It’s TRUE….the market is changing…the days of finding a sweetheart deal are fewer and farther between. All the nice homes on the market go FAST and normally for almost asking price or better, and yes sometimes with multiple offers. The sweet spot here in the Brandon area is about $200,000 and these homes are only on the market for days. If you or anyone you know would like to sell your home, now is a good time. Give me a call at 813-777-5332 or visit me on the web at


Agents prepare homebuyers to compete

WASHINGTON – Dec. 19, 2012 – House buyers in a growing number of areas are finding something they haven’t seen in years when house-hunting: Competition. With housing affordability high and mortgage rates low, homebuyers are ready to cash in – but they’re finding a lot of others are as well.

Bidding wars are becoming more common, particularly as the inventory of for-sale homes remains constrained across the country.

“Buyers have to change their attitude about the way the market is,” says Carol Hooks, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Alexandria, Va. “Many still think it’s OK to make a low offer and ask for closing-cost assistance, but they really need to come up with a good, realistic offer and be prepared to pay their own closing costs.

Real estate professionals are helping to prepare their buyers for the increased competition. For example, they’re encouraging buyers to go through the mortgage-approval process and secure financing before they look for a home, armed with more than just a lender’s prequalification letter. Eldad Moraru with Long & Foster Real Estate in Bethesda, Md., says its important for buyers to find a lender who will be able to provide them with an approval letter within an hour of finding the home they want to purchase. The new letter should include the address of the property and the exact amount they plan to offer so they can attach it to the offer.

Homebuyers also need to have their earnest money deposit and downpayment ready to go, Moraru says.

“A lot of buyers will have some money in stocks to sell and some money in a checking account and will tell me they need a few days to get it together,” he said. “You need to have that money consolidated and accessible in one account before you find a house.”

As competition heats up, buyers need to prepare to think fast.

“If (the buyer) moves fast enough, (they) can have a home inspection before (they) make an offer, and then waive the home-inspection contingency,” Moraru says about being competitive in some multiple bid situations if you know when the seller is going to be reviewing all offers.

Some agents compare today’s competitive housing market to the process of dating.

“You need to win on both looks and personality,” says Phil Bolin, a broker with RE/MAX Allegiance in Alexandria, Va. “The personality part is the fundamental issue of financing and downpayment, but the looks part doesn’t cost you anything. It can be as simple as making sure there are no mistakes in your contract. If there are mistakes or missing items in your offer, you don’t look like a serious buyer.”

Source: “Strategies Shift as Buyers Again Face Competition,” Washington Times (Nov. 29, 2012)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688




I didn’t know about lumber costs, but I did see the actual letter from Gypsum that their prices were going up! I don’t think prices going up will hurt the market in any real way. Prices going up may allow some who have been under water break even and allow them to sell their homes to purchase another creating more people in the housing market, but who knows. We will just have to keep an eye on it. If you are looking to purchase a home, looking to put your home on the market, or looking for a professional property manager in the Tampa area please give me a call at 813-777-5332 or visit me on the web at
Rising costs could dampen new-home market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – DEC. 17, 2012 – Just as Florida’s new-home market prepares to finish its strongest year since the housing slump, prices for drywall, cement and lumber are fast outpacing inflation.

At a time when inflation is running about 2 percent, lumber prices throughout the country are up 35 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The cost of interior walls for new homes has increased more than 14 percent from November 2011, according to a report released Thursday by Associated General Contractors of America. And suppliers of that drywall, also known as gypsum board, have put builders on notice that those prices may spike an additional 30 percent in the coming year.

“We did get notice the gypsum board would be going up a substantial amount, and we are seeing pricing pressure from other suppliers and from labor,” said Ken McDonald, president of David Weekly Homes’ Orlando division. “It’s a balancing act. We will be raising prices to cover the increases. We’ve been doing that this year.”

The pressure on prices is mainly the result of two things: rising demand from homebuyers eager to take advantage of record-low mortgage-interest rates, and supply problems because of the shutdown of manufacturing plants in recent years. In terms of demand, for instance, David Weekley Homes started 80 houses last year but expects to end this year with double that number.

