Farmer’s Market to Resume in Rosemary Beach

Starting May 5, the 30A Farmer’s Market is coming to Rosemary Beach in the Town Center rain or shine, every Sunday year round from 9am-2pm and on Thursdays starting May 30 through Labor Day weekend from 9am-2pm.

The 30A Farmer’s Market will feature the best of locally grown farm fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, beef, and chicken, fresh local seafood, artisan bread, homemade pastas, sauces, meatballs, BBQ sauce, local honey, grits, herbs, olive oil and vinegars, preserves, salsa’s and chow-chows.

It’s an International Farmer’s Market Event with food from around the world including homemade Greek food, Greek pastries, many delicious baked cakes, pies, tarts and cupcakes. Try the Gelato and wonderful jams, and take home fresh flowers to dress up any room.

Zombie Foreclosure–What is it?

Zombie foreclosures happen when the homeowner assumes they have lost their home and moves when the bank begins foreclosure, but the foreclosure process is never completed. So both the homeowner and their title are caught in between this world and the next, like a zombie.

The problem is that once the homeowner leaves, there’s an opportunity for real estate taxes to go unpaid and the property to go unmaintained, which often leads to code enforcement violations, vandals, and even squatters. You wind up with a whole slew of new problems—which the homeowner, not the bank, can still be liable for without even knowing it

Your first step when fighting back against a zombie foreclosure is to check the county or tax records. These are online in most areas now and will show you if you’re still on the title.

Anyone who has been foreclosed on might want to do this, if only to be sure. If you see that the bank has started but not finished a foreclosure, contact the bank and try to find out what their plans are.

The good news is that most banks are far more open nowadays to negotiate a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or agree to a loan modification than they were when most of these foreclosure cases were started.

The next step is to review current records for past due taxes, code violations, or other liens, and check out the property condition. You want to make sure you do what you can to avoid any more damage than what has already occurred and to also secure the home.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to rent the home or move back into it—a happier ending than most zombie movies get to see.

 

Trulia: Owning Costs 44% Less than Renting

Home price gains may be outpacing increases in rent, but the cost of being a homeowner is still much less than that of a renter, according to Trulia’s Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy report.

After factoring all cost components including transaction costs, taxes, and opportunity costs, Trulia found buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting, down slightly from 46 percent a year ago.

“Although buying a home is still cheaper than renting, the gap is closing,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “In 2013, home prices should rise faster than rents, and mortgage rates are likely to rise in the next year as the economy improves. By next year, buying could be more expensive than renting in some housing markets, even for people with the best credit.”

In the last year, asking home prices showed a 7 percent gain compared to a 3.2 percent increase in rents during the same time period, according to data from the real estate site.

Trulia explained low mortgage rates have kept the cost of owning down; for the analysis, a 3.5 percent mortgage rate was assumed.

The San Francisco-based company also revealed that out of the 100 largest metros analyzed, buying was more affordable than renting in all metros.

In some metros, the cost of buying was much less than the national average. The buy-rent gap was the largest in Detroit, where buying costs 70 percent less than renting. For the next four metros in top five, the cost of owning was 63 percent less than renting; the four metros were Dayton and Cleveland in Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana.

Although owning was found to be less expensive in all metros, owners in San Francisco averaged the smallest savings at 19 percent, a steep decrease from the 35 percent savings seen in 2012.

If one were to receive a mortgage rate of 4.5 percent, Trulia noted the cost of buying would be just 9 percent cheaper in San Francisco. However, a rate of 4.5 percent would still make buying more affordable than renting in all metros analyzed.

“People who didn’t buy a home last year may have missed the bottom of the market, but they haven’t completely missed the boat,” Kolko added. “Even buyers who can’t get today’s lowest mortgage rates will still find that buying makes more financial sense than renting in nearly all local markets – so long as they can get a mortgage in the first place.”

Other metros where owning may not be as enticing to borrowers based on savings were Honolulu, where the cost of owning is 23 percent cheaper, followed by San Jose (-24 percent), New York (-26 percent) and Albany (-30 percent).

