The Nation’s Realtor Members Become More Diverse

In 2001, 10% of Realtors were nonwhite; in 2020, that number rose to 24%, according to a study on career choice released by NAR. However, whites had the highest median number of transactions (7) compared to Blacks and Asians (2), Hispanics (3) and LGBTQ+ members (5).

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Fla. Takes First Step to Launch Rental Assistance Program

DCF, the Fla. department charged with distributing $850M of federal funds to assist with rental assistance, introduced a dedicated website to get funds to landlords and utility companies. Applications should be available soon, and payments can be direct-deposited into business accounts.

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Fla. County Approves ‘Tenant Bill of Rights’

Renters in unincorporated Hillsborough County cannot face discrimination based on their income, including tenants who use Section 8 housing vouchers. Landlords must also give tenants a list of housing rights and provide a notice for late fees.

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CFPB/FTC Warn Large Apartment Landlords About New Rules

New rule: Debt collectors must give tenants written notice about their rights under the CDC moratorium – and they can’t misrepresent a tenant’s eligibility for protection. To spread the message, the consumer bureau directly contacted landlords who represent about 2 million units.

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Florida Legislature: What Changed in Fla. Insurance Laws?

By the time negotiations ended and bills were passed, no interested party got everything they wanted under bills passed by the Florida Legislature, including the state’s attorneys, insurers or homeowners. But changes should help maintain a viable private insurance market in the state.

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Fla.’s Home Sales and Prices Up, Inventory Tight in March

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 23.3% year-over-year, median sales price up 18.9%; condo sales up 52.6%, median price up 15.2%. The coronavirus was first detected in Fla. on March 1, 2020; therefore, last March’s data was the first to reflect the pandemic’s impact.

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NAR Report: Marijuana and Real Estate: A Budding Issue

States with marijuana legalization laws have seen increased demand for warehouse space, and about half with pre-2016 legalization laws are seeing addendums added to leases that restrict on-site growing. One recent change: More properties are being bought rather than leased.

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How Many Homes Does the U.S. Need to Catch Up? Almost 4M

Why is the inventory of for-sale homes so tight? A new analysis by Freddie Mac found that supply will meet demand only if the U.S. adds 3.8M new homes. The housing need now is 52% greater than it was in 2018, just three years earlier – and it’s even worse for entry-level homes.

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This May Be the Best Month Ever to Sell a Home

Study: April is the best month to sell a home – more buyer interest, less competition, higher list prices and faster sales – and given market conditions right now that strongly favor sellers, there may never be a better time for homeowners to post a for-sale sign in their yard.

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Seller Optimism Jumps in Fannie’s Monthly Survey

The Home Sentiment Index rose 5.2 points to 81.7 this month, “nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels,” finding that more owners consider it a good time to sell. However, even the number of optimistic buyers rose a bit: Attitudes about mortgage rates were the only notable decline.

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Study: How Does Credit Scoring Impact Fair Lending?

A study released during an NAR virtual Fair Housing event finds new scoring models open doors and boost minority homeownership. Older credit-score models “raised the cost to borrow while limiting access … for minority populations and rural communities,” says NAR President Oppler.

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Appeals Court Ruling Casts Doubt on ADA Compliant Websites

While brokers should still strive to make websites accessible for disabled users, an appeals court ruling suggests that until wording of the current law is changed, websites are not places of public accommodation. The issue remains fluid, but it may bring relief to brokers facing ADA website accessibility lawsuits.

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CFPB Proposes Rules to Prevent or Delay Foreclosures

After warning mortgage servicers not to repeat their Great Recession mistakes, the consumer bureau proposed actual rules to prohibit starting foreclosures before Dec. 31, 2021, with a few possible exceptions – such as proof that they’ve unsuccessfully tried to contact unresponsive owners.

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As Mortgage Relief Plans End, What’s Next for Homeowners?

For owners in forbearance, a possible foreclosure is closely tied to whether or not they’re working again. This spring, about 800K owners in forbearance – out of a total of 2.6 million homeowners – hit the 12-month mark, though a six-month extension may still be possible.

