In the ever-evolving world of real estate, homeownership dreams can sometimes feel like reaching for the stars, especially for first-timers up against a market faced with soaring prices and higher mortgage rates. As industry pros, you understand the hurdles many novice homebuyers face.

Amid these challenging market conditions, Florida Agency Network remains dedicated to helping you deliver top-notch service to your clients. Let's explore four strategies you can add to your toolkit to assist clients on their journey toward homeownership.

1. Find Value Beyond the Dream Neighborhood

Many first-time homebuyers might be priced out of purchasing in their current or preferred neighborhoods. As industry pros, here’s where you can advise them to think outside the box. Exploring more affordable communities that offer similar amenities can help them settle into homeownership sooner. Lately, more buyers are discovering hidden treasures by relocating to regions with a lower cost of living. For those with remote work options, this can open up a world of possibilities.

2. Invest First, Move Later: Build Equity While Staying Put

For clients committed to staying put in a location where buying is beyond their budget, you can introduce them to a unique approach. They can continue renting in their desired area while purchasing an investment property in a more affordable neighborhood. This strategy allows them to start building equity to apply toward their future dream home.

3. Reimagine Home Styles Beyond Yards and Garages

Sometimes, it’s necessary to help clients understand that the perfect home with all the bells and whistles might be financially out of reach. Alternatives like townhomes or condos typically cost 20% to 29% less than single-family homes. Encourage them to consider these other options to get them into their own home sooner rather than later, even if it means sacrificing a private yard or garage.

4. Join Forces: Partner-Up for Affordability

Educate your clients about the power of co-ownership. If it’s in the cards, suggest they explore the option of teaming up with someone to purchase a property. Whether they live together as roommates, treat the property as an investment, or create other innovative arrangements, a partnership can make homeownership much more attainable. Remember to stress the importance of establishing a legally binding contract that outlines clear terms and an exit plan if the partnership dissolves.

As members of our FAN family, you play a crucial role in helping first-time homebuyers navigate these challenges. By sharing these creative strategies and remaining flexible, resourceful and informed, you can assist your clients in transforming their homeownership dreams into reality.


In the ever-competitive real estate landscape, Florida Agency Network recognizes the importance of reputation management – particularly in today’s digital age. Client feedback holds significant sway in shaping a business’s reputation. While responding to negative reviews is a given, a recent article on also emphasizes the importance of expressing gratitude to positive reviewers.

Positive reviews are like golden nuggets, helping prospective clients make informed decisions. However, the story shouldn’t end once the glowing review is posted; that’s only just the beginning.

Acknowledge and Appreciate

Responding to positive reviews conveys a genuine expression of gratitude. It demonstrates that you value your clients and their opinions. A simple “Thank you for your kind words” can go a long way in fostering goodwill.

Boost Brand Credibility

A collection of unaddressed positive reviews may raise doubts in potential clients’ minds. By actively responding, you confirm the authenticity of these reviews and showcase your dedication to maintaining a stellar reputation.

Strengthen Client Relationships

Engaging with satisfied clients post-transaction helps solidify your relationship. It opens the door to future business opportunities and referrals. A thoughtful response can turn a one-time client into a loyal advocate.

Differentiate Yourself from Competitors

A prompt and heartfelt response sets you apart from others who may not prioritize client engagement. It’s an opportunity to showcase the exceptional service clients can expect when working with your title and settlement agency.

Responding to positive feedback strengthens your bonds with current clients, fuels your audience's growth and encourages more comments. It’s a strategic win-win approach to crafting an outstanding reputation within the industry.

So, as you navigate the dynamic realm of real estate, remember the power of gratitude, the impact of engagement and the strength of our FAN network. After all, it’s not just about the transactions; it’s about the relationships we build.


What-to-Know-About-Condo-Association-PowersYour client is looking forward to owning a home without the hassle of lawn care, and you found a new condo they’re dying to move into. The Condominium Association handed over a thick stack of papers that covered rules and regulations. Maybe your clients just skimmed through them, but it’s time to look closer.