Government Home Loan Pre-approval–How To

So what does it take to get pre approved for a USDA Rural housing loan in 2013?  It’s actually still pretty easy considering all the changes that have happened in the mortgage market over the past 5 years. Mortgages in 2013 are “back to basics” in most cases.  Long gone are the days of qualifying for a loan with no income, poor credit, etc.   Homebuyers today that have decent credit, stable documentable income and manageable debt usually have no issue getting pre qualified for a mortgage today.

All of the Government home loans ( FHA, VA and USDA) pretty much require the same things in order to get pre approved.  Below we have outlined some key points.

Credit – in most cases a 640 credit score is needed to be pre approved for any of the government home loan today – FHA, VA, USDA. But keep in mind that a 640 credit score does NOT guarantee loan approval as all lenders / banks have additional waiting requirements (overlays) in regards to home buyers with any past bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale.  Additional for USDA Rural loans, a clean 12 month payment history on all other credit trade lines is important.

Income – It has to be stable and documentable in 2013.  The days of stated income or no doc loans are long gone.  Documenting income properly can sometimes pose an issue with self employed or 1099 workers, especially those that have not been self employed for at least two years.  Banks and lenders generally want to see a 2 year employment history.  Small gaps in employment history are just fine, just as long the gap isn’t too long, or unexplainable.  Recent college grads are generally exempt from the 2 year employment rule.

100% USDA Loans –  these loans are available to any homebuyer looking to purchase a home in a rural defined locations. Click here for the USDA eligibility map.  USDA also have income limits based on the number of members in the household, county, etc.  Please click here for more information on FL USDA income limits. USDA, along with VA, are the only mortgages in Florida that offer 100% financing with NO down payment. All USDA FAQ’s are listed by clicking here.

FHA Loans –  these loans are available across Florida to any homebuyer that qualifies. FHA mortgages require a min 3.5% down payment, there are no income limits restrictions or property location restrictions.  Click here to learn all about FHA loan requirements in Florida.

VA Loans – available to all eligible past and present military personal.  Please click here to learn more about VA loans in Florida.

Homeowners that currently have a USDA, FHA or VA loan should also look into the verity of streamline refinance options available today. These programs allow homeowners to refinance REGARDLESS of the loan to value. If you currently have a USDA Mortgage, click here to learn about the Pilot program.  For FHA loans please click here,  VA loans can click here.  Interest rates are currently at all time low levels!

Please contact us at 904-302-6060 with questions, or visit www.UsdaMortgageSource.com for more information.

Okaloosa County (Destin, Niceville, Crestview,Fort Walton Beach)Homestead Information