McDonald said the price increases also reflect a home-construction industry that is trying to rebuild its profit margins, which were decimated by the housing slump and Great Recession.

“Pricing all went to an all-time low, and now business is trying to get their margins back,” McDonald said.

Little reliable data are available to track new-home prices locally. Nationally, new-home prices hit a peak of $257,000 in April 2006 and a low of $205,000 in March 2009, according to the U.S. census. Since then they have been creeping up; just this year, the median price has edged up from $221,700 in January to $237,700 in October.

Examples of rising new-home prices are common throughout Central Florida. At Nona Terrace in southeast Orlando, Lennar Homes sold 25 homes in April with a median price of $162,000. Seven months later, the builder sold 65 homes in November with a median price of $180,000, according to a report by Charles Wayne Consulting, a Maitland real-estate-research firm.

Anirban Basu, chief economist of Associated Builders and Contractors, said he expects prices nationally to stabilize eventually, though the near-term effects of higher prices could dampen the recovery of the new-home market.

“I think it will slow the housing recovery, because new-home buyers are very price-conscious,” Basu said Friday. “What builders might do is move their product to be more upscale; affluent buyers are more likely to spend 5 (percent) to 10 percent more to get what they want. … Value-oriented buyers are more likely to purchase an existing home.”

Greg Hardwick, president of Hardwick General Contracting Inc. in Maitland, said a lack of skilled labor is also going to affect the new-home market in 2013.

“The thing that may get us next year is the labor. There is a huge theme throughout the industry that not enough masons, drywallers and framers are available to meet demands,” Hardwick said.

“We’ve lost a lot of that labor and those resources. They’ve gone to different industries, and now the demand is going back up.”

Copyright © 2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services.


Related Topics: Trends



As a realtor I am always looking at our local GTAR statistics. We have been under 6 months of inventory for the past 4 months in a row which has caused a shortage of available homes on the market. As a result of supply and demand we are finally seeing stabilty in the market as well as rising prices year over year. While I don’t huge rising of prices, but a nice steady rise! To hear more watch my video at the bottom of my website at


Top economists: Fla.’s housing market growing stronger, U.S. on same trend

Conference overview

A PowerPoint presentation from the 2013 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference is available onFlorida Realtors’ website.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dec. 12, 2012 – Florida’s residential real estate market will continue its upward trend into 2013, though the pace of recovery may be slower than the U.S. as a whole, according to leading U.S. economists speaking today at Florida Realtors® 2013 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando.

“Florida’s housing market is back, with great possibilities for the future – but those possibilities are only beginning to be realized,” said Dr. John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors.

Along with Tuccillo, conference speakers included Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist for Fannie Mae; Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist for the California Association of Realtors (CAR); and Pat Reass, a state-certified residential real estate appraiser at Appraisal Group MidFlorida LLC in Winter Haven.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said, “We believe the housing market is on firm footing. … Most of the improvement we’ve seen has come from the supply side of housing. Distressed properties are coming down from about 5 million to more like 3 million.”

Mortgage rates should remain low and not change much in 2013, he added, while banks likely will continue to maintain high lending standards and a tight credit environment.

“The trend has been established for the housing recovery, but robust growth awaits more jobs and a stronger economy,” Duncan said. “Three years into the recovery, the current economic expansion is the weakest since World War II. Just over half of the jobs lost in the Great Recession have been recovered.”

The real estate market “bottomed out in late 2008,” Tuccillo said, according to Florida Realtors’ market data, data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other market research sources.

“Since the beginning of 2009, we’ve clearly seen a regrouping and a recovery underway,” he said.

Median sales prices are consistently rising for both existing single-family homes and condo-townhome units across Florida. However, he noted the state’s active distressed property (foreclosures and short sales) market is putting pressure on prices, resulting in smaller gains and a slower rate than what is being seen in California and the U.S. as a whole.

