Using AS IS for New Construction? Don’t

Is it OK to use one of Florida Realtors’ residential contracts for a new-construction home? The short answer: No. The longer answer: Buyers likely lose important protections and it may lead to litigation.

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Tips for Negotiating a Contract Amendment

Most parties can successfully negotiate a change to legal agreements if circumstances change, but here’s a chance to learn from other people’s mistakes – parties who failed to fully understand the contract they currently have.

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Who Can File a Code of Ethics Complaint?

Dear Joey: Code of Ethics’ headings seem directed to specific people – fellow Realtors, members of the public, etc. Does that limit who can file certain types of ethics complaints? Or are the headings just headings?

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82% of Unmarried Couples Prefer Homes Over Big Weddings

Homeownership remains an American dream, perhaps more so as first-time buyers face escalating challenges. A Harris Poll found younger Americans (age 18-44) are more likely to consider homeownership an important financial goal (45%) than older, 55+ adults (30%).

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NAR Installs 2022 Leadership

The national association’s 2022 president, Leslie Rouda Smith, is a broker associate from Dallas, Texas. President-elect Kenny Parcell is a broker-owner from Utah.

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NAR’s Board Approves New Guidance for MLS Listings

According to NAR, the changes create greater transparency for consumers and “more explicitly state’ the spirit and intent of the NAR Code of Ethics and policies regarding information about commissions and broker participation in the marketplace.” Policies take effect Jan. 1.

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NAR Economist Yun: Housing Market May Normalize in 2022

Forecasts always include caveats that may upend predictions, but NAR’s Lawrence Yun says the market is hot right now – and he sees more of the same in 2022. While next year’s sales may not surpass 2021 numbers, he expects a banner year compared to those before the pandemic.

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Survey: Sellers Waiting Out Pandemic Are Ready to List

Owners who postponed selling during the pandemic – perhaps waiting for a sign that price increases were slowing – appear ready to list their home within the next six months. Many, however, plan to overprice it – and they expect bidding wars to push the final price even higher.

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NAR’s 2021 Buyer-Seller Report: Moving Earlier, Selling Quicker

Between July 2020 and June 2021, U.S. homes sold at a record pace. However, many owners didn’t stay in their home as long, with average tenure dropping from 10 years in last year’s report to eight years this year. Still, 9 out of 10 buyers (87%) and sellers (90%) used an agent or broker.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Cash Sales Up in 3Q

Florida Realtors’ data: Higher median prices – up 18.4% for single-family homes to $355,000; up 18.6% to $254,900 for condos – than 3Q 2020. Condo-townhouse sales up 13%, though single-family home sales were down slightly (-1.1%), at least in part due to tight inventory.

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Federal Reserve Economic Overview: Things Look Pretty Good

The Fed considers economic risks in its stability report – what could upend a solid, growing economy? Overall, it finds less to worry about than it did a year ago. However, it’s keeping an eye on COVID-19 breakouts, and it sees some risk in rising home and stock prices.

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The Housing Market for First-Time Buyers? It’s Brutal

Survey: For first-timers, it’s not just finding a house and putting in a winning bid, though that provides enough stress to deter some buyers from the market. 80% of first-timers lost at least two days off work, 39% faced down payment problems and 37% were outbid at least once.

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Most Lenders Will Now Consider On-Time Rent Payments

More mortgage applicants will find it easier to get approved now that Freddie Mac joined Fannie Mae in making on-time rent payments a lending consideration. But each system is a bit different. Freddie says it will provide incentives to multifamily owners that automatically report on-time payments.

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Zillow to Stop Home-Flipping Amid Pricing ‘Unpredictability’

About two weeks after publicizing a temporary pause for its iBuyer program, Zillow Offers, the company announced that the program would be phased out altogether. “Forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated,” it said, resulting in “too much earnings and balance-sheet volatility.”

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Buyers May Face Hidden Costs for Homes with Solar Power

“Solar-powered home” sounds like a great money-saving deal, but buyers should study possible costs before committing. Not all property insurance companies will cover solar panels, and the ones that do have a wide-ranging set of rules and inconsistent coverage pricing.

