Thursday, May 25, 2017


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Compare the top down payment assistance programs and first time home buyer programs available in Florida. We offer this information free to you as a service to our local community. These Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance programs can only be provided by Lenders who have been approved by the appropriate Institutional Investors. If you would like to learn more or if you would like to be pre-approved for any of these programs, please feel free to contact us.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Fla. has 4 of top 5 ‘hottest’ single-family markets

IRVINE, Calif. – Jan. 10, 2017 – Among the 50 largest U.S. markets, the top five (in order) were Orlando, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Dallas, according to Ten-X, an online marketplace. Each metro area had "a vigorous combination of consistently strong demand, home price appreciation, and economic and demographic growth."
While Florida metros again dominated the rankings, Ten-X said there was movement within the top five slots: Orlando jumped from fourth to first to overtake Fort Lauderdale; Fort Lauderdale dropped to third; Palm Beach County remained unchanged in second; and Tampa slipped from third place to fourth.
"While most of the cities at the top of the list share common traits like job growth, population growth and economic expansion, many of the cities showing the greatest potential were among those hardest hit during the Great Recession," says Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. "The top 20 cities in our report include many that were devastated during the foreclosure crisis – especially in states like Florida – and as home prices continue to recover, they still represent buying opportunities for homeowners and investors alike."
Healthy economic and demographic trends are fueling demand throughout much of the Sunshine State, keeping sales elevated and enabling significant price growth. Dallas, for its part, is benefiting from a more diversified economy than most other Texas metros, allowing it to withstand pressures from low oil prices. Las Vegas, still a leader in terms of housing demand, sales and job growth, now ranks ninth.
"The recovery – and future outlook – continue to be very regional. Like Florida, the Southwest, Coastal California and Pacific Northwest are all showing great promise, while the Midwest and Northeast are still struggling," Sharga says.
Top five markets at a glance
Market – home price growth year over year – home sales growth year over year
  • Orlando – 11.2% – 0.2%
  • Palm Beach County – 12.1% – -0.6%
  • Fort Lauderdale – 8.8% – -0.9%
  • Tampa – 10.7% – -0.4%
  • Dallas – 9.9% – -0.3%
Ten-X analysis of the top five markets
The Orlando housing market continues to make substantial strides in its recovery. Metro employment is up 4.1 percent year-over-year, supported in large part by its booming leisure/hospitality sector that comprises over 21 percent of local employment. Payrolls are at an all-time high, some 27 percent above their prior peak. Home prices jumped 4.4 percent this past quarter, eclipsing $200,000 for the first time since 2008. Up 11.2 percent year-over-year, home prices have outpaced US annual growth for 20 straight quarters, with room for additional growth as prices remain 17.3 percent below their prior peak. Population growth has exceeded two percent for four consecutive years, and Orlando's economic outlook is among the best in the nation.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach is seeing healthy progress in its housing recovery, though economic growth has markedly decelerated in 2016. Year-over-year employment growth is at 1.5 percent, the lowest annual rate since 2011 and down from the three to five percent growth the metro has enjoyed for most of the recovery. Home sales are at a high level, however, some 24 percent below their bubble peak, indicating plenty of room for further growth. Seasonally adjusted prices are approaching $270,000 and are at their highest level since 2007, though they remain 11.6 percent below their prior peak. This suggests room for further growth. Single-family homes in the metro offer great affordability and are cheaper than local apartment rentals, which should preserve demand for buying and allow for additional price gains. With permit activity still hovering at a low level, overbuilding is far from a concern and Palm Beach's housing market remains solid.
Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale's housing market continues to thrive in its lengthy recovery from the housing bust. With metro employment up 3.4 percent year-over-year, the local manufacturing and transportation/utilities sectors sustained vigorous growth throughout 2016. Leisure/hospitality jobs, a mainstay of the local economy, continue to reach new heights. Home sales are still some 26 percent below their pre-bust peak, largely seeing choppy progress despite contracting this past quarter, and home prices have risen 8.8 percent over the past year to a cyclical high of nearly $245,000. Though annual home price growth has outpaced the US since 2011, prices remain 16.2 percent below their prior peak, leaving additional room for gains. Fort Lauderdale's population growth doubled that of the U.S. at 1.4 percent in 2015, and continued growth should support the housing market's ongoing recovery.
Tampa's housing market is marching ahead on its road to recovery, thanks to an economy that continues to enjoy strong job growth and strengthening demographics. Despite cooling over the past few months, total employment stands 2.6 percent higher than its year-ago level, with job gains in 32 of the past 34 months. Tampa's largest sector, professional/business services, has seen its explosive growth slow in the past year, though payrolls are up 4.6 percent year-over-year. Home prices reached a cyclical high of almost $180,000 and are up 10.7 percent year-over-year, continuing the torrid pace that has outstripped US annual growth since late 2011. Meanwhile, prices are very affordable in the metro at 12.3 percent below their prior peak, suggesting further room for gains. Accelerating population growth combined with a robust economy should fuel Tampa's housing market going forward.
Dallas continues to see vigorous growth, notwithstanding the drop in oil prices that are threatening some other Texas metros. Driven largely by the professional/business services sector, payrolls are up 3.8 percent from last year and the city has added jobs in 44 of the last 45 months. Recent job losses in the manufacturing sector have been slight compared to the rest of the state, keeping unemployment at a low 3.6 percent. Single-family prices are up 9.9 percent from a year ago, reaching an all-time high of more than $215,000. Though prices have risen for 19 consecutive quarters and are well above their prior peak, single-family homes remain affordable in the metro, indicating that further price gains are sustainable. Dallas' population growth in 2015 was almost triple the U.S. average, which bodes well for the future.
© 2017 Florida Realtors