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FEMA Releases Rate Overview for Flood Insurance Risk 2.0

FEMA did not release a tool to answer the question on most Fla. homeowners minds: “Will my flood insurance rate go up or down?” But overall, it says 1 out of 5 residents (19.8%) will see a reduction, and 3 out of 4 (76%) won’t see a change higher than $120 more per year.

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The Untethered Worker Is the New Sunbird

Florida Realtors economist: Turning seasons into verbs – “We wintered in Florida” – was once a trait of wealthy retirees. But a newly untethered workforce working at home because of the pandemic is now also considering weather-based migration, albeit a little differently.

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Dear Anne: A Tale of Lost Listings, Commissions and Fairness

Realtor A had a listing, a buyer, and a bona fide offer two weeks after the listing expired. The seller had re-listed by then, but A contacted the seller directly, went to closing and earned the full commission. How can the new did-nothing listing agent file a Code of Ethics complaint?

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A Path for Associates to Form a PA, LLC or PLLC

Sales associates and broker associates can practice real estate (and be paid) as individuals, or, if they follow the correct path, as a business entity. Here’s the route they must follow if they want to form a business entity.

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No. 1 Reason Millennials Want to Buy? The American Dream

Study: Younger adults have the same hopes and dreams as older adults. While homeownership is a smart financial investment, it’s not always the top reason people buy a home. Millennials want to be part of a community and neighborhood, and have a place their family can call home.

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New-Home Slowdown Isn’t Buyers, It’s Builders

New-home market problems aren’t new – rising prices for supplies and a tight workforce. But pending sales continue to be high, and many builders are pausing to complete a backlog of projects. In top-listed Jacksonville, pending new-home sales are up 80.5% year-to-year.

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Home Flipping – and Profit Margins – Lower in 2020

The 2020 real estate market wasn’t ideal for home flippers who buy homes, fix them up and resell. ATTOM’s 2020 report found that fewer home flips were funded by fewer mortgages. And while gross profits went higher, profit margins dipped for the third straight year.

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Senator Outlines Goals for Mortgage Reform; NAR Agrees

Government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be reformed, yet if done badly, it could threaten the U.S. housing market and possibly make 30-year mortgages obsolete. But a Senate Banking Committee member issued “guiding principles” that have been backed by NAR.

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See the Future, Hit a Home Run in Your Business

Florida Realtors economist: Knock it out of the park through 2025. What can you do now to prepare for the buyers and sellers entering the market? Utilize digital tools, understand smart home features and attract remote workers to your market.

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Flood Insurance 2.0: Congress Updates Its Analysis

National flood insurance will undergo a seismic change for homebuyers on Oct. 1, 2021, and for existing homeowners on April 1, 2022. Under “Risk Rating 2.0,” policy rates will be individualized based on a specific home rather than a general blanket rate based on flood zones.

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Once Redlined Homes Flood More – Though Not in Fla.

Study: Redlined neighborhoods – metro areas once relegated to Blacks or other minorities – are less appealing geographically than nearby white neighborhoods. But Fla. is the exception, where a home’s desirability is often based on proximity to the beach – an obviously high-risk flood area.

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Latest Stimulus Bill Signed into Law – Here’s What It Does

Many Americans will get a $1,400 stimulus check, unemployment at $300 per week runs to Sept. 6, and landlords can now tap into a bigger pot of money. Plus child tax credits – $300-or-more paid weekly – could be enough for some rental families to decide it’s time to buy a home.

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No. of State-Owned Citizens Policies Increased 26.4% in a Year

More Fla. homeowners are relying on the state’s “insurer of last resort.” Citizens says it’s financially sound for now thanks to investment income that has outpaced operating losses, but at the current rate, a future disaster will again force taxpayers to make up some of its expenses.

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State-Owned Citizens Policies Increase 26.4% in One Year

More Fla. homeowners are relying on the state’s “insurer of last resort.” Citizens says it’s financially sound for now thanks to investment income that has outpaced operating losses, but at the current rate, a future disaster will again force taxpayers to make up some of its expenses.

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Secondary Markets Heating Up for Commercial Investors

Florida Realtors economist: Investors are following renters into the suburban spillover markets. Strong demographics, population growth and an expected recovery in hospitality pulled the Tampa- St. Pete, Miami and Orlando markets into the top 20.

