Saint Cloud, FL Real Estate News

By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
"My house is bigger."  "My house is better".  "My house is nicer"  Common Seller Objections 101.  "If I could put you into a brand new or nearly new home which is bigger, better, nicer and newer and priced LESS than yours would you buy it today?" The Realtor asks.  Chances are you can.   Builders offering incentives and reducing prices on inventory homes, are presenting some amazing values at least here in St. Cloud, Florida.   Nationwide 1.4 million new home starts in 2006-2007 have created a large supply of unsold inventory homes in the current market.  As a result, builders are stepping up incentives and packaging attractive perks with their lenders as a laxative to a constipated housing market. By loosening up obstacles to closing such as closing cost contributions, down payment ass...
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
Challenging times like this in Real Estate needs to be met with changed tactics. With the market shifting in Kissimmee and St Cloud, the marketing must adapt or be left behind. When I find that my world is changing I remember a book that I was given when I worked for a fortune 500 company. "Who Stole My Cheese" by Ilene Hochberg (Author) . It's a story about 4 mice in a maze. Scurry,Sniff, Him, and Haw.The story makes the point about being prepared for change as well as coping with change when it actually happens.The mice get use to finding their cheese in a location of the maze. Then one day it's moved.The characters react differently in trying to survive. It is truely a must read for anyone in a changing environment. The book is a short one but the message is loud. Those who adapt wil...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
There has been some debate regarding the English Language of late.  By definition, the "Official" language of the United States is English. However, what the "National Language"  should be is still in question. Bi-lingual ballots for example would be eliminated IF English is the "National Language"  It is semantics?Over 100 Million American's can trace their roots to somewhere else.  Dating back to the 1790's  there was the passage of  the Naturalization Act of 1790 Over 200 years later, we live now in a society of political correctness.  We are bound by law not to discriminate against age, race, religion, national origin, familia status, or diabilities.But are we disabled by language barriers? The Hispanic population is the fastest growing segment of Immigrants in the Nation. Some esti...
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
I just got a call from a Realtor that I know trying to structure an offer. The discussion was about buyers closing cost paid by the sellers. I am seeing more and more of this being stopped by the lender. A year ago I saw as high as 6%. Now it's back to 3%. The question my college had was about adding the closing costs to the amount that the seller was asking. THIS IS A DECLINING MARKET EVERYONE! Appraisers are being very conservative. They are no long stretching on a homes value and any extra amount added to the list price (which is probably high) will hurt your appraisal. Poinciana in Kissimmee, Florida has many appraisers marking the appraisal as "Declining Market" and there are some lenders that will not loan in Poinciana on home sales. So be careful with the banks and we will need a...
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
I arrived home from work tonight and my wife informed me that the news informed her that the state of Florida is #1 in over priced house in The United States. It wasn't bad enough having Poinciana in Kissimmee, Florida the #1 area for foreclosures. Gotta love the press to over hype the housing market. Love the press for keeping home buyers away. Gotta love the press for the ridiculous offers we as listing agent have to endure. If I watched the news, I wonder if I would go to work at all. Gotta love the press! "IT LEADS IF IT BLEEDS". Someone give me a band-aid.The Resident Mark
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
Well more news about short sales. I have an offer in to a lender submitted with a Pre-HUD. It was approved. But now, property taxes were assessed and they were increased $2,900. The home was constructed in 2006. The tax bill was calculated on the vacant land. The new assessment has the home. Hence an increase on the HUD and more of a loss to the lender. Sellers of a short sale don't attend the closing and therefore, they are not going to bring funds in most instances. Be aware of deals pending the November 1 tax assessments. The Resident Mark
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
Well today we have an offer to send to the bank. A HUD 1 must be prepared so that the bank can analyse the costs and the bottom line. The bank is requesting current financial records. The seller is reluctant to give them because the offer is less than what they owe. This seller doesn't understand the process even though it has been explained to him. If the lender sees that there isn't a way that the seller can pay the difference, they might just take the sale as a final judgement. You see, the process of foreclosing and putting the home up on the courthouse steps for auction can costs the lender up to a 35% loss. A short sale is a way that they can control the loss. Sometimes they do want to attach a promissory note to the homeowner to recoup some of the loss. But, a homeowner has to ag...
