Winter Haven, FL Real Estate News

By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
I’ve received a lot of questions about the recent stimulus package and the $8,000 “First-Time Home Buyer”  tax credit that is part of it.  There are many scenarios and questions about who does and who does not qualify… and even the term “First-time home buyer” is not entirely correct! Here are some of the top questions complied and answered by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the National Association of Realtors and tax advisors!  I have also provided a visual breakdown showing the differences between the initial $7,500 Tax Credit and the new $8,000 Tax Credit. Nota Bene: This post is for the informational benefit of my Winter Haven, Florida readers.  As always, I advise you all to consult your legal and financial representatives to ensure that your individual situations tr...
Comments 1
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Monday was a great day for me, namely - because I was able to share some good news with a client who was looking to refinance several rental properties here in Winter Haven, Florida but was unable due to Fannie Mae's previous 4 investment property limit. This all changed last Friday, however -as Fannie Mae announced that effective March 1, 2009, real estate investors can once again own and finance up to 10 individual properties. The restriction reversal does come with new minimum requirements, however - which may still keep a good number of investors on the sidelines for now. Homeowners buying a 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th home must meet the following standards, as set forth by Fannie Mae: 720 credit score 25% downpayment for a 1-unit (30% for a 2-4 unit) No mortgage delinquencies i...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Now that Congress has come to an agreement on the $789 billion stimulus package , and President Obama is set to sign in into law - current Winter Haven, Florida home buyers and homeowners should pay special attention to what the new law has in store. The package contains two benefits related to housing. The first provision represents a small bump to a familiar program. It gives first-time home buyers an $8,000 tax credit as long as they purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and August 31, 2009. Note: This is a true tax credit. However, to limit abuse and misuse, the $8,000 credit is contingent on home buyers holding property for a minimum of 3 years.  Sell your Winter Haven home before the 3 year anniversary date, and you'll have to pay back the cash. It's also worth noting that the d...
Comments 0
By Leslie Heimer
(Premier Home Mortgage)
  There isn't much that can compare to heartfelt gratitude and our team at PHM have always been so customer focused, that commissions/fees/payments can hardly measure to a customer who understands and appreciates your hard work. Recieving a thank you letter, knowing someone actually took time out of their busy day to think of you and appreciate truly makes all the difference.  Over the years, I have recieved flowers, candy, cards, notes and letters. I treasure each of them and have a drawer in my office just for these "pats on the back" for when the day gets really tough!  This one I recieved today was especially kind, and couldnt have come at a better time.  This market has taken our job stress to a whole new level, but on this pre-valentine's Friday - I am re-juvenated!
Comments 4
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Hi folks, Kevin Sandridge here with your Weekly Mortgage Report. The initial outlook for this week is a bit stormy for the housing market here in Winter Haven, Florida and across the nation. Consumer confidence tanked to an all-time low last week, and 100,000 American workers were handed pink-slips, each playing a role in adding significant downward pressure on the mortgage market. For three weeks in a row, mortgage rates rose and average home loan fees increased.  Not something we like to see, obviously. Sliver Lining En Route Despite this negative news, there are two bright spots worth taking a look at which indicate that our country may be nearer to economic recovery than we think.First, the supply of "used" homes for sale fell from 11 months to 9 months nationwide.  This statistic o...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Homeowners or soon-to-be homeowners need to listen up:  The Homeowner Insurance Policy Landscape is a little scary right now.  What's more... things don't look too incredibly cheery moving into the future.  Take the following points to heart as you consider your current and future homeowner or condo insurance policy choices.  You'll be glad you did. 1.  Consider carefully before making a claim:  I know it's a standard notion to do this, but it warrants a look here.  Here in Winter Haven, Florida - we're still feeling the after effects of the 2004 hurricane season where insurance claims are concerned.  To date, the most common claims tend to be fore mold damage.   Insurers are starting to cap their allowable expenses for such claims at $5,000 to limit their "damages."  My recommendation:...
Comments 1
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
NFL Fans have no problem honoring the storied history of Pittsburgh's Iron Curtain.  Few teams have matched their success, and the team's 5 total Super Bowl wins have put rings on some of the games most famous personalities. However, for those of you who may be a bit superstitious... you know - who may have a certain jersey you wear each Sunday that only gets washed come February? ... you'd best hope that the Steelers don't make Sunday No. 6! At least not if you're in the market to sell your Winter Haven home! See,in 4 of the 5 years the Stillers (pronounced this way by Pittsburgh fans) won the whole shebang, the national real estate market took a beating for the 12 months immediately following their victory.  Here's the breakdown: 1975: Home prices dropped 1.37% 1976: Home prices incre...
