Winter Haven, FL Real Estate News

With Labor Day around the corner, it's a great time to remember what being an American means. I love how our community celebrates our great country's holidays and I am looking forward to Labor Day. At Lake Ashton, our community really came together to celebrate Lake Ashton's Veterans' Memorial. Our community's celebration was complete. There was a presentation of the Honor Guard by a few of Lake Ashton's veterans.  The United States Flag was hoisted into the air by two USN Veterans.  At first, the flag went to full mast, and then, they lowered it to half staff in observance of Memorial Day.   A member of Lake Ashton Activities sang a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and then the ceremony proceeded into Lake Ashton's Ballroom.  Terri Mattocks did a beautiful job presenting...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Which sounds better to you? Option A: "Congratulations!  You Qualify for a $7,500 First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit!" Option B: "Congratulations!  You Qualify for $7,500 Interest-free First-time Homebuyer Loan, payable in 15 years! Not sure about you, but I'll take option A, Bob.  Only, I'd still be on the hook for the $7,500 if I do!  Look, I'm not trying to bag the whole idea of the $7,500 tax credit.  The program was brought about as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 - authorizing a credit of up to $7,500 for qualified first-time buyers purchasing homes on or after April 9, 2008, and before July 1, 2009.  It's just the portion of this deal that gets me.  If I owe you money, I will pay you back.  No problem.  But if you give me a credit, and ask me to pay you back......
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
  Options Disable Get Free Shots      Caught this in an email I received from The Apple, and I thought I would share it with you.  The History degrees paid off, as I rated an "Expert" on the topics at hand. There are 14 questions among 100 used in current US citizenship tests. You must answer 7 or 8 of them correctly in order to pass.  See how much you know about YOUR country!  Sourced from Boston.com, Courtesy of YellowBrix. All Rights Reserved >> Are you willing to put your knowledge to the test? >> Are you brave enough to share your scores with us here?  
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
I have been hearing a decent amount of criticism from folks inside and outside of the real estate industry re: Downpayment Assistance Programs.  The sentiment seems to be that if folks can't cough up the FHA 3 percent (now 3.5 percent) downpayment for their home purchase - well, then thy don't deserve to have a home! What's more - HUD's consistent practice of casting a dark spector over DPA program participants comprising a significant portion of recent foreclosures is itself cast in a poor and sceptical light as HUD continues to REFUSE requests by Congress to release their actual data on foreclosures related to DPAs.  All information gathered on this data points to it being severely outdated and thus, quesiontable in its own right.  (I'm by no means a screaming liberal - but our Govern...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
  Join Scott Syphax, President and CEO of Nehemiah Corporation of America, for a 30-minute virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, August 26, at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST. There is no obligation for you to join this town hall, but I do feel this is a very important time in the housing industry, and your participation would be greatly appreciated. There is no charge to you for this event, and your questions and feedback will be welcomed. The dial-in number is 1-877-269-7289 and pin is 13908. Please dial-in 5 minutes prior to the actual start of the event. Space is limited; if you receive a busy signal the meeting has reached capacity. In addition to answering your questions, topics will include: The Status of H.R. 6694 (Bill to Save Downpayment Assistance Programs) An update on Groundswe...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
We see them every day... in fact it's almost as if a new Web 2.0 gadget or software tool gets pushed in front of us faster than we're able to take in and fully utilize the last one.  In this post, I've selected five (5) tools I think will remain useful for a while, even if new and improved also-rans show up.  As Mortgage and Real Estate Professionals, we're concerned with two main concepts: Networking and Marketing - mostly as they go hand in hand.  We count on these areas of our business for our survival! So, it’s easy to see how we can be lured by new technologies that promise to spread our good news, stuffed in warm and fuzzy envelopes, to the masses with ease.  In the end, what we realize is that it's not the tool, it's the professional that matters. Tiger could whip any one of us u...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
I bought my Winter Haven lakefront condo back in 2004 for under $90,000. Since then, it's market value has gone up as high as $150,000 and has fallen to as low as $109,000 since then. Thanks to the fact that my upper floor balcony looks over one of the biggest lakes in our chain of lakes system and will maintain its unobstructed view indefinitely (no more building allowed behind us), it's hovering in a moderately stable range of $129,000 to $139,000 at the moment. I count myself as being very fortunate. When I bought the place, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I was coached and mentored about the purchase by Linda Dees, of Mary Myers Realty - who I really need to thank more often for helping me find that place! Contact her via email, or by phone at (863) 206-3993. She...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
