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By Tracy Hoyt | Agent in Valrico, FL
  • Which Home Loan is right for a HERO?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa, Military Movers in Tampa  |  November 17, 2013 9:56 AM  |  242 views  |  3 comments

    When comparing home loans, two factors to consider are the type of loan and the terms of the loan.

    Use the following information to help you choose the appropriate loan for your lifestyle and financial situation.

    Which Loan Meets Your Needs?

    The three types of common home loans are Veterans Administration, Federal Housing Administration and conventional. VA and FHA loans are government-backed: If the buyer defaults on the loan, the government ensures full payment to the lender. Conventional loans generally include any loan that is not VA or FHA and aren't insured by the government. In this chart, Montanaro provides descriptions of common home loans, buyers they are suited for and their pros and cons.

    TypeDescriptionBest forProsCons
    VAGovernment-insured home loans for veterans, active-duty military personnel or eligible spouses. Loans can go up to $417,000 with 100% financing or even exceed that amount, depending on where the property is located.Buyers may even meet requirements for other types of home loans. VA loans are an attractive military benefit.Zero-down, 100% financing for those who qualify; mortgages may be assumed by other military buyers; no monthly mortgage insurance premium required; closing costs limited.Nonexempt veterans are required to pay a funding fee to the VA to use their VA home loan entitlement. Financing the funding fee into your home loan could mean that you owe more than the value of your purchase.
    FHAGovernment-insured home loans that offer a low down payment.Borrowers who are making a down payment of less than 5%.Down payments as low as 3.5%. Allows you to buy a home, repair or restore, and include all the costs in one loan.Limits on amount loaned; monthly insurance premium usually required in addition to a mortgage insurance premium, paid around the time the loan closes.
    ConventionalHome loans that are not VA or FHA, including fixed- and adjustable-rate loans, and jumbo loans (loans greater than $417,000, or more in some high-cost areas).Homebuyers who have a lower debt-to-income ratio and a good credit score; want to borrow more than FHA allows; plan a down payment of 5% or more.Flexible loan terms with fixed-rate or adjustable-rate options.Most require a monthly mortgage insurance premium unless the down payment exceeds 20%.

    Sources: usaa.com. USA.gov, makinghomeaffordable.gov, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Federal Reserve

    Military homebuyers should take into account the unique circumstances of serving when choosing a loan. These include their anticipated length of time in the home, which could be considerably less than civilian homebuyers, who often remain in a house 10 or more years.

    However, Montanaro advises all buyers — military and otherwise — to think long term. And that includes choosing the best terms for whatever type of loan fits your situation

    Which Loan Terms Make Sense?

    Two factors make up the terms of a loan: the interest rate and number of years you'll have to pay off the loan. Each category of loan —  VA , FHA and conventional — offers either a fixed rate of interest or an adjustable rate. The life of the loan is usually 15, 20 or 30 years. In this chart, Montanaro provides descriptions of loan rates, buyers they are suited for and their pros and cons.

    Loan TermDescriptionBest forProsCons
    Fixed rateRepayment terms of 15, 20 or 30 years; the interest rate and monthly payment stay the same for the life of the loan.Buyers who want a fixed monthly payment for the life of the loan. (Mortgage payments can fluctuate somewhat as escrow taxes and insurance costs are adjusted annually.)Little or no change in the monthly payment amount.Initially, a potentially higher interest rate as compared to an adjustable rate; you must refinance to take advantage of lower interest rates.
    Adjustable rateAlso known as variable-rate loans. Interest rates change based on market conditions after a fixed period has ended; typically, the loans have one-, three-, five- or 10-year terms before the rates adjust.Buyers who plan to live in the home short-term or pay off the mortgage before the fixed period ends.Interest rates usually lower initially than fixed rates; low rates can provide excellent savings early on; usually maximum and minimum interest rates are set.Once the fixed period ends, you're exposed to fluctuating market conditions, which may result in higher monthly payments.

    Sources: usaa.com. USA.gov, makinghomeaffordable.gov, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Federal Reserve

    In today's low interest-rate environment, adjustable-rate loans aren't as enticing as they once were, Montanaro says.

    "Adjustable-rate loans usually make sense when there's a possibility that rates will decline," he explains. "However, fixed-loan rates remain low right now. That rate stability over the long haul makes them attractive for many buyers."

