Backpacks for Kids


Everyone’s enjoying their summer, but it’s not too early to start thinking Back-to-School! The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® is collecting backpacks and school supplies in July and August to help local kids get a great start to the school year.

Simply drop off new backpacks and supplies (school supply lists are available at local stores) at TBR, and we’ll be sure they get to children in need through Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Children’s Home Society, and the Early Learning Coalition. Read below to learn more about these great local organizations and the TBR members who actively support them.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend
Sarah Kosturko (PrimeSouth Fezler, Russell and Ferrie) has been an in-school mentor for three years with Big Brothers Big Sisters:

“I chose the school setting as I felt the weekly consistency was important, as often the children in this program have little to no consistency in their lives. Some of the children come from very broken or strained family situations which makes this program so much more valuable than just aiding them in the educational system. Being a role model for my child is always life changing, both for me and for them—having someone for just an hour a week, who devotes full attention to them, cares about who they are, what their dreams are, and their personal growth, affects them profoundly. I am hopeful that by spotlighting this agency in the backpack drive that other REALTORS® will also see how one hour a week is virtually an insignificant sacrifice of our time when it is given to a child who is in need of hope for their future.” 

Children’s Home Society of Florida
Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) began in Jacksonville in 1905 as an adoption agency. In 1964 the Tallahassee office (North Central Division) started serving the eight counties of the Big Bend Region. CHS has transformed to an agency that supports kids who have been abused through its Child Advocacy Center, provides early interventions for kids with developmental delays, foster care and transitional living programs, and, of course, adoption services.

Ted Thomas (Thomas Mitchell Realty) was on the CHS Board of Directors for 13 years. During that time, he served as Chairman of the Chefs’ Sampler for two years, where they raised between $50-100,000 from the event, thanks to the great participation from the community. Ted also chaired the building fundraising committee, raising $2 million to build what is now a premier facility for the kids in our community and the surrounding counties.

Early Learning Coalition
Headquartered in Tallahassee, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) proudly serves Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties. Throughout the ELC’s history, the Board and staff have strived to provide a holistic service delivery system that is responsive to needs of families and communities while maintaining effective and efficient business practices supporting the following primary goals: children are ready for success when they enter school; and families have access to the quality child care services and assistance they need. The ELC staff work every day at effectively connecting approximately 7,000 children and their families to the early learning program that best meets the needs of the child and family. Working with a network of over 300 child care programs and local community partners, the ELC provides a comprehensive system of services.
Additionally, the ELC has a strong network of community partners and volunteers that are an integral component of the ELC’s service delivery system. Working with the community, the ELC is the catalyst working to help families be ready to work and children ready to learn.

MLS Update: Changes to Paragon 5


Expiring Notifications: Addition of notice for 1-year renewal. For clarification, verbiage has been added to the Expiring Notifications modal that informs the user that renewing a notification will extend the expiration date to one year.

Client Connect:
Ability to customize Subject line for Client Notifications. This release adds customization for the user to modify the Subject line for Client Connect notifications via the Advanced Email window.
New Help section. A new Help button is now available within Client Connect that will open a tutorial video for clients on how to use the site.
New sorting options. For ease of use, sorting options are available for the client to sort the results by Update Date, Highest to Lowest Price, and Lowest to Highest Price.
Navigation controls added to the bottom of results view pages. The Client Connect interface navigation controls are now available at the bottom of the Client Connect page, allowing clients to progress to the next results set without having to scroll back to the top of the page.

Contacts: Sort by Name, Last Notified and Last Accessed. Columns in the Contact Manger now will sort by Last Name, Last Notified, and Last Accessed.

CMA: Clarification of verbiage for Create New Subject Property. Create New Subject Property verbiage has been updated to further clarify that users may manually enter a subject property, along with the ability to copy an existing listing for conversion to an MLS number at a later time.

CMA Summary view and report views. An important design correction was made to the CMA Summary view which now allows users to email the report as a hyperlink with the ability to add additional report views in an email.