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How Does the New Proposed Stimulus Bill Help Real Estate?

The House-passed bill is now in the Senate, and NAR expects most major provisions to pass. The latest stimulus includes aid for state and local governments, new homeowners’ assistance funds, small-business grants, rental-assistance funding, expanded unemployment and more.

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Fla. House Plans to Target Flooding, Sea Level Rise

The House floated “a suite of bills” to address climate change, including a tax break for owners who elevate homes and money for local governments that create programs. Gov. DeSantis proposed changes earlier, but many differences must now be worked out.

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FHFA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Bans to June 30

Homeowners with mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac cannot be evicted through June 30, nor can renters in buildings acquired by the lending giants. Forbearance was also extended for three additional months, allowing some owners to skip mortgage payments for a total of 18 months.

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Dear Anne: Is My Career Over? I Face an Ethics Complaint

A member listed a house in “mint condition,” but to the seller’s surprise, the buyer’s inspector found roof problems. The result: A “busybody” agent not involved in the transaction filed an ethics complaint. Can he do that? Does she need a lawyer? Could her license be revoked?

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NAR, DBPR, FREC – Who Does What?

From NAR to DBPR, the real estate industry is riddled with acronyms for different organizations. It can be challenging to separate the specific products and services each organization provides – and to understand how those interlocking products relate to each other.  

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Note to Sellers Also Buying: A Closing Date Is a Closing Date

Some homeowners jumped into today’s hot sellers’ market, fielded multiple offers, got top dollar and signed contracts within 48 hours. At the time, they may have considered their next home selection “a bridge we’ll cross when we come to it.” But sometimes there’s no bridge.

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Dare to Compare: What Does $300,000 Buy in Fla.?

Florida Realtors economist: A lesson learned during the pandemic: Remote workers who aren’t tied to a specific location can search for housing values located anywhere. And with flexibility, it’s still possible to find a 3-bed, 2-bath Fla. home for $300,000 or less.

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Feb. Consumer Confidence Continues Optimistic Trend

If consumer spending drives the economy, a rebound in confidence reflected in the Feb. and Jan. reports suggests a slow emergence from the darkest days of the pandemic. Consumers’ attitudes about their current finances rose for the first time in three months.

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Fla.’s Housing Market Continues Strong in January 2021

Florida Realtors’ data: Single-family home sales rose 18% year-over-year, median sales price up 15.1%; condo sales up 24.6%, median price up 15%. Chief Economist O’Connor: Closed sales in Jan. were “way, way above our historical average,” which is likely for most, if not all, of 2021.

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Sellers on Sidelines? Pull out the Big Guns: Market Data

Florida Realtors economist: Why should I list now? Show them why graphically based on 1) different home needs, 2) low mortgage rates and 3) equity potential. In 2020, over one-third of Fla. single-family home sellers cashed out and received their list price or more.

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Sellers on Sidelines? Pull out the Big Guns: Market Stats

Florida Realtors economist: Why should I list now? Show them why graphically based on 1) different home needs, 2) low mortgage rates and 3) equity potential. In 2020, over one-third of Fla. single-family home sellers cashed out and received their list price or more.

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NAR Releases Study Addressing Black Homeownership Gap

The study found a gap between Black and white homeownership rates of about 30% (60.8% for whites, 42% for Blacks). Blacks are rejected for mortgages 2.5 times more than whites (10% vs. 4%) and carry higher student loan debt (43% vs. 21% for whites). NAR calls for policy changes.

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Florida Realtors to Go Global at International Trade Expo

The state association’s booth at Enterprise Florida’s virtual trade expo on March 16-18 will showcase members’ global expertise. Foreign attendees who want to know more about Florida Realtors and the state can connect with Realtors who speak Arabic, German, Spanish and more.

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SentriLock Unveils New Home-Showing Service Option

Over a year ago, “our board directed us to develop a solution to address the growing lack of choice in this technology sector, given the natural fit with our current lockbox business,” says Scott Fisher, founder and CEO of SentriLock, a wholly owned NAR subsidiary.