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Borders Open Nov. 8 for the Vaccinated – But Rules Vary

Most international visitors must be fully vaccinated, and some approved exceptions must quarantine for seven days after arrival. Children under 18 don’t need a vaccine if with vaccinated adults, but they’ll be tested for COVID once here. The CDC is still posting info to its website.

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Condo Q&A: Is It Legal for HOAs to Have 50/50 Raffles?

Also: A condo owner lives in a 125-unit community, and was told they need a website and must post certain official records. Must they? And: An independent contractor/handyman doesn’t legally need workman’s comp insurance. Is it okay to use him?

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NAR: Sept. Pending Home Sales Drop 2.3%

Chief Economist Yun: The overall market is still running comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic levels, and the drop is a sign of a “calmer home price trend.” However, there will continue to be less inventory through the end of the year – a normal fall drop following the summer months.

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Be on the Lookout for Fake Sellers

Scam alert: The pandemic led to an increase in online transactions, giving scammers a new window of opportunity: They’re contacting members as sellers who want to list their “home” – but it’s for a property they don’t actually own.

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How Many Shadow Homebuyers Pulled Back Temporarily?

Some buyers have seen tons of homes, put in multiple bids, lost out each time, gave up and signed another one-year lease. That doesn’t mean they don’t still dream about owning a home; it means they’re burned out on the buying process and will be back after they recuperate.

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ULI and PwC 2022 RE Forecast: Resilience, Flexibility, Optimism

An interview with 1,700 RE experts found high expectations for the real estate market in 2022. Traditional spaces – homes, offices, shopping centers, etc. – have changing expectations, but 75% of investors now feel confident about their decisions. Last year, less than 50% said the same.

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More Buyers Adding ‘Inclusive Community’ to Their Lists

Recently aware that some communities have historically been one race or another, an increased number of buyers are adding “racially diverse neighborhood” to their list of must-haves. But that doesn’t always help lower-income neighborhoods if it causes gentrification and rising home prices.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, All-Cash Sales Up in Sept.

Florida Realtors’ data: Median prices up 18.3% for single-family homes to $355,000 year-to-year; up 17.2% to $255,000 for condos. Single-family home sales down 1.3% year-over-year; condo sales up 4.9%. However, Sept. 2020 saw a huge sales surge because the pandemic shifted transactions into summer and fall, says Chief Economist O’Connor.

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Lumber Prices Dropped 65% – But Don’t Expect Cheaper Homes

Rising lumber costs pushed new-home prices higher and higher. While that supply-chain problem is easing, however, other building materials are still in short supply, even as builders face a labor shortage and high buyer demand. The bottom line: New-home costs won’t plateau anytime soon.

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Zillow Puts Its iBuyer Program on Hiatus Until 2022

An iBuyer program can help homeowners willing to take a slightly lower price in exchange for a quick and easy sale. But sellers aren’t willing to come down too much, and Zillow may not have enough resources under current market conditions to essentially be a large-scale home flipper.

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FHA- and VA-Loan Buyers Struggle to Compete for Homes

FHA, VA and other government-backed loans are often favored by first-time and low-income buyers. But in bidding wars, cash offers or conventional financing seem less problematic to sellers. As a result, low-income buyers face yet another hurdle if they hope to become owners.

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Commercial Real Estate: Opportunities and Challenges Abound

Florida Realtors economist: Real estate’s residential side has been on fire since summer 2020. How has the commercial side fared? It’s hot – and it’s not. It depends on where you look. The delta variant of COVID-19 slowed the office market even as it relit a fire under other commercial sectors.

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Many Condo Appraisers Will Start Assessing Building Safety

In response to the Surfside condo collapse, Fannie Mae says its condominium loan decisions after Jan. 1 will include a stronger look at the overall condo building. Loan decisions will consider current or planned special assessments and any deferred maintenance issues.

