1. What your Home Inspector may Not Inspect

    What can be overlooked?

    Some items that I notice are pools and sometimes pool pumps especially in Florida.  Pool leaks and cracks are common but without the proper equipment and knowledge you won’t be able to detect the leak. 

    Also, a major recent area that inspectors are backing off from are mold inspections.  Because of new

    Read More

  2. Yup it’s true.  The Orlando housing market is full of eager buyers.  Almost half of which are willing to pay MORE THAN list price!

    Yup it’s true.  The Orlando housing market is full of eager buyers.  Almost half of which are willing to pay MORE THAN list price!

  3. Orlando Housing Market Recap

    July 2012 Housing Market – Talking Points
    Released August 15, 2012


    *Orlando home sales (all home types combined) in July 2012 were up 2.66 percent when compared to July of 2011 and down 9.91 percent when compared to June 2012.

    *Single-family home sales in the Orlando area increased by 6.52 percent in July when compared to July of last year. Villa sales increased by 10.58 percent; condo sales decreased by 17.41.

    *Of the 2,355 sales in July, 1,132 normal sales accounted for 48.07 percent of all sales, while 559 bank-owned and 664 short sales respectively made up 23.74 percent and 28.20 percent.

    Read More

  4. Check it out! Competition for Orlando homes is high and spiking prices. Median sales price for a home jumped more than 9% in May. Home inventory is down to what is was in 2005!

  5. Wow! So if you want to really upgrade your home try out these new touchscreen windows…truly amazing and practical.

  6. Yup folks, home prices went up over 10% in Orlando for homes.  Inventory continues to be low and bidding wars abound.  Welcome to the new market :) 

  7. Wow, how times have changed!

    Wow, how times have changed!

  8. "We see the job growth and economic growth in Orlando to be much more supportive of a rebound in the housing sector. And that’s across all price points, given job creation in high-tech and medical sectors and not just the service sector that Florida is known for."
    Michael Wolf, 41 the vice president of land acquisition for luxury-homebuilder Toll Brothers speaking about plans to invest more in the purchase of land in Orlando
  9. Sales are up in Orlando!  Home prices are up almost 19% since this January.  Foreclosures are down. Just some of the many highlights in our short market minutes video.  Tune in!

  10. New rules aim to simplify refinancing for troubled homeowners

    If you are a troubled homeowner hoping to refinance, pay attention next Tuesday as details come out on a new federal program that could make it easier starting in late December or early in 2012.

    In the meantime, be sure you keep up with your mortgage payments so that you can qualify for the new deal.

    Even if you missed payments in the past, it can help to be current going forward, said Kathy Conley, housing specialist for GreenPath Debt Solutions in Farmington Hills.

    The revised Home Affordability Refinance Program (HARP) could apply to a broader base of people.

    If, for instance, you owe $100,000 on a house that would appraise at just $50,000 – too deep underwater for a conventional refinancing – you might be able to refinance under the new HARP. That was not true under the old HARP, launched in 2009, which had a 125 percent maximum on loan-to-value ratio.

    The new plan is expected be a big help for many homeowners in states that have been hard hit by drastic drops in home values, such as Michigan, Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada, according to Greg McBride, senior analyst for Bankrate.com.

    Seeing mortgage rates hover near record lows – around 4.23 percent for a 30-year fixed and 3.48 percent for a 15-year – has many folks wondering whether it’s time to refinance.

    In this tough housing market, what do you need to know? How can you save money by refinancing and make those low rates work for you?

    Even with interest rates low and a revised federal program coming, refinancing is not for everybody who wants – or needs – a better deal on their home and some extra cash.

    Some homeowners could face surprising hurdles, even if they’re not underwater and are current on payments.

    “Everybody who is really hurting – and everybody who needs the help – can’t take advantage of the rates,” said Kip Kirkpatrick, CEO of Shore Mortgage Services in Birmingham, Mich.

    What’s your credit score? How solid is your income? Got a lot of debt?

    To refinance, the borrower needs a predictable level of recurring income – so such things as pension income would count, as would Social Security, your regular paychecks, alimony if expected to last three years or more, and interest on investments.

    “You will need to provide a full accounting of your income,” said Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans in Detroit.

    Lenders are going to look at how much money you owe on the mortgage and other loans relative to what you’re making.

    “A reduction in income can lead to a higher ratio of debt payments to monthly income,” said Greg McBride, senior analyst for Bankrate.com. “A high debt-to-income ratio makes lenders nervous. The borrower is just one unplanned expense away from problems.”

    As a general rule, it becomes more difficult – but not impossible – to qualify for a mortgage or refinance when a person’s total debt – to income ratio exceeds 40 percent to 45 percent, Walters said.

    Your credit score counts. Lenders generally want a FICO of 680 or higher to qualify for the best rates in a conventional mortgage. A FICO of 620 tends to be the cutoff that often defines who can, and who can’t, get a mortgage.

    Walters noted that there are exceptions to the 620 cutoff, especially when utilizing Federal Housing Administration programs with some lenders.

    Credit scores also could have more wiggle room under the new federal Home Affordable Refinance Program. Gerri Detweiler, personal finance expert for Credit.com, said consumers who are in the process of a refinancing don’t want to go out and borrow money to get new furniture, buy a car or even get holiday gifts. Lenders are likely to look at your credit even the day before or the day of closing on that new mortgage, Detweiler said.

    “If you’ve done something stupid with your credit, you could lose the loan,” she said.

    So what if the house you bought for $280,000 and mortgaged for $260,000 is now worth $150,000?

    Right now, you can’t do a thing with it.

    For a conventional refinancing, the lender wants at most an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio. So if your home is worth $100,000 and you owe $70,000, you could qualify.

    The new HARP 2.0 plan is going to address the underwater mortgage issue further.

    “Anybody who thinks they’re underwater, I would say just hold off until the new program comes out,” said Brian Seibert, president of Watson Group Financial, a mortgage banker in Waterford, Mich.

    The old HARP program had a maximum 125 percent loan-to-value ratio. But that cap is removed under the new plan.

    “It’s easier to refinance through HARP than a conventional refinance,” Conley said.

    But remember to stay current with mortgage payments.

    Under HARP 2.0, the borrower would have to be current with the mortgage payment for the past six months and have no more than one late payment in the past 12. But Conley and others recommend that even if you were late in the past, you can try to be current now if you want to try to qualify for HARP 2.0.

    “Definitely don’t skip the mortgage payment so you can go Christmas shopping,” Detweiler said.

    Though the old HARP promised far more than it delivered – fewer than 900,000 refinancings and just 72,000 of them underwater – experts say consumers should avoid being discouraged. The revised program, which will run through 2013, could be an improvement.

    The program would lower payments but would not reduce principal, so borrowers would still hold mortgages for more than their homes are worth. But they could avoid foreclosure.

    Consumers who want to refinance should prepare paperwork, keep up payments, consider the new option and avoid the desire to give up.

    “You feel the frustration that people have,” McBride said, “but sitting back and doing nothing is not going to solve the problem.”

    Copyright © 2011 the Detroit Free Press, Susan Tompor, personal finance columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

  11. Will Stated Income Loans Ever Come Back?

    Here is a recent question that keeps coming up to one of our savvy local lenders and his response:

    Client : “Do you think that stated income loans will ever make a comeback?”

    Scott the lender: “The existence of stated income programs as well as other “exotic” products was a key contributor to the real estate boom. These products were also the key contributor to the fiscal crisis and economic pain we have felt. There is no doubt that the credit pendulum has moved too far in the other direction, but I do understand why it has happened. Right now, a home loan is not a safe investment for a purchaser. It will not become a safe investment until real estate stabilizes. When real estate does stabilize, the loans which are secured by real estate will be more stable and the pendulum will start to swing back. But not to where it was. You will not see “no-money down, low credit score, stated loans” in my opinion. If we see stated, and that is a BIG IF, it is likely to be for those who have a low LTV, a great score and are willing to pay a high rate premium as these loans may have to be kept in portfolios and will be subject to regulation under the Dodd Frank Act. For example, ability to repay may mean that they have cash in reserve at least equal to the loan size. The real estate markets will recover. The pendulum will swing back. But how far, will remain to be seen.”

    I think he is right on the money.

  12. 5 Reasons to Love Your Small Home :)

    A small home packs plenty of perks, and generally means a lower asking price. But entry price is only one factor—they’re easier on the pocketbook in a host of ways.

    1. Lower property taxes. Your small home will be charged at a lower tax rate than its larger neighbors because the assessed value generally is lower.

    2. Lower property insurance. The smaller the house, generally the lower the insurance cost, although it also matters where you live and how your small house is constructed. A brick house in wildfire-prone southern California is likely to cost less to insure than a similar-size house with wood siding.

    3. You’ll save on heating and cooling. That’s regardless of how energy efficient the house is. In fact, one study indicates that a poorly insulated, 1,500 sq. ft. house is at least $200 cheaper per year to heat and cool than a well-insulated house twice that size. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says homes of 2,000 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft. use an average 102.3 million BTUs of fuel yearly—13% less than homes that are 1,000 square feet larger.

    4. Save on major replacements. When you need to replace a major house component or system, you’ll be glad you’re living in a smaller home. For example: According to the Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine, the national average for vinyl replacement siding is about $9 per sq. ft.

    For a modest-size house (1,500 sq. ft. of living space) with 1,740 sq. ft. of exterior wall space, that’s $15,660. For a 2,500-sq.-ft. house, you’ll pay up to $10,000 more!

    5. Easier maintenance. You’ll spend less time cutting those smaller lawns, cleaning gutters, washing windows, and the umpteen other chores that home ownership involves. Figure 16 windows and sliding glass doors on a home of 2,000 square feet or less would take about 10 hours to clean, inside and out, twice a year. Double the house size, and that’s roughly 20 hours spent with a squeegee and rag.

  13. The Joys of Homeownership

    Today’s experts spout off the latest statistics about long-term wealth, home values, and interest rates, yet there’s a much more sentimental side to homeownership. In fact, many home buyers are drawn to homeownership for these warm and fuzzy reasons.

    Owning a home allows you to put down roots, both figuratively and literally. On one hand you become part of a neighborhood and community. When you rent, neighbors come and go as quickly as leases renew. Homeowners, however, tend to stay put longer.

    What does this mean for you? You can develop, many times, lifelong relationships. This also means your home will see you through many of life’s important milestones.

    It makes sense. Many people enter the realm of homeownership as young couples looking to build a nest. They plan on starting their own family and need room to expand and grow. These family homes will see many firsts and will be the container of countless memories. Additionally, homeownership gives families more room to entertain and this means extended family will also share in building memories.

    It’s not just young families, though, that seek homeownership. Families with teenagers seek larger homes to room their growing brood. Retiring adults may wish to start a new phase and new memories, seeking out warmer climates or smaller, more manageable homes.

    These little moments are what life is all about. Memories from Christmas mornings and summer vacations will fill minds for years to come.

    On the other hand you literally can put down roots by planting trees and shrubs! Renters are rarely afforded the luxury of gardening. In fact, digging up the landlord’s yard is frowned upon. As a homeowner you are able to create your own green oasis, including trees that will mature alongside your children and gardens that will feed your hungry pack.

    There is a certain pride that comes with homeownership. This little piece of property and land is yours. There’s no one that can evict you or take it away. This security allows people to form deep attachments to both the land and home.

    This pride of ownership spurs many owners to make improvements and additions, both to keep the home in working order and to make it more comfortable and usable, which in turns improves neighborhood values and overall curb appeal.

    Why do people buy? They may be initially motivated by changes in circumstance, such as a new job or a new family, but they buy based on emotional responses. People want a house that can become their home, where they’ll fill it with good times and memories. Be sure to remember this sentimental side of homeownership the next time you read about stocks, bonds, and housing woes.

    by Carla Hill
    Realty Times

    To start your home search with us now click here

About me

Jennifer De Vivo is a Realtor the Orlando, Florida area. Her advice and comments have been featured on MSNBC, Forbes Online, Investopedia, Minyanville and more. Her blog spotlights her favorite homes, communities and design ideas. For help with buying or selling a home visit her at www.devivorealty.com