Home > Blogs > Olga Monson's Blog
16,105 views

Olga Monson's Blog

By Olga Monson | Agent in Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Study suggests 1 in 10 renters wants to buy in 2014

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Lauderdale  |  March 13, 2014 2:33 PM  |  327 views  |  No comments
     If a Zillow survey crunched its numbers correctly, the real estate market will see a big upswing in buyer demand over the next year.

    According to the inaugural edition of the Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI), more than 5 percent of all residents in 19 of the 20 large U.S. metro areas want to buy a home in the next year. When the survey focused on just current renters, the number rises to one in 10 (10 percent) hoping to buy a home in the next 12 months.

    However, existing headwinds, including tight inventory, rising mortgage interest rates and growing affordability problems in a handful of areas, may make it difficult for many potential buyers to follow through. Still, the majority of respondents were “confident” or “somewhat confident” they could afford homeownership now.

    If all renters hoping to buy jumped into the market, it would represent close to 4.2 million first-time home sales – more than double the roughly 2.1 million first-time homebuyers in 2013.

    A lack of home inventory may halt some buyers’ aspirations, however. While inventory is up 11.1 percent nationally compared to a year ago, it’s still well below optimal levels. Recent Census Bureau data indicates that the share of new homes built as rental units has grown, while the share of new construction dedicated to single-family homes is down. Mortgage interest rates also continue to rise.

    “Even after a wrenching housing recession, this data shows that the dream of homeownership remains very much alive and well, even in those areas that were hardest hit,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “But these aspirations must also contend with the current reality, and in many areas, conditions remain difficult for buyers. The market is moving toward more balance between buyers and sellers, but it is a slow and uneven process.”

    Pulsenomics created the Zillow Housing Confidence Index. Measured on a 0 to 100 scale, readings above 50 indicating positive sentiment. The overall ZHCI for the U.S. stood at 63.7 at the start of the year. Of the 20 metro areas surveyed, 11 had individual confidence levels higher than the U.S. as a whole. The overall U.S. ZHAI among all households, which measures consumers’ plans to buy and their attitudes toward the social value of homeownership, stood at 62.4.

    “While it is reassuring to see all of the headline ZHCIs in positive territory, the underlying indicators … reveal significant variability,” says Pulsenomics Founder Terry Loebs. “Several of these drivers of overall housing confidence registered negative or only marginally positive readings in some cities. These data confirm that real estate recovery and economic healing are relative, local phenomena …”

    ​Olga Monson I LUXURY Market Specialist at Decorus Realty
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Direct: 954-512-3044 I Web: www.olgamonson.com
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't Just Dream It, Live it! Your Real Estate Search Starts here


  • Unruly homeowner interrupts board meetings. Can anything be done?

    Posted Under: Property Q&A in Fort Lauderdale  |  December 10, 2013 12:40 PM  |  415 views  |  1 comment
    This is a fairly common problem for many associations. I’ll recommend several possible fixes, ranging from easy and free to difficult and expensive.

    Try to have a board member speak to the homeowner and explain that she’s being disruptive. While it may seem obvious to you, she may think she’s being helpful and not realize her behavior is driving people away. If that doesn’t work, have the association’s attorney or manager let her know she is interrupting the meetings and needs to behave appropriately.

    If that still does not change things, consider having a police officer attend the meeting. An officer’s presence often mellows people. Check to see if your city will send an officer to give a community report at the association meeting. If not, pay an off-duty officer to attend.

    If nothing else works, the board can take her to court and try to get a restraining order. The owner’s behavior must really be bad for a judge to grant this, and it can be expensive, so I recommend this only as a last resort.

    Olga Monson  

    Decorus Realty 

    Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

    http://www.OlgaMonson.com

    http://www.OlgaMonson.ru

  • Real estate: Should you rent or buy in 2014?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Lauderdale, Investment Properties in Fort Lauderdale  |  December 5, 2013 1:32 PM  |  402 views  |  2 comments

     As 2013 draws to a close, it’s fairly clear that the real estate market has gained strength: home sales are up, prices have firmed, foreclosures are down and mortgage rates remain close to record lows.

    Figures from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) show that September home values on average were 11.7 percent higher than a year earlier, the 10th consecutive month of double-digit, year-over-year, increases. NAR also reports that in the third quarter home prices increased in 144 out of 163 metropolitan statistical areas. Fifty-four areas had double-digit increases, and only 19 had price declines.

    “What we have seen during the past year are signs of a broad national recovery,” says Ray Brousseau, executive vice president with Carrington Mortgage Services. “Pent-up demand and a growing population are two factors that have contributed to generally increased home prices.”

    Interest rates
    Interest rates also make ownership more attractive. According to Standard & Poors, the 30-year mortgage averaged 6.1 percent between 2002 and 2007. Over the longer term (the last 40 years), the historic average has been 8.6 percent.

    In comparison, mortgage rates were near 4.25 percent in October 2013.

    Lower rates over the past few years substantially impact affordability. For example, a $175,000 mortgage with an 8.6 percent interest rate has a monthly cost for principal and interest of $1,358 over 30 years. The same loan with a 4.5 percent interest rate has a monthly expense of $861. Though mortgage rates have increased modestly since June this year, rates remain low by historical standards.

