Pres. Biden declared a major disaster in 13 Fla. counties so far. Floridians can apply for help from FEMA, which might also help offset insurance deductibles.
Some Fla. counties have been identifying corporate ownership in RE sales, but FinCEN will now fight money laundering by creating a U.S. corporation-ownership database.
Many Fla. real estate licensees who faced a Sept. 30 deadline to renew their license now have an additional month under an emergency order signed by DBPR.
During negotiations, a listing broker created a dual (variable rate) commission arrangement on the fly and reached an agreement. But they didn’t have time to disclose that change to a potential cooperating broker. Does the Code require disclosure every single time, no matter what?
Florida Realtors Legal Hotline is a great resource and free member benefit, but you may not need us. Many callers ask basic-information type questions, like, “There are so many riders – which one should I use?” Here are answers to your simplest questions.
What if a buyer and seller sign a contract but the buyer fails to submit the agreed-upon deposit? Some Realtors think the seller is then free to relist the property – but if they call the Legal Hotline to confirm it, they find the issue isn’t quite that simple.
Fla. wants to minimize the number of policies in state-operated Citizens Property Ins., but the number has skyrocketed and plunged over its two-decade existence.
NAR and other real estate groups met at the White House Wed. for a “candid discussion” on construction, zoning reforms, financing expansion and tax incentives.
In a fight to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve pushed rates higher and will likely do so again. It impacts mortgages indirectly, but rates are still expected to move higher.
Florida Realtors: Fla.’s single-family median price up 15% ($407K), condo median up 20.8% ($305K). Chief Economist: Inventory is growing but pace has slowed.
Single-family home starts rose 3.4% last month and are down 4% for the year. But Aug. multifamily starts – apartments and condos – surged 28%.
The NAR Spire program pairs real estate pros in underserved areas with experienced practitioners to help them explore and expand their business opportunities.
About $54.5M is available to groups serving unhoused people in rural areas, which saw unsheltered homelessness increase by 8.3% from 2019-2020. Deadline is Oct. 20.
Real Estate Q&A: The condo board hired a firm to remove iguanas from common areas. Can they do that without a vote? Yes, under the “business judgement rule.”
NAR: The median donation was about $12K last year; it was $10K in 2020 and $5K in 2018. 2 out of 3 Realtors (66%) volunteered monthly, spending 8 hours on average.
With more people moving to Fla. because of remote work options alongside retirees, greater demand for housing may result in more competition and higher prices.
She’s charged with 2 counts of third-degree grand theft, organizing a scheme to defraud and doing real estate without a license. Another suspect remains at large.
Redfin analysis: On average, U.S. homes bought in Aug. sold for less than what sellers were asking –that hasn’t happened since at least March 2021.
Research shows Pinterest has 433M users per month; using it helps agents establish themselves as experts, build community interest and share content with consumers.
The association made small changes to the Buyer’s Disclosure Statement, Independent Contractor Agreement, Referral Agreement, Contract to Lease, Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP), Vacant Land Contract (VAC) and residential listing agreements. It added an Appraisal Gap Addendum.
In a study heavily weighted for affordability, Fla. “unsurprisingly took the top spot,” while Alaska, despite its affordability, came in last.
Found a sunrise photo from your community that is so beautiful it makes “life in paradise” appear almost magical? It’s ideal for marketing? If so, don’t use it. Get up early and take your own sunrise photo. Copyright issues often create expensive headaches.
Someone filed paperwork with Fla.’s Division of Corporations, changed CEO status, took out loans and sold property. The owner found out after trying to pay taxes.
Homeowners adding solar panels study energy savings and break-even costs, but they should also call their insurer: Some increase premiums and some cancel policies.
Of 100 metros tracked by government-backed mortgages, 8 Fla. cities hold top-11 spots, with Sarasota-Bradenton (up 36.5%) and Cape Coral-Fort Myers (36.0%) at the top.
Rising prices and mortgage rates deter homebuyers, but for many, the rapid changes are simply disconcerting. It makes them wonder what will happen next.
Bank of America’s CEO says it doesn’t matter if the U.S. is officially in a recession because most consumers are in good shape and can withstand economic turbulence.
Groups like Habitat for Humanity work directly with buyers, but an Oregon non-profit plans to build modular, affordable homes in a factory.
NAR: The original proposal included tax changes that would have hurt real estate investors. However, the final signed version leaves the industry largely untouched.
Florida Realtors: Fla.’s single-family median price up 16.1% ($412K), condo median price up 20.6% ($305K). Mortgage rates, prices impact sales, and inventory is up.