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
Again I learned something new. A lender that I am working with has changed the criteria of submitting a short sale offer. Either the policy has changed, or not everyone in the department of lost mitigation are on the same page. All a person can do is roll with the changes and not get discouraged. It seems that now I have to submit the sellers current finance's with very offer. Finance's were given to the lender just 45 days ago. I can only assume that they want to know if anything has changed in the ability of the borrower to repay the note. Just last week this was not required. So when submitting offers on a short sale, keep in contact with the lender upon submitting all offer and make sure that the procedure hasn't changed.Hang in thereThe Resident Mark 
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
Short Sales are becoming more prevalent in our Real Estate market today. Many homeowners opted for a small payment that the adjustable rate offered in the beginning of their loan. Home owners also opted not to escrow property taxes and insurance to keep their payment affordable. Now the tax bill is due and the reassessment of their taxes have increased the taxable amount. Instead of small monthly payment to an escrow account, a large tax bill is due and the homeowner is having trouble paying that bill in some cases. The homeowners insurance premium is also due. With all of these bills becoming due and the fact that the mortgage rate is adjusting or about to, many homeowner cannot afford the homes that they purchased in the last two years.So, that is the reason for the problem that was c...
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
The race is on to sell your house. While looking at my site with about 80 homes in the pre-forclosure catigory, I was updating prices today and what is causing pricing to fall is the placement in the search. If a neighbor drops his house the rest of the houses in the neighborhood are going just below that price. When that neighbor corrects to be the lowest again, the other neighbors drop again, and so forth. We haven't hit bottom yet I suspect. The Resident Mark
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By Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
(Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC)
When my children, raised in Kissimmee, Florida, Osceola County reached the age of 19, they were both educated about finance. They had great credit scores for their age so I decided I would help them get into their first home. Ideally I expected them to go to The University of Florida, or Florida State together. That way they could split a home. But Nooooo. My son choose The University of Central Florida and my daughter choose The University of South Florida.Getting them their own homes was a great way to get them out of the house and not have to pick up after them or wonder where they were at 2:00am. When they have mortgages, they can't move back in.Well, they were both on scholarships, so housing and food were the main expenses. Until they both lost their scholarships in their sophomor...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
In the shadow of the house of the mouse, away from the tourists, yet close to all the major attractions for over a century stands the quiet cozy town of St. Cloud.  This amazing virtual tour shows some of the lovely areas and features of this great little community.It offers an ecclectic mix of Historic and New Homes, Free Wireless Internet Services, and affordable living.  For commuters to Orlando the ride is less than 30 minutes, so is access to the airport, (Orlando International) and proximity to the beaches.There is great golfing here. Horseback Riding, 4-H, and even a Center for the Performing Arts. The housing Market here offers families transfering to Florida a wonderful opportunity to enjoy summer living year round, at affordable family friendly prices.If you have never been he...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
In Orlando, approximately 30% of licensed Real Estate Associates will not renew their local board memberships. It is estimated that another 20% will pay late fees. In Osceola County, 20-30% are not likely to renew.St. Cloud for example has a population of 29,000 people; most of whom work in Orlando but patronize local establishments.   Every service oriented business is reporting a down turn in business.  Because St. Cloud for example, is not a tourist based community, the Mom and Pop service businesses are feeling the pinch.Gasoline  now costs between 5%-6.6% of an average NET weekly paycheck.  That extra $20 to fill your tank used to be pizza money. Since a salary for the average wage earner will only go so far, the shift of income to essentials takes a big chunk out of what we can sp...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
 November; the time Property Taxes in Florida are due. Last year, Floridians found themselves in shell shock when the Osceola County Property Tax bills came out. Many had taken home equity loans out to augment repairs and improvements back in 2004-2005 when insurance wasn't enough opened a new Pandora's box. Re-Assessment.  The 2005 tax bill reassessments hiked an average home upwards of $1500 a year in additional taxes. But there was recourse.Tax bills in Florida are based in arrears. The 2007 bill for example, is based on data for 2006. The Assessed value is approximately two thirds of the Market Value according to the Osceola County Tax Assessors office. But are they comparing apples to oranges?         It would appear so.  Square footage alone does not a tax bill make.  Pulling sale...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
