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Please join us for our first CIPS course this year on April 3rd. Register now before it’s too late. It’s just next week! 

Florida accounted for the largest share at 22 percent of total U.S. residential home sales to international clients, which the National Association of REALTORS® estimated at $102.6 Billion. Florida attracted buyers from Latin America, Europe, and Canada who tend to purchase properties in warm climates for vacation purposes. St Petersburg-Tampa-Clearwater is in the top 10 markets in the USA for International BUYERS.

Consider these facts:

  • $19.4 Billion in sales to international buyers for the year ending 6/16
  • 19% of Florida’s market (volume) was to international buyers
    • 47,000 residential properties
    • 12% of Florida’s market (units)
    • 72% made an all-cash purchase

Note: The facts above were provided as part of the National Association of REALTORS® Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida study.

 

CIPS

 

Pinellas International Council 6th Annual Global Symposium-Thank you to David Bennett CEO of PRO, John-Paul Mario Chair of the PRO Business Affiliates, Susan Inez-Poskus CPA from Roberge Poskus, Maria Grulich from Florida Realtors, Bill Risser, VP of Digital Strategy from Fidelity National Title, Don Gonzalez Attorney, Carlos Fuentes NAR instructor, the nearly 100 attendees and all of the PRO Affiliates who sponsored this informative event. Thank you all for making this such great day!!

Don’t get left out of this important market! Did you know that 22% of all International buyers in the USA bought property in Florida? International buyers are a significant component of the Florida real estate market. 74% purchase with cash & spend an average of $174, 624 for their Florida-based home. According to National Association of Realtors, between April 2015 & March 2016, two out of three Florida Realtors worked with International buyers last year

Please join us for this very informative day. Excellent speakers & 3 hours of CE credit too!

NOW IS THE TIME to get involved with International Real Estate. Attend our Pinellas International Council’s 6th Annual Global Symposium and learn the proper way to work with buyers & sellers from around the world ! Register here: http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/popup.php?op=view&id=108868777&crd=pro

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Willkommen – Please join us for our February 15th International Marketing session at PRO. Norma Brenne Henning, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany is our speaker. It is FREE but YOU MUST REGISTER on PRO website. Vielen Dank.

Are you a REALTOR who deals with international real estate and want to build “global” business skills? Then you need to attend this class!

Please join us on Thursday, February 2nd from 8:30 to noon.

You will learn from two international real estate experts on these subjects:

1. Opportunities for International Networking and Marketing Properties – Tami Simms, Coastal Property Group
* Understanding the importance of international buyers
* Resources for networking with international agents
* Where to market internationally
* How to market properties effectively to international buyers

2. Working with International Buyers and Sellers with a focus on the Asian market – Jiayin Liao, Bailey Glasser Law Firm
* Learn how to help Asians realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle
* Learn how to keep up with the latest information on both sides of the border and work together to determine the best course of action
* Become familiar with cross-border issues whether they are related to language, culture, law or just plain common sense.

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Every real estate agent wants a well-informed home buyer who’s prepared to take on the responsibility of home ownership. Of course, not everyone is enlightened about the homebuying process when they seek your services. One way to get your clients ready for the transaction is to refer them to homebuyer education courses before they launch their search.

A Sample of Homebuyer Education Programs

HUD provides a comprehensive list of its approved resources, including homebuyer education courses and one-on-one counseling. Here are a few of those programs, which are available online and can be completed at the buyer’s leisure.

Framework
Cost: $75
Time to completion: About four hours
Includes nine education modules with a quiz at the end. Coupons are available, which agents can provide as a gift to clients. After completing the course, users download and save a Certificate of Completion. For buyers who purchase a home through Fannie Mae’s HomePath REO program, the cost of the course will be reimbursed. Fannie Mae also offers closing cost incentives to first-time buyers in the HomePath program who complete the Framework course.

MGIC Homebuyer Education
Cost: Free
Time to completion: About an hour
This program is suitable for buyers who are just beginning to learn about the homebuying process and who do not yet have a lender. It’s approachable and user-friendly, and the course can be taken by a “stealth” user without registering. Users can also register and take a quiz at the end, which will satisfy requirements for Freddie Mac Home Possible programs.

eHome America
Cost: $99
Time to completion: Eight hours, taken online at your own pace
This is one of several financial courses offered through the HUD-approved “Home Purchase” program. It covers topics such as determining if now is the right time to buy, shopping for a home, and getting approved for a home loan.

CreditSmart Steps to Homeownership
Cost: Free
Time to completion: About two hours
This program focuses on good credit: how you can improve your credit score, why it’s necessary to do so, and how it leads to home ownership. Users receive a certificate, which can be used for Freddie Mac Home Possible programs.

United Guaranty’s Home Ownership Course
Cost: Free
Time to completion: Two to three-and-a-half hours
Satisfies the homeownership education requirement for Freddie Mac’s Home Possible affordable home program. After you complete the course and assessment, your lender (if applicable) will be notified by email.

These courses, many of which are now being offered online by lenders and nonprofit community organizations, are useful for all clients — those entering the market for the first time or even making a second or third home purchase. Many real estate professionals try to act as full-service providers able to solve any problem or answer any question, notes Joe Weisbord, director of credit and housing access at Fannie Mae, whose HomeReady program requires prospective buyers to take a HUD-approved homeowner course in order to qualify for a loan. But “people don’t like to admit what they don’t know,” he says, and your clients may not always come to you if they’re embarrassed about their lack of knowledge.

By linking them to a course providing “independent, unbiased information that helps them understand choices they’re going to make,” you’re helping meet your clients’ needs while building trust.

For nervous first-time buyers, those with poor credit, or others who need extra attention while learning the homebuying process, pointing them to a course can also be a great way to solidify the client-agent relationship. Homebuyer courses aim to demystify credit-score requirements, budgeting, shopping for a mortgage, home inspections, insurance, and maintenance, among other items. This takes the pressure off you, and you can spend your time honing in on the type of properties your clients are interested in. You’ll be ready to go once they are, and “it’s less likely that unknown circumstances will arise that will lead to the sale falling apart,” Weisbord says.

But homebuyer courses — many of which are free, but costs can fall along a range of up to $100 — can also convince a prospective buyer that they’re not ready to purchase. That’s still good for the agent in the long run, Lane says. “I’m not afraid of losing [a client]. If someone wants to rush and make a bad decision, I don’t want to be a part of that. It’s important in our business to take our clients through a rigorous fact-finding mission.”

The in-depth programs position buyers who may struggle with the lending process to successfully purchase once they’ve built up their savings or repaired their credit. That could help them secure a more competitive mortgage rate and lead to a bigger home sale later on. “Today’s sale might be critical, but the way to build a real estate career is through a chain of referrals,” says Anne McCulloch, senior vice president for credit and housing access at Fannie Mae. “People who don’t succeed are not the best referrals.”

For certain lending programs, including Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Mortgages, completing a HUD-approved homebuyer education course is mandatory. A newly revised course called Framework, a joint enterprise of the Housing Partnership Networkand the Minnesota Homeownership Center that is available to consumers nationwide, draws on research of best practices in online learning, says Framework president Danielle Samalin. “We’ve learned that content tied to emotional information is more readily retained,” she says, adding that Framework employs motion-graphic videos and homebuyer stories, among other content. “Most people complete it within a day of signing up.”

Other lenders are offering education resources with incentives. In May, Wells Fargo debuted a new program called yourFirstMorgage, which includes a 1/8 percent reduction on mortgage rates for buyers with down payments of less than 10 percent if they complete a homebuyer education course.

For Lane, referring clients to these courses is a way to make her value proposition as a real estate professional stronger. “Every time you provide something for a client, you build that bond,” she says. “It’s a way to separate yourself from the herd, a long-term relationship-building opportunity.”

BY BETH FRANKEN   http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/10/help-clients-get-smarter-about-ownership

The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.

The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.

Lynx – America’s Privateer Trailer HD    https://youtu.be/LNWdRGAAjfM

The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.

“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.

It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.

The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.

“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.

Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.

The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.

http://tallshiplynx.com/history/     and Anne Lindberg at  http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/

 

What: The National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Annual Conference and Expo
When: November 4-7, 2016
Where: Orange County Convention Center West, Orlando FL

Network with Realtors from across the USA and from around the world. Learn about the latest products, technologies and legal issues. Take classes. Be aware of the latest scams-protect yourself and your clients. Join in on meetings. Find out about the best marketing tools. What do buyers and sellers want these days in a home and in their agent? See what benefits NAR has for its members. Expand your mind and have fun!

Hope to see you there!

Learn about Venezuela on October 19 from 3:00 to 4:30 at the Pinellas International Council Marketing session at Pinellas Realtor Organization Thank you Ana Maria Tague for sharing your time, knowledge and experience with us!

 

There is a clear connection between the quality of schools and the value of the homes near them. Families want to raise their children near good schools.

school-grade-postcard-front_web

Pinellas Realtor Organization
Neighborhood Advocates Initiative
School Grades (Campaign #9 / 10.2016)

Sometimes though, it can be difficult to differentiate which schools are considered “good schools.” One resource available to you is the annual report released by the state of Florida. This report grades all public schools on performance, and the state has made the results public at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.

The state releases this important data annually, but usually after the school year starts. It may be too late this year to make any changes for your family, but there is always an opportunity to get involved, or move to a new school next year.

Remember, a key factor for the success of our schools is volunteer involvement. Every school has opportunities for parents, and non-parents, to contribute. Kids need mentors and coaches, someone to help make them a healthy meal or put a band-aid on a cut. In the end, community involvement in our schools makes them better, and in turn, keep our neighborhoods and home values strong.
Here are some highlights from this year’s report:
Grades are for 2015-2016: Each school grade consists of data compiled from that school year. Historic performance data is not considered, so past success does not influence current grades. To be fair, an “A” rating is very difficult to achieve. Only three school systems in the state attained that status this year.

What if your school’s grade is a “D” or “F?”: That’s not good, but don’t lose hope! State and local governments use the data to guide policy and steer resources to the places of most need. And to date, this policy has seen success. This year 58% of last year’s “D” and “F” schools improved at least one letter grade. While this is not a complete turnaround, they are now on the path to being great schools.

Pinellas County: Three of the five schools spotlighted in the Tampa Bay Times “Failure Factories” series improved. They still have a way to go to be on par with the county’s overall status a “B” county, but things are getting better. Pinellas County received an overall rating of “B” for school year 2014-2015.

Pasco County: Unfortunately, Pasco County schools on the whole underperformed compared to 2014-2015 going from a “B” district to a “C” rated district. Several schools did see some improvement, but overall, not a banner year for Pasco County Schools.

Hillsborough County: Like Pasco County, Hillsborough County saw some regression going from an overall “A” rating to a “B.” While still a strong school system, any step backwards is unfortunate and requires attention.

It is important to understand how our schools can impact neighborhoods and our real estate. Know that I work to stay informed about issues that affect property rights and values and will keep you informed as well.

You can find out more at schoolgrades.fldoe.org.

If you ever have questions, you can email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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