My RSS News Feedhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=rsshttp://feeds.feedburner.com/rismedia/Wqrwen-usThu, 31 Jul 2014 15:32:42 GMT45Corporations scoop up rental homeshttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1492http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1492ROCHESTER, N.Y. – July 31, 2014 – Apartment living brought Bill and Jennifer Schumacher together, with the two neighbors meeting while living at the same apartment complex in the Philadelphia area.<br /><br />When Jennifer received a job offer in the Rochester, N.Y., area, the couple were fine with moving, but they didn't have much time, and they knew they didn't want to live in another apartment.<br /><br />"We said, 'There's no way we're going into another apartment' – we need bigger space; we wanted some ground outside," Jennifer said while in the living room of the 1,900-square-foot Pittsford, N.Y., house they now rent. "This is a perfect opportunity."<br /><br />Real estate company Broadstone Real Estate, based in Rochester, traditionally has focused on commercial properties, ranging from medical offices to retail space but is increasingly diving into the single-family home market, including through the Broadtree Homes line.<br /><br />Earlier this month, it announced under its Broadtree Homes shingle that it had purchased 127 single-family homes in the Atlanta area for roughly $10 million. That purchase more than doubled the portfolio of single-family homes it began amassing in late 2012 around Minneapolis, Palm Beach County, Fla., and the Rochester area.<br /><br />Big money has in the past been relatively rare in the rental house market. According to an analysis earlier this year on the single-family rental market by New York investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, about half of the nation's 14 million rental homes are owned by individuals who own just one rental property. Only about 2 million are owned by investors with 10 or more properties.<br /><br />Renting single-family homes "has always been a mom-and-pop business," said Broadstone CEO Amy Tait.<br /><br />However, the number of big real estate companies involved in renting single-family residences is growing. New York-based financial services giant Blackstone Group is now the largest landlord of single-family homes, having spent roughly $8 billion over the last two years buying 43,000 homes. California-based American Homes 4 Rent, the second largest such firm, started in 2012 and now owns more than 25,000 homes in 22 states.<br /><br />"The financing for investor-owned properties has not been widely available, (and) the investment and lending opportunities are immense and perhaps just beginning," Keefe, Bruyette & Woods said in the analysis.<br /><br />Plummeting home prices in recent years opened the door to the investment opportunity, said Dave Bragg, managing director of the residential research team at Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm. Meanwhile, the armies of homeowners who saw their residences foreclosed upon still needed housing. "If you're living in a 1,500-square-foot house, you probably picked that for a need for space," Bragg said. "Foreclosure victims … didn't really shift into apartments."<br /><br />Owning your own home was long synonymous with the American dream. But homeownership rates are waning nationally. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the percentage of Americans who own their own home was roughly 65 percent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest it's been since 1995. The rate peaked in 2006, when 69 percent of Americans owned their own home.<br /><br />"It used to be people thought renting was synonymous with going into an apartment community," Tait said.<br /><br />But the financial crisis meant more renters as people lost their homes, plus a glut of foreclosed homes that came onto the market, she said. That, coupled with the fact of technology making it easier than ever to research homes for sale and to manage a portfolio of rental homes, opened the door to big investors looking at big portfolios of homes as an opportunity, she said.<br /><br />"Until the crisis, it really didn't make sense for investors to do this," Tait said. "It's a management-intensive business."<br /><br />In a conference call with Wall Street analysts in May, David Miller, CEO of Minnesota real estate investment trust (REIT) Silver Bay Realty Trust, said the shrinking supply of single-family homes for sale, as well as increasing home-building costs "point to continuing positive trends for future (price growth) and rental demand, all factors which bode well for … the demand for single-family rental homes."<br /><br />Since its start in 2012, Silver Bay has purchased, and now owns and rents, about 5,700 single-family homes in eight states.<br /><br />However, some worry those deep-pocket buyers are pricing individuals out of the housing market. In March, a group of 80 organizations – from Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland to The Fair Housing Council of San Diego – wrote an array of federal regulatory agencies, asking for rules or guidance regarding the big investments going on in rental properties. They cited concerns ranging from displacement of homeowners to "the creation of another housing bubble."<br /><br />That same month, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., sent letters to the U.S. Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with numerous questions about the single-family rental market and the growth of bonds backed by the rental incomes from those properties.<br /><br />According to the letters, despite low interest rates and purchase prices, families in Southern California and first-time homebuyers "are finding it hard to purchase a home. It is increasingly the case that these homes are being purchased by investment companies looking to rent out the property, leaving the family purchaser of modest means shut out of the market. Similar stories are coming out of Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia."<br /><br />"This is a new area that's potentially going to grow bigger," Takano said last week. "We have an obligation to try to understand it better – the financial instruments, the impact on communities, the impact on individual tenants. I'm not wholly comfortable with what I see going on – aspiring middle-class people being priced out of homes, out of a chance to get an equity stake in property ownership, and what I also see as neighborhoods potentially destabilized while Wall Street extracts their cut before they … flip and sell these homes."<br /><br />However, the pace of big firms buying houses has slowed in recent months as housing prices have climbed around the nation, Bragg said. Now those firms are more focused on consolidation and buying portfolios of homes from each other.<br /><br />After dipping its toe in the market with the purchase of roughly 100 homes since late 2012, Broadtree Homes has "learned enough to begin to ramp it up," Tait said.<br /><br />In addition to the Atlanta homes purchased earlier this month, Broadtree has 50 more homes under contract in Atlanta. And Broadtree is looking at other portfolios of homes that had been previously snapped up by real estate companies now looking to sell. Tait said Broadtree has been offered well in excess of $1 billion worth of various portfolios as it looks to get more heavily into the market.<br /><br />"There are lots of portfolios out there for sale," Tait said. "It's hard to do this efficiently without a couple hundred, 300 homes in a given market."<br /><br />Eventually, the Schumachers plan to buy their own home. But for now, each of their two boys has his own bedroom. Their two dogs get to enjoy a fenced-in backyard. They live on the type of quiet suburban street where everyone's so friendly that neighbors brought the family house-warming gifts upon moving in last December.<br /><br />There's only one drawback to the house, Bill Schumacher said: "The fact we don't own it."<br />Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY, Matthew Daneman. Daneman also reports for the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:32:42 ESTRental & Investment Newsrentals rental rent corporations investorsIs It Better to Rent or Buy?http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1468http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1468The choice between buying a home and renting one is among the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. But the costs of buying are more varied and complicated than for renting, making it hard to tell which is a better deal. To help you answer this question, our calculator takes the most important costs associated with buying a house and computes the equivalent monthly rent. Sat, 21 Jun 2014 11:24:13 ESTRent or BuyREAL ESTATE RENT OWN MORTGAGE LANDLORD LEAASE MORTGAGEMistakes Sellers Make - Hiring the Wrong Agenthttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1417http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1417Mistakes Sellers Make - Hiring the Wrong Agent<br /><br />We have all seen it, the big colonial home on the hill or the cute as a button ranch house that the "wrong agent" somehow ended up listing. You know the agent...the one who never answers their phone, has another job that constantly keeps them away, is shady, doesn't follow-up, throws a sign in the yard and disappears, has nearly zero marketing...yes, the one that gives our industry a black eye!<br /><br />This often happens because some sellers are too eager to get their home listed and instead of finding the "right agent" they:<br />•Call the first person they see on a sign<br />•Call a big brand and take whomever is available<br />•Use the person their step-cousins friend knows<br />•Make an impulsive, frustration, or anger hire<br /><br />The point is, sellers MUST do their homework before hiring a listing agent. Take the advice of trusted friends, go online and do research to see if the agent utilizes the Web as part of their marketing plan, read reviews from past clients, and lastly, make sure to interview all potential candidates.<br /><br />While there are many more questions that can be asked, here are a few that sellers can ask prospective Realtors® before deciding on the right agent to list and sell their home.<br /><br />(INSERTS BY KEVIN CLOUTIER My answers are in brackets after each question)<br /><br />•How long have you been in residential real estate? (18 years full time 2014) <br />*Is it your full-time job? (Yes)<br />•What designations and certifications do you hold? (Master Negotiator, Residential and Commercial Realtor, Trulia PRO and Accounting Degree). <br />*How will they help you sell my home? (I don't think any designation helps you sell a home. I think if you stay educated and take classes like I do, you are just paying for an ego boost. My experience and education provides me with a numerical advantage and closed transactions lots of experience and situations).<br />•How many homes did you sell last year? (40, my 18 year average is 42 a total of 672 as of 1.27.2014)<br />*How many in my neighborhood? (I need to know your neighborhood first).