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Lawmakers Consider Changes to Fla. Law After Surfside Tragedy

How can the state mitigate condo disasters following the tragedy in Surfside? A Fla. Bar task force pulled together experts and submitted its recommendations on Tues. In Sept., Realtors outlined the problems condo buyers face getting important docs, suggesting better records and tighter oversight.

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S. Fla. Condo Sales Unfazed by Surfside Condo Collapse

After the 12-story Surfside condo complex collapsed, experts wondered if condo demand would decline – but 3Q Miami-Dade condo sales were the highest in years, with luxury units selling at a record pace. Any stigma seems isolated to older inventory and buildings close to the Surfside tragedy.

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Rent History Will Help More Buyers Qualify for a Loan

17% of buyers who couldn’t qualify for a mortgage should have better luck now that Fannie Mae includes rent history in its lending decisions. Lenders consider a history of on-time rent payments a strong predictor for whether borrowers will make regular mortgage payments.

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Study: Credit Scores Rebound Quickly After Home Purchase

Nationwide credit scores fall about 20 points in the months following a home purchase, but they bounce back fully in less than one year. In four Fla. cities included in a LendingTree study, the full credit-score rebound ranged from 332 days in Miami to 387 in Jacksonville.

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NAR August Pending Home Sales Bounce Back by 8.1%

NAR Economist Yun credited “rising inventory and moderating price conditions” for bringing more buyers back to the market. A separate realtor.com survey found three Fla. metro areas to be “hottest markets,” including the areas around Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.

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Deem and Waive: The Legal Vocabulary Definitions

It’s important for buyers and sellers to fully read a contract and ask about any words that confuse them. In the Far/Bar AS IS contract, “deem” appears 10 times and “waive” 12 times, but some Florida Realtors Legal Hotline callers seemed confused about their definitions.

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Seller Demands Before Showings: How Much is Too Much?

A seller gave explicit instructions to the listing office: No showings unless the buyer supplies proof of funds first. But the buyer’s agent doesn’t want to disclose that kind of personal info just to see a home. Does he have to do it anyway?

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NAR: America’s Top 10 Commercial Office Markets of 2021

Of the top 10, three are in Fla. NAR says it analyzed 390 commercial real estate markets and found a “robust recovery with positive net absorption and strengthening rents across the multifamily, industrial and retail property markets.” However, the office sector continues to struggle.

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Many Overly-Confident Sellers Price Their Home Too High

Homeowners have read bidding-war stories and heard about homes selling for thousands of dollars more than asking price. Now they’re becoming sellers and think they can overprice their property, but the market is seeing more price reductions – 9.4% in Aug., says Zillow, up from 8.6% in July.

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Making the MLS More Transparent: NAR Committee Recommendations

NAR’s Technology Board made recommendations that will go into effect if approved by a Multiple Listing Service committee and NAR’s board. Among them: Participants can’t represent that their services are free, and listing ads can’t be sorted or filtered based on the level of compensation a cooperating broker offers.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, New Listings Up in August

Florida Realtors’ data: More new listings and higher median prices – up 18% for single-family homes to $354,000; up 16.1% to $252,500 for condos – than a year ago. Single-family home sales rose just 0.2%, but condo sales were up 13.1%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Condo-townhouse market “remains the hotter market for now.”

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New Flood Rates Debut Oct. 1 Unless Congress Acts

The Biden administration doesn’t plan to stop FEMA’s “Risk Rating 2.0” from going into effect, leaving Congressional leaders to decide. NAR backs the new structure that charges by individual home rather than flood zone, but it’s facing opposition from other real estate groups.

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Home Prices a Reason to Rent?

It depends on where you want to live, at least according to a new report that analyzed the top 100 U.S. metros. But no Fla. metros were in the top 10 overvalued markets.

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Realtor.com: National Rent Growth Hits Double-Digits in Aug.

Aug. report: Rental prices hit double-digit growth for the first time in two years and grew three times faster than in March 2020, prior to the pandemic. Over half of the 50 largest metros reported rents with double-digit gains over last year, including Tampa, Miami and Orlando.