When the going gets tough, the tough do in fact get going.  An article posted today on RIS Media entitled "Florida Real Estate, the Entire Story for Owners, Buyers, and Sellers" relays some poignant stories of families getting out of homes they overstretched to get into and others who are able to purchase them through short sales at savings of up to 40%.  As a mortgage broker, I was happy to read that more Lenders are increasing their speed to action when it comes to renegotiating mortgages for folks in trouble or working hard to facilitate short sales (Realtors, you know how painful a process these can be).  It's not something you'd beg to have listed on your credit report by any means, but an effectively executed short sale looks much better to creditors than an all out foreclosure do...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
  OK folks, we're in for a fight on this one... and WE NEED YOUR HELP!  Heck - YOU NEED YOUR HELP!    If you believe in DPAs and the good they do for American families - not to mention American Realtors and Mortgage Brokers - Then you must act on this now.  The following excerpt comes straight from the www.dpaGroundSwell.org website - sponsored by the Nehemiah Corporation.  Please read it and take action by contacting your respective congressional representatives.  I'll be heading up a planning session this Saturday in Clearwater, Florida along with John Lamberg, of the Nehemiah Corp.  We're gameplanning a live action demonstration in front of our Florida Congressional Reps.  Please contact me if you're in the area and have an interest in participating!    RELATED POST:  August 14, 2008...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Buying a new home?  Don't rely on the previous owner's tax bills to estimate what you'll be paying!  According to Florida Statute 689.261, titled "Sale of property; disclosure of ad valorem taxes to prospective purchaser,"A prospective purchaser of residential property must be presented a disclosure summary at or before execution of the contract for sale. Unless a substantially similar disclosure summary is included in the contract for sale, a separate disclosure summary must be attached to the contract for sale."Specifically, prospective home buyers must be furnished with a disclosure that states that they should not rely on a seller's current property tax statement to gauge the amount they themselves will have to pay the following year.  This change in ownership triggers a reassessmen...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Well, we've reached it... September is nearly here, and we find ourselves finally drenched with the rain we have been begging to receive for more than a year now. Of course - now that the Chain of Lakes canals are back to a near navigable state - the rain-rain-go-away singers are warming up their pipes. Guess there's really not pleasing some folks. From a just-past-midyear standpoint, there are some interesting tidbits to look at as one peruses through the University of Central Florida's latest Florida & Metro Forecast 2008-2038. The study represents a comprehensive, quarterly forecast of the Florida economy and 12 metropolitan areas, including: Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Ocala, Deltona-Daytona Beach, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando-Kissimmee, Palm Bay-Me...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Ok folks, here it is... the inaugural podcast for the Florida Mortgage Blogger website. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. John Lamberg, Florida Area Manager for the Nehemiah Corporation. John provided a wealth of information on how DPAs work, how Realtors and Loan Originators can use them to increase profits now, and added in some thoughts about how we can all make sure these programs stick around for the long haul! If you're at all interested in Downpayment Assistance Programs and their proven ability to positively impact your bottom line, you MUST listen to the SplashCast show provided below. Be sure to stay with the recording through the very end to find out exactly how YOU can post your own suggestions as to what you'd like to hear on future podcasts! Remember, I'm here to ser...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
I love the movie Caddyshack. It's timeless... and ubiquitous. I sincerely feel that if you are in your 30s to 40s and you cannot rattle off a minimum of three (3) key quotes from this movie - then you need make it a point to put it at the top of your Netflix queue ASAP! One of the most Zen-like one liners from the film comes from Ty Webb - golf pro, Chevy Chase's character as he relays the following wisdom to young golf hopeful Danny Noonan: Ty Webb: Just be the ball, be the ball, be the ball. You're not being the ball Danny. Danny Noonan: It's hard when you're talking like that. It's sort of like "Use the Force," only I just like the golf reference better. The question it makes me think of though, is this: It's great to have a blog up and running, but isn't so great if it's out there ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
