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Florida REALTORS® News

Home starts fall in July – but mainly multifamily

Housing starts fell 4.8% as builders struggled to find workers, though the lion's share of that drop occurred in the multifamily component that dropped 17.1%.

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What do buyers think when they step inside your listing?

Curb appeal may set the tone for a home showing, but first impressions can die after a buyer walks inside. Traffic flow? Lighting? Smells? They all count.

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International sales challenge: Social networking limits

Connecting with Russian buyers via LinkedIn? Not anymore. The social network pulled out because Russia and other countries don't want data to leave their borders.

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More owners tapping home equity to start businesses

Where do you get capital to start a business? Almost 300,000 people tapped their home equity in the latest Census Bureau study – about 7.3% of all start-ups.

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What's one thing you shouldn't do to attract millennials?

Answer: Call them millennials. Businesses are trying different tactics to reach this generation, but a good place to start is with a list of things not to do.

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NAR: U.S. home prices jump 6.2% in 2Q

It's the highest median quarterly price and a new peak thanks to supply shortages. NAR's chief economist continued to ramp up his criticism, saying there is a "glaring need" for more new construction as "would-be buyers are priced out of the market."

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Digital marketing now key part of real estate business

NAR survey: Social media sites are a vital part of real estate today, with 74% of Realtors in a recent survey saying "awareness" is their primary goal.

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Sustainability's return on investment? It's complicated

Most commercial owners, investors and developers recognize the importance of better energy efficiency, but "going green" does more than improve the bottom line.

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Florida Realtors kicks off 'Amendment 2 is for Everybody' campaign

If approved by Fla. voters in 2018, Amendment 2 would make the state's current 10% cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent.

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Gov't shutdown could delay real estate closings

Congress has work to do in Sept. to keep RE on track. In addition to flood insurance expiring, the U.S. will run out of money on Sept. 29. If the gov't did shut down, it would bog down RE tasks that require fed intervention, such as some FHA functions.

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Top Fed official: Bond portfolio could shrink soon

The Fed will "likely announce next month" the sale of some bonds acquired during the recession – a move that would probably push mortgage rates a tad higher.

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3 ways to make counteroffers easier

Counteroffers attempt to secure better deals for clients, but "I demand this" is harsh. Propose a package that makes it easier for the other side to say yes.

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Email closing scam dupes D.C. buyers out of $1.3M

The wire fraud scam – criminals hack an email address and, at the last minute, tell buyers to wire closing money to a fake account – is still going strong.

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Builders: The 55+ housing market is going strong

With 10,000 boomers retiring each day, builders remain confident. NAHB's 2Q 55+ index not only rose 11 points, it's been in positive territory for over four years.

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Facebook unveils ad product for real estate

Shopped for something online only to see ads for it everywhere? Facebook's tool does the same thing, re-targeting users who visited an agent or broker's website.

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Merger could create huge single-family-home landlord

Two institutional investors – businesses that buy multiple single-family homes to rent out – could merge in a $4.3B deal that controls 82,000 U.S. homes.

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What to mention first in a listing? Quartz countertops

Demand for easy-care but expensive quartz continues to skyrocket, and consumers seem to be less enamored with granite and marble. Nickel faucets are also becoming more popular, but tubs with jets appear to be on their way out.

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Fannie, Freddie postpone new credit scoring models

Buyers who hoped to qualify for a mortgage soon after credit score calculations changed will be disappointed: Fannie, Freddie suddenly postponed the modifications until at least 2019. The changes would have helped some "unscorable" applicants.

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'Agrihoods' a possible use for dying Fla. golf courses?

Some buyers love the idea of farm living providing it's in the heart of the suburbs. Like golf communities, agrihoods focus on nature but also sell organic food.

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Wellness programs may boost productivity, retention

A wellness program not only helps keep agents healthier, it also shows concern for workers and can strengthen their loyalty and commitment to the brokerage.

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5 hidden costs can make tiny homes expensive

"Tiny house regret" is actually a thing. Homeowners who downsize to simplify their lives are discovering that it's not as cheap or as easy as they thought.

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Consumer Reports: 3 big property insurance mistakes

According to the magazine, some people pay too much and others pay too little. In many cases, homebuyers get a policy and then ignore it for years unless needed.

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Surprising drop in owners optimistic about selling

Are owners less inclined to sell? The percent who thought it's a good time hit a record high in Fannie's June survey – but it dropped a surprising 11% in July.

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Mortgage rates move a bit lower

The average FRM hit 3.90% this week, down from last week's 3.93%. The 15-year loan held steady at 3.18%, and the ARM changed little at 3.14%.

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Who pays for damage caused by condo building leak?

