Monday, October 4, 2010

No Excuse ... Curbside Recycling Comes To St. Pete

Beginning last Friday, October 1, St. Petersburg residents will be able to place newspapers, cardboard, metal and aluminum cans, glass and plastic at the curb for weekly recycling. The curbside recycling program, provided by the city through a contract with Waste Services of Florida, Inc., is voluntary and costs residents just $2.75 a month, paid annually. The service has 800 subscribers so far. WSI will provide residents with all labor, equipment, containers and administration. Contact WSI at 727-572-6800 for more information.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

4 Tips for Setting the Right Sales Price

I know you Sellers don't want to hear this but these tips are especially important in a Buyer's market like we are in now and will be for a while is my guess.

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-4 Tips for Setting the Right Sales Price

National Flood Insurance Extended Through 2011

The National Association of REALTORS® is pleased to report that Congress has unanimously approved a one-year extension, until Sept. 30, 2011, for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A long-term extension has been a top legislative priority for NAR. Earlier in 2010 the NFIP lapsed, causing major disruptions for REALTORS®, and with the Sept. 30 deadline fast approaching, NAR redoubled its efforts to extend the program.

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-National Flood Insurance Extended Through 2011

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News

Monday, September 13, 2010

Latest Market Snapshot

Here's the latest market snapshot for single family homes for sale, sold and pending in Pinellas County. Contact me if you would like a more detailed specific area in Pinellas County.

Friday, September 3, 2010

NAR cares about homeownership

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® cares about homeownership. To help you become the best, most responsible homeowner you aspire to be, they want to provide you with free information and tools you can use to make smart and timely decisions about your home.

Read more:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lenders won't have to run a second full credit check before closing on mortgage

Source: The Washington Post

Despite earlier reports to the contrary, it turns out that your mortgage lender will not have to pull a second full credit report on you hours before closing on your home purchase or refinancing.

In a clarification of a policy announced earlier this year, mortgage giant Fannie Mae now says that applicants will need to come clean about any debts they have incurred since they submitted their mortgage application — or debts they never disclosed on the application. But a formal pre-closing credit report will not be mandatory to confirm creditworthiness.

Instead, loan officers can use other techniques to verify that you haven't financed a new car, taken out a personal loan or even applied for new credit in any amount that might make it more difficult for you to afford your monthly mortgage payments.

Read the full story ...

Lenders won't have to run a second full credit check before closing on mortgage

Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. Petersburg's Beach Drive is 'best place to be' - St. Petersburg Times

Life along Beach Drive begins early. Lines full of tourists wait for the Chihuly Collection to open, residents walk their dogs and restaurant workers begin raising umbrellas and clearing tables.

The restaurant tables that dot the street are full by noon, before Beach Drive slows down to catch its breath before happy hour and dinner. Then, it comes alive again.

Business owners have flocked to Beach Drive in the past few years essentially on the promise of what it would become. Today, with its art museums, fine dining, parks and condos, Beach Drive has grown into St. Petersburg's place to be and be seen.

St. Petersburg's Beach Drive is 'best place to be' - St. Petersburg Times

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do you have time and patience???

If you are a buyer and have some time and patience purchasing a distressed property may be for you. Contact me so I can educate you on the process and provide you with some guidance.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Facing foreclosure? New Fannie Mae website helps consumers find options

WASHINGTON – Aug. 16, 2010 – Fannie Mae launched a new website to help consumers understand their options when facing foreclosure and the possible loss of their home. Called, it outlines the choices available to homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments, and provides guidance on how they can contact and work with their mortgage company to find a back-up plan. provides information in both English and Spanish. Features include:

• Interactive Options Finder helps homeowners identify options.

• Calculators help borrowers understand how many of the options would work in their situation, including calculations about refinance, repayment, forbearance, and modification.

• Videos feature real homeowners discussing how they received help; others feature housing counselors giving advice.

• Forms – including a financial checklist and contact log – to help borrowers prepare for a meeting with their mortgage company or housing counselor.

• Information on refinancing, repayment plans, forbearance, modifications and Deed-for-Lease.

• Out-of-the-box alternatives, including short sales and deeds-in-lieu for homeowners who recognize that they can no longer afford their mortgages, but want to avoid a foreclosure on their credit history

More info:

© 2010 Florida Realtors®

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fannie Mae Launches New Website

Fannie Mae recently launched a new website to help consumers who are struggling to avoid foreclosure learn about ways to get some help. Check out this website

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Five reasons to buy a home now

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 4, 2010 – The tax credit expired, but it’s still a great time to buy a home thanks to low mortgage rates and motivated sellers. Here are five reasons why now is a great time to buy:

1. Low mortgage rates serve as an equity shock absorber. When buyers borrow at today’s record-low rates, they start building equity as soon as they close. That means they can absorb a few ups and downs as the still-recovering housing market gains traction.

