Friday, October 8, 2010

Florida Mortgage Classes

The Veritas Real Estate Group in Ft. Lauderdale is now offering an 8-hour prep course for the national component of the NMLS Mortgage Loan Originator Test. They also offer a 3 hour prep course for the Florida law component. Both courses are also available in an online format.

They will provide the classes at your office for groups of 4 or more.

NMLS Mortgage Loan Originator Courses

The Veritas Real Estate Group is now offering both Florida classroom prep courses and on-line prep courses for the national and Florida state components of the NMLS Mortgage Loan Originator Test. Our next classroom courses are 10/09/10 -10/10/10.
The 20-hour approved classroom course should be available at the end of October.

On October 1, 2010 Florida began transitioning to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). All mortgage licensees that were currently active on this date must apply for a new license before December 31, 2010. If you fail to do this your current license will expire on December 31, 2010. Florida has stated that they will give priority to processing the applications for current licensees.

Everyone needs to take a 100 question national exam. A Florida state exam is needed for new applicants and for active licensees who took their state exam prior to January 1, 2004 and for existing licensees who apply after November 30, 2010. New applicants and licensees who apply for renewal after November 30, 2010 also need to take a 20 hour pre-licensing course. No additional courses are required for current Florida licensees who apply between October 1, 2010 - November 30. You do not need to wait to take the exams.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

July, 2010 Housing Statistics for Ft. Lauderdale

The following charts depict the 2-year market data for single family housing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

July 2010 Condo Statistics for Coral Springs, Florida

The following charts depict the 2 year housing trends for condos and townhouses in Coral Springs, Florida.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

July 2010 Coral Springs, Florida Housing Statistics

The following graphs depict the two-year data for single family homes in Coral Springs, Florida.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Broward County, Florida Condo Sales Statistics for July, 2010

A 2 year data analysis of the Broward County, Florida condo market is presented below.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Broward County, Florida, July 2010 Housing Statistics

The following graphs show the two year trend for single family homes in Broward County, Florida

Friday, July 30, 2010

Florida has increasing numbers of charter schools

Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are very popular—and among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Charter schools are largely free to innovate, and often provide more effective programs and choice to diverse groups of students.

Since 1996, the number of charter schools in Florida has grown from 5 to 389 schools in 2008-2009. Charter school student enrollment for 2008-2009 was well over 100,000 students. Over 50 new charter schools have opened in the 2008-2009 school year.

Click on the link to see the list of Broward County charter schools

Thursday, July 29, 2010

South Florida Temp Jobs

Times are tough down here in Paradise. Our major industry is tourism and if people don't have money they don't take vacations. That means we have fewer people in the hotels and restaurants.

Our economy is also driven by the housing market and there are a whole bunch of people hurting because of the upset in the market: real estate agents, mortgage loan originators, property appraisers, title companies, home inspectors, banks and builders.

So some of these people might want to consider temp jobs to help bring in some money until things turn around.

Two sites here in South Florida that might be able to help are: and

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Florida Sales Tax Relief

Florida is getting ready for its annual sales tax relief period. Starting August 13th and going through August 15th there is no sales tax on books, clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for less than $50 and on select school supplies selling for less than $10.

So if you can wait to make your purchases you can save quite a bit of money. Enjoy the rest of the summer and let's hope it cools off some.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Florida scuba divers get ready to hunt lobster

Scuba divers get ready! Two days of lobster hunting is about to start. At 12:01 Wednesday morning through midnight Thursday, divers are allowed to bag 6 lobsters each per day in most areas.

The regular lobster season is August 6 - March 31 and the catch limit is half what it is during the miniseason. Lobsters must be at least 3 inches long and measured in the water and no egg-bearing females are allowed to be kept.

Divers must have a saltwater fishing license ($17 for residences) and a $5 lobster stamp.

Unfortunately, every year there are stories of drownings. Individuals who have not dived for years jump in unprepared and without a buddy and the results are deadly.

Always, always, always dive with a buddy. Do that and you can have a great time in our warm water with no free of being tainted by oil.

Stay safe.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Buyers - No major purchases until after closing

Many people are snapping up the lower priced foreclosures here in Florida. Many of them also want the new car in the driveway and the new furniture to go in the house. All of that is fine but just wait until you have the house keys in your hand before you start adding to your debt.

The lender may look at your credit report 1-2 days before closing and there is a good chance that you will no longer qualify for the loan if you have indulged yourself and run up the charges on your credit car.

A significant part of the loan approval process is the calculation of "debt-to-income" ratios. If your total monthly debt is more than 43% of your gross monthly income, you stand a very good chance of not being approved for the loan and, if you were previously approved, it may be retracted.

So watch what you spend and don't make any major purchases until after closing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pompano Beach , Florida Has Rehabbed City Owned Properties for Sale

Pompano Beach has been buying up foreclosure properties, rehabbing them, and selling them back to the public.

Pompano Beach has a Neighborhood Stabilization Program in which they purchase foreclosures properties, fix them up and sell them to individuals with up to 120 percent of median income for Broward County. For a family of four that income could be up to $95,040.

Pompano Beach is currently taking applications and you can call 954-786-4659 for more information.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Change in Florida Homeowner's Condo Insurance Law

Good news for investors. A recent change in the Florida law no longer requires condo owners to show proof of hazard insurance to the governing association. As you might know, the condo building insurance covers all the common areas and the roof. Unit owners can obtain coverage for the inside of the unit; water and fire damage to the structure and flooring and coverage for personal possessions, if desired. In the past, associations could force unit owners to obtain coverage for structural damage. Now they can't.

For investors, this can significantly increase their cash flow since it is more money in their pocket. Of course, they are now at greater risk for out-of-pocket payment for damage. For example, a tenant who does not report a leaking pipe until it floods the unit and leaks through to the unit one floor below will cost the unit owner not only the repairs to their own unit but they also have to pay for the damage their tenants caused to any units below them.

So, life's a risk. At least now unit owners have a choice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mandatory Lender Mediation Begins in South Florida

The Florida Supreme Court is requiring that all lenders undergo mediation with their delinquent borrowers before they can file for a foreclosure judgment. This month it is going into effect in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

In Broward, the American Arbitration Association has established 23 mediation rooms in an office building that is across the street from the county courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

Now we will have to wait and see if this process will prove effective at reducing the number of foreclosures in the state.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

South Florida Loan Modification Update

The Sun Sentinel reported yesterday that the South Florida metro areas had more loan modifications in June than any other cities in the United States. Statewide, Florida is second only to California in the total number of loan workouts.

The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area had 35,621 loan modifications in June, which is approximately 3,000 fewer than May's numbers.

The Orlando area had 15,130 in June which was about 900 fewer than May. If you add the June figures for the two areas together they account for 6.7 percent all of national activity. In comparison, Los Angeles had 6.5 percent, New York had 6 percent and Chicago had 5.1 percent.

Bank of America has originated the largest number of permanent modifications with 72,232 nationally; Chase reported 54,722.

Of the more than 100 lenders that get tax incentives to reduce payments only $132 million has been spent out of a potential $75 billion.

It is speculated that the low numbers may reflect the borrower's weariness and frustration with the paperwork and the fact that they have to prove their income to receive the loan modification. With so many people out of work or on reduced wages, the Making Home Affordable programs may continue to have limited effect.

We need jobs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bank of America Opens a Fort Lauderdale Outreach Center Today

The Sun Sentinel reported this morning that the Bank of America is opening an outreach center in Fort Lauderdale to help distressed homeowners. The center will allow borrowers to have face-to-face discussions with a bank representative who might be able to facilitate a loan modification for them.

The center discourages walk-ins and consumers are encouraged to call 954-308-9592 for an appointment. The center is open 10-7 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two year condo trends in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Here is the last of my June figures. This is for the Ft. Lauderdale condo market. If you would like to see the trends for a particular city in the area, please let me know at and I will try to produce them for you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

GPS red light camera detector

Last week I posted a blog about the red light cameras in Broward County, Florida. In today's newspaper an article mentioned a product that you can purchase for approximately $100 that will warn the driver when they are approaching a camera location in their database. The database entries can be added at no charge by the public and incorrect entries can be reported for correction.

The product is called GPS Angel and apparently is available for world-wide locations. Here's the link It is also available at; enter the keywords GPS Angel.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grandparents Phone Scam Alert

The local papers have been full of stories recently about grandparents losing money in a telephone scam. The caller will say that they are calling on behalf of one of their grandchildren who needs to have money wired to them right away. The grandchild has supposedly been in an accident, had a medical emergency, was arrested, etc.

The police believe that the grandparents are putting information about their grandchildren on social media websites, like FaceBook, and that this information is being used against them by thieves.

One individual who was called was alert to the possibility of a scam and asked for the grandchild's mother's name. The caller hung up.

So be alert and ask questions before you rush to the bank to help your family. It could be an imposter.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Broward County, Florida map of red light cameras

The Sun Sentinel newspaper today obligingly provided a link to an online map of current and proposed red light cameras in Broward County, Florida. A new state law recently granted cities permission to install them and charge $158, with no points, for the first offense. Subsequent offenses will incur higher fines. The notices are mailed to the license plate address.

Go to to view the camera locations.

Friday, July 16, 2010

South Florida condo market trends

The four graphs presented here depict the past 2 year history for the condo market in Coral Springs, Florida.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Broward County, Florida 2 year condo market trends

The four graphs presented here depict the past 2 year history for the condo market in Broward County, Florida.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coral Springs Florida named in top 100 cities by Money Magazine

The Sun Sentinel reported this morning that the August issue of Money Magazine ranked Coral Springs, Florida as #44 in its top 100 best places to live in the United States. The neighboring town of Coconut Creek came in at #48.
Let's hear it for South Florida!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fort Lauderdale 2 year housing trends

If you have been following my blogs you have noticed the prior data charts I created for Broward County and coral Springs data. Today I am presenting the 2 year history of the Fort Lauderdale housing market.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coral Springs, Florida, 2 year housing trend

Last week I posted the two year statistical data analysis for the Broward County single family housing market. Today, I am showing you the two year single family numbers for the city of Coral Springs. Charts for condos will be posted on a later date.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New TV show shot in South Florida

There is a new cop drama called "The Glades" which is being shot in Broward County. The pilot was filmed in Georgia and St. Petersburg, but the rest of the shows are being filmed here through Labor Day. I believe it premieres tonight on A&E at 10PM.

Hopefully, it will have a good following and interest people from outside the area to come and visit us and perhaps consider buying a home here.

After all, it is paradise.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why is the foreclosure process so much faster in some states than others?

Why is there such a difference in the time it takes to be foreclosed? Basically, it is because the United States is divided into two types of states: lien theory states and title theory states.
Florida is one example of a lien theory state and it is also known as a judicial state because the borrower gets the deed to the house at closing and so the lender has to go to court and go through a complex foreclosure process in order to claim possession of the property. The process starts with the lender filing a complaint and recording a notice of Lis Pendens. Once the homeowner receives the complaint they have the right to be represented by an attorney and the opportunity to be heard in court and this can delay the process considerably because some courts have a large backlog of cases and a good attorney might be able to cause multiple delays.

Georgia is an example of a title theory state and these types of states are known as non-judicial states because the lender keeps the deed after closing and the homeowner only gets it when the loan is satisfied. The lender does not need to go to court in non-judicial states because they already have the deed. Instead, the homeowner who is in default will be mailed a notice and if the homeowner does not pay what is owed a notice of sale is sent to the homeowner and the property is listed at auction. Timeframes for the various steps are set by the individual state laws.

Click on the link to view the map of the states and see how the country is divided. As a property owner you are probably better off in a lien theory state during hard financial times.

Come on down to South Florida and buy some property!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Palm Beach Courts Receive Foreclosure Aid

The Sun Sentinel reported today that Palm Beach is using $640,000 of state allocated funds to hire two senior judges, six case managers and four clerical assistants to help ease the backlog of foreclosure cases in Palm Beach County.

The newspaper article states that there is an estimated backlog of 500,000 foreclosures in the state of Florida and that the state has allocated $6 million to help the courts clear the cases.

In my opinion, unless the housing market in South Florida improves, this money won't help much. So much of our economy is based on housing that more and more individuals who have hung on for as long as they could are becoming economically tapped out and will have to roll the dice and see how long they can stay in their home if they stop making payments.

Currently that would be about two years minimum in Florida. A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court may extend that even longer; if the lender can't provide evidence of the original note (the borrower's IOU), they might be able to stay there permanently without making payments.

Interesting times.....painful for those of us living through it, but fascinating none the less. Feels at times like I am watching a train wreck in slow motion and the train is headed straight toward me.

For more information you can contact me at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Broward Housing Trends Over a 2 year Period

The followings graphs show the single family real estate market here in South Florida over the past two years.

For more information contact me at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Major Security Flaw at the US Post Office

The Florida Sun Sentinel reported today that someone had fraudulently gone on-line in June to the US Post Office's web site and changed the mailing address for the Florida state-run Citizens Property Insurance Company.

The result of this is that application fees, social security numbers and names, addresses and birthdates of the applicants were all routed to another mailing address. Citizens stated that this most likely occurred between June 14 - June 19 of this year.

If you feel that you have been a victim of identity theft as a result of this you can call 1-888-685-1555.

The most amazing thing to me is that this hasn't happened before. There does not appear to be any safeguards against this on the USPS site.

What do you think?

You can contact me at

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Florida Employment Figures

This morning's Sun Sentinel reported the following figures for jobs gained and lost over the past year. Federal government jobs increased by 28.4%, college and university jobs were up by 9.7% and home health care positions rose by 7.3%. On the flip side metal fabrication jobs decreased by 18.1%, building construction was down by 17.9% and printing fell by 10.6%.

The Florida unemployment rate peaked in March at 12.3% and in May had fallen to 11.7%. The national rate is 9.5%. Our economy here is so centered around the housing market that economists say we cannot have a robust recovery until housing picks up.

In my opinion that is not going to happen until credit loosens up and private mortgage companies begin operating in Florida again. To buy a condo now, the purchaser needs to have a 25%-30% down payment because no one will issue a PMI policy. Great environment for cash buyers, though, as long as the condo and homeowners associations remain solvent with money in reserve.

The Sun Sentinel article went on to discuss that the international business trade may pick up in this part of Florida and that our tourist industry may increase if our beaches remain oil-free. Let's hope.

Meanwhile come on down and buy property. I'm happy to help. You can contact me at

Monday, July 5, 2010

Coral Springs , Florida Will Soon Be A College Town

It looks like Coral Springs, Florida is set to become a college. The SunSentinel reported yesterday that the Broward Community College is opening a satellite campus at the northwest corner of University Drive and Sample Road. Classes are expected to start in October and it is anticipated that over 5,000 students will be attending. The college will initially offer two and four year general and business courses and the nursing school will be moved there.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Many of our local cities are having firework displays that start at 9PM. The most interesting ones, in my opinion, are on the beach. Ft. Lauderdale's fireworks display is at the end of Las Olas on the beach. You might have to park a fair distance away, but think of all the great exercise you can get by walking on the beach to the site.

Find local events at
To read more about me go to:

Health Insurance Reform Bill

The new law went into effect on July 1 so that people who have pre-existing medical conditions and have been refused health care coverage, can now be insured. In Florida if people qualify and apply by July 15, they can start receiving coverage on August 1. To apply online go to and click on the link for Florida policies or you can call 1-866-717-5826 to hear the details. Rates will not be published until July 15.

To qualify a person needs to have been uninsured for at least 6 months, show proof of a pre-existing condition and been turned down in the past for health care.

To read more about me go to