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SentriKey Unveils New Home-Showing Service Option

Over a year ago, “our board directed us to develop a solution to address the growing lack of choice in this technology sector, given the natural fit with our current lockbox business,” says Scott Fisher, founder and CEO of SentriLock, a wholly owned NAR subsidiary.

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Florida Legislature: Vacation Rental Fight Revs Up Again

How – and who – should oversee Fla. vacation rentals? The Florida Legislature has debated the topic for years, and it’s still a high priority issue for Florida Realtors. This year’s version would make Airbnb collect taxes, remit them to the state, ensure proper licensing and more. 

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Fla.’s Housing Market Wraps Up 2020 Strong Despite COVID-19

Florida Realtors’ latest data: Single-family home sales in 2020 up 5.8% year-over-year, median price at $290K up 9.6%. Condo-townhouse sales up 2.5%, median price at $215K, up 12% from 2019. Chief Economist O’Connor: “Sales of Florida homes in the 4Q were very strong.”

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Study: Does Affordable Housing Lower Nearby Home Values?

Redfin economists analyzed 220K sales in 26 metros over a 13-year period. In most suburbs (18 of the 26) they found no appreciable price difference after affordable housing was built – and in four metros, local prices actually rose higher. But it also lowered prices in four metros.

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Report: Fla. Home Insurance in a ‘Spiral Towards Collapse’

According to a new study, “runaway litigation costs” threaten Fla. insurance market stability. In 2016, Fla. property insurers faced 27K lawsuits; in the first 10 months of 2020, it rose to 60K. An average $800 in each Fla. property insurance premium pays for litigation costs.

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Emotional Support Animals: What You Can and Can’t Do

Even discussions about emotional support animals get emotional, but one thing remains true: No-pet rules don’t matter for legitimate emotional-support animal claims. But Fla. owners now have more ways to deal with people who stretch the truth about a pet’s emotional-support status.

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NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy Wins First Court Case

A federal judge dismissed the case, saying NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy, which limits pocket listings, isn’t an antitrust issue. PLS.com, a pocket-listing service, alleges that NAR designed a stricter pocket-listing policy to damage its business model and discourage listings.

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Real Estate Trends: Housing Supply, Affordability Key in 2021

At Wed.’s 2021 Florida Real Estate Trends, NAHB Economist Dr. Robert Dietz called 2020 “a surprise year for growth,” and he along with other presenters generally agreed that the strong market will continue into spring, held back only by the need for more newly built homes.

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Come on Down! Fla. Attracts Retirees and Many More

Florida Realtors economist: Marketing to out-of-staters and wondering which demographic group to target? The most-cited reason for moving to Florida is retirement (39%), but many others come for the jobs (23%), the lifestyle (21%) and family (17%).

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CDC Extends Eviction, Foreclosure Ban to March 31

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially moved the ban on foreclosures and evictions to March 31. However, further extensions could be considered by lawmakers in a new pandemic stimulus bill being negotiated by Pres. Biden and Congress.

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How Would the Proposed $15K First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Work?

Pres. Biden campaigned on a new $15K credit to help first-time buyers. It doesn’t exist yet, but lawmakers will probably consider it eventually. If passed, it would likely work like the credit from 2008-2010, with a heavy spike in demand followed by a drop-off after the program ends.

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Citizens Rate Recommendation: Charge New Owners Full Price

The Fla.-owned property insurer’s board approved an average 7.2% rate increase – but it also wants to charge new policyholders a full actuarial rate. It’s unclear if Fla. officials will approve Citizens’ proposal, but any new-policyholder increase could affect some property sales.

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Jan. Consumer Confidence Rises Thanks to Future Optimism

Americans think current conditions aren’t great – but they’ll get better. The overall index rose more than 2 points but a future expectations index rose 5.5 points. It also had positive housing news, suggesting “the pace of home sales should remain robust in early 2021.”

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What Does Democratic Control Mean for Homeowners and Buyers?

Pres. Biden considered homeownership an important issue during his campaign and has already instituted some changes. Congress will likely focus on housing-related pandemic aid first and, once the disease fades, turn to other issues, such as a proposed $15K new-buyer tax credit.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Strong Gains in Dec. Despite Pandemic

Florida Realtors Dec. data: More closed sales (single-family sales up 21%, condo-townhouse sales up 27.7%), more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings year-over-year. Chief Economist O’Connor: Higher pending sales “strongly signal” higher closed sales in 2021.