Citizens Property Insurance Corp. hasn’t had 1M policies since 2014, and the latest surge comes despite strong efforts to lower Fla.’s potential liability.
Only 42.8% of Americans with a median income could afford a median-priced home in the second quarter of 2022 – a sharp drop from 56.9% in the first quarter.
A fixer-upper is ideal for buyers willing to invest sweat equity and live in less-than-ideal conditions. In Fla., Miami and Jacksonville rank high for fixer-uppers.
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina haven’t passed legislation, but Delaware, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. are close to doing so.
Florida Realtors economist: Today’s homebuyers stress over inflation and rising mortgage rates, which are pushing buyers to lower expectations and find something quickly.
U.S. housing discrimination has a long history, from redlining to VA loan policies. But if legal problems are solved, would an adequate housing supply do the rest?
The FTC alleges the iBuyer used “misleading and deceptive information,” and its sellers “made thousands of dollars less” than they could have via a traditional listing.
RE Q&A: A buyer bought her home from a widow. But even with a death certificate, the county didn’t remove her deceased husband’s name from the deed.
In Lee County, median sales prices are down 4%; in Collier they’re down 7%. Sales volume also dropped a bit while inventory has increased about 8%.
The growing number of homes listed for sale is largely in the pricier side of the market. The number of homes listed below $250K has gotten smaller in many places.
Dear Shannon: If a Realtor sells a home they also own, are they still subject to the obligations of the Code of Ethics? What if a Realtor isn’t acting on behalf of others in the transaction?
Lots of confusion over this one: What happens to an associate’s pending transactions if they depart one brokerage to work for another – do they stay with the original broker or transfer? Fla. law doesn’t offer rules, so it’s important to have a plan.
Dear Shannon: If a Realtor sells a home they also own, are they still subject to the obligations of the Code of Ethics? What if a Realtor isn’t acting on behalf of others in the transaction?
Economists who estimate demographics and predict growth lowered their Fla. expectations. By April 2027, they now peg Fla. at 1.29% – a drop from their earlier 1.41%.
Once an established agent has a fair share of local customers, the next step is to advertise their services to the external buyers who are most likely to move in.
Florida Realtors: Fla.’s single-family median price up 19.7% to $420K. Condo median price up 26.4% to nearly $325K. Inventory rising as new listings increase.
REITs, which trade real estate similar to the way stocks trade business ownership, largely fell in value in June, though the decline level varied by commercial sector.
Americans keep upgrading their homes, but NAHB’s index measuring the market dropped 10 points year-to-year in the second quarter, reflecting a market slowdown.
Agents need to tell customers about the benefits their brokerage brings to the table, but even some brokers don’t recognize their own strengths.
Stronger construction can minimize damage from strong winds, but an MIT study found that many valuations underestimate mitigation’s benefits by as much as 80%.
As Fla. home values soar, calls grow to increase state-owned Citizens Insurance eligibility cap to $1 million statewide rather than in just two counties.
Even companies that want workers to return to the office find it’s not that simple, and recession fears have some firms looking for ways to cut expenses.
Zero-down, interest-only adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) played a role in the last recession, but today’s options are safe if buyers understand the pros and cons.
Analysts: As more people stall their homebuying plans, due to inflation, higher interest rates and economic uncertainty, it likely will impact RE industry jobs.
Survey: 33% of U.S. small businesses couldn’t pay their full May rent on time. Some still owe back rent from the pandemic and 52% said rents rose in past 6 months.
Condo Q&A: The tenant generally takes the place of the owner when it comes to rights to use the common elements, unless the tenant waives those rights in writing.
Now available across the U.S., the company says it is the first to enable agents to bid on listing opportunities from homeowners who are ready to sell.
Predictive analysis or market analysis uses data to pinpoint patterns and help forecast trends. RE agents can use it to improve their targeted marketing efforts.
The tragedy rattled a Fla. insurance industry that was already struggling. One Palm Beach condo complex expected a 25% increase – but coverage rose by 82%.
A study by FAU and two other universities compares current rents with “historical trends” found Miami No. 1 in the U.S., with rents 22.7% higher than historically expected.
The cost of lumber is falling and new-home demand softening thanks to current housing prices and rising interest rates. Could a supply-demand balance be here soon?
Miya’s Law creates new rules, some of which impact landlords. Highest profile one is that a maintenance and repair “reasonable notice” rises from 12 to 24 hours.
At 62.9, June’s Fla. consumer sentiment was 2.1 points higher than in May. A UF economist says it “comes as a surprise” given inflation and other challenges.
