Losing a home you haven't lived in for a couple years to squatters. Finding out you have thousands of dollars of liens on your home after you pay a contract fully for a job.
There are some odd laws still on Florida's books that could leave you blindsided. You can protect yourself by doing your homework before making investments.
Real estate can be a great investment, but there are several ways that you could lose big time.
Most people would never guess that a law called the Adverse Possession Claims allows squatters to claim an abandoned home. Although there are several hurdles to jump for the person trying to claim the house, the law has been on the books since the 1800s.
It originally allowed people to take over abandoned cottages and farmland if they were willing pay the taxes. In these hard economic times squatters, trespassers and criminals are using the law to stake claim on vacant or foreclosed homes.
A person can take your property if they have possessed the land openly, notoriously and in a visible manner, paid property taxes, and possessed the land continuously for a period of seven years. So think twice before leaving your grandmother's house vacant for years.
An even more obscure law is costing Florida residents big-time, and could allow general contractors to rip you and their subcontractors off. If you have a remodel done on your home, and the general contractor does not pay the subcontractors, those subcontractors could legally file a claim of lien against your home.
Here's another one: Did you sell your home and begin renting a condominium to avoid an underwater mortgage? Unpaid condo association fees can catch you by surprise. A new Florida law was passed which requires the renter to pay a condominium board for assessments that go unpaid by the owner.
A recent Supreme Court ruling says this would not apply to condos if the governing documents do not have the proper language saying new laws apply. Hire an attorney before signing a lease on a condo.
None of these odd consumer laws will leave you with a smile on your face except one. You can claim old utility deposits, insurance checks and other assets you may have forgotten about when you moved across the country to be near your new love or to take a job promotion.
Visit FLTreasureHunt.org , the official site for searching for unclaimed money in Florida and submitting a claim for assets that belong to you.
Stay informed, do your research and protect your hard-earned dollars.