What is happening with the Interest Rates in Florida?

If you are a Florida homeowner, you’re probably wondering what is happening with interest rates. This hike was the Federal Reserve’s latest attempt to combat skyrocketing inflation. But many are wondering how this move will impact the housing market. The truth is that moderately priced homes will probably not be affected as much as higher-priced homes. In the meantime, the rates will increase enough to make buying a home difficult, and even more difficult if the mortgage is more expensive than the current rate.

The average interest rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage in the U.S. reached 5.53% this week, more than double its level from a year ago. Demand for properties tends to soften as mortgage rates climb, eventually leading to a decline in home prices. If mortgage rates continue rising to 7%, home prices in some parts of the U.S. could fall as much as 40%. Sellers in Florida are already starting to lower their prices because of climbing mortgage rates, although it will take a few months. This summer might be the most opportune time for homebuyers.

The good news is that mortgage interest rates in Florida are still lower than the national average. Despite this lower interest rate, home prices, monthly ownership costs, and cost of living metrics in Florida are all comparable to those in other states. That doesn’t mean that buying a home in Florida is any cheaper than elsewhere, but it’s certainly cheaper than many other places. For sun lovers, buying a home in Florida is an excellent option.

Higher mortgage rates add thousands of extra dollars in payments to the homebuyer over the life of the loan. A $429,000 house the median price of a home, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, will cost roughly an additional $5,750 per year at today’s rates.

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the interest rates in Florida, you may be wondering how you can get the best deal. As long as you’re paying the right price for the home, interest rates will likely remain relatively steady in the short term. You can also take advantage by refinancing your current loan. But if you’re looking to buy a house in Florida, you’ll probably need to get the right type of mortgage for your needs.

If you’re looking for the best mortgage rate in Florida, be sure to shop around. While you can lock in your interest rate for 30 years, consider a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. It will provide you with fixed monthly payments for a much longer period of time.

While the interest rates in Florida are lower than the national average, home prices, monthly ownership costs, and other cost-of-living metrics are all at par with the national average. While buying a home in Florida may not be as cheap as buying a home in other states, it is a great option for sun worshippers. If you’re looking for a home in Florida, it’s definitely time to shop around.

In addition to the still lower interest rates, you can also take advantage of housing assistance programs in the Sunshine State. The Florida Housing Department offers various government-backed loan programs and a 0% interest rate loan for closing costs. This loan doesn’t have to be paid back until you sell the house. Aside from the down payment and closing cost assistance, you’ll also be gaining a stake in the state’s booming housing market.

Interest rates in Florida follow national trends. In May, 30-year fixed-rate loans averaged 4.25%. This rate fell to 4.25% in July, August, and September, indicating that the current market is experiencing a downward trend. However, many lenders still offer attractive rates, so it is worth researching your options. Here are the most recent mortgage rates in Florida and where you can find them. You may also be surprised to learn that these rates are still significantly lower than the national averages.

Fortunately, a recent Florida legislative change is helping judgment debtors. A recent change to state law has made interest rates in Florida more predictable. The statutory interest rate is no longer based on the interest rates in effect on the day the judgment was entered. The state legislature attempted to limit interest rates in Florida by setting a ceiling for judgment interest rates and providing a uniform number for some limited situations. These new laws may help judgment debtors in Florida, but only time will tell.

While credit is an important financial tool, it also requires discipline, responsibility, and the right approach to avoid damaging your credit and incurring fines. To get started with credit lines in Florida, contact your local bank.

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How To Extend Your COVID-19 Mortgage Forbearance

If you received a mortgage forbearance due to COVID-19, your payment suspension could be about to expire. If so, you must request an extension before the initial forbearance agreement expires. It’s important to know that a forbearance extension through CARES isn’t guaranteed. The CARES Act [aka] Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
was signed into law on March 27th of 2020. If you aren’t sure, contact an experienced Orlando Realtor to assist you.

The act granted homeowners who were financially affected by the coronavirus a 6-month temporary suspension with no penalties. That means the first forbearance agreements began to expire at the end of October 2020.

The CARE Act also allowed for a 180 forbearance extension… as long as the homeowner requests before the initial agreement expires.