More sellers want to stay in their home after closing, sometimes for weeks or months, and agreeing to their request gives some buyers an edge over the competition.
Older adults are buying a condo in a 55-plus community. Their kids want to know what a revocable trust is – and whether it’s a good idea.
In two-and-a-half years, Fla. condos should complete inspections. It’s a quick turnaround for a state with 30,000 condo associations, most older than 30 years.
Homeownership builds generational wealth, and NAR laid out potential long-term consequences if lower- and middle-class buyers no longer qualify.
Fed Chair Powell emphasized the central bank’s determination to stem inflation and suggested any future increases will be based on the latest inflation numbers.
As of April 1, Fannie Mae-backed loans use the ANSI standard for measuring square footage. While it makes the measuring consistent, it also creates confusion.
Officials allege the groups used Spanish ads to falsely promise they’d cut mortgage payments in half – but homeowners shouldn’t pay mortgages or talk to their lenders.
The big difference? Money doesn’t move between banks, it moves between crypto wallets. But to pull that off, everyone in the transaction should understand the process.
Southern Fidelity is headed toward state receivership. It has 78K policies in Fla., and some of those will likely go to Citizens, the Fla.-owned “insurer of last resort.”
With inflation up to a 40-year high of 8.6%, the Fed raised its key interest rate by 3/4ths of a point and suggested that more hefty rate increases are likely.
In the beginning, phone and video calls build relationships – but once transactions get serious, email creates a searchable archive of the process.
The Fed chair had hoped rising interest rates would slow the economy enough to halt inflation – but so far it hasn’t. As a result, bigger rate hikes are expected.
If a mortgage holder drops homeowner’s insurance, their lender will “force-place” a policy on the home. But that policy protects only the lender – not the homeowner.
FEMA says it’s been 50 years since the storm changed U.S. flood policies after crossing the Panhandle and causing massive inland flooding – 8 states, 128 deaths.
FAU: At 32.8%, Fort Myers tops U.S. metros in year-to-year rent increases. S. Fla. (up 31.07%), Sarasota (30.88%) and Tampa (26.9%) also made the top five.
The recent update allows renters to search locations for their most-desired features, such as a chef kitchen or “historical homes.”
There are three types of ownership that pass property upon death, but only one usually requires probate – and it’s not “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”
Florida Realtors economist: Most Fla. home sellers accepted offers at or above their asking – and 1 in 5 (20%) Fla. sellers get at least 5% more.
Sellers of higher-end properties often interview three agents before making a decision. Listening – and asking open-ended questions – can move you to the top.
Lawmakers revived “My Safe Florida Home.” Funded with $150M, homeowners can apply for $2 in aid for every $1 spent, but some details still need to be worked out.
2022 is the 20th anniversary of National Homeownership Month, which recognizes the importance of owning a home and the impact it has on families and communities.
Dear Shannon: What do I do when a buyer says they are working with another Realtor? A cohort says the Code of Ethics requires us to ask if they have signed a written exclusive agreement. And another person said we have to get a copy of it. Is that what the code says?
Consumer confidence in Fla. dropped a bit again in May, only slightly higher than the June 2008 reading. Regular monthly drops seem to track inflation’s rise.
In a special session this week, the Florida Legislature passed a roster of bills to ease problems in the state’s insurance market, including SB 2D, which Florida Realtors heavily supported. Lawmakers also took steps to improve the safety of condo buildings.
If there is a slump, most economists predict it will be relatively mild – and a majority believe the odds are greater than 50% that the U.S. won’t see a recession at all.
Panhandle Realtors note an uptick in interest for energy-efficient homes, but it comes with a downside: Many homebuyers can’t afford the increased cost.
Realtor.com added “wildfire risk” to all listings, and while 6% of Fla. homes face a threat, that number could double by 2052, according to the rating company.
Zillow featured the home used for the TV show “Full House,” only to walk it back and say the property, listed for $37M, wasn’t actually for sale.
Researchers found that the top lower-tax states didn’t have a “major tax,” which helped Fla. move high in rankings since it lacks a personal income tax.
Housing starts fell just 0.2% in April, but multifamily starts rose 15.3% to offset the single-family drop. NAHB cites “weaker confidence in the single-family market.”
Florida Realtors’ can’t-miss event Aug. 24-25 offers success strategies, networking and more – like keynote speaker and icon Martha Stewart. Register now.
Citizens, the Fla.-operated “insurer of last resort,” OK’d a $1M settlement with Coral Gables’ Strems Law Firm after alleging its actions pushed up insurance costs.
The Dept. overseeing distribution has helped 386 homeowners to date and is still accepting applications. Funds used so far are about 1% of federal funding received.
