Thursday, May 28, 2009

Real estate pros push for better short sales

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – May 11, 2009 – As anybody who has dealt with one knows, short sales should be renamed “long sales.” But that could be changing.
One of the real estate professionals leading the charge to revamp the short-sale process is George K. Wonica, owner of Wonica Real Estate & Appraisals on Long Island, N.Y., and chair of the National Association of Realtors® Conventional Finance and Lending Committee.
Wonica already has met with 10 mortgage bankers and servicers in Florida to address the problem, and plans a similar meeting this summer in Las Vegas. He points to the uniform short-sale form developed by the California Association of Realtors as an example of what the industry needs.
Short sales appear to be good for both banks and buyers. A study by Connecticut-based Clayton Holdings Inc. showed lenders from May to October 2008 lost an average 37 percent through short sales versus 56 percent on homes sold after foreclosure.
Lenders recognize this and are trying to speed up the process. David Knight, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, says, “We think (a) short sale is superior to foreclosure … A short sale is not a bad deal all around.”
Additional liens are often the big holdup, but there could be progress on that front. In April, Bank of America, a major holder of second liens, announced that it would accept 5 percent of sale proceeds after real estate commissions and other costs on short sales. Previously, it had sought 10 percent.
Source: Inman News, Gilbert Mohtes-Chan (05/07/2009)
We have some helpful links on our website for sellers. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nine Great Reasons to Buy

1. Quality of life – a home provides stability and security for you and
your loved ones.
2. Pride of home ownership – it’s your personal haven.
3. Historically low interest rates – around 6.5 percent in the United
4. Appreciation potential – your home investment can grow in value.
5. Equity buildup and debt pay down – homeowners enjoy an
average net worth of approximately $184,000 versus $4,000 for
6. Leverage – where else can you buy an investment of this magnitude
with 5–10 percent down?
7. Tax deduction advantages – property tax and mortgage interest
write-offs (in Canada, homeowners gain a tax benefit upon selling).
8. Tax exemption – up to $500,000 per couple or $250,000 per person
upon the sale of a primary residence in the United States (no tax
upon sale in Canada).
9. The real cost of renting – at $800 per month, with the average
6 percent rental increase per year, you will pay $126,536 over a 10-
year period but have zero ownership of the property.

For more information on how to start your path to homeownership, please call us for a no obligation consultation.
We look forward to helping you realize your dreams!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why you need a Realtor

A licensed real estate professional provides much more than the service of helping you find your ideal home. Realtors® are expert negotiators with other agents, seasoned financial advisors with customers, and superb navigators around the local neighborhood. They are members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and must abide by a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice enforced by the NAR. A professional Realtor is your best resource when buying your home.
• A knowledgeable Realtor can save you endless amounts of time, money, and frustration.
• A knowledgeable Realtor knows the housing market inside and out and can help you avoid the “wild goose chase.”
• A knowledgeable Realtor can help you with any home, even if it is listed elsewhere or if it is being sold directly by the owner.
• A knowledgeable Realtor knows the best lenders in the area and can help you understand the importance of being preapproved for a mortgage. He or she can also discuss down payments, closing costs, and monthly payment options that suit you.
• A knowledgeable Realtor is an excellent source for both general and specific information about the community such as schools, churches, shopping, and transportation—plus tips on home inspections and pricing.
• A knowledgeable Realtor is experienced at presenting your offer to the seller and can help you through the process of negotiating the best price. By bring objectivity to the buying transaction, he or she can point out the advantages and the disadvantages of a particular property.
And the best thing about your Realtor is that all this help normally won’t cost you a cent. Generally speaking, the seller pays the commission to the Realtor (but this may vary from province to province and state to state).

For more information about us or how we can assist you please contact us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

April foreclosures rise 32 percent

According to RealtyTrac the number of U.S. households faced with losing their homes to foreclosure jumped 32 percent in April compared with the same month last year, with Nevada, Florida and California showing the highest rates. More than 342,000 households received at least one foreclosure-related notice in April, RealtyTrac Inc. said. That means one in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing last month.

While total foreclosure activity was up, the number of repossessions by banks was down on a monthly and annual basis to their lowest level since March of last year, RealtyTrac said.  After banks take over foreclosed homes, they usually put them up for sale at deep discounts. Nationwide, sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about half of the market in the first quarter, the National Association of Realtors reported.

On a state-by-state basis in Florida, one in every 135 households received a filing in April.

