Procuring Cause

I can honestly say, agents often misunderstand the idea of procuring cause.   Personally, I see procuring cause, otherwise known as the agent entitled to a commission, in clear terms.  Brokers often arbitrate commission claims internally or broker to broker.  Regardless, arbitration, mediation or court are time consuming and understanding when you are or are not the procuring cause, makes life easier.

The proximate cause; the cause originating a series of events which, without break in their continuity, result in the accomplishment of the prime object. The inducing cause; the direct or proximate cause. Substantially synonymous with “efficient cause.”A broker will be regarded as the “procuring cause” of a sale, so as to be entitled to commission, if his efforts are the foundation on which the negotiations resulting in a sale are begun. A cause originating a series of events which, without break in their continuity, result in accomplishment of prime objective of the employment of the broker who is producing a purchaser ready, willing, and able to buy real estate on the owner’s terms. Mohamed v. Robbins, 23 Ariz. App. 195, 531 p.2d 928, 930.Also see Producing cause; Proximate cause.

Many times over the years, I’ve felt the frustration of being the procuring cause, without pay.  Does it matter?  Sure.  Do you choose to go on with the sale or formally dispute?

The first time I disputed a fee was in the late 80’s or early 90’s.  Working with a couple looking for a home, I walked through models in a subdivision multiple times.  The names were registered and I expected to meet with the site agent to write an offer…”any day”.  All the players are long gone, but the couple went back without me and signed with the site agent.   I was purposely excluded from the sale by the site agent and buyer.  This was the first hard lesson in procuring cause and the, sometimes disappointing, real world.  Whether the site agent lied out of self interest or the buyer thought they would save money, my registration was “tossed” and I really had no option at all.  When I questioned the site agent and builder, the response was disappointing, but educational.  You always have a choice, but everyone involved with a transaction won’t always choose to live up to the same standards.

As a REALTOR®, I refer to the code of ethics or standards of practice as guidance.  When all else fails, consider the “golden rule” in business and in professional relationships.  Most of us already know when we’re getting close to the imaginary line.

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Homestead Fraud

4257e31f-34d4-4231-9af9-aeafc39eec11Reading an article this morning, it is important to think twice, before claiming homestead exemption or falsely claiming residency to obtain any benefit.   No one is exempt and the penalties are severe.
Florida Statute 196.131(2) provides that “any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming homestead exemption is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.” Florida law also states that if it is determined that you have had homestead exemption in the past to which you were not entitled, a lien is placed against your property for the amount of the exemption, plus 50% penalty, plus 15% interest per annum for each year during which the exemption was fraudulent. Statutes allow the lien to be placed retroactively for up to 10 years.

Source: Homestead Fraud


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Deliberate Protection of Future Economic Diversity

We all want a better island and more environmentally sensitive uses. No one interested in the island “long term”, wants to cripple the island or eliminate industry through changes to the LDC.   The conflict arises, when intended protections have the potential to limit rebuilding existing uses,  bring a new use like the LignoTech Project or limit upgrades to current use sometimes improving safety.   A number of “well meaning” citizens are interested in controlling those uses in areas somewhat outside the typical building or site permit process.   The value of industry to Nassau County and Fernandina is in the diverse economic base and tax base.

Each and every person on an advisory boards, in my opinion, should be able to consider all sides and all positions.    Removing themselves from the process is helpful, but the positions confer a kind of influence and disproportionate influence.  Every member of every board should come to that board with qualifications and without any prior agenda.

This is not a final version, but, based on the added underlined wording and the stricken strike-through wording, I think you can see some of the struggle to allow uses, but make LDC changes carefully.

Balance in our tax base and balanced use of land is important for the future of the island.  Urge your local government to protect industry and jobs on the island.  If we are not careful to protect existing use and existing potential land use, a single hurricane could create an unintended consequence…with irreparable damage to our industry and economic base.  (JOBS)   Economic diversity makes Nassau County and Amelia Island different, but changing the LDC in an intended or unintended way, could do a great deal of damage.

We should set out to deliberately protect industry, manufacturing, the diverse economy and jobs! 

