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Debra Wellins

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Bill Passed that Caps Estoppel Certificate Fees

Debra Wellins HB 483/SB 398, which caps estoppel certificate fees, was just passed by the Florida Legislature! As many of you know, this is a long-standing issue that those in the real estate industry have been working on for several years, and its passage represents a big win for homeowners and Realtors across the state. This bill caps the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. An additional $100 can... Continue Reading >

Are you an UHNW Individual?

Debra Wellins Who are they and do they want? For starters, these uber rich folks have at least $30 million in assets. They are ultra-high net worth indivuduals (UHNW) who buy the finest wines, watches, cars, yachts, jewelry and real esatate. In seeking safe investment diversification, they purchase second homes in foreign countries to gain citizenship or residency status. Acccording to a recent study, there are 211,275 UHNW individuals worldwide who collectively hold nearly $3 trillion (U.S dollars) in real estate assets.  Roughly 10 percent of their net worth is invested in real... Continue Reading >

Breaking News: Zillow Agrees to Acquire Trulia

Debra Wellins Trulia has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Zillow.  The agreement stipulates a 3.5 billion stock-for stock transaction approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is expected to close in 2015. Both companies will operate as separate and distinct brands.  At closing, Trulia CEO Pete Flint will remain as CEO of Trulia but report to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.  Rascoff and an additional member of Trulia's Board will also join Zillow's board, which will oversee the combined... Continue Reading >

Wall Street Has Gone into the Rental-Home Business

Debra Wellins The rental business is going corporate.  Rent checks from tenants are being bundled and sold as securities on Wall Street. The sale this month by Blackstone Group, one of the biggest corporate owners of Florida homes,  is a strong indicator that Wall Street investors are counting on tenants paying their rents on time. Won't be much forgiveness by your landlord anymore.  No one to cry to except a call center, maybe in India. Here's What Went Down Blackstone sold $749 million worth of bonds... Continue Reading >

Dog Parks Can Increase Home Values

Debra Wellins As a professional realtor, I spend a lot of time talking with people about what they want in a neighborhood. Parks, in general, increase a property tax base from increased property values. Economists call this “hedonic value”.  People preferentially want to buy homes in neighborhoods with beautiful parks and will spend more money to live in those communities. The preponderance of studies indicate that excellent parks can add as much as 15% to the value of a home depending on its... Continue Reading >

Gloves are on in the Match to Head the Fed

Debra Wellins Summers v Yellen is the match-up of the year.  Who will land the knock out punch to claim victory as head of the Federal Rerserve, the most powerful economic job in the world? Of the front-runners, who will President Obama choose? In this corner: Larry Summers, 58, (Harvard Ph.D.) the formidable, confident, aggressive and brilliant economist and former President of Harvard University. As you  may recall, Mr. Summers was forced to step down as president of Harvard after a faux pas provoked a... Continue Reading >

Investors Smothering Individual Home Buyers

Big investors are killing the market for individual home buyers whose dreams of building wealth through home ownership is dying.  My investors are thrilled.  But, my first-time home buyers can't compete for the same properties with the hedge funds, Wall Street investors and cash cows chewing up the little bit of grass that's available.  The ability of investors to make cash deals is enabling them to purchase as much as 70 percent of sales in some Florida markets.  Good article on the subject in The Washington Posts with Bloomberg. Continue Reading >

Do NOT Wait to Upsize – Here’s Why

Debra Wellins If you are considering selling a house to purchase a larger, more expensive home, waiting a year or two will likely mean a higher sales price as well as a higher purchase price.   So why move up now, you ask? The Numbers Don't Lie... If you look at the dollars and cents, a $200,000 home that appreciates 10 percent in one year, would net a home seller an extra $20,000.  By the same standard, a buyer that wants to upgrade to a new... Continue Reading >

New Credit Criteria May Help Buyers and Renters

Debra Wellins A new credit scoring system will potentially offer credit applicants a boost in their rating and help establish credit for people who previously had little to no credit history. The three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion, will begin using the latest version of the VantageScore, the credit score they created.  According to John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for SmartCredit.com, under the current system, if a debt goes into collections, even if it is paid off, it affects the... Continue Reading >

Five Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

Debra Wellins Do you have a FICO credit score under 620 points? If you do, you are probably making significantly higher payments for your auto loan, student loan interest charges, mortgage, credit cards and even auto and life insurance.  Insurance rates are tied, in part, to your credit rating.   Here's the breakdown on what a credit score is based on, according to CNN Money: 35% on payment history. 30%  on the amount of outstanding debt. 15% on the length of time that you 've had credit. 10% on the mix of credit in a credit file. 10% on inquiries or new applications for credit. Boost Your Score... Continue Reading >

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