MAIN POINTS

  • The CARES Act provides up to 360 days of mortgage payment forbearance for homeowners with a federally backed loan.
  • The initial forbearance can be for up to 6 months with one 6 month extension.
  • You must request the initial forbearance from your bank as well as the extension. Neither one is automatic.
  • To apply for an initial forbearance or an extension, contact your lender.
  • Typically, forbearance freezes delinquency, which also stops foreclosure.
  • Most lenders offer COVID-19 related forbearance. For private lenders rules and conditions vary.

What Loans Qualify for Forbearance Under the CARES Act?

The CARES Act forbearance applies to mortgages backed by the federal government:

  • Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration
  • Loans insured under section 255 of the National Housing Act.
  • Loans insured under section 184 or 184A of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992.
  • Loans insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Loans insured or made by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Loans insured by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporations (Freddie Mac) or (Fannie Mae)

Apply For Your Extension Through Your Lender

If your loan forbearance is about to expire and you still can’t make the payments, contact your lender immediately. Check your mortgage statement for the contact information of your mortgage servicer.

Your lender should notify you before the expiration of your current forbearance. Don’t take a chance! If you’re not sure when your current forbearance expires then call your servicer to tell them you need an extension. If you’re unsure or need some help, feel free to contact us at https://orlandorealtyconsultants.com/ for immediate assistance.

Before you contact the lender, visit their website for any mortgage relief options available.

The CARES Act only requires that you request an extension and by law… you shall receive one.

Get It In Writing!

Although the law doesn’t require your forbearance request to be written, it’s a good idea to ask your lender for documentation detailing the terms of your agreement.

Things to keep in mind:

  • To get the extension, you don’t need to submit additional documentation. Only your claim to have a coronavirus-related financial hardship will be required.
  • During the time of your forbearance, additional fees, penalties, or interest will be waved.
  • You have the option to shorten the forbearance and continue to make payments at any time. Let your lender know of the change.

If you still haven’t asked for your mortgage forbearance, don’t worry… you may still be able to as long as the emergency declaration is still in effect. You can check with your local Orlando real estate agent to get informed.

What About Private Lender Forbearance Agreements?

If you have a mortgage through a private lender you’ll have to contact them and see what they’re offering. Because your lender will have their own set of terms and conditions, you’ll need to pay close attention to the fine print. For example, some private lenders may want you to pay a balloon payment for missed payments and interest.

During Your Forbearance

During the time of your Forbearance, while preparing for life after your forbearance expires, there are a few things you should be doing…

  • Maintain copies of ALL written documents pertaining to your forbearance agreement.
  • Check your monthly mortgage statements carefully to make sure there are no mistakes.
  • Pause auto-payments for your mortgage during your forbearance.
  • Carefully monitor your credit report for any errors and make sure your lender is reporting your status correctly
  • Prior to your forbearance expiring, be sure to have a plan in place with your lender for you to repay what you owe.

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Florida Foreclosure Process

Going through a Florida foreclosure is not a pleasant experience. On top of that, you can get overwhelmed with dealing with the foreclosure process. There are legal timelines you must be aware of like court hearings and possibly eviction if you can’t stop the foreclosure.

These are the questions most commonly asked by homeowners struggling with foreclosure:

  • What’s the foreclosure process in Florida?
  • How much time does the FL foreclosure process take?
  • How long before they evict someone after a foreclosure?
  • Can I stop a Foreclosure in Florida?
  • Is FL a foreclosure redemption state?

Generally, a Florida foreclosure can be avoided if you know what you’re doing. In this post we’ll be discussing the foreclosure process in Florida and what you can do to stop foreclosure.

Foreclosure is a legal process where the mortgage lender of the home takes action to repossess the home or sell it at a public auction to the highest bidder. Once the foreclosure has been complete, the new owner or the bank has the right to evict anyone living there. 

Florida Judicial Foreclosure

That’s a fancy way of saying the courts decide the case. A Florida foreclosure must go through the courts and abide by timelines issued by the judge assigned to the case.

FL Lien Theory

In Florida, you own your property with a mortgage note. The deed is in your name and so is the debt attached to the home.

When the bank gave you a mortgage, they also filed a lien on the home. This is a recorded official document outlining the amount owed and your promise to pay them back. On the lien, the buyer is named as the owner of the deed and title to the property.

In some other states, the bank owns the home until the mortgage is paid in full.

Florida Foreclosure Law

If you find yourself struggling with foreclosure then knowledge is your best friend. Understanding the foreclosure laws in Florida will help you to make good decisions moving forward.

If you already have a foreclosure sale date you need to hire a foreclosure attorney to try and delay the proceedings.

