Winter Haven, FL Real Estate News

By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
The prices for Mortgage Backed Securities have dropped this morning - which means mortgage rates here in Winter Haven will move higher - as the Government's bail out efforts pertaining to Bank of America seem to have some investors putting money back into higher-risk assets. Consumer Sentiment rose a bit last month - which was a good thing - mainly due to retreating gas prices.  However, fuel prices are starting to climb a bit now, which has us rolling on the river again. Industrial Production fell as factories are reducing output and spending as exports slow. If you see a rate you like or want to know exactly where you stand today, give me a call at 863-604-3019 so we can see about locking you in.  My guess is that we'll see an increase moving into next week unless the present landscap...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Winter Haven, Florida mortgage rates might be falling, but the costs of financing your Florida home are rising.  To understand why, we need to talk a little about conforming versus non-conforming loans. See, conforming loans are loans written according to strict guidelines and borrowers need to have, among other things, good credit and verifiable income.  Non-conforming loans take us a bit closer to the "sub-prime" loans we've been hearing so much about... those loans that, in many cases, should never have been made in the first place. Well, the massive onslaught of homes financed with non-conforming loans has been all over the press, and many a bank has tanked as a result of investing in mortgage baked securities comprised of these little stinkers.  However, starting in late-2007, Fann...
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By Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time
(Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC)
I hate open houses! There I said it. It's out in the open and I'm not taking it back. I don't do them and I'm not starting. My Sellers know this. I tell them this at time of listing. "I will sell your house but I will not do an open house, ever." Once, I had two of my Sellers call me wanting to do open houses. So being the good little Broker that I am, I said "no". Now don't get me wrong, I like pleasing my Sellers and I like being agreeable when they ask me to do things. But I'm not doing it! I'm going fishing. It was Saturday and the fish were biting. So what do you do? Being as how both of these Sellers were long time customers, we compromised. They had their own open houses. Yup, you heard me right. They had their own open houses. One had a yard sale and the other was home all weeke...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Lauded as one of the biggest and most important projects in Florida to date, the controversial CSX Integrated Logistics Center project in Winter Haven, FL promised to bring nearly 8,500 jobs to our area.  I love this city, and can't imagine living anywhere else.  However, I am becoming more and more disheartened with this CSX project  - as the promise of a new day for jobs in Winter Haven, Florida are, in light of the economy and gas prices, seeming to fade prematurely into distant memory. Chuck Welch and Billy Townsend are two of Polk County's most astute writers, and they've done much to enlighten me and my readers about the true impacts - occupational and societal - this CSX hub project may have in store for Winter Haven and Polk County as a whole. Jobs Impact Comments left by Chuck ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
On Thursday December 4, 2008 the Department of Community Affairs Secretary Thomas Pelham approved the development order and agreement for the controversial CSX Integrated Logistics Center - a 318 acre state-of-the art facility designed to facilitate transfer of containerized consumer goods via rail and truck.  Barring any further appeal, it looks like construction will begin sometime in 2009. If this project sounds big, it is.  In fact, some State officials are calling it "The Mother of All Rail Yards." The city of Winter Haven signed a deal in September 2007 with the company and sold CSX the land for $22,000 per acre.  CSX also has the option to purchase 930 acres adjacent to its currently planned site. Some here in Winter Haven are relatively happy with this latest stage of approval, ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Today is "Black Friday." This is the day when shoppers get up at the butt crack of dawn (I'd bet there was a bit of parking lot camping going on last night, too) to take advantage of "door buster" sales and cherry pick the very best bargains. By Black Friday, the Holiday Season is going at full bore.  The voices of "Dino, Bing, and Burl" start playing steadily on the radio and the malls are solidly busy. The origin of the name "Black Friday" is often tied to the incontrovertible fact that the heavy shopping day after Thanksgiving is when several shops are thought to become profitable. Companies once recorded losses in red ink and gains in black, a practice that lives on in modern accounting software, hence the name "Black Friday." However, workers of retail outlets have for years used t...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
  Title Track for This Post:  Gasoline by Audioslavevia Blip.fm (right click, open in new window)   This post is really just a quick follow up to a recent post on gas prices here in Winter Haven, FL.  At the time of that post, prices were hovering at around $1.96 per gallon.  We're now down to $1.82, which is great!  However, there are still those pesky Active Rain bloggers in places like Lubbock, TX where prices for regular unleaded are now down to just above $1.50!  Sorry Jeff and Lisa Sellers - had to call you out... if for no other reason than pure envy!  "Gas-Watch" Sighting... For those of you who tend to fall into the news junkie camp, you know - you like to track trends and what not... I found that Automotive.com does a pretty good job of keeping tabs on the latest gas prices. ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Officially known as "The Chain of Lakes City," Winter Haven, FL is considered the water skiing capital of the world. Water Skiing, fishing, swimming, or simply spending a lazy Sunday afternoon cruising the canals that link each of the 16 lakes in the chain, Winter Haven is a boater's paradise.Water skiing is both a sport and a business in Winter Haven and is enjoyed on many lakes. World champion barefoot skier, Ron Scarpa, operates a barefoot skiing school on the chain.Any spot in Winter Haven is within a few steps of a freshwater lake or canal. Fishing is a serious pursuit and serious fun here.  The City's Origins The city's origins date back as far as 1884, and a year later it received it's name - thanks to Mr. P.D. Eycleshimer, one of the area's first farmers of consequence, who dub...