    Housing costs

    While home prices have risen over the past year, they have haven’t reached the peaks seen in 2007. From August 2012 to August 2013, house prices rose 8.5 percent; however, home prices were still 9.4 percent below their April 2007 peak, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

    Rental costs

    While buying has become more attractive in recent years, rental costs have risen.

    Census Bureau data shows that the third-quarter vacancy rate was 8.3 percent – down from 11.1 percent in 2009. With fewer vacancies, rental rates are rising, and, at the same time, rental options have become more limited.

    When rental units are inexpensive and easily available, leasing can be an attractive choice. But as more people compete for rental units, rates tend to go up.

    Home appreciation

    When the value of real estate goes up, owners benefit from higher prices and increased equity. Tenants, on the other hand, have no ownership interest in the units they occupy. If values go up, it’s good news for their landlords.

    “We don’t know that the value of residential real estate will always appreciate,” said Brousseau, “But we do know that when home prices rise, the benefit goes to owners. We also know that only owners have the ability to reduce mortgage debt through amortization, the gradual reduction of mortgage principal over time. This means that over the long run, it becomes possible to own a home without any underlying debt. Homeownership, in turn, can be a way to save and has been an important source of household wealth for many generations.”

    Best regards,
    Olga Monson  

    Decorus Realty 

    Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

    http://www.OlgaMonson.com

    http://www.OlgaMonson.ru
  • Negotiating the sale price

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Lauderdale  |  November 17, 2013 4:38 PM  |  197 views  |  1 comment
    Whether you're a buyer or a seller you want to succeed in the realty marketplace. That's natural and reasonable, but what are the steps you need to triumph?
    Negotiation is a complex matter and all transactions are unique. Both sides—buyer and seller—want to feel that the outcome favors them, or at least represents a fair balance of interests. In the usual case there is a bit of bluff, some give-and-take, and neither party gets everything they want.
    So how do you develop a strong bargaining position, one which will help you get the most from a transaction? Experience shows there are five basic keys which will determine who wins at the negotiating table.
    1. What does the market say?
    At various times we're in a "buyers" market, a "sellers" market, or a market where housing supply and demand are roughly equal. If possible, you want to be in the market at a time when it favors your position as a buyer or seller.
    Because all properties are unique—it is possible to buck general trends and have more leverage than the marketplace would seem to allow. For instance, if you have a property in a desirable neighborhood with few sales, you may be able to get a better deal than elsewhere. Or, if you're a buyer who can quickly close, that might be an important negotiating chip when dealing with an owner who just got a new job 500 miles away.
    2. Who has leverage?
    If you're on the front page of the local paper because your business went bust—and the buyer knows it—you have little clout in the bargaining process. Alternatively, if you're among six buyers clamoring for that one special property, forget about dictating an agreement—the owner can sit back and pick the offer which represents the highest price and best terms.
    3. What are the details?
    A lot of attention in real estate is paid to transaction prices. This surely makes sense, but the key to a good deal may be more complex.
    Consider two identical properties that each sell on the same day for $275,000. The houses are the same, the sale prices are the same, but are the deals the same? Maybe not. For instance, one owner may have agreed to paint the property, replace the roof, purchase a new kitchen refrigerator, and pay the first $3,000 of the buyer's closing costs. The second owner made no concessions.

    In this example, the first house was actually sold at discount—the $275,000 purchase price less the value of the roof repairs, closing credit, and other items. If you're a buyer, this is the deal you want. If you're a seller, you would prefer to be the second owner and give up nothing.
    4. What about financing?
    Real estate transactions involve a trade—houses for money. We know the house is there, but what about financing? There are several factors that impact the money issue:
    • Has the buyer been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender? Meeting with a lender before looking at homes does not usually guarantee that financing is absolutely, unquestionably available—a loan application can be declined because of appraisal problems, title issues, survey findings, and other reasons.
      But, buyers who are "pre-qualified" or "pre-approved" (these terms do not have a standard meaning around the country) at least have some idea of their ability to finance a home and know that they are likely to qualify for certain loan programs.
      The result is that pre-qualified buyers represent less risk to owners than a purchaser who has never met with a lender. If the seller accepts an offer from a buyer with unknown financial strength, it's possible that the transaction could fail because the buyer can't get a loan. Meanwhile, the owner may have lost the opportunity to sell to a qualified buyer.
    • The lower the interest rate, the larger the pool of potential buyers. More buyers equal more potential demand, good news for sellers.
      Alternatively, high rates or even rising rates may drive buyers from the marketplace—and that's not good for anyone.
    • It used to be that downpayments were a major financing hurdle—but not anymore. For those with good credit, loans with 5 percent down or less are now widely available. In fact, 100 percent financing, mortgages with nothing down, are now being made by conventional lenders. Reduced downpayment requirements are good for both buyers and sellers.
    • 5. Who has expertise?
      Imagine you're in a fight. The other guy has black belts in 12 martial arts—and you don't. Who's going to win?
      Brokers have long represented sellers, and now buyer brokerage is entirely common. In a transaction where one side has representation and the other does not, who has the advantage at the bargaining table?