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Student Loan Debt Keeping Most Millennials from Homeownership

NAR report: 60% of millennials who aren’t homeowners say student loan debt is delaying their ability to buy a home; 51% of all student loan holders say the same. And 36% of student loan debt holders say student loan debt delayed their decision to move out of a family member’s home.

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How Hurricane Ida Will Affect Your Insurance Rates

Experts say Ida will drive up rates for reinsurance, which is what insurance firms must buy to guarantee they can pay all claims after a disaster. That’s the pipeline that Hurricane Ida’s higher costs will travel to be passed on to Fla. insurance policyholders.

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Budget Stresses Weigh on Buyers

Survey: 30% of buyers said they paid more than expected on their home due to competition; of those who paid more, 32% said it was $52K or more over the asking price.

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Most At-Risk Owners Have Enough Equity to Avoid Foreclosure

Foreclosure listings will likely only come from owners in trouble before the pandemic because the amount of equity owners can access has risen 40% year-to-year. Of U.S. homeowners in forbearance, 98% have at least 10% home equity; during the Great Recession it was only 40%.

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Transaction Check: NFIP Flood Rates to Change on Oct. 1

Buyers who close after Oct. 1 and need flood insurance should understand upcoming flood insurance changes. The new rating system is property-specific and not yet published, but 12% of Fla. homes will see at least a $120 yearly increase. Buyers may be able to assume a seller’s policy and rates, however.

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Buyers Hoping for Foreclosures Face Competition from Investors

Investors love foreclosures and short sales. The homes usually need work, which is ideal for flippers who fix and sell. They also tend to be less expensive – ideal for large companies that own thousands of homes to rent out. Buyers hoping for more affordable listings may be disappointed.

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Florida Realtors Updates FR/Bar Contracts and Riders

Florida Realtors and the Florida Bar work together to keep FR/Bar contracts current and useful, and the latest update has just received final approval from both groups. Members will have time to study the changes before it replaces current forms on Nov. 1. The AS IS contract, Residential contract and seven Riders were updated, and…

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NAR Finds Connection Between Housing and Food Insecurity

38% of homeowner households and 66% of renter households have difficulty paying for usual household expenses, including food, according to NAR’s study. “Housing affordability and food sufficiency are inseparable to families’ balance sheets,” says NAR VP Jessica Lautz.

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More Sellers Listing Homes as Buyers Seem to Hesitate

Realtor.com got 18K more new listings in Aug. 2021 than it did in Aug. 2020 – and more were affordable, entry-level homes. Realtor.com’s economist says it’s still a seller’s market, but a well-priced home might get 3 bids now compared to the 10 it would have received in 2020.

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Part II: Adding Appraisal Gap Language? Consider This

In today’s hot market, buyers want to make their offer more appealing, and some consider the addition of “appraisal gap” language. But that can create unexpected problems – and it’s not one of the core elements included in Florida Realtors’ contracts.

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Is a Seller’s Disclosure Required?

A buyer insists on seeing the Seller’s Property Disclosure. Equally adamant, the seller refuses to fill one out. What happens next? The buyer’s Realtor calls Florida Realtors Legal Hotline to find out what they can – and cannot – demand.

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Adding and Modifying Language to Contracts

Many times, buyers or sellers want to add specific language to their contracts that adds terms or changes the pre-printed language. While this may be doable sometimes, agents should use caution depending on the context of the changes.

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Florida Realtors Caps 2021 Convention with Election of Officers

The Board of Directors met on the last day of the convention and confirmed Florida Realtors’ 2022 officers. Christina Pappas is 2022 president and Mike McGraw president-elect, with Gia Arvin confirmed as vice president, Tim Weisheyer as treasurer and Chuck Bonfiglio Jr. as secretary.

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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Soar at Record Pace in June

While housing price gains may be starting to slow, Case-Shiller’s June report found a year-to-year increase of almost 20%. One Case-Shiller analyst called the past few months “extraordinary not only in the level of price gains but in the consistency of gains across the country.”