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What Top Stories Do RE Agents Expect in 2021?

According to top agents, 2021 stories will relate in some way to the pandemic, with the tight inventory of homes topping their list. Also: How will vaccinated sellers react? Will a lot decide to list their home this year after months of waiting? And how many homes will go into foreclosure?

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Fla. Grapples With Property Insurance Woes

“I have not seen any evidence that the trends we are seeing now are going to reverse,” Fla. Insurance Commission Altmaier says, referring to double-digit homeowners policy rate increases and a greater number of policies in Citizens, the state-owned “insurer of last resort.”

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Biden Plan: Longer Eviction Ban, More Money for Landlords

If Congress passes the president-elect’s COVID-19 stimulus, the eviction moratorium will be extended to Sept. 30, but there will be an additional $25B to help landlords offset the cost of non-paying tenants – a total of $50B when combined with money in the latest stimulus package.

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Environmentalists’ Lawsuit Challenges Fla. Permitting Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shifted development approval for sites that include wetlands to the State of Florida, and developers praised the change, saying it cuts down lots of red tape. However, environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging EPA’s decision.

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Will the End of Forbearance Create a Rush of Foreclosures?

At this point, lenders don’t know. Thanks to easy application terms, they’re not sure how many homeowners are at risk and how many took forbearance “just in case.” On Jan. 3, about 1 in 20 mortgage holders (5.5%) were in a forbearance program, according to mortgage bankers.

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Fla. Senate Discusses Climate Change Issues

Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed a proposal to establish an Office of Resiliency that operates under Gov. Ron DeSantis, and a nine-member Sea-Level Rise Task Force to create baseline projections on expected sea-level rise and its flooding impact on Fla.’s coastlines.

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DeSantis Provides Details on Fed’s Rental Assistance Program

Cities and counties with populations of 200K-plus will distribute their rental-assistance money to landlords and renters (about $550M), and Fla. will distribute the funds in all other areas (about $850M). The dollar amounts are estimates, and DeSantis expects funding “in the coming weeks.”

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When Will That $25B Get to Renters and Landlords?

It will probably take several more weeks for newly approved rental assistance to trickle down and cover tenants’ past-due rents. Fla. will likely receive about $1.4B. It’s not enough, but it should cover the past-due rent balances ($6,000 each) for more than 200K Fla. households.

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More Small-Business PPP Loans Are on the Way

SBA and the Treasury Dept. are preparing to revive the PPP loan program. Businesses that already received a loan last year will be able to borrow up to $2 million soon if they have no more than 300 employees and suffered at least a 25% drop in quarterly revenue.

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Fla. House, Senate Unveil COVID-19 Business Protections

The bills could be amended, but if passed and signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, they would provide Fla. businesses, schools and churches some protection from COVID-19 related lawsuits alleging damages, injuries or deaths – a concept supported by Florida Realtors.

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Housing Discrimination Survey: How Prevalent Is It?

More than 15% of U.S. consumers have personally experienced housing discrimination in rentals or purchases, according to a Homes.com survey. And 30% know little about six main federal programs, such as Sec. 8 housing vouchers, FHA loans and civil rights protections.

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Fla. Consumer Confidence Rises but Rough Year Expected

Floridians expect good things for their personal finances one year from now and the U.S. economy over five years, but they’re pessimistic about 2021’s prospects. Record-high attitudes tanked when the pandemic hit but have been slowly moving higher since then.

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2021 Resolution: Cut Risk – 15 Steps to Resolve Legal Issues

Many legal troubles start with phrases like “I didn’t realize that …” or “I didn’t read that part of the document.” To lower risk and avoid trouble, ask questions, read contracts, do research, take notes, record with cellphone photos and take an extra day to think about things.

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Dear Anne: Why Would I Ever Work with Non-Realtors?

Realtors pay dues. They adhere to a Code of Ethics. They work together under local MLS rules. But you said in last month’s column that I must work with real estate licensees who aren’t part of the Realtor organization. Why in the world would I willingly do that?

