Mortgage Rates @ All Time LOW!

Question is? Who can qualify for a mortgage? Banks will need to loosen their requirements for borrowers if we are going to get more homeowners and refinances done. The 30 year fixed rate(most popular choice among buyers), averages 4.39% this week and lowest average for 2011, reports Freddie Mac.

What was the factor dropping the rates again? Weakening economy is the major factor! It’s not good news for the economy but great news for buyers who can qualify!

Housing market has still shown modest improvement with another rise in “pending” home sales for the month of June.

Interested in July and August 2011 Market Pulse? Click here:

“Until Next Time” and thank you very much for your time!

Turned Down for Credit Card or Loan?

I assume we all know that your credit score determines your interest rate on a loan or whether you get a loan or not. In the past this score has always been a secret and little if no explanation given to the applicant on the reason for being denied credit. Starting today this all changes with provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform.

How do things change for consumer? It means lenders will be required to supply the applicants credit score upon any of the following;

1.  Reject an applicant for a loan; they must provide reason why they are denied

2. Approve a loan but at a higher rate than their best customers, and explain why they are charging a higher rate

3. They must provide which score they used to make decision about loan and explain the factors that adversely affected your score.

Mark Green, CEO of FICO says about half of about 1 billion annual credit applications will fall under one of the 2 categories. Borrowers will be shocked to find out they are not being offered the same rates as the lenders best customers. It will encourage consumers to shop around for better rates and to improve their scores for the future.

In 2003 a federal law required the 3 major credit bureaus to provide consumers with their free annual reports but not with a “credit score.” The Dood-Frank reform does not change the 2003 Federal Law however a consumer can purchase their credit score when ordering their free credit reports. It is important to note that these credit scores are not the same scores used by the lenders, so called “educational score.

These changes will be great for consumers, especially in these difficult financial times. As a Real Estate Broker working with buyers and sellers daily we are experiencing overly tight lending standards compared to years past. I am not saying banks should make “fog the mirror” or sketchy loans but they do need to loosen their standards to help provide more homeownership.

“Until Next Time”

What Happens After Foreclosure? How Long Before You Can Qualify For Mortgage?

Can You Say Tricky Question?

With so many people struggling to find work and therefore, keeping their mortgages current. Foreclosure and Short Sales are at an all time high for our country. The question posed above is not really tricky, but has many variables. The New York Times notes that a past foreclosure will result in the longest wait before you can buy again. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac properties have a 3 year waiting period after filing foreclosure and 2 year waiting period following a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure & discharge or dismissal of bankruptcy. However, there may be certain circumstances, job loss or transfer from job, that may reduce the wait period to qualify for mortgage.

FHA loans also have 3 year waiting period for foreclosure / short sale and 2 years for bankruptcy as well, but note there are plenty of exceptions. Based on New York Time article and example would be, if a borrower was current on payments for year prior to short sale there may be not waiting period and might even qualify for FHA loan immediately.

In conclusion, none of these rules are steadfast or set in stone. With such a large number of people struggling and facing loss of their homes(at the time of this post there are over approximately 1,000,000 properties foreclosed or in the process), poor credit ratings and lack of jobs, lenders will need to take into account circumstances that may have lead to default. I firmly believe these standards will change in years to come. Fannie Mae spokesman says, ” The key is to avoid foreclosure”  and “That is what will help you be eligible for the shorter period.”

“Until Next Time”



Source: “The Post-Foreclosure Wait,” The New York Times (June 23, 2011)

Ocala, Marion Market Report 1st Quarter 2011

Ocala homes for sale and they always will be! How is that for a bold prediction.

Now for the meat of this blog post. What is our local housing market doing and which direction are we going?

Well, we are taking a beating in Ocala with the median home price at $75,400, compared to U.S. at $157,933. However this does mean Ocala is probably one of the most affordable cities to live in(BRIGHT SPOT!) 1 year Appreciation is at -18.8% and 3 years sits at -48.2% or a negative housing equity gain of -$70,100. If you’ve owned own your home for  7 years the Housing Equity Gain(?) is -$20,800. IN SHORT, the recent correction in local home prices wiped out most of the 7 years of gained equity.