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NAR: Pending Home Sales Drop 1.8% in July

Year-to-year contract signings declined 8.5%. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the market may be cooling a bit, but there’s still not enough supply to match demand – yet “inventory is slowly increasing” and buyers should “see more options in the coming months.”

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Eviction Ban Ends – Realtor Groups Win in Supreme Court

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the CDC overstepped its authority in issuing an eviction moratorium, and it reiterated that opinion yesterday, ending the current ban. Justices didn’t disagree with the ban’s intent but said Congress “failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”

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Treasury Dept.: Only 11% of Rental Assistance Has Gone Out

The $46.5B program to help tenants pay back rent to their landlords is struggling, so the U.S. Treasury said Wed. that it eased application requirements to speed up the process. For example, it will now allow tenants to “self-assess their income and risk of becoming homeless.”

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On-Time Rent and Mortgage Approvals: Here’s How It Works

Thanks to new technology, Fannie Mae lenders can check prospective borrowers’ bank statements (with permission) to verify rent-payment history starting Sept. 18. Freddie Mac plans to follow suit soon. Advocates say rent history is a better gauge of reliability than FICO scores.

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Land Sales: Going, Going and Going Up

In parts of Southwest Fla., vacant residential lots are commanding record-high prices. With a shortage of homes for sale, more buyers are choosing to purchase land so they can build what they want, resulting in some eye-popping listing and sales prices.

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Judge Dismisses Antitrust Lawsuit, Favors NAR Over Top Agent Network

NAR’s Clear Cooperation policy placed limits on pocket listings, leading a members-only “top agents” network for non-MLS listings to file a lawsuit. The ruling questioned some aspects of Clear Cooperation, but the judge said antitrust does not give TAN a right to “hoard listings among themselves.”

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New-Home Construction Slumps 7% in July

Strong housing demand will keep pushing builders to build, and the number of new permits issued – a sign of future activity – rose 2.6%. But high material costs, fewer workers and land limitations hold back growth. July home starts rose only in the South, the area that includes Fla.

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Low-Income Group’s Program Helps Renters Get Aid Money

The Low Income Housing Coalition created ERASE to help “the most marginalized renters” apply for federal rental-reimbursement funds. So far, state and local agencies haven’t disbursed much of the total $47B authorized by Congress under two pandemic-relief bills.

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2020 Census Finds Most Diverse U.S. Population Ever

Nationally, 43% of U.S. residents are people of color (up from 2010’s 34%) and 57% are white (down from 63%.) In Fla., Hispanics make up over 50% of the population in three counties, and between 25% and 49.9% in an additional 10 counties, all between Lake County and Miami-Dade.

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Fla.’s Housing Market Continues Positive Trends Through 2Q

Florida Realtors’ data: Sales, new listings and median prices are up (24.3% for single-family homes, 20.8% for condos) from a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: Mortgage rates, while low, are no longer falling, which will gradually reduce competition until price growth falls back to a more normal pace.

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App Deters Crime by Tracking Realtors in the Field

You can’t put a price on personal safety – but if you could, it would be free for Florida Realtors’ members. SafeShowings, a phone app and member benefit, discourages problems because it logs client photos and automatically calls for help if you don’t respond within 45 minutes.

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Realtor Groups File Emergency Motion to Stop Eviction Ban

The Supreme Court agreed the original eviction ban was unconstitutional in a suit filed by two Realtor associations. On Wed., they asked a District Court to rule against the latest ban, even as a push is on to get more money to landlords. In Fla., only 2% of $870M the state received so far has…

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Biden Extends Eviction Ban for 60 Days

The Biden Administration announced a 60-day eviction ban extension. The new order is more limited than the old ban – it covers COVID hot spots only – but that still includes an estimated 90% of U.S. renters and seemingly all of Fla., which has seen rising numbers of cases in the past few weeks.

