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State senator tries to give homebuyers an advantage over investors

1:58 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida's continuing glut of foreclosed homes has created a lot of real estate bargains, but homebuyers are discovering they can't take advantage because of fierce competition from investors paying cash.

Now a state senator wants to give the advantage to people who plan to live in the home, rather than rent it.

Sen. Darren Soto has filed legislation that would require sellers to sell to buyers who will live in the house.

The only requirement is that the buyer's offer either matches or exceeds an all-cash offer.

Soto says too many lenders are accepting cash offers over mortgage financing because mortgages take more time to put together. Banks believe it's often easier and faster to get rid of foreclosed homes with cash offers.

Soto says his bill, called the "Florida Homestead Recovery Act," is needed to help prevent Florida from becoming a renter state.

"What we're seeing is families increasingly being locked out of the American dream because institutional investors like hedge funds are snapping up homes in cash-only deals," Soto said in a statement. "If something isn't done, we're going to see Florida become a renter state, and families at the mercy of Wall Street landlords."

Under the proposed legislation, the law would not apply if the cash offer was higher.

If the bill passes next spring, the law would take effect in June 2014 and expire three years later.

Dave Heller

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