Policy 5.14.09. The City shall protect environmentally sensitive lands and conservation lands by developing standards within the Land Development Code related to development in these areas that will either prohibit the following land use activities, or will allow them provided they are developed, constructed and/or operated in a manner that will protect the existing natural functions of said environmentally sensitive lands and otherwise comply with State and Federal environmental requirements and prohibiting the following land use activities on these lands through inclusion of regulations in the Land Development Code:

  • a. Industrial uses;
  • b. Sanitary landfills;
  • c. Wastewater treatment facilities;
  • d. Animal feedlots;
  • e. Incinerators;
  • f. Petroleum or pesticide storage facilities;
  • g. Above-ground or below-ground pipes for pollutants or contaminants, excluding pipes carrying treated stormwater runoff or wastewater effluent;
  • h. Septic tanks;
  • i. Any land use that stores, handles, or generates hazardous material or waste;
  • j. Removal, excavation, or disturbance of the soil;
  • k. Dumping or filling with any material;
  • l. Erection of structures; m. Placement of pavements;

Taken from PAB agenda 7/13/16

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Virtual Real Estate and the Pokémon Phenomenon

A few days ago, I half listened to a story about city life and a new game released for mobile devices.  If you’ve ever enjoyed geocaching or watched a Pokémon game on 3DS or another system, you probably recognize the name.   The following day, I noticed something interesting.   All over town, I saw groups of kids walking around with the game program open….exploring their town.   Points of interest like churches, cemeteries, libraries and even the Nassau County Courthouse are all listed as gyms or stops.

About half the people at this Fernandina Beach Marina are engaged in gaming…


Settings like this, rich in history and collision density, become mecca’s for this kind of gaming. Question is how this attraction will translate into the real world of advertising?

I’m interested in the idea of virtual real estate or virtual overlap of games into the real world landscape.  This particular game sets points of interest in the real world to physically reach while playing a game.  The idea, for parents, advertisers or consumers, is intriguing.  Can game reality change behavior in the real world and can the game interaction use the real world in a significant way.  If you’ve watched the attitude toward virtual tours and real world interaction in places like “Second Life“, you might wonder how to apply the technology…making the world better in some way.  As a parent and gamer, I think the use of real-world interaction is pure genius.   Sitting behind a screen is a terrible way to teach kids to interact in the real world.  While it builds specific skills, it also has an effect of removing direct social interaction and stunting social skills.  Empathy and practical knowledge can be completely missing.

As a real estate broker, I can see where this might be going in a few years.  Virtual tours or interaction at an entirely new level might be possible.  I’m sure Nintendo has a plan to monetize this beyond gaming, but gaming is a great beta-test for the use of phones and technology to reach this generation.   At 53, I’m enjoying playing with my 13 year old son.  Mixing a little fantasy and real life interaction is far more interesting, when we find ways to interact in the real world and gaming technology is often a kind of beta test for other applications.

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Sold? Article 12 Thoughts

Teams, groups and referrals can all distort the true and accurate impression we have of an agent’s performance in a market.   Does Article 12 prohibit the practice of grouping sales under a single agent’s name?

Standard of Practice 12-7 Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker. (Amended 1/96)

In my view, the purpose of the article is to address how we promote ourselves and set a standard for presenting an accurate picture.  If I choose to add team member’s production to my sales figures, it creates an issue for the public, potentially E&O coverage if advertised numbers are used and competing offices…obviously.

Portraying accurate information and making every effort to do this is important to preserve and enhance our collective reputations.

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Value of Traffic?


Example of Florida’s DOT Traffic Information See:

Does traffic have value?  Specific businesses can thrive on traffic and, based on the contacts I’m seeing the for the listing below, the demand is high.  Listing Sheet 1995 South 8th Street

The kinds of businesses I feel could be a good match for the traffic here include a banking presence with an ATM, cell phone sales, insurance sales, possibly a real estate or advertising location, seafood sales, limo/transportation service, check cashing or perhaps a tourism related business.  The traffic counts are high, if you look at surrounding roads passing this intersection.



Great site on Amelia Island…believe some of the highest traffic counts on the island pass this intersection. Reduced on 6/29/16

corner air 1995

Two road cuts and high traffic are uncommon… 1995 South 8th Street. (lot dimensions are rough only…survey upon request)

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Airports and Comparisons….Economic Impact and Measure Twice

I don’t presume to know more than an architect, when it comes to design or function of space.  I do know a little about decisions and the tendency to agree, even if decisions are poor.  Design can function, be beautiful and offer opportunity in the future.  Design can also fall within cost guidelines or have the potential to be so unique…it becomes more difficult to control.   Lake City’s design is quite attractive.  Using a mix of Florida’s architecture, quite similar to structure we see here on Amelia Island, metal roofing and strategic placement of windows, makes achieving light, function and cost look easy for this city.  During the first iterations of the Fernandina Airport Terminal/Welcome Center design, this “Lake City” design is closer to how I felt the end design would look.