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No New Onslaught of Eviction Cases Filed on Monday

The eviction ban ended last weekend, but S. Fla. courts saw less movement on Monday than they expected. Lawyers think some landlords might be holding off to make sure there isn’t another extension, and federal stimulus payments and rent aid have helped some at-risk families.

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Sales of $1M-Plus Homes Soar

Some Americans did well during the pandemic, boosting demand for luxury housing – a segment that doesn’t face the same supply shortages as lower-priced homes.

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AP Explains: What Happens After Foreclosure Moratorium’s End?

Most experts agree that there’s a “foreclosure threat,” but it’s uncharted territory – any uptick in foreclosure listings is hard to predict. With prices rising, lenders are under less pressure to list homes for sale. And even if they’re ready now, homes likely won’t be listed until at least Sept.

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CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Has Expired

The Supreme Court had signaled the ban would only be extended to July 31. With the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, Biden is asking Congress to extend the fed eviction ban, but the prospects of legislative action are unclear.

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Is the Office Back?

With in-person work on the rise, employees may return to reconfigured office layouts meant to encourage social distancing and sanitization, plus other safety features.

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NAR: June’s Pending Home Sales Fall 1.9%

The number of homes that went under contract “has seesawed since Jan.,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, but higher home prices have taken a toll. In areas where housing is more affordable, local pending sales rose because buyer demand remains strong.

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Existing-Homes Falls 27% to $54.4B

NAR: It’s the lowest level in a decade. Foreign buyers purchased 107K properties, down 31% from the prior year, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a strong global economic slowdown. For the 13th straight year, Fla. remained the top destination for foreign buyers, with 21% of all international purchases.

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Ransomware Attack May Jeopardize Some Closings

Cloudstar, a cloud service used by many title companies, shut down after a ransomware attack last week. As a result, some brokers now can’t register transactions or closings. “We are still very much in the containment and remediation phase,” the company says.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Price, More Rise in June

Florida Realtors’ data: More closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 24.5% for single-family homes, 22.4% for condos) than a year ago. Chief Economist O’Connor: The ratio of buyers to sellers may be easing; as a result, home price growth could begin to cool down in the future.

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NEW: Escalation Addendum to Contract Released

On July 22, 2021, Florida Realtors released a new addendum for use with Florida Realtors contracts, the Escalation Addendum to Contract, available through Form Simplicity and other licensed vendors. FAQs and how-to-complete info is available on the association’s website.

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Number of Mortgages in Forbearance Drops to 3.5%

Mortgage bankers say that many homeowners are coming out of forbearance, with only 7.4%, so far, either selling the home, doing a refi or otherwise paying off the mortgage. 1 in 4 (23.2%) never stopped making monthly payments; another 1 in 4 (28%) ended up having their loans deferred.

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June Rental Prices Broke Records in 44 Cities

Realtor.com rental listing costs were up 8.1% year-to-year in June, and two Fla. metros ranked in the top 10 for increases: Tampa-St. Pete, up 21.2% and Jacksonville, up 14.4%. Overall, two-bedroom units saw the largest increase, 10.2%, as demand for a larger living space continues.

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Buyers’ Pressure Cooker Eases a Bit as Bidding Wars Drop

A survey of Redfin agents found a slow but steady drop in the percentage of listings engaged in a bidding war. In April, 74.1% of sellers entertained multiple bids; in May it dropped to 72.1%; and in June, it fell to 65%. But Sarasota tops the list of U.S. bidding-war cities at 87%.

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Yes, Florida, People Are Listing Homes for Sale

Florida Realtors chief economist: More homes are being listed than you think. Despite record-low inventory levels, the reason for current buyer frustrations isn’t so much “not enough sellers listing homes,” as it is strong buyer demand – so strong that listings don’t stay active very long.

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Judge Blocks Roofing-Contractor Part of Property Insurance Law

A law passed this year attempts to ease Fla.’s rising property insurance premiums by limiting roofing companies’ abilities to help homeowners get a “free” insurance-paid roof replacement. But a judge issued an injunction and said the Constitution protects roofers’ free speech rights.