    "Even if you plan to move, you may end up owning the home longer than you expect," he adds. "If you're considering an adjustable-rate loan, you should definitely understand your interest rate adjustments and caps and ask yourself if you can handle the loan even in a worst-case scenario."

    If I can answer more questions on loan types or help you in the sell or purchase of a home, please contact Tracy Hoyt at (813)352-6219 or TracyHoytRealtor@gmail.com

  • What is a VA-Guaranteed Loan?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa, Military Movers in Tampa  |  November 16, 2013 5:25 AM  |  236 views  |  No comments


    A VA-guaranteed loan can be used to:

    ï‚· buy a home, either existing or pre-construction, as a primary residence

    ï‚· refinance an existing loan


    ï‚· Equal opportunity for all qualified Veterans to obtain a VA loan

    ï‚· Reusable

    ï‚· No downpayment (unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property)

    ï‚· No mortgage insurance

    ï‚· One time VA funding fee that can be included in the loan

    ï‚· Veterans receiving VA disability compensation are exempt from the VA funding fee

    ï‚· VA limits certain closing costs a Veteran can pay

    ï‚· Can be assumed by qualified persons

    ï‚· Minimum property requirements to ensure the property is safe, sanitary, and sound

    ï‚· VA staff dedicated to assisting Veterans who become delinquent on their loan


    Generally, the following people are eligible:

    ï‚· Veterans who meet length of service requirements

    ï‚· Servicemembers on active duty who have served a minimum period

    ï‚· Certain Reservists and National Guard members

    ï‚· Certain surviving spouses of deceased Veterans

    Note: There are other groups of individuals who may be eligible. To determine your eligibility, check eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov, or contact VA Eligibility Center at 1-888-768-2132.

    Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non‐taxable compensation, enrollment in the VA health care system, a 10‐oint hiring preference for federal employment and other important benefits. Ask your VA representative or Veterans Service Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors’ Benefits

    If you are considering a VA Loan and have questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I can be reached at TracyHoytRealtor@gmail.com or call me directly at (813) 352-6219. I have helped many clients with their VA Loan and have used the VA Loan myself.  No matter where you roam, I can help find you a home. GO ARMY!
  • The home bidding wars are back!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Tampa, Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa  |  April 4, 2013 7:13 PM  |  351 views  |  No comments
    This is so true.  My business has been wonderful and the offers are pouring in. How has your area been rebounding?

    The home bidding wars are back!

    By Les Christie @CNNMoneyApril 4, 2013: 10:35 AM ET

    The competition has been most intense in California, where 9 out of 10 homes sold in San Francisco, Sacramento and cities in Southern California have been drawing competing bids.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

    The bidding wars are back. Seemingly overnight, many of the nation's major housing markets have gone from stagnant to sizzling, with for-sale listings drawing offers from a large number of house hunters.

    In March, 75% of agents with broker Redfin said their clients' offers were countered by rival bids, up from 56% who said so in late 2011.

    The competition has been most intense in California, where 9 out of 10 homes sold in San Francisco, Sacramento and cities in Southern California drew competing bids during the month. And at least two-third of listings in Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle and New York generated bidding wars.

    "The only question is not whether a new listing will get multiple bids but how many it will get," said Kris Vogt, who manages 14 Coldwell Banker offices in the Sacramento area. One home in an Elk Grove, Calif., subdivision recently received 62 separate bids. The final sale price was for more than $150,000, well above its $129,000 asking price.

    In Cambridge, Mass., two condos that could be combined into one large home hit the market two weeks ago for $800,000 each, according to Pat Villani, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England.

    "The brokers stopped taking names after the number of bidders reached 250," she said. The winning bidder offered $2 million for both units.

    Related: Five best markets to buy a home

    Homebuyers eager to purchase before home prices and mortgage rates rise are finding few homes for sale as sellers hold out for better deals, said Glenn Kelman, Redfin's CEO.

    Many homeowners are still underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and they want to wait until selling becomes profitable again. By doing so, they can avoid short sales, which carry big hits on credit scores, 85 to 160 points, according to FICO.

    "Many people have been holding on for a profit and they're just now getting their heads above water," said Kelman.

    Those who want to sell and buy a new home are encountering a market where it's difficult to find a new place of their own, said Vogt.