Help might be on the way. The Obama administration announced a plan in March to provide $75 billion in incentive payments for the mortgage industry to modify loans to help up to 9 million borrowers avoid foreclosure. But the extent of the relief remains unclear, with questions lingering about how much the lending industry will cooperate in modifying loans.
Note: Stats courtesy of NAR and RealtyTrac

If you have questions about what is happening in your area, please contact us.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors

Before you make your final buying or selling decision, you should have the home inspected by a professional. An inspection can alert you to potential problems with a property and allow you to make an informed decision. Ask these questions to prospective home inspectors:

1. Will your inspection meet recognized standards? Ask whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements and comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as the one adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Customers can view each group’s standards of practice and code of ethics online at or ASHI’s Web site also provides a database of state regulations.
2. Do you belong to a professional home inspector association? There are many state and national associations for home inspectors, including the two groups mentioned in No. 1. Unfortunately, some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee. Insist on members of reputable, nonprofit trade organizations; request to see a membership ID.
3. How experienced are you? Ask how long inspectors have been in the profession and how many inspections they’ve completed. They should provide customer referrals on request. New inspectors also may be highly qualified, but they should describe their training and let you know whether they plan to work with a more experienced partner.
4. How do you keep your expertise up to date? Inspectors’ commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important in cases in which a home is older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.
5. Do you focus on residential inspection? Make sure the inspector has training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection, which is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site. If your customers are buying a unique property, such as a historic home, they may want to ask whether the inspector has experience with that type of property in particular.
6. Will you offer to do repairs or improvements? Some state laws and trade associations allow the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. However, other states and associations forbid it as a conflict of interest. Contact your local ASHI chapter to learn about the rules in your state.
7. How long will the inspection take? On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours; anything significantly less may not be thorough. If your customers are purchasing an especially large property, they may want to ask whether additional inspectors will be brought in.
8. What’s the cost? Costs can vary dramatically, depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. The national average for single-family homes is about $320, but customers with large homes can expect to pay more. Customers should be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
9. What type of inspection report do you provide? Ask to see samples to determine whether you will understand the inspector's reporting style. Also, most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
10. Will I be able to attend the inspection? The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer. An inspector's refusal to let the buyer attend should raise a red flag.
Source: Rob Paterkiewicz, executive director, American Society of Home Inspectors, Des Plaines, Ill.,

For more great tips on buying visit our website. We look forward to assisting you with all your real estate needs

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lower taxes on non-homesteaded properties

According to FAR, the Senate just approved SB 532 on a 26-11 vote and sent the bill to the House for final approval.

This is a big win for owners of businesses, second homes and non-homestead properties.
•    This bill creates a constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November 2010. It would need the approval of 60 percent of voters. The tax breaks would apply beginning in 2011.
•    It seeks to limit increases for non-school property tax assessments on ALL non-homestead property to 5 percent annually.

Get more real estate news on our website.

Friday, May 8, 2009

BUY NOW – Especially if you are a first time homebuyer!

There is no better opportunity than now to take advantage of:

1. LOW interest rates. The average 30 year fixed for today is 4.84%. The 15 year Average is at 4.51%
2. The number of homes on the market; including number of bank owned properties
3. At the LOWEST prices
4. With the topping of: $8000 tax credit for First Time Homebuyers!!


Call us today for a complete market analysis and the step by step instructions on how you can own a new home!! We would be honored with the opportunity to assist you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Celebration Stats as of May 2nd

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 May 2nd there are currently 394 (an increase of 4 properties over the previous month) properties listed in our MLS system ranging in price from a one bedroom/one bathroom condominium in Georgetown at $89,900 (Bank-Owned) to $3.45 Million for an estate home that is over 6400 square feet.
ACTIVE = 394:  55 are pre-foreclosure/short sales (making up 14% of the inventory) and  15 are bank-owned (making up 4% of the inventory)
PENDING = 79 TOTAL (an increase of 25% over the previous month):  56 of the 79 that are pending are either bank owned or short sales, making up 71% of the pending inventory.
SOLDS (April 3 to May 2nd) = 24 of which 16 were condominiums/Townhomes and 8 = Single Family Homes) 4 Bank owned/7 Short sale/11 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.

Friday, May 1, 2009

101 Eola in Downtown Orlando is FHA Approved

This week, 101 Eola Condominium announced they have received FHA approval.  This is the first new condo development in downtown Orlando to be on the FHA approved project list.

Obtaining financing has been difficult with the recent developments in the financial market.  The good news is things are improving and developments are working towards getting Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac approval with the recent changes to the guidelines.  Most of the product offered at 101Eola falls within the lending limits of FHA so buyers will have several floor plans to choose from. 

FHA Loans Can Help Put Your Goals Within Reach:

Accommodating - Flexible credit and income-qualifying guidelines

Flexible - Down payments as low as 3.5% and no mortgage payments held in reserve

Options  - Gift funds accepted for down payment

The developer has satisfied their loan obligations which means they have no liens, or pending mortgages in the building due to a equity capitalization by the master developer.  The only building to have done that in town.   What does that mean?  That means that the developer has the decision making ability to determine the sales price and in a much stronger position to negotiate the deal as the bank debt has been satisfied. 

To check out 101 Eola and other Downtown developments, please be sure to visit the new construction section of our website.