Understanding rights and responsibilities before signing the dotted line is essential for clients to enter their homes with peace of mind. Condo association agreements cover…

  • Rules and regulations: Condo associations may have the power to set rules that all residents must abide by, such as quiet hours, parking rules or pet restrictions.
  • Fees: The association agreement may cover an array of costs, such as fees to the association itself or fees to cover utilities.
  • Maintenance responsibilities: The agreement may outline which parts of the building and grounds are the responsibility of the association to maintain and which are the responsibility of individual unit owners.
  • Capital improvement projects: If the association must undertake large-scale projects, such as replacing the roof or repaving the parking lot, the agreement may describe how the decisions are made and who pays for them.
  • Board of Directors: The board members own units in the building and are usually voted into their position by other unit owners annually. The association agreement will describe how they're voted in and their powers and responsibilities.
  • Enforcement measures: The agreement may describe the association's measures if a unit owner violates the rules or fails to pay association fees.

Condo associations have many powers spelled out in this paperwork, but they are not unlimited. Knowing their limits is crucial, so knowing condo owner rights is critical. (Check out this condo owner’s dilemma.)

So before closing on condos, encourage clients to read the association agreement thoroughly so they can live happily ever after in their beautiful new home!


Market to Millennials With This Proven StrategyThe United States' largest generation, Millennials aged 27-41, is a diverse group with various needs and desires. One thing most of them have in common…they're looking to buy their first home. The median age of first-time home buyers in 2022 was 36, right in the middle of the Millennial pack. To sell a home this year, you must understand and connect with them through marketing efforts. Realtors are using time-tested tactics to speak to these new homebuyers, so we want to give you some tips on using them too.

Marketers have used Dale Carnegie's strategies for over 100 years because they work. To target Millennial homebuyers, you must try his AICDC sales strategy to reach Millennials and help them close on their dream home. Here are five steps:

  1. Attention: To grab Millennials' attention, you must have a consistent presence in the marketplaces where they spend most of their time: social media. While flashy ads on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok are great, creating consistent original content is a great way to get noticed (for free!)
  2. Interest: Once you have their attention, give them the necessary value. Millennials buying homes for the first time crave as much information about the process as possible. Create informative content to give them the essential answers and prove your expertise.
  3. Conviction: You need more than just pique their interest; you must have social proof to back it up. 93% of Millennials rely on consumer reviews before purchasing, so having positive reviews online about your services is essential.
  4. Desire: This appeals to their base emotions as they come close to deciding to work with you. Create content that lets them imagine the happy life they want to lead through stunning pictures and captivating videos in their future dream home.
  5. Close: To close the deal, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to sign on with you and start the homebuying process quickly. Don't hesitate to close the deal! Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just to ask!

Using these steps, you can effectively target Millennials needing your help to find their dream home, but you don’t have to stop at Millennials. While the real estate market will continue to evolve, using these proven strategies will always be vital to reach any demographic you desire.


Be aware that there’s a company out there offering a cash advance to homeowners willing to provide them the exclusive right to list the property for a period of 40 years. The interest is recorded in the public record. And three lawsuits filed against the company allege that the agreements the company provides their customers give the brokerage the right to foreclose on their clients homes if the homeowners’ heirs don’t assume their liability upon death.

The state of Florida has recently asserted that these kinds of agreement are illegal under Florida law. Real Trends (registration required) did a nice job shining some light on the process, and it’s not just happening here (nor is it only illegal here). The states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have now joined Florida in filing suit against a brokerage called “MV Realty,” alleging, among other things that the company targeted low-income and elderly homeowners and that they used deceptive and misleading marketing.

The article continues:

The Attorney General in Florida stated that these liens are illegal under Florida law. MV Realty made more than 9,123 public record filings that might ‘cloud’ homeowners’ titles and Hillsborough County is one of the counties with a high number of public record filings, according to the attorney general’s office. At least 588 people in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia have signed up to the program.

In addition, shortly before the time of this post’s publication, a Massachusetts court had granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting “homeowner benefit agreements” such as these from being offered or enforced until the pending case is resolved.