    Related: Five best markets to sell a home

    Over the past few months, Jackie and Cliff Kaufman have bid on four different homes in St. Petersburg, Fla., including one short sale and a foreclosure.

    The pair, who have two adult children and run an online jewelry business, said they bid $5,000 more than the $495,000 asking price on the first home they had their eye on and never heard back from the seller's agent. They were later told the house sold for nearly $550,000.

    Next, they bid on a short sale listed for $600,000. This time, they came in $10,000 above the asking price and again, they were beaten out. The house was only on the market for two days.

    The third attempt to make an offer on a bank-owned property was also met with silence.

    Related: Buy or rent? 10 major cities

    "It was very frustrating," said Jackie Kaufman. "We felt we were always on the outside of the loop and that people who won the homes had the inside track."

    By the fourth try, the couple successfully bid through a listing agent, who they believe pushed their bid harder in order to earn a double commission since she was representing both the buyer and seller in the deal. And they managed to get the place for $30,000 less than the asking price.

    They were lucky. Inventories of homes for sale continue to shrink. In February, the National Association of Realtors reported a 19.2% decline in inventory year-over-year. While the number of homes for sale should rise with the onset of the spring selling season, housing inventory is expected to remain low, pushing prices higher.

    Related: Fastest growing boomtowns

    And new home construction, especially in markets hit hard by the housing bust, is still moving forward at a snail's pace, since the cost to build the homes is often more than what the property ends up selling for, said Jeff Culbertson, an executive vice president for Coldwell Banker in Southern California.

    Even though home prices are on the rise, the balance between buyers and sellers has been thrown off balance, said Kelman.

    "With buyers out in force and sellers cautious, the market is in an awkward 'tweener' phase," he said. To top of page

  • 4 Reasons Why Your Job In Real Estate Is Awesome

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Tampa, Home Buying in Tampa, Agent2Agent in Tampa  |  March 3, 2013 4:48 PM  |  388 views  |  No comments

    I found this to be quite cute.  Hope you do to.

    4 Reasons Why Your Job In Real Estate Is Awesome

    Posted by Jessi Hall

    Every employee should love their industry as much as the average real estate agent.

    Real estate is the best industry to work within, according to the 2013 Top National Workplaces survey by WorkplaceDynamics. The survey polled 1 million employees to generate rankings of the best workplaces and industries for employment.

    Here’s a look at our four favorite reasons to celebrate a career in real estate.

    1. Agents can look at houses all day long.

    Real Estate Jobs Are Awesome

    Who wouldn’t love gawking at spa showers, transom windows and front porches all day?

    Agents don’t just drive past a “for sale” home and wonder what lurks behind that screen door. With interested clients in tow, agents spend most of their time exploring properties.

    If the idea of looking at houses all day long doesn’t excite you, real estate definitely isn’t the field for you.

    But for those whose dreams are populated by picket fences, leaded windows, French doors and soaking tubs, working in real estate is an unbelievable thrill. Getting up close and personal with beautiful (and even not-so-beautiful) homes every day is a perk that most real estate agents never tire of.

    2. Real estate provides flexibility with hours and location.

    Agents Spending Time on Mobile at Work

    Agents spend a lot of time at the “mobile office.”

    Full-time agents can’t usually vacation at a moment’s notice. Real estate is a time-sensitive field, and most clients like to receive constant updates.

    But agents do often have more wiggle room in their schedules than other professionals. Many agents work from home, and those who don’t usually don’t have regular office hours.

    With that level of freedom, agents can return calls after dropping the kids off at school. They can handle paperwork during naptime. It’s an extra ounce of liberty that makes it easier for agents to maintain a life outside of the office.

    3. Agents are (basically) self-employed.

    On that same note, most agents work as independent contractors. Working under that title, agents are basically self-employed. As with any career choice, working as an independent contractor has its pros and cons:


    • You set your own hours.
    • You are (basically) your own boss.
    • Your salary has no cap.


    • You’ll have limited guidance and support as an independent contractor.
    • You’re not assured a regular paycheck.
    • You won’t typically receive any benefits (insurance, paid time off, etc.)

    For those “lone rangers” who love the freedom of self-employment, working as a real estate agent can be a perfect career move. But if you’re not self-motivated or driven to succeed, life as an agent is probably not a good fit.