<br />•What is your average list-to-sales-price ratio in the last 12 months? (95%, I price aggressively unless seller dictates otherwise)<br />*What is the market average? (96% 1.2009 - 12.2013)<br />•Are you mainly a seller's agent or buyer's agent? (Both and either)<br />•Do you practice dual agency? (Yes)<br />•How familiar are you with my neighborhood? (Location Specific)<br />•Do you use social media? (Extensively)<br />*If so, what sites? (MLS, Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Bing, Google, AOL, and many others)<br />•How will you market my home? (Too extensive to list here, local, nationally, worldwide, to buyers directly and other agents directly)<br />•How will you keep me informed of showing activity? (Via e-mail and phone)<br />•What methods will you use to stay in touch? (Via e-mail, phone and in person)<br />*How often? (After showings and weekly)<br />•How many are on your team? (4)<br />*Will I deal with you or an assistant? (Myself)<br />•What sets you apart from all the other agents in town? (My education, been in business for myself since 1990, my internet knowledge in marketing and my extensive results)<br />•What listing price do you recommend? (Property Specific)<br />*How did you come up with that price? (3 point CMA analysis)<br />•How can I enhance my homes appeal? (I need to see it first to evaluate)<br />•On average, how many days does it take you to sell homes? (That depends on a number of criteria, 104 including my short sale listings) <br />*What is the market average? (164 - 2013)<br />•Can you provide me with references? (Yes)<br />•When are you NOT available? (After 9 PM)<br />•What percentage of your listings expire? (less than 5%)<br />•Will you recommend service providers to help me with home repairs, staging, etc.? (Yes, they are all listed on my website by category and always expanding)<br />•What is your business philosophy? (Be honest, stay educated and work hard, a win-win or no deal, I would rather turn you down than let you down)<br /><br />The bottom line for sellers is to take your time and make sure the agent you choose to list your property is one you are comfortable working with and meets all the criteria you are looking for in an agent. Happy selling!<br />Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:52:20 ESTReal Estate Marketing ExperienceReal Estate Agent Listing Agent Selling selling days selling ratiosBiggest Home Seller Mistakes http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1416http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1416Of the top mistakes, most are ultimately in the hands of the seller. Working with your real estate agent to minimize the impact of each of these mistakes will make the sale of your home a reality.<br /><br />Here are the top mistakes real estate agents commonly see made by homeowners looking to sell their house.<br /><br />1. Overpriced Home<br />Nothing shocking here. This was far and away the most common mistake sellers make that prevent them from selling their home. <br />If you overprice your home there is a pretty good chance no one is going to want to buy it. Real estate agents do not set the real estate market. A great real estate agent will suggest a price at which to list your home based on comparable homes that have already sold in the market. Overpricing a home to 'see if you can get someone to bite' is not a strategy employed by someone really serious about selling. Overpricing a home will lead to missed opportunities with buyers that are serious about buying in the range at which your home should be listed.<br />The first week during which a home is listed will generally be the time that the most eyeballs are on the home and the largest potential pool of buyers will be exposed to the listing. Setting a price that reflects the market is essential to selling! This is exacerbated in a downward trending market. Many a seller has lost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars chasing a market down after setting a listing price that was outside what the market was willing to bear.<br />Margaret Goss, a Broker with Baird & Warner on the North Side of Chicago gives you a few reasons that an agent will take your overpriced listing and then shares the repercussions of making the decision to price your home too high.<br /> <br />2. Showing Availability - It's Difficult to Set a Showing<br />The chances your home will sell when buyers can't get in to physically inspect the property are minuscule. Sellers need to understand that listing a home for sale is going to lead to some inconveniences in your normal routine. Many serious buyers may want to physically inspect a property during times which may not be convenient for the seller. Knowing this, motivated sellers need to understand that flexibility in when you allow the home to be sold could have a direct impact on the sale of your home.<br />It's not uncommon for sellers to see 8, 10, even 20 homes during a showing tour with their agent. If your house isn't on that list because you only do showings on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will miss out on ready, willing and able buyers. <br />As a seller, realize that the more people that can see the home in person, the more chance you have to find the buyer that wants your home. Eric Kodner, a broker with Madeline Island Realty in La Pointe Wisconsin shares a real life example of an unavailable seller costing herself a sale and a lot of money.<br /><br />3. Cluttered Space - Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter<br />Sellers are sometimes unwilling to either make the effort, or unwilling to compromise how they live in their home during the time the home is on the market for showings. Serious sellers realize that by depersonalizing the home and removing unwarranted clutter, it allows potential buyers to more easily visualize their own things in the house.<br />When you live in your home day in and day out, you become comfortable with your own 'things'. In many cases, however, your 'stuff' can make a room feel smaller than it actually is and in some more extreme cases, your 'stuff' can completely distract someone from visualizing the potential of a room. We know you are proud of your kids as the shrine in the living room displays all of their ribbons, trophies and diplomas from the last 20 years. But for a buyer, this is only a distraction. <br />Many agents will make recommendations about ways to remove clutter or depersonalize your home. Some will even suggest that a professional homestager be brought it to completely maximize the space and create a setting maximizes the buyers ability to visualize their own things. The key thing to remember here is these suggestions are not personal and you may have to be a little uncomfortable so that your house puts it's best foot forward.<br />Ralph Gorgoglione, a real estate agent with the John Aaroe Group in Los Angeles reminds us that "as a seller, the most important thing to realize is that, yes, your crapola means a lot to you. But it means nothing to anyone else." Especially a buyer trying to visualize their own stuff in your house.<br /> <br />4. Unpleasant Odors in the House<br /> "Mr and Mrs. Seller, your house stinks!"<br />Most agents aren't going to be this blunt. But in some cases they wish they could be. They'll take a more tactical approach and say something like.....'during the time your house is on the market, it might be a good idea to smoke outside'.<br />But what they know is that nothing will stop a potential buyer in their tracks faster than a strong odor of any sort. In some cases this could just be the left over smell from last nights dinner. In more extreme cases, agents tell horror stories of entering homes that have a bad smell of pet urine or smoking. <br />The main concern for the buyer is, of course, "is the house going to smell like this once we move in?" Real Estate agents confirm that many a buyer has passed on a home after coming to their own conclusion on that answer. <br />Your agent isn't suggesting a fresh coat of paint and new carpet because they don't like how things look. They are making this suggestion because they realize that the smoke odor in your home is going to be a major turn off for anyone thinking about buying your home.<br />Real estate broker Dick Greenburg with Elevations Real Estate, LLC in Fort Collins Colorado even goes so far as to suggest "homes with bad odors don't sell because buyers are having intense and complex negative reactions that are beyond working around."<br /><br />5. Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing<br />No seller wants to spend a few thousand dollars making repairs to a house you are about to sell. Agents understand that. But they also understand that few buyers want to move in to a house that needs a bunch of work done immediately upon moving in. <br />One of your objectives to selling your home is to make it as appealing as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn't want a bunch of work upon moving in, you've shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property.<br />Some sellers may want to offer the buyer a credit at closing for certain repairs. Real estate broker Chris Ann Cleland, with Long and Foster in Gainesville, VA shares with us why that strategy isn't better than making the repairs yourself before putting the home on the market.<br /> <br />6. Sellers Unwilling to Negotiate with Buyers<br />Setting a market price on a home is not an exact science. Many real estate agents will give the seller a range in which they predict the home will sell. As a seller, you should always want the most money the market will bear. That being said, the unwillingness to negotiate with buyers can turn away even the most serious buyers.<br />Price is not the only condition which is open to negotiation. Buyers and sellers can negotiate on dates, fixtures that might stay with the home, repairs and a host of other sticking points. Sellers that refuse to negotiate and are set on digging in their heels are much less likely to find a willing and able buyer.<br />Don't be insulted by low offers. Buyers want to get the home for the best price and on the best terms they can. Just like a sellers wants to sell for the best price on the best terms. It's rare that either party walks away from a negotiation with everything they want. Motivated sellers understand this and are willing to negotiate.<br />Debbie Reynolds, a broker with Prudential PenFed Realty in Clarksville Tennessee, cautions sellers against being unwilling to negotiate as well as second guessing your original listing price. <br /><br />7. Bad Photos in the MLS<br />This one will most likely fall on your real estate agent. But knowing that bad photos in the MLS can be an impediment to the sale of your home, as a seller it's imperative that you demand great photography from your agent.<br />Studies show that greater than 85% of people are going online as a part of their research for buying a home. Most buyers will probably first be introduced to your home online. Poor photos could be cause for them to disregard your home before they ever set foot in it. <br />The photos used to market your home are generally the first impression any buyer will have of your home. When picking an agent to list your home, ask to see examples of photos from previous listings. Do their photos make you want to take a look at the home?<br />Never let your home go on the market without photos! If it means waiting a day or two before listing, wait. A large number of potential buyers in your market will be exposed to your home the first day it goes on the market. Having great photos the first day the home hits the market is a must.<br />Tammie White, a REALTOR® with Benchmark Realty LLC in Franklin Tennessee tells us why "it is crucial to have professional photographs to show off your home."