Comments 3
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
  Weak economic data and less than stellar corporate earnings sent mortgage markets on a downward turn last week.  As such, rates rose a second week and are now a bit higher than they were at their average low point seen three weeks ago. What many of you might not know, is that the most important news affecting mortgage rates was not necessarily the most well-reported news (I know you are shocked to hear this).    Perhaps the best example of this was Treasury Secretary “in waiting” Tim Geithner’s statement that China may be manipulating its currency.  Why should we care about China’s currency situation?  Simple… You see, China is one of the largest buyers of U.S. mortgage-backed bonds, and our mortgage rates move downward as China purchases more of these bonds.   If China becomes angere...
Comments 1
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
The supply of "used homes" here in Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville metro areas) fell an average of 3.6 percent in December, with a national decrease of 6 percent.  This is a good thing - as we all know that less supply often means higher prices. The same cannot necessarily be said for smaller regions that remain unaccounted for by large scale surveys like the one provided by ZipRealty.  According to their report, only Philadelphia showed an increase in "used home" inventory. However, you may very well have noticed an uptick in the number of homes for sale in your neighborhood over November totals.  This is an important distinction because real estate is not a nationwide market, nor is it even a citywide market.  Real estate is highly local and responsive ...
Comments 4
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
As of December 2008, Winter Haven, Florida had roughly 1,161 properties for sale and a total of 1,267 listings in either active or pending status.  Last month, 59 properties were sold at an average price of $126, 543 or median price of $120,000.  Calculating the absorption rate isn't an exact science, but it does provide us with a trend that merits our attention.  Sellers in particular should keep watch of Winter Haven's absorption rate as they establish a pricing basis for their homes. Calculating Winter Haven, Florida's Absorption Rate As I referenced above, there are a total of 1,267 listings available (active and pending - not closed yet). Last month 59 properties sold and closed. So, let's do a bit of math: I've calculated Winter Haven's absorption rate as follows: Step 1: 59 prope...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Hi folks! A bit late on this one, but thought you'd appreciate some insight into the Winter Haven, Florida housing market. As always, I would like to extend a special thanks to Lakeland, Florida Realtor Petra Norris, who issues a comparable report for the Lakeland, Florida area. What's even cooler is that I-4 Metro's Own Journalist Extraordinaire and all 'round good "Human" Mr. Chuck Welch has kindly mapped out the homes sold via his interactive Community Walk map. A few of the finer points about this Winter Haven, Florida Homes Sold Report By "homes sold" I am referring to single family homes and condominiums. Homes sold as "by owner" do not appear here. The geographic area covered in this report consists of the Winter Haven, Florida area. Rather than use school zones, I've used Zip co...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
One common misconception out there about FHA loans is that you can only have one at a time.  Although it is most common for folks to have only one FHA loan, there are cases where Winter Haven, Florida home buyers might in fact qualify to purchase two homes using FHA financing. If you live here in the Winter Haven area and are considering a second home purchase, contact me so we can determine whether you might qualify for a second FHA loan. In the meantime, if you're in the market for a second FHA home loan, here are some basic parameters to follow: Do you have limited down payment funds? Do the funds you have available for your FHA down payment qualify solely as family gift funds? Do you have a lower credit score than is typically allowed for a conventional loan? (Lower than 650) If you...
Comments 1
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
For many in the first time Florida homebuyer category, the biggest obstacle is usually... wait for it... yup!  You guessed it... the down payment! Shoot.  Even those of you reading this who are no longer home buying virgins most likely remember saying something like: "Man, I'd like to buy a home but don't have the money for the down payment or closing costs!" Up until October 1st of this year, many first time homebuyers looked to Downpayment Assistance Programs (DPAs) like those offered through Nehemiah and Ameridream as a means of sourcing the funds necessary to meet FHA's 3 percent  (now 3.5 percent) down payment requirement plus cover some if not all of their closing costs.  Though DPAs as many of us have come to know them have been suspended, there are lesser known alternatives out ...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
What Is A Florida FHA Home Loan? FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration. The FHA regulates these loans and offers them at more competitive terms and rates to keep home ownership affordable for a wider variety of people. This makes a Florida FHA Home Loan ideal for first time home buyers or those with less than perfect credit. However, there are some strict requirements, so this is not the right choice for everyone. Advantages of FHA Loans for First Time or Damaged Credit Home Buyers The credit requirements for FHA home loans are much lower than other traditional mortgage loans. You must have some credit established, but there is greater flexibility for accepting credit imperfections. You can even use non-traditional ways of proving payment history, such as utilities or rental his...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
With the increasing popularity of FHA loan programs here in Winter Haven, I'm amazed at how many "myths" that seem to be floating around.  Folks are obviously starting to do their homework, which is great!  However, I figured I'd point my local Winter Haven home buyers and potential refinance clients in the right direction on a few key points: FHA program and many FHA myths still abound. Here are a few points of clarification... MYTH: It's harder to qualify FHA. False: Qualifying is far easier with FHA! Just a few of the benefits here include: Credit scores in the 580 range are doable. Non-traditional credit requires only 3 credit lines, manual underwriting is available. Only 3.5% buyer downpayment is required, including FHA-Jumbo. Many allowable sources available for funds to close inc...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
In my continued efforts to clear up some of the mystery that still seems to surround FHA lending here in Winter Haven, Florida - I've pulled together 5 "Quick Hit" FHA secrets you should keep handy as you do your home loan homework! When using a non-occupant co-borrower, such as parents, the occupant borrower is not required to have any income or assets of his/her own 2- to 4-unit owner-occupied properties are eligible for 97% financing at the same interest rate as 1-unit homes Mom and Dad can lend, not gift, some or all of the money for closing, and put a second lien against the home that exceeds 100% Loan to Value (LTV = Loan Amount / Home's Value)  Note: The $7,500 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit can be used to pay Mom and Dad back! 15 year loans at 90% LTV have ZERO monthly mortgage...
Comments 0
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Not yet. But... things may change! Rep. Al Green [D-TX] introduced H.R. 600,  to revise and reinstateseller-financed downpayments for mortgages for single-family housing insured by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under title II of the National Housing Act. Track the progress of this bill via RSS feed from GovTrack.us or visit the site periodically to stay informed.  I'll also be posting updates here. Note: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills and resolutions first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills and resolutions never make it out of committee.  We can't let this happen to H.R. 600. Like many of you, I believe in this program.  If you wish to see it ...
Comments 6
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Well, folks... we've seen yet another week of the headlines squawking about plummeting mortgage rates here in Winter Haven, Florida and across the nation. Eyes bulged and exclamations roared as the papers let fly with Freddie Mac's recently published mortgage rate resting at a very alluring 4.96 percent, the lowest since the survey started in 1971!  (Cue the Awhooooogahhhh Horn!) Ah, but wait.  There's more.... You see, if we but take a moment to curb our enthusiasm and peer behind the proverbial Winter Haven home loan rate curtain, we find that there's another part of the story worth watching.  Mortgage rates are falling but the number of points required to lock those rates is not. Mortgage Rates Plunge as Mortgage Points Climb Yup, your recently bailed out mortgage bank is requiring  ...
Comments 1
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
If you've been following this blog with any regularity, you know that I am an avid promoter of all things social media and networking.  I'm a fan because it works. Since I embarked on a full fledged social media barrage via this blog, my Florida Home Loans Specialist website,  my work on the FHA Mortgage Blog, and a burgeoning effort over at my Wanna Networks managed Central Florida Homes and Loan Report blog, a new and amazing world has opened up to me. Potential clients and Realtor partners are calling me! I don't close every client deal or create winning relationships with each Realtor I talk to,  but what I am not doing is ticking off clients and potential Realtor partners by interrupting them and jamming my message in their face when they'd much rather be tending to family matters...
Comments 10
By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Well, we're off to a pretty good start for the 2009 year here in Winter Haven, as calls have been coming in for refinancing and a few home purchases.  W2s are starting to come in as well, with tax time coming up faster than I'd like to admit.  Luckily, as a homeowner, I have the interest I paid on my home to help alleviate any sting that might await me when I hit that final button in Turbo Tax.  I love mortgage interest for just that reason.  I'm also a fan of real estate taxes for their tax reduction properties.   However, like most IRS-related items, the exact nature of the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions tends to be a bit foggy.  So, as your friendly neighborhood Florida home loans specialist, allow me to clear things up a bit: Homeowners are entitled to two basic ho...
Comments 0