    4. Real estate is practically a “helping” profession.

    Help People Through Real Estate Career

    Real estate resembles helping professions such as nursing, social work and counseling.

    For those who do it well, real estate is truly a “helping” profession. Real estate transactions are often complex. Guiding buyers and sellers on the thorny path to closing day requires several traits that are characteristic of other helping professions:

    • Excellent communication skills
    • Ability to inspire trust
    • Power to remain calm during a crisis
    • Ability to give and receive objective feedback
    • Sensitivity and maturity

    Real estate agents who possess these skills can build valuable relationships with clients and co-workers. And it’s those relationships turn a real estate career into a truly rewarding one: both emotionally and monetarily.

    Photos courtesy of mccready, tuppus and Joe Houghton

    Posted by Jessi Hall
  • Use Smell to Make a Sale – But Only Certain Smells

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa, Agent2Agent in Tampa  |  February 15, 2013 12:08 PM  |  387 views  |  No comments
    My favorite smell when trying to sell a home is MONEY.  What smells do you use to sell a home?

    NEW YORK – Feb. 15, 2013 – It’s common practice for real estate agents to pop baked goods in the oven before an open house, or light some fragrant candles to create an aromatic environment.

    “They always tell you to take a bunch of cookie dough and shove it in the oven, so long as it doesn’t burn,” says Adorna Occhialini Carroll, president of the realty training and consulting firm Dynamic Directions. “I like pumpkin pie, butter cookies, anything that has that great combination of spices and gives you the impression of being at home.”

    New research suggests, however, that these kinds of complex smells hurt, not help, sales.

    The reason, according to Eric Spangenberg of Washington State University, is because consumers get distracted in trying to determine and identify complex scents. He recommends using simple but pleasing options such as lemon, vanilla, pine, green tea, cedar and basil, while avoiding potpourri, baked goods and gourmet foods.

    Spangenberg’s research found that shoppers in a Swiss home-decor retailer spent 31.8 percent more time there when the store was scented with a simple orange smell, compared to a complex blend of orange, basil and green tea.

    In addition to selecting a simple aroma, he says the smell must match the kind of property being sold – cedar for a mountain home, perhaps, but not a cottage at the beach.

    You need to use a scent that buyers will associate with a home’s environment, he says. “It must be simple and positive and congruent.”

    Source: Wall Street Journal (02/15/13) Tanaka, Sanette

    © Copyright 2013 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

  • For The Love of Real Estate

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa, Home Ownership in Tampa  |  February 14, 2013 3:07 AM  |  426 views  |  1 comment
    I really enjoyed the insight in this article on how people view others based off homeownership in the dating game.  A great suggested read for all our single friends.  Happy Valentines Day to ALL. 

    For The Love Of Real Estate

    Ahead of Valentine's Day, Trulia surveyed Americans across the country to see how much real estate and dating choices intertwine.

    When it comes to dating, we all have our own kooky preferences for finding that special someone. Whether we’re looking strictly for dog lovers, vegetarians, outdoorsy types or homebodies, everyone has a check-list of “must haves” or “would likes” to screen out the best possible prospects. For a particular breed of no-nonsense daters, AKA the speed daters, they prefer to get right to the point and weed out the best out of the bunch with direct and specific questions that touch on various aspects of a potential boyfriend/girlfriend’s life and personality.

    Well, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we decided to do our own little speed dating to see how much a person’s housing choices comes into play when it comes to finding that special someone – and if it matters a lot, who cares more – men or women? To do this, we put together a fun Love & Housing Survey – which we asked Harris Interactive to field for us – we found some surprising and some not-so-surprising stats on how today’s singles view dating and real estate.

    OK – let’s start by going over the questions that we asked by simulating an impromptu real estate speed dating experience in 3….2….1….

    1) Ideally, what should your prospective date’s home situation be like — e.g., apartment vs. single-family house, suburbs vs. cities, roommates vs. alone?

    2) How open would you be to living with your boyfriend/girlfriend to save money?

    3) Do you care whether you date a homeowner vs. a renter?

    4) Do you think homeownership indicates that someone is serious about being in a long-term committed relationship, such as marriage?

    5) If you were in the market for your first home, which home amenities would make you “fall in love” with a property?

    Phew! Got some time to think about your answers? To see if you’re on the same page with most men and women across the nation, keep your responses in the back of your mind as we walk through our survey findings.

    Trulia Valentine's Day Survey, part 1

    Single and living with your parents? It may be time to move out.
    It is now officially official that if you call your parents, “roomies,” you probably have a non-existent dating life. According to our survey, only 5% of unmarried U.S. adults would prefer date someone in that living situation.

    But parents aside, most unmarried adults (62%) would rather date someone who lives alone versus someone who lives with other people — which makes sense. Living alone means no distractions and more privacy. However, when it comes to location and the type of home, there was definitely a noticeable difference between men and women. More women preferred to date someone who lived in a house in the suburbs and more men preferred dating someone in an apartment in the city. What can we say, guys like the fast-paced city life and girls long for the white picket fence!

    Would you, personally, prefer dating someone who lives…?
    Total, Unmarried U.S. Adults
    With other people14%
    Other or None24%

    Would you, personally, prefer dating someone who lives…?
    TotalUnmarried MenUnmarried Women
    Alone in a house in the suburbs33%29%37%
    Alone in an apartment in the city29%32%25%
    With roommates in either the suburbs or the city9%14%9%
    With their parents5%6%4%

    More men open to shacking up to save money
    When you take that big step to live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you are ultimately giving up your single life and layin down some commitment. But these days, this move is sometimes less about the solidifying the relationship and more about being economical. In our survey, a whopping 74% of unattached renters (meaning those who don’t own a home and haven’t tied the knot/haven’t made the decision to live together) said they would be at least somewhat willing to live with their significant other to save money. What we found was rather interesting. Men are more likely to be very willing or willing than women (51% vs. 34%) to giving up the bachelor pad to save some money!

    Would you be willing to live with a boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other to save money due to the economy?
    TotalUnmarried MenUnmarried Women
    Very Willing21%23%18%
    Somewhat willing32%28%36%
    Not at all willing26%21%30%

    Homeownership is NOT a deal breaker.
    A majority (63%) of unmarried U.S. adults said it didn’t matter whether their significant other owned their own home or rented. That said, there are definitely more than a few picky daters out there who do care. Women in particular are more likely than men to prefer dating a homeowner versus a renter (36% vs. 19%). What can we say, some women really know what they want.

    Would prefer dating someone who rents or owns their own home?
    TotalUnmarried MenUnmarried Women
    Owns their own home28%19%36%
    Rents their home2%2%2%
    It Doesn’t matter to me63%72%54%
    Not Sure7%6%8%

    Younger daters say homeownership signals commitment
    Among unmarried U.S. adults, 43% said homeownership is NOT an indication that someone may be serious about being in a long-term committed relationship, such as marriage. And when we looked at what men and women said separately, there was only a sliver of a difference — 36% of women and 33% of men said owning a home was a signal that someone is ready to settle down.

    However, when we took a at the differences in opinions across different generations, 44% of millenials (18-34 year olds) felt that homeownership does equal commitment while only 26% of Baby Boomers (55+ year olds) felt the same.

    Do you think homeownership indicates that a person may be serious about being in a long-term committed relationship, such as marriage?
    Total18-34 YO35-44 YO45-54 YO55+ YO
    Not Sure22%21%21%21%26%

    What spells love at first sight for first-time homebuyers
    We asked all U.S. adults surveyed to select every amentitiy that would make them “fall in love” with a home. For men and women in the market for their first home, both sexes are actually seeing eye to eye on what’s most important — which according to our survey is the master bathroom, followed by a … walk-in closet!? Guess there is a lot more synergy between the sexes than we thought and that men care as much about their shoes and clothes as women do!


    Maybe the battle of the sexes on this issue isn’t much of a battle after all.

    Love and housing – it’s a tricky little thing :)

    As seen on Trulia Trends.  Author Unknown Trulia Trends Member.

  • The Reality of Real Estate - In Comics

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Tampa, Home Selling in Tampa, Military Movers in Tampa  |  February 9, 2013 2:52 PM  |  469 views  |  No comments

    Here is a collection of real estate comic strips. They made me laugh...Hope you do the same.  Have a great weekend.

    Real Estate Comics

    Funny Real Estate Comics

    Realtor Comic Strip

    Open House Humor - Comic Strips

    Real Estate Funny Cartoon

    Real Estate Jokes

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