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


In this award-winning video*, consumers learn about the potential safety protocols they may encounter when working with a REALTOR®. It’s a great resource to share with clients to educate them about the importance of REALTOR® safety. 

*Winner of Best Associations Online Video by the Web Marketing Association’s 2016 Internet Advertising Competition Awards. Winner of a Bronze Stevie at the 2016 American Business Awards.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FAA forecast: 600,000 Commercial Drones Within the Year

READ Article at Florida Realtors
READ Original at AP

FAA forecast: 600K commercial drones within the year

WASHINGTON (AP) – Aug. 30, 2016 – There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that opened the skies to them on Monday, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimate.
The rules governing the operation of small commercial drones were designed to protect safety without stifling innovation, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a news conference.
Commercial operators initially complained that the new rules would be too rigid. The agency responded by creating a system to grant exemptions to some of the rules for companies that show they can operate safely, Huerta said.
On the first day the rules were in effect the FAA had already granted 76 exemptions, most of them to companies that want to fly drones at night, Huerta said.
"With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world's busiest, most complex airspace," he said.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said people are "captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer." The few thousand commercial drones that had been granted waivers to operate before Monday have been used to monitor crops, inspect bridges and transmission lines, assist firefighters, film movies, and create real estate and wedding videos, among dozens of other uses.
In general, the new rules apply to drones weighing 55 pounds or less, and require commercial operators to:
  • Keep the drone within sight at all times.
  • Keep drones from flying over people not involved in their operation.
  • Limit drone operations to the hours from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
  • Limit speed to no more than 100 mph.
  • Fly no higher than 400 feet.
Drone operators must also pass a test of their aeronautical knowledge administered by the FAA. More than 3,000 people had registered with the FAA to take the test as of Monday.
The Air Line Pilots Association complained that the new regulations are "missing a key component" because there's no requirement that drone operators first have an FAA pilot license to fly a plane. The FAA considered requiring drone operators to have manned aircraft pilot licenses, but relented when the drone industry complained that the time and expense involved in obtaining a license, including considerable time practicing flying a plane, would be prohibitive.
AP Logo Copyright 2016 The Associated Press, Joan Lowy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Realtors have reason to celebrate today as legislation easing restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums is finally signed into law," says NAR President

FHA condo relief

WASHINGTON – Aug. 2, 2016 – President Obama has signed H.R. 3700 – the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act" – into law.
The move paves the way for more condo sales, especially in Florida. First-time buyers will soon find it easier to qualify for a mortgage in more condo developments, and, as a result, more current condo owners will find it easier to move up to a single-family home.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) hailed the development as a "significant step" in eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos.
The bill previously passed both the U.S. House and Senate with a unanimous vote. It passed the House in February and the Senate two weeks ago. NAR, an advocate of the bill, testified before Congress and lobbied for passage.
Passage was also the topic of NAR's recent Call for Action, where it asked Realtors nationwide to write to their lawmakers an encourage passage. Overall, nearly 140,000 Realtors across the country voiced their support for the legislation during the NAR Call for Action.
"Realtors have reason to celebrate today as legislation easing restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums is finally signed into law," says NAR President Tom Salomone, president of NAR and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. "This is a long-awaited victory for NAR and for homebuyers for whom condos are an important and affordable option."
The bill will make the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) recertification process "substantially less burdensome" and will lower FHA's owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace an existing policy on transfer fees with a less-restrictive model that has already been in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
This legislation offers relief to well-qualified potential homebuyers who have been facing tight housing inventories, rising home prices and strict mortgage credit underwriting guidelines, Salomone says.
"Condominiums often represent an affordable option that's just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers," Salomone said in a statement after the Senate approved the bill in July. "Overly burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers. This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans."
Source: Realtor Magazine
© 2016 Florida Realtors®
CLICK HERE for Florida Realtor's original article

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Realtor safety: Prepare for worst-case scenarios

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – July 27, 2016 – 
Realtors face a unique set of safety challenges during the course of a normal business day, from open houses or meeting clients to home showings. While many agents now take precautions – everything from phone apps to pepper spray and even weapons – the surprise nature of an assault can make many of those precautions difficult to use. On occasion, a problem can even occur in a location generally considered safe, especially when an attack is random. That happened recently in Jacksonville Beach when a Realtor was attacked by an assailant while working in her broker's office – the kind of attack that can happen to anyone in any occupation. For Realtors, safety is an ongoing issue. 