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Legal Hotline: The Questions Asked Over and Over Again

Print this. Stick it on the fridge. Read it weekly. Realtors often forget or ignore certain issues unless there’s a problem, and then they call Florida Realtors Legal Hotline. While attorneys are here to help, they spend a lot of time explaining these seven oft-asked questions.

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What Real Estate Has to Be Grateful For in 2020

It’s hard to look at 2020 in a positive light, but the real estate industry was uniquely and unexpectedly a beacon of hope for a nation battered by the COVID-19 virus. Home sales boomed, mortgage rates repeatedly hit record lows and rising values bolstered homeowners’ equity.

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New Stimulus Bill Includes Money for Rent Assistance

A complex pandemic stimulus bill compromise appears to offer relief for landlords even as Congress extends a rental ban to Jan. 1, 2021. It also bolsters Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans ($284B more) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants ($20B more).

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The Open House Is Down but Not Out

Most experts predict a return of open houses in 2021 – but even in a pandemic, the open house could be sellers’ safest option for showing the home to multiple buyers.

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Fla. Has Greater Authority Over Wetland Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted Fla.’s request for greater authority over development of the state’s wetlands. Supporters say it should streamline permitting if property owners want to develop wetlands, but environmentalists oppose the change.

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Worries Could Put Citizens Insurance Rate Filing on Hold

The Fla.-owned insurer’s proposed rates weren’t discussed yesterday and will now be considered Jan. 26 after critics said proposed increases weren’t high enough. Citizens is no longer the insurer of last resort, it’s “the insurer of first resort and growing rapidly,” says Chairman Carlos Beruff.

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Mortgage Rule Changes Should Help Homebuyers

Lenders like to issue qualified mortgages (QM) because they know upfront that they can sell those loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and then fund more home purchases. A change to QM standards should, in many cases, make it easier for buyers to qualify for a loan.

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Housing Policy in a Biden Administration? Depends on Senate

NAR: The president-elect’s proposals go further than current ones, notably over the racial wealth gap and a first-time buyer tax credit. But if he works with a divided Senate, it will force some compromises, making it hard to predict what will happen over the next four years.

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NAR: Summit Economists Expect Good Things in 2021

More than 20 economic housing experts at NAR’s Real Estate Forecast Summit discussed a post-pandemic 2021 and, as a group, predicted the economy (GDP) will grow 3.5% (6.2% in 2022), home prices will climb 8% (5.5% in 2022) and mortgage rates will average 3% (3.25% in 2022).

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3 Out of 5 Fla. Homes Under Contract in Less Than 30 Days

Florida Realtors economist: NAR research found that homes nationally went under contract in a median of 21 days, and 72% of homes were under contract within 30 days. Fla.’s numbers are similar – but there are notable differences if you drill down into the details.

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‘If I Wait, Home Prices Will Come Down’ – but Will They?

Market predictions are difficult, and 2021 has wild cards. Will the pandemic end? Will a host of sellers list their home if they think it’s safe again? Still, prices and interest rates will probably keep rising next year, and most experts say it’s smart to buy sooner rather than later.

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NAR Clarifies New Code of Ethics Rule During Webinar

In the first of six training webinars, NAR speakers answered questions about a new Code of Ethics Rule, effective Nov. 13, that bans “harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs” against protected classes. Must a Realtor, for example, no longer oppose same-sex marriages?

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25 and Ready to Buy? We’ll See with Gen Z

Florida Realtors economist: Gen Z (oldest members turn 25 this year) faces unique obstacles with a pandemic marking their entrance into adulthood. Here’s what we know right now about their homeownership potential.

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Fla. Discriminatory Covenants Law: Does Your HOA Have Any?

SB 374, one of the last bills signed by Gov. DeSantis this year, prohibits “discriminatory restrictions” from any title transaction recorded in the state. Until now, those restrictions could be added or allowed to remain in any title transaction – they just weren’t enforceable in court.

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Dear Anne: My Seller Won’t Work with Broker X. Now What?