Fla. regulators will discuss three property insurers’ requests for rate hikes greater than 20% the week before the Legislature meets to consider industry-wide solutions.
Money budgeted in Congress’ infrastructure package will subsidize – and in some cases pay for – high-speed internet for rural and lower-income families.
The Federal Reserve no longer considers Covid the biggest threat to the world economy. Now it’s “further adverse surprises in inflation and interest rates.”
NAR Chief Economist: Except for the office market, sectors like industrial, apartments, hotels and retail are up and should do well, especially short-term.
Experts offer mixed views. Some say moderately priced-home sales won’t slow yet due to low inventory; others expect impacts from stocks to the housing market.
NAR: The top 10 areas with highest year-over year gains were midsize and small markets; five were in Fla. Chief Economist Yun expects price appreciation to slow.
Advocates: Housing opportunities will expand in major cities’ communities of color. Redfin said it prefers to spend money advancing fair housing, not litigation.
Short answer: It does under some circumstances. Also: If an unexpected big expense comes up, can a condo board pay using money from its capital reserve and replace the funds later?
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?
Study: Over 25% of houses bought by professional rental investors in 4Q 2021 were new-construction properties. In 3Q 2019, they bought 3% of newly built homes.
Filings up 39% in 1Q 2022 over 1Q 2021. Fla. is one of 5 states with highest foreclosure starts in 1Q. But activity still remains below historical levels.
This “lock-in effect” may impact listings moving forward. Higher rates have added about $400 to the average monthly payment on a median-priced home.
This week’s 30-year mortgage rate averaged 5.11%. Owners with locked-in lower rates have less financial incentive to sell; would-be buyers face higher loan costs.
26% of people may be less likely to buy a home this year because of rising interest rates, says a survey forecasting the outlook for homeowners in 2022.
NAHB: 10.5% of all single-family homes built in 4Q 2021 were constructed in rural areas, up from 10% in 4Q 2020; for multifamily units, it was 6% vs 4.1%.
Many homebuyers may find the first 48 hours are crucial to either make or break a deal – and often contingencies like taking it “as is” matters, too.
Latest NAR report finds other obstacles vary by race and ethnicity but include saving for a down payment and competing with multiple offers.
Realtor.com: 64% of possible sellers intend to list their home by Oct.; a majority of these sellers (49%) are ready to swap starter homes for larger ones.
In April, 12% of sellers dropped their price compared to 9% one year earlier. It’s too soon to call it a trend, but it suggests prices might soon hit their peak.
Strong demand from international buyers – many who find prices and interest rates cheaper here – should largely offset any drop in demand from domestic buyers.
Do you serve once on an HOA’s fining committee, almost like a jury? Or should members be appointed and continue to consider more cases over time?
A University of Fla. study found that a combination of factors contributes to red tide blooms, but human activity has intensified them over the past decade.
An aggressive attitude and foreclosure threat against zombie homes’ owners have opened up land for building/rehab – or it’s fed city coffers if owners pay their tax debt.
NAR joined the Remodeling Industry and found a perfect “Joy Score” by owners after painting, adding a home office, installing hardwood or renovating closets.
In two Fla. cities, Miami and Tampa, prices rose more than 200% in a little over 20 years – No. 8 and No. 9 in the U.S. for price increase percentages.
Groups can apply for funding that’s dedicated to fair housing education, outreach and enforcement – including fair housing testing and legal aid.
Worried buyers wonder how high mortgage rates will go, how fast, and whether inventory levels will ever rise – fears that help push housing prices ever higher.
A bill to make homeowners pay roof-replacement deductibles failed, but OIR says it can be an insurer option, such as lower premiums for owners willing to take a risk.
Millennials now make up the most homebuyers, and since many move with children in tow, prices in kid-friendly areas are rising faster than the general metro area.
The 2022 survey is based on 2021 data. No. 1 for sides is HomeServices of America Inc. (388,098). For sales volume it’s Compass: $251,019,336,511.
A new Babcock Ranch home came with an alligator squatter in the main bedroom. The reptile was quickly evicted.
A study of top-demanded and least-demanded items to first-time homebuyers also found that many want hardwood floors – but not cork or bamboo.
The increase follows 18.9% in Dec. Top increases in the 20-city index included No. 1 Phoenix (up 32.6%), followed by Tampa (up 30.8%) and Miami (up 28.1%).
Claiming he had a “free speech” right to tear down a mansion and build the mid-century modern home of his dreams, a Palm Beach man went to court. He lost in appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider that decision.