If you have questions about any of these changes, or need MLS or technology assistance, contact the CATRS Helpdesk at (850) 224-7713.

Paul A. Galloway
Manager of Association Technology
Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®
Capital Area Technology and REALTOR® Services

The Extra Mile Award


The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® has had the Extra Mile Award for some time—a way for members to give recognition to fellow REALTORS® and Affiliates who go “above and beyond”—but who do so without an expectation of award beyond a job well done: our hidden gems. In some ways, the award itself has been a bit hidden, and not actively promoted. The Member Resources Committee wants that to change.

We’ve posted a nomination form on our website, so if you catch someone going the Extra Mile, simply fill out the form and submit it to TBR—that’s all it takes! We’ll invite you to present the Extra Mile Award certificate at a Tuesday morning meeting, and we will announce their award in the eBoard Briefs newsletter under “Members in the News.”

Read below for Member Resources Committee members’ explanation of the award and what it means to recognize our members for going the Extra Mile:

“Being a REALTOR® in Tallahassee is a wonderful experience due to our real estate community that is filled with generous and caring individuals. Every day we face challenges to getting transactions closed. I would venture to guess that each of us has someone or many people we would like to thank for an act of kindness, going over and beyond in providing service to our customers. We all have stories about these experiences. Did you know that you can thank those people publicly by recommending them for an Extra Mile Award? This is a special way to say ‘thank you’ and communicates your appreciation for them.”
~Miriam Nicklaus, Armor Realty of Tallahassee

“There are some REALTORS® who consistently work to resolve issues and bring a spirit of cooperation to the table. Recognizing this attribute is one way to promote this type of work ethic.”
~Teresa Hatler, Hatler Realty   

“I think the Extra Mile Award has merit for this reason: most of the time the recipient has no idea what good they’re doing on a daily basis. They are just going about their workday, performing as they should be (which might be to a higher standard than most), and don’t realize the effect they have on others around them. They need to be commended for going that ‘extra mile’ to help others that are in contact with them look better.”
~Jim Butler, Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin 

“The power of positive recognition! What does it mean to be recognized? In this fast-paced world, it’s always a little hard to stop and ‘smell the roses’ or, in this case, to recognize a colleague. But when we do, the results that follow can be endless. You never know what is happening in someone’s day, and sometimes the simple act of positive recognition goes a long way. We have a wonderful program—the ‘Extra Mile Award’—that allows our Board Members to do just that. Please take the time to submit a nomination and give someone that positive recognition. You might be surprised the difference you can make in someone’s life.”
~Joy Blomeley, Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin

Member Resources Committee
Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®

Legal Update: Easements and Railroads


It is not every day we get an opinion on easements that really gets back to the basic law of easements. But such was the case in March of this year, from the highest court in the land. And by so doing, the United States Supreme Court reminds everyone that easements are very complicated instruments. REALTORS® and property owners should be cautious in assuming anything about an easement. 

Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion giving the abutting property owners the land under the railroad after the railroad abandoned its use. The impact on the Rails to Trails program of our state may not be much affected, for various reasons. We were lead counsel on the very first rail to trail, constructed as the St. Marks Trail. Those issues have already been litigated. 

Chief Justice Roberts, in the case of Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, looked to the General Railroad Right-of–Way Act to see exactly what had been given to the railroad in the first place. It was determined that the railroad held an easement in its right of way. 

When the government issued a patent, like a deed, to an 83-acre parcel, it was “subject to those rights for railroad purposes.” Unfortunately, the phrase “right of way” has been construed in many cases to mean fee simple title  and in other cases it has been deemed an easement. It is a phrase that should be avoided.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that an “easement” is a nonpossessory right to enter and use land in the possession of another and obligates the possessor not to interfere with the uses authorized by the easement. 

The dominant interest is the user of the easement. The servient interest is the owner of the fee simple, subject to the easement. 

