Friday, October 03, 2008

How does this financial crisis affect the Tampa Real Estate Market

With all the gloom and doom we hear on TV it is really hard to figure out what the truth is and what is really happening in the world of Real Estate and Mortgage Lending today. I asked my trusted advisors from the Mortgage Industry and this is what they had to say:

  • With all the confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace regarding the health of our credit markets, lenders are open for business and have money to lend. I am sure you have heard about Washington Mutual failing and Wachovia being over by Citigroup. Please understand that these banks along with Countrywide (who had their money problems last September) were the ones who were big players in the “pick-a-pay” option-arm loans that had negative amortization. These were high-risk loans that borrowers could get without providing much, if any, documentation (also known as subprime). These higher risk loans are dragging these banks under.
  • There are many banks out there who were more conservative in their lending practices that are still here and ready to lend money. Also, now that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have settled down, they are performing as they were originally chartered to do, by providing money for banks to lend to consumers. We should expect a little more tightening in guidelines going forward as all of this plays out, but if you have a job, can prove your income, have some money for a down payment (as little as 3%), and fair credit, you can still get a loan.

So what does this mean for you and your neighbors.........pricing has dropped significantly and this is a great time to buy!! Interest rates, believe it or not, are still great. If you do not have a conventional fixed rate mortgage this may just be the time to refinance. If you are thinking of purchasing an investment property or second home, this is a great time to do so. First time homebuyers, college age kids needing a temporary home, want that beach front condo that used to be too expensive to save for is the time to really consider making these purchases. There are great deals to be had. Remember we never know when the bottom has really been hit until we are on the other side going back up!

Seize the Day!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Short Sales really can be a Win-Win-Win-Win

Well I had a good week! I got to help a really nice Tarpon Springs client get out of a bad situation that was getting worse by helping her to avoid foreclosure and getting her lender to accept a Short Sale! Oh yeah, and guess what else I got to do? I was able to help another really great couple who have been wanting to return to their hometown area from Texas buy this same home at a really great price! And...... I was able to help the lender in this case save a lot of extra money that it would have cost them to to pay attorneys to actually foreclose this property. And yes I did get paid on this deal too so that makes it a Win-Win-Win-Win situation! Does it get any better than that! And that is really what it is all about in this business! Helping others to Make their Move!

I have to throw out some serious Kudos to my favorite Title Agents at Star Title Partners in Palm Harbor, Florida because this would have been much harder to do without Mimi and Jennifer in my corner! We were all doing the happy dance when we knew this was all going to come together!

We of course can be relieved that all our hard work came to fruition with a success story but the best part is that now my client can move on with her life and her largest burdens have been lifted so she can focus on getting back on her feet again and move on.

No............ Short Sales are not for everyone, but for those that do qualify please know there is light at the end of the tunnel when you have an amazing team of people working for you that are experienced professionals. We can help you through this and help lift your burdens! It may take a little while and be a little tedious at times but as you can see there can be smiles all around in the end.

Thanks again to all of you who played a great role in this successful short sale story!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Realtors - What a concept!

Today as I was going through a very informative e-mail from the National Association of Realtors that reminded me that it was that time again to take a refresher Ethics training class. This requirement comes every few years so it had been a while since I last read NAR's code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Although I could go on forever on this topic I will keep it shorter and just focus on the Preamble. It is similar in purpose to the Preamble of the Constitution (I can talk about that because I have a daughter just finishing 6th grade and we studied that together this year!) which is a "brief introductory statement of the fundamental purposes and guiding principles which the US Constitution was meant to serve".

Here is an excerpt:
"Under all is the land. (I love that!)......They (Realtors) require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.........Realtors therefore are zealous to maintain and improve standards of their calling and share with their fellow Realtors a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.........Realtors continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and , as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others........The term Realtor has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations."

The Realtors Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 with only limited changes over the years and I have to say it makes me proud to say, "Yes, I am a Realtor" and no matter what the newspapers print about us nothing is going to change that! I stand by my code and I challenge all you other real estate practioners to stand firm, take your ethics training, reread the Code of Ethics, and BE the REALTOR you have pledged to be. We are to be in cooperation with one another, stay informed and be competent, deal honestly with all parties ALL the time, and ABOVE ALL protect and promote the interests of our clients!

