‘Hometown Heroes’ Program

A new program called ‘Hometown Heroes’ started June 1st which allows 50-plus careers to qualify for home-buying help up to $25K – helping over 3M Floridians. Income limits start at $120K, home prices at $420K.

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing program makes homeownership affordable for eligible frontline
community workers by providing down payment and closing cost assistance to income-qualified
homebuyers so you can purchase a primary residence in the community in which you work and serve.

Eligible borrowers can receive up to 5% of their total loan amount (maximum of $25,000) in the form of
a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.

The program applies to first-time homebuyers as defined by the IRS, which says “first-time” means “someone who has not owned a home in at least the past three years.” Homeowners must also actually live in a home to be disqualified. A renter who inherited a home in North Carolina, for example – one they never actually lived in – still qualifies. Renters who own an investment property also may qualify, providing they only own one.

In addition to Hometown Heroes, a program called “Salute our Soldiers” is for veterans. Rules are similar, but they don’t have to qualify as first-time buyers.

The money isn’t a gift, it’s a loan – but a loan that carries no interest and does not have to be paid back until the homeowners satisfies the mortgage, sells the house, vacates the house or refinances. Paid-off Hometown Hero loan money then gets rolled back into the program to help more potential Florida homeowners.

Only lenders approved by Florida Housing can participate – about 240 in the state. Lenders have some flexibility to remove one co-borrower from an application if it helps a couple qualify for the program. In most cases, a copy of the buyer’s license must be submitted. If an occupation does not require a license, however, they must submit a copy of the business’s license where they work. 

This is a great program for anyone eligible. Check out the attached flyer to see if this could be for you!

Hometown Heroes Program

June Newsletter

It is officially June and the start to a new month!

In the June issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2022, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

June Newsletter

How to Save Money Around Your Home

Soaring inflation, sky-rocketing gas prices and rising utility costs has led to stretched monthly budgets across the board, but there are still plenty of opportunities to save money at home. Whether it’s doing laundry the energy-efficient way, switching the direction of your ceiling fan based on the season or using coupons, we’ve got tips to help you ease the strain of inflation.

Don’t buy bottled water: Bottled water seems cheap, but it gets expensive fast. Settle for a water filter pitcher, and you can use tap water. It’s cheaper over time, and it’s better for the environment, too.

Make your own coffee: It seems obvious, but those daily cafe Americanos can easily take a chunk out of your bank account. Use a coffee maker or French press to get your caffeine fix instead.

Keep your freezer full: When you keep your freezer full, it works more efficiently, taking less energy to keep the contents cold.

Keep your dishwasher full, too: Running half-loads of dishes is a quick way to waste water and dish detergent.

Break out that Dutch oven: It could be a Dutch oven or a slow cooker of any kind, but cooking in bulk really helps cut down the costs associated with more individual-size meals.

Eat leftovers: This isn’t a tip so much as a choice. Keep your leftovers and don’t give yourself the excuse not to eat them. It’ll stretch your dollar way further.

Run full loads of laundry: Pack your washer to capacity, because you’re going to use the same water either way. May as well get as much use from it as you can.

Lower the temp on water heater: Check the temperature on your water heater. You generally don’t it to be above 120 degrees, and higher temps come with higher fees.

Change filters: It’s not just your water heater’s inefficiency costing you money; your HVAC system can burn a hole in your wallet if you haven’t changed its filter recently, so learn when to swap in a new filter.

Pay bills online: There are few things I hate more than late fees on bills. Setting up autopay on your electricity and water bills will help avoid those unnecessary fees, and they’ll also remove the need for postage on paper bills.

Unsubscribe from services: While you’re thinking about bills, check on your subscriptions. If you haven’t used a certain streaming service or that fitness app in a month or more, cancel it. You can always restart it in a few minutes if you change your mind.

Switch fan direction: Most ceiling fans have a small switch on them that changes the direction they spin. In the summer, run the fan counter-clockwise so it blows air down on you. This can help avoid the need for more air conditioning.

Use energy-efficient bulbs: LED bulbs cost more to buy, but in the long term, they cut down on electricity costs. As bulbs burn out in your house, make the switch.

Some of these tips may seem obvious, but when expenses keep going up, even little savings can help.

For more tips on how to save money around your home go to this link: https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/how-to-save-money-around-your-home-simple-tips/

May Newsletter

It is officially May and the start to a new month!

In the May issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2022, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

May Newsletter

Is the Starter Home Gone for Good?

Thanks to tight inventory and competition from institutional investors, more first-time buyers set their sights on larger homes with lots of backyard space.

First-time homebuyers aren’t just competing with each other for smaller starter homes – they’re also competing against institutional investors seeking rental properties. In a few markets, starter homes are routinely selling for $100,000 over asking price.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) estimates that the average price for a starter home rose from $233,400 in 2019 to $307,400 by the end of 2021, which boosted the average monthly payment from $1,038 to $1,224.