When the user of the easement abandons it, the servient owner resumes full and unencumbered interest of the land. This is different, wrote Chief Justice Roberts, from when the owner of the servient land has a “reverter.” In the latter, the owner has actually given away some interest that upon some event, somehow “reverts” back to him or her. But in an easement, the owner always has the property, it was just encumbered by the right of another to use for easement purposes. 

The holder of the easement can abandon it simply by conduct or may do it expressly, usually in a written document. The latter is always the safest way to clear issues about an easement, and the intent to abandon is a crucial issue in whether there is a valid abandonment of an easement. 

So the important thing to remember is that easements are never simple, and can even lead to a major case in front of the highest court in the land.

Joe R. Boyd
TBR Legal Counsel
Board Certified Real Estate Attorney
Boyd & DuRant, P.L.

Florida REALTORS® Districts 8 & 9 Conference


On May 30, 2014 REALTORS® from District 8 and District 9 met in Panama City Beach for the annual District Conference. 

Events of the day included a personal visit from the Florida REALTORS® leadership team and support staff who gave an interactive report of the State of the Association. This presentation included a summary of the financial state of the Association and RPAC donations. It also included presentations on the strength of our advocacy efforts, video presentations which showcased the upcoming August Florida REALTORS® Annual Conference and some of the highlights of this event. The leadership team arrived in the “Believe” Tour Bus dedicated to travel across the state to each District, touching REALTORS® and their efforts to support the homeless in their areas. 

Second, came a lively, fun, and motivational presentation by Darryl Davis who spoke on “Living a Life Worth Smiling About.” Participants were entertained, were challenged professionally and personally to live, to encourage others, and to grow productively, noting tons of tips for organization and interaction with customers. Conference goers were also the first to receive Darryl’s new book, hot off the press.

The last half of the day was a nine session, open discussion, and participatory Real Estate BarCamp event where tips, expertise, and knowledge were shared on a variety of topics ranging from video and listing photography to international business and global engagement, mobile apps, and productivity of working with teams. A great day was had by all and ended with a happy hour by the beach where lots of networking and more BarCamp discussions took place. A dunking booth with local celebrities was located on the beach and over $700 was raised for RPAC as participants took turns attempting to “dunk-a-friend.” 

On behalf of myself and Vince Price, District 9 Vice President, we thank you for your participation.

Debbie Kirkland
Armor Realty of Tallahassee
Florida REALTORS® District 8 Vice-President

Preparing and Conducting a Real Estate Transaction


With the real estate, title, and mortgage industry changing on an almost daily basis, it is imperative that every real estate agent is armed with the necessary knowledge to successfully close a real estate transaction.  Ask yourself about these three scenarios:

Jimmy Smith – Living in New York with property in Florida
Jimmy Smith was a mail-away listing, mail-away contract, and mail-away closing. When the title agent received the Warranty Deed from Jimmy along with his driver’s license, she was unable to close the transaction. Why was the closing cancelled?

Who is the CFPB and how do they affect the closing of a residential sales transaction when the buyer is obtaining a mortgage? Will there be more changes on the way and how will they affect the buyer, seller and real estate agents?

Evidence of Title and Survey
Pursuant to the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® Contract for Sale and Purchase, the buyer is advised to have a survey on all transactions as well as owner’s title insurance. Why are these documents so important to anyone purchasing a property?

The answer to these questions as well a title company’s reliance on the Contract for sale and Purchase, a review of the title commitment, survey and tips for every real estate agent for a successful closing will be discussed during this three hour FREC credit course. Please join your host, Richard Santurri of Mang and Santurri and your presenter, Susan Dutcher of First American Title at TBR on July 9—earn three hours of CE credit and gain valuable knowledge.

“Preparing and Conducting a Real Estate Transaction: What Every Real Estate Agent Should Know,” provides 3 hours CE – register to attend this class, which will be held at TBR on Wednesday, July 9, from 9 a.m. – noon.

