Demand Doubles for ARMs

Lower intro rates from adjustable-rate mortgages may entice more buyers now. The increase coincides with a 1.5 percentage point rise in the 30-year fixed rate.

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Flippers Now Flopping?

Home flippers in Fla. are feeling the impact of a shortage of for-sale homes, rising median prices, supply chain issues and too few subcontractors available.

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Home Prices Continue to Rise

20-city price index: A 20.2% year-over-year gain in Feb; up from 18.9% in Jan. Tampa and Miami were in top 3 cities for highest rate of home-price growth.

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Tenant-Occupied Property: The Closing Process

Part three of a three-part series: Issues surrounding sales of property with tenancies. Part one covered taking a listing, part two the contract language. Issues can also rise regarding closing, however, including some specific concerns.

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Condo Insurers Flee Florida

Insurers that remain are raising prices after the tragic Surfside collapse. Condo associations able to get policy renewals may face 30% to 50% premium increases.

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Must I Push and Probe for Representation Info?

Dear Shannon: A listing Realtor told a buyer at their open house about another one of their listings that sounded ideal for them – and the Realtor honestly informed the buyer that waiting to tell their current Realtor might lose them the home. Why is that wrong?

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Early Retirees Rejoin Workforce

In March, 3.1% of workers who were retired a year earlier are now working, a figure matching the pre-COVID level. Could it help ease the current labor shortage?

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Equity Motivates More Sellers

HomeLight survey: A rapid rise in equity is encouraging sellers to list their homes and they expect to make a profit; 87% say they expect more than 1 offer.

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My Buyer’s Full-Price Offer Was Rejected?

As this seller’s market continues to run wild throughout Fla., many people are asking what laws or contract terms come into play if a seller rejects a buyer’s offer even though it included all the terms the seller requested.

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House-hunting Blues

Many buyers in Fla. and across the U.S. are feeling the impact of a lack of inventory, competition from investors and rising prices during their home search.

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New-Home Sales Drop 2% in Feb.

NAHB says price increases and rising mortgage rates pushed some new-home buyers out of the market. The median sales price hit $400,600, up 10.6% year-to-year.

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Tale of Two Buyers: First-Time Vs. Repeat

Florida Realtors economist: The new “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Florida Report” finds that all buyers face challenges – but the bar is extremely high for the state’s first-timers.

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How Well Do You Know Florida?

As of April 1, 2020, the state had 21,538,187 residents, says the U.S. Census – a 14.6% jump since the previous census. And Fla. turned 177 years old on March 3.

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Dual or Variable Rate Commission?

Most if not all Florida MLSs provide participants a way to disclose whether their listing agreement for sale or rent contains a dual or variable rate commission arrangement. However, many members don’t fully understand the “dual or variable rate” definition.

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Occupied Property: Selling Homes with a Tenant

Part 1 of 3: An owner wants to sell an investment home occupied by tenants. While this impacts a number of transaction details, the first step is a full discussion with the owner: Is there a lease? What does it say? Are the tenants onboard with the plan?

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Buyers Rush to Lock in Rates

Media reports of Fed interest-rate hikes have convinced more buyers to lock in a mortgage rate, fearing their housing costs will increase if they don’t act quickly.

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Grandfathered Rental Rules for Condos and HOAs?

For years, new condo rental restrictions applied only to current owners who voted for them, but new HOA restrictions were effective for everyone. That changed last July when HOA owners who rent out units received somewhat similar protections.

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Fla. RE teams must follow FREC’s team-ad rule

Some Fla. real estate team names go against FREC rules – words that became banned on July 1, 2019. According to Florida Realtors Hotline calls, FREC has stepped up enforcement, and some teams have already been contacted.

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When, Exactly, Is the Deposit Due?

Deposit deadlines? There are some dangerous false interpretations making the rounds. Hopefully, your buyers won’t fall into the trap. The consequences can be severe if they rely on inaccurate interpretations.

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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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