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What Happens After the Foreclosure Ban Ends on July 31?

Some foreclosures were postponed due the pandemic, but for some homeowners, COVID-19 forced them into foreclosure. In either case, a courthouse backlog is likely starting Aug. 1, though most at-risk homes will be listed for sale before any foreclosure can be finalized.

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Mortgage Rates Move Lower Again

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.9% from last week’s 2.98% in Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. The 15-year loan and ARM rates also declined.

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Spread Your Wings: Identify Your Area’s Top Feeder Market

Florida Realtors economist: Need to find an untapped source for new clients? Look past your own turf to the largest source of movers coming from a different county or state. If 10% of your new residents come from Any County, N.Y., spend some marketing dollars in Any County.

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Where Can Buyers Find a Fla. Home for Around $250,000?

$250K homes are out there, but finding one largely depends on where a buyer chooses to live. South Floridians have sometimes moved about 80 miles north to find lower housing prices, but each area of the state has a few areas – typically smaller towns – with a few $250K homes.

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40-Year FHA, VA Home Loans Coming in October?

Ginnie Mae – the funding arm behind FHA and VA loans – created a new “pool type” to secure “modified loans with terms up to 40 years.” It’s essentially the funding groundwork to release a new type of 40-year loan that Ginnie Mae expects to start offering in October.

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Time for Acceptance? Make the Most of this Provision

ORLANDO, Fla. – Articles in Florida Realtors’ Legal Newsletter in the past addressed the time for acceptance provisions that exist in all the Florida Realtors contracts. However, this article specifically addresses this provision in the context of today’s hot market. Let’s walk through the language regarding the time for acceptance, what it means and the…

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NAR: Solid Rebound for May Pending Home Sales

Pending sales rose 8% month-to-month in May and 13.1% year-to-year – the highest May reading (114.7) since 2005. NAR’s economist calls it a surprise following April’s decline and less affordability; but higher wealth and “rising prices evidently provided funds for purchases.”

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Dictionaries, Differing Definitions and the Law

Common words often have specific legal definitions and might not mean what you think. Sometimes, the definition is specific to a contract. Sometimes it’s industry-specific. And sometimes a regular dictionary is the right reference source.

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Fla. Wants Residents to Report Unsolicited Real Estate Calls

The tight listing inventory has led to an uptick in phone calls asking homeowners if they’re interested in selling – but occasionally U.S. and state do-not-call laws are ignored. The Fla. Dept. of Agriculture says complaints are up 41% this year, and it wants all violations reported.

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CFPB Issues Rules to Create Smooth Forbearance Transition

The consumer bureau’s acting director, Dave Uejio, says the foreclosure-ban end will “drain billions of dollars in wealth from the Black and Hispanic communities.” The rules require lenders to assertively help homeowners stay in their homes and understand their options.

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Miami Herald Editorial: We Need to Protect Affordable Housing

“When it comes to (Florida’s) affordable-housing needs, we need all the help we can get,” editors write. The state’s “housing funds help people who are first responders, our teachers, our paramedics with down-payment assistance,” says Florida Realtors President-Elect Christina Pappas.

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How to Win a Bidding War?

In the end, coming out on top largely depends on the highest offer. But one Realtor also calls the seller’s agent to see what the seller considers most important.

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Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended to July 31

The CDC extended the federal eviction moratorium for another month, from June 30 to July 31, further frustrating landlords. However, CDC also said it’s likely that this new deadline will be the last one. FHFA also announced that its foreclosure moratorium was extended to July 31.

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Fla.’s May Housing Market Strong, Shows 2020 COVID-19 Impact

Florida Realtors’ data: May had more closed sales, more new listings and higher median prices (up 27.7% for single-family homes, 24.1% for condos) than a year ago. Pres. Lambert notes one factor behind rising prices is that Fla. “is experiencing a greater share of luxury sales in 2021 compared to a year ago.”