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By Jay Prock
(Coldwell Banker)
Hello great online world of active rain and fellow realestate professionals. This is not only my first blog on active rain but my first blog in general. Why so far behind you might ask? Well, Ive got news for you, not everyone has jumped on the interenet band wagon! I know, I know, to most of us (including myself) cant go a day without checking email or making sure the latest tweet status hasnt changed or that I havent received an email that just CANT wait. But here in Winter Haven FL, the "citrus capital of the world" (which is not true by the way, Brazil has been outproducing the US for years) people just dont seem to dig the internet vibe quite as much. So what is my point? The point is I want to be proven wrong. I would love to receive contact, even if it is just a quick hello, to p...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
We all have them... those moments - or days - even weeks - when you just can't get a certain song out of your head.  More often than not, it's a song that ranks among the worst you've ever heard.  Not sure why this is, but it's like the Devil got up before you did, snuck into your room, and Super Glued (TM) his own special version of the Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones onto your noggin!  Here are three songs I never EVER want to hear again - in no specific order.  Let's see if you agree...           Submission Number 1:  MmmBop! - by Hanson   I know they're all grown up, and I should be able to get past the memories of this blasted song being overplayed first in London (I lived there during the summer of 1996) and then when I returned home to the US.  Honestly, the song isn't bad, and th...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
This year's Annual Winter Haven, FL Festival of Trees has moved from its usual Citrus Dome location and instead will be held at Winter Haven Airport's new 13,000 square foot terminal on the northern end of Gilbert Field adjacent to US 92. Sponsored by the Ridge Art Association, this year's event will be held on Thursday December 4th, at 7:00 PM.  Food will be provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Richard’s Cafe', with all proceeds from the $50.00 per person entry fee going to the Association. Please see this informative article written by the News Chief's Andrea Clacano Cruz for more information on this very special event.                   Photo Credits: The Lakeland Ledger, Destination Winter Haven       As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this post.  Thanks for stopping by!    ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Polk Community College’s Student Activities Department - Winter Haven Campus will host the Humane Society’s Adopt-A-Pet event on Nov. 21 from 9 am to1 pm. It will be held on the north side of the Student Center (WST) on the Winter Haven campus.Adopt-A-Pet is open to students, faculty, and the community. If you’d like to adopt an animal, you must be at least 18 years of age. If you’re renting a room or apartment, you must have permission from your landlord to adopt an animal.  For more information call 863-298-6819. On a personal note, Buddy - pictured here - is one of our two "rescued" dogs.  Our lives would not be the same without this little meatball! 