Why the drastic drops?

Unemployment has lead to tremendous number of foreclosures on the market not just locally but throughout the state. The State of Florida foreclosure rate is around 14% with the National Average around 5%. Marion Counties current unemployment rate hovers around 12.5% compared to 8.8 nationally, both numbers are down slightly from one year ago which is a good sign.

What to expect?

Well I am surely no professional analyst soon to be hired by Fox or one of the alphabet channels, but I do study and know what’s happening locally. My lovely wife, the appraiser, says the market is still being adjusted at approx. -2% per month and our month to month comparisons from 2010 to 2011 reflect the same trend. Many experts think the end of 2011 will be the stabalizing point for the housing market. The best part about real estate is there is always a good market, for someone, whether its buyers or sellers. Do you know, or have you heard about shadow inventories?

For The Full Report:


What is REO? What Effect Will REO Have on Housing Recovery?

Real estate owned or REO…is a class of property owned by a lender typically a bank, government agency, or government loan insurer, after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction[1]. When a lender/ beneficiary finishes the foreclosure process the property can then be listed as an REO property.That is the technical definition, however most people know them as foreclosures. Most of the larger banks and government institutions have REO/Asset Management companies who handle departments that field bids and offers, oversee upkeep, and handle sales. Most REO properties are listed with local MLS(Multiple Listing Services by REALTORS for marketing properties.) Bank properties are typically in need of repair and/or maintenance and the cost of these items is the responsibility of the mortgage servicer(bank or government agency.)

What Effect Will REO Have on Housing Recovery?…The nation’s largest banks and mortgage holders currently own over 872,000 homes which were repossessed through foreclosure or other means. That is nearly 2x the amount foreclosed on in 2007, when the financial crisis began. Unfortunately, that may not be the worst news because the same lenders are ready to repossess over 1,000,000 more homes according to RealtyTrac reports. The huge number of currently banked owned foreclosures and the large pending amount are causing economist to fear a double dip in the real estate market. According to Treep, a leading real estate research firm, will force the lender-owned homes to sell for deep discounts over the next 2 years and at a cost of almost $40 billion in losses. The opinion of REALTORS is that lenders are overwhelmed with the huge inventory which many times the homes are outdated, often overpriced by 10% or more and lenders take to long to accept or reject the offer. The largest problem is it takes over 400 days to foreclose and on average 176 days to sell.

My personal opinion is we are a long way from a housing recovery being done and it will continue to be a buyers market for some time to come. Marion County has some of the best prices in the state. Many can buy a home for less than the cost to rent in the area. Want to learn more or have questions, please call, text, chat or email me.

“Until Next Time”

[1] William Roark (2006), Concise Encyclopedia of Real Estate Business Terms ISBN 0-7890-2341-5

Source; “As Lenders Hold Homes in Foreclosure, Sales Are Hurt, New York Times May 23,2011

Freddie Mac Summer Special Deal

GREAT NEWS for Buyers and Sellers!

Freddie Mac is offering a “SUMMER SALES PROMOTION.” Upon qualified closing, HomeSteps will pay up to 3.5% of the purchase price of your home to cover certain closing costs. For instance, if your purchase price is $125,000, and your closing costs are $4,250, HomeSteps will only pay $4,250, an amount equal to 3.4% of your purchase price. Of course, not all homes or borrowers will qualify and the incentive is ONLY good to owner-occupants. You can visit, for all details.

BUT WAIT? There is more to this sweet deal!

Homesteps SmartBuy Program is also offering a 2 year HomeProtect Home Warranty and HomeProtect Appliance Discount The HomeProtect Home Warranty and HomeProtect Appliance Discount are available only to Participants who purchase and close on a qualifying HomeSteps home during the Program. The HomeProtect Home Warranty begins upon your qualifying home purchase closing date and continues for two years from that date. The HomeProtect Home Warranty has further restrictions and exceptions. Please see the HomeProtect® Home Warranty Terms and Conditions for all of the details. The HomeProtect Appliance Discount provides savings up to 30% savings on new appliances.

