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Florida REALTORS® News

It's official: Fed will start selling bonds

Experts have predicted rising mortgage rates for a long time, but this bond sale is a new twist that will probably at least nudge FRM rates slightly higher. But in a nod to weak inflation, the Fed cut its 2019 projection from three rate increases to two.

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An unusual rental agreement in exchange for a downpayment

A company gives buyers a downpayment in exchange for the right to use one of their bedrooms for up to three years – a room the company will rent out via Airbnb.

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Fla. tamed un-friendly condo associations on July 1

Significant law changes codified criminal penalties for directors – particularly ones related to conflicts of interest – and improved transparency.

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Mortgage rates increase after lengthy decline

Average long-term mortgage rates rose to 3.38% in Freddie Mac's weekly survey – the first FRM increase in almost two months.

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4 things you really wish your sellers knew

The seller thinks her "doll room" is cute; buyers think it's a horror-movie scene. How do you get the dolls packed away without hurting the seller's feelings?

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FHA allows transactions to proceed with immediate reinspection

FHA loans require a post-disaster inspection in declared catastrophe areas, but a rule that could delay closings is waived.

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Hurricane Irma damage could be as high as $65 billion

Irma's 185-mph winds seemed to be the biggest menace, but a CoreLogic study found that damage caused by flooding will cost homes and businesses more money.

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Fla.'s housing market continued positive track in Aug.

Statewide sales, listings and median prices rose: Existing single-family median price up 6.7% year-over-year, condo median price up 6.3%.

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NAR: U.S. existing-home sales down 1.7% in August

"Steady employment gains, slowly rising incomes and lower mortgage rates generated sustained buyer interest all summer ... but not more home sales," says NAR's Yun.

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CoreLogic: Mortgage fraud on the rise

There was an indication of mortgage fraud on an estimated 13,404 applications for single-family loans during 2Q, or almost 1% of all residential loan applications.

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Good people + training = great customer service

Brokers or team leaders who want "great customer service" to define them must hire empathetic people and habitually recognize and reward great service.

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SE Fla. real estate market OK despite Irma's punch

Beyond uprooted trees, debris in the streets and minor damage, Hurricane Irma's effect on South Fla.'s vibrant real estate market is not likely to be much more than the hassles of delayed construction and closings, industry observers say.

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Housing starts fall 0.8% – second straight monthly drop

A steep drop in multifamily construction (down 5.8%) more than offset a gain in single-family-home building (up 1.6%).

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Can the Equifax breach hurt home sales?

For buyers trying to get a mortgage, the data breach – it included Social Security numbers, addresses and credit cards – could stall approval or perhaps block it.

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Homes built to stricter standards fared better during Irma

Fla. Home Builders CEO Rusty Payton says feedback on Irma's impact on tougher-building-code homes so far is positive – but evidence is still preliminary.

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Irma's Fla. insurance claims already near $2 billion

State officials say Hurricane Irma has already exceeded claims and losses (335,000 claims, $1.9B in property losses) from the two Fla. hurricanes last year.

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Condo QandA: Who bears the cost of records requests?

Also: Can I be held responsible for a decision made by my HOA committee? And when a developer turns over a development to owners, should be the books be balanced?

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NAR to Congress: Tax reform proposals threaten homeowners

Realtors took their concerns over tax reform to Capitol Hill last week, telling senators that current proposals would hurt middle-class homeowners.

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Claims pour into Florida insurers; can they handle losses?

Hurricane Irma caused a significant amount of damage that Fla.'s insurers must fix.

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IRS offers tax relief to Hurricane Irma victims

Some Fla. Hurricane victims now have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business returns or make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service says.

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NAR: Student debt delays millennial homeownership by 7 years

Despite being in prime home-buying years, a majority of millennials with student debt currently don't own a home – and many believe student debt is the reason.

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Houston's market proves resilient post-Harvey

Hurricane Harvey's catastrophic flooding doesn't appear to deter housing demand. Redfin agents say 45 buyers are ready to purchase homes where the storm hit.

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Rebuilding: A long road for storm victims

For anyone who needs to repair or rebuild a home or business, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma coincided with a national shortage of carpenters, electricians, drywall installers and other skilled workers.

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Commercial real estate outlook remains bright

NAR's 2Q forecast: Strong leasing demand and investor appetite in smaller markets should keep the sector on solid ground, despite a price plateau in large markets.

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Most expensive items new homeowners buy

NAHB: Furniture, appliances and remodeling projects are the biggest expenses for new owners, who spend about $10,600 in the first year of owning their home.