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION INFORMATION
What is the Homestead Exemption? Every person who owns and resides on real property in Okaloosa, Florida on January 1 and makes the property their permanent residence is eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes including school district taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000, applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes. This represents a substantial savings on the taxes levied against your property by the various taxing authorities.Pursuant to the Florida Constitution Section # 6 (b), Florida Statutes 196.031 (6) & Florida Administrative Code 12D7.012 (1,2 & 3) You as an individual & family unit are only entitled to one homestead tax exemption unless a separate family unit has been established under the law. To insure that you have all of the required documents for filing an exemption, please click here to print the Homestead Checklist or go under the Forms Download tab on our homepage and print out the checklist.
Why file? Homestead exemption can save you approximately $600 to $650 per year on your annual ad valorem taxes. An additional benefit to the homestead exemption is Amendment 10 (Save Our Homes), which will “cap” your property’s assessed value the year following your established first year of homestead exemption.
Who May File: Every person who has legal or equitable title to real property in Florida and who has recorded the title instrument in the public records of the county where application is made. The applicant must reside on the property as of January 1st and must in good faith, make it their permanent residence to be eligible.
When to File: Exemption applications must be made no later than March 1st for the tax year applied for. Failure to make application by March 1st of the tax year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year. Homestead exemption applications may be filed after March 1st, but the exemption will be applied in the next tax year.
Where to Apply: Property Appraiser’s Office, 73 Eglin Parkway NE Suite 202, Fort Walton Beach; or Property Appraiser’s Office, Okaloosa County Courthouse, 101 E. James Lee Blvd., Room 104, Crestview.
First Time Applicants: First-time applicants must come in person to file their application and bring ALL supporting documentation in order to start the application.. However, the application and required supporting documentation must be brought to one of the two above listed locations. Only one signature is required for joint owners who are married with the same last name; however, all documentation listed below must be provided on all applications. All signatures are necessary if owners who occupy the home have different last names.
The Following Information Is Required to apply for ANY exemption: (click here for full checklist) : 1. One of the following: recorded warranty deed, last tax bill, printout from our website of your property, closing documentation. 2. Florida Driver License reflecting current Florida residential address (change of address must be prior to January 1st): all joint owners who reside on the property need Florida Driver Licenses. (VALID IN FLORIDA ONLY LICENSES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT). 3. Florida Vehicle Registrations reflecting current Florida residential address (change of address must be prior to January 1st). All vehicles owned by the applicants must have resident Florida registrations. Leased vehicles and nonresident registrations CANNOT be accepted. NOTE: Non-resident military registrations MUST be switched to FL resident registrations, as military members must also comply with the residency requirements for exemption purposes.
4. Social Security numbers are required for all owners listed on the deed. Owners must bring in something that verifies their number; social security card, medicare card, military ID card or most recent Income tax return filed with IRS. 5. Declaration of Domicile or Florida Voter Registration Card reflecting current residential address. If an owner does not have a car registered in their name, one of these documents will be required as proof of residency.

Please read the instructions carefully and be sure to comply with deadlines.

Our office is currently accepting 2013 Exemption Applications.

Prepare for Your Home Inspection!

Ten Tips to Prepare For Your Home Inspection

Here are some tips to prepare the house prior to the inspection. Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.

  1. Confirm that that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights).
  2. Make sure pets won’t hinder the home inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside.
  3. Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
  4. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.
  5. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
  6. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as “conducive conditions” for termites.
  7. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.
  8. Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
  9. Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet away from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hide pests or hold moisture against the exterior.
  10. Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.

Niceville Schools Rank Among State’s Best

Niceville High School and The Collegiate High School of Northwest Florida State Colelge rank among the best schools in Florida for 2012.  On a scale of 1500 points, Collegiate scored 1489 and Niceville scored 1312.  Those scores place Collegiate at fifth and Niceville at 34th out of the 430 Florida public schools.  High Schools scoring 1050 or higher receive an A grade.

Four of the other five Okaloosa County public high schools–Baker, Choctawhatchee, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach received an A designation for 2012.

Property Values are Expected to Continue to Rise

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent from October 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010, the group said today in New York. The median forecast of 30 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 4 percent gain.

Property values will probably keep heading higher as record-low mortgage rates, a growing population and an improving economy spur demand for housing. The turnaround in real estate is buoying household confidence and wealth, one reason why consumer spending is improving even as concern mounts that lawmakers will fail to stave off looming tax increases.

“The housing market is definitely starting to recover,” said Ryan Wang, an economist with HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, who’s the second-best forecaster of the S&P/Case- Shiller index over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Higher property values have “added about a trillion dollars to household wealth just since the beginning of this year.”

Undervalued Appraisals Creating Problems

The real estate market is recovering but still faces hurdles from tight
mortgage credit, but problems with a sizeable share of real estate appraisals
also are holding back home sales.

Most appraisers are competent and provide good valuations that are compliant
with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. However,
appraisals generally lag market conditions and some changes to the appraisal
process have been causing problems in recent years, including the use of
out-of-area valuators without local expertise.

I recently have had two transactions fall apart because of undervalued appraisals.

For more real estate news and information in the Destin-Niceville-30A area, go to www.DestinHomeRealty.com or contact me at 850-305-6256.