  Florida Real Estate is prime for picking.  Foreign Investors are looking long and hard at the largest selection of inventory in recent history and have choice properties available. Are the banks or the buyers pulling the strings?  The latest market information, would indicate that it is the buyers now making the banks dance and may indeed be pulling the purse strings.  Only recently has this been possible.  As inventory swelled and the market reached its saturation point, the record number of foreclosures nationwide have added a little more driftwood to a sea of debris.  Abandoned properties.  Up until recently, the banks have held fast in their unyielding determination that the threat of foreclosing would force delinquent mortgagees to pay up or get out.  Many chose the latter; unabl...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
  .Foreign investors have an edge over their American counterparts. Not only can they buy American properties at half price  2:1 pound dollar ratio they can become entrepeuneral in the process by leasing short term rentals abroad. Unlike time share, purchasing a short term rental allows the unit to pay for itself.  Since most vistor's visas are for 90 days, it would allow 4 families, to share a wholly owned property. Reducing the costs of ownership to a mere 25%. That makes it more than affordable wouldn't you agree? Realtors love working with eager buyers.  Eager buyers are ones who realize the market is prime for picking.  The American economy is global news.  It is no secret the housing market is presenting unique opportunities for investors looking to capitalize on their investments...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
Tired of the traffic, conjestion, and overcrowding?  Sick of the snow, cold weather and city grime?  Are you yearning to live in a city that feels like a small town?  St. Cloud, Florida may be the place you are looking for.  Just minutes from the Orlando International Airport, Disney, Universal, Sea World, The Outlets Stores, Kennedy Space Center, and the Beaches St. Cloud is the quiet community just east of Kissimmee in Osceola County, FloridaFree Wi-Fi  St. Cloud, Florida was one of the first cities in Central Florida  and the first city in Osceola County, Florida to offer free wireless internet to its residents. Perhaps this is a reason St. Cloud, Florida has grown over 20% in the past seven years.  With a population just under 30,000  the mix of historic homes, and new developments ...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
Okay we all know the market is not achieving record breaking sales. While many Realtors are scratching their heads and wondering what do to next, a select few realize this is opportunity time. "The need for housing will always exist" and because of that need there will also be opportunity for those that work hard.Baby Boomers are down sizing.  Baby Boomers constitute the largest segment of the American Population. As these Baby boomer post war babies reach retirement age, their needs for smaller homes will increase.  In the age of the McMansion, upwardly mobile young professionals wanted bigger and better housing. This ultimately lead to higher taxes, maintenance fees and planned unit developments. (Which of course included fees to support infrastructure the boomers wanted as well)  Rec...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
  UGLY is in.   The UGLY truth about Real Estate. The UGLY mortgage mess.  Ugly conditions placed on loans.    And yes, even UGLY houses.  Ugly is fashionable these days.  You cannot judge a book by its cover. You can judge a buyer by what they say, but rather by what they do. You cannot judge a seller by their words of "Motivated" but rather by their actions and competitive spirit.And we cannot judge ourselves, as Real Estate professionals,  through unjaded eyes.  While not every house is to our liking, it doesn't mean it does not have appeal.  In speaking with a bank rep yesterday he told me about a new loan program which will allow buyers to budget for repairs they want to make on a property. When the work is done, the money held in escrow is paid to the contractors the buyer subs ou...
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By Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
(St.Cloud Homes )
 Too often we under estimate our own abilities. The result is we may be short changing what we can accomplish, because we have convinced ourselves  it is too difficult. For years a couple of circles for eyes and a few teeth was good enough to make a pumpkin face. This year, we decided to think outside of the box a little.  For many would be home buyers, they have convinced themselves buying a home is too difficult. The media has sufficiently spooked buyers by reporting on sluggish market conditions. But, there is another side to that story.  Sure prices are down- how is that bad news for buyers?  It isn't.   They can now have more house for less money.Just as taking on the challenge of carving out the pumpkins pictured, buyers need to know, it takes a little practice and a set of instru...
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