Other signs of Florida’s steadily improving residential market, according to Tuccillo:

• Months’ supply of single-family homes is below 6 months
• Latest data (October 2012) shows 44 percent of closed sales were paid in cash, signifying strong demand from investors
• Foreign buyers make up 19 percent of closed sales in Florida (October 2012)
• Traditional (non-distressed) sales now make up over 50 percent of Florida’s closed sales
• Closed sales include fewer REOs (real estate-owned) and more short sales
• Shadow inventory has been declining since 2009, though it remains a key factor in the state’s housing market going forward since Florida is a judicial foreclosure state (meaning foreclosures go through a court process)

Comparing Florida’s residential market to California’s and to the U.S. as a whole, CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young agreed that the nationwide housing market is back.

“The latest NAR data shows very strong closed sales and rising prices,” she said. “Low inventory is currently a challenge for the nation, for California and also for Florida in many areas. There’s just not enough property for sale, particularly with investors buying properties for cash (29 percent of the market in California; 25 percent of the U.S. market). For California, we’re calling 2012 the return of the traditional seller to the marketplace – in October 2012, 63.4 percent of our total sales were from equity or traditional sales.”

In California, the current months’ supply of existing single-family homes is 3.1 months, Appleton-Young noted. While the state is still dealing with lender issues such as tight credit, problems are being resolved at a faster pace, she said, and home prices are rising as a result.

Looking ahead to 2013, Appleton-Young said, “There is a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for housing. The number of new units is improving, but it’s still low and isn’t enough to meet pent-up demand. The housing recovery is gaining strength, but the long-term viability of the market and its recovery depends on jobs.”

Where will Florida be in 2013? Assuming that the national fiscal problems are not resolved but are “postponed,” Tuccillo said he expects employment in the state to grow by 10 percent in 2013; residential sales to increase by 10 percent; prices (same sales index) to rise by 5 percent; commercial activity to revive; and inventory to grow as the market improves.

“I think the improvement in the market and rising prices will bring more potential sellers back into the market,” he said. “Signs point to a better year in 2013.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Are Banks More Willing To Let You Short Sale Your Home VS Foreclosure?

As a CDPE or Certified Distressed Property Expert I can assure you that all almost all lenders are willing to allow a short sales verses foreclosure, but there is more to look at than that. If you are carrying other large amounts of debts that you know you will never be able to pay back, then an attorney may say the best thing for you is to file for bankruptcy. If you or anyone you know has fallen on hard times and has stopped paying their mortgage or is considering the idea please contact me for a free consultation of what you should do next. Visit me on the web at

Short sales outpacing sales of bank-owned homes

Fla. No. 3 for foreclosures

RealtyTrac says Arizona continues to log the most foreclosure-related sales at 34% followed by Nevada (31%), Florida (26%), Illinois (24%) and Michigan (24%).

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Dec. 6, 2012 – Sales of U.S. homes facing foreclosure are on the rise and outpacing sales of bank-owned homes, a reflection of stepped-up efforts this year by lenders to avoid foreclosing on homes with mortgages gone unpaid.

In the third quarter, sales of homes already in the foreclosure process jumped 22 percent compared to the previous quarter and a year earlier, foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Short sales, when a lender agrees to accept less than what the homeowner owes on their mortgage, accounted for 65 percent of those so-called preforeclosure sales in the quarter, the firm said.

Banks have become more amenable to short sales as an alternative to foreclosure, which can often end up leading to bigger losses, and mire lenders and borrowers in a time-consuming and expensive process.

“More and more, they’re seeing that they’re going to lose less by approving a short sale than by dealing with the foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

Attempts to fast-track that process, particularly in states where the courts must sign off on foreclosures, led to allegations last year that many banks and mortgage servicers processed foreclosures without verifying documents. Five of the biggest U.S. banks agreed in February to pay $25 billion to settle the claims as part of a deal with federal and state officials.

In the months since, the banks have increasingly used short sales as a way to provide mortgage relief to borrowers.

The lenders have reported that they provided $26 billion in home-loan relief between March 1 and Sept. 30, with about half of that stemming from short sales.

