What Impact Will a PACE Loan Have on Your Real Estate Closing

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Many property owners today are exploring options to help strengthen their property to prevent damage during next year’s hurricane season now that the 2017 hurricane season is behind us as well as to improve the energy efficiency of their home.  However, such improvements are often cost prohibitive.  But back in 2010 our legislators authorized Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to help homeowners finance the cost of those home improvements.

PACE programs assist both residential and commercial property owners to finance certain energy efficient and wind resistant improvements to their property.  These loans are secured by financial agreements and paid by a non-ad valorem assessment through the property owner’s real property tax bill.  In other words, the loan is added to your tax bill and becomes part of your property tax obligation and the loan terms are spread out over time.

Even though PACE programs were authorized by the Florida legislature back in 2010, there were numerous legal challenges both in state and federal court which slowed down its implementation.  However, the appellate courts finally resolved the legal challenges to the PACE program in late 2015.  Shortly thereafter the program began to grow in popularity.  Indeed, there are billboards advertising these programs all over South Florida today.

The advantage of these loans is that the money is fairly easy to secure and accessible pretty quickly too with very reasonable re-payment terms.  The PACE program often works with pre-qualified contractors and payment is not made until the job is complete and all permits have been closed.  The disadvantage is that the loan will be added to your tax bill thereby increasing your property tax obligation.  You will also have to pay some interest on that loan too over the length of the loan.

But the question that is popping up more and more at the closing table is – what do we do with that PACE loan?  While there is no uniform answer to that question here are some options:

  • Some lenders will agree to take an exception to the PACE financed home improvement program.
  • However, other lenders may require that the lien be satisfied at the time of the closing.
  • Buyers may also agree to assume the lien if it is not paid off at the time of closing.

The issue of what to do with the PACE loan at the time of the closing will increase in frequency with the anticipated increase in popularity of these PACE loans.  It is probably in the best interest of both the buyer and seller to address this issue at the time the contract is signed and not at the closing table.

Foreclosures Continue to Plague South Florida

Feb__17_2009__a_foreclosure_sign.jpgHere is a small glimpse on how foreclosures are impacting South Florida:

By the Numbers

265,000 — Total foreclosures in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties since 2007.
23,348 — Total permanent South Florida mortgage modifications under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, HAMP.
48 — Percentage of homes worth less than the amount of the mortgage in Miami-Dade County.
10,000 — Mortgage counselors hired by Bank of America in 2010.
600 — Average number of days it takes to complete a foreclosure in Florida.
174,000Property tax appeals filed by South Florida homeowners in 2009.
109,496 — Pending foreclosure cases stuck somewhere in South Florida’s court system.
10,000 — Foreclosure affidavits signed each month by GMAC employee Jeffrey Stephan, the first bank employee exposed as a so-called robo-signer.
$9.6 millionAmount granted by the Florida Legislature last year to help close out 347,000 foreclosure cases from its backlog in 12 months.
200 — Foreclosure cases Miami-Dade courts would need to dispose of per day to meet the Legislature’s goal.


Everyone has been left scrambling to find solutions to the real estate collapse. Major lenders, local governments and county courts have spent the last three years trying to deal with the fallout from the housing crisis. Each institution quickly found out it was unprepared and undermanned to handle the crisis, and most have been trying to play catchup ever since.

In this difficult climate, it is imperative that you assess your rights and options. The current real estate market, and ongoing foreclosure crises, presents all sorts of issues that must be properly navigated. Our Miami foreclosure defense lawyers have assisted many parties in buying enough time to reach the solution that is right for them.

There are many alternatives to foreclosure, and often times it just takes proper planning to properly navigate against the potential pitfalls. Help is often available to those who seek it.
Consider Your Options. Contact Us Today.

We have been successful in defending many foreclosure cases when given an opportunity to develop a plan to properly defend the foreclosure.

If you are on the brink of foreclosure, need a real estate attorney, or just need to assess your legal rights, please contact our office today.

Call us today toll free at 1-866-518-2913 or at 305-263-7700.

Miami Dade County Property Tax Alert – Despite the Decline in Housing Prices, and Ongoing Foreclosure Crises, Are Your Property Taxes Still Too High? Will You File a Property Tax Appeal? Know Your Rights!

tax_web.jpgYour property tax notice has been mailed to you. Will you be shocked by how much you have to pay in property taxes this year? Despite the recent downturn in our real estate market, your property taxes may actually go up this year. If so, you should know your rights and learn how to fight back. Please call our office today to discuss your property taxes in greater detail.

It is imperative to know and understand the process in an effort to effectively fight back to keep your property taxes in check and reasonable.

In August of each year, Miami-Dade County property owners receive a “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” (the “Trim Notice”) showing, as to each property, the prior year’s taxes, the current year’s taxes, with and without budget changes, and the “market” and “assessed” values for the prior and current year. Based on the current year’s information, property owners may file petitions with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) within 25 days following the mailing of the Trim Notice, if they feel that the Property Appraiser’s proposed “assessed” value is incorrect (i.e. does not properly reflect the property’s actual fair market value as of Jan. 1 of the current tax year). With certain exceptions, a $15 filing fee is required to be paid at the time a petition is filed.

Prior to filing a VAB petition, a taxpayer may review the proposed assessment with the Property Appraiser’s Office at an informal conference. However, this informal conference is not a necessary prerequisite to the filing of a VAB petition. If the property owner meets with the Property Appraiser and is dissatisfied with the results, the taxpayer or his agent, may file a value petition with the VAB after the meeting. Approximately 145,000 petitions are filed each year with the VAB.

After the petitions are filed, hearings before the VAB’s Special Magistrates are scheduled and the petitioners are notified of the date, time and place of their respective hearings via first class mail. The hearing notices are generally mailed no later than 30 days prior to the date of the scheduled hearing. Petitioners (i.e. taxpayers) contesting the value of their property present their cases to Appraiser Special Magistrates. At the hearing, since the Property Appraiser’s assessment is supported by a “presumption of correctness” under Florida law, the burden of proving that the assessment is excessive or otherwise illegal falls on the petitioner.

If you are on the brink of foreclosure, need a real estate attorney, or just need to assess your legal rights regarding your property taxes, please contact our office today.