Well I do not know about you but I have been rejuvenated today after my class, Thank you NAR for reminding me why I do what I do and why I love what I do. Couldn't we all just change the world a little bit today by doing what we learned in Kindergarten and following the Golden Rule!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Service is Not the Same

I just received a huge compliment from one of my out of state clients! I have been working with these wonderful folks for probably almost 2 years now and they are so excited to be moving to sunny Florida to be closer to their grandkids and away from the snow and ice of the North! The only problem is their house in Oil City, PA which has not sold yet. Well they got an offer which is always great news! The thing that made me so proud is that they emailed me to review the terms of the offer their PA Realtor sent them to make sure it was solid and to help answer some of their concerns. I was really humbled that they think so much of my work and service to them, and I made sure to offer them the best advice that I could give while honoring their relationship with their PA Realtor!

Some Realtors talk about service, I make sure to live it every day with my clients! I KNOW that there is no other Realtor that will look out for the best interests of their clients more than I will and I have built my business on this pratice. This has been a great day for me already, just knowing that I am able to help my clients achieve their goals!

And if anyone knows someone who needs a great house in Oil City, PA or (anywhere else) just let me know and I will put you in touch with the right folks!

Make it a great day!


Monday, March 03, 2008

Understanding Interest Rates

We keep hearing about changing interest rates and the government lowering the prime rate but what does that really mean for the buyer. Well according to my friend and Mortgage Broker Extraordinaire Brian Forrester with TriCounty Mortgage this is how it all really works.

When the FED lowers the FED funds rate, it lowers short term rates like the prime rate, which is used for:
· Car loans
· Boat loans
· Home equity lines of credit.

Long term rates move up or down in conjunction with bonds (also known as mortgage backed securities). One of the main reasons bond interest rates move up or down is related to fears of inflation. If the FED says inflation is coming, rates will rise to compensate. When the FED lowers their interest rates, this is seen as an inflationary move. This is because a rate decrease is supposed to spur more spending because of the cheaper costs of money.

So what does this really all mean to those Buyers out there that are waiting for prices to drop further to buy their dream home................while home prices may drop a little bit further, it is likely that these decreased prices will be accompanied by increased financing costs due to rate cuts by the Fed. This means that any money saved on paying less for a house in a few months time will be offset by Buyrs having to pay off their mortgage at a higher interest rate making “playing the waiting game” a waste of time (and very little fun).

This rate increase isn’t just speculation. Just a couple of weeks ago, in early February, the fixed mortgage rate jumped a full half-percent, making it the fastest rate increase in 20 years.

So what we are saying here Buyers is it is time to get off the fence as we like to say. Now is the time to buy if your are obviously in the position to do so. Prices are significantly down, competition in what is selling is fierce, and interest rates are still good. Now is the time to Buy!

And for all you sellers out there, remember price your home properly, get it in great condition, keep it neat and clean, wash off those smudge marks, (ever try a Magic Eraser on walls??? but I digress!)..............and be ready for those really smart Buyers who have done their homework and are ready to go!

Win the Day!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year from Sunny Florida!

Happy New Year fellow Real Estate enthusiasts! Well I am a little late but I wanted to finally post some Parade Photos from the Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade! What a gorgeous day we had for the Lakeside Community Church Float and Motorcycles biking for Jesus! We had a lot of fun passing out candy canes to the kids and invitations to our Christmas Eve services for those who may not have a home church to attend. Silly me, I figured I could just walk along side the float and leisurely hand out the goodies but instead we ended up running to keep up or catch up all along the Parade route. Parades move along faster than I anticipated! Next time I am hopping on the back of a Harley and waving from there!
Well it is exciting to start the new year with new business and excited clients. Next I want to talk about Short Sales and Pre-foreclosures and what that means compared to a real live foreclosure of someone's property. This is definitely a buyers market around here and there are lots of good deals to be had. The great thing about buying a pre-foreclosure home is that it is a benefit to everyone involved. It helps the seller avoid a foreclosure on their credit record, it helps actually save the banks money by avoiding huge attorney fees to work through the foreclosure process and lets the home get sold so it does not get in the banks inventory, and the buyer usually gets a great value and instant equity by buying the home at a great price! That is what we call a Win-Win situation! Everyone benefits. Believe it or not.......banks do not want to be in the business of home ownership, that just costs them more money and they have to hire a Realtor to get it sold again anyway. So consider this information when your friends or family might be getting a little in over their heads. If they can prove a hardship the banks really will work with them as it is in everyone's best interest.
DO NOT HIDE from the banks if you are going to be late in your payment. Talk to them immediately. They may be able to help with rate adjustments, give you a little extra time to pay, or consider the short sale option if you qualify. The sooner you are talking to them and have an experienced Real Estate Consultant trying to get your home sold ASAP the better off you will be!
More on this later! Have a great day!