Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act – Now Extended for One Year

January 3rd, 2013

This should come as a huge relief for many homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages and not quite sure what to do. If you are one of those people you should start working on your short sale immediately because one year comes very quickly…


Save your home from foreclosure!

PRLog (Press Release) – Jan. 2, 2013 – They finally did something. Congress passed and the President signed a bill that included a one year extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act. They also kept in place the Mortgage Insurance deduction.

This should come as a huge relief for many homeowners who are underwater in their mortgages and not quite sure what to do. If you are one of those people you should start working on your short sale immediately because one year comes very quickly when dealing with a short sale. Do not put it off anymore since there is a lot of doubt whether it will get extended again.

Also realize that if the bank forecloses you still are responsible for the tax bill and you are NOT in control of WHEN the bank decides to foreclose.

So consider this… you do nothing and then the bank decides to foreclose. The bank takes their time and doesn’t finalize the foreclosure until January 2014 and the law is not extended. You will be very sorry that you didn’t take control of your situation because you will now potentially owe a large tax bill to the IRS. There are other exclusions such as Bankruptcy and Insolvency but you really don’t want to use these options unless absolutely necessary.

The best advice I can give you is to take control by taking action in 2013. The sooner you deal with the situation the sooner you can get back on the right track.

Original Posting and Content by Ted Greene, California Attorney and Licensed Real Estate Broker.

How to make your property “POP” when trying to Sell….

December 27th, 2012

There are so many homes for sale in The Villages that we need to discuss some methods of making your property “POP” among all the others. There are many features that the Buyer is looking for. Obviously the location is the most important factor.  Many folks like to be near Spanish Springs town center, or Sumter Landing or even our newest location, Brownwood. Then of course, the price range is essential.  The Villages price points are established by location, model and then if it is a Premier location versus an interior lot. The most important point is the market is not about the extra features of your home but what other homes similar to yours are selling for in the market today.

I want to share 5 Creative ways that effect how marketing real estate takes place today and these ideas were put together by a colleague of mine, Samantha DeBianchi. This style of marketing makes our listings “POP” where buyers are interested in seeing the homes that I am marketing here in The Villages!

5 Creative Ways to Market Your Home


Author:Samantha DeBianchi

“What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?”

Sound familiar? It’s the tagline to “Sleepless in Seattle,” and the same adage holds true for the home buying process: Buyers will never find their perfect match if they don’t know it exists. And sometimes sellers have to get creative to make the connection.

Here are five ways to help your home’s dream buyer find it and fall in love.

Go where the buyers are

Is your home within driving distance of a popular tourist attraction, natural beauty, shopping destination, college, entertainment district, major corporation or an airport? If so, there are many people who need your house and don’t even know it. Take your marketing to them; it could be as low-tech as a flier in a coffeehouse or as high-tech as a mobile ad on Internet radio.

Hold the mother of all open houses

Open houses can be so much more than straightening up throw pillows, putting some flowers in a vase and slapping down a plate of cheese and crackers. Take it to the next level and make your open house an A-list affair.

What makes a house a home is its appeal to all of the senses. It should look, smell, feel and sound great. Hire a musician — maybe a steel drummer by the pool, an acoustic guitarist in the garden, a violinist in the great room — or just play some calm and soothing sounds of the ocean or wind chimes. Have comfy seats available for buyers to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Open the windows and let a cool breeze blow through. Hire a great caterer to stage tasty, visually appealing food and drink stations around the home. Light candles or start a fire in the fireplace — anything to create a special atmosphere that will give buyers no option but to imagine your home as theirs.

Have a generous gathering

No matter the size of your home, you can host a charitable event such as a spa night, art auction, fashion show or wine and cheese pairing to benefit your favorite charity. Invite staff and key volunteers from the charity and ask them to help promote the event to their donor and supporter list. Have your real estate agent on hand to give tours of the property during the event, and offer a portion of the home sale’s profit to the charity. A successful charitable event at your home will give your property greater exposure and allow you to do something good for your community — and ultimately, for your wallet!

Hire professional writers and photographers for your listing

We’ve all seen beautifully written or funny Craigslist ads that have gone viral online. Even those describing the mundane can garner a lot of attention if done with a little creativity. Now try applying this concept to marketing your home. A great write-up and professionally staged photos with quality lighting can capture buyers’ interest like nobody’s business. Hire a professional freelance writer to write your description and a professional photographer to shoot the property. Focus on the unique, funny and interesting details that set your home apart from the rest.

