Monday, April 27, 2009


The following groups are available to help at-risk homeowners:
• HUD at (800) 569-4287, (877) 483-1515, or
• HOPE NOW, a cooperative effort of HUD mortgage counselors and lenders to assist homeowners: (888) 995-HOPE or
• NeighborWorks America:
• Federal mortgage modification and refinancing programs:
• The Controller of the Currency's consumer information site for banking-related questions:
• OCC Customer Assistance Group:
• Federal Trade Commission:
• Federal Reserve Board:

If after exhausting the above resources you find out that you do not qualify for any of the programs or if are overwhelmed, give us a call. We are here to help and we look forward to assisting you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dispute your assessed value?

With the steep slide in property values many homeowners are trying to fight their assessed values with the Value Adjustments Board (VAB). 

Market values have come down, and many homeowners feel their properties shouldn’t be assessed at the levels they’re seeing. But a key point to remember is that property assessments aren’t based on today’s values; they look backward. That means tax bills for 2008 reflected property values in 2007. But 2009 assessments will be based on property values between Jan. 2, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2009.

Property owners sometimes save thousands of dollars by appealing to the Value Adjustments Board. There are quite a few cases that warrant adjustments, so it may be worth the effort.  One caveat about winning a VAB appeal: Property appraisers, relying on computer-assisted mass assessments, often jack up an assessed value again the next year after someone wins an appeal.

To find your local county office, click here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Home Sales Rise: It is not all doom and gloom!

Florida’s existing home sales increased in March, making it the seventh month in a row that sales activity demonstrated gains in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). March’s statewide sales also increased over the previous month’s sales level in both the existing home and existing condo markets.

Existing home sales rose 30 percent last month with a total of 13,085 homes sold statewide compared to 10,080 homes sold in March 2008, according to FAR. Statewide existing home sales in March were 32.7 percent higher than February’s statewide sales.  Statewide existing condo sales last month increased 37.2 percent over the total units sold in February.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $141,300; a year ago, it was $201,700 for a 30 percent decrease. Industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) report there is a significant downward distortion in the current median price due to many discounted sales, including a large number of foreclosures.  The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $108,700; in March 2008 it was $172,300 for a 37 percent decrease.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5 percent last month, down significantly from the average rate of 5.97 percent in March 2008, according to Freddie Mac.

Be sure to search all available homes and take advantage of the amount of inventory, prices, and interest rates. There is never a better time to buy!

(Above information courtesy of: 2009 © FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

1. Your payment history.
Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.

2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer's oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and only one in 20 consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.
For more tips on buying visit our website.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Foreclosures in Central Florida

1 out of every 73 homes are in Foreclosure, which is an increase of 12% from February.

CALL today for your free list of bank owned properties in the area. They are going quickly!

With prices ranging from $25,000 for a condominium to single family home as low as $90,000, these prices are too good to pass up (Prices will vary based on location).

Combined with historically low interest rates, don’t wait as it may be too late!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Financing for Condominiums – FANNIE MAE GUIDELINES

Financing for condominiums has just gotten tighter. Jan 15th Fannie Mae’s tighter restrictions went into effect for condominium loans The restrictions attempt to make new condominium loans safer for investments.
Since Florida has been considered high risk, Fannie Mae will be conducting project eligibility for Florida’s new and newly converted condominium projects.
Here is a brief overview of some of the changes:
* For new and newly converted condominium projects, at least 70% of the TOTAL UNITS in the projected must be conveyed or under a bona fide contract for purchase as a principal residence or second home (which is up from 51%).
* For new and established condo projects, no more than 15% of the total units can be 30 days or more past due on the payment of their condo association fees.  Instances of delinquencies in payment of HOA dues are not unique to established projects. In the current market conditions, association dues delinquencies are occurring in some projects long before they have met all requirements to be considered “established.”
* The homeowners association must have at least 10% of its budgeted income designated for replacement reserves and adequate funds budgeted for the insurance deductible.
* Borrowers must now obtain a condo-owners insurance policy unless the master policy provides interior unit coverage; coverage may not be less than 20% of the assessed value. A condo-owners policy, known as an HO-6 policy, covers personal property, personal liability, and the physical unit from the studs and in.
* No more than 10% of a project can be owned by a single entity.
* In addition, Fannie Mae also announced that effective April 1, 2009 it will add a fee of 0.75% of the TOTAL LOAN AMOUNT on certain mortgages secured by a condo. This fee, paid by the BORROWER would apply unless the borrower is able to come up with at least 25% of the purchase price.
If you are interested in purchasing a condominium, please be sure you are speaking with a licensed mortgage broker or bank before purchasing so you understand what is involved in the financing of a property. If you would like some contact information for a local lender in our area, please contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just a few steps to help sell your home…

1. Look at your home through the buyers eyes.
2. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. Are similar homes priced lower? Selling prices may have dropped since your first comparative market analysis. You want to stay ahead of the competition. If you do lower your asking price, consider a figure slightly below those of other comparable homes if you are interested in a speedy sale.
3. Don’t be present for the showings. The presence of sellers can make it difficult for prospective buyers to take their time or talk openly with their partner and agent.
4. Ask your Realtor to talk to other buyer agents that have shown your home. The feedback from their clients can guide you in making home repairs, toning down your d├ęcor, making landscaping improvements and the like.
5. Neutralize your color scheme. Most buyers prefer pale, neutral colors that make it easier to imagine a new home as their own.
6. Take every offer seriously! Determine the lowest price you find acceptable, and consider anything more as icing on the cake. In a longstanding dry market you may even have to sell at a loss. You don't want to alienate a potential buyer who has solid financing because you've set your sights unrealistically high.
If you are thinking of selling, we would me more than happy to provide you a market analysis of what the properties are selling for. There are some great websites out there, but we can give you up to the date information on which properties are selling and for how much.
We look forward to assisting you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Celebration – Stats as of April 2, 2009

Celebration offers a combination of condominiums, townhomes and single family homes.  Here is a brief snapshot of the current state of the market here in Celebration.

As of April 2nd there are currently 390 (a reduction of ACTIVE inventory of 7% over the previous month) properties listed in our MLS system ranging in price from a one bedroom/one bathroom condominium in Siena at $94,000 (a short sale) to $3.45 Million for an estate home that is over 6400 square feet.
ACTIVE = 390:  51 are pre-foreclosure/short sales (making up 13% of the inventory) and  17 are bank-owned (making up 4.36% of the inventory)
PENDING = 63 TOTAL:  36 of the 63 that are pending are either bank owned or short sales, making up 57% of the pending inventory.
SOLDS (March 3 to April 2nd) = 18  in the last 30 days (7 were condominiums/Townhomes and 11 = Single Family Homes) 8 Bank owned/2 Short sale/8 Seller owned

I will continue this on a monthly basis in the hopes it will provide you in a brief snapshot of the market in Celebration. I hope you find it useful!

If you would like a specific Market Analysis for your home, please contact us directly.

We look forward to serving you.