In addition, NAR says a first-time buyer’s median age climbed from 32 years old in 1981 to 45 today, and this group’s median income increased from $80,000 a year in 2020 to $86,000-plus in 2021.

“We have to redefine what a starter home is,” says Terry Hendricks, a Realtor with RE/MAX DFW Associates in Dallas.

Agents generally define a starter home as being about 1,500 square feet with two or three bedrooms that’s sufficiently affordable for a buyer who lacks equity from selling their previous home, and preferably in move-in condition.

Olivia Mariani at proptech company Curbio explained that the move-in-condition factor is especially critical for millennial buyers, while elements like outdoor space or a slightly larger home are also becoming more desirable for first-timers due to the pandemic.

Some experts predict that buyers will migrate to cheaper markets free of factors like technology jobs and cold climates, a trend currently fueling high prices in destinations like Austin and Tampa.

Source: Inman (03/15/22) Verde, Ben

April Newsletter

It is officially April and the start to a new month!

In the April issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2022, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

April Newsletter

Interest Rates Impact

Federal law states that banks are required to keep a minimum amount of cash on hand. This is called the reserve requirement.

But bank balances aren’t constant, as customers deposit or withdraw their cash. As a result, banks sometimes need to borrow money from other banks, overnight, to meet their reserve requirement.

The federal funds rate is the interest rate that banks charge other banks for these overnight loans. The central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve, aka the Fed, is responsible for setting the federal funds rate. When the Federal Reserve changes this rate, it impacts everything from employment to the production and price of goods and services.

That said, there are two questions at hand: How could interest rate changes affect the housing market in general, and how could it affect your ability to buy or sell your own home?

If mortgage interest rates rise and everything else stays the same — borrowers have the same income and same debt levels — the borrower won’t qualify for as expensive of a mortgage as they previously could. For example, if a borrower qualifies for a maximum monthly payment of $2,000 per month, and mortgage rates rise, then interest will gobble up a bigger chunk of that $2,000, leaving less space for principal.

This could put home buying out of reach for some, or put stagnant or downward pressure on home prices.

But an alternate scenario could also unfold.

If employment rises, or salaries and wages grow, or consumer debt falls, or lending criteria loosens, then borrowers may still qualify for similarly-sized or larger mortgages.

For example, if a potential homebuyer gets a $10,000 annual raise and their unemployed spouse finds part-time work, then their borrowing qualifications improve. If they use some of this additional income to pay off their consumer debt, then their borrowing qualifications improve even more.

Sure, interest rates may rise. But this uptick could be offset by other economic factors that improve borrowers’ positions.

The outcome isn’t as simple as assuming higher interest rates are bad for the housing market. A variety of factors, from wages to employment to lending requirements, influence the number of homebuyers in the market and the maximum price of homes for which they qualify. And this impacts everything from median sale prices to the average number of days-on-market.

Furthermore, real estate markets are inherently local. Working with a realtor who is local and knows exactly how to help you in your specific market is important. If you have any questions about anything real estate related, I would love to help you through it.

March Newsletter

It is officially March and the start to a new month!

In the March issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2022, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

March Newsletter

Post Pandemic Listings

Owners who postponed selling during the pandemic – perhaps waiting for a sign that price increases were slowing – appear ready to list their home within the next six months. Many, however, plan to overprice it – and they expect bidding wars to push the final price even higher.

A survey conducted by HarrisX for realtor.com, however, suggests that many of those people might be planning to list their home in 2022, with 65% of them planning to do so this winter and spring. Many sellers, however, want to set an asking price higher than they think their home is worth, and they expect buyer bidding wars. Early 2022 home listers may have an advantage, “As buyers race against the clock of rising mortgage rates, sellers who price their homes in line with today’s market and stick to their plans will likely see their expectations met.” says George Ratiu, manager of economic research for realtor.com.

When will sellers list?

  • 65% in the next 6 months
  • 19% have already listed
  • 36% are researching and preparing to list

Top reason for selling? More time at home during COVID

  • 33% want more home features
  • 37% need more space
  • 32% want to move closer to friends and family

Seller expectations

  • they want to make a profit
  • will ask for more than the value
  • want a quick close

Price range changes

  • Sellers with homes at the core of the market ($351,000-$750,000) remained the same over March (29%). However, more sellers plan to list in the $500,000-$750,000 price range.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of prospective sellers would be willing to accept a lower offer to close quickly versus just over half in March (54%).
  • Compared to spring sellers, a higher number plan to take alternative routes to moving out, such as living with family initially (19%) or temporarily renting their home back from the buyer (29%).

If you have been holding off from listing because of the pandemic, now is the time to move forward.

February Newsletter

It is officially February and the start to a new month!

In the February issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, a featured listing, market predictions for 2022, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment below to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

February Newsletter