended the 65th running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, the world-famous endurance race for sports cars. Past winners include Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt, among other giants of auto racing.

This was my first time to the Twelve Hours of Sebring race. WOW!! The sound of that many high-performance motors was incredible and incredibly loud, even with my noise-canceling headphones.

Four classes of sports cars ran in the Twelve Hours of Sebring 2017, but I watched the GT Le Mans class the closest because the cars were very recognizable:  two Corvettes, two BMW M6s, a Ferrari 488, three Ford GTs, and two Porsche 911s. The Hairpin, the most famous turn at Sebring, appeared to be the most challenging spot for the drivers: hard braking, followed by hard acceleration, with drivers trying to pass and avoid getting passed. Here are the two Porsches dueling:

The No. 66 Ford GT held the lead in the GT Le Mans class for a portion of the race, and was leading when my dad and I left the race just after sundown. I made it home in time to watch the last ten minutes of the race. Much to my surprise, the No. 3 Corvette won the GT Le Mans class. WOW!!

Now, how does this apply to your property rights? The answer: Never Give Up.

The government wants your property? Never Give Up. The government isn’t offering what your property is worth? Never Give Up. The government has taken your property? Never Give Up.

P.S. If you go to the next Twelve Hours of Sebring race, you’ll need tickets, a big hat, sunblock, lots of water, snacks, headphones, sunglasses, beach chairs, shoes you can walk long distances in, hand sanitizer, and your smartphone (so you can take pictures and watch the race on TV to see what’s happening on other portions of the track),

reis_logo_footerAt this month’s REIS meeting, Dr. David Jones, Executive Professor of Economics and Finance at Florida Gulf Coast University, presented his take on how the Trump Administration will affect the U.S. economy.

Dr. Jones predicts that the economy will be on the rise through the end of 2018. He declined to offer a forecast beyond that mark because, as he light-heartedly informed REIS members, he was taught to only predict around one corner, not two.

The first corner in that analogy is the future of the U.S. economy during the first two years of the Trump Administration, while the second corner is how Trump’s potential desire to get reelected may cause him to change his stance on important economic issues.

After recognizing that some experts predict that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates 2-3 times in 2017, Dr. Jones predicted that interest rates will increase four times in 2017 and six times in 2018, ending in an interest rate of about 3%.

Finally, admitting that he is not an expert in stocks, Dr. Jones cautioned that with interest rates so low for so long the value of stocks may be artificially high and their true value currently unknown.

Thank you to Dr. Jones for his entertaining and highly informative presentation, and thank you to State Insurance Agency for sponsoring the event.

diamond-158431_1280In the film “Snatch,” made by British director Guy Ritchie (former husband of Madonna), there are a lot of moving parts: an 86 karat diamond, an underground boxing match, a robbery gone awry, a chew toy eaten by a dog, and a host of characters from London’s underworld bearing unusual names like Turkish, Brick Top, Boris the Blade, and Bullet Tooth Tony, among others. The two parallel plots, the journey of the 86 karat diamond around London’s underworld and an unlicensed bare-knuckle fight, come together near the end of the film. It’s a great movie but it takes a lot of concentration to follow all the action.

As a business or property owner, you may be confronted by a government project seeking all or a portion of your property. When this happens, you will receive a written notice from the government agency, and it might have a lot of moving parts. The notice will likely contain several sections of the Florida Statutes, as well as other materials, such as sketches of the areas the government agency proposes to take or the facilities the government agency wants to install on your property.

But you have an advantage:  you can hire a lawyer to help you sort out the moving parts and protect your property rights. With your lawyer’s counsel, you can decide whether to challenge the proposed taking or the government’s valuation. Keep your eye on the prize whether it’s your home, investment property, or business…or an 86 karat diamond.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at carlos.kelly@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1326.

hacker-1944688_1280 - CopyThe news these days is rife with stories about hacking, leaks, and stolen confidential information, and no one seems to be immune to the threat, as demonstrated by the recent reports of hackings perpetrated on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

While those examples may seem far from home for most of us, there are stories throughout the country of hackers stealing the money people are intending to use to purchase their homes.