A Realtor’s friend and colleague works at a different brokerage, and per a seller’s instructions, she must ban the entire brokerage from representing a buyer if she wants a listing. It’s a personal problem but is it a Code of Ethics problem? Can she ban a single business from the transaction?

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The Less Common Commission Agreements

How do you get paid? While most transactions involve one of two commission agreements – the exclusive right of sale (or exclusive right to lease) listing agreements and the offer of compensation in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – you have other options.

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Hot Topic at NAR Convention? Buyers’ ‘Love Letters’

“How can I get the seller to accept MY offer?”, buyers wonder in today’s heated, multiple-offer market. In some areas of the country, “love letters” – a note from buyer to seller praising the home – are common. But some of the letters flirt with Fair Housing Act violations.  

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Fla.’s Discriminatory Covenants Law: Does Your HOA Have Any?

SB 374, one of the last bills signed by Gov. DeSantis this year, prohibits “discriminatory restrictions” from any title transaction recorded in the state. Until now, those restrictions could be added or allowed to remain in any title transaction – they just weren’t enforceable in court.

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Dear Anne: My Seller Refuses to Work with Broker X. Now What?

A Realtor’s friend and colleague works at a different brokerage, and per a seller’s instructions, she must ban the entire brokerage from representing a buyer if she wants a listing. It’s a personal problem but is it a Code of Ethics problem? Can she ban a single business from the transaction?

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‘Tis the Season for Predictions: Realtor.com Is First

Economists predict a 5.7% U.S. price increase and 7% growth in sales, but a closer look at 9 Fla. metros finds varying predictions. They range from a projected 1.5% sales growth (4.3% price) in Cape Coral-Fort Myers to 11.6% sales growth (4.7% price) along the Space Coast.

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Despite Federal Ban, Renters Are Still Being Evicted

The CDC eviction ban that ends Dec. 31 hasn’t stopped all evictions. Many renters don’t ask for it because they don’t know they’re protected, and the rule’s tight focus on pandemic-caused problems allows landlords to keep evicting tenants for a range of other reasons.

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NAR: Oct. Pending Home Sales Down 1.1%

Year-to-year pending sales surged 20.2%, but only one region – the South, which includes Fla. – had a month-to-month increase (0.1%). NAR Economist Yun thinks rising prices hurt affordability and deterred some buyers, but the lack of inventory is an ongoing problem.

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What Will the New Post-Pandemic Normal Look Like?

Businesses plan for the future, but the pandemic presented a challenge: Will it be largely gone by summer? If so, a Harvard University study outlines likely changes, and researchers predict which pandemic changes will fade away – and which will probably stay.

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FHFA Conforming Loan Limits Rise Almost $38K in 2021

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will accept loans up to $548,250 next year – an increase from $510,400 in 2020. According to the seasonally adjusted FHFA Home Price Index, third-quarter housing prices rose 7.42% year-to-year, so loan limits will do the same.

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NAR Reaches Agreement with DOJ on MLS and Commission Rules

The Dept. of Justice-NAR agreement isn’t finalized, but NAR says it will institute changes, such as making info on buyers’ agents’ compensation publicly available in the MLS and creating a definitive rule that buyers’ agents can’t represent their services as free.

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Fla. Legislators Could Limit Covid-19 Lawsuits

Should a business be protected from lawsuits that allege COVID-19? Florida Realtors supports change, and lawmakers will likely consider the issue in 2021. They must work out details to shield businesses from frivolous claims but also keep them accountable for their actions.

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NAR Approves Changes to Professional Standards Rules

The board voted to add Standard of Practice 10-5, which requires Realtors “not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity” even outside real estate transactions.

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NAR: A Divided Government Might Be Good for Real Estate

In a divided government, lawmakers must find a way to work together. Joe Ventrone, NAR’s vice president of federal policy and industry relations, says the goal then will be to bring both parties to the middle on real estate issues, such as rental assistance and GSE mortgage reform.

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Record Year for VA Loans Creates Opportunities for Realtors

Florida Realtors’ economist: Florida celebrates Veteran’s Day today and all year. In 2020 so far, Fla. moved up a spot in VA loan rankings (to No. 2) after passing Texas. Across the U.S., the number of VA-backed loans has nearly doubled, with refinances leading the surge.  