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Homeownership Coalition Wants 3M More Black Homeowners

NAR is working with a 100-organization group to boost Black homeownership – 3M more by 2030. The coalition’s “3by30 initiative” includes a 7-point plan. NAR VP Bryan Greene says Realtors will keep working to improve federal and local policies that help raise ownership levels.

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Economists Evaluate Commercial Real Estate’s Recovery

REIT magazine interviews: Five economists generally agree that commercial real estate is recovering from pandemic shutdowns, though that will vary by sector and geography. Still, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the U.S. will recover faster than the rest of the world.

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NAR: Vacation Home Sales Rose 16.4% in 2020

Lee County tops NAR’s list of U.S. counties for the highest increase in vacation home sales, with Collier County also making the top 10 list. In 2020, vacation home sales were 5.5% of total existing-home sales; in 2019, they were 5%. Vacation home median prices were up 14.2%.

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Proposed Amendment Would Protect Affordable Housing in Fla.

Doc stamp money in Fla.’s affordable housing trust funds should be used for affordable housing, but the Florida Legislature often “sweeps” it into general revenue. A constitutional amendment proposed by Florida Realtors would change that and secure ongoing support for housing in Fla.

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Rent Crisis Pummels Mom-and-Pop Landlords

The national eviction ban could have a long-term impact on mom-and-pop investors. If the financial hit from non-paying tenants forces them to sell their investment homes, it could boost the size of institutional investors who generally have deeper pockets to weather financial losses.

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NAR Report: More LGBTQ Buyers Purchasing Older, Smaller Homes

The annual report compares LGBTQ buyers and sellers to the overall market. It found that LGBTQ buyers buy smaller and older homes, but they plan to move out five years earlier than other buyers. As a group, they tend to identify as male more than female, and be single and unmarried.

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When Will Buyers Again See Foreclosures Listed for Sale?

The question is simple – the answer not so much. CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) wants to wait until 2022. A request for rule comments, however, received a range of suggestions. And as a practical matter, can lenders handle thousands of foreclosures all at once?

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Fla. Attorney General Issues Real Estate Scam Warning

Stressed buyers and renters desperate for a home can make rash decisions – and scammers know that. Escrow wire-fraud scams can destroy a buyer’s dreams only moments before a closing, but Fla. A.G. Moody also focuses on rental, loan-flipping and foreclosure relief scams.

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Report: Home Loans Backed by PMI Increased 53% in 2020

The association representing private mortgage insurers (PMI) says the average Fla. buyer has a credit score of 739, a $58K annual income and buys a median $310K home. In 2020, 55% of Fla. first-time buyers relied on PMI to make down payments of less than 20%.

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Drone Use May Be on the Rise

Aerial photography is becoming more common in real estate listings – even for interior shots – and new FAA rules may allow drone use in even more locations.

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Dear Anne: Listing Agents Please Take Care

Listing shortages lead to some disconcerting behavior. Sellers have tremendous leverage in this intense seller’s market, but the Code of Ethics applies during all types of markets. Still, a handful of listing agents take advantage, simply because they think they can get away with it.

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Condos: Who Insures What? Who Pays for Damages?

The 2021 hurricane season began June 1, but water pipes can burst year-round. If an insurable event occurs in a condo, however, is it a unit owner’s job to pay or the association’s? It’s a simple question with a sometimes complicated answer.

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Presenting Offers: OK with License Law? Code of Ethics?

Your exhausted seller received five offers in one day. Four are over asking price, but the last one offers $50,000 less, possibly making it a waste of time for an already exhausted seller. Must you still present it? Perhaps not – but only under very specific conditions.

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Near, Far, Wherever: Find Out Who’s Moving to Your Town

Florida Realtors economists: Where do most buyers come from? It’s no secret: Lots of people are on the move, and if you know they’re relocating locally or coming from afar, you can adjust your approach to client prospecting. To help, Florida Realtors’ research team studied moving patterns.

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Will We Ever Shake Hands Again?

Has 14 months of mask wearing and social distancing changed business etiquette? It’s still too early to shake hands and elbow bumping is gimmicky, so just nod instead.

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