Susan Dutcher
First American Title

Mineral Rights


Have you ever looked closely at a title commitment for the purchase of a property? It typically excepts from insurance coverage any parties’ rights to the minerals. The implications of this can be great.  At any given time a person with mineral rights and a right of entry can enter the property and explore and mine for minerals.  However, the key issue is the right of access. The typical title insurance commitment and resulting policy must contain the mineral rights exception pursuant to underwriting guidelines. The important question is does it also contain an exception for access for the mineral rights owner.

Mineral rights are important because Florida law recognizes the division of real property in layers. That is what allows the minerals contained under the ground to be sold separately from the property and its improvements – the surface property. When the minerals are sold or reserved in a conveyance, a separate estate is created. This subsurface estate can then be sold and conveyed separately from the surface property.   

The two most common means of creating a separate estate in the mineral rights are a conveyance or reservation. In a conveyance, a grant of the mineral rights is made to a third party. In a reservation, the party selling property reserves all rights, title, and interest to the mineral rights. Either way, the ownership of the mineral rights is severed from the surface property. In addition, with the grant or reservation of mineral rights, an implied access easement is created unless otherwise expressed. The implied grant of access is what allows a party the right to enter upon the property to explore and mine for minerals. The mineral rights owner often needs the right of entry to gain access to their property right. (There are other means a mineral rights owner can use to gain access, but they are not discussed in this article.)

In Florida, the Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”) changed an individual’s rights of access regarding mineral rights. Enacted in 1963, MRTA extinguishes a party’s right of access if the grant of the access does not occur within the conveyances and documents before the “root of title.” Root of title is a statutorily defined term found in Florida Statute section 712.01. In an example, if a mineral right is reserved in a 1930 deed, but there is another deed of record prior to 1984 that does not mention the mineral rights reservation, the right of access is extinguished by MRTA if it is not in use or was not renewed under the statutory provisions Florida allows. 

Mineral rights are something to be aware of when purchasing property in Florida, but to many property owners, mineral rights will not be an issue as the right of access has been eliminated under MRTA. However, when reviewing a title commitment prior to the purchase of property, make sure the mineral rights exception does not include the right of access.

Mary W. Colón
Smith, Thompson, Shaw, Minacci & Colón, PA

Understanding Florida’s Property Tax Amendments, Part Three


As we continue the series on understanding Florida’s property tax system, we’ll explore the provision of the 2008 property tax amendment that allows homestead properties an additional $25,000 exemption. Simply stated, the amendment allows homestead properties to receive an additional exemption of $25,000 of assessed value. Combined with the original exemption of the same amount, this should equate to a total of $50,000 of exempt value. However, there are two rules that apply to the calculation. 

Rule one: The additional exemption applies to assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000. This concept is best illustrated in an example in the following table, where the taxable value is calculated using four properties with different assessed values: 

Comparison of Properties with Different Assessed Values


Property 1

Property 2

Property 3

Property 4

Assessed Value (SOH)





Homestead Exemption





Additional Exemption





Total Exemption





Taxable Value





Notice that property 1 has no value between $50,000 and $75,000 that meets the criteria for the additional exemption. Property 2 has $10,000 of value between $50,000 and $75,000, and property 3 has $20,000 of value that meets the criteria for the exemption. Note how this creates a taxable value that is equal for these three properties. Property 4, however, with an assessed value of $90,000, is allowed all of the additional exemption of the value between $50,000 and $75,000. 

Rule two: The additional exemption does not apply to the taxable value of the school board. Using property 4 from the table above, the school board millage would apply to $65,000 ($90,000 – $25,000) while the millage rates for other taxing authorities would apply to $40,000 ($90,000 – $50,000). The exemptions for property 4 are illustrated below in an example of a TRIM notice using the various taxing authorities. TRIM, meaning “truth in millage,” are notices of proposed property taxes mailed from our office on or about the middle of August each year.   

Example of Property 4 – Taxable Value

Taxing Authority

Market Value

Assessed Value (SOH)


Taxable Value





















Water Management





Notice the taxable value pertaining to the school millage is $25,000 higher than the other taxing authorities because of this rule. 

