Florida Condo Law Changes Effective July 1st

New Condo Law Changes in Florida Effective July 1st, 2017 – What You Need to Know!

There were several changes made to Chapter 718, the Florida Statute governing condominiums, and all went into effect on July 1, 2017.

While not exhaustive, below is a list of July 1 changes that you may find of interest as you look to purchase a condo here in Tampa Bay:

  • 718.111(12)(c)(1) – A unit renter has a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.
  • 718.111(12)(c)(3)(g)(1) – by July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units (which does not manage timeshare units) must post digital copies of the required documents on its website.
  • 718.116(8) – The association must issue an estoppel certificate within 10 business days of receipt of a written or electronic request for said certificate.
  • 718.116(8)(a) – Any condominium estoppel certificate must contain specific assessment information, such as the regular periodic assessment and frequency; an itemized list of all assessments, special assessments and other moneys scheduled to become due; if there is a capital contribution fee, resale fee or other fee due and what the amount is; if there is a right of first refusal provided to the association or the members; and contact information for all insurance maintained by the association, amongst other things.
  • 718.116(8)(b) – The estoppel certificate (sent via hand delivery or electronically) has a 30-day effective period (35-days if sent by regular mail).
  • 718.116(8)(d) – If a requested estoppel certificate is not delivered within 10 business days, a fee may not be charged for the preparation and delivery of that estoppel letter. (this is a great change in addressing the timeliness the association has to abide by as time is of the essence!)
  • 718.116(8)(f) – The association may charge a reasonable fee for preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate that may not exceed $250.00; if the certificate is requested on an expedited basis and delivered within 3 business days after the request, however, the association may charge an additional $150.00; an additional fee of up to $150.00 may also be charged for an estoppel certificate on a unit if a delinquent amount is owed.
  • The Florida Legislature also added other new condominium association rules this year. If a unit owner is denied docs and fraud can be proved, for example, it could be a felony; and board director terms are now limited to eight years with a few exceptions.

For complete info on July 1 condo law changes, refer to the bill, HB 1237, which Gov. Scott signed on June 26.

Source: Florida Realtors®

Selling Real Estate in Tampa Bay? Utilize One of Our Professional Realtors® for the Job!

You want more money into your pocket, right?!

Well, what if we told you that hiring a professional Realtor® to assist you in your next real estate transaction could actually save you both money and precious time?

A question we often here from those trying to sell their homes on their own is “Using a Realtor® will cost me money and I’m sure I can figure it out on my own.” Some do attempt to sell on their own, but eventually end up looking to the expertise of a real estate professional to list their home after realizing the headaches and inconvenience of doing it themselves. At the very least, having a real estate agent as a “buffer” between a buyer and seller helps separate the emotions and stress that occurs during negotiations. Using a Realtor® ensures qualified buyers are actually viewing your home as no one wants to just let the general public walk through their house! We also build relationships with other Realtors® which makes it easier to have conversations with them about their buyers when they want to see your home. We are able to ask their Realtor®:

  • Has your buyer been pre-qualified with a lender?
  • What is their time line to make a move?
  • Do they have a current home they need to sell prior to closing on a new home?

The last thing we want to do is waste your time, taking your home off the market only to find out a buyer can’t financially purchase your home. Our job is to get your home sold, and for top dollar! We market your home on 400+ websites, utilize Facebook and Instagram targeted ads, host open houses, hire professional photographers, in many cases we also incorporate 3D viewing technology and video! Our mobile connect platform gives buyers instant access to details of your home before they even step foot inside. These are just some of the tools we use to get your home sold , taking the stress of selling a home off of you!

After you figure the cost of doing everything on your own, including time, energy and education, it’s not difficult to see how hiring a professional in the industry can go a long way…and likely increase your proceeds at the end of the day! Our licensed professionals do more than just put a sign in your yard. Check out the video below on some of the items a Realtor® will do on your behalf:

Realtors come fully packaged and equipped to handle your real estate needs with ease and professionalism. They’re educated in their field and beyond having a professional license, they are members of both local and national boards that provide standards of professionalism in serving you and education on current events taking place in the industry.

It’s all about finding the right Realtor®. Our team of professional and educated Realtors® will immediately relieve the pressure from you by putting their education and expertise to work for you. Buying or selling? Call us today!

Think You Need 20% Down to Purchase a New Home? Maybe Not!

According to a recent Zillow survey, 2 out of 3 renters consider the task of coming up with money for a down-payment the number one hurdle in buying a home. If you are currently in this boat, you are not alone… and just for your information, there are many resources out there designed to help you overcome this challenge!

Our team here at NextHome Discovery wants to help you discover them and get you into your dream home quickly!

Happy couple in front of sold sign

Take it from current home owners who took advantage of the programs and resources available to them to get them in their new homes. There are more ways than you think and your Realtor will gladly keep you informed.

Home-buyers are getting more and more creative these days, because quite frankly, times are changing. With average home prices higher now than they were in the past, 20% down just isn’t feasible to most, while it used to be what most home-buyers aimed to accomplish. In fact, the median down payment is now closer to 10% and has been since 2013 according to the NAR. It doesn’t change the fact that a 20% down payment helps to save money on the monthly mortgage payment and PMI (private mortgage insurance) costs.

Still, there are several loan options available to most future home-seekers. Down payments as low as 3.5% (with clauses to eventually remove PMI costs) can and will get people into their dream home these days. Also, little to zero down payment may be needed for U.S. military veterans, service members or residents of certain rural areas. Teachers, fire fighters, and other service job holders may qualify to receive additional down-payment assistance and there are over 2,100 funding programs available according to Downpayment Resource, who tracks home buyer down payment assistance programs.

