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REALTORS® aren’t just agents. They’re professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the REALTOR® difference for home buyers:

  1. Ethical treatment. Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. The first obligation is to you, the client.
  2. An expert guide. Buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
  3. Objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property. REALTORs® can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need. By understanding both your needs and search area, they can also point out neighborhoods you don’t know much about but that might suit your needs better than you’d thought.
  4. Expanded search power. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A REALTOR® can help you find opportunities not listed on home search sites and can help you avoid out-of-date listings that might be showing up as available online but are no longer on the market.
  5. Negotiation knowledge. There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows enough time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase.
  6. Up-to-date experience. Most people buy only a few homes in their lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS® handle hundreds of transactions over the course of their career.
  7. Your rock during emotional moments. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.

REALTOR® Magazine

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Ready to find your home? So am I! Whether it’s a single family home or condo, there’s no place like home. Send me a message now and let’s get started! #home #HouseExpert #RealEstate #realtor #HouseHunting #ListReports #RealEstateAgent #HomeOwner #StPete #TampaBay #Dubai

Nationwide existing-home sales increased in October after six straight months of decreases according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Closed Sales for Single Family were up 8.8%, with 1,121 in October 2018 versus 1,030 in October 2017. Dollar Volume for Single Family Homes saw a 17.7.0% increase from $306.3 million
in October 2017 to $360.6 million in 2018. Dollar Volume for Townhome/Condo increased 30.1% year-over-year, with $134.5 million in October 2017 compared to $175.1 million in October 2018.

The Median Sale Price for Single Family Homes was up by 13.3% from last year, at $259,900 for October 2018 versus $229,450 for October 2017. The Median Sale Price for Townhomes/Condos was $162,750 for October 2018, up 8.6% from
$149,900 in October 2017.
The Average Sale Price for Single Family Homes rose 8.2% from $297,387 in October 2017 to $321,704 in October 2018. The Median Time to Contract for Single Family Homes was 30 days in October 2018, down 3.2% from 31 days last October. The Median Time to Sale for Single Family Homes was 68 days this October, down 10.5%
from 76 days last October. The Months Supply of Inventory for Single Family Homes increased 11.5% year-over-year, with a 2.9 Month Supply this October, as compared to a 2.6 Month Supply in October 2017.
New Listings for Single Family for October 2018 were 1,433, up 9.2% from October 2017 at 1,312. The Active Listings for Single Family Homes rose 9.9% from 2,985 in October 2017 to 3,280 in October 2018. Paid in Cash sales for Single Family increased 10.3%, from 301 in October 2017 to 332 in October 2018.

The Average Sale Price for Townhome/Condo was $248,653 in October 2018, up 20.0% from $207,280 in October 2017. The Median Time to Contract for Townhome/Condo market was 29 days in October 2018, down 14.7% from 34 days October 2017. The Median Time to Sale for Townhome/Condo market was 68 days in October 2018 and 75 days in October 2017, down 9.3%. The Months Supply of Inventory for Townhome/Condo
rose 7.1% at 3.0 months in October 2018 from 2.8 months in October 2017. New Listings for Townhome/Condos for October 2018 were at 942, up 9.4% from 861 in October 2017. Active Listings for Townhomes/Condos were up 5.6% from 2,111 in October 2017 to 2,230 in October 2018. Closed Sales for the Townhome/Condo segment increased 8.5% year-over-year, at 649 in October 2017 versus 704 in October 2018. Paid in Cash sales for
Townhome/Condo increased 3.9%, from 361 in October 2017 to 375 in October 2018.

Representing almost 8,000 members, the Pinellas Realtor® Organization is one of the Tampa Bay area’s largest professional trade associations. The organization advances and promotes the real estate profession through professional development programs, government affairs, and political advocacy and maintains a high standard of conduct by real estate professionals through professional standards training and administration.

Oct 2018 Stats

Source: Florida Realtors

Oct 2018 Monthly Stats

For more information on these stats, home buying or home selling in the St Pete to Clearwater area, please feel free to contact me. Thanks so much.

Source: Americans’ FICO scores hit record-high average

Here’s an excellent infographic explaining how homeownership affects so much of one’s life and the ones around you-now and in the future. I purchased my first home at 24 years old. It was a home on the edge of a wonderful neighborhood in great need of help-new roof, remodeling of bathrooms & kitchen not to update but to make them useable, replacing windows, refinishing the hardwood floors, tiling and the general removal of 18 years of neglect in the house & yard, doing most of the work myself over years. I needed a home for my daughter & me where landlords couldn’t raise the rent or sell the home out from under us after I had improved the value with my time & hard work by painting inside & out, replacing broken sheetrock & windows, refinishing the floors and landscaping. That happened several times to me. By the way, that daughter went on to get a Master’s Degree, become a homeowner at a young age and we both vote in every election! Hmmmm, seems like this infographic holds true for me.

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72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy. 33% bought their property in a beach area. Location, location, location!! We have some of the best beaches!! Plus we have music venues, a multitude of sports options, first rate museums, art venues, waterfront festivals, brew-pubs, incredible restaurants and much more!

Think St Petersburg, Florida; Clearwater Beach and the Tampa Bay Area!!

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Buying your first home is a big step! It’s wonderful to dream dreams, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of searching property sites like realtor.com. Before going too far, however, it’s a good idea to hit the “pause” button and consider these more serious points.

1. Know when the time is right. Do some soul searching and make sure you want to buy a home because you genuinely want a home—not because you need an investment or simply think it’s “time” to settle down. Homes require a great deal of time, money, and energy to purchase and maintain. You want to love your home. If the timing isn’t right, you may regret the decision.

2. Review your credit score and get a credit report. You can (and should) request a free report once a year, at annualcreditreport.com. Review your report for any inaccuracies or disputes. It will take time to fix any issues, so start early.

3. Address any weaknesses in your credit history. If you have outstanding credit card or other consumer debt, start paying it off. If you are debt free but have very little credit history, you may need to start establishing a solid credit record. Important caveat: Do not apply for a new line of credit or a credit card if you plan to buy a house right away. Mortgage lenders are interested in a borrower’s well-established track record but may view a new credit line as a “red flag.”

Once you’ve been extended credit, use it and pay it off every month to establish a good record of managing credit obligations and debt. Don’t close old accounts, since they are a part of your history. Instead, use them occasionally – paying them off in full, so they remain active. To show credit worthiness, it’s best to have three or four open accounts, in good standing.

4. Start saving. Buying a home requires saving for a down payment on the purchase price. The more you save towards a down payment (in terms of a percentage of the purchase price), the better your mortgage terms can be. You also need to save money for closing costs. Many first-time buyers are not financially prepared for the cash required at the closing table. Closing costs vary, but on average, you can expect to pay between two and five percent of the purchase price of the house.

Working with your banker to set up a savings plan will help foster a good relationship and may provide a valuable resource when you are ready to apply for a mortgage loan. Let your banker know your plans and your timeline, and ask for their advice on preparing, financially, to purchase your first home.

5. Recognize the responsibilities. Your living costs will probably increase when you shift from renting to owning a home. You will no longer be able to call a landlord when something goes wrong. You are now the landlord, and will have to fix, or pay to repair, anything that goes wrong. Aside from household systems (air conditioning, heat, plumbing, electrical), you may also need to buy or replace major appliances. But the home will be yours-the rent won’t go up unexpectedly or have to mve because they property is now for sale.

The cost of insuring a house is also much higher than renter’s insurance because you aren’t simply insuring the contents of the house—you’re also covering the structure and any liability for visitors who may get hurt while on your property. Additionally, you’ll have to pay property taxes, which is a pretty hard hit for any homeowner, but can be especially challenging for new owners.

6. Get educated. Before you begin looking at houses, educate yourself about the buying process, what to expect, and what to avoid. Do your homework before you start looking to be an informed consumer.

7. Interview buyer’s representatives. Buying a house is a big deal, so you’ll want to select a qualified real estate professional to represent you in your transaction—someone who is both knowledgeable and will look out for your interests.

As a first-time buyer, you may not know there are differences in buyer’s representatives. If you select an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, you can be assured you’re working with someone who has received special training in representing buyers and has already established a track record with buyers. Find out who serves your area.

Once you start the home search, please don’t make any major purchases. No cars, no music systems, no appliances, no vacations, etc. They can change your income to debt ratio and can keep you from getting the better interest rate or even qualify for the loan. I once had a couple who were so excited about purchasing their first home that they bought a washer & dryer 3 days before closing. It almost cost them their dream. Luckily, the store let them put the washer & dryer on hold for 3 days until after closing. So they did move into their first dream home.

 

Mortgage questions abound when you’re a first-time home buyer. Compounding the challenge is the embarrassment over interrupting the conversation with a would-be lender or seller to ask, “‘Scuse me, what is a credit score? How much money do I need as a down payment?” Everyone knows this stuff, right?

  www.realtor.com/advice/finance/your-mortgage-questions-answered

No, they don’t all know—so you should ask these questions. Or, at the very least, study up a bit so you know the basics. To help get you up to speed, here’s a crash course on the most common mortgage questions and answers you need to know. Take five to read on, and wonder no more.

1. What do you need to get a mortgage?

Before loaning you money, lenders want to see proof that you’ve proven reliable paying off past debts, so you’ll need to start establishing credit.

“There are ways to verify your past payments on utility bills, cellphone, and rent,” notes Michael E. Matthews, senior vice president of PrimeLending. “Get a credit card, pay it back carefully. Your car and college loans—those things help you establish credit and help you get a mortgage.”

2. If you have bad credit, how do you improve it?

Matthews talks to a lot of borrowers who come to him with this mortgage question. They think they have bad credit but are doing better than they think.

His first tip: Check your credit report.

It’s free to download one copy each year, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. And if the news is bad, there’s still hope.

“If you’ve got bad credit, a lot of times there’s aged activity on there—an old collection, a medical bill, something you didn’t know about,” Matthews says. And these “errors” can often be fixed, boosting your credit score fairly quickly.

If you do have a bunch of bad marks and late payments, however, start paying on time and your score will gradually improve. Here are some ways to raise your credit score.

3. What’s the difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification?

“Pre-qualification is not going to hold the same weight as a pre-approval,” says Matthews. “You can go online and get somebody to print you out a pre-qual letter. And you’ll find that if you’re negotiating with an agent and they’re looking at a pre-qual letter, it’s probably not worth much to them.”

A pre-approval letter—involving lenders fully checking your finances in a verifiable way—takes more time and effort, which is exactly why it carries much more weight. If you’re serious about buying a home, get pre-approved to show you mean business. Here’s more on the difference between mortgage pre-approval vs. pre-qualification.

4. How much down payment do you need for a mortgage?

The gold standard down payment for a mortgage is 20%—so if the home’s price is $200,000, you’d ideally have to pony up $40,000 of your own money to get the loan.

If you don’t have that much, all is not lost. You can put down less, but that means you’ll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. It’s an extra fee of about $50 to $100 a month that lenders will require to mitigate the risk that you might default on your loan due to your lack of funds.

“There’s risk there that literally has to be accounted for, and that ends up being insurance that adds to your mortgage payment,” says economist Jonathan Smoke. “When you put less down, the trade-off is you actually have to spend more on a monthly basis.”

That said, there are some exceptions that allow a buyer to avoid PMI even with a small down payment. Buyers who are in the military, veterans, and family members of veterans may be able to avoid PMI with a Veterans Affairs loan. And once your equity in your home rises above 20%, you can stop paying PMI.

5. What kind of down payment assistance is available?

If you’re looking for help with a down payment, Smoke says, the “bank of Mom and Dad” may be a smart start—if your parents have the means to pitch in. Gifted money can help many people qualify for a loan, he says, although you absolutely must tell your lender that the money was a gift—fibbing on this front will raise red flags.

If private assistance isn’t an option, or isn’t enough, never fear—there are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs across the country that can help, as long as you meet eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit.

Check with your real estate agent or lender, as they may be able to tell you about programs in your area that will help you become a homeowner.

6. What types of home loans are available?

Loan types vary widely, but Barbara A. Carrollo-Loeffler, director of consumer and residential lending at Provident Bank in Jersey City, NJ, says loans typically fall into two camps. The first includes loans with an adjustable rate, meaning the interest rate could change after a period of time. The second includes loans that are “fixed” or “term,” meaning the rate will stay the same for the length of the borrowing period. Generally term or fixed-rate loans are more common and considered the safer option, but it all depends on your circumstances, including how long you plan to stay in the home.

Here’s more info on the pros and cons of various types of home loans, and which one is right for you.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Jeanne Sager has strung words together for the New York Times, Vice, and more. She writes and photographs people from her home in upstate New York.

Interesting. Unfortunately, it makes sense when woman still make less than men in so many occupations.

home-buying-tips-for-single-income-women

SEATTLE – April 23, 2018 – Real estate website Estately recently conducted a study showing how America’s gender wage gap affects home affordability and ownership for women.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/

To find out, Estately used 2016 U.S. Census data to compare men’s and women’s median salaries in the 50 most populated U.S. cities. Based on those salaries and assuming a monthly mortgage payment of 28 percent of the gross monthly income, the site used a mortgage calculator to determine the maximum home price each salary could afford.

Armed with this information, Estately reviewed the homes currently for sale in major cities across the country and identified the percentage of homes men versus women could afford.

The results in some urban centers were bleak. Seattle, for instance, has the biggest wage-based housing gap. Men can afford nearly 150 percent more homes than women.

Colorado Springs, Miami, San Diego and San Jose also topped the list with significant gaps. For instance, in Colorado Springs men can afford 122.5 percent more homes than women, while further down the list in San Diego, the difference is still a significant 68.5 percent.

With these results in mind, we asked real estate and personal finance experts to share their top tips for single women seeking to purchase a home.

Don’t let the down payment scare you away
Coming up with the funds to make a down payment on a home can often seem impossible, particularly when so many Americans have sizeable student loan bills and more.

Andrina Valdes, division president at Cornerstone Home Lending, urges buyers not to let this part of the process discourage them.

“Over and over again, potential home buyers report saving for the down payment as the biggest hurdle to homeownership. When you’re relying on one income to save up for it, the problem can seem insurmountable,” says Valdes.

The good news is there are all kinds of down payment assistance programs that can help individuals get into a home for less money down.

The Federal Housing Administration loan is popular among first-time and single-income home buyers thanks to its 3.5 percent down payment requirement. There are also programs offered by the Veterans Administration and also USDA loans that may require no down payment at all, says Valdes.

Line-up a guarantor or co-purchaser
The reality is that many single income households, whether they’re run by men or women, need assistance in buying a home in today’s market.

Experienced agent Julie Gans of Triplemint suggests lining up a qualified guarantor, co-purchaser or someone who might be able to gift money for your home purchase.

Consider a fixer upper
A growing trend among home buyers with limited means has been buying older properties and rehabbing them, says Ralph DiBugnara, president of Home Qualified.

“There are a few mortgage products in the market right now that make that easier,” said DiBugnara. “Fannie Mae has a loan called Home Style and FHA has what’s called a 203k loan. They both allow you to not only finance the purchase price but also construction costs in the loan to help your home look new.”

Look at homes well below your means
Real estate analyst Julie Gurner, of FitSmallBusiness.com, says it’s critical that single income households buy properties that are well below the amount they’ve been pre-approved for.

“You see that gorgeous home at the top of your range? Pass on it, and you’ll be glad you did,” said Gurner. “Single women and single income families have to be especially mindful to buy a home below their means … It gives them an additional expense cushion every month. Things come up. Doctor visits, your car breaks down, or your furnace breaking can be a big financial hit if you don’t have the ability to absorb it. On months where nothing goes wrong, you have the ability to save.”

As a single income earner, it’s important to protect yourself financially and be able to provide the necessities that make life stable. Having a home below your means can give you both and a great place to live.

House hunt during the right season
When it comes to finding an affordable home, time of year can make a big difference.

That means shopping during the right seasons, when prices traditionally are more negotiable and inventory is better, says Valdes.

Recent data from Trulia shows that there’s a 7 percent spike in starter home inventory during the fall, making it an ideal time to find a good deal. On the flipside, starter home inventory drops by more than 20 percent during the summer, making the warmer months a less appealing market.

Minimize credit card debt
As you embark upon your housing search, it’s critical that you reduce existing debt. This helps on a variety of levels.

For instance, not only does it make you a better mortgage applicant, it will also help once you’re in your new home dealing with a whole host of new expenses.

Gans, of Triplemint, suggest tackling credit card debt in particular.

“Pay off all credit cards prior to purchase to lower your income to debt ratio,” advises Gans. “This reduces your liability and makes you look more appealing to a seller.”

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/

Copyright © 2018 North Jersey Media Group Inc. This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This is a short & sweet infograph explaining some of the many things that professional Realtors do for buyers and seller. There are approximately 180 different items that we do in each transaction, depending on the situation. Below is from Keeping Current Matters.

5 Reasons to Love Using A RE Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

 

  • Hiring a real estate professional to guide you through the process of buying a home or selling your house can be one of the best decisions you make!
  • They are there for you to help with paperwork, understanding the process, negotiations, and helping you with pricing (both when making an offer or setting the right price for your home).
  • One of the top reasons to hire a real estate professional is their understanding of your local market and how the conditions in your neighborhood will impact your experience.

 

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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  • Realtor Member Robert “Bobby” Byrd passed away January 6, 2020
    Robert W. “Bobby” Byrd, 79, of Belleair, Florida passed away December 31, 2019. Bobby was born on November 5, 1940 to Benjamin Franklin Byrd and Evelyn Hill Byrd in Monroe, Georgia. He was the second of four children. Bobby graduated from Abbeville High School in Abbeville, South Carolina. He went on to continue his education […]
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  • PRO/CPAR offices closed Dec. 31st & Jan. 1st December 30, 2019
    Please note, we will be closed on Tuesday, December 31st for New Year’s Eve and Wednesday, January 1st for New Year’s Day. Will will resume normal hours Thursday, January 2nd. https://pinellasrealtor.org/contact/
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  • Realtor Member Pat Plumlee passed away December 16, 2019
    Patricia Ann Plumlee has suddenly passed away December 10, 2019 at 80. It’s a time for sadness and a time for love and a time for remembering and a time for letting go and a time for celebrating and a time for grieving. Pat was a force of nature and a pillar of her community. […]
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  • PRO/CPAR hosts Annual Meeting honors and recognizes members September 13, 2019
    The Annual Business Meeting & Installation was held on September 13, 2019. Go here to view photos of the event. We thank the following PRO/CPAR members for their unwavering commitment to our profession by investing in the REALTORS Political Action Committee. Double Hall of Fame ($50,000+ in their lifetime) Nancy Riley Hall of Fame ($25,000+ […]
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  • September is REALTOR® Safety Month September 4, 2019
    September is REALTOR® Safety Month. As you know, protecting yourself goes beyond vigilance in the field. You also need to be aware of the opportunities to improve your safety at the office and in the digital world. NAR has worked hard to provide resources and tips on the topic of safety. A few quick links […]
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