Go social

Share your home listing on social media, but not in the same old boring “look at me” ways that make your contacts run screaming for the “unfriend” button. Try sharing photos on Pinterest or Instagram and linking to Facebook, or tweeting a short teaser about the most unique or interesting aspect of the property with a link to read more. Be sure to respond in real time when people comment or reply to you, so they know there’s a person behind the post. Keep the social in social media and remember that less is more, personality and tone are important and it’s OK to have a little fun with it!

Live your dreams in The Villages!

December 13th, 2012

Thinking of building your dream house? Why waste time, money and effort when you can get this gorgeous Nearly New Villa in The Villages at 2375 HADDINGTON CT , THE VILLAGES, FL 32162Located near Highway 466A and Brownwood, the new and exciting Square of The Villages.  The Villages is a community with Free Golf and activities galore.  A lifestyle of pleasure and fun for a great retirement in North Central Florida.

The house is spacious and has great interiors. This 3 beds and 2 full bath residential home was built in 2011. It has volume ceilings, laminate and carpet floorings. Its dark cabinetry was made with exquisite decors and was created by a professional designer. Here are some of the main interior and exterior features of the house:

  • The kitchen has a nice grayish granite countertop with black cabinets to give a stylish modern look. It has a breakfast bar that will definitely give more space to cook quick meals and snacks.
  • The Master Bedroom includes a beautifully designed Walk In Closet that will surely give you room and space to organize your wardrobe and other things.
  • Spacious Screen enclosed Lanai and Low Maintenance Landscape
  • Private Backyard – great for grilling, parties, pets, entertaining, etc.
The Kitchen

Master Bedroom

This Villa includes a NEW GOLF CART and FURNISHINGS. It is located at Tamarind Grove in Montbrook which is just a few minutes from Sumter Landing and the new square Brownwood. The site is close to 5 great Golf Courses and Seabreeze Recreation Center, so if you plan to have a fun activity such as golfing, pickleball or sand volley and play like a kid a again or have nice relaxing time with your best buds, time and place will not be a problem since these centers are just a few blocks away from your front door!

The Community offers a wide variety of activities that will help you grow and be filled satisfying lifestyle. The Villages is close to top rank schools that has high percentage of graduates every year! The Environment is healthy as it is protected and well maintained. So, If you are looking for a dream house, healthy and fun lifestyle, a breath of fresh air? Go to the Villages – It’s the best place to start living your dreams!

If you want to know more information about this gorgeous property, Click Here!


Holiday Home Sales Tips

December 6th, 2012


The holiday season can be an incredibly busy time of year. Families are traveling across town, state, and country to visit loved ones. Children are home from school, bringing with them vacation schedules.

This can be a difficult time for many sellers. They must find a balance between family time, showings, and open houses.

If you are finding this holiday season particularly problematic, then keep reading.

Just as your time for showings is limited, so is the time potential buyers have for touring your home. This means that if you are serious about moving your home in this season’s market you must be willing to be flexible with your time. Making your home readily available may mean more showings or a faster sale.

You must put the needs of your family and children first, of course, but there should be room for compromise. Consider allowing other family members to host large meals and functions to lighten the load on your home’s schedule this year.

You can also plan fun activities for the whole family to participate in while your home is being shown. Take the kids to see the latest holiday movie. Go out for yogurt or ice cream. If the showing is during the evening hours you can take a tour of neighborhood lights!

Also, do not let listing your home for sale deter you from celebrating the holidays this season. Feel free to maintain family traditions, but consider the effect your decorations will have on buyers. While you should feel free to have a tree and lights, it would be wise to keep everything tasteful and in moderation.

You may come across the random buyer that hates the holidays, but most people are not offended by someone else’s beliefs. You’ll find buyers are tolerant of most everything … except tacky overdone decorations!

If you are unsure what constitutes tacky, then refer to popular home decor magazines for pictures and examples of what is acceptable.

Selling a home is about about putting the best foot forward. So, in addition to making it available to buyers and decorating tastefully, it’s important to consider how your home will appear in wintertime photography.

Great photography is key when posting pictures to the MLS. This is your home’s first impression, but the snow, ice, and dreariness of winter months can be a little boring.

Take your time to stage the best pictures possible. Take advantage of sunny days glistening across snowy banks. Let the charm of your living room shine with a perfectly trimmed tree.

Buyers also love to see how your home looks throughout the seasons. Talk to your Realtor about including pictures of your home when your yard is bursting with Springtime blooms or when your pool is full of sparkling blue water.

The holidays can be a wonderful time for families, but with a few compromises you can also make a sale during this special time!