The ploy hackers often use is to hack someone’s email, which allows them to intercept wire instructions. They then modify the wire instructions in transit so that the money is eventually wired to the hacker’s account.

So how do you minimize the chance of losing the money you saved to buy your dream house?

Continue Reading 4 Steps to Minimize Your Susceptibility to Wire Fraud

Property Rights Flickr Kax VorpalLast week, I posted video about oral argument heard by the Florida Supreme Court regarding the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act, which “provides for relief, or payment of compensation, when a new law, rule, regulation, or ordinance of the state or a political entity in the state, as applied, unfairly affects real property,” as it is put in the statute.

Let’s dig deeper.

The Florida Supreme Court will have to resolve the conflict between two intermediate appellate courts over whether a property owner has a valid claim under the Bert Harris Act if governmental action is against a neighboring property, rather than the property owner’s property.

In the FINR II, Inc. v. Hardee County case, the Second District Court of Appeal (which includes counties on the west coast, including Charlotte County, Collier County, and Lee County) said “owners of real property that [have] been inordinately burdened and diminished in value due to governmental action directly taken against an adjacent property” have a claim under the Bert Harris Act.

In the City of Jacksonville  v. Smith case, however, the First District Court of Appeal (which includes counties in north Florida from Escambia to Nassau) said the Bert Harris “Act simply does not apply where, as here, the … property was not itself subject to any governmental regulatory action.”

I predicted the Florida Supreme Court would resolve this conflict this year.  Stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of Kaz Vorpal under Flickr Creative Commons License

cakI grew up out West. A big part of growing up in the West, at least in my family, included Western films. Westerns, like many country music songs, can tell a complicated story in regular, everyday terms. Black cowboy hats and white cowboy hats made it easy to figure out who was on what side!

Probably my favorite Western was The Magnificent Seven. That’s the 1960 version, not the 2016 re-make. The 1960 version tells the tale of seven adventurers, hired by Mexican villagers to protect their community from a bandit, Calvera.  Played by Eli Wallach, Calvera is one of the most fascinating villains in a Western.  Watch this scene where Calvera and his men meet The Magnificent Seven for the first time…his smug contempt comes across loud and clear when he shouts “Do you hear that? We’re trapped, all 40 of us, by these three.” Later, Calvera explains how “easy” he makes it for the villagers:  “With me, only one decision.  Do what I say!”

Sound familiar?  If you are a property owner who has received a notice from a governmental authority that your property is needed for a government project, this might sound way too familiar. But you may want more than one choice. You may not want to do what they say.

Article X, Section 6 of Florida’s Constitution puts some power in your hands. On the subject of eminent domain, Section 6(a) of the Florida Constitution says:

No private property shall be taken except for a public purpose and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner.”

Make sure you talk to a lawyer if you receive a notice that someone else wants your property for a project.  Give yourself more than the choice to do what they say.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at carlos.kelly@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1326.

Over the past several years, hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) has become a very divisive environmental and political issue in many areas of the country. As our society’s desire for cleaner energy has become more of a priority, lawmakers and agencies at federal, state, and local levels have been confronted with determining whether and to what extent the use of hydraulic fracturing methods should be regulated, and whether such activities pose a potential threat to our drinking water sources.

What is Fracking?

Developed in the 1940’s, hydraulic fracturing is a method to extract conventional oil and gas resources found in permeable sandstone and carbonate reservoirs by drilling vertically into rock formations and injecting fluids under high pressures.

Continue Reading The Future of Fracking in Florida

Denny Grimes
Denny Grimes

As a Southwest Florida business professional, your business likely ebbs and flows with the local real estate market. When demand is freely flowing, business flourishes and you can concentrate your focus on accomplishing what is in front of you. However, when it ebbs, businesses often need to consider whether their current trajectory is optimal, or whether they should pivot in order to foster some new opportunities in a slightly different corner of the market.

