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FHA Provides Aid to Struggling Condo Buildings


Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 9:32am

As the state with the most foreclosures in the nation, Florida has been desperately trying to get its housing market stabilized. The tax credit extension will help, no doubt, but it is not only Florida single-family homes that are at the receiving end of this debacle. Condominiums, loads of them, have also been affected by the downturn.

The many new, and decidedly empty, condo buildings and projects are in need of an extra boost... from somewhere. Now the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has implemented new rules that will temporarily aid some of these distressed assets.

Since 2006, the price for an average condo has been declining steadily, only to recently start making slight improvements. In fact, the state has some of the most affordable condos in the nation!

The FHA rules incorporate a new option for condo purchasers, making condo loans easier to qualify for, even to those with less than stellar credit. Unfortunately, all borrowers are required to pay an FHA insurance premium, adding up to an extra $150 a month in fees. Also, each condo development has to be approved by the FHA, which can take several weeks to months. The good news, "spot approvals" will be granted to those lenders who wish to choose buildings that they believe the housing administration will permit. The "spot approvals" will take place until January 31, 2010.

Industry experts predict that buildings that have these new FHA-approved lenders could boost occupancy by 10 percent or more.

You can start your own real estate search right here by clicking our Communities Page to read about all the different neighborhoods in Central Florida or visit our Foreclosure page and get the best deals In properties around Central Florida.

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Government Allocates $29 Billion in Funding for Housing Financing Agencies


Monday, November 23, 2009 at 12:20pm

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stated that a new federal program, aimed to provide support to local and state financing agencies, will allocate over $29 billion in government funding to helping housing finance organizations.

The Treasury Department announced the program last month. They hope to start repairing the funding shortage that many housing agencies are currently struggling with. Since the credit crunch, many agencies have not been able to aid home buyers in the same fashion as previous years.

Fannie and Freddie plan to package the mortgages made by the housing organizations and then turn around and sell them as bonds to the Treasury Department. The companies have calculated that they could lose $9.2 billion each if every single borrower defaults on their loan - this is obviously a worst case scenario. However, the Treasury Department states that any losses associated with loan defaults will be covered by the fees state agencies will pay.

Each year, the housing finance companies help up to 200,000 first-time home buyers, making additional/available funding for these agencies critical.

In September 2008, Fannie and Freddie were seized by federal government and placed in conservatorship due to the subprime mortgage crisis. But they continue to guarantee over 30 million home loans combined, equaling over $5 trillion, or half of all the mortgages in the country.

To learn about the best neighborhood and communities please visit our Communities page and learn about what Central Florida has to offer or visit our Foreclosure page and get the best deals on a Central Florida property.

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Foreclosures Affecting Those with Good Credit


Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 4:15pm

The Mortgage Bankers Association is predicting the current foreclosure crisis to continue well into 2010, as unemployment persists to move more and more people out of their homes. The overall effect is the downgrade in housing prices and a prolonging of the market's recovery.

The startling new revelation is that the percentage of people with good credit and fixed-rate home loans is rising. This is in contrast to last year, when the subprime crisis was fueled by those with a more risky credit history.

The Mortgage Bankers Association report states that 14 percent of home owners are behind on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure. Unfortunately, this statistic continues reaching new highs, and been breaking past percentage records for nine straight quarters.

The date forecasts that if unemployment continues to be an issue, loan defaults will inevitably remain a hindrance in the housing market's recovery. It seems that the main cause for home loan defaults leading to foreclosure is unemployment.

On a brighter note, many are predicting that the housing market will spring back in the summer of next year. However, Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Economy.com says that with the surplus in inventory, the housing prices will still dip up to 10 percent before coming back up.

Florida remains one the hardest hit states in the nation. Following closely behind are Nevada, California, Nevada and Arizona. Combined, these 5 states along account for 43 percent of new foreclosures!