HOMES FOR SALE by Freddie Mac?

Where are they? In just about every location across the United States and Puerto Rico

How do you get more information? Contact your REALTOR® or better yet, if you do not have one, please contact ME! Or, you can visit,, and search any state, county or zip code for homes available in the program.


The offer is only good May 16, 2011 – July 31, 2011 with escrow closed on or before September 30, 2011. Now is a great time buy with low home prices, super low interest rates, and this new program could get you into a new/reseller home with little to no money down.

“Until Next Time.”

“Go Green, Live Rich”

” Go Green, Live Rich”

by David Bach describes his “50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth & Get Rich Trying.” The book provides many ideas that make you say, “hmmm, that makes sense!” But the idea we  have come to a “tipping or turning point”, I believe is “false!” The sky is not falling and we can all, through education, learn how to live smarter and for less money out of pocket. One of my favorite lines in the book is “GOING GREEN IS ABOUT OUR KIDS, OUR FAMILIES, OUR LIVES.” Whether you believe in the “GREEN” movement, or not. How bad could it be if we could all learn use less, like water! Do you know how many gallons per minute your current shower head uses? You can look on the threaded part of faucet for GPM. Federal regulations recently mandated all faucets by 2.5 GPM or less. A 5 minute shower at 2.5 GPM would use approx. 7-8 gallons of water depending on the water pressure. If you use older shower head(say 4 GPM) you could be using between 20-25 gallons of water per 5 minute shower. Imagine filling up 20 one gallon jugs and placing them in our bathroom, thats a lot of water. We waste 2-3 gallons leaving the water running while brushing our teeth. Aerators can also be installed on all faucets to reduce water usage as well. Can you guess how many gallons of water your toilet uses every time you flush? I’m not going to answer that one(for now), and hope to hear your guesstimates. The worst abuse(my own personal opinion) of water usage is all to “Grow a Greener Lawn or Prettier Plant” and Mr. Bach’s book states up to 7 BILLION, yes 7,000,000,000, gallons of water a year is used on landscape irrigation and accounts for a third of all residential water usage.

In conclusion, water is cheap(many times less than a penny a gallon) and Americans take it for granted, and waste a lot of it. Note: 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water and only 1% is available for human use. We all worry about saving gas because we see the direct result every time we fill up. If you pay for city or community water, by the gallon, it could be possible to use up to 35% less water by making some fairly simple changes in your home. If we all are using less water or any resources, it just makes sense because we can see potential savings. Until next time.

What Does GREEN Mean to You?

WHAT DOES GREEN MEAN TO YOU? When I was growing up in the 70’s & 80’s(we will leave the dates in a range to protect my age,LOL), “GREEN” was simply a color and nothing more. We used the term to describe grass, trees or our favorite color. Then we started seeing the ,ever famous, green recycling logo. NOW, everyone has a different thought when they here the word “GREEN”.  Every day Americans are told to live “GREEN” without a clear path or reason to do so. HOW ABOUT TO SAVE $$! Are you aware that simply changing your incandescent light bulbs to “CFL’s” homeowners could save you $297 per year. Incandescent bulbs cost $400 per year to operate compared to $100 per year for “CFL’s” and only $20 per year with LED bulbs. This calculation is based on the cost of replacing bulbs and savings over the life span of the bulb. Ahh! What is the life span of these bulb? I think we all know the incandescents burn out at least once per year, “CFL” bulbs last on average 5 years and it could be possible to never change an “LED” bulb. Unfortunately, the cost of LED bulbs is still a bit high for most to make the transition. Lighting and other appliances consist of approximately 26% of your electric bill. Take the first step to “Going GREEN”, but most importantly, “Save Some $$MONEY$$!” No matter how you feel about the “GREEN” movement, if we can all do little things to help use less energy, less water(water will be discussed in my upcoming blog post) and less garbage in landfills we are helping the Earth and future generations learn to live a different way of life.  Thats what “GREEN” means to me! Please share what “GREEN” means to you.

