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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Title Expert Beverly Onson Explains Important Topics Related to Closing

Navigating the closing process is much easier if you’re equipped with the right knowledge, and we’d like to offer you that information today.

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Today’s guest, Beverly Onson, has worked with Fidelity Title for some time and knows all the ins and outs of the closing process as a result. And it’s for exactly this reason that we brought her in for this message—so that she can offer insight into some of the questions people typically ask about taxes, home loans, and the financial side of the closing process.

To kick off the conversation, Beverly first explained how taxes work here in the state of Florida. In short, Florida residents pay their taxes in arrears—meaning that taxes are paid out through a single bill toward the end of the year. Speaking of taxes, the subject of Homestead Exemption is another area of confusion for some in our area.

Essentially, Homestead Exemptions, available in Florida only to homeowners whose primary residence is in our state, offers property tax exemptions on some (or all) of their home’s taxable value. New homeowners can apply for this exemption anytime after closing. Generally, doing so shortly after receiving your recorded deed in the mail is a good idea.

Better still, applying is simple. All you need to do is visit www.leepa.org and fill out the relevant form under the “Exemption Information” tab on the sidebar. You can find plenty of information on other applicable tax exemptions on this website, as well, including those for seniors, veterans, and widows, to name a few.

Inquire before you wire.

Another critical subject Beverly touched on during our discussion was wire fraud. This increasingly common scam has become a hot topic in our market as of late—and for good reason. Wire fraud scammers target innocent buyers by tricking them into sending their closing funds to the wrong account. To achieve this, scammers pose as someone legitimately involved in the transaction, typically the buyer’s agent or someone from the buyer’s title company, and then send out fraudulent wiring instructions as the buyer approaches closing.

It's precisely for this reason that Beverly Onson and her teammates at Fidelity Title provide verbal wiring instructions to each and every buyer they work with. They do also send email instructions, but these are only accessible to buyers if they are able to enter the secret code provided to them during the previous verbal discussion.

Beverly also notes that wiring instructions for a given buyer will never change. So if they receive an email claiming this is the case, they can be certain it’s a scam. If a buyer is ever uncertain, though, Beverly says they can always call for confirmation before sending any funds.
Ultimately, there are a number of ways to protect yourself against wire fraud. It’s all about knowing what to look out for. Inquire before you wire.

If you have any other questions for Beverly, feel free to give her a call at (239) 954-6790 or email her at bonson@fnf.com.

And, as always, if you have any other questions or would like more information about anything related to real estate, please reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.