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Florida REALTORS® News

Real estate advertising? Try to keep up

While agents have a lot of online advertising options, Facebook is still best. It's visited by 79% of people online compared to Twitter, which is No. 2 at 24%.

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How would tax plan alter mortgage interest deduction?

Analysis: A buyer paying at least $305,000 today still qualifies for the deduction, but only homes worth $801,000 or more would under latest Trump tax proposal.

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Lennar upbeat on housing market after storms

The homebuilder said orders and deliveries rose in the latest quarter, and, after a short post-storm pause as the nation cleans up from recent storms, the company says that it expects that uptick in demand to continue for new homes.

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Outsized price gains for entry-level homes hurts buyers

Analysis: Home prices in the lowest, most-affordable tier rose 56% over the past five years, but prices in the top, most-expensive tier are up only 33%.

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7 real estate ideas that deserve to die

Conventional wisdom dies hard, and misconceptions may drive the decisions you make about your real estate career, marketing and even office décor.

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Here's how credit scores affect your mortgage rate

Buyers can't control interest rates, but they have some control over their credit score – and a good credit score can shave thousands of dollars off their loan.

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Why do some people pay too much for a house?

A 2017 Nobel Prize focused on "behavioral economics," which finds that people make illogical economic decisions and act more like Homer Simpson than Mr. Spock.

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Justices to hear argument in states' disputes over water

The Supreme Court says it will hear a decades-long dispute between Florida and Georgia over water rights.

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Refinance scams target military vets

Scammers convince some vets with VA loans to refinance multiple times in one year, and each refinance adds thousands of dollars to the total amount they owe.

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Hurricane victims: A recap of key IRS tax relief

The Treasury issued a rundown of the tax relief benefits offered to victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Because relief postpones some tax deadlines, individuals and businesses have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file any returns and pay any taxes.

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With flood ins., what does 'substantial damage' mean?

In the national flood program (NFIP), "substantial damage" means that repair costs for a home in a Special Flood Hazard Area are at least 50% of its market value.

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5 ways to make your listing look bigger

Some items, like small carpets, make rooms appear smaller than they are. But other details, such as a monochrome paint color, can make it appear bigger.

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What is Bitcoin? Here's everything you need to know

Bitcoin believers say it's the money of the future, a digital alternative to the dollar, euro or yen. Non-believers say it's not real money.

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More buyers reach for ARMs as home prices swell

Buyers see their dream home slipping out of reach as prices rise, so more are considering adjustable rate mortgages to make it work. That worries experts a bit.

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Legal QandA: Who repairs my condo's lanai?

A condo owner enclosed her lanai, but neighbors say the assoc. must fix it. Also: Our HOA has no reserve funds to replace a perimeter wall. What now?

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Congress considers post-hurricane flood insurance programs

On the one hand, the recent onslaught of hurricanes – notably Harvey in Houston – shows lawmakers that the U.S. needs a strong flood insurance program. However, it also brings the financial challenges facing NFIP into focus.

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'We're open for business,' Fla. tells the world

The world watched scary news reports and saw worst-case Irma photos after the hurricane, but most attractions are still open, including Key West's Fantasy Fest.

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Fla. host-state agreement to help displaced Puerto Ricans

Gov. Rick Scott says the Trump Admin. approved his Host-State request with FEMA that approves 100% federal reimbursement for costs incurred by Fla. related to accommodating people who have been displaced by Hurricane Maria.

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White House: No flood ins. for new homes in high-risk zones

The Trump administration proposed an end to federal flood ins. for new homes in flood zones. If enacted, the change would halt some new construction in Fla.

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Lawmakers target seller-financed homes

The U.S. consumer bureau thinks some larger investors that offer seller financing abuse the practice by evicting buyers for small infractions such as one late payment.

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Study: Homeownership a priority for younger consumers

71% of prospective homeowners – largely millennials – believe it's a good time to buy a home, and 63% remain steadfast in their ideal preferences for a home.

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Emergency declared when Nate moved north

Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency when Hurricane Nate threatened the Panhandle, and Florida Realtors Disaster Relief Fund remained prepped to offer aid.

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How will buyers and sellers bridge the pricing gap?

Still-climbing property values are starting to make commercial investors nervous. In a normal bid-ask gap, sellers continue to want top dollar based on recent sales returns while buyers are increasingly nervous about paying it and later losing money.

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Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.85%

Long-term mortgage rates ticked up slightly, in part due to expectations that Congress will OK tax cuts to stimulate growth and possibly increase the deficit.

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Real estate QandA: Should a widow sell her home to save money?

An 86-year-old must dip into savings for taxes and insurance, plus stairs are becoming more difficult. If renting is cheaper, should she sell and make the change?

