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Collier County Business And Real Estate Law Blog

Selling your home? Be honest and thorough in disclosures

Whether you're buying or selling a home, you'll be inundated with disclosures and other documents. Most of them are digitized now, so you won't have to sift through mounds of paper as you would have done decades ago. However, it's essential to read and understand them nonetheless.

If you're selling your home, it's also crucial to be thorough and honest in disclosing information about the property — the good, the bad and the ugly. These are legal disclosures, and you're declaring by signing them that you've answered all questions accurately. If you leave something out, even inadvertently, it could come back to haunt you.

Non-profits making moves in the local area

The Naples-Fort Myers commercial real estate market is generally strong. That's good news for those who invest in and develop commercial property. However, some sectors are stronger than others.

Non-profit entities have had a lot of real estate activity across Lee County. This includes sales, leases and redevelopment. Much of this involves relocation of their facilities.

Understanding the various types of patents

The purpose of a patent is to protect people who have invented or discovered something new and unique from having someone else take credit for it. Patents help ensure that people can't make money off of your discovery or invention without your authorization.

The road to obtaining a patent begins with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Even if you haven't worked through the details of what you're seeking to patent, you can apply for a provisional patent. This prevents others from patenting the same thing for a year while you determine exactly what you have before you file a non-provisional patent application. When a non-provisional application is filed, the USPTO will then determine whether the discovery or invention is eligible to be protected by a patent.

What is 'red tide' and why is it lowering Florida home prices?

Florida has many unique natural features and weather patterns. Unfortunately, some of those can be destructive to homes and surrounding land. Of course, hurricanes can and do destroy large swaths of property. However, the culprits are often less obvious but nonetheless insidious. People with coveted waterfront properties on lakes and canals are particularly susceptible to problems like red tide.

According to the National Ocean Service (NOS), red tide refers to a "harmful algal bloom" (HAB). It can cause water quality problems that can drive down the value of Florida homes. One Florida area realtor who studied median sales prices in popular areas throughout the state found that home prices in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral region were "static" over the previous year, while they rose by more than 10 percent in other regions.

East Naples Innovation Zone approved for Collier County

This month, Collier County commissioners approved an East Naples Innovation Zone. It's hoped that the zone will attract economic development to the area, which includes several hundred acres of both developed and vacant land.

The commission first approved the use of these zones back in 2010 to bring higher-paying jobs to the area. However, implementation has been slow. So far, the only one is in Ave Maria.

Should you give all of your business tenants the same lease?

Some commercial landlords rent out space to just one or two businesses, while others have many tenants. Of course, whether you have two tenants or 20, you might wonder if you should present all of your tenants with the same lease, meaning each signs a lease with the same terms (other than rent amounts, perhaps), expectations, penalties and so on. This can seem appealing because you would know each lease inside out, and it would streamline many processes.

However, a one-size-fits-all approach often does not work in business, and this is true when it comes to commercial leases.

Things to remember when selling your home to a loved one

Your family is growing, and it's time to buy a larger home. Your little sister is ready to stop paying rent and buy her first home. Yours is a perfect starter home for her.

Selling your house to a family member helps you avoid a lot of complications, stress and red tape, right? Not exactly.

What you should know before signing a commercial lease

If you're a tenant signing a commercial rental agreement (lease), it's important to negotiate the terms of that lease to ensure that it will meet the needs of your business. Of course, the landlords also have items that are important to them, and they want those covered in the agreement. If you're fortunate, you can agree on terms that are suitable to both you and them.

Commercial leases cover items such as rent and additional costs, such as utilities, maintenance and taxes. They also cover the timeframe of the initial lease and options for renewal. They address the duties of the parties to each other and the potential consequences if either party is negligent in those duties.

Trade names vs. trademarks: What's the difference?

When Floridians start their own business, many learn all sorts of intellectual property terms they were previously only vaguely familiar with -- copyrights, patents, trademarks and fictitious names and trade secrets, for example. These can be crucial to establishing and protecting your unique identity in your field. Two terms that people often confuse with one another are trade names and trademarks.

Your trade name is what customers, vendors and others know you by. Establishing and protecting your trade name from use by competitors can help protect your brand and your business. Business owners in your field risk legal problems if they use the same or even a similar name. For example, a fast food chain can't use the name MacDonald's even though it's spelled slightly different than McDonald's.

'Snowbirds' are raising Florida property values in unlikely areas

South Florida has long been a winter destination for "snowbirds" from points north who prefer to bask in our sun and warmth rather than dodge snow drifts, icy sidewalks and sub-zero temperatures at home. According to a recently-released report by Realtor.com, that trend shows no signs of slowing down, and it's having a positive effect on real estate values.

Besides the beautiful weather, Florida offers lower tax rates than states like Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. According to Realtor.com, "This upward pressure on luxury prices in certain parts of Florida appears to have started last November" -- shortly before the new tax plan was passed by Congress and signed into law.

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