Consider the following:  
  • Hosting open houses When hosting open houses, encourage neighbors and lookie-loos to hang around. Lock personal valuables in your car, and make a mental note of all possible exits from the home. Perhaps the best option: Never host an open house alone.  
  • Showing properties Leave an itinerary and timetable in your broker's office before going out to show a property. Take a cell phone and don't wear expensive jewelry or carry an expensive pocketbook or wallet that make you a robbery target. If showing vacant property after dark, take along a spouse, friend or associate.  
  • Meeting customers The first meeting with a potential client should happen in the broker's office rather than at a listing or even semi-public location. Ask to see a driver's license, write down their car's license tag and note the address of the property you're visiting. If something happens, the broker then has all the data. 
    • 1. Never have a first meeting with a customer at a property. Always meet customers in the office, where you can introduce them to the broker, manager or other colleagues. If you must, meet them at a public place to introduce yourself and conduct a buyer interview. 
    • 2. Leave an itinerary with the office. Let someone know what houses you will be viewing –and be sure the customer knows there is a schedule you'll be following. 
    • 3. Carry a cell phone. Stay in contact with someone while you're out in the field. 
    • 4. Don't wear flashy jewelry or carry several credit cards. Carry only a small amount of cash or one credit card, and have a key ring with just your car key and lockbox key on it. 
    • 5. Use your own car. Be in control of the presentation and be the guide. If a customer wants to drive, have him or her follow you. And don't park where you can be blocked in. 
    • 6. Always enter through the front door. If you have to use a side door, have the customers wait at the front door and let them in that way. 
    • 7. Inside the house, stay between the customer and an exit. Don't ever walk into a room first. It's safer and a better experience for the customer. 
    • 8. Create a code word or phrase to let your colleagues know that you're in need of help. Then, if you feel threatened, you could call your office and say, "Could you please call Mr. CODEWORD to cancel my appointment?" 
    • 9. Carry pepper spray if it's legal. This may be used for defense from animals, snakes or any predators and give you time to get to safety. 
© 2016 Florida Realtors® 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Making Home Affordable - Programs Made To Help You Solve Your Mortgage Problems


*** Click On The Blue Title To Visit Each Program ***
Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) 
HAMP® is designed to lower your monthly mortgage payments, making them more affordable and sustainable for the long-term.
If you're current on your mortgage, but have had difficulty refinancing, HARP could provide a solution. Even if you owe more than your home is worth, if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you could save with HARP.
HAFA® provides homeowners the opportunity to exit their homes and be relieved of their remaining mortgage debt through a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL).  It also provides homeowners with $10,000 in relocation assistance.
UPSM reduces or suspends your monthly mortgage payment, giving you some much needed breathing room while you search for your next job. 
Federal Housing Administration Short Refinance for Borrowers with Negative Equity (FHA Short Refinance) 
If you're up-to-date on your mortgage payments, but owe more than your home is worth, a FHA
HHFSM programs in 18 states and the District of Columbia were designed to provide assistance to struggling homeowners through modification, mortgage payment assistance, and transition assistance programs.


MORE American's Are Struggling To Pay Rent -The number of renters dedicating at least half of their income toward housing hit a record high of 11 million people in 2014 ***CLICK to READ Article***
Home ownership is becoming more affordable
While renters are paying more, affordability is improving for those who own their homes. The number of cost-burdened homeowners declined in 2014 for the fourth consecutive year, according to the report, thanks to low mortgage rates.

The good news is if you are a property owner and wanted to turn it into an income producing rental... NOW is the time!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rent vs. Buy? This Index Says Definitely ‘Buy’


A nationwide buy versus rent index is moving deeper into the “buy” territory, indicating that housing markets across the country are strong. This study by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University also shows that home prices rose 5.4 percent in the first quarter.
The index looked at the relationship between buying a property and building wealth through a buildup of equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds, and concluded that “In terms of wealth creation, the U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of home ownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds."
“This appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds,” says Ken Johnson, a real estate economist and one of the index’s authors. 
The index also revealed that 16 of the 23 metro markets examined moved in the “buy” territory direction.
The metro areas remaining solidly in the “buy” territory include Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.
“These cities should have room for price growth without much worry of overheating,” says Eli Beracha, co-author of the index and assistant professor in the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU. “This is especially true for Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit.”
On the other hand, index authors say cities like Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle are near an “indifference point” between buying versus renting.  In nearly all of these metro markets, the index score for the quarter moved in the direction of ownership.
“This movement suggests that most consumers in these markets appear to have learned from the real estate crash and now understand that residential property prices can get too high,” Beracha says. “This is a good sign for future housing price stability in these markets.”
Houston, meanwhile, is deep in the “rent” territory. Also, two other housing markets – Dallas and Denver – moved deeper into the “rent” territory, but at a slower rate than previous quarters, the authors note.
“Strong economic support within these two markets should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property,” Johnson says.