While we all know the market is generally unpredictable, on February 22, Market Watch 2017 will have three local, well-respected real estate experts discussing the state of the Southwest Florida real estate market. Hearing what they have to say could be the key to putting you ahead of the curve in 2017.

In addition to Randy Thibault presenting, Denny Grimes will touch on whether now is the time to buy or the time to sell? In spite of generally positive news reporting many real estate markets across the country are experiencing a slow down or “shift” as it’s called and its effects are being felt in SW Florida. Denny will report why 2016 was an “off year” and will give his predictions for 2017.

Stan Stouder photo
Stan Stouder

Stan Stouder will talk about changes in the commercial real estate market, such as:

  • What are some national trends and how will they impact our local market?
  • Is the local apartment market overbuilt?
  • What do the changes in permitting mean?
  • What Was, What is and What’s Next for Commercial real estate in SWFL.

Having big data is of little value, but knowing what the data means is invaluable.  Stan knows and will be freely sharing that insight at this year Market Watch.

As a sponsor for the event, Henderson Franklin is anxious to hear what these three experts have to say and wants to make sure all Southwest Florida professionals, home buyers and sellers, and investors aware of this exciting opportunity! To register, click here.

For those of you who missed it, Thursday’s 2017 Commercial Real Estate Outlook Conference offered exciting sneak peeks into new, major downtown Fort Myers developments, insightful discussions on the impacts technology and millennials are having on the real estate industry, and a general feeling of optimism toward 2017’s real estate market.

While blogging etiquette won’t allow me to recount all of the intriguing insights offered by the expert presenters, here are a few takeaways:

  • On the heels of Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Inauguration, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, forecasted that over the next year there will be almost no reason to worry about another housing market bubble and opined there will be less than a 5% chance of another national recession (according to numerous economic indicators). In addition, Dr. Yun explained that he anticipates a slight rise to our Country’s GDP under the new administration, from a recently “sluggish” average of 2%, to approximately 2.2%.
  • The landscape of downtown Fort Myers is about to significantly change over the next few years as Mainsail Lodging and Development puts in a hotel and overhauls the Harborside Event Center, Dwell Florida erects The Place on First – a high-rise luxury condo and retail development on the corner of First Street and Jackson Street, and Fischler Property Company constructs First Street Village – a live, work, and play development on the corner of West First Street and Altamonte Avenue.
  • To meet the non-traditional demands of the up and coming millennial workforce, office environments are steadily deemphasizing large individual offices in favor of smaller individual spaces and more, larger collaborative work spaces.
  • While emerging technologies are certainly changing the way commercial real estate business is done, inventors haven’t found a way to replace the investor’s desire to make a personal connection with a live, local realtor before signing on the dotted line.

Thank you to all of this year’s speakers for their useful insights into the 2017 real estate market and to Bev Larson, CCIM for producing such a great event. We look forward to Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018!

hacker-1944688_1280January is the month of the fresh start. It brings in the New Year and the inevitable “I am going to be better about (insert your commitments here) this year” commitments everyone makes to themselves.

Building on our end of year recommendations, I’d like to offer another “I am going to be better about” to your list.

In 2016, the real estate industry saw a big spike in the amount of attempts fraudsters made to hijack real estate transactions. While we have undertaken significant precautionary measures to make sure our clients and transactions are protected from these attempts, we would like to offer some advice to you to help you avoid any fraudsters’ attempts to detract from your ability to fulfill your New Year’s commitments.

To help protect your real property and your identity, go to your county clerk’s website and perform a public records search for your own name. If you see a transaction or document you don’t recognize, this could be an attempt by someone to steal your identity or assets.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where someone has made a fraudulent attempt on your identity or assets, please give us a call, and we will help you sort it out. Hopefully, you don’t find yourself in those shoes, and instead, you find plenty of time and energy to follow through with your personal “I’m going to be better about.” Good luck!