Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Palms at Marsh Landing Condo 2/2



Listed at 219,000.00 Call for your private showing today. 904-885-9907

Friday, December 14, 2007

New FHA Guidelines for Loans

WASHINGTON – Dec. 14, 2007 – Hundreds of thousands of minority and moderate-income home buyers would become eligible to get low-rate, low-down-payment mortgages insured by the federal government under an agreement struck yesterday in the Senate.

The measure, which had been held up by a lone senator, Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, is expected to get a full floor vote today or Monday. It would greatly expand the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program that helps people with questionable credit get low-interest home loans.

The delay of the bill drew the ire of the Bush administration and House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as the pressure increased on the federal government to address the worsening mortgage crisis. The House passed its version in September, 348 to 72.

The legislation aims to draw people away from subprime loans, which offer low “teaser” rates that can jump as high as 11 percent after two or three years. By the summer of 2010, about 600,000 people with such loans are expected to lose their homes because they will not be able to make the higher monthly payments.

FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said his agency’s program could “fill the void” as the subprime market continues to unravel.

“A lot of people who went the subprime route should have come to FHA,” Montgomery said. “Sadly, some of them are coming to us now after” their interest rates have reset.

The FHA typically insures mortgages of about $130,000 for qualified home buyers, who are required to make a down payment equal to only 3 percent of their loan amount. About a third of its customers are minorities. Most earn about $55,000 a year.

The Senate bill would lower the down payment requirement to 1.5 percent and allow the FHA to insure mortgages up to $417,000, which would broaden its reach to more-expensive housing regions such as the Washington area, said four congressional aides who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the Senate vote.

Last year, the FHA got nearly 680,000 applications from home buyers. This year, it is on pace to receive 1.4 million, as exotic and adjustable-rate loans have fallen out of favor among lenders.

The FHA, part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, does not rely on public funds to provide mortgage insurance and covers its costs by charging a fee to home buyers, normally about 1 percent of their mortgage amount. The Senate bill would raise the ceiling on that fee to 3 percent. FHA officials said the higher fee would allow them to charge more to less-credit-worthy borrowers.

The FHA rarely offers insurance for adjustable-rate mortgages. “We back the 30-year-fixed rate, garden variety, plain vanilla mortgage,” Montgomery said. “No one has ever called the FHA and said, ‘I don’t understand my mortgage.’ “

Last week, the Bush administration announced a plan that would freeze subprime mortgage rates for homeowners for five years to give them time to refinance before their rates reset. The FHA insurance program offers an easy option for these homeowners to refinance, administration officials have said.

The bill was opposed by Coburn, who was concerned it would encourage risks by the FHA, one of his aides said. He also was unhappy over the lack of debate – Senate Democrats wanted to hold a quick vote on the matter. By yesterday, one of his top aides said, Coburn’s concerns had been allayed.

Coburn “is grateful that congressional leaders have given him the opportunity to debate this bill on the floor,” said John Hart, a spokesman for the senator.

The bill should pass by a wide margin, another aide on the Senate Banking Committee said. “The road has been paved for final passage,” the aide said.

Copyright washingtonpost.com, David Cho

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Just the facts...

In this day of information overload, it's easy to feel like we know more than we really do. I often hear people say: "I know your seller bought the house in 2004 for ______ amount". Yes, this public information is easy to find. I always give the tax info with the amount a seller paid to my buyers when we look at property. This is merely a starting point and often doesn't tell the entrire story. Have you considered a possible, second mortgage, often even a third mortgage? Many homes have a HELOC in addition to second and third mortgages. I think buyers just assume that every seller is trying to make a "killing" with every sell. This is often NOT the case. Some sellers are walking away with ZERO but at least they didn't have to bring money to the table!! Facts. Make sure your REALTOR always gives you as much info as possible.

My cream puff at 12641 Ashglen Dr continues to be shown like crazy. I am going to reduce the price and take away the closing cost offer. We are going to start an ad campaign and I thought it was time to price it below the comparable properties that have closed in the last 45 days. Call if you'd like to look before the price change becomes advertised.

BUYERS MARKET!!! It's time to buy today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Horror Story??

I've posted this before, but this is definitely worth repeating on Halloween!!

I continually hear people say that their realtor bugged them for weeks to get them to list their house with them. They finally agreed to list it and they never saw the realtor again!! I'm not exaggerating! Check out this story....

New example of a “list em and leave em” real estate company

Wednesday, May 02, 2007JANESVILLE, Wis. — A couple checking out a house for sale were shocked to discover the 55-year-old homeowner dead in her bed. Authorities said foul play was not suspected. Real estate agent Linda Chabucos-Galow stood in the dining room while Justin and Colleen McKeen walked through a house Monday night. Before long, she heard Colleen McKeen scream."I thought, 'What's wrong?' Maybe it was a dead mouse or something," Chabucos-Galow said.But then she peered into the bedroom and saw the body of Linda L. O'Leary.