      Best regards, 
      Olga Monson  

      Decorus Realty 

      Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

      http://www.OlgaMonson.com

      http://www.OlgaMonson.ru


  • What are the real reasons for certain association rules?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Lauderdale, Home Ownership in Fort Lauderdale  |  November 14, 2013 2:28 PM  |  251 views  |  No comments

    My husband returned from a recent meeting at a condominium and told me that he was required by a condominium employee to go back and re-park his car “head-in” to the guest parking spot he was occupying. When my better half inquired why parking head-in was preferable to head out, the guard told him “I don’t make the rules, I only enforce them.”

    Since it is easier for most people to pull out into traffic when leaving as opposed to backing out into traffic, we were unable to come up with a reason for this particular rule. When confronted with certain rules that, on their surface make no sense, many people want an explanation and, if given a reasonable one, will gladly comply.

    Hopefully, there are perfectly logical reasons for the majority of rules that associations promulgate and enforce. I often wonder if it wouldn’t be best for a board or manager to list what those reasons are so people can have an “Aha” moment. Let’s look at the most typical association rules and try to divine the reasonable goals that are being sought.


     

    Best regards,
    Olga Monson  

    Decorus Realty 

    Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

    http://www.OlgaMonson.com

    http://www.OlgaMonson.ru

  • Miami Closing Costs

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Lauderdale  |  October 31, 2013 1:28 PM  |  180 views  |  No comments

    What closing costs can you expect to pay when purchasing a home in Miami? Let’s take a look at each of the components:

  • Documentary Stamps (Doc Stamps) on the Deed: Despite their innocent sounding name, doc stamps are one of the most expensive closing costs you’ll encounter. They are assessed at the time of recording your transfer of deed and are $0.60 per $100 of the home price. Note that this rate is for Miami-Dade county only. All other Florida counties charge a rate of $0.70 per $100.
  • Documentary Stamps (Doc Stamps) on the Mortgage: You’ll also need to pay doc stamps to record the mortgage on your home. Mortgage doc stamps run $0.35 per $100 of the amount of money borrowed.
  • Intangible Tax on the Mortgage: Your county will also assess you a $0.20 per $100 intangible tax on the amount borrowed through your mortgage
  • Recording Fees: The county assessor will charge you for each page of documents you record as part of your home purchase at the rate of $10 for the first page and $8.50 for each additional page. Expect to file between 10-15 pages as part of a home purchase.
  • Title Insurance: Title insurance protects you against errors in the title process that may jeopardize your ownership rights in the future. Title insurance in Florida functions on a tiered rate structure based upon the purchase price of your home. Rates are assessed per $1,000 of your home’s value according to the following schedule:
  • All other closing costs (such as service fees, inspection fees, and administrative fees) are discretionary and may be negotiated with your lender.

    Example

    Let’s assume you’re purchasing a $200,000 home in Miami-Dade County with a $180,000 mortgage. Your total closing costs would be $3,504, with the following components: Those are the basic components of Miami closing costs.

    Olga Monson  

    Decorus Realty 

    Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

    http://www.OlgaMonson.com

    http://www.OlgaMonson.ru



     
  • Mortgage Debt Relief Act Expires December 2013

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Fort Lauderdale  |  October 24, 2013 10:52 AM  |  238 views  |  No comments
    The Act that was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012, was extended in the American Taxpayer Relief Act until December 31, 2013.

    If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.

    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.

    This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2013. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion does not apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.

    This relief  benefited homeowners who received mortgage debt forgiveness as a result of a reduction in principal, foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Under the United States Federal Tax Code, any debt that is forgiven, including mortgage debt, is treated as income and, therefore, subject to income tax. As the expiration date drew near, homeowners rushed to complete short sales before the end of the year to avoid tax on the difference between their mortgage debt and the sale price. For many, this tax would have been thousands of dollars. By extending the Act, homeowners will not have to pay income tax on mortgage debt forgiven up to two million dollars. Please check with your tax professional for all applicable scenarios as not all mortgage debt is subject to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.

    This extension is especially important to underwater homeowners, who owe more for their home than it is worth. Short sales have enabled them to avoid foreclosure; however, already struggling homeowners with no equity in their homes would have faced significant difficulties paying income tax on their forgiven debt. Homeowners who are able to avoid foreclosure by receiving a loan modification that includes a principal reduction will also benefit.

    The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 also extends the exclusion of capital gains tax on principal residences. Single homeowners will be able to exclude up to $250,000 when they sell their home, while married couples will receive a $500,000 exclusion.

    While there has been some decrease in foreclosures and home values are slowly rising, the crisis is far from over. Therefore, supporters are already advocating to extend the Act beyond 2013 in order to avoid another urgent attempt to protect homeowners and help stabilize the housing market. But if you are planning to short sale your property, yo umay save by doing it before the end of the year.

    Best regards,
    Olga Monson

    Decorus Realty

    Direct Cellular:(954) 512 3044

    http://www.OlgaMonson.com

    http://www.OlgaMonson.ru

     

  • « Read older posts
     
    RSS
    Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
    Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer