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Immigration and Real Estate - the Counter argument - 12/31/07 02:06 PM
A few days ago Christopher Smith from Houston, TX, wrote a blog abour Immigration and real estate. Lots of you commented on it, but I felt it was simply looking at what is indeed a complex issue, from just one side. The counter argument is needed if we are to have a ballanced view and so here we go. First a few things about me. I am a legal immigrant to this country. I arrived in November of 2001. I was actually planning to come in the Spring of 2002, but after 9/11 I felt it was important for me to make a (28 comments)
It's still all about Me'me! - 12/29/07 04:34 PM
I'm not sure I should use the word, but "thanks" to Alexander Harb who has me'me'd me! This is my second go around and you can read the first installment here - OK - so now I know what the heck a MEME is! I thought I'd expand on a few things from last time. I had wanted to be a journalist since I was 9-years-old. Very focused then and very focused now too. And please remember that I have always been successful at everything I have attempted. So I am living in Israel at the age of 16 because of health (18 comments)
What's YOUR ringtone? - 12/29/07 09:29 AM
I had a funny moment this morning. I was having one of those sleep in moments when you feel like you've been hit by a truck and then the noise started - but more of that in a moment. The other day my wife was out shopping and she heard this hysterical baby laughter. She and a lot of other shoppers were looking around for the baby when this woman nearby pulled out her cell phone and answered it. Yep - that was her ringtone! I have heard football anthems, favorite songs and for a while my son even had this real red (37 comments)
It all depends on how you look at it - 12/28/07 10:46 PM
There's a story today on MSN Real Estate By Prashant Gopal, of BusinessWeek. It highlights the ten worst cities in the nation in terms of real estate price declines. There are some in California, some in south Florida and even Sarasota (which was a surprise to me), Florida was in there. The interesting thing about this piece is that although it reported the cold hard numbers, it only looked at one side of them. So let's look at it for a moment shall we. The number one worst city in the nation is...... No. 1: Merced, Calif. Population: 245,658 Median home price: $317,000 One-year change: -13% OK - (18 comments)
This week's Home Team Radio Show - 12/22/07 04:42 PM
A very Merry Christmas from The Home Team Radio Show. We will be broadcasting live as usual this Sunday on 540 WFLA in Central Florida at 12 noon Eastern and worldwide at http://www.540wfla.com/ On this week's busy show we have a special guest - Nancy Riley, President of the Florida Association of Realtors - will be answering questions on property taxes and she will take calls from our listeners. In addition to that, we will be talking about why Marco rubio is backing a citizen led drive for an alternative property tax addendum. The President signed two documents this week - an extension of (6 comments)
Some good news for Christmas - and weird too, because it involves the Government getting something right for a change! In a move designed to HELP people who are having to choose between foreclosure and worse, the President yesterday signed a Bill that means the IRS will no longer be able to claim that a single penny of forgiven debt is in fact income and therefore taxable. "When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about," the President said in a bill-signing ceremony. He stood alongside members of his Cabinet and lawmakers who pushed the measure. As (19 comments)
Very Proud daddy this morning! - 12/22/07 10:22 AM
Yes I'm a very proud daddy this morning. My 16-year-old high school junior daughter just got her results from her first attempt at the SATs - and she ended up in the top 22% in the entire nation of all the kids who took it. That's the only Christmas present I need thank you very much and I felt the need to tell you all about it. In a world where it's apparently "OK" for the likes of Jamie-Lynn Spears to get pregnant by a 19-year-old pipe layer (really - you can't make this stuff up folks) - in fact so OK that (29 comments)
Can you guess which two States have the worst Mortgage write-off numbers? - 12/21/07 12:36 PM
The motor vehicle industry seems to be the root cause of the problem. These States have no population growth and therefore a low demand for housing (are you listening Florida?). They are....drum roll please....Michigan and Ohio rank No. 1 and 2 on mortgage finance company Fannie Mae's list of states with the largest credit losses through Sept. 30.Fannie Mae, which finances or guarantees one of every five home loans in the United States, listed losses - loans written off as having no chance of being recovered - of $185 million for Michigan and $101 million for Ohio, two states with strong ties (12 comments)