2. Houses are in move-in condition. Homeowners continue to spend on maintenance and repair, according to the Harvard Joint Center on Housing. As these houses enter the market, they stand in marked contrast to tattered foreclosures.

3. Terrific houses are coming on the market. Foreclosures are finally starting to clear the system, and they are being replaced by some very attractive properties.

4. Appraisal regulations are finally aligned with market realities. Fannie Mae has adjusted its appraisal guidelines, giving appraisers more flexibility to set values that reflect the current market.

5. Plenty of programs. Many programs that encourage middle-class families to buy homes still exist, despite market downturns. Buyers who qualify can get a big boost by combining one of these programs with today’s low mortgage rates.

Source: (07/29/2010)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mortgage Rates are Low

Today mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed loan are at the lowest they've been since 1971. Those who have secure jobs, excellent credit and strong finances may be able to do better than the 4.54 average rate. Call a mortgage specialist to understand the requirements to get pre-qualified and then call me to help you search for your home. If you are not currently working with a mortgage specialist I will be able to guide you to one.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Foreclosure vs. short sale: pros and cons

PALM BEACH, Fla. – July 28, 2010 – With today’s reduced property values and increased unemployment, it’s tempting for some homeowners to just throw their hands up in defeat, allow the bank to take their home in foreclosure and rid themselves of the monthly mortgage burden.

Even suffering through the paperwork and stress of a short sale may seem too much for an overwhelmed borrower to handle.

But Florida homeowners should be aware of unique rules in the state that make the benefits of a short sale typically outweigh the ease of walking away in a foreclosure.

“I want to be very clear on this, short sales are a better solution than a foreclosure, even when all the options in a situation where you lose your house are not great,” said Mark Greene, owner and president of Short Sale Operations LLC in North Palm Beach.

The biggest difference between Florida and many other states when it comes to losing a home is the deficiency judgment.

While some states ban lenders from collecting the remainder owed on a loan after a foreclosure or short sale is completed, Florida law allows banks to go after borrowers for up to 20 years. That can lead to a garnishment of wages long after the home is gone.

In a short sale, where the bank agrees to take a lesser amount for the home than what is owed on a loan, lenders sometimes are willing to write off the deficiency on the front end.

Greene said in 90 percent of the cases he handles, the bank has waived its right to seek a deficiency.

That was the case with Jupiter resident Kathryn Lorello, who in 2008 found herself in a home she couldn’t afford.

Following a divorce, and with three children, Lorello bought a $408,000 home that she lived in comfortably for a year. But then she lost her job as a manager of a real estate company.

She remembers the day the bank served the notice of foreclosure.

“I cried my eyes out,” Lorello said. “That’s when I panicked because I really didn’t want it to happen.”

Lorello got advice from Greene on doing a short sale.

Her bank, Wells Fargo, waived its right to seek a deficiency even though it ended up taking $200,000 less than what was owed on the loan.

Also, if a bank refuses to waive the deficiency in a short sale, it still would have to go back to court to seek a judgment.

In a foreclosure, at the end of the proceeding, a deficiency judgment is automatically awarded by the courts and the bank is free to seek a claim.

“In the past, people just wanted to move from the property and get on with their lives and didn’t understand what the lenders’ rights were in terms of pursuing a deficiency claim,” said Paul Baltrun, director of loss mitigation at the LaBovick & La-Bovick law firm.

“I think people are more aware now about what can happen after the fact and that their nightmare can continue.”

Another consideration is the effect of a foreclosure or short sale on credit.

According to the Fair Isaac Corp., which developed the widely used measurement of credit risk called a FICO score, the negative effect of a foreclosure is only marginally worse than a short sale.

But in Florida, a deficiency judgment from a foreclosure is likely to have a much larger impact that will prohibit your ability to buy another home for many years.

Daniel Poulos, a mortgage broker with Elite Lending in North Palm Beach who has studied the effect of foreclosures and short sales on credit, said unless a borrower pays off the deficiency, it may be 20 years before someone is eligible for another mortgage.

“That’s the kind of information that’s not getting out in Florida,” Poulos said.

There are a few situations where some experts believe it is better for someone to go to foreclosure rather than do a short sale.

To do a short sale, a borrower must give all of his or her financial information to the bank before it will decide whether to allow the short sale. The idea is that if a person can afford to pay the mortgage, the short sale may be denied.

“Now the lender knows everything about your finances and they can better decide whether they will go after you or not,” said Jon Maddux, CEO of, a company that advises people on strategic defaults.

If a lender doesn’t know your finances, Maddux argues, it reduces the chances it will go after you following a foreclosure.

“You might fly under the radar,” he said. “With the millions of people going through this, they are probably going to go after the low-hanging fruit.”

Copyright © 2010, The Palm Beach Post, Fla., Kimberly Miller. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.