A whopping 25 percent of Florida mortgages are either past due or in foreclosure, with Nevada trailing behind with 23 percent.

Zandi has a more gloomy take on the housing market's recovery saying, "There's no indication in this data that foreclosures are going to abate anytime soon."

Are you looking for some of the best Home deals around Central Florida then visit our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

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DIY Home Improvements Could Raise Value


Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 9:54am

Have you ever wondered what type of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects you can do around the house that may increase the value of your home? Well, HomeGain, a company that matches consumers to real estate agents, conducted a survey showing the top 12 DIY tasks and what the impact could be on your home value.

1.CLEAN AND DE-CLUTTER: Just doing a little spring cleaning can increase your home value by $1,500 to $2,000 with an investment of between $100 and $200. The return on investment is 872%

2.HOME STAGING: Making small adjustments and buying staging effects, like curtains or place settings for the dinner table, can increase the value by $1,500 to $2,000. With an investment of only $300 to $400, your return on investment will be 586%


3.LIGHTEN AND BRIGHTEN: Brightening your home can cost you only $200 to $300, but the return on investment is 572%, increasing the home value between $1,000 and $1,500.

4.LANDSCAPING: Landscaping is one the easiest ways to make your home more attractive. Make sure you pay as much attention to the back as you do the front of your home. This project can cost anywhere from $300 to $400, increasing home value by $1,500 to $2,000, with a return on investment of 473%

5.REPAIR PLUMBING: Fixing and/or replacing old pipes can cost you $300 to $400, but you will increase your home value by $1,500 to $2,000, and the return on investment is 327%

6.UPDATE ELECTRICAL: Updating your home's electrical can increase the value by $1,500 to $2,000. With a cost of only $300 to $400, your return on investment will be 309%

7.REPLACE OR SHAMPOO CARPETS: Carpets get stained easily, and sometimes you don't even realize they are dirty. This project is a little pricier at $400 or $500 and a return on investment of 295%. It can increase the value of your home's value by $1,500 to $2,000

8.PAINT INTERIOR WALLS: Painting your walls is one the most dramatic way to change the appearance of your home. With a cost of $500 to $750, you can increase your home value by $1,500 to $2,000. The return on investment is 250%

9.REPAIR DAMAGED FLOORS: The appearance of damaged floors can be a complete turn-off for a potential buyer. Investing $500 to $750, you can increase the value of your home by $1,500 to $2,000. The return on investment is 250%

10.UPDATE KITCHEN: Some think that updating a kitchen is a huge task, but small improvements can be made, like changing cabinet knobs or replacing an old appliance. The cost for this can run between $1,000 and $1,500 with a return on investment of 237%, as the home value will increase by $2,000 to $3,000

11.PAINT OUTSIDE OF HOME: While this task is time-consuming, it can really make s huge difference. With a home value increase of $1,500 to $2,000, spending $750 to $1,000 will give you a return on investment of 201%

12.UPDATE BATHOOM: Bathroom updates are not as difficult as you think. Simply buying new hardware (think toilet roll and towel holders, medicine cabinet, etc.) or installing a new sink, will cost you between $750 and $1,000. Your home value can increase between $1,000 and $1,500. The return on investment is 172%

Are you looking for some of the best Home deals around Central Florida then visit our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

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Home Owners Intentionally Walk Out On Mortgage


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 10:41am

In an earlier article we wrote about "What Could Happen If You Don't Pay Your Mortgage," but it seems as if home owners are walking away from their mortgages on purpose. These incidents, called strategic defaults, are happening all over the country.

Voluntary foreclosures are becoming a huge dilemma for the government as they are spending upwards of $75 billion to try and keep home owners in their distressed homes. Not only this, people's credit scores can be dramatically damaged knocking off 100 points or more. Despite these facts, 588,000 borrowers walked out on their homes and mortgages last year, according to Experian and Oliver Wyman, management consultants. In 2007, it amounted to only half that number. Even though home prices are on the rise, the total loss of home value since 2005 is enough to thrust millions of home owners to do the same, as what they owe far outweighs their home value.

