Friday, July 06, 2012

Sunny in northeast Florida: More signs of a housing rebound

Sunny in northeast Florida: More signs of a housing rebound
Residential real estate markets continued to recover in northeast Florida, according to a recent poll conducted by the Atlanta Fed. In late June, staff from our Jacksonville Branch along with the Bank's Center for Real Estate Analytics met with nearly 250 real estate professionals at the Florida Realtors conference in St. Augustine, Florida. Conference participants hailed from the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Flagler, Gainesville, Lake City, and Amelia Island areas, and most were residential real estate professionals. We asked a series of questions to ascertain the state of the residential real estate markets in northeast Florida. Their responses showed that conditions continued to improve.
For example, a significant majority reported that June home sales exceeded the year-earlier level.

In addition, the sales outlook for the remainder of the year was positive as most expected modest gains on a year-over-year basis.

Importantly, most participants agreed that home prices have bottomed or begun to recover.

And the majority of respondents anticipate modest home price growth during the second half of 2012 compared with a year earlier.

While these responses represent only a segment of the regional housing market, we read the results as further indication that the hard-hit residential real estate markets are making progress toward recovery.

By Jessica Dill & Whitney Mancuso, senior economic analysts in the Atlanta Fed's research department

Thursday, July 05, 2012

‘Dead’ listings get new life The big drop in inventories of homes for-sale helps once-expired listings finally get sold. Many sellers find that relisting their properties now affords more luck now than a few months ago, real estate professionals report. Now may be the right time to sell...  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Economists more upbeat about job growth, housing

Economists more upbeat about job growth, housing. News Link Here.

Florida Economic Outlook: May 2012. Economics Group - Wells Fargo.
Full Report Here: 

Local Housing Market Update for Columbia County - April 2012
Download PDF info here

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time Management in a Nutshell - Being more

My Brother who is a successful Short Sale Negotiator and Realtor ran across these, and we both think they are really good tips. By the way, we both work together on real estate & short sales.

Time Management in a Nutshell 

Be prepared to make drastic changes. Be creative to find and introduce
different ways of doing things. Assess what efforts and activities are most
productive, and which are not.

Manage your emails and phone calls - don't let them manage you. Ideally
check at planned times, and avoid continuous notification of incoming emails.

Really think about how you currently spend your time. If you don't know,
keep a time log for a few days to find out. Knowing exactly what's wrong is
the first step to improving it.

Challenge anything that could be wasting time and effort, particularly habitual
tasks, meetings and reports where responsibility is inherited or handed down
from above. Don't be a slave to a daft process or system.

Plan preparation and creative thinking time in your diary for the long-term
jobs, because they need it. The short-term urgent tasks will always use up all
your time unless you plan to spend it otherwise.

You must plan time slots for unplanned activities - you may not know exactly
what you'll need to do, but if you plan the time to do it, then other important
things will not get pushed out of the way when the demand arises.

Use the 'urgent-important' system of assessing activities and deciding
priorities. Important is more important than Urgent.

When you're faced with a pile of things to do, go through them quickly and
make a list of what needs doing and when. After this handle each piece of
paper only once. Do not under any circumstances pick up a job, do a bit of it,
then put it back on the pile.

Do not start lots of jobs at the same time - even if you can handle different
tasks at the same time it's not the most efficient way of dealing with them, so
don't kid yourself that this sort of multi-tasking is good - it's not.

For all your real estate sales, home short sale selling needs contact Chad Stewart - Rockford Realty Group. Realtor & licensed mortgage broker - short sale consultant.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Foreclosure VS Short Sale

This is general information & concepts. I suggest talking with an attorney or tax professional....
Short sales can be very complex...  Often borrowers tell the Bank to “just foreclose” either as an act of desparation or as a negotiation tactic, but in reality, Short sale agreement is a much better way to go, and come careful planning & consulting by Realtors, Attorneys, and Tax professionals can get you into a much better position in the long run. 