An autopsy determined O'Leary had been dead for two to three weeks, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said Wednesday. The cause of death remained under investigation, but the woman appeared to have died of natural causes and no foul play was suspected, Keach said.

Gale Kent, the Coldwell Banker First United Realty agent who listed the house, said it was for sale "for a while."Chabucos-Galow said she had noticed a faint odor but thought it was from the mess in the house or the countertop full of dishes.After seeing the body, she said she told the couple: "'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here.'

"I rest my case! If you want to list your house with someone that will communicate with you---give me a call! I look forward to hearing from you.

Jacksonville FL Real Estate Improving?

After spending the past 3 days looking at homes from St. Johns County all the way to the Northern most end of Duval County, I am beginning to think that the market has picked up! I was pleasantly surprised to see that several of the homes we were interested in had gotten contracts in just the past 4 or 5 days. I'm not sure exactly what this means because I don't know what the homes "closed" at. I won't know what the homes sold for until they actually close in a few weeks. I also heard from several Realtors that I scheduled showing appointments with, that they have had a LOT of activity on their listings. I wonder if this means that we truly have finally bottomed out? I will say this, there continues to be new listings posted every night in MLS, and the prices continue to drop on homes already on the market. I don't know if the influx of new listings is just seasonal, or if it's people "testing the market" again. I'm anxious to see the numbers in a couple of weeks. When I find out what the homes sold for, I'll pass the info along to you. In the meantime, please take a minute to look at my listing on Ashglen Drive. I have a VERY MOTIVATED seller that is going to kill me if I don't hurry up and sell her home! Won't you help save a Realtor???

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

34 S 26th Avenue Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250


This beautiful South Jacksonville Beach home has been completely refurbished from top to bottom. Including all new siding, new insulation, new paint, new roof, new tile floors, new plumbing, new kitchen appliances, new decks, new lighting and more! This home is located on a quiet, one-way street and is just steps to the beach!! The master retreat has a balcony with a great ocean view. Call today to schedule your private showing. Ronda Densford, REALTOR (904) 241-2386

12641 Ashglen Drive N Jacksonville, FL 32224


This 3/2 home is in a lovely deed restricted community near UNF, FCCJ, Town Center, the Beaches, JT Butler, 9A and all of Jacksonville! New landscaping completed October. Irrigation system, owned alarm system, new central air, like new carpet, fresh paint, move in ready. Motivated seller will pay up to $3000 of buyers closing costs with approved offer. Call today and schedule your private showing. $215,000.00

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Always Read the Fine Print No More Tricks-Only Treats

The Feds feel compelled to rescue some of the people that got caught up in the SubPrime lending schemes. The reduction in the prime rate appears to be helping those that are trying to get a loan, but I'm not sure how much it's really going to help those that are in danger of being foreclosed on. The "tiny print" of the "fix" the Feds are proposing, is unsettling at best. The borrower must be current on their loan and have equity in their home. The problem is this: (1) they are late on their payments, that's why they're in danger of going into foreclosure (2) they bought the house with 100% financing, thus, zero equity. In fact, worst case scenario: they are upside down!! My gosh this is complicated and sad. I don't think that I could get into that foreclosure business. They say you can actually HELP a homeowner that's in trouble by negotiating with the lenders and buying them some time to get their affairs in order. They can try to negotiate the amount they owe on the house enabling them to sell it without going into foreclosure. BUT, to me anyway, the bottom line is that a family is losing their home. I'm too much of a softie to be able to handle all of that!! One school of thinking is that some of these people went into these loans knowing they shouldn't. After attending a LOT of closings, I think that it would be very easy for an unscrupulous lender to pull one on a borrower!!! That's why it's SO important that you have a GOOD REALTOR that has personal contacts to use as lenders and as always: READ THE FINE PRINT and have your REALTOR read the fine print too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More dismal news for those with ARM mortgages

I'm hesitant to post an article like this but felt like I might miss something in the translation. The info in the article is sobering. The bottom line appears to be that those with ARM's are having a lot of trouble getting permanent financing on their loans that are resetting. Not only that, but now the folks qualified for a loan that WASN'T subprime, no longer qualify for that same loan! What does this mean for you? It just confirms that it's truly a buyers market in Jacksonville. These homeowners will need to get out from under the new payments in a BAD way. Call me today and let's go look at some houses!



Mortgage brokers say one-third of clients failed to close in August
Loan fundings not always the cause of cancellations, survey finds
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

By Matt Carter
Inman News

A new survey of mortgage brokers reveals that one in three prospective home buyers who had signed purchase and sale agreements in August ended up cancelling.

August was a turbulent month for mortgage lenders, as many investors stopped buying securities backed by home loans because of fears of rising delinquencies and defaults.

Not all of the cancellations reported in the survey of 1,744 mortgage brokers by Campbell Communications Inc. were the result of problems funding loans.

Some deals fell through because buyers could not get approved for a loan or withdrew their offer. In other cases the lender did not honor a loan commitment, went bankrupt or stopped funding loans. Interest-rate changes killed some deals, and sellers backed out of others...

But survey designer Thomas Popik of Geosegment Systems did say mortgage brokers reported that about one-third of all subprime mortgage applications -- both purchase and refinance -- were declined in August. A "much lower" percentage of prime conforming and prime jumbo loans were turned down, Popik said.

Popik said 56 percent of subprime borrowers who had signed purchase and sale agreements in August saw those deals fall through for various reasons, compared with a cancellation rate of 21 percent for prime borrowers.

"In general, what's happening in the marketplace is the subprime borrowers are having trouble getting approved, and the prime borrowers are holding back from the transactions, perhaps because they think they might get a slightly better deal later on," Popik said.

When Campbell Communications surveyed real estate agents in 2004 -- when the housing boom was in full swing -- only 4 percent of home purchase closings failed for mortgage-related reasons.

While 33 percent of prospective buyers saw their closings fall through in August, "the flip side is that most people who had planned on buying a new home … were still able to close on those transactions," Popik said. "Whether that situation will persist through the fall and into next year is another question entirely."

A more troubling statistic, perhaps, was the survey's finding that 57 percent of borrowers facing interest-rate resets on their adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) were unable to refinance. That could push up delinquencies and defaults if those borrowers are unable to manage higher monthly payments.

The problem was more acute for subprime ARM borrowers -- 64 percent were unable to refinance. But 50 percent of those seeking prime conforming mortgages were also unable to move into new loans, the survey found.

The most common issues for subprime borrowers seeking to refinance were the lack of subprime loan programs, and FICO scores that excluded them from other programs, the survey found. Prime borrowers found property appraisals and loan-to-value (LTV) ratios were impediments to refinancing.

Mortgage brokers surveyed said LTVs for prime jumbo loans had tightened substantially, averaging 90 percent, with the minimum acceptable FICO score averaging 679.

Prices Continue to Drop

Prices in the Jacksonville area continue to drop. It's been subtle in some areas, and "in your face" in others. I'm beginning to wonder how appraisers are managing! There aren't hardly any comps to use because sales have been super slow! MLS continues to show numerous drops in price every single day.

How low will it go??? I'll keep you posted...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Buyers Market in Jacksonville! Interest Rates Lower!

Not only are there a gazillion houses on the market, the interest rates continue to DROP. This is amazing! If you have good credit and a down payment, now is the time to buy your dream house. Sellers are absolutely giving buyers ANYTHING they want. I've heard about Plasma TV's, furniture, closing costs and all kinds of things being thrown in the pot when contracts are written! Good grief. What the heck are you waiting for? Call me today 904-241-2386 or 904-885-9907 and let's get out there and get you a house AND a riding lawn mower (or whatever it is you need) and close the deal!

NEWS ITEM:

Rates on 30-year mortgages drop to the lowest point in 3 months
Mortgage Rate Trend Index
If mortgage industry experts polled by Bankrate.com are right, mortgage rates will decline over the next 30 to 45 days. While 23 percent expect no change, 77 percent foresee a decline and none predict an increase.WASHINGTON – Aug. 31, 2007 – Rates on 30-year mortgages fell this week to the lowest level in three months.Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.45 percent. That was down from 6.52 percent last week and was the lowest level since the week of May 31, when rates stood at 6.42 percent.The moderation provides welcome news for prospective homebuyers, many of whom are finding it harder to obtain loans as lenders tighten up on borrowing standards in the face of rising loan delinquencies.Rates in other mortgage categories were mixed last week.Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 6.12 percent, down from 6.18 percent last week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

This Story is Worth Repeating!

This is a post worth repeating:

I continually hear people say that their realtor bugged them for weeks to get them to list their house with them. They finally agreed to list it and they never saw the realtor again!! I'm not exaggerating! Check out this story....

New example of a “list em and leave em” real estate company

Wednesday, May 02, 2007JANESVILLE, Wis. — A couple checking out a house for sale were shocked to discover the 55-year-old homeowner dead in her bed. Authorities said foul play was not suspected. Real estate agent Linda Chabucos-Galow stood in the dining room while Justin and Colleen McKeen walked through a house Monday night. Before long, she heard Colleen McKeen scream."I thought, 'What's wrong?' Maybe it was a dead mouse or something," Chabucos-Galow said.But then she peered into the bedroom and saw the body of Linda L. O'Leary.

An autopsy determined O'Leary had been dead for two to three weeks, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said Wednesday. The cause of death remained under investigation, but the woman appeared to have died of natural causes and no foul play was suspected, Keach said.

Gale Kent, the Coldwell Banker First United Realty agent who listed the house, said it was for sale "for a while."Chabucos-Galow said she had noticed a faint odor but thought it was from the mess in the house or the countertop full of dishes.After seeing the body, she said she told the couple: "'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here.'

"I rest my case! If you want to list your house with someone that will communicate with you---give me a call! I look forward to hearing from you.

Media Blitz

I have been amazed and a tad discouraged by all of the media hype about the real estate market. I think they have painted such a gloomy picture that it really doesn't matter what is happening....people believe what they read! The market here at the Beach continues to sputter along with a little activity here and there. I guess compared to the rest of the city, we're rocking!

I finally sold my client from Wisconsin a house! The Julington Creek area in Northern St Johns county continues to have a HUGE inventory of homes on the market. Unlike other areas, the prices appear to be staying somewhat stable. I think it has everything to do with the incredible school system they have. We were delighted to find the house in time to get enrolled in school.

A few new listings have appeared on the market here in Selva Marina, and a few have expired and been removed from the market.

Are you looking for a bargain? Call me today and I'll get busy and find you a "steal". It is truly a buyers market. Let's get busy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Just when I thought things might be getting better in the Jacksonville real estate market...

This was in the Jacksonville Business Journal daily update:

40% Chance of Lower Home Prices

Jacksonville Business Journal - 3:41 PM EDT Tuesday, June 19, 2007
There is a two in five chance that home prices will be lower in Jacksonville in two years, according to figures from PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

The company's 2007 U.S. Market Risk Index ranks the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country according to the likelihood that prices will drop in the next two years. The rankings are based on home price appreciation, per capita household income and mortgage rates.

Jacksonville's score of 394 translates into a 39.4 percent chance prices will be lower in 2009. Four Florida MSAs -- West Palm Beach, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa -- have a better than 50 percent chance of prices being lower in two years.

Jacksonville's score was No. 22 in the rankings of the top 50 MSAs, in part because appreciation of home prices went from 22 percent in the first quarter of 2006 to 7 percent a year later.
"The market's changing tide doesn't mean it is a bad time to buy or own a house, but it is a reminder that home ownership is a long-term investment," said Mark Milner, chief risk officer for PMI. "For buyers, in many areas it's a much friendlier market than it was even a year ago."
I would say it is definitely a buyers market!! The interest rates continue to creep up...and then they creep back down!! If you're considering buying a home--give me a call. I'll be happy to help.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Better think twice about waiting to buy!

Rates on 30-year mortgages jump
Mortgage Rate Trend Index Rates will continue to rise over the next 30 to 45 days, say 58 percent of the mortgage experts polled by Bankrate.com. Only 16 percent say rates will fall; the remaining 26 percent predicting little change.

WASHINGTON – June 8, 2007 – Rates on 30-year mortgages rose for a fourth straight week, hitting the highest level in 10 months, as bond markets responded to strong employment growth.Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.53 percent this week. That was up sharply from 6.42 percent last week and represented the highest point for 30-year mortgages since they averaged 6.55 percent on Aug. 10.

I think the rates are going to continue to rise in the coming months. If you're sitting on the fence right now, thinking about buying---I think you'd better consider making your move! Call me today and we'll talk about making an offer on one of those over-priced houses out there on the market. We might get lucky and find a REALLY motivated seller!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Buyers Market in Jacksonville!

...NAR lowers expectations for home sales, prices
Forecast calls for 1.3% drop in median existing-home prices
Wednesday, June 06, 2007Inman News

The National Association of Realtors again lowered its forecast for 2007 existing-home sales today, following a downward adjustment last month, and also lowered expectations for home prices.
Existing-home sales are expected to fall 4.6 percent this year to 6.18 million, compared with 6.48 million in 2006, with new single-family home sales dropping 18.2 percent and housing starts dropping 20.4 percent. Housing starts for single-family units are expected to decline 23 percent this year compared to 2006. From Inman News

This news really surprises me! After attending class at NEFAR for the past 2 days, I was hearing all kinds of optimism from other agents. I think if you're representing buyers, you are loving this market! For those of us that also have listings, it's not all that fun....

To be continued...

Friday, May 25, 2007

More depressing real estate news in Jacksonville

...A day after the U.S. Commerce Department reported a surge in the sale of new homes across the country, FAR reported that sales of existing single-family homes in the first quarter of 2007 fell 26 percent in Florida, while the median price dropped 3 percent to $237,000.

In Jacksonville, sales dropped 14 percent from the first quarter of last year and the median price edged up 1 percent to $199,500.

Sales were down by at least 9 percent in 19 of the 20 markets tracked by FAR. Jacksonville was one of only six markets that saw an increase in the median price, with none more substantial than the 4 percent increase in Tallahassee.

In the condominium market, things were even worse. The median price of an existing condo in Jacksonville dipped 7 percent to $152,300, and sales were down 23 percent from the first quarter a year ago. Sales were down 30 percent statewide and the median price was up less than 1 percent to $210,800...

This info was provided by FAR (FL Association of Realtors) and the Jacksonville Business Journal.

I think the numbers speak for themselves. There are pockets of town that have faired much, much worse...some not hit quite as hard. Overall though, the air continues to seeeeep out of the bubble. In fact, there's not much air left in that ol bubble. To be continued...

A little more gas on the fire...

"...Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.37 percent nationwide this week, up from 6.21 percent last week. It was the highest level for 30-year mortgages since they averaged 6.40 percent the week of Oct. 26.Analysts said the second consecutive weekly increase in 30-year mortgage rates after they had been unchanged or fallen for a month reflected concerns in financial markets that inflation worries will keep the Fed from cutting rates in coming months."Stronger than expected consumer confidence and recent comments from members of the Fed raised some inflation concerns in the market, causing it to lower expectations of a Fed rate cut this year," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist."

Maybe this is the impetus needed to make some buyers get off the fence. With interest rates rising, NOW may be the time to make that offer on a home you've been looking at! It could mean saving a LOT of money on a monthly note if you can lock in rates now and maybe make a low offer on a property that's been on the market for a while. At least a low offer will start the communication process.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jacksonville-Kernan Blvd-UNF Home For Sale


This home is conveniently located near J Turner Butler, Beach Blvd, I-95 and all of Jacksonville! Great family neighborhood with excellent schools and close to shopping and the beach. This home has 3 nice sized bedrooms, a large kitchen, large family room and a over-sized screened porch with 2 ceiling fans. Great place for outdoor dining or a kids play area. Dining room has beautiful Pergo floors and the kitchen has updated tile. Fresh paint, meticulous upkeep and GREAT PRICE make this a "must-see". This house is the very best value in the neighborhood. One house 2 doors down is listed at $260,000 FSBO and the only other home on the market is around the corner at $249,000. We are the best value in Ashwood subdivision!!! My seller is very motivated. Let's talk soon.
This home is offered at $228,000.00 MLS#340933
Ronda Densford, REALTOR
Platinum Realty Enterprises LLC
(904) 885-9907 (904) 241-2386

Jacksonville Homes For Sale 34 S 26th Ave 32250


This is one of my favorite listings! I'd love to show it to you at your convenience. Just give me a call and I'll be happy to meet you there.

34 South 26th Ave Jacksonville Beach, FL

This beautiful beach home is just steps to the ocean. It has been completely refurbished, including: new paint, new roof, new appliances, new tile, new lighting fixtures, new pulmbing fixtures, new siding, new insulation, and much more! This home is now like new. Listed at $895,000 MLS #350763

Monday, May 14, 2007

Proof that the Real Estate Picture is being sugar coated

I have been watching our own little world right here in Jacksonville. The press releases and the information that I kept hearing just didn't match up with what I was reading right on our own MLS! I knew the national story was bleak too after spending countless hours in newsgroups and doing research. I came across this article and thought it was finally giving some concrete numbers to the dreary picture I have been seeing. See if you don't find the article below VERY credible.

Closing Data: We purchase and compile actual home closing data for approximately 181 counties across the country, which captures the counties where about 55 percent of the U.S. population lives and a significant percentage of all of the counties where the large home builders are active. This data shows that sales have fallen 22 percent if you compare sales over the last 12 months to the prior 12 months. On a straight year-over-year comparison, the decline is much more.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Data: The MBA seasonally adjusted purchase application index, which is a measure of the number of people filling out loan applications to buy a home, is down 18 percent from its peak in September 2005. With presumably more applications being filled out by borrowers who now have to shop around for a loan, how could sales have fallen by less than 18 percent?

Builder Data: The nation's two largest home builders, D.R. Horton and Lennar, are reporting that orders have declined 27 percent to 37 percent year-over-year. D.R. Horton and Lennar have dropped prices significantly in many markets to generate sales, while the resale market has not. How could their sales have fallen more than the resale market, even if new-home communities tend to be in fringe areas?

Realogy Corp. Data: Realogy, which is the parent company of Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA, participated in roughly 1.9 million brokerage-related transactions in 2006 compared with 2.3 million in 2005, representing a year-over-year decline of 18 percent nationwide.

2005-2006 NAR State Data: The National Association of Realtors state data does show sharp year-over-year corrections in major states: 28 percent drop in Florida, 24 percent drop in California, and a 28 percent drop in Arizona. Our data, however, shows the sales have probably dropped by 34 percent, 27 percent and 38 percent, respectively. The national numbers include some large states where sales volumes have not corrected substantially, such as in Texas and Ohio, but we believe these markets are not very healthy for other reasons. Interestingly, our calculations were tracking very closely with NAR data through 2005, as illustrated above. We did investigate NAR methodology and have found absolutely no reason to believe that the NAR is intentionally misleading anyone, as some have suggested.

New-Home Data: The Census Bureau calculation of new-home data does not calculate sales net of cancellations, and cancellations are running much higher than normal right now, which is why the sales numbers overestimate actual sales. The preponderance of evidence shows that the housing market in vibrant areas where home building is prevalent has corrected much more than some people believe it has.

In summary, we believe that the Fed should know that the housing market correction has been quite steep and is also not showing signs of bottoming out, as evidenced by all of the above information, as well as significant additional research we have conducted. While the Fed has far more to consider than housing, it should know that the housing market could sure use some lower interest rates to help achieve stability soon.

John Burns is the founder of Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif., which monitors changes in real estate market conditions and provides consulting services, including strategic planning, market research and financial analysis. He can be reached at jbrec@realestateconsulting.com.

Thank you John, for giving me some new, updated info.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Another "List Em and LEAVE Em" Real Estate Story

I continually hear people say that their realtor bugged them for weeks to get them to list their house with them. They finally agreed to list it and they never saw the realtor again!! I'm not exaggerating! Check out this story....

New example of a “list em and leave em” real estate company

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
JANESVILLE, Wis. — A couple checking out a house for sale were shocked to discover the 55-year-old homeowner dead in her bed. Authorities said foul play was not suspected.
Real estate agent Linda Chabucos-Galow stood in the dining room while Justin and Colleen McKeen walked through a house Monday night. Before long, she heard Colleen McKeen scream.
"I thought, 'What's wrong?' Maybe it was a dead mouse or something," Chabucos-Galow said.
But then she peered into the bedroom and saw the body of Linda L. O'Leary.
An autopsy determined O'Leary had been dead for two to three weeks, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said Wednesday. The cause of death remained under investigation, but the woman appeared to have died of natural causes and no foul play was suspected, Keach said.
Gale Kent, the Coldwell Banker First United Realty agent who listed the house, said it was for sale "for a while."
Chabucos-Galow said she had noticed a faint odor but thought it was from the mess in the house or the countertop full of dishes.
After seeing the body, she said she told the couple: "'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here.'"


I rest my case! If you want to list your house with someone that will communicate with you---give me a call! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jacksonville Real Estate scene Mid April

Prices continue to drop in the Jacksonville market. The number of days on market also remains steady at around 129 days. There appears to be a trend of late in the % of the sales price vs the listing price...homes are averaging a 10% difference between the asking/listing price and the price the house actually sells for. If you have your house on the market for $399,000.00--you can expect to sell it for $39,900.00 less! Wow! This is-if you're lucky. This number continues to rise so I think it's possible that in some cases, you may have to take a 15% cut, or more, depending on your motivation to sell.

All of this info is strictly concerning the beaches market. And there are still exceptions--not many--but maybe a few.

This is still a buyers market! If you're considering buying a home, just give me a call and I'll go to work for you.

Monday, April 2, 2007

No Aprils Fool Joke

No joke here. The prices continue to drop in the Beaches market. After a midnight check of the latest price changes, the trend continues. I fully expected to see things cool off, with the interest rates at an all time low, I thought prices would level off, but this isn't the case. The correction continues! I'm going to research the "Days on Market" numbers next. It appears that homes continue to sit on the market longer and longer... I'm curious to see how many days they're staying on the market compared to years past.

To be continued...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Is the Times Union for real??

The article in the weekend edition of The FL Times Union was all about how prices have bottomed out and now the worst of the real estate slump is over. REALLY?? I don't think so. I don't know where in the world they are getting this info. I just logged out of MLS after checking the latest numbers. There were many, many price changes tonight in the Beaches area. The average drop was approx $14,000.00. Some were (once again) as much as a 50 thousand dollar drop. I don't see ANY price increases which would indicate that there has been a "turn around".

I will keep you posted. In the meantime, call me if you're thinking about buying--this truly is (still) a buyers market!!

Til next time,

Ronda

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friends don't let friends buy without a REALTOR

I'm amazed that NAR (National Association of Realtors) doesn't spend some of those bazillion dollars to educate the public. I still don't think that people understand that when they buy a house, they need to have a REALTOR representing them. NOT THE REALTOR ON THE SIGN. They need their OWN REALTOR representing their interests, not the sellers. It doesn't cost the buyer ANYTHING to have a REALTOR representing them. The seller pays the REALTOR commissions, not the buyer. When the listing agent sells the home, the REALTOR becomes a "Transaction Broker". This means that the REALTOR represents both sides equally and owes both sides certain duties. I've closed several times (okay, twice) and represented both sides. It's a whole different ballgame. The transaction happened without a hitch and everyone was represented fairly, honestly and with due diligence. I think I am going to specialize in Buyer Agency representation. I have some buyer clients that I'm working with right now. I am loving the challenge of finding the "perfect home". I can't wait until we finally start the negotiating stage of the game. That's when the fun begins. I enjoy the thrill of offer-counteroffer-offer-counteroffer. What a rush. I love that side of the deal! I strongly suggest that if you are considering buying a home, be sure to call me. YOU NEED YOUR OWN BUYERS AGENT WORKING 100% FOR YOU. I will negotiate the very best price, I will make sure the proper inspections are done, I will make sure that all of the paperwork is being done on schedule, I will look out for you, and you alone.

If you know someone that is considering buying a home, please have them call me. I'll be happy to help.
(904) 241-2386 (904) 885-9907

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Little Gator Told Me Prices Have Bottomed Out....

Here's what the Gator said:

A University of Florida study suggests the state's single-family residential housing market has bottomed out.

"If you're thinking of buying a house, there's probably not much to be gained by holding out at this point," said Wayne Archer, director of UF's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. "It doesn't look like prices are going to fall anymore."

The quarterly survey of real estate industry professionals completed in January shows the share of respondents observing a drop in single-family housing prices has dipped, while a growing number find prices staying even with inflation.

"We see that as a benchmark," Archer said. "When prices maintain the same level as inflation, then we're probably in some kind of equilibrium. It indicates the market is stabilizing."
The exception is condominiums, which Archer said are overbuilt and prone to speculative and naïve investors.

But the overall news is good - Archer pointed out the most recent results reflect the first time in the UF survey's five-quarter history that the buyers' investment outlook for residential development has brightened. It declined for the first three surveys and was flat for the fourth survey at the end of October, starting to rise only in this latest survey, he said.

Also, because of the dominance of single-family housing, Archer said the latest findings have far-reaching and potentially optimistic implications for the state's real estate industry.

"You can't get away from the fact that the single-family housing market is the single largest driver of the real estate market," he explained. "Most brokers and real estate agents are dealing with single-family housing. Most lending is for single-family housing. And home furnishings are driven by single-family housing. So when it stabilizes, that's important."

Archer pointed out a restricted supply of land for residential development meant there was less overbuilding than there might otherwise have been.

Condos did not have this land restraint, which is one reason they are overbuilt, he said.
At the same time, condos are prone to strong speculative swings because they are considered a relatively easy commodity to exchange - it's not difficult to acquire them in multiple units or to buy contracts on them, he said.

For the survey, UF's Survey Research Center questioned 318 industry executives, real estate lawyers, market analysts, title insurers, financial advisers, market research economists, real estate scholars and other professionals in the field.
The last survey had 183 respondents.
I'm not sure what to think about this............
To be continued............

Monday, March 12, 2007

Official Washington, DC forecast-take with a grain of salt

Home sales forecast brighter in ‘07
WASHINGTON – March 12, 2007 – Anyone selling a home in the past year has likely suffered through some pretty stormy markets, but economists say a break in the clouds may be on the way.

That’s because since the highly anticipated “real estate bubble” began deflating in mid-2005, has been losing air for the past year and a half and may finally be out of air. And while some markets suffered through some deep slumps, forecasters are now predicting the worst may be over.

“It appears we are getting very close to bottom,” says David Lereah, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Lereah is one of several economists who agree that sales data show the national existing home sales market is on the verge of regaining ground.

“Sales have hovered for the last four months, scratching bottom and then coming up, scratching bottom and coming up again. We are comfortable this is now the bottom,” he says.
But before you put away that umbrella, it might be best to check your local forecast; scattered showers may persist in certain markets for at least another year.

Over the past few months, Lereah says 75 percent of the nation’s housing markets have expanded. Unfortunately the ones that are still falling are posting losses large enough to bring the national numbers down with them.

“So, you can’t generalize. You can’t say ‘We are in this sharp recession,’ when it is only 25 percent of the markets that are losing ground,” Lereah says.

What makes the current housing slump so hard to forecast is that the factors driving the contraction are different than those driving past slowdowns, says Dave Seiders, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

“You have to put this in context,” he says. “This is not a downswing connected to a recession. This one is special because the drivers are unusual.”

In previous contractions, the entire economy hit a bumpy patch, and mortgage rates were in double digits, Lereah says.

“This is not the case now,” he says.
The primary problem now plaguing the housing market is one of oversupply, rather than a general economic malaise. In general, the markets that are suffering the most now are the ones that benefited the most during the run-up in prices.

“Markets that boomed in the last five years boomed too much, and now they are coming down,” Lereah says.

Prices were high, and builders responded by adding a flood of new homes to the market. When prices continued to rise, investors saw potential and bankrolled even more homes. When buyers stopped buying, the markets that flew the highest had the farthest to fall. Molly R. Boesel, a Fannie Mae economist, wrote in a February commentary that sales will likely post another negative year in 2007, but that most of the decline is expected from a reduction in investor demand. Consumers, on the other hand, will likely jump back into the market.

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve agreed when it issued its Jan. 31 statement. In that statement, governors said they were encouraged by “tentative signs of stabilization” in the housing market.

“These are the first stages to getting the markets back into balance,” Seiders says.
But even as consumers get back in a buying mood, housing markets won’t necessarily spring back to previous heights. Part of the reason is because there is still a large inventory on the market, Lereah says.

One way economists rate homes sales is by calculating how many months it would take to sell all the homes listed for sale at the current buying rate. At last count, Lereah says it looked like there were between 6.8 months and 7 months worth of homes sitting on the market right now. He says that number will likely fall to between 6.6 months and 6.5 months worth by year end. But that is still above the 5.5- to 6-month inventory that signals a balanced market.

Looking foreword, Lereah says 2007 will likely see an additional 1 percent fall in sales compared with 2006 numbers, meaning sales will have hit bottom and begun to rebound by year-end. “We are not looking for a big expansion, but it will be an expansion ­– a sluggish expansion,” he says.
© 2007 Bankrate.com, Bankrate Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Jacksonville Beach Buyers Agent Update

After further review, it appears that the downward spiral continues in the beaches real estate pricing. I continue to see prices dropping at an alarming rate. This is truly a buyers market! I think that the downward trend will probably continue through the Spring buying months. I am waiting and watching for a leveling off, but so far, there's no evidence of that.

Now is the time to buy a house at the beach. Interest rates are very low right now and there are lots of houses on the market. Call me today for some detailed information on any home you're interested in looking at.

As your agent, I will:

  • Assure that you see all the properties in the area that meet your criteria. Not just those listed on the local MLS, but also many un-listed properties that I find through my local contacts and affiliations.


  • Guide you through the entire process, from finding homes to look at, to getting the best financing.


  • Make sure you don't pay too much for your new home. As a real estate expert in this area, I help people negotiate and make home purchase decisions every day. I can help you avoid costly mistakes.


  • Answer all of your questions about the local market area. Not just about homes for sale, but about schools, neighborhoods, the local economy and more.

Let me help you find your dream home and assure your best interests are protected throughout the entire process. Feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions you may have at any time.

As your agent, my focus is on getting you the best possible home at the best possible price. I will work hard not only in finding you potential new homes to see, but also in keeping you informed of everything that takes place. As your agent and a top expert in the local market, I'll negotiate the best prices and terms for you and answer all of your questions as they arise. I'll be representing you, not the seller. This assures that my experience and expertise in the local market will be used in your best interests during the negotiation process.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


(904) 241-2386 (904) 885-9907

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

How low will the prices go?

Depending on who you listen to, either we're just getting started with the correction, or it's now over! I prefer to be more realistic. After all, real estate truly is local. The trend in one part of the country, or in one part of the state may differ from ours. I continue to be amazed at the price changes in the Jacksonville Beaches market. The hardest hit area appears to be Atlantic Beach. For now, the houses on the market seem to be sitting there...forever. After numerous price drops, they continue to sit. After seeing the same houses on the market for months and months, the picture is quite clear. It ain't low enough yet!The number of lookers continues to increase. The problem isn't with the number of lookers, it's with the number of takers!We all continue to wonder: how low will they go???
In the meantime, stop by my website for lots of helpful info. www.jaxrealtoronline.com

Is that the sound of falling prices??


You bet it is! It is like fingernails on a chalkboard! What in the world is going on at the beach? Prices continue to drop at an alarming rate. Is this the famous "correction" we have been hearing about? I check MLS every night at midnight to see what the numbers are and I've been blown away by the price changes I'm seeing. I mean, can you believe that a house could drop ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS overnight? Well, it's happening! Do you think that maybe the house was overpriced to begin with? Duh.
I'm a new REALTOR so I still care about all of these numbers. No, I wasn't around (unfortunately) during the days of "putting a sign in the yard and having a bidding war 30 minutes later! Wow! I wish. Nope, I'm building my career the old fashioned way.....hard work, tons of research, lots of classes and by knowing my market better than anyone else. I'll be checking the MLS nightly and will pass that info along to you. I think you'll find the numbers very interesting. If you want to get in on the action by buying a house right now-if you've been watching and waiting--it truly is a buyers market. I'd love to help you find a house. I'll make sure you get the best price.
In the meantime, stop by my website for lots of helpful info.
http://www.jaxrealtoronline.com/