This will cause a large chasm between the current housing market status and its impending recovery. As a result, the credit agencies will become stricter, and this always affects economic recovery negatively.

"It's increasingly a more important factor driving the foreclosure crisis," says Mark Zandi, of Moody's Economy.com. "As we move forward, the job market will stabilize, and the big thing will be strategic defaults. People are going to determine it doesn't make financial sense to hold on to their homes. That's going to be a significant problem. Strategic defaults mean foreclosures could be high for a long time."

The mortgage department at Citigroup reports that one out of five borrowers that go into default does it voluntarily, sometimes even if they are able to make mortgage payments.

Sanjiv Das, CEO of CitiMortgage says, "It's a very large number, and it's a very, very significant risk to the housing recovery." He thinks that the government can help somehow by adding programs that prevent strategic defaults.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

Florida Home Insurance Rates Raised


Friday, November 6, 2009 at 11:12am

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. finally gained approval to increase their rates by approximately 5.4 percent. The raise affects coverage that includes hurricane damage for homeowners. Premiums for higher risk coastal areas are yet to be set in stone and are still being revised.

Kevin McCarty, Florida Insurance Commissioner, announced the new rated on Friday. The increase affecting 719,000 policies, including 350,000 home owners, will be in effect starting January 1, 2010.

A state-wide increase of 8.8 percent, affecting residential renters was also approved by McCarty. In addition, a 1.7 percent increase for mobile homeowners and a 10.2 percent increase for condo associations were also approved.

Although Citizens, Florida's largest property insurance company, is already implementing a rate hike, they are also looking to raise rates 7.7 percent for 330,000 policies on higher risk coastal areas. The hearing for this particular proposal will take place on November 10. Both of Citizens' rate increases will amount to an additional $140 million in revenue.

Not everyone will realize a higher insurance premium though. Those in lower risk areas, like homes situated inland, will see their rates decrease.
Collier County, located in southwest Florida, will be one area to see the largest increase in the state, 10.6 percent.

Citizens' rate increases were approved under one circumstance: that the condo association rate was also increased. McCarty raised those rates 0.1 percent more than requested.

"We're satisfied," said Citizens spokesman John Kuczwanski. "We look forward to getting the system updated."

Are you looking for some of the best Home deals around Central Florida then visit our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

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Five Easy Ways to Save on Your Utility Bills


Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 2:57pm

TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER:
Although you may not know, your computer uses 300 watts when it's still turned on, even when the monitor is off. If completely powering it down is not a viable option for you, adjust your settings so that your screen saver puts your computer to sleep when it's not in use. You can resume using it quickly from the sleep mode

CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULBS:
Switching to florescent light bulbs can save up to 25 percent of your electricity. Plus, florescent bulbs last for years, and are more durable than regular light bulbs. While they are more expensive, they will save you money in the future.

USE CEILING FANS:
In the summertime, or even in the winter, when you're hot... use the ceiling fans. They will help more than adjusting the air conditioner, which can be very expensive to run and more expensive once you change its settings.

GET RID OF YOUR LAND LINE:
Unless you use your home as an office, or need a land line to set up your fax or credit card system, get rid of your phone. Cell phones are becoming people's land lines today. The land plans are usually pretty expensive, and if you can do without it, you can save a lot of money.

REDUCE CABLE TELEVISION:
Are there channels that you pay for that you don't watch? Even if you think you can't live without certain television shows, cutting down on cable packages can save money, even $50 or $100 a month. Maybe you can rid of cable all together?!

Now If you are looking to save on a Central Florida property please visit our Best Deals Page or if you want to learn about the best communities around Central Florida visit our Communities Page and find the home of your dreams. You can also call us at 407-392-4663 and we'll do all the work for you.