Do you need help selling a foreclosure property in Florida?

The Phases of Florida Foreclosure

  • Pre-foreclosure
  • Foreclosure lawsuit
  • After the foreclosure sale

The thought of losing your home can be terrifying but it’s far worse if you don’t know how long it takes. Knowing how much time you have will help you when making a plan of action to stop the foreclosure.

Pre-Foreclosure: The amount of time from missing a mortgage payment until the bank files a lawsuit. Pre-foreclosure begins as soon as you miss your first mortgage payment. A Florida pre-foreclosure lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on the lender and the situation. You can extend or even stall pre-foreclosure by working with your lender on alternatives to foreclosure.

Pre-foreclosure is the perfect time to explore your options. If your home has no equity you may be a good candidate for a short sale. If you want to keep your home, you can ask about a loan modification. Another option if the home has equity is selling to a cash buyer.

What Happens When You Start Missing Payments?

Most lenders in Florida allow a 15-day grace period after missing a mortgage payment. Once the grace period is over, you will probably incur a late fee. At 30 days past due the bank may report you to the credit bureaus. After 30 days your lender will start reaching out more frequently. This is a good opportunity, to be honest with your lender and start a dialogue about your situation.

By the time you are 45 days late on your payment, you will be referred to the loss mitigation dept where a rep will be assigned to you.

Foreclosure Lawsuit

A foreclosure lawsuit in Florida begins with the bank filing a Summons, Complaint, and finally a Lis Pendens. A “Summons” is a legal notice of the foreclosure lawsuit and it orders you to appear before a judge at a certain time and day. You will also have 20 days to file your response.

The Complaint

The complaint puts in motion the legal and factual basis for the lawsuit. A foreclosure complaint describes the terms of the mortgage or promissory note, property being foreclosed on, the amount due, etc. Complaints will also specify the relief sought after by the lender.

The Lis Pendens

A “Lis Pendens” is a written notice that states the foreclosure lawsuit has been filed against your home. The purpose of this is to inform the public there is a lawsuit against the property. Banks are required to file and record the Lis Pendens with the local county in FL.

A Lis Pendens can be several pages long and must include: names of the parties involved, filing date of the lawsuit, property description, and relief being sought.

The Service of Summons and Complaint

Once the Lis Pendens has been filed, the bank must “serve” you with the complaint, summons, and Lis Pendens regarding the foreclosure lawsuit. This is usually done by mail or by a process server.

Responding to the Summons

Once you’ve received the summons and complaint, you have 20 days to file a response. You must file a response before the 20 days run out. If not, the judge may decide to fast-track the foreclosure sale date.  For example: “I’m currently working with my lender to do a short sale on my home, please allow me some time to do this so I can avoid foreclosure”

Once you’ve filed your answer, the judge may just put it to the bottom of his stack or set a date for a “Preliminary Hearing”.

The Preliminary Hearing

If by this time you still haven’t found an alternative to foreclosure, the process continues with a preliminary hearing. In the preliminary hearing, you tell the court what your plan is to avoid the foreclosure and the judge decides what happens next. If the judge sees that you’re being proactive by pursuing an alternative to foreclosure with the bank, you may be granted more time.

If you haven’t taken any action to correct the situation then the judge will probably set a foreclosure sale date.

Summary Judgment Hearing

In this hearing, the lender will present their case to the judge to rule in their favor. This is based on only the non-disputed facts so if something is wrong, this is the time to speak up. You have the chance to offer up any proof of why the foreclosure shouldn’t move forward.

Your lender might include the financial damages including mortgage balance and interest as part of a summary judgment motion.

Foreclosure Sale Date

The county court may set a foreclosure sale date after the entry of the summary judgment. At that time, it will be sold to the highest bidder or required by the bank to list as an REO property. Whoever the new owner is at this point will have the option to evict anyone living in the home.

Alternatives to Florida Foreclosure

If you want to sell the property to avoid foreclosure and walk away then doing a short sale may be the way to go. A short sale is when the bank allows you to sell the home for what it’s worth and not what it owes. So if you owe more than the home is worth, requesting a short sale is a great option.

Applying for a Short Sale

If you decide on a short sale, you’ll need to submit a complete short sale package. The short sale package generally consists of your financial information like pay stubs and bank statements, proof of hardship, letter explaining your situation. The lender will usually request 30 days for a short sale review.

Hiring Short Sale Realtor

If you wish to pursue a short sale on your property then you need a short sale agent. This is a real estate agent that specializes in short sales. A short sale is a much more complex process than a normal listing which is why most agents shy away from short sales. An experienced short-sale agent can step into your shoes and deal with the lender on your behalf.

Hiring the wrong Realtor can mean the difference between selling your house and being foreclosed on.

A short sale agent can also help you with:

  • Advising you on most current loss mitigation programs available
  • Completing and submitting the short sale package properly
  • Provide you with updates on your short sale review
  • Keep you up-to-date on court hearings and timelines

Loan Modification

A loan modification is when your lender adjusts the terms of your mortgage by reducing the payment making it more affordable to you. If you want to stay in your home and can afford a slightly lower payment, then this may be a good 1st option.

Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

The transferring of ownership back to the bank instead of a foreclosure.

Filing For Bankruptcy

Courts issue an “automatic stay” on creditors (consult with your local bankruptcy attorney)

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The Difference Between Contingent and Pending

At last… you found your dream home! It’s everything you were looking for in a new home! It’s the perfect size with a big yard in a fantastic location… everything you wanted!

Wait… there’s a small sign that says “pending” on the for sale sign. Oh no!… does this mean that your dreams of owning this house are crushed?

It’s possible… but you might still have a chance.

Orlando real estate deals fall through every day for one reason or another. So as Lenny Kravitz would say… “It ain’t over till it’s over”.

If you’ve been looking at real estate listings, you’ve noticed there are a few different statuses. In this post we’ll be comparing contingent vs pending, so you’ll know exactly what they mean to you as the buyer. So, the question is… Can you still make an offer on a home under these conditions and what are your chances?

A Real Estate Contingency

Once a property goes under contract, the seller and buyer have made a promise to go through with the sale. For instance, If a house goes under contract, the seller can’t accept any other offers or sign another contract. The seller has to adhere to the terms of the contract. Typically, a buyer puts down an earnest money deposit to show that they’re serious. If they walk away from the deal for no reason, the seller gets to keep the deposit.
So what if something happens during the process that makes one of the parties want to walk from the deal?

It’s exactly for this reason that real estate contingencies exist. Both seller and buyer are free to add contingencies to any real estate contract. A contingency means the sale of the home is contingent on a specific condition. If that condition isn’t fulfilled, the buyer or seller isn’t obligated to continue with the sale.

What Are Some Common Contingencies?

  • Home Inspection- Buyers hardly ever request a home inspection before submitting an offer. That’s why the most common contingency is the home inspection contingency. So what if something negative comes up in the inspection report? Either the parties will negotiate the repairs or cost of repairs and adjust the price. If the issues are bigger than the buyer wants to handle, they can walk away from the deal and get their deposit back… all thanks to the inspection contingency.
  • Appraisal- An appraisal is always a nerve-wracking part of a real estate transaction. The buyer’s mortgage company orders an appraisal to know the true value of the home. They want to make sure if the buyer defaults, they can retake possession of it and recover their investment. The appraisal is generally based on the market value of a home. The appraiser should make adjustments depending on upgrades and needed repairs. If the home doesn’t appraise for the contract price then the lender will deny the loan. In this scenario, the buyer can walk and collect their deposit.
  • Financing Contingency- Also designed to protect the buyer is the financing contingency. Besides the appraisal, there are a few other reasons the lender may deny a loan. For whatever reason… if the lender denies the loan, the buyer is free from the contract and can collect their deposit.
  • Home Sale Contingency- A buyer can have a contingency that allows them to sell their current home before buying. Buyers usually do this if they need the money from that sale for the down payment of the new home.

What Does Pending Mean?

Once all the contingencies of the contract are met, the listing status changes to pending. A pending listing is no longer considered to be an active listing. It means the sale hasn’t closed yet but is scheduled to.
Although, this doesn’t necessarily mean buyers can’t make an offer…

Pending — Accepting Backups
This means the seller is taking backup offers in case the one they have falls through. It’s important to note the seller can’t accept any other offer until the first one falls apart. Buyers can have their real estate agent follow up to see how it played out.

Short Sale

A short sale is a condition when a home is being sold at an amount less than what is currently owed on the mortgage. In a short sale scenario, the lender has the final say whether an offer gets accepted or not. Every offer has to be approved by the lender before getting accepted.

You should know going in that short sales are anything but short. Most banks are slow to respond. If you need to buy a house fast then short sales are not for you (especially as a backup buyer). However, if you’re in a position where you can wait a month or two…or three to buy, then you could end up with a great deal… if the previous buyer falls through.

Real Estate Terms: Contingent vs Pending

You should now understand the difference between contingent vs pending status on a listing. I hope these real estate statuses are less confusing to you when the time comes.


If you like a home, go ahead and put an offer on it… even if it’s pending. Orlando real estate deals fall through all the time and you might just get lucky! You’ll never know if you don’t try.


If you still have questions regarding this post or anything else related to real estate contact me today! I’m happy to help!

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Orlando Homeowners Get A Lifeline

I’ve been a real estate broker in Orlando for the past 16 years and in that time I’ve never seen the economy come to a screeching halt like this before. Not even when the market crashed back in 2008 and the market was suddenly flooded with Orlando short sale properties that weren’t selling.

This pandemic is a different kind of disaster that has nothing to do with unethical mortgage companies or homeowners living well above their means. This is a situation that took us all by surprise and is out of our control as homeowners. Luckily, there is help out there for homeowners who are currently in financial trouble.

Orlando homeowners who’ve lost their job because of COVID-19 are getting some help with their mortgage. Depending on the situation they’re in, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments suspended or reduced for anywhere between 3 and 12 months.

Our Federal directors, with the help of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are instructing lenders to help homeowners out by offering flexibility. This would cover about 50% of all the home loans in the U.S. [loans that are guaranteed by Freddie and Fannie]. Regulators believe, however, that the mortgage industry adopts a similar policy with their customers.

Under this new plan, homeowners who lost their income could qualify for reduced payments or a pause to the payments altogether. This forbearance can be for up to 12 months depending on the homeowner’s situation.

Homeowners should not just stop paying their mortgage without contacting their mortgage company. Doing this will surely damage their credit. Their lender will work with them to at least suspend 3 months of payments right off the bat without any penalties and without reporting it to any credit bureau. They will do this with verbal testimony without any supporting documentation because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Within the 3 months, they should work with you to come up with a payment plan and may ask you for some proof of hardship to determine what your best options would be to get back on track.

COVID-19 mortgage help is not FREE MONEY!

You must know that help with your mortgage due to COVID-19 doesn’t mean free money. All homeowners will have to work out a repayment plan once they are back on track financially. This could also be simply extending the term of the loan.

Some may even have to repay the entire amount when the 90 days are up, depending on the banks’ criteria as well as the homeowner’s financial situation.

I believe this was a great 1st step by lenders. Could you imagine the mass panic throughout the US if, all of a sudden, homeowners couldn’t continue to make payments and all the lenders began foreclosure proceedings?!

There’s already enough stress about trying to not get the virus and keeping our loved ones safe and healthy that people should not have to worry about losing their homes.

Contact your mortgage lender

Homeowners needing help should reach out to their servicer immediately and find out what their options are. Explain to them that you are having financial problems because of the virus outbreak and request to be put into a forbearance program.

Some of the largest mortgage lenders in the country, like Wells Fargo and Chase, are also working to help homeowners who have been financially hurt by the coronavirus. These lenders have the responsibility to follow through on what our government directed them to do.

Mortgage companies have also been told to pause all foreclosure proceedings as well, although anyone in foreclosure right now would have had to be in trouble before the coronavirus even started spreading in the U.S. I believe this was more of a public health move than anything else.

Can a mortgage forbearance end up as a short sale?

Once a mortgage forbearance agreement has come to an end, there is still a chance that you don’t like the terms, or you still can’t afford what they’re offering. In this case, traditional loss mitigation procedures may resume. At this point, the usual options will be available to you like a short sale, loan modification, or a deed in lieu. Homeowners may feel that one of these options will benefit them more than agreeing to the terms they have laid out for you in the forbearance program.

Help for renters

These plans by mortgage companies don’t do anything to help renters. Renters, however, can apply for rental assistance through state and federally funded rental assistance programs. I would also suggest reaching out to your landlord and maintaining open lines of communication.

Landlords feeling the pain

Keep in mind, landlords are suffering as much and even more right now. Mortgage forbearance programs are designed for people’s homestead properties and not investment homes. Imagine you have 10 rental properties, 10 mortgages to pay… then, all of a sudden, you stop receiving 10 rental checks all at once!  

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