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SEC: REcoin cryptocurrency is a fraud

Cryptocurrency is "digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security," with Bitcoin the best-known example. But REcoin dupes investors out of money.

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Facebook marketing secret? Give 'em what they want

Real estate pros go about social media marketing the wrong way: They post listings and business info instead of tapping into the interests of potential clients.

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Hard lessons businesses learned after the hurricane

When you plan effectively for a hurricane and get 90% right, the 10% you missed will still frustrate you. These biz owners will plan better the next time.

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Tax reform: Deduct property taxes or mortgage interest?

The U.S. House continues to consider tax reform, and their latest compromise proposal would force homeowners to make a decision at tax time: They could deduct their property taxes or their mortgage interest – but not both.

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Merritt Island Realtor is NAR Good Neighbor Award winner

Louise McLean, Florida Realtors 2014 Humanitarian of Year, founded the Space Coast Assoc.'s charitable arm that helps over 2.2K homeless children in Brevard County.

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Home builders switch gears on mortgage interest deduction

NAR has fought to keep the tax policy that allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest, but NAHB suddenly seems willing to compromise on the issue.

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CFPB issues rule on lender communications during foreclosure

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) continues to tweak its rules on foreclosures. The latest gives lenders more flexibility when contacting owners.

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Another 2.5M affected by Equifax data breach

Credit-scoring company Equifax announced that 145.5 million folks are now vulnerable to identity theft. Many Americans now wonder what they should do.

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The 'bonus room' makes a comeback

Harry Potter's "Room of Requirement" appears in times of great need, and more buyers seem to want bonus rooms for the same reason since families change over time.

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UF study: Floridians less confident in Sept.

Fla. sentiment dropped about a half point, though individual components were mixed. Economic expectations for one year from now fell – but they rose 5 years out.

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Indie brokers eye mergers to stay competitive

As technology costs escalate for small and privately owned real estate companies, many are entertaining mergers with larger firms in order to remain competitive.

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Fla.'s Irma-related insurance claims continue to mount

FEMA has approved 144,407 applications and provided $124.4M to repair damages to Fla. homes and businesses not covered by insurance. Irma insurance claims statewide amount to $4.2B in losses so far with 661,957 claims filed as of Monday.

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Another foreclosure wave as HELOCs default? Didn't happen

Many owners took out interest-only home equity lines of credit before the market collapse, but most owners refinanced before they reset to a higher interest rate.

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Reverse mortgages are sticky wickets

It's financially wise to wait until age 70 to collect Social Security, but should owners take out a reverse mortgage in order to get there?

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Scott declares emergency amid Puerto Rico crisis

If up to 100K Puerto Ricans relocate to Fla., what is the impact on housing? It's too soon to know, but Scott's state of emergency suspends some laws, rules and orders so the state can welcome a large number of possibly permanent new residents.

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Legal QandA: Post-hurricane condo concerns

Who pays for repairing, replacing windows? Also, is the board still required to give 48 hours' notice of a meeting called to deal with Hurricane Irma issues?

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What's in your homeowners policy?

J.D. Power survey: Overall satisfaction with homeowners policies is at an all-time high, but too few people understand what their policy does/does not cover.

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Survey: Most urban seniors want to stay in cities

Residents of 10 large North American cities don't want to move after age 80 – but most also say that big cities need more options for senior health care.

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New tools help market homes' 'transit score'

Buyers often want to know how close they are to public transportation, and new apps calculate the distance to buses, trains, taxis, ride-sharing and bike-sharing.

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It's getting easier to crowdfund a downpayment

Crowdfunding tools help everyone to "pitch in" when a buyer needs downpayment help, and the newest ones charge no fees and make it easy to do.

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Fla. voter registration can now be done online

On Sunday, Florida joined 35 other states in offering online voter registration to residents after Secretary of State Detzner launched RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

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Deadlines likely pushed back for ballot proposals

The Constitution Revision Commission – a group with the power to direct-place proposals on the 2018 Fla. ballot – delayed some meetings after Hurricane Irma.

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FAU Buy vs. Rent Index: Buying still wins, but not by much

According to the latest national index produced by two Fla. universities, owning a home vs. renting a home are in a virtual tie in terms of wealth creation.

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Kitchen remodels offer big paybacks at resale

Homeowners looking to remodel may be smart to tackle a kitchen renovation if they're looking for the strongest buyer appeal and higher returns on their investment at resale.

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Some owners are truly stuck in their homes

Many homeowners want to sell but can't afford it, since almost 3 million households still have negative equity – about 5.4% of all homes with a mortgage.

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