“Love People & Use Things – Not, Love Things & Use People” Author Unknown

State of Florida & Ocala March Update on Existing Home & Condo Sales


Across the state of Florida existing home and condo sales rose in the month of March. Sales on homes increased 12% last month with a total of 18,522 homes sold statewide compared to March 2010 sales of 16,540 according to housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Statewide sales of condos last month rose a whooping 24% compared to last year at this same time.

THATS THE GOOD NEWS!! How about sales price & values?

Florida’s median(means 1/2 sold for more & 1/2 sold for less) sales has decreased 7% from the same time last year with existing homes at $126,300: March median sales price in 2010 was $136,000. The National Association of Realtors® notes that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to pull sales prices down and distort the median price because they sell at discounted prices compared to traditional homes.


According to NAR, median home sales for existing single-family homes in Feb. 2011 was $157,000, down 4.2% from a year ago. California median sales was $271,320, Massachusetts was $270,000, New York was $245,000 and Maryland was $208,258.  NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says,” Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by unnecessarily tight credit.” NAR also believes a strengthening economy will continue to bolster the housing sector.


According to OMCAR 2011 Monthly Sales Trend Indicator for the Ocala Market area, our sales have increased 9% with a total of 373 existing residential home sales for the month of March compared to 342 in the same month for prior 2010. Homes priced between $1-50k comprised of 24% of the sales with the next closest at %13.67, being homes priced between $70-80k. CASH IS KING, right now and YTD(Year to Date) totals accounts for 60% of all sales with conventional sales around 20% and FHA at 10%. Condo sales for the month of March increased 43% from the same time last year, but sales are still very slow with ONLY 10 March sales in 2011 and  7 in 2010. Looking at current 2011 YTD sales from Jan.-March sales compared to same time frame in 2010 sales have increased 76%.

MY THOUGHTS? (Which will not buy you a cup of coffee! LOL!)

Interest rates have remained at all time lows and homes prices are at approximately 2001-2002 values. What does this mean for home buyers? Monthly payments in many cases can be lower than the cost to rent. Also, there are many great programs available to help home buyers including the SHIP, NSP & Rural Development Programs. We are still seeing prices on the decline, but the numbers show the gap is closing. Last year we may have seen a downward adjustment of 1% for each month on the value of a property and this year maybe 1/2% is more in line. Either way it is a great time to buy and start building for your future. Americans need to think of their homes as a place for security, stability and neighborhood friendships! What does this mean for sellers? There are always challenges in a changing market and offering something special or unique may be the key. Are you in a position to offer seller financing or paying some of the buyers closing cost? If you are thinking of selling or simply would like to know the current value of your property, please contact me for a “FREE Comparable Market Analysis.”

Thank you so very much for taking your time to read my blog. Please let others know and share my thoughts. Information is power! I want to provide you with the real estate information you need to be informed.

Welcome to Duke’s New Website & Blog

Subscribe Today & Receive Your “FREE Home Market Analysis”

WOW, what a process to revamp and create a new website. PC House Productions handled the design and creation of my new logo and website, but the time it takes to create new content, input all of my properties and add all of the features is very time consuming. Oh well, enough about my trails and tribulations with the new site.

Why did I create a new website and, more importantly, start blogging? Simple, to better inform and connect with my customers, friends and family. It is my goal too provide a fun and informative place to find information about anything and everything the Ocala/Marion County area has to offer. I know, I know, this seems like a lofty goal, but I can only accomplish it with “your” help. Please subscribe to my blog, today, and tell me what information you would like reported. How about local market updates, subdivision information, community events, building and zoning issues, or maybe you want to know about local events and happenings? Sign up today and receive a “FREE Market Analysis” on your home.