Some banks, like JPMorgan Chase & Co., have been giving borrowers financial incentives to pursue a short sale. Others are trying to speed up the transactions, which in years past could easily take six months or more before being finalized.

“A lot of the banks right now are setting the expectation that it will take about 60 days to process, some even faster,” said Jenna Smith, a listing agent for real estate website Redfin in Chicago. “In prior years I’ve had them drag out for nine to 12 months.”

Banks also have been approving short sales for borrowers who have yet to enter the foreclosure process.

These types of short sales increased by 15 percent in the third quarter versus the previous three months, and were up 22 percent from the third quarter of last year, RealtyTrac said.

As short sales and other preforeclosure sales have become more common, they have begun to outpace sales of bank-owned homes.

Some 98,125 homes in some stage of foreclosure were sold in the third quarter, while 94,934 bank-owned homes were sold in the same period. Preforeclosures have outnumbered sales of bank-owned homes through the first nine months of the year, RealtyTrac said.

Sales of bank-owned homes rose 19 percent versus the second quarter, but fell 20 percent from a year earlier.

All told, foreclosure sales totaled 193,059 in the July-to-September period, an increase of 21 percent from the second quarter, but a drop of 3 percent from a year earlier, RealtyTrac said.

Despite the growth in short sales, foreclosure sales made up a slightly smaller share of all U.S. home sales in the third quarter. They accounted for 19 percent of all residential sales, down from 20 percent in the previous quarter, and unchanged from the third quarter of 2011.

Buyers who purchased a bank-owned home or a preforeclosure property in the third quarter got a bigger discount relative to other types of homes.

The average price of a foreclosure sale in the third quarter was 32 percent below the average sale price of non-foreclosure homes, RealtyTrac said.

That’s up from a 29 percent discount in the second quarter and a 31 percent discount in the third quarter of 2011.

Homebuyers who purchased a foreclosure sale in the third quarter paid an average of $177,430. That’s down 4 percent from the second quarter and up 3 percent from a year earlier.
AP Logo Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Alex Veiga, AP real estate writer.


Related Topics: Foreclosures

Will the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act be extended? What does it mean to those who short sale their homes?

I personally don’t know why it wouldn’t be extended for a few more years as there are still plenty of short sales in our Tampa market, but no one seems to be saying much about it. I am a CDPE Short Sale Expert serving the greater Tampa Bay area. If you know anyone in my market that needs help or simply has questions, please tell them to contact me. You can find me on the web at


Push on to close short sales by Dec. 31


WASHINGTON – Dec. 3, 2012 – The race is on to finalize short sales and seal the deal on mortgage reductions as the end-of-the-year expiration of a massive tax break for struggling homeowners in Florida and nationwide looms.

For the past five years, homeowners whose banks have forgiven unpaid mortgage debt after a short-sale principal reduction or foreclosure have not counted that money as income on their tax returns. But the waning days of the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act means borrowers may be faced with big IRS bills after losing their home if it happens on Jan. 1, 2013, or later.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is leading a group of attorneys general from all over the United States in pushing for an extension of the act. In a recent letter to lawmakers, Bondi and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said that allowing the tax break to expire would dilute the $25 billion mortgage settlement made with the country’s five biggest banks in March. The settlement has already provided $386.7 million in primary mortgage principal forgiveness for homeowners throughout Florida.

“If the act expires, you will be asking people to pay cash on an income they never received and with cash they don’t have,” says John DiBiase, communications director for the National Association of Realtors®’ government affairs office. “I think that is well-understood, especially by members of the Florida delegation.”

Joanne Epstein, a South Florida Realtor, has 18 short sales she believes are on track to close by Dec. 31. Still, she finds that she has to put pressure on the banks to get them finalized.

“(The lenders) say, ‘We have a stack of files. We’re very busy. We’ll get back to you,’” Epstein said. “Well, I’m sorry – that doesn’t work. These people need to get this over with so they can move on with their lives.”

Source: Palm Beach Post (12/03/12) Miller, Kimberly

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Related Topics: Short Sales