<br /><br />8. The Home is Just Plain Messy<br />You were late for work this morning so you ran out of the house without picking up from last night's dinner. Not a big deal.....unless you have potential buyers that will be stopping by. <br />Some people may be able to look past the dishes stacked up in the sink, but enough buyers won't be able to look past the mess. Remember, buyers want to envision their things in your house. The more obstacles you put in the way, the harder time they have connecting with the home emotionally.<br />Take the time every day to make sure everything is cleaned up and the home is in showing condition. <br />Woody Edwards, a REALTOR® with First Choice Realty in Chesterfield Virginia is reminded of an old saying his grandmother used to have, "never leave home until the home is in dying condition". This couldn't be more true than when selling your home. <br /><br />9. Sellers Who Like to Play Tour Guide During Showings<br />Almost every real estate agent who participated agreed that sellers should leave the house during showings. Some sellers want to stick around and make sure buyers see all the important features of a home. The problem with that.........as a seller you don't know what's important to a buyer. <br />Sellers that hover around during a showing will make the buyer nervous. They won't feel comfortable discussing things they like or dislike about the house with their agent. In addition, most buyers like to explore a little bit. Interested buyers tend to do things like open cabinets and check in closets to get a better sense for the entire home. A hovering seller can make this very uncomfortable for some buyers.<br />Bottom line......leave the house when it's being shown. Your presence there will only make things worse. Karen Feltman, a real estate agent with Skogman Realty in Cedar Rapids Iowa gives you a couple of specific ways that a seller's meddling during showings can hurt or kill a deal. <br /><br />10. Picking the Wrong Agent<br />You decided to list with your aunt or with your friend that just got in the business. You paid no attention to their experience or what they do to market a home. Maybe not the best idea. Real Estate agents will often suggest interviewing more than one agent. You'll never know if your aunt is going to do a good job of marketing your home for sale if you have nothing to which to compare her. Don't be scared to ask a real estate agent questions about why they are a better choice than anyone else you may be considering. Just like with any profession, there are good real estate agents and there are bad real estate agents. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:09:44 ESTHome Seller MistakesHome Sell Realtor Real Estate List The Price of Real-Estate Experience: $25,000http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1381http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1381Can you put a price on experience? In real estate, you can. It is about $25,000 for the average house.<br /><br />Veteran agents sell homes for an average of 12% more than their less experienced counterparts, says Bennie Waller, professor of finance and real estate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. Veteran agents also tend to list more new properties, more townhouses and condominiums and larger properties.<br /><br />"The more experience you have, the more likely you are to sell the properties that you list, the more likely you are to sell it at a higher price and the less time it stays on the market," Prof. Waller says.<br /><br />Prof. Waller, along with Ali Jubran, a student at Longwood University at the time, examined 10,065 real-estate listings in a mid-Atlantic multiple-listing service from March 1999 to July 2009. They divided the listings into three groups—ones listed by agents who have been licensed for two years or less (called rookies), agents who have been licensed for two to 10 years and agents who have been licensed for 10 years or more (called veterans). They controlled for property characteristics such as size and location to isolate the "experience variable," and then compared the results for rookies and veterans. The study was published in the Journal of Housing Research in May 2012.<br /><br />Prof. Waller became interested in quantifying experience when he noticed an increasing number of agents who chose not to renew their licenses after two years. Real estate has "very, very, very low barriers to entry," he says. But brokers then face a steep learning curve and many struggle to reach a level of expertise that is profitable, he adds.<br /><br />Two-thirds of properties listed by veteran agents sold, while only half of properties listed by rookies did. That may be because rookie agents have to be more flexible in picking up listings, even if the chances of selling are low.<br /><br />"If a house is priced ridiculously, they might say, 'Fine, I'll take the listing,' " Prof. Waller says.<br /><br />Generally, experienced agents have greater knowledge of the neighborhoods and a larger network of buyers and sellers, as well as relationships with home inspectors, appraisers and mortgage brokers.<br /><br />For some, confidence comes with time. James Stroupe, a real-estate agent at Realogics Sotheby's International Realty in Seattle, says he used to take listings priced above-market, but now, with nearly 20 years of experience under his belt, he isn't afraid to suggest an alternative price. <br /><br />And then there are the lessons learned. Michael Rankin, principal and managing partner of TTR Sotheby's International Realty in Washington, D.C., began selling real estate right out of college, so he faced the twin pitfalls of inexperience and youth. <br /><br />"I would meet people and say I'm a real-estate agent. They would joke and say, 'I've got children older than you. Are you sure you're a real-estate agent?' " he says. <br /><br />Mr. Rankin says he didn't get referrals until his third year in the business. Referrals now make up about 70% of his sales. His listings stock also has changed dramatically. In his 20s, his average sale price was about $300,000 to $400,000. Now, it is more than $2 million. <br /><br />Experience taught him how to deal with consumer behavior. "Residential real estate is really an emotional transaction. I don't think I was prepared for any of it. It's about understanding and knowing people. That, to me, is what an experienced broker brings to the table," he says. <br /><br />When Pamela J. Hagan first began practicing real estate about 30 years ago, she had a listing that just wouldn't sell. After zero offers in eight months, she asked a more experienced agent to help. "We tweaked the price and staged it properly, removed clutter and everything. I just didn't think of that when I was new," says Ms. Hagan, of Century 21 Beggins Enterprises in Longboat Key, Fla. "After we got it all set up and dropped the price, we sold it within 30 days."<br /><br />Wed, 30 Oct 2013 16:54:42 ESTReal Estate Marketing ExperienceReal Estate Listing Experience Selling Study Wall Street JournalFlorida's market continues momentumhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1301http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1301ORLANDO, Fla. – June 20, 2013 – Florida’s housing market continued its upswing in May, with higher closed sales, more pending sales, rising median prices, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.<br /><br />“Home sales continue to increase, it’s taking less time for sales to close, and median sales prices are on the rise,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “This is the 17th month in a row that we’ve seen the statewide median sales prices increase year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties.<br /><br />“Sellers are seeing this momentum in Florida’s housing sector and it’s prompting many to decide now is the time to list their property for sale. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 10.2 percent in May, while new townhome-condo listings rose 7.1 percent.”<br /><br />Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 22,375 in May, up 18.7 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.<br /><br />Meanwhile, pending sales – contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed – for existing single-family homes last month rose 30.8 percent over the previous May. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $171,000, up 15.9 percent from the previous year.<br /><br />Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhouse-condos, a total of 11,201 units sold statewide last month, up 11.5 percent compared to May 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for townhouse-condos last month increased 18.3 percent compared to the year-ago figure. The statewide median for townhouse-condo properties was $128,000, up 13 percent over the previous year. NAR reported that the national median existing condo price in April 2013 was $189,500.<br />Sat, 06 Jul 2013 13:29:15 ESTFlorida Real Estate TrendsHouse Sales Condo Sales Pending Sales Sold PricesWaiting Periods to Purchase a new home after defaulthttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1284http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1284I get asked all the time about the time frames needed in order to be able to apply for a new mortgage. Each person's story is different and each loan type has its guidelines. I think the lending industry has started looking at what they need to do if the want to make loans to people again which is how they make money. Prospective buyer's who have experienced a foreclosure or bankruptcy can expect the following waiting period before they can seek loan approval.<br /><br />Under: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac VA FHA<br />Foreclosure 7 years-exceptions to 3 yrs. Not less than 2 yrs straight liquidation 3 yrs, but FHA may grant an exception<br /> if extenuating circumstances and discharge provisions. If the loan was if the foreclosure was a result of<br /> are met such as job loss or a foreclosed VA loan, the buyer must have serious illness or death of a wage<br /> death of a wage earner. paid the VA back for its loss before earner and the borrower has reestab-<br /> qualifying for a new VA loan. lished good credit.<br /><br />Chapter 7 or 11 4 years (2 with extenuating Same as above Under a Chapter 7, 2 years after the<br />Bankruptcy circumstances). discharge with reestablished good<br /> credit or no incurred new credit obli-<br /> gations.<br /><br />Chapter 13 Two years from discharge After making 12 months of payments One year current on required payments<br />Bankruptcy date; 4 years from dismissal to a court appointed trustee and the to be considered.<br /> date. trustee or the bankruptcy judge approves<br /> the new credit. <br /> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 10:02:46 ESTWaitimg periods to purchase Real EstateDefault Bankruptcy Waiting Period Purchase Real estate VA Mortgage Loan FHA Freddie MacImproving Markets List Includes 258 Metros in Mayhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1282http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1282The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released recently. This total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.<br /><br />The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Four new markets were added to the list and 19 were dropped from it this month. Newcomers included the geographically diverse metros of Dothan, Ala.