Real estate QandA: A few condos were damaged by a water leak that "just happened" and wasn't a specific owner's fault. Who pays? Individual owners or condo board?

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Real estate gets new 'massive' data dictionary update

The update will help MLSs and brokerages coordinate better as it improves functions like accessibility, standardized showing data, saved searches and more.

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HUD: 'Worst case housing needs' increased in 2015

Study: Out of all the very-low income families not receiving public assistance, 8.3 million had to dole out more than half their monthly income for housing.

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Man who created 'PA$$Word' guidelines was wrong

It sounded good: Create passwords with random symbols and capital letters. But it hasn't cut down on cybercrime, so its creator now has updated password advice.

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NAR's new CEO hosting Facebook Live event

Questions about NAR programs or political involvement? New CEO Bob Goldberg will answer questions during a live meeting on Tue., Aug. 15, at 3 p.m.

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Why the tight inventory? Blame the boomers

Buyers need more for-sale homes, so Realtor.com conducted a study to find out why inventory remains stubbornly low. The reason? Baby boomers don't want to move yet and new-home construction remains inadequate.

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Housing crisis officially started 10 years ago this week

While trouble brewed earlier, the meltdown officially began when a French bank started blocking withdrawals from U.S. mortgage-debt hedge funds.

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Realtors Land Institute: Demand for land widens

Survey: The number of land transactions for residential is up but so are prices. The big challenge: Finding affordable land on the outskirts of populated areas.

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Owners who missed a mortgage payment at 17-year low

The early-stage delinquency rate – those owners with at least one missed mortgage payment – is 5.2% in Fla., but that varies by metro. In The Villages, it's 1.3%.

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63% of Floridians fear falling home prices

Survey: 58% of U.S. homeowners expect a "housing bubble and a price correction" in the next two years, a 12 percentage-point increase since April.

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Face-to-face vs. Facebook? You need both

Digital marketing through social media can put your name in front of a lot more people, but in-person meetings build bonds and create loyalty.

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Fla. home sales, median prices up in 2Q 2107

Florida Realtors data: Single-family home sales up 3.7%, median price up 9.1% year-over-year. Condo sales up 3%, median price up 7.4%

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Fla. leads nation in foreign residents buying and selling

Foreign investors want to buy in Fla., but they also want to sell Fla. property when the income potential is right – and many Canadians think that time is now.

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Legal QandA: An inspector can block my mortgage?

After a four-point inspection, a buyer's insurance company refused to write a policy because the electrical fuse box brand wasn't acceptable. What now?

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Millennials: Live with Mom and save for downpayment

Many first-time buyers choose to live with Mom and Dad in order to bank money toward a downpayment. It's a good money-saving strategy, assuming there's ample space in the parents' home and a specified savings goal.

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It's getting easier to qualify for a mortgage

For mortgage lenders, it's about competition. They see rising home prices and more qualified buyers, so they're easing standards to attract more business.

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Expect these four questions at your open house

Your answer will vary depending on circumstances, but it's important to have an answer if potential buyers start to show an interest.

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GI Bill will pay for military vets to learn commercial RE

A CCIM program offered in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs will cover the CCIM Institute's cost of tuition and fees as a GI Bill benefit.

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Legal QandA: How can our condo get a skylight?

Also: We can deny clients based on criminal history, but an applicant with a dozen arrests, some felonies, was never convicted. Can we deny his application?

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CRE report: Polarization top issue affecting real estate

What top risk factors threaten real estate? CRE's annual list of the top 10 also includes technology, generational changes, retail disruption and health care.

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Amazon's Alexa adds more real estate skills

A survey found that 72% of Americans in smart homes want voice control, so Coldwell Banker rolled out a service that offers company news and real estate trends.

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Fannie, Freddie add $5.1B to federal coffers in 2Q

Taxpayers bailed out the entities during the meltdown and could be stuck again in another financial crisis – but to date they've received $77.6B more than the loan.

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Should Freddie Mac make loans to institutional investors?

Calif. Realtors say they're concerned about a federally owned agency lending money that "is essentially a government guarantee to compete with homebuyers."

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Your buyers need flood insurance? Close before Sept. 30

It looks less likely Congress will finalize a flood-insurance bill before the program expires Sept. 30, and unless they OK a short-term extension, lenders won't release mortgage money starting Oct. 1 if the property is located within a flood zone.

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Real estate literally going to the dogs

Survey: A top reason 1 out of 3 millennials buy a first home is to provide a yard for their dog. As a motivator, it outranked marriage and raising children.

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Fewer Americans seeking greener pastures

Many small-town residents remain in place as local economies struggle and jobs move elsewhere. For a number of reasons, they no longer believe they can leave.

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