Haute Lawyer Webinar: Real Estate Law and the #MovetoMiami Boom

Haute Lawyer hosted a dialogue with attorneys Roxana Tejeda, Robert Elias, and Jeffrey Love on the ocean views, lower taxes, and warm weather that has everyone relocating to Miami.

Tejeda, Elias, and Love were hosted by Haute Living’s April Donelson.

Roxana Tejeda, Robert Elias, Jeffrey Love

Roxana Tejada was born and raised in Miami and graduated from St. Thomas University’s Joint Degree program with her Juris Doctorate and M.S. and was admitted to practice law in Florida in 2011. Prior to opening her own firm, Roxana worked with the Town of Miami Lakes in drafting their procurement contracts and Town resolutions. She founded Tejeda Law Group in 2015 and has closed over $100 million in commercial and residential transactions. She is an alum of the prestigious Goldman Sachs 10,000 Businesses Program and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and Florida Yacht Brokers Association.

Robert Elias leads one of the premier transactional boutique law firms in South Florida. The Elias Law Firm PLLC specializes in real estate (commercial and residential), corporate, estate planning/probate, asset protection, and banking/lender representation throughout Florida. Mr. Elias maintains an AV Preeminent Lawyer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest legal peer rating for expertise, experience, and integrity and for overall professional excellence. Mr. Elias was also named to the exclusive list of South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers by American Lawyer Media having completed nearly $2 Billion in transactions.

Jeffrey Love is a partner with the firm, Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP. His practice encompasses all facets of real estate transactions, including drafting and negotiating purchase, sale, syndication, and financing transactions in connection with commercial, industrial, and residential assets. Mr. Love has extensive experience drafting, negotiating, and reviewing real estate loan documents, including originations, modifications, note purchase agreements, and other finance-related transactions from structuring through loan closing. He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of California.

All three attorneys are experts in real estate law and offer unique insights into the taxes, real estate, and information needed when planning a move to Florida.

Highlight questions from the webinar:

Approximately, how much does someone with a $200k salary pay in taxes in NY compared to Florida?

Roxana: So what I was able to find through some research is that the New York average tax rate is 32.33% so marginal tax is 43.65%. For example, in this case, out of the $200,000 salary, they would be netting approximately $135,000 or $11,270 per month. And if we take that and we flip it into Florida, our average tax rate is 26.28% so that person is looking at netting $147,000 and $12,287 per month. So you’re looking at about a thousand dollars more a month on the $200,000 salary.

Are real estate taxes going up, down, or staying put in Florida?

Robert: We get property tax questions from out of staters or out of the country for nationals that just want to understand how it works. Property taxes here are deemed a little higher because we don’t have a state income tax. The state largely is funded by property tax and sales tax. The property taxes on new purchases probably are going up, because that’s the way property taxes are calculated here. When somebody purchases a new property, there’s no recitation of the purchase price but their property appraiser can reduce the purchase price from the documents and doc stamps, and that’s what triggers a reassessment of the property. So somebody buys a property for $10 million the property appraiser knows if it had been on the books at 8 million before and they’re going to reassess it up.

Do you foresee the tax filing deadline being delayed again in 2021? Why or why not?

Jeff: In California, we didn’t have that exception, so I don’t know about Florida, but we’re still getting restrictions here. So we’re a lot more restrictive, but we never got any type of property tax stuff for a min or abatement but we’ve got other types of consumer protections. And those are starting to die down, our stay at home order just lifted on Monday. We were closed, then we were open, then we were closed, and now we’re finally open again and I think the restrictions here are going to start slowing down. We’re probably one of the most conservative in the country, especially since LA county was kind of the new epicenter. So, as we start to see fewer restrictions, I think that probably is reflected throughout the country.

What is one question that every out-of-state client that is considering moving to Florida/South Florida asks you?

Jeff: Usually ‘What’s the process?’ Or ‘If I move, how long do I have to live in the state of Florida and can I be in another state for a portion of my time?’ or ‘My business is in California but I would like to relocate from my family or a vacation home, is it possible to switch my domicile to lower my taxes?’ It’s usually based on those questions and if your client decides to make the move then it’s trying to set them up with local advisors and professionals to help them find the correct real estate documents and transactions. 

Roxana: I think a lot of people from out of state also ask about the Covid restrictions and how strict they are. For example, I have a client who is buying an apartment asking ‘Are you guys open? I’m coming down with my kid can you just go down to the parks? Are the restaurants open or movie theaters?’ A lot of questions about just living day to day, which has been wildly restricted in other states.

Robert: The question I get a lot is, ‘How do I take title to whatever property that I’m purchasing?’ It depends on if it’s commercial, residential, or in their individual name. So we end up doing a lot of estate planning tangential to the purchase because somebody purchasing a five or $10 million property is a significant purchase and they want to make sure it’s titled appropriately.

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