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
The Murphy Stations at the Haines City and Cypress Gardens Blvd. (Winter Haven) Wal-Mart stores were slammed today.  Why? Well, because gas is selling below $2.00 per gallon!  Whoo Hoo!  I feel as if I should rush out and purchase several certified gasoline storage jugs and fill 'em up just in case prices spike again!  I know I should be more astute than this.  But I just don't understand.  And I need help. It seems as if almost overnight, gas prices here in the Winter Haven, FL area have dropped below the $2.00 mark.  I'm sure some refinery recently resumed optimal output levels, or perhaps we're benefiting from some unforeseen glut in oil supplies here in the southeast.  Maybe those blasted oil speculators really messed up and we're somehow catching a windfall from their greedy come-u...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
When it comes to property and mortgages here in Winter Haven, Florida - or anywhere in the US for that matter, there are a lot of options open to you. One of these options comes in the form of a home loan refinance - great for home owners looking for a little more financial flexibility. There are many benefits of a Florida refinance loan, especially when you find great interest rates. When you refinance your home, you take out cash against the equity you have in your property. There are however a few aspects that you need to keep in mind when it comes to a Florida refinancing home loan. One: You need to be aware of your refinancing circumstances. It is a great option for people with specific financial goals, such as paying off high interest rate debts or converting from an adjustable r...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Mortgage Brokers and Loan Officers of the world - how do you react when you get rate shopped?  You see it coming, heck - some of you seem to have the ability to detect a rate shopper a mile away!  Do you deal with them?  Perhaps you employ a tried and true method of converting them over to you?  Or - do you label them as unwilling to commit and send them on to the next broker or loan officer?  Do you have some sort of agreement you ask potential clients to complete - stating that they'll stick with you? Maybe you have them put a little skin in the game by paying you an upfront origination or processing fee? (Which you'd most likely have to return if they moved on, correct?) I've heard of mortgage brokers askin clients sign a form as part of the original 1003 packet stating that they, th...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Cat Carter over at LakelandLocal.com just blogged about the Lakeland Center's new website.  Based on her review, the site has been vastly improved. The new site is much easier to navigate with great use of colors. Images used to advertise events pop and really add to the visual appeal. The navigation is also much easier. It only take one or two clicks to find the most pertinent information. Beware the site is still under construction and some sections aren’t quite finished. Like Cat, I think the new site looks great!  I agree with her assessment of the font size and size in some areas, as I too  have 20/20 vision and had a hard time reading the text in places.  I also agree that the site's logo should link to the home page - now a common convention (is that redundant?) on most sites. C...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Great news from the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Blog!  This year's Christmas Chain of Lakes Boat Parade is a go!  The parade is slated for Saturday December 6th and will start from Lake May.  From there, boats will travel through lakes Shipp, May, Howard and Cannon. Boaters are advised that they may need to “trim” their outboard motors in one or more locations ,but the Canal Commission has offered to be on hand to assist boaters where possible. Note:  Boats requiring deep draft or having inboard/outboard motors are not advised for this particular outing.  It is also advisable for boat captains to cruise the route the weekend before the parade to test the ride. Image Courtesy: The Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Thanks again to Chuck Welch over at LakelandLocal.com , I was recently directed to a Lakeland Ledger article that adds a bit more clarity to what's going on with our local Cypress Gardens Adventure Park.  According to journalist Rick Rousos, the park's owners are now planning to expand the Gardens' water park theme while removing most of the thrill rides and animal exhibits. Luckily, the water ski shows and botanical gardens will stay, as it would no longer be Cypress Gardens without these two signature features.  According to the Ledger artilce, Brian Philpot, one of the current owners, stated that Cypress Gardens will choose, likely sometime in December, between a variety of options to expand the water park area of the park. Cypress Gardens now has a big wave pool, a lazy river and a ...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Chuck Welch over at LakelandLocal.com reports that Winter Haven's historic Cypress Gardens Adventure Park is rumored to once again be on the road to closure. The park, which dates back to January 2, 1936 began as a botanical garden planted by Dick and Julie Pope. Through the years, Cypress Gardens became renowned as one of Florida's largest and well attended attractions, known for its water ski shows, lush gardens, and famous Southern Belle models. Over the past several years, the park has seen hard times and has changed hands via arrangements with the State, Adventure Park developer Kent Buescher, and most recently, Land South Holdings of Mulberry, FL and the Baker Leisure Group of Orlando, FL. In his LakelandLocal.com blog report, Welch relays a report from the Disney Blog stating th...
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By Kevin Sandridge, Winter Haven Mortgage Broker
(Signature Home Funding)
Those here in Winter Haven, FL and across the nation looking to buy a home in 2009 should be sure to get their financial house in order - as mortgage rates are poised to toughen even more heading into the new year. The Federal Reserve confirmed what most of us already knew -- getting qualified for a "prime mortgage" is increasingly more difficult. In a quarterly survey of 84 banks, 75 percent of respondent banks tightened mortgage guidelines over the last 3 months for the most qualified of home loan applicants. "Prime" is a vague term when it comes to mortgages, but, historically, a prime borrower is one that can document: A well-documented credit history Very high credit scores Very low debt-to-incomes Historically, banks bent over backwards to lend money to this class of borrower.  T...
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