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Salisbury, Md.; and Salem, Ore.<br /><br />“The fact that over 70 percent of all U.S. metros are holding onto their spots on the improving list is definitely good news, and representative of the generally brightening outlook for housing markets nationwide,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “That said, our industry’s progress on the road to recovery is being slowed by rising challenges related to the availability of credit, building materials, labor and lots for development.”<br /><br />“While seasonal trends in home prices resulted in an overall decline in the IMI this month, the index remains at a very strong level and continues to represent markets in every state,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Some metropolitan areas that had previously charted marginal home-price gains dropped off the list this time as a result of typically softer prices seen in the winter months, which is similar to what the index showed in this same period last year.”<br /><br />“Today’s report shows that the majority of U.S. metros are experiencing strengthening house prices, employment and permitting activity, which is a much more positive picture than the one we were seeing a year ago,” observed Kurt Pfotenhauer, Vice Chairman of First American Title Insurance Company. “That’s the big picture on which consumers need to focus.”<br /><br />The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.<br /><br />For more information, visit www.nahb.org/imiTue, 04 Jun 2013 09:31:35 ESTImproving Real Estate MarketsReal Estate Trends Markets Labor Housing StatsPositive Equity Is Driving Down Defaultshttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1281http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1281Homeowners with positive equity in their homes have fewer problem loans and are outperforming the national average for defaults. Their default rates are close to pre-crisis norms.<br /><br />The latest data from Lender Processing Servicers shows that the overall equity trend has been a very positive one. LPS’ latest data shows that the share of loans with LTVs greater than 100 percent has fallen 41 percent from a year ago. In total, there were approximately 9 million such loans, or about 18 percent of active mortgages. Some states, including the so-called ’sand states’ (Arizona, Florida, Nevada and California), are still well above the national level, at an average 28 percent, but they, too, have seen improvement over the last year, with negative equity dropping over 40 percent across those four states since January 2012, says LPS Applied Analytics Senior Vice President Herb Blecher.<br /><br />However, March data also showed that the further underwater a borrower gets, the higher those problem rates rise. Borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of just 100-110 percent are actually defaulting at more than twice the national average. For those 50 percent or more underwater, we see new problem rates of 4 percent.<br /><br />“There has always been a clear correlation between higher levels of negative equity and new problem loan rates,” Blecher says.<br /><br />LPS reported foreclosure stats were down 8.2 percent month over month, while foreclosure sales rose 10.1 percent. LPS looked more specifically at that situation in California, where the recent passage of the Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBoR) appears to have slowed down the foreclosure sale process considerably. In Q1 2013, foreclosure sales nationally (excluding California) increased 13 percent from Q4 2012, whereas in California they fell 35 percent during that same period.<br /><br />However, the HBoR does not seem to have had a similar effect on the state’s foreclosure stats which, while down significantly from 2012 levels, are in line with the rest of the nation’s decline in referral activity following the attorneys general mortgage settlement and FHA modification initiatives.<br /><br />The March Mortgage Monitor report released by Lender Processing Services found that new problem loan rates (seriously delinquent mortgages that were current six months ago) have fallen below 1 percent for the first time since 2007. At 0.84 percent, the March new problem loan rate is approaching pre-crisis levels, and nearing the conditions of 2000-2004 when the rate averaged 0.55 percent.<br /><br />For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.comTue, 04 Jun 2013 09:26:18 ESTReal Estate Market TrendsReal Estate Trends Real Estate Equity Property Values Defaults ForeclosuresForeclosure Maneuver Benefits Investorshttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1280http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1280Foreclosure Maneuver Benefits Investors<br /><br />FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Feb. 18, 2013 - South Florida real estate investors are buying titles to homes on the cheap through community association foreclosures then renting them out until the bank catches up.<br /><br />It's the latest tactic aimed at capitalizing on South Florida's quagmire of vacant and foreclosed homes.<br /><br />And since banks - the primary lien holder on the homes - sometimes take years to foreclose, the strategy could offer the investor a hefty return. Homeowner association foreclosures are usually based on unpaid dues, with judgments far less than what is owed on the mortgage. A savvy investor can pick up a home for a few thousand dollars from an association foreclosure auction and make that money back in several months' worth of rent.<br /><br />But while the method pays starving homeowners associations their back dues and puts money in the investor's pocket, unwitting tenants may get a surprise when a lender comes calling to repossess the home.<br /><br />That's what Daniel Torres said happened to his elderly parents after renting a home in the Covered Bridge community west of Lake Worth.<br /><br />It was bought for $10,800 in April by a West Palm Beach-based firm after the community association foreclosed on it for unpaid dues. The unit in the quiet neighborhood was not yet in bank foreclosure, although the previous owner had died two years earlier and the last mortgage payment was made in October 2010, according to court records.<br /><br />The Torreses moved into the home in August. Chase filed foreclosure papers in November against the heirs to the previous owner's estate. A property management company was soon knocking on the Torres' door saying they needed to leave because the house was in foreclosure and the locks were being changed.<br /><br />"It scared me," said Tony Torres, 75. "I love it here. It's peaceful, and there are a lot of nice people."<br /><br />Dennis Sickle, principal of the home's title owner, Milan Investments Inc., said the company does not tell tenants the property was purchased subject to a bank mortgage because they are shielded from a bank eviction by the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. The act says the bank must honor the terms of a lease unless the property is sold to someone who will occupy it as a primary residence. In that case, they must be given a 90-day notice to leave.<br /><br />There is no legal obligation to explain the situation to a tenant, said Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger, who specializes in community association law and is executive director of the Community Advocacy Network.<br /><br />"That being said, it is prudent for the landlord to make that disclosure and prudent for a tenant to ask if any such situation exists prior to signing the lease," she said.<br /><br />In the past year, South Florida has witnessed myriad approaches from would-be real estate wheeler-dealers to cash in on the foreclosure morass.<br /><br />Attorneys who specialize in real estate law say the method of buying title to homes out of a community association foreclosure and renting them out until a bank takes final possession is both a legal and sound business model that can turn a profit.<br /><br />Delray Beach-based attorney David Kupperman said he has a client who collected rent for several years on a home bought through an association foreclosure before the lender got around to repossessing it. His client even takes it a step further by trying to negotiate with the bank to purchase the home for slightly above what the bank could expect to get at the foreclosure auction. The idea is that the bank doesn't have to spend more money in court fees and gets above what it would at a traditional foreclosure sale.<br /><br />"There are a couple of different ways to play the game," Kupperman said. "It requires knowledge and experience, but I can tell you that, from the investor's experience, it does work."<br /><br />It can still be a gamble. Such factors as repair costs and unknown liens could cut into a profit margin.<br /><br />Sickle's company picked up its buying pace in April and now holds title to about 20 Palm Beach County properties, according to the property appraiser.<br /><br />A 2,900-square-foot home west of Lake Worth in the Villaggio Villages of Windsor community was in a Bank of America foreclosure when Sickle bought it from a community association foreclosure auction for $14,900 in April. The home was previously purchased for $454,260 in September 2005.<br /><br />Sickle's company filed to intervene in the Bank of America foreclosure and was able to get a November foreclosure sale canceled, according to court records.<br /><br />But Bank of America, saying it was not told of the cancellation hearing, got the sale rescheduled for Tuesday.<br /><br />"From an investor's perspective, the goal is to delay a bank foreclosure," said DiMaggio Berger. "To the bank, it might make sense to sell it to him. As long as he is paying the association dues, the association probably doesn't care."<br /><br />In the Torres case, the association didn't get paid and put a lien on the home in November for $2,924. The Torreses soon got a letter, which they showed to The Post, demanding they send their rent checks directly to the association or face a termination of their rental agreement. The move, which bypasses the landlord, is something allowed in law.<br /><br />"They don't need this kind of stress and uncertainty," said the couple's son, Daniel Torres, who is involved in a separate fight with the landlord to let his mother keep her Chihuahua.<br /><br />Daniel Torres said he feels he should have been told the home was purchased subject to a bank mortgage.<br /><br />How the rental plan works<br /><br />1. Investor looks for homes that have been foreclosed on by a community association for unpaid dues. The ideal house is not yet in bank foreclosure or the foreclosure case has been idle for a long time.<br /><br />2. Investor buys title to the home through the community association foreclosure auction, typically at a much lower price than what is owed on the mortgage. The purchase gives the investor a title to the property, but it is subject to the primary lien held by the bank.<br /><br />3. The home is rented out by the investor who collects payments, maintains the property and pays association dues.<br /><br />4. If the home is already in a bank foreclosure, the investor may try to stall the proceedings by intervening in the case. He may also try to negotiate with the bank to purchase the home for slightly more than what the bank would get at a traditional foreclosure auction.<br /><br />5. When the bank forecloses, the investor's claim is superseded.<br /><br />6. If the bank ultimately repossesses the home, tenants are covered by the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, which says the bank must honor the lease unless the home is sold to a third party who plans to live in it as the principal residence. In that case tenants get a 90-day notice.<br /><br />© 2013 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Kimberly Miller. Distributed by MCT Information ServicesTue, 04 Jun 2013 09:23:15 ESTForeclosure InvestingForeclosure investing invstors real estateBreakdown on the cost of building a househttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1262http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1262The National Association of Home Builders conducts a survey about home building costs and I believe the data would be of interest to you. How much of a house’s cost comes from the land cost? How about windows, electric, etc.?<br /> <br />The average size of home in this survey was 2311 square feet and the average selling price per square foot was $134.40 (Selling price $310,628) The latest year I could find the numbers from NAHB was 2011. It is notable that the average size new home built in 2011 was 400 square feet less in 2011 than it was in 2009. I suspect that it is even less today.<br /><br />Today the percentages remain the same – that is: the cost of land versus the total cost of the home (around 20%) and the total cost of construction of the sales price is about 60%.<br /><br />You may be interested in the margins that builders make: below 7%. Keep in mind that there was perhaps margins in the land sale as well.<br /><br />Please keep in mind that these are national averages and there was not enough data according to the NAHB to regionalize the results.<br />This table was originally published November 1, 2011 By Heather Taylor, Economics & Housing Policy and you can view the entire article by clicking the link.<br /><br />Wed, 01 May 2013 18:57:45 ESTNew Housing CostsConstruction New Housing 2013 Breakdown CostsUnderstanding CAP Rateshttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1261http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1261The CAP rate; or capitalization rate, is the relationship of the net operating income (NOI) of the property divided by the sales price or appraised value. So a property with $200K of NOI that sold for $2 Mill, sold at a 10 CAP – (200,000 divided by 2 mill). Now, while CAP rates may vary some by city and property type, a general idea of CAP rates will help you screen out deals that don’t make sense. Knowing the CAP rates can help you estimate the real value of the property you are looking at financing and this can help you determine whether it is even a viable deal. <br /><br />Most listing flyers and many borrowers think their property is worth a 7 CAP. No lender in America would give someone a 7 CAP on a property in 2013. In 2007, average pricing was a 7 CAP and in some places like California, you were even seeing 5.5% CAP which is crazy. A property barely cash flows at that CAP rate. Today, cap rates seem to be stabilizing around the country and they seem to be trying to get closer to the old days of norm. Let me show you what I mean by an example….<br /><br />Say a property has a $200K NOI. On a 7 CAP that property is worth $2,857,000. That was the price in 2007 nationally. On a 10 CAP, that same property with the same NOI of $200K is worth $2 million even. Today, prices are coming in closer to the 10 CAP number. When I get a loan and screen it, I calculate my NOI and then divide by .1 (a 10 CAP) to see if we are even in the same ballpark. Usually, the deal is either close or way off. IF way off, you just saved yourself a ton of time working on a deal that will never appraise. If close, you can have a better look. There are lenders willing to underwrite at an 8.5 CAP so if I was close at 10. <br /><br />And different areas and property types support a lower CAP rate. But the 10 CAP is a great place to quick screen and see if you are in the ballpark. Knowing this will save you from doing a lot of work and then getting a low appraisal and having the deal tanked. It saves you time and money. Please note, this is just an example and the numbers are for demo purposes only.<br />Wed, 01 May 2013 18:54:07 ESTCAP Rates Capitalization RatesCap Rates Commercial Real Estate Capitalization RatesSelecting The Right Agenthttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1188http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1188I see lots of questions on Trulia and such media asking, How Do I Select The Right Agent? Its NOT always me, but I like to think so.<br /><br />You want to base your decision on the personality, professionalism, and specialized skills of the agent you’re interviewing. TRUST YOUR GUT!!!<br /> <br />Yes, you should “interview” each other, this IS a big deal! Selling a home is not only one of the biggest financial transactions you will make in your life, but it is also a life “transition”. The agent who earns your business should be knowledgeable about real estate, but should also be able to provide you with a level of comfort and communication that makes you feel at ease and excited.<br /> <br />During your “interview” with prospective agents, make sure you ask the following questions:<br />•How many years of experience do you have? I happen to have 15+ years.<br />•What are the current conditions like? This changes all the time and its based upon area.<br />•Have you sold other homes in this price range? How many? I have closed more than 630 in my career.<br />•What is your commitment and availability? (Are they full-time or part-time? I am Full Time! <br />•How long will it be to return phone calls or emails?)I keep my cell with my and am always replying to e-mails<br />•What is your ability to sell my home quickly? THat answer honestly depends partly on the price which is up to you to approve.<br />•What is your plan to market my house? This I explain in person becuase it is customized by property.<br />•Do you see any reasons my house may not sell quickly? At the right price from the start, properties tend to sell quickly for the most part.<br />•What are reasonable goals for a timely sale? It really comes doen to 2 things, PRICE and PROMOTION.<br /> <br />Your agent should be honest and up front about reasonable time frames and a listing price that satisfies your needs, but is also competitive in the market.<br /> <br />After the interview is over, review the answers and make a note of how your interaction with the agent went. Even during a quick house sale, you will be spending a good deal of time with this person. You would be surprised how many people have complained about agents that simply weren’t a good personality fit for them. REMEMBER, TRUST YOUR GUT!!!<br /> <br />Working with someone that you feel comfortable with will make the experience much more enjoyable. Do you have a sense that the agent is honest and trustworthy? This is absolutely essential! You’ll need your real estate agent to give you honest assessments, explain any complex real estate terms, and develop the smartest sales strategy for your home.<br /> <br />With the right person as your agent, you’ll be much more likely to sell your home quickly.<br /><br />Contact me today, the buyer is out there now!<br />Thu, 24 Jan 2013 09:02:29 ESTReal Estate Buyer AgentsHome Buying in Cape Coral Home Selling in Cape Coral Property Q&A in Cape Coral9 Futuristic Real Estate Apps That Already Existhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1184http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1184Remember the Jetsons? When you think back on it, it’s uncanny how many of the so-called space age technologies that George, Jane, Judy, Elroy (and the inimitable Rosie) had in their 2062-era home exist right now - 40 years ahead of schedule! Video phone calls, mobile devices with video and phone capabilities, flatscreen “televiewers” with scrolling news updates (à la the internet), digital diaries, even robotic cleaners like Roomba: all Jetson gadgetry, and all of it exists as we speak.The light-speed at which web and mobile applications, or apps, are being developed and launched today means that it’s easy to find yourself pining away for an app that could work a particular sort of futuristic wizardry in your house hunt or home sale - when, in fact, that app already exists! Don’t get stuck in a real estate time warp - instead, tap into this list of 9 futuristic real estate apps that already exist.<br /><br />1. Trulia. I’m not the only one that loves the Trulia mobile app suite. Here’s why: wherever you find yourself - at your pal’s baby shower or lost in a strange town - you can pull out your phone or tablet, open the Trulia app and it will instantly detect your location and serve you up everything you’d ever need to know about the homes for sale in that area. How’s that for futuristic? But there’s more! As the New York Times raved, “Trulia includes a well-designed search feature, where users can find homes for sale or rent according to a specified price and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or homes that have recently posted price reductions, for instance. Trulia users can also contact a home’s real estate agent from each listing, and scan a list of nearby amenities and institutions, like gas stations or schools." The app also allows you to send listings to your agent and save favorites to the same My Trulia dashboard you can access from your laptop, desktop, or other device from home or work. Plus, you can use the Trulia Mortgage Calculator app for iPhone and iPad to help see how much you can afford and compare personalized loan quotes. <br />Available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br /><br />2. Home Snap. HomeSnap is an augmented reality app that gives you access to all sorts of information about a home, by just taking a photo of the property. In fact, some folks have deemed it the ultimate form of tech-empowered voyeurism, but what’s cool about it is that taking a photo is the key that unlocks the information from public records or listing websites. <br />Available for iOS. <br />Android version coming soon.<br />Price: Free<br /><br />3. House Hunter. I have a practice of asking my home buyer clients to track what’s good, bad and ugly about individual properties as we tour them, and to select/rank their top couple from every tour. The House Hunter App represents a high-tech upgrade to that useful, but old-school, exercise of tracking homes’ attributes and comparing properties against each other. Because it’s a digital experience, it’s quicker; it’s easier to share with your co-buyer, your parents or your agent; and it’s simpler to execute, as the app actually provides a list of over 80 property attributes you can choose from to describe any given home you see on tour.<br />Available for: iOS <br />Price: $3.99<br /><br />4. Houzz. My friends and colleagues have raved about this app - on iPhone, iPad, Android and on the web - since it first came out a couple of years back. But not until I was actually embarking upon a home remodeling project of my own, could I fully appreciate its value in terms of delivering a seemingly endless number of photos of well-designed rooms, and the ability to favorite and track them to help organize your own redesign plans and, even better, to communicate them vividly to your designer or contractor. What’s more, house hunters can (and should) tap into the app to compile images that depict their stylistic leanings and aesthetic preferences better than they can do verbally, for the purpose of helping their agent understand their vision. <br />Availble for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br /><br />5. Photo Measures and My Measures. If I have one tape measure I have a dozen - yet I never seem to have one handy when I need them the most. Whether you’re the type of house hunter who wants to account for the precise dimensions of an heirloom dining table or a seller who is trying to do as much DIY property preparation as you can, both of these apps equip you with the high-tech capability to simply take a pictue of a wall, room, floor or door and use your fingers to get an accurate measure of any given distance on the image.<br />Photo Measures available for iOS<br />Price: $4.99<br />My Measures available for Android<br />Price: $4.99<br /><br />6. DocuSign Ink. Sign any contract document, disclosure, offer or counteroffer - in a moment’s time - with your mobile device. This app is also integrated with the basic boilerplate contract forms used by agents in most areas. DocuSign Ink is so convenient and makes signing so easy you’ll have to exercise some serious discipline to actually read through things before you sign them.<br />Available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br /><br />7. Color Capture/ColorSmart/ColorClix/Wall Painter. All of these paint apps are brought to you by individual paint brands, and they’re all great - I say, use the one that maps to your favorite paint brand. They all empower you to snap a photo of anything in the world around you and find the company’s matching paint color. And for those with futuristic design desires, you can use any of these apps to virtually “paint” the walls of your house and preview the results before you even buy a single bucket of paint, using computer vision and intelligent object detection. <br />Color Capture available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br />ColorSmart available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br />ColorClix available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br />Wall Painter available for: iOS<br />Price: $.99<br /><br />8. Airbnb Neighborhoods. With functionality provided by the site NabeWise, the web-based application Airbnb Neighborhoods is a program that futuristic house hunters can use to power the ultimate decision-making experience: trying a neighborhood on for size, whether for a night, a weekend or a couple of weeks. Though it’s currently limited to major world cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., Airbnb Neighborhoods allows you to click on a city, click on the area “flavor” you want in your future neighborhood (options include “Nightlife” “Loved by Washtonians” “Stunning Views” and more) and it will not only surface the neighborhoods that have been tagged with these characteristics by the folks who live there, it will also pull up available Airbnb homes you can rent on a very short-term basis in those areas, if you want to give the area a whirl before you launch your house hunt in earnest.<br />Available for: iOS and Android<br />Price: Free<br /><br />9. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. When I think of futuristic gadgetry, I envision things that are simple and uncomplicated, yet flexible and powerful when you put them to use. This is precisely how I’d describe Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. Not only does it calculate payments from a purchase price and interest rate, it also will calculate any one of those items from the other two - uber-helpful for buyers who know how much they can spend, but not how much that will buy them, and for folks who are trying to evaluate the different payment scenarios of loan programs with several different interest rate levels. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator instantly produces very easy-to-understand graphs and charts, and is really helpful for folks considering various scenarios for paying their home loan(s) off early.<br />Available for: Android<br /><br />If you go to the link below, the actual article has the active links for the above products!Thu, 17 Jan 2013 16:27:44 ESTReal Estate AppsReal Estate Apps ipda. droid listings signing documents12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractorhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1182http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1182Florida is a great place to live for most of us. We find our dream home and naturally want to make it our own. So we look for contractors to assist us. Problem is, there are both good and bad like everything else. So if your going alone for the first time, or second time, here are 12 tips for a happy ending after the task is completed.<br /><br />1. Get at least three written estimates.<br />2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.<br />3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.<br />4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.<br />5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job. <br />6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.<br />7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it. <br />8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.<br />9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations. <br />10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage. <br />11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.<br />12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.<br /><br /><br />Wed, 16 Jan 2013 08:46:22 ESTHome RemodelingReal Estate Contractors Build Remodel Paint Tips5 Signs the Market is Recovering Fast http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1181http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=11811. Both asking price and rents jumped 5 percent from last year<br /> <br />Trulia’s latest Price and Rent Monitors showed a big boost in asking prices across the U.S. – up 5.1 percent year-over-year. This a drastic change from the double digit declines of previous years.<br /> <br />The relevant news for your buyer and seller prospects isn’t just that home prices are climbing, but that renting is getting more expensive as well. The statistics showed rents are up 5.2 percent year-over-year.<br /> <br />If you understand supply and demand, it’s obvious that these two facts point toward more real estate moves happening, and that consumers have gotten over the angst of previous years and shifted into the “recovery mindset.”<br /> <br />To follow along or view past data releases from Trulia, check out the Pro Blog’s Industry Feed where you can find graphics and facts you can share to help boost consumer confidence in your market.<br /> <br /> 2. Mortgage rules got a renovation.<br /> <br />Predatory lending practices linger near the top of many economists’ blame lists for the most recent market decline. And, after years of fallout from bad mortgages, capable buyers have been, understandably, slow to purchase.<br /> <br />For those buyers who’ve been anxious about the mortgage process and skeptical of the predatory lending, this Thursday brought great news and a sure “go” sign for them to jump into the market.<br /> <br />Thursday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released it’s new mortgage guidelines which are “a set of standards that protects consumers from bad loans” according to David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.<br /> <br />The new guidelines show that banks and the government are working out their differences to create a safer, more secure environment for homeowner hopefuls. In addition, the new guidelines give those buyers access to mortgage best practices upfront to help them ensure they’re ready for application and ownership from the start.<br /> <br />For a great summary of the new guidelines, check out CNN’s article “New Rules Aim to Make Mortgages Safer”.<br /> <br /> 3. Delinquency & foreclosures are at record lows.<br /> <br />Declining delinquencies aren’t just fluffed headlines, the numbers support what it seems many agents are feeling.<br /> <br />Delinquencies are down. According to Trulia’s Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, “ In November, 10.63% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, down a hair from 10.64% in October. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is at its lowest level in four years and is 41% back to normal.”<br /> <br />These stats are good news for buyer’s agents whose clients and prospects need a boost of confidence.<br /> <br />4. 93% of Millenials plan to buy.<br /> <br />Last quarter we released Trulia’s American Dream Survey and one of the top facts from our study showed that 93 percent of current millennial renters plan to buy.<br /> <br />This is good news for an industry that’s suffered from years of skittish home shoppers and a lot of talk about home buying no longer being a part of the American Dream.<br /> <br />5. Investors rush in.<br /> <br />Another sign that we’re on the way to a high-paced recovery is that investors are making major moves to capitalize on today’s opportunity.<br /> <br />A recent story from Bloomberg covered how Blackstone Group, the largest U.S. private real estate owners, sped up it’s purchases of homes to try to beat out fast rising prices.<br /> <br />This is a sign for on the fence buyers to start their hunt before the weather heats up and they face more competition than they can handle.<br /> <br />These are some of the national signs that show the recovery is well under way. Comment below and tell us what you’re seeing, reading, and witnessing in your local market.<br />Sun, 13 Jan 2013 14:15:08 ESTReal Estate Market TrendsExtending Mortgage Debt Relief through 2014http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1099http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1099Dear Mr. Cloutier:<br /> <br /> Thank you for contacting me regarding mortgage debt relief. As Florida continues to recover from an astounding level of foreclosures, I have worked with my colleagues in the Senate to mitigate the effects of the housing crisis for homeowners. <br /> <br /> I am a cosponsor of S. 2250, the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act. This legislation would allow the cancellation of mortgage debt on a principal residence to be excluded from a taxpayer's taxable income through calendar year 2014. In the 110th Congress, I cosponsored a similar measure, which was signed into law in 2010 (P. L. 110-142), that allowed the cancellation of mortgage debt on a principal residence to be excluded from taxable income through calendar year 2012.<br /> <br /> While Congress is working to make sure responsible homeowners who engage in short sales do not face a tax bill, we also must educate struggling homeowners about shady outfits claiming to offer financial assistance. I am pleased that the Federal Trade Commission set up a website to help homeowners avoid scams and predatory business practices. To learn more, please visit the following website: www.ftc.gov/YourHome <br /> <br /> I appreciate hearing your views. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future. <br /> <br /> Sincerely,<br /> Bill Nelson<br /> <br />P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at http://billnelson.senate.gov/news/ebriefs.cfm<br />Tue, 27 Nov 2012 13:13:03 ESTExtending Mortgage Debt Relief Short Sale Foreclosure Sales Real Estate6 Things You Didn't Know Your Agent Could Dohttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1097http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1097The list of pleasant surprises in real estate matters is really, really short. Normally, we all want things to tick along precisely according to plan, and almost anything unexpected causes us inconvenience or plain old stress. But there is one relatively common set of real estate surprises that is actually quite delightful: the unexpected perks of working with the right real estate pro.