As always, we’ll keep an eye on this at FAN and continue to work with our real estate partners as well. We’ve already begun training our employees about where and how to spot the issue, and what to do. As we’ve always said, an up-front title search is the one of the most effective ways to protect all parties, especially when it comes to programs of questionable or unproven value. If you’d like to learn what to look for or how we can help you help your clients, don’t hesitate to drop us a note or give us a call.


The American Land Title Association (ALTA) recently honored FAN’s CEO, Aaron Davis, by appointing him to the Board of its Good Deeds Foundation.

ALTA’s Good Deeds Foundation

The foundation was launched in 2020 to bolster the charitable efforts of ALTA members. Land title insurance professionals can apply for grants on behalf of recognized 501(c)(3) organizations that they support financially or through volunteer efforts; preference is given to housing-related charities.

Aaron was singled out for a number of his charitable efforts. He is an ALTA member and a past board member of the Florida Land Title Association. You may also recall that he took a temporary leave of absence from his business and volunteered in Harper, Texas, following severe winter storms in February 2021. With Davis’ support, the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation awarded the Harper Volunteer Fire Department a $5,000 emergency grant during the time of crisis. He also has been recognized by national media outlets, including People Magazine and The Kelly Clarkson Show, for his charitable service assisting Harper and other communities, including several in Southwestern Florida after Hurricane Ian, Aaron was also awarded the 2021 October Research Philanthropy Award.

Joins Some of the Industry’s Best and Brightest

Aaron joins some of the title industry’s most prolific leaders on the Foundation, including Westcor’s Mary O’Donnell; Cynthia Durham Blair of Blair, Cato, Pickren, Casterline LLC; FNF’s Steven Day; First American Title Insurance Company’s Donald Kennedy; Richard Welshons of DCA Title and ALTA’s Diane Tomb. Appointed along with Aaron, Orange Coast Title’s Bill Burding joins the Board as well.

“It is a genuine honor to be asked to serve as a member of the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation Board,” Davis said. “The title industry has been incredibly generous to me throughout my entire career. So it’s humbling to be asked to serve alongside some of the industry’s most respected and charitable leaders. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Foundation and to continue supporting the charitable efforts of our members.”

Congratulations, Aaron!



By now, you may have heard about “The Chainsaw Brothers,” our own CEO, Aaron Davis, and his brother Nate. When Hurricane Ian devastated the Port Charlotte community in Florida, they felt compelled to show up, toting 30 new chainsaws, ready to get to work helping others to clear the debris and wreckage.

But both Aaron and Nate want to be very clear that this really isn’t about them. They received the publicity, but that’s not why they did what they did.

Instead, this is about the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief organization, a non-profit serving some of the hardest hit areas of Florida. This is the group that was among the first into Port Charlotte. Nate tells us there were volunteers in the group whose own homes had been affected by the same storm, and yet, here they were, helping others with hot meals and other services.

If you take one thing from this blog, please think about making a small donation. They don’t promote themselves, nor will they. And they go largely unheralded. Aaron and Nate would rather you express gratitude to these fine people.

If you take two things from this particular posting, please consider this—especially in a world where people are more likely to pull out their phones to take personal video than help someone in need. Aaron and Nate were raised in a small town on a small farm. They were raised to simply step up when the community was in need. No need to tout one’s own good deeds. Just do it. It’s part of the responsibility of being a part of the community.

And yet, it’s a lesson lost in this volatile times.

So the next time you see someone in need, or something terrible happens in your neighborhood—it need not be as big as a hurricane—consider stepping up. You don’t have to buy chainsaws. You don’t have to be wealthy. There’s always something that can be done. Nate reminded us that both he and Aaron aren’t contractors or construction people, just businessmen working behind laptops. But that didn’t stop them. So rather than thanking them, consider stepping up in your own small way the next time someone in your community finds themselves in need.


On November 1, 2021, the FR/BAR Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (the FR/BAR "As Is" Contract) underwent several changes reflecting an intent to level the playing field between buyers and sellers of residential property. In case you missed it, here are some notable changes. PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a comprehensive or exhaustive view of these changes. The Contract has further updates, new riders, and other changes that you should familiarize yourself with and contact legal counsel for further information.

Section 8(b) – Loan Approval Period

Two tasks must now be completed during this period: The buyer must obtain approval for financing as described in the section (as before) with a new requirement that the buyer’s lender must receive a satisfactory appraisal before the approval period expires. This aims to prevent a low appraisal from ruining a transaction up to and including at the time of closing. It also aims to ensure that the property can return to market much sooner to find a new buyer, should funding fall through.

Make sure you’re ending the loan approval period well before the closing date!

Section 19, Standard O – Delivery Methods

Under the revised contract, methods for delivery notice have changed. They can now be delivered by fax or email, in addition to the by mail or via personal delivery options that remain in place. Other electronic delivery methods have also been deleted, such as text messaging. Texting cannot be used to provide notice under this new contract! They are unreliable in terms of providing evidence that a notice was delivered by erasure or tech ‘fails.’

Other Notable Changes Include, but are not limited to:

The definition of "Personal Property" now includes thermostats, doorbells, TV mounting hardware, and storm protection items.
FIRPTA withholding and reporting costs have been added as an item to be paid by the seller.

  • The definition of closing now includes that "all funds required for closing are received by the closing agent and collected pursuant to STANDARD S".
  • And of course, due to our new way of life in a pandemic, STANDARD G -Force Majeure has been revised to include "governmental actions and mandates, government shutdowns, epidemics, or pandemics."
  • Along with these changes, there have been several updates and additions of new riders including Mold Inspections, Seasonal/Vacation Rentals/Pace Disclosure Riders, and others. Please keep in mind that this list is an overview of changes and NOT a comprehensive list. Should you have any questions on the contract, please contact legal counsel for advice.

You can review a full breakdown the contract changes here.


Florida Markets Forecast to Continue Their Success in 2022

It’s nice to see that Zillow recently saw fit to proclaim, in its 2022 real estate market predictions, that “the Sun Belt dominates Zillow’s list of hottest housing markets for the second year in a row.”  At the top of that list? Tampa and Jacksonville.

Now, those of us who live in Florida have always known it’s a natural real estate, er…hot spot! But, especially after weeks and months of reading the doom and gloom of the impending decline of the refinance spike; rise of interest rates and shortage of inventory, it’s nice to put it all into perspective.

While it’s easy enough to aggregate numbers from numerous local markets to create some national numbers, there’s no true national market. Just a collection of local markets. So saying many trends will impact each market equally is much more often than not false. Will interest rates rise this year? Probably. But how much will they rise; how long will the rise take to impact each market and to what degree? Let’s not forget, home values have soared over the past three years. It’s not all that apparent that they will suddenly crash. Will appreciation slow? Yes. Are declining appreciation and depreciation the same thing? Absolutely not. In fact, the same Zillow forecast suggests the nation’s top 50 markets are expected to “grow healthily in 2022.” That doesn’t sound like a year of doom and gloom to us.

Now, back to Florida, where the vast majority of Hillsborough Title’s clients, partners and friends live and work. The same forces that drove our largest markets to jaw-dropping growth in 2020 and 2021 are still in place. Home values will likely still grow. Inventory is still moving quickly, indicating demand remands high. And employment and population indicators suggest Florida’s top markets are still home to motivated, capable buyers with confidence in the job market and their earning potential. So whether the Fed raises the primary national rates by a quarter of a percent or .000001 percent (and believe us, it won’t be raising it enough to disrupt the economy dramatically in an election year), odds are that, if you have property or clients with property in Tampa or Jacksonville (or Miami, or Orlando, or Gainesville…), it will be another productive year for our friends in the real estate business.

We’re ready for the volume here at Hillsborough Title. And we’ve only continued to work at streamlining our processes to create the smoothest, fastest, most tension-free closings you could ask for in a purchase environment. Then again, we’re proud of the places we live and work, and we never bet against them. So Zillow’s just telling us what we already knew!


Best Practices Certified and Compliant
aicpa soc alta best practice certified logos
Powered by FAN
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram