Thursday, February 28, 2013

Florida class-action case takes aim at Citizens’ reinspection program - Florida -

Many people who own property in Florida have heard about or experienced problems with Citizen's. Here's the latest news.

Florida class-action case takes aim at Citizens’ reinspection program - Florida -

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Florida Online Real Estate Classes

The Veritas Real Estate Group offers online Florida real estate classes at affordable prices. The courses include pre-and post-licensing classes for sales associates and brokers. A 14-hour continuing education course is only $19.95! Check out these low, low, prices. Visit our website and register for classes at We are a licensed Florida real estate school.

Sales Associates Prelicensing

Sales Associates Prelicense Course $145.00

Florida Real Estate Principles, Practices & Law Text Book $44.04

Sales Associates Postlicensing

Sales Associates Postlicense Course $95.00

Post-Licensing Education for Florida Real Estate Sales Associates Text Book $42.70

Broker Prelicensing

Broker Prelicense Course $275

Florida Real Estate Broker’s Guide Text Book $82.82

Broker Postlicensing

Broker Postlicense Course $250

Real Estate Brokerage: A Management Guide and Workbook 30-hour Text Book $68.05

Essentials of Real Estate Investment 30-hour Text Book $50.24

Continuing Education

14 Hours Continuing Education Online Course $19.95
Please LIKE us on Facebook to ask any questions and to stay current with the latest Florida real estate news.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Short Sale Now While Tax Forgiveness Still In Effect

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 has been extended until the end of 2013, but it's fate in future years is unknown. This law that applies to primary residences is a tremendous asset for homeowners who complete a short sale, which is a transaction that can occur when your mortgage balance is higher than the market value of your home.  The lender can agree to accept the market value as payoff for the loan. However, this difference between the lender's sale proceeds and the loan balance was taxed as income prior to 2007 and may be taxed again starting in 2014. Vacation homes and investment properties that are sold as a short sales are currently subject to federal income tax on the forgiven loan amount.

Check with a tax professional for additional information. Join us on Facebook for more discussions and to keep up with the latest news.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don't Pay Real Estate Processing Fees

As the value of homes decreased, the number of real estate agents charging buyers and sellers extra fees increased. In most cases, this is a total ripoff by greedy agents and brokers. Unless they are going above and beyond what is normally expected to earn a commission, don't pay them a dime extra. It is a disgraceful practice.

Mortgage companies legitimately charge a processing fee because there are usually reams of paperwork and hours of follow-up involved in obtaining a mortgage loan approval. In addition, it's the processor who may be speaking with the loan underwriter and even the applicant to resolve open issues.

This is not the case in real estate transactions. Some companies hire closing coordinators to make sure the process is a smooth one. However, there are usually very few benchmarks to track in a residential transaction. Deadlines to watch include home inspection, property appraisal, loan application and loan approval. Is that worth hundreds of dollars out of your pocket? Isn't that the job of the listing agent or her assistant? Why are you paying extra?

The one exception that comes to my mind is a short sale. The seller typically has no closing costs, so in those cases when the lender doesn't agree to pay for the seller's attorney or other fees, the buyer is asked to pay for it.

What do you think? If you are looking for a straight-shooting agent, send me an email at with the subject line "Help Me Find an Agent" and I will do my best to find you someone in your area who doesn't charge this nuisance fee.

If you're a real estate agent who doesn't charge a processing fee, send me an email at with the subject line "Available Agent", let me know the area you serve, and I will add you to my database of referral agents.

Visit us on our Facebook page to continue the discussion.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Florida 55+Communities

Here is a link
to the state-approved 55 and older communities in Florida. The rules and regulations vary among the associations, but most require at least one person on the deed to be 55 years of age or older, minors may not be allowed to stay overnight and leasing may or may not be allowed. If allowed, tenants may need to follow the age restrictions.
A community that wants to register with the state as 55+ is requesting permission to be exempt from the Fair Housing Act familial status protected class restrictions. In other words, if part of your intended rules is to prohibit minor children from living in the home, the association needs to register with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Click on this link to read the FAQs.

Visit our Facebook page for more Florida real estate news. Be sure to Like the page if you want to share the information with your friends.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Investors Profit Through HOA Auctions

Homeowner Associations (HOA) throughout the United States are allowed to record a lien on a homeowner's property if the association fees aren't paid in a timely manner. If the owner still doesn't pay what is owed, the property may be sold at an HOA foreclosure auction to the highest bidder. The association fees are paid, but any mortgage liens remain on the property since it was pledged as collateral for the loan.

So the investor now owns a property that he may have bought for an amount equal to or slightly higher than the unpaid association fees. If HOA rules allow leasing, that investor is free to rent the property until the bank forecloses. In judicial states, like Florida, where foreclosures have to proceed through the courts, this may take years. The investor can collect rent during this entire time. In some cases, the lender allows the investor to satisfy the mortgage lien by paying it off at a deeply discounted amount equal to what it would sell for at a foreclosure auction. Unfortunately, in other circumstabces, the investors aren't maintaining the property or paying their HOA fees, and the property is sold again at another HOA auction.

If you're interested in pursuing this, search the Internet for county name HOA auction. Remember that you will still be responsible for the mortgage lien although you are probably not required to disclose to prospective tenants that the bank may claim the property.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Short Sales Fundamentals

A short sale occurs when the homeowner's mortgage balance is greater than the value of the home, and lender agrees to accept a property's market value as payoff for the mortgage loan. The lender requires the homeowner to have a documented hardship and to disclose financial information. There's a lot of paperwork and documents that need to be collected, but a short sale has minimal impact on a credit score and allows the homeowner to move on with their life. The lenders benefit because the process is quicker than a foreclosure in states that require foreclosure proceedings to occur in the courts. Florida is one of these states, and a foreclosure here can easily take three or more years to complete. Buyers who are interested in purchasing a short sale property need to be aware that the approval process can be 60 days or longer, and they may be required to pay an additional fee at closing. This happens when the lender refuses to pay for the seller's attorney and, since the seller pays no closing costs, the extra fee needs to be paid by the buyer. This should be disclosed in the MLS if it's the case. However, the fee shouldn't be exorbitant, and short sale listings typically sell at a 10 percent discount. Watch the video and don't hesitate to contact us on Facebook if you have any related questions.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tired of the Blizzards?

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is 85 degrees and sunny today. That's a little warmer than normal February weather, but it feels wonderful. Maybe now is the time you want to decide about a vacation home. The area is serviced by three international airports located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.
Ask any real estate or relocation questions at and we will quickly reply to your queries.