Real Estate

BUYING OR SELLING A HOME

The dream of buying a home is often weighed-down by all the steps its takes to get there.  Of course the easy part of matching Pottery Barn candles and Ikea sofas and chairs is a romance even for general audiences.  But sometimes the process needs a little hand-holding, and that is why finding the right professionals is fundamental to this endeavor.

Our office is designed to provide you with the depth of experience and the level of attention you will need from the moment you sign your contract until the time comes when keys are exchanged. Our staff has a combined experience of over 35 years in real estate transactions with each professional offering you their personal sense of caring and service in order to make your purchase a cherished experience.

Your purchase is insured by one of the largest title insurance underwriters in the country. We begin our work by searching the title to insure that there are no liens or encumbrances that would affect the marketability of your property. We also connect with your Realtor and lender so that everyone is working in sync. If a survey is required, we will order it for you.  We will coordinate with the sellers making sure their mortgage is paid off, and if necessary, prepare the documents required of the seller in order to guaranty their accuracy.  This is the very least you can expect, whether you’re buying  a house, a condo, or even that bed-and-breakfast you’ve longed for.

If you’re buying a condominium or co-op, other issues materialize.   Reviewing the Declaration of Condominium or of the Cooperative (which are the governing rules of your building), obtaining approval by its board of directors (a requirement in all condo or co-op purchases), or even looking into issues such as the solvency of the association or its maintenance, our office is here to guide you every step of the way.

If you’re selling your property, the steps are fewer but the care is no less great.  We will work with your buyers or their representative, and we are there to work through any problems that may come up regarding repairs or the title, especially if your find yourself out of town.

In the end, everyone’s hard work comes together at the closing.  The paperwork is signed, monies change hands, and well-wishing fills the room.  A job well done means that people can now move on with their lives.

REFINANCING A MORTGAGE

Much of the work that goes into a real estate closing when buying a home must still be done even if you are simply refinancing a loan.  This is because a lender wants to make sure that the title to your property will be free and clear of any liens or judgments before they agree to lend money.  We will do the title search and it will be guaranteed by the title insurance we issue.  We coordinate the entire transaction with your lender, and the only thing you have to do is come pick up your check.

…..AND THE PRICE IS RIGHT

People often believe that to engage the services of a lawyer to buy a home is going to cost them more money than if they went to just a title insurance company. Not at all!  Our office charges the same state-regulated fees as a title company, and at the same time, we offer the peace of mind which our legal talent is ready to provide you- all for the same fair price.   Imagine that!  So give us a call and we’ll be glad to give you a quote.

IT’S A SIGN OF THE TIMES.

Do you find yourself frustrated from the strain of these tumultuous times? You have worked very hard to achieve success and even with the highest credit ratings people suddenly find that they are unemployed, and a mortgage payment that was once affordable is no longer.  When you can no longer afford to pay your mortgage, the choices are not always desirable, but they will ultimately rid you of the burden.

SHORT SALE:

This has become an invention of necessity.  As a result of the downturn in the economy, many people found that when home values plummeted they were left with a mortgage with more bulges than belts could tighten to hold them.  Some folks found that the second mortgage they took out to add a new pool or enclose the garage left them with even more debt that they couldn’t repay.  Now with the help of the federal government, and despite years of bank resistance, people whose finances were otherwise limited can now qualify to sell their homes for less than what they owe. It’s a little tricky with a second mortgage, and if you have a big stake in Exxon, please don’t apply.  But for the average person who is willing to say good-bye to their pride and joy, it’s an important tool to get out from under the debt burden.  Also, if it’s your primary residence, there are even tax advantages which we’ll be happy to discuss with you.

 MORTGAGE MODIFICATION:

If you want to keep your home, then banks sometimes offer a temporary fix and your payment may be reduced for a short period so that you can get back on your feet.  This is no mercy measure conjured by your lender, instead these programs are designed by the federal and state governments.  While the rules keep changing, there’s a good chance that you can expect to have your mortgage modified if you lost your job or took a lower paying job.  Keep in mind, in most cases, the modification may be temporary, and in almost all cases, the difference in what you originally owe and the amount of the lowered payment will most likely be tacked onto your principal.  Whether or not this approach works for you is something our office will discuss among your other options.

 FORECLOSURE and BANKRUPTCY:

If you are still underwater and none of the choices above seem to fit your needs, then foreclosure and bankruptcy may be the best solution to remove the stress of bill payments that seem overwhelming.  Foreclosure is when your lender takes you to court to sell your house out from under you in order to satisfy the mortgage you stopped paying on months ago.  Unfortunately, chances are that when the house is sold, the lender didn’t make enough money on the sale so a deficiency judgment is entered against you. This judgment could be many thousands of dollars, too many to want to contemplate paying in one lifetime.  But federal law does provide a method of forgiveness, and through bankruptcy, that deficiency judgment is wiped off your record along with all your other unsecured debts like credit cards and the like.  (Please see our section of Bankruptcy for a fuller discussion.) In either case, come and talk to us.  We’ll give you a free consultation and we’ll tell you how it works. Together we can find the best answer and choose a relief that will allow you to take control of your life and give you a fresh start.

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About Dean

DEAN TRANTALIS

Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Dean Trantalis attended Norwich Free Academy and Boston University where he majored in political science and graduated in 1975 cum laude and with Distinction.

Dean took time off after college; working in a law office, for a Congressman, running his brother’s campaign for state office, and selling men’s clothing in a very fabulous store in Boston. He then attended Stetson University School of Law and graduated in 1979. Later, Dean attended international law courses in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as in London. In 1980, he was admitted to the Connecticut and Florida Bars. He has practiced law in Broward County since 1982.

Dean Trantalis entered the gay and lesbian political forum in 1990 when Broward County was in the midst of a referendum to pass a human rights ordinance. Having participated in strategy sessions, recruiting volunteers, and working polls, Dean remained part of the debate following its defeat as the coalition regrouped and strategized. In 1993, he became chair of Broward United Against Discrimination, a local chapter of a state-wide effort to defeat the petition drive launched by the American Family Association to enact a law that would have prevented any city or county from enacting gay-rights laws (much like the well-known Colorado-2 amendment that was later found unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court). This effort was also defeated in the Courts, when the Florida Supreme Court found the petition unlawful.

In 1995, Dean served as co-chair of Americans For Equality, which saw the successful enactment and later the defeat of a petition drive to overturn the passage of Broward County’s Human Rights Ordinance which extends to persons, based on their sexual orientation, protection from discrimination in housing, in employment, and in public accommodations. Broward is the first county in the state to have such a law. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dolphin Democratic Club for the past 6 years, and he recently retired as its President.

In 1997, Dean helped to coordinate the effort to hold back the passage of the law which banned same-sex marriages here in Florida, and met with the Governor and others to fashion a compromise, which was ultimately defeated by the state legislature. More recently, he completed a one-year position with CenterOne (as its Director of Development) raising awareness, money, and hopes on behalf of persons affected by the HIV virus.

Dean has also chaired numerous fundraising committees, both here in Ft. Lauderdale and in Miami, from dance parties to cocktail parties! And, somewhere in between all this, he has served on the Boards of the condominium associations where he has lived over the years, including posts as President and Vice President.

As if this all of this was not enough! In January 1999, Dean co-wrote and led the successful passage of the Broward County domestic partnership law, which insures the extension of spousal-like benefits not just to county employees, but also to many citizens in Broward County. He has also served as co-chair of the South Florida Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which was formed in 1998 to extend the efforts of the national organization to the local sector and is also a member of it’s national Board of Governors.

Dean served for five years as a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Citizen Review Board, which is an appointed position by the City Commission in which complaints against police officers are reviewed by a panel of citizens and police officers. Dean also has served as City Commissioner District II for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. Currently, he is a Board member of the Oakland Park-Wilton Manors Chamber of Commerce and Board Member of Broward House, which provides housing and case management services to indigent HIV persons who suffer drug and alcohol addictions. Dean was recently named “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Chamber and is a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Riverwalk Trust.

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Staff


BRETT LaGROW

Coming from the business world and drawing from many areas of expertise, Brett is the primary contact in our Probate and Estates area of our practice.  He works with Dean in readying matters for final review, and his Midwest charm often lends comfort to clients where the law leaves off and a situation can best be remedied by a human touch.

brett@trantalis.com

DENISE DUGAN

With many years of experience in title insurance and all phases of real estate transactions, Denise offers not only a wealth of knowledge, but her professional handling of issues and the needs of people make each closing a welcome occasion. Denise manages the real estate division of the office, fielding client questions and addressing their concerns, as well as insuring that closing functions are addressed accurately and efficiently.

denise@trantalis.com

BRIAN FRENCH

With local boy status and a French Horn under his arm, Brian’s work is what makes our office hum.  Brian brings perspective to the often complex situations that confront our bankruptcy and foreclosure clients.  His conscientious spirit and drive to fulfill is a welcome attitude, especially when a client reaches out fort that helpful hand.

brian@trantalis.com

JACOB “JAKE” Van PARYS

Raised in the North but schooled in the South, Jake adds balance to the diversity of our community. Having begun his studies in law, he is poised for great things. His fresh spirit brings a welcome cheer to each client who is looking for both an answer and a reassuring smile.

jake@trantalis.com

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