<br /><br />Most sellers come to their real estate agent relationships expecting help selling their home on a particular time frame, and marketing the place to make that happen. Buyers are most often seeking an agent’s help finding the right home and negotiating to buy it. <br /><br />But both buyers and sellers are often pleasantly surprised at the other resources, strategic counsel and expertise their agents ultimately provide.Here are some of the biggest benefits that catch them off-guard:<br /><br />1. Insider knowledge. In a recent survey, home buyers said one of the biggest benefits they got from their agent was an understanding of how the buying process would unfold. When it comes to something as infrequent, complex and high stakes as buying or selling a home, having an insider advisor who is dedicated to your success can alleviate your anxieties and otherwise put you in a power position, when it comes to making smart decisions and moves. <br /><br />2. Lifestyle design advice. I recently spoke with Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek, The Four Hour Body and his brand-new book, The Four Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything and Living the Good Life. I asked Tim flat out what would be in his dream kitchen, if he were in the market for a home and he answered without hesitation: a six-burner Viking range. <br /><br />And that was it. No Carrera marble. No European soft-close drawers. To a world class cook, what really matters is the stove. In fact, he explained, he was briefed on the importance of the range, and only the range, to a great chef’s kitchen by chef extraordinaire Alice Waters.<br /><br />The right agent can and often does precisely what Alice Waters did for Tim Ferriss: they can course correct you around what home features, transaction terms and even timing nuances will help further the lifestyle you are trying to create - and which won’t - based on their past experiences working with buyers and sellers in similar situations. <br /><br />You might think that you are desperate to live in a particular neighborhood, but your agent can help you understand the realities of the commute in a way you didn’t before. You might want to wait to list your home until the summertime, but your agent can point out the wisdom of getting started prepping the place during your holiday vacation time so that you’ll be poised to take advantage of pent-up cold weather demand at the first thaw. Of course, for your agent to be able to do this, you have to give them as much information as possible about the lifestyle you aim to create.<br /><br />3. Save you from yourself. As we discussed last week, there are many instances in which even the smartest buyers and sellers are their own worst enemies, committing unintentional acts of self-sabotage like overpricing, lowballing, overspending and the like. If you equip your agent with a deep understanding of the overall life picture, financial picture and then home picture you’re trying to create with your buy or sale (or both), they can help point out when you’re about to take an action that will be inconsistent with or counterproductive to what you say is important to you. <br /><br />Ultimately, it’ll be your decision whether to take a given red flag-waving step or not, but your agent can be a very valuable coach to gently point out when you might be getting in your own way.<br /><br />4. Stop you from buying the wrong house. A surprisingly high number of home buyers report that their agent actually talked them out of buying the wrong house for them. Whether because the inspection results come back and are deeply worrisome, the sellers simply want more money than you can healthily afford or experience has taught them that a buyer with your priorities will not be happy with a house like that, the majority of agents would rather sell you the *right* home for your family next month than sell you the wrong one right now. <br /><br />5. Devise an pre-buying or -selling action plan. What a tangled web we weave, when first we fail to properly plan and prep to buy or sell our home. Okay, so it doesn’t have quite the ring as the original saying, but you get the gist nonetheless. Agents love nothing more than to get a call way in advance of when you think you’ll be ready to make your move. Calling them in advance allows them to sit down with you in an unhurried, unpressured environment to map out an action plan that sets you (and them) up for successfully achieving whatever your real estate goal is. <br /><br />And that, in turn, can help you prevent the overwhelm, procrastination and eventual last minute scrambling and freak-outs that arise when your ducks are not all in a row.<br /><br />Things an agent can help you plan out, significantly in advance of your target move-in or move-out date, include, among many others:<br />•Referrals to mortgage brokers, financial planners, contractors, stagers and relationship counselors (just kidding on that last one!).<br /> •Setting up action steps you need to take and helping you understand when you need to take them to meet your target time frames. <br />•Getting clear on the relative costs (and financial prep it will take) to buy in any of several neighborhoods, cities and even property types that you are considering.<br /> <br />6. Illuminate options you weren’t aware were even possible. There’s no shame in not knowing everything there is to know about real estate - even very active real estate consumers will only buy or sell 5, maybe 10 homes in a lifetime. But your agent does this all day, every day, for their entire career. So off the top of their head, they might be able surface options in terms of <br />•properties<br /> •neighborhoods<br /> •pricing plans<br /> •contract terms<br /> •marketing tools<br /> •negotiation strategies <br />•and even post-closing protections and service providers <br />that you would never have known existed, if not for them. <br /><br />The theme here is this: don’t limit your agent and the help they can provide you by what you *think* their job is, or what you think they do or don’t know. Make sure that when you’re getting referrals or meeting agents online and in person early on in your agent selection process, you pay attention to their references and marketing plans, but also to how well your personalities mesh. <br /><br />Ideally, you’ll find and work with an agent in whom you can confide everything from your big picture life vision to your truly confidential financial details. <br /><br />Bottom line: The more you feel comfortable sharing with your agent, the more likely you are to be pleasantly surprised with the ways they can help you.<br />Fri, 23 Nov 2012 10:19:02 ESTReal Estate AgentsBuyer Seller Advise Problems Issues Real Estate Cape Coral North Fort Myers Fort Myers5 Myths of Becoming a Homeowner after a Foreclosure/Short Sale/Bankruptcyhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1095http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1095Myth #1 – I HAVE TO WAIT 7 YEARS BEFORE I CAN GET A LOAN<br />You do not have to wait 7 years to qualify for a mortgage after going through a mortgage delinquency and/or a bankruptcy. If you went through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you only have to have completed 1 year of your repayment plan to qualify for an FHA Loan. FHA financing also allows you to qualify for a loan after 3 years from the date of a foreclosure on a previous home. If you completed a short sale on a previous home, you may qualify for a new mortgage in as little as 2 years from the date or the short sale. You must have re-established credit, and now is the time to start that process and get back on track!<br /><br />Myth #2 – I WILL NEED A LARGE DOWNPAYMENT TO BUY A HOME<br />There is no question that there are fewer loan programs offered today with low or zero down payment. HOWEVER, just about anyone is eligible for an FHA Loan. You do not need to be a first time homebuyer. The down payment requirement is 3.5% of the purchase price – that’s probably almost the same amount of money you would need for a rent deposit! If you are a Veteran, you are likely eligible for 100% financing – and Myth#1 applies to VA Loans as well.<br /><br />Myth #3 – IT’S JUST CHEAPER TO RENT<br />Granted, every situation is different, but in many cases this just is not true. Any good plan has a short term and long term outlook. In the short term, with prices and mortgage rates at historic lows the monthly costs to own a home are often the same or as cheap as renting the same type of home. For example, at today’s interest rates, you can own a $100,000 home for less than $900 a month – that includes taxes and insurance! And by the way, you only needed a $3500 down payment. Even if you do not see significant savings in the short term, you must look at the long term advantages of homeownership. You are likely leaving thousands of dollars in the pockets of the IRS every year by not having an interest deduction on your taxes. The Housing Affordable Index is at a 20 year high – low prices and low interest rates WILL NOT remain at these levels forever. Don’t look back 5 years from now and say “I should have bought back then.” Remember this fact as well, your rent is going to eventually go up, when you own a home, you can virtually “lock in” your monthly housing costs.<br /><br />Myth #4 – THERE IS PLENTY OF TIME TO BUY – PRICES ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE<br />As mentioned earlier, Housing Affordability goes well beyond the price of the home. Interest rates are still at historic lows, and the market experts continue to warn of higher interest rates ahead. In addition, the Federal Housing Administration has hinted at increasing the minimum down payment requirements to reduce the risk of mortgage defaults. Remember that our Government is virtually carrying FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac on their backs right now. Securing a mortgage while rates are at historic lows and down payments are very reasonable are a great reason to not let the perception of housing prices be your only decision method.<br /><br />MYTH #5 – IT’S JUST TOO DIFFICULT TO QUALIFY FOR A LOAN<br />Hopefully by now you have realized that some of the myths that exist just are not true, especially with regards to qualifying for a loan. I know, you hear on TV all the time of “Difficult Lending Standards”. Yes, it’s true, you can no longer get a 100% mortgage with No Income Verification and a 580 credit score……Seriously though, the mortgage industry has simply gone back to the standards they had 10 years ago. You must have reasonable credit – 640 credit score as an average; You must verify your income and your debts represent less than 50% of your income; and You typically need a little money into the transaction – which in most cases can be a gift if necessary. Millions of people were qualifying for loans prior to the “Wild West” of mortgage lending, and customers are closing on loans every day in today’s market.