I recently hosted a Realtor-focused conference call on Downpayment Assistance Programs - co hosted by John Lamberg, Florida Area Manager for the Nehemiah Corporation.  One week prior, I participated in this conference call with Dan Martin and Brian Kludt from Mad Mortgage World and Rhonda Porter from The Mortgage Porter Blog to talk about my conference call setup strategy as well as some of the marketing strategies Rhonda and Brian are using to drive business in our direction now.  You'll notice a common thread in each of our solutions or concpets in that we all talk about providing our clients with measurable service.  And this is the key point to keep in mind for anyone who is in the planning stages of a marketing campaign - specifically one for Realtors.  Telling a Realtor you will p...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Well, up at the O-Dark Thirty today and caught a Tara Siegel Bernard New York Times article on rising mortgage interest rates syndicated out to our local fish wrap - the Ledger.  The article brings up an interesting point: Do buyers act now to lock in a lower rate, or is it best for them to wait and let rates go up a bit, thus pushing home prices down (in some over-priced / high inventory areas) as sellers begin to feel the heat from a "tougher to get financed" environment? On a Downpayment Assistance Program I hosted yesterday, a couple of Realtors expressed frustration regarding seller reluctance to price homes according to present market conditions.  They each cited a mix of sentimental value and naivete on the part of sellers who feel a $5,000 price reduction to be an acceptable mov...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
This question was recently posed by Joe Hall, Founder and Chief Webhead of Jozoft, as he compared and contrasted the consumer market draw of Web 2.0 stalwarts Zillow.com and Trulia.com against the more traditional Real Estate / Brochure Ware sites of Century 21 and RE/MAX. In the article, Hall makes an interesting point - stating that while RE/MAX and Century 21 rank #1 and #2 in search volume among all of the major branded real estate sites online, they both rank behind Zillow and Trulia: "We already know that RE/MAX is dominating in the area of brand recognition in web search volume. So its no surprise that remax.com is ranking as the top name brand real estate site. Century 21 comes in second and in the same token is placed as the second most visited name brand real estate site. Howe...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Take heed of the current changed in conforming loan amounts - especially if you reside in a county that currently has values set at $729,750.   After December 31, 2008, the maximum conforming mortgage loan in your area will go down, which very well may affect you personally! Act now to avoid higher mortgage rates! Here's how everything shakes out. Effective with loans that are closed (based on the date of the note) after December 31, 2008, the new conforming maximum loan limits for 2009 are: General Limits – “shall not exceed” $417,000: 1-unit $533,850: 2-units $645,300: 3-units $801,950: 4-units Maximum Loan – 150% of General Limit $625,500: 1-unit $800,775: 2-units $967,950: 3-units $1,202,925: 4-units High Cost Areas – 115% of median home price in the area   If the conforming loan li...
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By Randall Schrader
(Competitive Insurance of Dundee)
Manufactured / Mobile home financing is better left to the experts.  This type of property is just DIFFERENT and, like anything else, if you do it every day you get REAL good at it.  I've done financing on 1965 single wides, 100% VA purchases, tons of loans for homes in 55+ parks on rented or leased land.  I'm an expert at FHA loans and the FHA programs are a lot simpler to do these days.  If you have a manufactured home listing, call me to get the scoop on financing.  Or, pass my number on to your clients and I'll help them directly.          - Randall  863-229-1235 -    
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
                (Image courtesy of VARBUZZ.com) If you're a Realtor and you use social networking and blogging to get your message out to clients and colleagues, then the Center for Real Estate and Social Technologies (CREST) wants to know about your direct experience in this and related media.   The good folks at CREST urge you to take the second CREST survey, and help them determine exactly how much ROI and ROT (Return on Time?) you are gaining from your blogs and what social networking tools you use to supplement or enhance your blogging efforts. The cool part is that everyone who completes the survey gets a copy of the executive summary, so be sure to fill it out! Note:  The survey closes at 9 a.m. EDT on August 21, 2008. For those of you who are interested, the 1st CREST survey is...
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By Rebecca Schrader
(Competitive Insurance of Dundee)
   Manufactured / Mobile home financing is better left to the experts.  This type of property is just DIFFERENT and, like anything else, if you do it every day you get REAL good at it.  I've done financing on 1965 single wides, 100% VA purchases, tons of loans for homes in 55+ parks on rented or leased land.  I'm an expert at FHA loans, and the FHA programs are a lot simpler to do these days.  If you have a manufactured home listing in Florida, call me to get the scoop on financing.       Call me  - REBECCA  863-229-2524 - (Florida homes only please)    
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