Can guessing lead to an ethics complaint if a buyer later finds out it’s wrong and makes a formal complaint? I thought a nearby development might be a new mall but it was actually a manufacturing plant.
Tenant-occupied property confuses many Florida Realtors Legal Hotline callers. This article should help. It explains a seller’s (landlord) rights and obligations to buyers if a property is sold subject to a tenancy.
Condo Q&A: While statutes say unit owners have the right to record or videotape meetings with a quorum, the association can adopt reasonable rules about it.
HUD: A 2020 audit found at least 31,500 of the loans that year in designated special flood hazard areas didn’t maintain the required flood insurance coverage.
The pandemic intensified moves to the South and West, increased population in some micro cities and slowed population growth in the biggest U.S. cities.
82% of agents say staging makes it easier for buyers to see the property as a future home, and buyers (46%) say staging the living room is most important.
The units help with housing shortages and are part of a shift toward smaller, more affordable and energy-efficient homes. But municipalities’ rules differ.
RE Q&A: If a tenant is damaging property or breaking the rules, their landlord can be held financially responsible and face fines for the tenant’s actions.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned Monday that the Fed could get more aggressive in raising interest rates if inflation continues to be a threat.
The last of three suspects in a S. Fla. rental scheme is in jail. The trio allegedly acted as a Realtor and homeowners to defraud hopeful tenants.
Florida Realtors: Fla.’s single-family median price up 21.1% to about $381.5K. Condo median price up 24.3% to $290K. Sales down due to tight supply, rising rates.
The expected interest-rate increase will raise short-term borrowing costs for things like credit cards, and it often has an indirect impact on mortgage rates.
Refinancing has allowed homeowners to tap into built-up equity. If interest rates rise, however, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) may make more sense.
One Orlando agent entices past clients with a monthly gift basket so they have “no choice” but to remember her. Another has a sales pitch for all fellow dog walkers.
Foreclosures are low and inching their way back to normal, with no post-pandemic impact so far. Still, only Calif. had more than Fla. in January.
Foreclosure rates are low and inching their way back to normal, with no post-pandemic impact so far. Still, only Calif. had more than Fla. in January.
RESPA and Regulation X create strict obligations a mortgage servicer must follow – but courts have been tasked to decide which “services” fall under that regulation.
Sunny Isles, Fla. – “Little Moscow” – has been hot for Russian investors buying luxury homes. But sanctions send a message that investments may not be safeguarded.
It’s confusing for buyers and renters, but the key is understanding what’s being measured – and whether it’s the median or mean cost being used.
HUD hopes more multifamily owners will commit to cutting carbon emissions, in part because lower-income communities face a greater risk from natural disasters.
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.
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?
Even experts don’t know what will happen. About half think rising costs and rates will deter buyers, but the other half think more listings will boost demand.
A Bloomberg analysis of 100K property records found that big investors bought 20% of homes purchased by iBuyers – and twice that amount in some Sun Belt cities.
A number of economic indicators suggest higher mortgage rates, but competition from refinancing homeowners also declined after rates rose to almost 4%.
A MoneyGeek study including IRS, state, property and sales taxes listed Fla. as the No. 4 least-expensive tax state. Total tax costs are about 5.6% of total income.
“Flyover country” is becoming “best place to invest in real estate” country as investors seeking higher yields focus on places like Manhattan, Kansas.
While most Federal Reserve Governors seem to favor a 0.25% March interest-rate increase, one gave a speech suggesting she’d be OK with 0.50%.
Fla. has over 400 Opportunity Zones to create affordable housing and encourage development, but rising prices and demand have dampened their impact.
On Feb. 9, the U.S. Treasury OK’d Fla.’s plan to distribute federal money to help homeowners, though the state has not yet released its distribution plan.
While Facebook still dominates marketing, it’s losing share to LinkedIn, at least within the real estate industry. And TikTok appears to be on the rise, too.
Cities in Florida, New York and New Jersey are seeing steep jumps in rent. Austin, Texas had biggest 1-year gain, 40%; rent in Orlando rose 30%.
Condo Q&A: The answer may depend on what type of meeting is being held, if it’s a regular board meeting or involves a special assessment or other issue.
Groundworks: 78% of 978 owners recently surveyed say they’re worried about foundation damage to their home; 25% say they’re rather sell than fix those issues.
Some Fla. buyers signing a contract for a newly constructed home are being forced to pay a higher amount later or, in some cases, seeing their contracts cancelled.
The pandemic continues to influence demand for outdoor amenities, bigger homes and the suburbs. But all ages still like laundry rooms and walk-in pantries.