Where there’s a will there’s always a way.

If saving up or tapping into retirement plans aren’t cutting it and you’re willing to look into other, less traditional methods of coming up with a down payment for your future home, you will likely stumble across many options! One company for example, although not yet in Florida, allows you to tap into your home’s future equity to double your down payment today.

The possibilities of home-ownership seem endless and promising. If you’re ready to start looking at your options today, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our knowledgeable and professional Realtors!

Check out this recent article for more tips on overcoming the down payment obstacle.

Hillsborough County Remains a Seller’s Market with Low Monthly Supply of Inventory in April

A key metric we like to monitor when looking at the health of the Tampa Bay real estate market is the Month’s Supply of Inventory (MSI). The generally accepted benchmark for a healthy market, one that favors neither the seller or the buyer, is 5.5 months supply of inventory. Anything higher than that would be considered a buyer’s market, anything lower – a seller’s market.

So how is MSI calculated?

You divide the current inventory in the market by the 12-month average of monthly closed sales. By dividing by the average of monthly closed sales, we eliminate seasonal effects such as the busy spring selling season or the slow winter season.

Looking at single family homes in Hillsborough County for the month of April 2017, we are currently at a 2.7 months supply of inventory. What this means is if no new single family homes were listed for sale in Hillsborough County, the current supply would be depleted in only 2.7 months!

 

Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.
Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.

Looking at the chart above you’ll notice that we have been at  or below 3 months supply of inventory for the past 12 months. In fact, check out the chart below and you’ll see we’ve been at or below 3 months supply since around September 2015!

 

MONTHLY SUPPLY OF INVENTORY SINCE 2013

So what does this mean for you if you are looking to buy or sell real estate anywhere in Hillsborough County?

With the steady low inventory over the past few years, seller’s are still in the driver’s seat. This means there are more buyers in the market bidding on the same limited supply of housing available. Simply put, this is still a great time to sell! We are seeing multiple offers on a daily basis on listings, especially those in highly desirable parts of Hillsborough County.

Now this isn’t all bad news for buyers. What it means is you need to be sure to align yourself with an experienced real estate professional skilled in negotiation, listening to your needs, identifying the right property for you, and moving quickly on it. It is also another reason why it is vital that buyers get pre-approved by a reputable lender so the pre-approval letter can be submitted with your offer. When it comes to multiple-offer situations, showing the seller you have the financial ability to close on their home goes a long way!

Have more questions about the market or looking to sell or buy in Tampa Bay? Reach out to one of our associates or email our office at connect@DiscoverYourPlace.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Closing Time, What to Expect!

Buying or selling real estate in the near future? Here’s a few things to consider!

Ever wonder why a title company is typically part of your real estate transaction? Although you may only see them once in the transaction – at closing – believe us, a good title company plays a pretty crucial role in the success of buying or selling real estate! They facilitate the closing with both the seller and the buyer, file and properly record documents, work with your lender and insurance companies, review your title commitment and issue your title insurance. Arguably the glue to your transaction, title companies generally play the neutral party in your real estate transaction.

businesswoman outside officeSome of the most frequently asked questions about title and closing are answered below. We’re all about helping you understand the “why” behind the what.

Why is title insurance needed? Like possessing the title of your car means you own it, possession of a clear title of a property means it’s yours, right? Well… let’s hope so! Title insurance provides a layer of protection to your right of ownership. In other words, if someone approached you with claim to the title of your property, you’d want some assurance that they couldn’t possibly have a case, right? From unknown heirs, forged signatures on deeds, liens, fraudulent or innocent documentation errors, title companies provide a necessary blanket of protection to you through the issuance of a title insurance policy. Title insurance isn’t just something YOU will want, but you guessed it, your mortgage lender is going to require it as they too will want their interest in your property protected. Bottom line: Title insurance protects buyers from loss of value from defects to the title of real property.

How and when do you pay for it and how often? How long does my policy last? Thankfully title insurance is typically a one-time premium paid at the closing table, in the form of a typical closing cost. Your policy will last throughout your entire ownership of the property and will be passed along to your heirs.

Closing costs? What are they? Closing costs are considered all the costs required to close your transaction and will vary per party in the transaction.

AS-IS PC

Your FAR BAR As-Is Purchase Contract has a neat break down of who can expect to pay what at closing time, but usually it will include everything from the balance of your down-payment, loan origination fees, discount points, to pro-rated taxes and agent fees, etc. It’s a good idea to shop around a few recommended lenders so you can estimate what you’ll be paying in closing costs ahead of time, like before putting in an offer on a home with your agent! Also, before closing, be on the look out for a closing disclosure with the numbers ready for your review. You’ll want to communicate with your agent to make sure the title company’s calculations of credits and debits are correct per the agreed upon terms outlined in the contract.

What forms of payment are accepted for deposits (earnest money) and closing? Cash or credit cards are never acceptable forms of payments. Limitations and restrictions apply to personal checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Wires are always accepted and most common, however, be aware of a rise in wire fraud in recent years. Check out our WIRE FRAUD PREVENTION NOTICE and always remember to call the title company to confirm wire instructions. Hackers are getting sophisticated by hacking email accounts and sending incorrect wire instructions to their accounts while you unsuspectingly assume it was sent by your agent or the title rep. Again, always call and speak to the title company before wiring any funds.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the near future, our team of knowledgeable Realtors will provide you with the service you’re in search of. NextHome Discovery promises to make your real estate experience memorable. We’re reliable, informed, and trustworthy. Don’t just take our word for it either… See for yourself. Contact us today!