Written by: Carla Hill


November Round Up: Rates Remain Near Record Lows

December 4th, 2012

November Round Up: Rates Remain Near Record Lows

We have not seen interest rates remain this low for so very long!  In fact in most of our lifetime!  If you want some information about what is happening in the the mortgage market, please read this information so you can be convinced that NOW is the time to Buy!!  Buy a home and an investment property!

In Freddie Mac’s results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, fixed mortgage rates were virtually unchanged and remaining near their record lows amid growing concerns around the fiscal cliff. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has averaged below 4.00 percent all but one week in 2012, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has averaged below 3.00 percent since the last week in May.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.32 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending November 29, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.00 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.63 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.30 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.72 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent. 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.56 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.78 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week amid growing concerns around the fiscal cliff. Although low mortgage rates failed to boost new home sales in October, year-to-date sales are up 20 percent compared with 2011 volumes, and there are growing signs of a turnaround in house prices. The S&P/Case-Shiller® national home price index (seasonally adjusted) rose 5.2 percent over the first three quarters of this year. In addition, all 20 of the city indices (seasonally adjusted) had positive growth over the first 9 months, led by a 17.9 percent increase in Phoenix. More recently, the Federal Reserve’s November 28th regional economic review, known as the Beige Book, noted that 10 of the 12 districts reported the market for single-family homes continued to improve leading into mid-November.”

Time to Buy Your Kid a Condo?

Parents planning to gift real estate to their children should move to do so now, as the lifetime gift-tax exemption will fall to $1 million for individuals and $2 million for couples in the new year from $5.12 million and $10.24 million, respectively.

Even if Congress intervenes before the exemption sunsets, experts still anticipate some kind of reduction of the tax break. Moreover, the maximum tax rate on gifts exceeding the limits will rise to 55 percent on Jan. 1 from 35 percent.

Some parents are passing properties to their children through limited liability companies, which offer a 15 to 20 percent discount on valuations due to a “lack of marketability.” This means outside buyers will balk at buying shares in a family-owned LLC because they would have to negotiate with a group of related members.

Another strategy for gifting a primary residence and avoiding estate taxes is a qualified personal residential trust, which also affords a discount under the “present value factor” since the child will not receive the property for a specified time period; if the parents die before the period is up, estate taxes will be incurred, and if they outlive the period, they will need to relocate or pay rent to the trust.

Homes Are Selling Faster as Inventories Fall

What is the median time a home is on the market nationwide? Just 69 days.

The number of days on the market nationwide has fallen nearly 30 percent from year-ago levels.

Meanwhile, inventory levels are hovering at all-time lows, with the number of homes for-sale down 31.2 percent from a year ago. The inventory is at a 6.4-month supply of homes on the market, as of July data.

“As inventory has tightened, homes have been selling more quickly,” says Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS®’ chief economist. “A notable shortening of time on market began this spring, and this has created a general balance between home buyers and sellers in much of the country. This equilibrium is supporting sustained price growth, and homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market.”

For comparison, the time on the market for non-distressed homes peaked at 10 weeks in 2009. During the housing boom between 2004 and 2005, for example, the median selling time was just four weeks.

How Housing May Help Give the Economy a Lift

Lately, the housing market may be the one thing going right for the economy, Reuters reports. Several signs have pointed to a housing market in full recovery mode.

“Higher sales, prices, and building, albeit modest so far, are a welcome boost as other drivers of the economy falter,” Reuters reports.

Unlike the “boom” years, housing has accounted for a small fraction of the gross domestic product — in 2005 it accounted for 6 percent, compared to 2.5 percent in the third quarter of this year. The housing sector “would have to be on steroids to significantly boost GDP growth,” Paul Dales, an economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a recent research note.

Still, several economists are hopeful residential investment could add two- to three-tenths of a percentage point to the GDP next year.

An increase in housing-related jobs also may help give the economy a lift. Housing-related jobs have increased an average of 11,000 a month this year. In 2011, housing-related jobs posted an average monthly decline of 1,000.

By early 2013, housing-related jobs are expected to increase to 30,000 a month as new-home construction rises, says Jim O’Sullivan, chief of U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

That could make housing a significant contributor to chipping away at the unemployment rate. Analysts have estimated that the economy needs 150,000 jobs created a month to keep the unemployment rate steady.

Housing may also help lift consumer spending, another important factor that needs to increase to give the economy a jolt. Real estate wealth can help, economists say. As more home owners refinance into record low mortgage rates, more households may in turn then have more to spend.

Written by Realty Times Staff