I love saltwater. I grew up on the New Jersey shore, just a block from the Atlantic. With the windows open and the wind blowing from the east, you could hear the ocean waves and smell the briny air. It has always been my objective to live where others go for vacation.
After law school and graduating from the University of Miami with a special law degree in Ocean and Coastal Law, the foundation was laid for my career as an attorney concentrating on Florida water law. My goal of living where others vacation was realized.
My early career, representing State and local governments, focused on environmental permitting and enforcement. When I went into private practice, joining Icard/Merrill in 1987, I specialized in marina and dock permitting, coastal construction, environmental enforcement defense, submerged lands ownership, riparian rights, and consultation with buyers of waterfront and near waterfront properties.
Since graduation from law school, there has been an explosion in federal, State, and local regulations affecting properties near the water. These regulations govern the location, size, height, design, materials, landscaping, cost, and remodeling potential of all new and existing waterfront and near waterfront properties. These regulations became so onerous, it was commonplace (and remains so) for owners to ignore them when making improvements to their properties.
To make matters worse, until relatively recent times, there was lax enforcement of the new regulations. The result is an abundance of properties with existing violations which today, when discovered, are aggressively enforced.
More and more of my time was spent representing innocent purchasers of waterfront properties who were forced to remedy violations created by prior owners, or those who purchased property only to find that due to legal matters they were unaware of, the property was unsuited to their needs. It became apparent that there was an increasing gap in the nature of legal services that buyers of waterfront property required and the scope of such services provided.
An increasing number of non-lawyers are representing buyers in the purchase of waterfront property, and those lawyers who are representing buyers are typically not performing the legal due diligence that buyers need.
The main reason this condition exists is that buyers of waterfront and near waterfront properties do not know any better, and because those that should know better are not doing a good job of educating buyers as to how to protect themselves in a transaction involving waterfront property.
As a result, it has become my “mission in life” to let buyers know “what they don’t tell them”. I will let it remain unsaid as to who “they” are, but through my website, Facebook & Twitter pages, blog, emails and other means, it will be my objective to inform buyers of waterfront and near waterfront properties of all of the questions they should be asking. They need to get these answers before committing to the purchase so that if and when they close, buyers will be satisfied that the property will be suitable for their intended purposes.
Sellers of such properties can use this information to make sure that they are able to investigate the status of their property and can be prepared to answer the questions that an informed buyer will be asking.
The lure of the sea shall continue to attract more and more paradise seekers to our shores. Assisted by the information provided by my materials, and through consultation with appropriate professionals, one’s paradise found will remain just that. Welcome to my paradise!