<br />Yes, you may not qualify for a mortgage loan today – That’s why we did this report. The first step is realizing that owning a home again (or for the first time) is the best thing you can do for yourself. Then, you need to make a plan to achieve this. Now is the time to contact us and allow us to review your situation and help you get on a path to homeownership. All too often, people wait until “they are ready to buy”; to only find out they cannot because they did not plan ahead. There are tens of thousands of people who experienced a foreclosure, bankruptcy, and/or short sale in the last several years. Over the course of the next 24 months, many of these people will have the ability to own homes again – Will you be one of them?<br /><br />For Additional Information on becoming a homeowner again or for the first time, please call Nathan Davis for a FREE Consultation at 239-898-8841 or email me at Nathan@nathandavis-mortgage.com<br />Other helpful information can be found at http://www.nathandavis-mortgage.comTue, 20 Nov 2012 16:56:31 ESTMortgage Changesshort sales mortgages foreclosures loan buying real estate3 Core Requirements for Obtaining a Mortgage Loan in Today’s Environmenthttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1094http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1094(1) Income:<br />*INCOME MUST BE DOCUMENTED THROUGH PAYSTUBS, W-2S, 1099’S, AND/OR TAX RETURNS. STATED INCOME OR INCOME VERIFIED THROUGH BANK STATEMENT DEPOSITS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE PRACTICES.<br />*SELF EMPLOYED – VERIFY INCOME FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS WITH COMPLETE PERSONAL AND BUSINESS TAX RETURNS (IF APPLICABLE). P&L’S ALONE CANNOT BE USED FOR INCOME VERIFICATION.<br />*COMMISSION INCOME – TREATED MUCH THE SAME AS SELF EMPLOYED, TYPICALLY WILL INCLUDE 1099S OR W-2S FROM THE EMPLOYER PROVIDING THE INCOME SOURCE<br />*SALARY/HOURLY – MUST HAVE 30 DAYS OF CONSECUTIVE PAYSTUBS, ADDITIONALLY WE WILL REQUIRE 2 YEARS OF W-2S TO VERIFY PREVIOUS INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT<br />*RETIREMENT – VERIFY INCOME A NUMBER OF WAYS – AWARD LETTERS, W-2S, 1099’S, AND/OR TAX RETURNS FOR 2 YEARS. RECENTLY RETIRED IS OK AS LONG AS THE INCOME CAN BE VERIFIED AND RECEIVED FOR 1 MONTH.<br />*TOTAL DEBT (INCLUDING NEW HOUSE PAYMENT) SHOULD NOT TYPICALLY EXCEED 45% OF THE BORROWER(S) GROSS MONTHLY INCOME. STRONGER FILES CAN GO UP TO 50%, OCCASIONALLY EVEN HIGHER WITH OTHER FACTORS.<br /><br />(2) Assets:<br />*FHA LOAN REQUIRES 3.5% DOWN PAYMENT + CLOSING COSTS. PRIMARY HOMES ONLY. GIFT FUNDS ARE ALLOWED.<br />*CONVENTIONAL LOANS REQUIRE A 5% DOWN PAYMENT FOR PRIMARY HOMES, 10% DOWN PAYMENT FOR SECOND HOMES, AND TYPICALLY 20% DOWN FOR INVESTMENT PURCHASES. A LOAN WITH LESS THAN 20% DOWN DOES REQUIRE PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE THAT HAS ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS NOT HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS SUMMARY. THE MAJORITY OF CONVENTIONAL BUYERS PUT 20% DOWN OR MORE. GIFT FUNDS ARE ALLOWED WITH SOME RESTRICTIONS.<br />*VA LOANS AND USDA LOANS REQUIRE $0 MONEY DOWN, BUT YOU STILL HAVE CLOSING COSTS. PRIMARY HOMES ONLY. GIFT FUNDS ARE ALLOWED.<br />*ASSETS MUST BE VERIFIED IN THE BORROWER(S) ACCOUNT, TYPICALLY THROUGH 2 MONTHS OF BANK STATEMENTS. GIFT FUNDS ARE THE EXCEPTION; HOWEVER WE MUST VERIFY THE SOURCE OF THE GIFT. UNSECURED LOANS FOR DOWN PAYMENT ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE FUNDS FOR CLOSING.<br />*ANY IRREGULAR OR LARGE DEPOSITS OUTSIDE OF TYPICAL PAYROLL DEPOSITS WILL BE QUESTIONED AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BE USED FOR ACCEPTABLE FUNDS FOR CLOSING – I.E. CASH DEPOSITS.<br /><br />(3) Credit:<br />*MOST LENDERS ADHERE TO A CREDIT SCORE OF 640 OR GREATER.<br />*SOME LENDERS WILL ALLOW A CREDIT SCORE OF 620-639, HOWEVER THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LOAN WILL BECOME MUCH MORE DIFFICULT, THE RATE WILL BE HIGHER, AND OFTEN IT IS BETTER TO WORK TO IMPROVE THE SCORE TO 640 TO ALLOW FOR GREATER PREDICTABILITY AND SUCCESS<br />*SOME FHA LENDERS WILL STATE THEY CAN GO LOWER THAN 620, HOWEVER EXPERIENCES GIVEN TO ME OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS HAVE SHOWN THAT THESE APPROVALS ARE RARE AND OFTEN HAVE UNACHIEVABLE REQUIREMENTS<br />*DISPUTED ACCOUNTS TYPICALLY HAVE TO BE RESOLVED PRIOR TO CLOSING<br />*NOT ALL COLLECTIONS OR CHARGED OFF ACCOUNTS HAVE TO BE PAID PRIOR TO CLOSING, EACH SITUATION IS EVALUATED<br />*PAST FORECLOSURES, SHORT SALES, AND BANKRUPTCIES HAVE THEIR OWN SEASONING REQUIREMENTS BASED ON LOAN PROGRAM – BUT MANY PERSONS CAN QUALIFY FOR A NEW LOAN IN AS LITTLE AS 2-3 YEARSTue, 20 Nov 2012 16:48:18 ESTObtaining a Mortgage Loan Why do so many Realtors NOT want to help me with Short Sales or Foreclosures?http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1093http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1093To most people do not realize that a fair number of good Realtors do not like to work with Short Sales and Foreclosures. That may sound odd being it is how we earn a paycheck, but regardless if your listing or writing an offer on a one of these types of properties, most will decline to help. Why? Here are 5 listed below and after digesting what is here, ask yourself one question; "Would You?"<br /><br />#1. Nearly 25% of all sales are either short sales or foreclosures. Agents DO provide help to buyers and seller in these situations, but its not our first choice.<br /> <br />#2. Short sales are highly complex and unpredictable and REQUIRE a truly committed and capable buyer. If you are a marginal or casual buyer, an agent will spend 10, 25, 60 hours on your behalf and you will disappear. Why? YOu can not get an answer from the bank and the buyer gets understandably frustrated. No one wants that to happen. Keep those direct hours in the back of your mind, you'll need them later.<br /> <br />#3. Foreclosures are very competitive. If you are shopping at the top of your ability to buy, you will not be able to make the +15% offer to get into the game. If you are using FHA or VA backed financing, you are handicapped even further by inspection/appraisal guidelines and lengthy timefram,es to close. If a bank does agree to an offer, they want to know that the buyer can close FAST.<br /> <br />#4. Price point. If you are shopping at the 'below" $100,000 level, you may find many lenders will sink your deal during the last week of the event. Of course they won't tell you, "There's no money to be made" but that is the reality. Then consider the direct hours and agent spends and the possible income from a low price purchase.<br /> <br />#5. You may be working with a predatory lender requiring a 'kick-back' or compensation to pay the mortgage brokers fees. I have even had insurance companies holding their hand out for a few bucks thrown there way to sign off when I do not believ they have any say in the offer. They offered insurance to the bank, not the borrower that defaulted. So, that is between the bank and the insurance conmpany. But they try and often succeed or they end up trashing the deal.<br /><br />IU coulkd go on and on, but suffice to say that when you decide you want to get into this type of sale, just realize that your agent will put in the most hours of work, deal with the most fruastraing situations and in the end if the deal does close, make the smallest amount of money for their efforts.<br />Tue, 20 Nov 2012 13:16:11 ESTShort Sale and Foreclosures - Finding a RealtorCrime Statistics for a Real Estate Agent to offerhttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1066http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1066You know, I have sold many many properties in my years as an agent and I am always asked the question "Is it a safe area?" in one form or another. It is a question I can not legally answer. I, like many of my fellow agents want to offer as much help and information as we can to our clients but there are just some things we can not do. So we offer our sage advice, "Call the police department and ask them."<br /><br />I have good news! With the advent of the internet, I have found a great website to answer that question for virtually any area. It address is www.crimereports.com and now I have a place to send my clients to view and evaluate an area based upon statistics for the area!<br /><br />Hope this helps!<br /><br />Cheers<br /><br /><br />KevinSat, 15 Sep 2012 09:53:48 ESTReal Estate Reports - CrimeBuying or Renting, which is better RIGHT NOW nationwidehttp://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1065http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1065Buying A Home Is 45% Cheaper than Renting!Sat, 15 Sep 2012 09:44:08 ESTReal Estate TrendsTrends Buying Renting StatsVideo Mortgage Market Update http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1064http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=10641. Mortgage Rates stay low this week, but an increase is on the way – Attachment includes Federal Announcement <br />2. Fear of a Mini Bubble Burst looms– Why I do not see that as a concern for the Southwest Florida Real Estate Market<br /><br />Here is the link to view the short video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puO1YLdbZfc&feature=youtu.be<br /><br />Wed, 12 Sep 2012 16:00:46 ESTMortgage ChangesThe Army Corp is at it again & it's not good!http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1088http://kevincloutier.com/news/index.cfm?fc=article&id=1088Over the course of the last year the CCCIA and the City of Cape Coral have been meeting with agencies like the Army Corp of Engineers to work together to develop a solution to continue to issue seawall permits and other marine improvements over the counter with maybe a one or two day review time. The City has worked under a blanket permit for the past five years, a permit that expires this Friday. In a meeting a few weeks ago we were assured this blanket permit would be extended as we continued to work together toward a solution.<br />At 11:24am yesterday morning we received the following email:<br />The Corps is deeply appreciative of the outstanding collaboration between all parties as we attempt to gather enough information to address the concerns related to the critical habitat for the Federally endangered smalltooth sawfish. The Corps had hoped to administratively extend SAJ-91 while we continued the coordination efforts with NMFS. However, we will not be able to extend SAJ-91 because we do not have an existing Biological Opinion from NMFS for the previous issuance of SAJ-91. Critical habitat was listed after the original issuance of SAJ-91. My personal apologies for any past miscommunication on the possible extension of SAJ-91. After Friday, the Corps will have to review any applications that would have been authorized under SAJ-91 until formal consultation can be concluded for smalltooth sawfish critical habitat. I have attached a fact sheet outlining the issues for all concerned. The Corps looks forward to working with all parties to conclude consultation as quickly as possible.<br /> <br />As you can imagine we are very disturbed by this email and are working diligently with Congressman Connie Mack, Senator Rubio, Congressional Candidate Trey Radel, Senator LizBeth Benaquisto, Representative Matt Caldwell and all of our local media outlets to persuade the Army Corp & National Marine Fisheries to extend the permit and allow construction in Cape Coral to continue. We will keep you in formed and should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 239-470-2478.<br />Mon, 19 May 2003 20:47:44 EST