There will come a point where it will be well worth accepting a Short Sale on the 1st mortgage and a settlement or small payoff plan on the 2nd mortgage…. Here is why…

Short Sale
First Mortgage often forgives substantial amount in writing , IRS tax free per current short sale laws.
Offers from 2nd mortgage are often in the form of cash settlement or as a payment plan option in writing, and IRS tax free as well.

2nd mortgage rights to the property are “wiped away”, but they usually retain rights to a deficiency judgment.
1st mortgage, especially in down markets have filing for a motion for deficiency after the foreclosure sale, this often results in a certified court judgment for the deficiency, in many cases this can be hundreds of thousands of dollars (not cool)

 In reality, Short sale agreement is a much better way to go. Massive settlement on the first mortgage gets done, and you can continue to work in the 2nd mortgage, or often even the 2nd mortgage is settled at closing.

Again, these are general concepts & information. Every lender can be different, Every investor can be different, and I reccommend contacting qualified professionals to assist you with your real estate Short Sale.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation - Short Sales

There are alot of Questions regarding Short Sales & the IRS taxes afterwards...

Regarding the IRS taxes, right now there is an Act called Mortgage forgiveness and debt relief act..
The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.

From this link…

·       HomeOwners:
 Qualified principal residence indebtedness: This is the exception created by the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 and applies to most homeowners.


·         Insolvency: If you are insolvent when the debt is cancelled, some or all of the cancelled debt may not be taxable to you. You are insolvent when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets.

I would recommend checking with your accountant on this regarding the Insolvency category, and if it would apply. .

If not, you also may be able to take a Capital Loss that would usually cover the short sale “Income”.. See info here

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Westfield Realty and Burbach Realty Have Merged!


Westfield Realty and Burbach Realty Have Merged!
Familiar Faces, New Name.

Lake City, FL – February 10, 2012 - Westfield Realty Group and Burbach Realty Services have officially joined forces to form Rockford Realty Group. This merger brings together two successful companies that have continuously ranked well in their regional market, allowing them to compete more effectively in today’s challenging Real Estate market.

The merger was officially announced by Broker, Charlie Sparks, on December 1, 2011. On the company merger, Charlie says, “We will continue to work hard to earn your business, and we would like to personally thank you for your continued support.”

With 125 years of combined Real Estate experience, Rockford Realty Group is confident that they will live up to their slogan “Exceeding Expectations”. With both companies working together, it is sure to bring a fresh perspective on training, technology and marketing.

Although Westfield Realty and Burbach Realty have had separate histories, they both have always shared the same objective: to ensure absolute customer satisfaction. As Rockford Realty Group, the agents remain dedicated to that objective.

Existing sales, service, and support contacts remain unchanged so that the public may continue to use the same communication channels as before. The company merger will be a smooth process with no disruption to customer service.
Chad Stewart has been a Broker or Associate with both companies and is excited to continue working for his customers at Rockford Realty Group

Chad Stewart can be contacted at 386-487-1463 or

Neighborhood Stabilization Program - Columbia County FL

Lake City Board of Realtors:

Columbia County has been awarded Round 3 of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grant.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3) was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures, short sales, and abandonment. Through the purchase and redevelopment of these properties, the goal of the program is being realized. Columbia County is preparing to begin the NSP3 program. Legislation was passed which provides grants to all states and selected local governments on a formula basis. Columbia County received $1,029,844.00 and is implementing two strategies for the use of NSP3 funds, these include property acquisition and rehabilitation for resale to income eligible home buyers and for acquisition and rehabilitation to provide and support the need for affordable rental housing stock and special needs housing supported by non-profit organizations

Please see the Columbia County Website for details. 

Tommy Matthews, Projects Superintendent
Columbia County Board of Commissioners

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Property Tax Collections to Start Downward Trend - US Business News - CNBC

Friday, February 03, 2012

What happens when you have to walk away from your home?

If you are living in a underwater mortgaged home, it can be a huge and very tough decision to walk away form your home. Each person must make a decision that works for them morally and financially, but also each person must face reality with a bold & realistic attitude as well. Alternatives to a short sale is a home loan modification as well, but those are many times unsuccessful. Weigh your options carefully & don't make the decision too hastily either. Keep in mind that sometimes the best decisions are not the easiest decisions.

Check out this article from Reuters - Yahoo Finance.

  • Pros: Settle Debt, Move on with your life, Tax Free on the "income" you received thru the debt settlement at the moment,
  • Cons: 85-160 hit on your credit rating, Embarrassing, Higher interest rates when you borrow again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

To Buy or to Sell a House in the Lake City, FL Real Estate Market

If you are interesting in selling your property, now would be a good time to put it on the market. We have noticed a measurable increase in the number of buyers, prospects, and overall market activity right now in the Lake City, FL area.

With approximately a 12 month supply of residential homes for sale in the Lake City, FL area, prices are still low & will most likely remain stable for this year. However, because of the drastic drop in home values over the past few years, if you are waiting to see the market come back before you sell, it could be a very very long time.

Perhaps a better plan to consider would be to sell your home now, and buy your next home while price are low. You will loose some, but you will more than gain in the buying power of your money right now on the purchase whether upgrading or downsizing.

Also a option is to sell it as a short sale if you are underwater regarding the equity in your home. This will get you out of a high monthly obligation, most likely settle your debt, and free up your monthly resources. Even though your credit will be hit, if you rent for a year or two, and get back into something at today's prices, you would mostly likely be in a much better financial situation in a few years.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Florida is ranked #5 out of 50! Great for Business

Fla. No. 5 nationally as ‘best for business’
WASHINGTON – Jan. 26, 2012 – Wyoming, Florida and Texas rank among the 10 best states for taxes on business, while companies in states like New York, New Jersey and California have a far less pleasant tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, now in its 8th edition.

The Tax Foundation says it looks at dozens of state tax provisions to create the ranking –a single easy-to-use score that measures each state’s tax climate against every other state. While some similar studies focus on residents’ tax burden they pay each year, the Index focuses on how a tax system enhances or harms a state’s businesses.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NAR affordability index in the south is now over 200.

In other words the median income is double what it needs to be to buy the median price home

In the early 80’ the index was about 68 which meant the median I income was a little more than half of what was needed to buy the median price house.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Short Sale Market Update in Lake City, FL

"Seems to be right on with my expectation for the market.  Lots of sales, but more soft prices and shorts until we clear up the current economic situation that many home sellers got themselves into.  Massive over-leveraged debt is no longer in fashion, and that sentiment extends even to the big banks.  The federal government doesn’t seem to interested in austerity, but capitalistic corporations see the need to right-size before they capsize. 

Some short sale trends I expect to see:
-We will start to see the major lenders and even some of the smaller lenders start to waive or reduce deficiencies, even on secondary homes and investment properties.
-For properties in markets that are still predicted to drop, we will see more lender incentives (cash to seller, simpler review processes, etc) to get shorts done.
-Modifications will really take a back seat lenders rush to de-leverage. 
-The people that have gotten used to not making a payment for 2 years will suddenly find time has run out, and in these cases of severe delinquency, it will be almost impossible to modify, and may be almost as hard to short sale, as the banks will mandate their foreclosure attorneys to clear out bad assets as quickly as possible.
-2012 may be a bloodbath for the lenders, but it will bring much needed liquidity to the market, and will be a haven for Buyers, and hard working Realtors."

Credit to:
Rob Stewart,
Short Sale Specialist,
Rockford Realty Group

Now is the time to Short Sale. Tax Advantages Could End Soon.

You may owe federal income taxes in 2013 if you have a short sale, foreclosure
WASHINGTON – Jan. 9, 2012 – You may owe federal income taxes in 2013 if you have a short sale, foreclosure after this year. Now is the time to make the hard decision: Are you going to walk away from your underwater home?

Uncle Sam is still giving homeowners until Dec. 31, 2012, to go through a short sale or foreclosure without tax consequences – as long as the lender officially releases the debt.

But on Jan. 1, 2013, the rules change: The amount a lender forgives, ether in a short sale or foreclosure, on a primary residence will be taxable on federal income taxes.