Both rules for this additional exemption can be summarized together as follows: the assessed value, between $50,000 and $75,000 is exempt for all taxing authorities with the exception of the school board. With the original homestead exemption of $25,000, there is a total exemption available of up to $50,000.   

Doug Will, AAS, CFE
Chief Deputy-Appraisal Services
Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office

Understanding Florida’s Property Tax Amendments, Part Two


This is the second article in a series on understanding Florida’s property tax system, and the statutes regulating the assessment process. Previously, we reviewed amendment 10, known as the “Save Our Homes” (SOH) amendment, passed by Florida voters in 1992, which capped annual increases at a maximum of three percent annually for homestead properties. Remember, upon the sale of the home, the SOH value had to be reset to the current market value in the year following the sale. To help combat the effects of the resetting of the SOH, amendment 1 was born in 2008, containing four separate provisions relating to property tax issues. The portability of SOH benefits is one such provision.  

The portability of SOH benefits means if there is a difference between the market value and the assessed (SOH) value, the new home can enjoy that same benefit without having to be reset at the market value.  In other words, the SOH savings can be taken to the new homestead; they are “portable”.  Consider the following example illustrating the relationship between the market value and the assessed value over time.  As market values increase, and the assessed value is capped, a differential is created between the two.  For illustration purposes, three percent is used as the SOH increase even though in certain years the CPI was less.  This differential is the amount that is portable to the new homestead.  







Market Value






Assessed Value













Notice the differential in year three from the table. The difference between the market value and the assessed value is $30,312, which is the value that is portable to the new home if you were to move that year. The assessed value of the new property would be set $30,312 below the market value, and capped forward from there. 

Also, please note that in year five the market value decreased while the assessed value increased by three percent from year four, causing the portable value to decrease. This illustrates the independent relationship between the market value and the assessed value, and is commonly known as the “Recapture Provision.” Florida Administrative Code Rule 12D-8.0062(5) states: “where the current year just value of an individual property exceeds the prior year assessed value, the property appraiser is required to increase the prior year’s assessed value by the lower of”:

1)      Three percent; or
2)      The percentage change in the CPI.  

Essentially, the rule states that as long as there is a difference between the market value and the SOH value, the SOH will increase even if the market declines. As such, the amount of portability benefits tends to be a moving target that can change from year to year due to changing market conditions as illustrated in the table above. 

Next in this series, we’ll explore the effects of an additional $25,000 exemption for homestead properties, which is another provision of amendment 1 from the year 2008.   

Doug Will, AAS, CFE
Chief Deputy-Appraisal Services
Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office           


NAR Board OKs Mandatory Core Association Standards


Editor’s Note: This is information taken from NAR Communications. The good news for the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® is we meet or exceed all the Core Standards.

In a sweeping move to improve the professionalism of associations of REALTORS® across the country and the level of service they provide to members, the NAR Board of Directors passed a set of mandatory standards that touch on every aspect of association operations.

“This is an issue of professionalism in our industry,” said Andrea Bushnell, chair of the Organizational Alignment Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), which drafted the standards. “We want to ensure unity within—and the long-term viability of— the 100-year-old REALTOR® organization. All three levels of the organization must thrive together as a true and strong association, rather than acting as group of independent but federated organizations.”

Specifically, the country’s approximately 1,400 state, local, and territorial associations have to meet standards in six areas: 1) Code of Ethics education and enforcement; 2) advocacy; 3) consumer outreach; 4) organizational unification; 5) technology; and 6) financial solvency. Among other things, under the new standards, associations must:

  • Provide Code of Ethics training
  • Participate in Calls for Action
  • Make an effort to collect fair-share contributions to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, or write a check to cover the fair share
  • Promote the value proposition of using a REALTOR®
  • Maintain a strategic or business plan
  • Maintain a website with links to other levels of the association
  • Meet minimum financial performance

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