Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

To Stage or Not to Stage

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

So you think that everyone who comes to your home will just adore your decorating style.  Well, the fact of the matter is that they probably won't.  This is where home staging comes into play.  If you are into antiques, lace curtains, with lots and lots of things all over your home, no matter how expensive or even tasteful, you run the risk of turning off far too many potential buyers.  Whether they like the neighborhood, the location, or even the floor plan of your home, if you have too many personal items on display, the focus becomes on the things on display and NOT on your home.  And the home is what you are trying to sell, not the things on display.

So let your realtor provide you advice on the best way to showcase your home.  Or better yet, invest the money to hire a professional home stager.  The professional home stager will consult and provide you excellent advice on how to have your home shine.  For a vacant home, having it well staged gives you, the seller, a definite advantage in the market place, since too many buyers have a difficult time envisioning how an empty room might be used.

To start, take as many personal photos off the wall as you can.  If you have a specific hobby, whether it is hunting, race cars, martial arts, or knitting, put these items away and out of sight.  When someone is coming to look at your home, turn on the lights and make the room temperature as comfortable as you can.  Sweep the floors.  Put your pets away, or better yet, take them out for a walk when a buyer is coming to preview your home.  Make the home smell fresh and clean, or simmer a pleasant spice on the stovetop, such as cinnamon, to give your home a welcoming aroma.  Take your personal hygiene items off the bathroom counters and out of sight.   Keep the house neat and tidy with as little clutter as possible.  It may help to rearrange the furniture to make the rooms look more spacious.  Here in the Tampa Bay area it is alright to have some emphasis on the wonderful beach lifestyle, but be sure not to go overboard.

Your goal is to have the house speak for itself by being clean and airy with lots of open space, and showing its maximum appeal.  Don't let clutter, your hobbies or family photos take away from all the advantages of your home.

Foreclosures-Record New Highs

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Recently, RealtyTrac, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, in its April U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, said that foreclosure filings were at 342,038 properties in the US during the month of April.  One in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in April, the highest monthly foreclosure rate posted since RealtyTrac began issuing it report in January 2005.

James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, said this April was slightly above the previous month, setting another record high.  Much of this activity is in the early stages of foreclosure, while bank repossessions, or REOs, were down to the lowest level since March 2008.  Mr. Saccacio suggested that this means the banks are beginning to initiate foreclosure on loans that had been delayed by legislative and industry moratoria.  It also means that later this year we can expect to see a spike in REOs as loans move through the foreclosure process in the next few months.

Unfortunately, Florida had a 37 percent month over month increase in foreclosure activity and this boosted the Florida foreclosure rate to the second highest among the states in April. One in every 135 Florida housing units received a foreclosure filing in April.  This is more than 2.7 times the national average.  The total Florida foreclosure activity is up 75 percent from April 2008.

Despite all the doom and gloom, this is definitely a buyer's market in Florida.  Mortgage rates are at record lows, for at least a generation, of as low as 4.75%.  There is the first time homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000.  And there is a lot of housing available at very low prices.  The banks are lending to qualified buyers.  For first time homebuyers, there may never be a better time to buy the home that just two years ago seemed totally out of reach.

Bank of America revises short sale policy

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

One of the nation's biggest mortgage lenders, Bank of America, has said it is loosening its policies on short sales.  This announcement came as a response to the U.S. Treasury Department'sannouncement last week that is would increase incentives for lenders to work out short sale deals.  With the number of short sales in Florida and especially the Tampa Bay real estate market, this is a very good step in the right direction to reduce the number of houses on the market that are subject to foreclosure.

David Sunline, a Bank of America real estate management executive, says this action is a boon to banks because it provides guidance when there are multiple liens, which is a potentially litigious issue for lenders.

In the past, the bank followed Fannie Mae's policy of giving second lien holders about 10 percent of the second mortgage in a short sale.  Now, when it holds the second lien, BofA will accept 5 percent of the net proceeds of the short sale, Sunline says.  When BofA is the first lien holder, it will offer 5 percent to the holder of the second lien.

Mr. Sunline says homeowners considering short sales should contact the bank within five days of getting an offer on the home and expect its cooperation as long as the offer is within the range of other sales in the area and the borrower can demonstrate financial hardship.

Article Source: The New York Times.  Bob Tedeschi.  5/15/2009

Fannie Mae Condo Lending Restrictions

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

On January 15 of this year, Fannie Mae implemented stricter conditions for condo loans.  The goal is safer loans, however it also makes getting a loan for a condo more difficult.

Key items to be aware of when seeking a condo loan include:

  • New and recently converted condo projects must have at least 70% of the total units in that project under a contract or conveyed as a principal residence or second home.  This number used to be 51%.
  • No more than 15% of the total units can be 30 days or more past due on their condo association dues.  This applies to new and established condo projects.

Besides the restrictions, Fannie Mae is also adding a fee of 0.75 % to the total loan amount on certain mortgages secured by a condo.  The borrower would pay this fee, unless the borrower can come up with at least a 25% down payment of the total purchase price.

In short, there is money to be borrowed for condos, just keep in mind that the borrower must be very well qualified.

The president of the National Association of Realtors has sent a letter to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency saying that now is not the time to increase fees for borrowers.


Material for this blog is from the April issue of the Florida Realtor magazine.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




Contact Information

Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107 S
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908