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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What Should You Look For In A Real Estate Agent?


Selling or buying a home can be challenging and will also be one of the biggest financial decisions of your lifetime. Finding the right real estate agent that has the experience for what you need is crucial.

Having a good real estate agent in your corner will is important whether you’re buying or selling. In the state of Florida alone there are almost 300,000 active real estate agents.

Everywhere you look there are advertisements for real estate agents; billboards, bus stop benches, radio ads, etc… So how do you choose the best one for you? Follow these steps on hiring the perfect real estate agent for your needs.

Tips On Finding A Real Estate Agent

Speak To A Lender Before Hiring An Agent

One of the biggest mistakes a potential home buyer makes is to start looking for homes without knowing how much they can afford to pay for a home. There’s nothing more disheartening to fall in love with a home only to find out that you can’t afford it.

By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll know exactly how much home you can afford as well as address any issues with your credit if needed well ahead of time. Having your pre-approval letter ready will also show potential buyers’ agents and sellers that you are serious about buying. When you’re in a competitive market, sellers may not even consider an offer without a pre-approval letter from a lender.

Get Recommendations

A good way to start on your agent search is by asking friends and family members if they can recommend a real estate agent they’ve had a good experience with. You should hire an agent that specializes in whatever your real estate goals are. For example; If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you should hire an agent that specializes in first-time homebuyers as opposed to an agent that works with investment properties or short sales.

It’s also a good idea to hire an agent who is a Realtor. This means they are a member of the National Association of Realtors aka [NAR] and are held to a higher standard as specified in the organization’s code of ethics. Many Realtors hold special certifications to demonstrate they’ve completed training in specific areas of real estate. These are some of the designations:

CDPE [Certified Distressed Property Expert]: Completed specialized training in short sales and foreclosure prevention. CRS [Certified Residential Specialist]: Completed special training in working with buyers of residential real estate. ABR [Accredited Buyer’s Representative]: Trained in representing buyers in transactions.
SRES [Seniors Real Estate Specialist]: trained in helping buyers and sellers aged 50 and over.

Research Potential Agents

Always begin with online research. Start by checking their website and any social media accounts they may have. You should be able to find reviews, current listing information and get an overall feel for the person through their online presence. If they have no online presence then move on to the next candidate.

Interview 3 Real Estate Agents… at Least

Remember, you’re going to be communicating with this person for the next several weeks or even months until you’ve accomplished your real estate goals. An “in-person” interview will be a chance for you to get a feel for the agent’s experience and style. You want to work with an agent who understands what you’re looking to accomplish and be very familiar with the area you’re buying or selling in.

This is also a chance for you to see firsthand how professional they are. The more effort they put into a presentation for you is a good indication of the effort they’ll put in when they’re working for you. Interviews are also a great way for you to establish a preferred way of communication moving forward whether it be texting email or phone calls.

Ask For References

When you’re interviewing potential real estate agents, request to see their references. Ask the agent to

provide the information on any homes they’ve recently sold [in the past year]. You should also ask them to provide the contact information from any of their recent clients. Be sure to call those clients and find out what their overall experience was with the agent…Ask them if they would work with the agent again.

Trust Your Gut

Once you’ve followed the tips on finding the best agent, you still might have to choose between 2 or 3 of them. At this point, you should go with your gut. Remember, you’ll be in constant communication with this person so you should feel comfortable around them and be able to tell them everything.

It’s kind of like dating… sometimes it comes down to the chemistry… or lack of chemistry. If you have an agent and everything checks out, but you’re still not feeling the vibe, don’t hire them. Keep looking until you find the right fit for you, it will be worth the extra effort.

Read The Contract Carefully

Your contract should spell out all the terms to which you have agreed… including the commission. Typically, the seller pays all of the commission which is usually about 5-6% to be split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. You should also pay close attention to the length of the contract. If your home hasn’t sold in 6 months or you haven’t found a house to buy in that time, then you’ll probably want to find a new real estate agent.

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Short Sales In Orlando Still Rank Near The Top In U.S.

Although short sales in Orlando have dwindled in recent years, Central Florida still ranks as one of the top regions in the US having the most short sale listings.

Ironically, “short sales” can take a very long time to complete. These are homes in which the bank is willing to entertain a lower amount than what’s owed on the mortgage, in order to recoup most of their money.

More than 1 in every ten homes that were sold in the Orlando area in the last quarter of 2016 area was a short sale listing. The only other areas that had a higher short sale rate in the state of Florida were Fort Myers and Lakeland.

When short sales first became popular after the market crash of 2007, banks were willing to accept a much bigger loss than is the case today. This meant that investors and rehabbers like me were enjoying much larger profits than is the case with short sales today.

These days banks want as close to full market value as they can get. Many times these listings only make sense if you plan on moving into the house and making repairs yourself.

As an Orlando real estate investor, I make several offers on short sale listings every week most of which get denied for being too low. When buying a property as an investment home to resale you have to consider all the costs involved like repairs, closing costs, marketing, staging, etc. After doing the math, I can tell you that most short sale listings right now in Orlando are way… way overpriced for investors to make any money on them.

Certified distressed Property Expert

Banks are realizing that if they just let the home go to foreclosure, they can sell it for closer to market value instead of accepting a low-ball offer from an investor. Orlando short sales are ending up being auctioned off online auction these days more than ever. This strategy also allows these lenders to expose their property to anyone in the world with a computer.

Orlando’s continued distinction for short sales is a clear indication of how depressed this area’s housing market was just a few short years ago. At that time, there were more Orlando short sales and foreclosures than there were traditional sales. It has taken several years to push these distressed Orlando properties out of the pipeline.

Now that market conditions have been steadily improving, more homeowners are able to sell their homes at a profit. And for homeowners that are a bit underwater are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that will allow them to hang in there instead of having to come up with the difference at the closing.

For homeowners that are deeply underwater that are still at risk of losing their home to foreclosure, a short sale is still their preferred alternative because it does a lot less damage to the homeowner’s credit. They can also walk away with less debt and even come away with a few thousand bucks in their pocket for relocation costs.

I can tell you from experience as an Orlando Realtor and investor that short sales are no longer the deals they once were. Banks are being harder negotiators than ever and if they don’t get their number, they have no problem foreclosing.

Buyers who want to use the home as their primary residence and are willing to pay close to market value can still get a slight discount buying an Orlando short sale. However, for most retail buyers when they hear the word “short sale”, they usually pass because they know that short sale lenders can take a long time to respond and there’s never a guarantee that they will accept your offer.

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