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Owner can't sell home until long-lost ex is off the deed

Real estate QandA: It's better to deal with co-ownership issues before a divorce is final; the first step now is to try to find the ex to settle the issue.

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How does post-Irma damage affect tenants and landlords?

Fla. landlords must generally keep specific components in "good repair," though building, housing and health codes vary by county. However, tenants and landlords should also check the lease: It could modify the landlord's obligations.

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Fla. makes it easier to renew insurance or submit claims

For an extra 90 days, insurers cannot cancel policies, demand required info or increase policyholders' rates under a directive from Gov. Rick Scott.

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Irma pushes Fla.'s poor closer to the edge of ruin

Irma upended millions of Floridians lives, but those living in poverty will be hit hardest. Many lost homes and possessions, and many also face the loss of a job.

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Mortgage rates hold steady at lowest level for year

The long-term, fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 3.78%, which is down sharply from its 4.3% high earlier this year – but still higher than 2016's average 3.65%.

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Free legal assistance for Hurricane Irma survivors

English and Spanish voicemail recordings prompt callers to leave a message and describe their storm-related legal problem. A lawyer will respond within two days.

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HUD offers help as Trump adds counties to disaster declaration

A disaster declaration in the just-expanded 37 Fla. counties will aid local gov'ts and allow HUD to help with federal housing needs, such as foreclosure relief

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How does post-Irma damage affect tenants and landlords?

Fla. landlords must generally keep specific components in "good repair," though building, housing and health codes vary by county. However, tenants and landlords should also check the lease: It could modify the landlord's obligations.

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National flood insurance extended for three months

NAR's Call for Action ended Friday. While it initially hoped to pass a comprehensive flood bill that lasted years, Harvey aid and Irma's impending threat last week convinced Congress to postpone any major changes. NFIP now expires in December.

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Insurer: 'File a claim. It won't count against you'

Hurricane Irma "is an act of God," says head of major insurance co. in Fla., and those are handled differently and won't increase premiums in the future.

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Irma victims: The scammers are out there

Some stressed-out storm victims love it when a guy shows up and says: "Here. Sign this and I'll take care of all repairs for you." But that's how scammers work.

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Hispanic homeownership surges

Curbed.com: Latinos are expected to make up 52% of new home buyers between 2010 and 2030, fueled by the nation's 14.6M Hispanic millennials.

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What to do if board pres. makes use of HOA resources

Real estate QandA: All board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the community. Review HOA docs – but board can also remove or replace him.

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Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fall to lowest level this year

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.78%, down for the sixth straight week, though it's still slightly above the 3.65% average in 2016.

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Florida AG fighting price-gouging

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says a price-gouging hotline got more than 1,500 calls in two days. Many complaints were about prices on water, food and gas.

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Hispanic homeownership surges

Curbed.com: Latinos are expected to make up 52% of new home buyers between 2010 and 2030, fueled by the nation's 14.6M Hispanic millennials.

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Floridians prepare for Irma

If you need help or advice during Hurricane Irma's onslaught, where do you turn? To the groups and people below once you've written down your personal insurance companies' phone numbers – property, auto and health.

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What to do after a disaster hits your home, mortgage

If you're affected by a natural disaster, what does it mean for your mortgage? Here are frequently asked questions and answers.

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More homeowners 'stuck' in starter homes

Before the housing crisis, many first-timers bought a "starter home" to enjoy for five or six years before moving to a larger place. But they haven't moved yet.

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It's too late to get flood insurance for Hurricane Irma

People can sign up for flood insurance anytime, any day, but coverage doesn't begin for 30 days in most cases – a federally imposed waiting period.

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Affordable-housing panel starts looking for fixes

Eyeing reforms of everything from building codes to land-use rules, a new Affordable Housing Task Force met for the first time this week on a tight deadline to help fix the state's housing needs.

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Full-price offers not enough in hot housing market?

Real estate QandA: We submitted a full-price offer. The listing agent came back and said the seller won't accept it, but we could try going higher. What's going on?

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Fla. Realtor one of NAR's 10 'Good Neighbor' finalists

Florida Realtors' 2014 Humanitarian of the Year, Louise McLean with the Space Coast Assn., founded a nonprofit that assists homeless schoolchildren.

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Condo QandA: Must our treasurer also serve on our BOD?

Also: Can the board deny our request for a wood fence if our neighbor has one? And for pool repairs, must the board use only licensed engineers?

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