So to all the professionals on here this morning, how about something nice and non controversial. What did you buy your spouse for Christmas? Oh and to all the men - yes I know it's not Christmas Eve yet and you'll get around to shopping then, but what do you have planned? Clearly if your spouse has access to AR, then you probably shouldn't say... luckily for me, mine isn't quite sure how to turn a computer on yet! Anyway, this year I have made mine something. It has taken me six weeks and I have never done anything like this before. I (34 comments)
Insurance companies to be sued? - 12/20/07 11:20 PM
Back in January, the State of Florida passed a law that basically said if insurance companies bought their re-insurance from the State, then they had to pass on savings (around 24%) to policy holders. Essentially this has not happened and now Governor Charlie Crist has asked three trial lawyers to look at the whole thing and to see if the State has a case to sue the companies. He has been mad for months over the lack of progress on reducing Florida's insurance rates. "I'm frustrated with the fact that rates haven't come down more, and I'm concerned about the legality of (2 comments)
FAR President to answer questions - 12/20/07 07:11 PM
Florida Association of Realtors President Nancy Riley (pictured right) will be my guest on this week's Home Team Radio Show which broadcasts live to Central Florida at 12 noon Eastern each Sunday on 540 WFLA and worldwide at http://www.540wfla.com/ Nancy will be discussing Property Tax in the State of Florida with me and why for the second time FAR has thrown it's full weight (not to mention Realtor money) behind the latest version of the Amendment which has come from the Legislature. The last version was thrown off the ballot by a judge - and the newest version is also now under legal (7 comments)
How to deal with an Internet stalker! - 12/19/07 08:09 AM
I have an Internet stalker. I wasn't sure about it until today, but now I know for certain. The stalker takes the form of anonymous comments on assorted blogs of mine and e-mails from e-mail addresses I don't recognize. The person either knows me or has researched me because the comments and e-mails contain information that only would fit one of those two categories. It has been quite amusing to be honest and I'm not sure if I should be upset (which I'm not) or regard it as a compliment! So how do you deal with someone like this? Ignore them? Answer them? (21 comments)
California and Illinois launch investigations into Countrywide - 12/15/07 09:33 PM
The Attorney Generals in both California and Illinois have both launched investigations into the lending practices of Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender. At the heart of the investigations is why Countrywide lent money to people who quite simply could not make the payments on the loans they took out. "We're looking at why people who appear to us to not be able to afford the loans they're in are in these loans and how Countrywide contributed to that," said Deborah Hagan, chief of the attorney general's consumer protection division according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile Countrywide has said its loan production (5 comments)
Pending Home Sales UP again! - 12/15/07 08:34 PM
For the second month running pending home sales - the index of contracts signed - rose once more. Although still below the figures from 12 months ago, the month on month rise for the second time has got to be seen as good news. "The broad trend over the coming year will be a gradual rise in existing-home sales," says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "But because sales are exceptionally low in the final months of 2007, total sales for 2008 will be only modestly higher than 2007." A recovery for new-home sales is unlikely before 2009, he adds. Yun also said that (12 comments)
So who's money is this? - 12/15/07 07:26 PM
A very good question and one that ultimately the courts are going to have to decide. But I thought it would be fun this weekend to garner opinions from the professionals and see what your take is on this. A contractor found a large amount of cash in depression-era money in metal boxes hidden between the studs of a bathroom that he was renovating.Bob Kitts was working on the 100-year-old home which is owned by a high school friend, Amanda Reece, who was away.After he found the first box, Kitts called Reece and she rushed home. Together they found four more boxes full of cash. But (28 comments)
Share you Christmas with our Military - 12/15/07 04:06 PM
I was prompted to write this entry in my blog by Sharon Simms of St Pete, Florida who has just blogged about inviting someone over for Christmas You see at this time of year there are thousands of men and women who serve in our armed services who are hundreds if not thousands of miles from home and only have what the military is able to dish up. A good friend of mine and retired military himself told me that if I were to call the First Sergeant of my nearest military base and let them know that I had two seats at (12 comments)
One of the best homes for sale in the Mount Dora area - 12/11/07 04:58 PM
TWIN EAGLES top seven ft white columns at the top of the 900 ft drive that leads to this unique Southern Colonial Mansion. Standing on a huge lot with frontage to Lake Yale. Both 1st and 2nd floor Florida Rooms provide magnificent views of this water. I don't have enough space to tell you everything about this home so please call if you want more. Magnificent views of Lake Yale from almost every room in the house. You have a fully powered boat dock. You have TWO HUGE Florida rooms - both under air. You have a 16 zone irrigation system that uses (22 comments)
Realtors not up to the challenge! - 12/10/07 09:04 AM
So I did my radio show yesterday and frankly based on what has happened in these pages, I did a section on Open Houses. I was pretty strong about it too. "I want to talk about open houses and the fact that they don't work," I started. Pretty tough huh? I went on: "The second reason Open Houses are held is purely for the benefit of the Realtor. I want to make that very clear - they are for the benefit of the Realtor. T H E Y W I L L N O T S E L L Y O U R (51 comments)
This week's radio show - 12/08/07 11:03 PM
This week on the Home Team Radio Show we have a variety of stories to keep the listeners tuned in including but not limited to our look at Open Houses. If you have an agent in your home who suggests you hold an Open House, should you ask that person to leave? I'll give you my opinion. Obviously we'll be looking at the Government sponsored mortgage rescue scheme announced this week and we'll be telling you just who it will help and who it won't. Donald Trump joined forces with Governor Crist to promote the property tax amendment on the ballot. Not sure (4 comments)
What buyers need to know these days to get a loan - 12/08/07 10:51 PM
Lenders are getting far more picky about who they will and will not lend money to these days, but make no mistake - there is plenty of money out there - you just have to make sure you qualify. So, what are lenders using? It will come as no surprise to most of the readers of this blog that a FICO score is still top of the list - and of course with these scores coming from three distinct and separate agencies who don't share their information, scores can vary between one to the next by as much as 100 points. I thought (4 comments)
BIG Florida auction coming. 50% of value expected! - 12/08/07 07:33 PM
Well my assistant had a busy weekend - driving round checking on a number of properties that will be auctioned in the next two weeks - all for clients we have coming to town. A lot of these homes are expected to go for 50% of market value or less. The investor clients I have coming to town, plan on painting if necessary; cleaning up the yard; fixing what needs fixing; putting in the appliances and then re-selling them for 75% of market value. We have around 15 homes in our sights right now. IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN BEING A PART OF (6 comments)
Tax credits for energy improvements run out at the end of the year - 12/08/07 06:22 PM
This could be your last chance to take advantage of tax credits for energy efficient home improvements because they will run out on 12/31/2007. The US Department of Energy contains the complete list on its website - http://www.energy.gov/ In the meantime, here are some of the highlights. Up to $500 for insulation and exterior doors including storm doors. This is 10% of the product, not the labor.Up to $300 towards the full purchase price including installation of a central air conditioner, heat pump or water heater10% of the total cost of exterior windows, skylights and storm windows that carry the Government's ENERGY STAR labelUp (7 comments)
Chicken soup for real estate? - 12/08/07 09:12 AM
So as I stated in an earlier blog entry, I am currently enjoying a few days at the beach. This gives me the time to do what I usually don't have the time to do - READ! Quite a problem for a published author let me tell you. Anyway, one of the things I a reading that normally I NEVER read,, is this month's Realtor magazine. I've already discussed the unbelievable league table of most requested information - which lead to my blog post Are agents responsible for the state of their own markets? - but now I want to discuss something else (13 comments)
Are agents responsible for the state of their own markets? - 12/07/07 02:25 PM
I have been thinking a lot recently about why some agents buy and sell houses successfully and while others in exactly the same market do not. I will be blogging later today on another reason this might be true, but you see I came across something today In Realtor magazine that quite frankly blew me away. Right now I'm enjoying a few days away at the beach - Treasure Island to be exact. It's beautiful here right now. Around 84 degrees, hardly a white whispy cloud in the sky. The Gulf of Mexico is like glass - if a little cool. The hotel (4 comments)
This is truly the best home for sale in this exceptional community - it could be the best piece of Dr Phillips Real Estate out there! And Dr Phillips is perhaps the best overall area of Orlando. Don't forget to call me, Simon Conway, for the very best listings in South West Orlando. This is Custom built, professionally decorated, in incredible condition, perfectly priced and all in the best gated community in the Dr Phillips area. Gas fireplace in living room, central vacuum, large laundry room with built in ironing board. 18x17 Bonus room is being used as an office. Truly AMAZING (5 comments)
And YET another reason NOT to hold an Open House - 12/04/07 03:48 PM
With just a measly one per cent of homes selling due to Open House activity, it is almost unbelievable to me that Realtors still hold them and indeed still bow to pressure from sellers to hold them - as one person on this forum has said "to keep the peace". I have been contributing to my friend Dan Forbes' blog post - 100 Open Houses Held on One Day: The Results Are In; Freakin' Unbelievable! - while I was preparing my radio show and I came across this story which I featured on the air last Sunday. You see apart from the fact (43 comments)
This week on The Home Team Radio Show we will once again be revisiting property tax. With House Speaker Marco Rubio now actively campaigning for something other than the amendment he voted for AND a commission which meets every 20 years suggesting yet somethig else, this issue has never looked more complicated. We will be visiting insurance and learning nhow rates will be going up yet again - and a quiet hurricane season is partly to blame! As if all of that wasn't enough, we have stories on Americans still feeling buying a home is a great financial decision; an influx of foreign (8 comments)
It's time to take a few steps outside the back of your house, across the paver walkway surrounded by lush grass and you will find yourself on your own private boat dock. This Home Offers Everything You Could Ever Want Or Need! New Hurricane Safe SmartHome features structured wiring throughout, home audio, home theatre and expandable electronics ready. The is probably the best piece of Ormond Beach real estate out there right now and represents a tremendous bargain when you consider that it is priced at virtually the same rate as som lots in the same area. In fact, no details have been (6 comments)
Hurricane season is over - storms were named incorrectly - 12/01/07 10:57 PM
Now this seems innocent enough on face value right? A few of the seasons storms getting names when they really didn't actually deserve names? What could be wrong with that? Well simplistically, this is going to hit you in the pocket while at the same time making the forecasters not look quite as stupid as they actually are. You see for two years now we've been promised more active seasons with more bad storms and they simply haven't materialised. This year we were having storms get names even though they were referring to them as "sub-tropical" - I don't remember that happening before either. According (7 comments)
It's almost 11.30pm here in Orlando and I have just returned from having seen the first night of the Glenn Beck Christmas Tour. In fact, I was the Orlando sponsor of the event and I even had the opportunity to meet Glenn and to shake his hand - truly a great American. For your convenience, I have posted the rest of the tour dates and if one is coming near you then I urge you to get tickets. It was an amazing night filled with laughter but also filled with emotion as Glenn took us on a journey through his family - (10 comments)
Florida's property tax back in chaos - 12/01/07 10:43 AM
It is hard to believe after a promise from the Governor; a regular session of the legislature and TWO special sessions (as a cost to the Florida tax payer of $40,000 a day), but the property tax issue simply will not go away. The legislature finally agreed to put something incredibly weak on the ballot for January 29 which, if passed by the voters, will give the average Floridian a saving of $240. Since then we have the Speaker of the House (who voted for it) urging Citizens not to approve that, but to put pressure on to get something else. And now a (12 comments)
For the best information on Orlando and Central Florida real estate - especially Windermere, Dr Phillips and the rest of south west Orlando, this is the place to be. Here you will find information on Orlando and Windermere homes for sale and general real estate information.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.