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What Happens When Home Owners Stop Paying the Mortgage?


Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 3:32pm

As the state with the most foreclosures in the nation, and over one-third of loans in default, Floridians are in a lot of trouble when it comes to their mortgages. Although this is definitely not a route we encourage, people are curious of what would happen if you stopped paying your mortgage. Road House Realty wanted to give you a step-by-step play of the troubles that accelerate when you fail to make your payments. This is a general scenario, and each scenario can be different with different timelines and schedules.

YOUR CREDIT SCORE DROPS:
If you are late for your monthly mortgage payment, your lender will report it to the credit bureaus within as little as two weeks. As a result, your credit score can drop up to 200 points. A ruined credit score can affect you for years and years to come, so you want to try and avoid any and all tarnishes, even if you know you will be late. Communicate with your lender.

CREDIT CARDS SHUT DOWN:
After your lender has reported your late payment to the credit bureau, other lenders and creditors will start to notice your status. Within 30 days credit cards will significantly raise your interest rates, lower your credit limit, or shut down your card all together. School loans, car leases and other companies will also raise rates. This credit tightening can lead to the lowering of your credit scores even further.

RINGING PHONES:
The next part, which is the worst, includes your phones ringing all the time and collection letters showing up in the mail. Again, all of this can happen within 30 days. Your lender will try and communicate with you to start a loan modification program. However, after 90 days you will no longer be allowed to being making payments again. Unless you have been in constant contact with your lender, they may send your payment back to you.

FORECLOSURE:
After 120 days you will be served with a foreclosure notice, which you have 20 days to respond to. If you do not respond the lender will issue with a court judgment within the next 60 days. After the judgment is issues, a county sale will take place within 50 to 120 days, and another 120 days after the sale a sheriff will pay you a visit to let you know that you have 10 days to evacuate the premises. If you do not leave, you will be thrown out.

You can find some of the best Home deals around Central Florida by visiting our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

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Florida Bracing Itself for Even More Foreclosures


Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 8:54am

The Florida housing market is slowly and steadily recovering after a surge of foreclosures left the state with dwindling home values. However, a new rush of foreclosures looks as if it will saturate the area once again.

The rising unemployment level, now at 11 percent, is a prime contributor to the foreclosures. As a result of this home prices will continue to decline, despite some previously reported bright moments that implied a gradual recovery.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said, "We think there's a lot of foreclosures that are just starting to make their way into the pipeline here. They really haven't hit yet."

As we reported earlier, Florida had the highest rate of foreclosures in the country. A new study by LPS Mortgage Monitor shows that as much as 10 percent of mortgages in Florida were in foreclosure in August, three times the national average.

But the new wave of delinquencies will come from a growing number of defaulted loans that have not yet hit foreclosure status, meaning that many more distressed properties will become available over the next several months.

LPS referred to these types of loans as "shadow foreclosure inventory" and reported that there are twice as many of these than actual foreclosure starts.
Tim Becker of the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies said, "Housing sales are rising. But foreclosures just put more homes back into the inventory of unsold homes. You're not going to get Florida's economy going again until you cut down this inventory."

You can also read a related story we posted earlier Florida Ranks Number One for Mortgage Defaults

How do you benefit? Get a great deal on Central Florida housing by visiting our Foreclosure page or our Hot Properties Page and find the best deals available on the market updated every hour.

Florida Consumers Should Be Aware of Real Estate Fraud


Monday, October 26, 2009 at 11:30am

Over half a dozen real estate executives have been involved and charged with mortgage fraud in Florida. Federal prosecutors and the FBI have nicknamed their new operation aimed at catching individuals implementing these schemes as "Mortgage Fraud Surge." They are seeing that much of the activity is concentrated in Jacksonville, Orlando and the Gulf Coast. As a result, federal agencies plan to reduce the amount of time these investigations take from years down to less than 12 months.

Fraudulent endeavors surface more during times of economic hardship, and the insurmountable number of foreclosures in Florida that followed the housing crash fits this characteristic perfectly.

U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton says, "Mortgage fraud is, to a large extent, uncovered when there is a foreclosure. People go to look at the collateral and realize it's not enough to support the loan."

FBI Special Agent Rick Dent of Jacksonville is very concerned. Florida's economy is largely dependent on the housing market, and he states that the state "has been heavily impacted by the foreclosure crisis." He adds, "Every foreclosure is not indicative of mortgage fraud. It's one of the indicators."

The operation was launched in February of this year and has been created specifically to follow and apprehend those that are involved in complicated and sophisticated fraud plans.

Albritton reiterates the concern for the state's well-being, "Real estate is so important to the economy of Florida. Unfortunately it's earned the moniker 'Ponzi state.'" Unfortunately, the schemes were not discovered until the real estate boom went bust.

More Florida real estate professionals are expected to plead guilty on Monday, October 26, 2009.

If you want to find a real estate company that repeatedly gets glowing reviews from their clients, or if you have any questions about how a proper foreclosure is handled call us at 407-392-4663. Or to get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

New Mortgage Rules: Credit Scores More Important Than Ever


Friday, October 23, 2009 at 1:16pm

The Federal Truth and Lending Act was established in 1968, but with the new changes that the Federal Reserve recently made, it is now more difficult for new home owners to qualify for mortgages.

Credit scores are being scrutinized like never before. Bruce McClary of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions says, "Lenders are examining buyer's credit under a microscope. These more stringent lending standards combined with the expiration of the first-time homebuyer tax credit on Nov. 30 will undoubtedly create even more obstacles for homebuyers."

McClary's advice is that people should strive to improve or maintain good credit scores. ClearPoint Credit is a national nonprofit agency that aids people in financial trouble. They suggest that monitoring credit scores closely is the best thing to do. This way, when issues arise, they can immediately address them. Below are the topics of interest to home buyers:

- Deal with any credit card debt first. If necessary, find financial help with a nonprofit counseling agency

- Don't depend on the $8,000 tax credit. This will expire, and home buyers will have to save their own money for a down payment. A good down payment shows your capability to pay.

- Free first time home buyer counseling is provided by HUD-approved housing agencies. Check with HUD for the organizations in your area. These people understand the home buying process in detail and they will be able to offer help on how to search for a property mortgage. They will also be able to aid home buyers so that they don't get stuck with predatory lending companies, as well as helping people clear up their credit report with the best steps for action.

Are You looking for the best deals in Central Florida? find them by visiting our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page and learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

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Florida Home Owners Appeal Property Tax


Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 10:15am

Although the housing market has been declining for a few years now, Florida home owners are trying to prove the reduced value of their properties. In counties all over the state, people have been appealing their property values, as they are applied towards determining tax assessments. However, the deadline for such appeals has now passed.

For example, in Ft. Lauderdale's Broward County, the appeals went up 9 percent to 32,411 filings. In Miami-Dade county, the appeals have not been counted, implying that an increasing number have been filed since last month's deadline. So far, over 69,000 appeals have recorded in the system. Robert Alfaro, the Value Adjustment Board Manager, said that he expects that appeals will surpass the 70,000 that were filed last year.

The reason for the flood of appeals is the unwavering tax payment rates. Even though house prices and property values have been plummeting, the increase in tax rates has caused tax payments to remain the same. One resident in Boca Raton, Sherman Lein, filed an appeal after the Palm Beach County property appraiser reduced his home value by $100,000. Unfortunately, his tax bill was actually higher than last year.

The slightly good news for the tax payers are the changes in the state law. Now, the burden to prove that the property is deemed at a certain values falls on the property appraiser's shoulders. In the past, it was the responsibility of the taxpayer to prove that an assessment was wrong.

You can find some of the best housing deals around Central Florida by visiting our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.