From City Manager Wendell JohnsonLake City Airport Terminal

Source: Lake City Report for the week ending October 15, 2010

Sometimes the view changes.  In my opinion, designing a building as an object may make control of cost difficult and may make future additions or changes to the site much more difficult.   Our original design for Fernandina’s airport, at least the version I remember, considered


New Proposed Conceptual Design for Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport

additions and other businesses expanding into future additions at their expense.  FBO’s aren’t the only tenant for buildings.  Regardless, “measuring twice and cutting once” isn’t a bad idea.   I’d like to see feasibility numbers for the site cost, structure, heating/cooling/operation costs and design efficiency for this “one of a kind” structure, assuming the airplane design remains.

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Fernandina Beach – Resort Rentals

This is, by far, one of the most common questions when showing oceanfront property.  Can it be rented and what are the rates/occupancy?  I regularly refer clients to  or look for a rent roll from the listing agent, if the listing isn’t mine, but there are huge variations in rents and the time homes can legally be rented in different zoning districts.  It is also worth considering whether an existing permit is grandfathered or permitted based on existing zoning.  Interruption of the use for more than 180 days or additions to the building may not be allowed, if you plan to keep the grandfathering in place.

Resort rentals are rentals of private property for less than thirty (30) days. In order to rent your property as a resort rental in the City, you need to obtain a Resort Rental Dwelling Permit (RRDP). Not every property is able to apply for a RRDP. Resort rentals are restricted by zoning. In order to obtain a permit, your property must be zoned R-3, High Density Residential. There is only one exception – properties that obtained and have actively maintained a RRDP (meaning no lapse greater than 180 days) before the zoning restriction went into effect. These properties are grandfathered into the RRDP program.

Source: Fernandina Beach, FL – Official Website – Resort Rentals

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Sabbia…Great Addition to Fernandina

IMG_9555I just wanted to post something brief about the amazing lunch at Sabbia today.   The food was wonderful!   Every single item was more than I expected.  Prices were reasonable and the wait was brief.  Music was pleasant and the owners were personable.   We tried the gyro, slices of pizza and spanakopita.   

I highly recommend this as an absolute “MUST TRY” for lunch in downtown Fernandina.  Beyond the first impressions, I’m pleased to see a restaurant with original fare.  The menu is different, but, at the same time, familiar enough everyone should see something they like.  


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Ranking Sites….Lot Selection for Homes

Today, the conversation turned to lot selection and I realized I have definite opinions, when it comes to a building site.  Some things are very difficult to live with after building and some simply make the site less desirable.  Everything you see below is only my personal preference. 

a desirable person, thing, or quality. synonyms: attractive, sought-after, in demand, popular, desired, covetable, coveted, enviable; appealing, agreeable, pleasant; valuable, good, excellent; informalto die for "a desirable location"

Source: synonyms for desirable – Google Search

example lots and subI pulled a small portion of a plat and added a "potential wetland" overlay to get a feel for drainage or possible site improvements needed.  Ranking lots by frontage, location, dimensions I felt would work, direction and location related to wind or cars driving toward the front of your home, I ranked each lot from 1-5.  The ranking is only based on lot shape, direction and wetland.  Any of the lots might look better or worse with a physical visit. 

The cul-de-sac lot you might expect to be better, isn’t always the best choice.  Notice the property at the end of the road.  Triangular shaped lots with narrow entries aren’t always easy to work with, but add to that two additional neighbors and driveways very close to your narrow entry.  Then add cars driving toward 8 or more homes with headlights facing your front window at night.  In this configuration, the end lot is a little shallower than the rest of the properties.  The other "5" on my list is the third on the right.  another triangle, this will be a difficult shape, backs up to wetland and has a very narrow back yard.  There are always possible offsets, but the shape looked difficult.  

Low rankings would accompany cost to fill or potentially costly areas with a potential for drainage or wetland areas, narrow entries and I dislike all lots with a long road facing directly toward the front of the home.   I prefer east/west orientations and like frontages with enough room to build with a side entry garage.  I don’t like the lowest lot or a lot with trees in the wrong spots, requiring removal or re-planting.

When I look with a potential client, I would start with an aerial, locating all surrounding structures.  Then, I look at flood zones and topography for the lot.  Shape of the lot, direction, shade, trees and buildable area are all important.  Are there minimum size restrictions, covenants, quality or architectural reviews required?  Does the lot need backfill or fill?  What elevation is required?  Is water and sewer available and at what cost?   Will the septic system be elevated?  How about wells?  If you’re using a well, now deep will it be, how much will it cost, are any nearby wells lines?

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