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NAR: 5 Business Policy Issues to Watch for in 2021

NAR’s Business Issues Policy Committee narrowed down concerns to a “top 5” for 2021. At the top of the list is to protect a Realtor’s independent contractor status, followed by education on money-laundering efforts, real estate fraud and industry COVID-19 relief efforts.

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Homeownership Creates Wealth Even If That’s Not the Goal

Homeowners who spent a lifetime working, raising families and paying mortgages have a greater net worth later in life. Among U.S. families who own rather than rent, a primary residence accounts for 90% of total wealth – and 99% for the bottom 20% of low-income owners.

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New Loan Programs Could Boost Minority Homeownership

In an effort to ease the damage caused by limited lending over the years, lenders’ programs can include thousands of dollars in closing-cost credits, down payment assistance, low-interest loans and/or more affordable housing opportunities for underserved communities.

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Florida Realtors’ Study: Women in Fla. Real Estate

An association study for the virtual Women in Real Estate (WIRE) conference, Nov. 23-Dec. 1, found that Fla.’s 12 biggest brokerages are led by men, even though a majority of members are women. And within teams, 88% of male brokers identify as leaders compared to only 53% of women.

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Dear Anne: Expired Listing Causes Realtor Feeding Frenzy

A seller claims he received at least 70 phone calls from real estate agents after his Realtor pulled his MLS listing so he could make some repairs – but two agents kept calling even after the home’s MLS return. Do agents have an ethical duty to check the MLS before calling?

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RE Q&A: Selling Half a House – What Could Go Wrong?

Mom lives in a home she co-owns with Son A. Son B will eventually inherit Mom’s half and he wants to buy Son A’s half now and pay for it over time. Son A is okay with that. But he’s worried about legal problems if they don’t handle the details correctly.

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Smart Home Gear: What Transfers to the Buyer?

For many buyers, especially millennials, “smart home” is an MLS selling point. But with new tech tools being released and updated at breakneck speed, which smart-home upgrades stay with the house and which ones move out with the seller?

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Leases: How Does the Money Flow?

When tenants fail to pay deposits and advance rent on time, members sometimes get confused about the (up to) five different legal relationships lurking beneath the surface. This article should help untangle where everyone stands.

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Broker Study: Major Changes Needed to Boost Black Ownership

NAREB’s 2020 study says Black homeownership will lag without major changes in public policy, lending, down payment assistance and forbearance period extensions. “You clearly see that structural and institutional remedies are necessary,” says NAREB President Williams.

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New Algorithm Estimates a Home’s Time on the Market

“How much longer would it take my home to sell if I increased the asking price by $20,000?” While real estate algorithm accuracy is a bit dicey, a new Homesnap product allows sellers to play with their asking price to see how a change would impact the time it takes to sell.

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New Algorithm Estimates a Home’s Time on the Market

“How much longer would it take my home to sell if I increased the asking price by $20,000?” While real estate algorithm accuracy is a bit dicey, a new Homesnap product allows sellers to play with their asking price to see how a change would impact the time it takes to sell.

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ACA Healthcare Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1

Unlike 9-5 employees, Realtors’ independent-contractor status makes finding health coverage a bit challenging. However, open enrollment for qualified health plans starts Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15, and NAR has resources to help Realtors find plans that best match their needs.

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Nation’s Top State for Wire Fraud? Florida

Fla. has over two times more wire-fraud incidents than No. 2 Georgia. In real estate, scammers entice buyers to wire closing money to a fake address, dashing buyers’ dreams and robbing Realtors of commissions. The FTC now has a dedicated website for reporting wire fraud.

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Condo Associations Continue Ban on Short-Term Rentals

In March, Gov. DeSantis banned short-term vacation rentals. That ended with Phase 3, but some HOAs kept the ban in place citing resident safety. However, that also created problems for short-term rental investors, some of whom haven’t had income in seven months.

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CDC: Eviction Ban Stops Only Physical Tenant Removal

The U.S. Center for Disease Control issued a list of frequently asked questions about the eviction moratorium, including that the judicial process can be “carried out according to state and local laws and rules,” and “eviction does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage.”

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