Trust This. December 8, 2023.

👋 Happy Friday and the second day of Hanukkah 🕎! I’ll keep this one short while you grab a latke.

Situation Awareness: We received all tax bills and sent them to all beneficiaries via our online portal (Clio). If you haven’t received your properties’ tax bills, please e-mail us so we can re-send them.

1 big thing: Banks are closing accounts without warning

Banks are suddenly closing accounts without notice, leaving owners and investors in a precarious position.

Why it matters: This is a wake-up call alerting real estate companies and other small businesses that handle large transactions just how unpredictable financial institutions can be.

Banks can suddenly close accounts for a number of reasons, including:

  • Red flags in transactions

  • Suspicious activity reports (which banks are filing at increasingly high rates, year over year)

  • Certain patterns of cash deposits (such as those that closely skirt federal currency reporting thresholds)

  • International wire transfers

  • Unusual cash withdrawals

  • Criminal history, even if it’s not related to an account holder’s current business ventures

But also: Sometimes, the nominal reasons behind an account closure can be shaky or preventable. Why wouldn’t the bank notify an account holder ahead of time that it planned to close their account?

Sudden account closures can lead to unwanted consequences:

  • They interrupt property deals. They can damage client trust, and they can cause deal-breaking delays in transactions.

You can protect yourself:

  • Vet your banking partners.

  • Ask about any little-known policies that could affect your account.

  • Review your bank policies on a regular basis and pay attention to changes.

  • Maintain a healthy, issue-free financial track record to avoid raising eyebrows at your bank.

You can also establish a contingency plan by:

  • Building relationships (and opening accounts) with multiple banks, which can give you a natural safety net in case one takes sudden action against your account, and

  • Exploring other types of financial services, such as those offered through credit unions.

The bottom line:, we need to stay informed, prepared, and adaptable to protect our businesses from banking challenges.

  • We’ll be here to help.

  • Remember, your financial foundation is as important as the physical foundations of the properties you deal with.

2. Florida's Declining Appeal to Retirees: A Real Estate Perspective

A long-time magnet for retirees, Florida is suddenly experiencing a shift in its perceived value for seniors. In a recent U.S. News & World Report ranking of the best places to retire in 2024, Pennsylvania dominated the top ten retirement cities—not the Sunshine State.

Why it matters: This change could pose a challenge to the way Florida’s real estate professionals do business.

Why it’s changing: Frankly, Florida just isn’t as appealing to seniors as it used to be.

  • Sea level rise and the increased ferocity of hurricanes in the age of climate change portend danger, plus they make homeowners insurance expensive and difficult to obtain.

  • The state used to be celebrated for its low cost of living. That’s in the rearview mirror as costs for housing, real property taxes, and insurance rise throughout the state.

  • Today’s retirees are looking at Florida and seeing “An overabundance of boomers, critters, sweat, and weirdness,” as Kiplinger.com puts it.

Both the real estate landscape in Florida and its demographics are set to change.

Here’s what real estate professionals need to know:

  1. There may be a reduction in a previously dependable market segment.

  2. Remote workers and younger families are still interested, and may be the new faces of the Florida real estate market.

  3. A pivot to marketing strategies to remain in demand could be in order. Good strategies could include highlighting properties that appeal to younger clientele, such as work-from-home-friendly environments or community amenities.

  4. One way to keep up with evolving market demands from a new demographic is to emphasize properties’ sustainability and resilience.

The bottom line: The coming shift in Florida’s dynamics may signal a challenge, but it could also be an opportunity to pivot and thrive.

3. Catch up fast

  1. Copycat commission lawsuit filed in Florida, naming Florida Association of Realtors and Orlando brokerages. Housingwire

  2. Will the Fed cut its lending rate six times in 2024? Bigger Pockets

  3. Mortgage refinance demand up 14% as rates drop back to 7%. CNBC

  4. Mortgage rates are falling as fast as they did in 2008 during the last recession. MSN

  5. Orange Park mortgage “auditor” sentenced to prison for a nationwide mortgage fraud scheme. The Legal Description

4. Pic of the day

A view of downtown Asheville from Town Mountain, looking west, on a foggy morning. Photo: Philip Richardson

We listened to John C. Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership on our latest drive from Asheville to Orlando. If you’ve never read or listened to one of his books (read by him) or otherwise heard Mr. Maxwell speak, you’re missing out.

Maxwell is an expert on leadership and a must-read/hear for anyone who wants to grow their leadership talents.

We only got through the ninth law before arriving in Orlando, but one thing he wrote really stuck with me:

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

  • He was speaking about how great leaders aren’t followed because they know their subject area, but because their followers know their leaders care about them.

  • Great leaders “walk slowly” and talk to their followers, learning their names, their family members’ names, their hobbies, and their dreams or aspirations.

  • Great leaders don’t just say they care; they show they care.

The bottom line: Anyone who has employees or anyone who manages teams would be wise to familiarize themselves with Maxwell’s works.

  • Doing so, you figure out quickly that no one person can embody all 21 Laws of Leadership.

  • However, great leaders recognize their weaknesses and surround themselves with others who fill in those leadership gaps to build a great crew.

We hope you found this helpful — any feedback is appreciated and can be shared by hitting reply or using the feedback feature below.

Be on the lookout for our next issue! 👋

  • Our mailing address: PO Box 547945, Orlando, FL 32854-7945

  • Our physical address: 1901 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

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