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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

The season has begun! And before we get too caught up in the excitement of the holidays, I want to pause a moment to offer a simple thank you. Your confidence, ongoing encouragement and new friendships enrich us all and help us appreciate our own many blessings. We are truly grateful for your continued support.

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day,

Your Title Security Team

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What’s Up With Housing?

Give Thanks


The high-end real estate market isn’t just mansions in Miami – a number of multimillion-dollar horse farms with vast acreage have hit the market lately.
Info on the current state of the market, how expectations regarding market and company performance changes in 2017, long and near-term strategies, and which industry trends are rising and waning.
It’s not just a new lid on MID that may impact demand for for-sale real estate. Fewer may also qualify for a mortgage. Doubling the standard deduction might go far to improving many households’ net financial gain, but will that be enough to offset the deductability not only of interest on the mortgage, but property taxes as well as state and local tax?  
Pinellas County Home SalesHurricane Irma Hurt Some Tampa Bay Home Sales Even in October.
According to figures released by Florida Realtors​, sales of single family homes in Pinellas dropped 3.7 percent in October from the same month a year ago. That was not nearly as bad as September’s 25 percent plunge but it reflects the lingering effects of Irma.
The most attractive features of an apartment unit to renters turn out to be good management, good cell phone reception and a rent that feels reasonable.

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Everything You May Have Wanted To Know About TRID, But Forgot To Ask

TRIDIn October 2015, the real estate industry had a new rule to deal with. The anticipation for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’S) TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, or TRID, was weighty, and nobody knew what to expect. Would the CFPB delay implementation? (Yes, as it turned out.) Would the new rules cause closing delays? (Jury’s still out.)

Thank you Inman News’ Amy Swinderman for this explanation…

Where did TRID come from, why was it necessary, what is its purpose and how effective has it been? Read everything you ever wanted to know about TRID.

What is the TRID/Know Before You Owe rule?

The rule’s formal name as proposed by the CFPB is the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule. Although the industries affected by the rule quickly adopted the acronym “TRID,” the CFPB has since stated that it prefers to call the rule the “Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative.”

Whatever you choose to call it, the rule is “designed to empower consumers with the information they need to make informed mortgage choices,” according to the CFPB. TRID replaces four borrower disclosure forms with two new ones, the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure, and it requires creditors to give consumers three business days to review the Closing Disclosure and ask questions before the loan closes.

The CFPB hoped that by implementing TRID, consumers would be encouraged to comparison shop for mortgages, and the rule would make it easier for them to compare and contrast their loan options.

Wait, back up — what is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?

What does the CFPB do?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an independent U.S. government agency charged with overseeing consumer protection in the financial sector.

The CFPB has publicly said that it considers itself to be “a cop on the beat to patrol the consumer financial services markets.” The bureau acts as a watchdog over a wide range of other consumer financial products and services, including mortgage loans, credit cards, student loans, automobile loans, payday loans and debt collection.

It writes rules and regulations, enforces federal consumer financial protection laws, supervises financial services companies, fields consumer complaints, promotes financial education, researches consumer behavior and restricts unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

What is its origin story?

The agency traces its roots back to 2007, when then Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren — now Massachusetts senator — first proposed it in response to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and recession (and real estate market crash).

The CFPB’s creation was authorized by Congress’ passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. The bureau formally opened the doors to its Washington, D.C., offices on July 21, 2011, with former Ohio Attorney General and Ohio State Treasurer Richard Cordray serving as director.

But if Elizabeth Warren proposed it, why isn’t she the director?

Although Warren proposed and established the CFPB, she was controversially removed for consideration from the director nomination when officials in President Barack Obama’s administration voiced concerns that she would not be able to “overcome strong Republican opposition” to the bureau’s intent and activities.

How does the CFPB relate to housing?

One of the CFPB’s biggest priorities is to make the mortgage marketplace safer and more accessible to Americans. The bureau inherited the regulatory authority over the mortgage and housing industries from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including oversight of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA).

Any investigations initiated by HUD but not completed before it was absorbed by the CFPB were transferred to the bureau. Some of those investigations have been completed by the CFPB, and many are still ongoing.

How does the real estate industry feel about the CFPB?

Some real estate and mortgage industry professionals have criticized the CFPB for having inadequate and poorly trained staff.

Critics also ding the CFPB for “regulating by enforcement,” or making its positions on certain industry practices known by issuing consent orders, enforcement actions and entering into settlements with companies and individuals it deems to be in violation of the law to make an example of them, instead of issuing industry guidance and policy statements in the manner that HUD sometimes did.

How many people work at the CFPB, and what kind of budget does it have?

The CFPB has about 950 employees, and its 2017 budget is about $636.1 million.

Why and when did the CFPB issue the TRID rule?

What was TRID supposed to accomplish?

The clue is in the name: TRID stands for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures. The rule was intended to consolidate and integrate two disclosure forms into one single, simpler disclosure:

  • The Truth In Lending Act (TILA) disclosure
  • The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA) disclosure

Why did that need to happen?

After examining what went wrong with the financial crisis, recession and housing market crash, the federal government felt that the mortgage application process, which had been in place for more than 30 years — and which required lenders to provide consumers with TILA and RESPA disclosures at or shortly before a loan closing — was in need of an update.

After Congress concluded that those forms contained overlapping and inconsistent language and information, it wrote a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act requiring the CFPB, within a year after formally beginning operations, to propose rules that would combine the TILA and RESPA disclosures into a single, integrated disclosure.

How did the government decide how to combine the two disclosures?

The U.S. Department of Treasury hosted a mortgage disclosure symposium in 2010 that brought together consumer advocates, affected industries and others to discuss implementation of the combined disclosures.

Meanwhile, as the CFPB worked to become fully functional, it soon realized that one of the top consumer complaints it received was that the homebuying process was “overwhelming and confusing.” Consumers told the CFPB they often felt that closings are “rushed” and they weren’t given enough time to review and understand their closing documents before signing them.

With a pledge to consumers to “ease the process of taking out a mortgage, helping you save money and ensuring you know before you owe,” the CFPB first put pen to paper in February 2011 and began sketching prototype forms.

How were those prototypes tested/evaluated?

For about a year, the bureau tested the prototype forms on both consumers and industry, tweaking them in response to their feedback.

The CFPB also considered how its proposals would affect real estate agents, mortgage lenders, title/settlement/escrow agents and others, and was particularly concerned with how they may affect small businesses.

To Be Continued…

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Why TRID is UNFAIR to Title Companies

TRID and Title Companies

How did we get here? What do we need to do about it?

One thing so few people in the title industry are talking about is the fact that TRID has practically changed the title agency’s status. From main player and key central pillar in the homebuying process, to a 3rd party service provider. The moment the title agency is no longer responsible and signing out on the (what used to be the HUD-1) Closing Disclosure, and that responsiblity has crossed the road over to the lender, the title agency has lost it’s “leader of the homebuying process” status. And that’s major. For the long game.

But wait… there’s more frightening stuff around the corner. Ready? Right now, the lenders are put in a very delicate situation of signing out on something they are not completely in control, the settlement. No matter how much technology you throw at it, the day when lenders will be fed up with penalties and fines and decide to handle settlements in house, that day will be here sooner than later.

So probably the hardest working, most responsable players in the industry, title agencies have received an unfair treatment, as if the “truth in lending” was somehow taken away by settlement agents.

How did we get here and what to do about it?

Why are we here? Significance is the keyword. If title agencies would have fulfilled the role of the leader of the homebuying process, the driver in the community, at scale, title agencies’ words would have weighed more during the drafting and implementation of TRID.

The problem is the solution. Be SIGNIFICANT.

We want to provide as much value as possible to ALL homebuyers and sellers. To provide as much value as possible to Realtors and Lenders, to such an extent that they cannot do their job the way they do, without Title Security, as their title company. We are achieving this through marketing skills, great content creation and education. We have the tools to help you be successful.

TitleCapture is an important part of the solution. This app provides instant title quotes, seller net sheets and buyer estimates (via the TitleCapture Title Agency App).

via article by: Alex Samant, Co-Founder and Marketing Manager of TitleCapture

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Housing News: A Week In Review

Secret RoomsSecret rooms are becoming popular with homeowners who want to hide collections, install playrooms, create a parking space—or just have some fun…   http://on.wsj.com/1kLlzfF


Remodeling Your Home11 Things to Help Prepare for What Lies Ahead and Keep the Remodeling Process Smooth.   



Refinancing Your HomeA few basic facts you should consider before you can decide if Refinancing is right for you.





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Flood Bill Passes House AND Senate, Obama Signs

Last week, fellow Pinellas Realtor Organization Business Affiliate Tracy Baer with North Shore Insurance was our Coffee Corner guest speaker, updating us on the latest Flood Insurance news.

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Of 2014In addition to the article below, Tracy handed out an informative PDF presentation regarding the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Of 2014.  Please contact me in the comment section if you would like a copy.


 President Obama has signed The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.

This marks a long, arduous journey to fix some of the most damaging aspects of Biggert-Waters.  A big thank you goes out to the Public Policy team at NAR and Florida Realtors.

The US Senate passed The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act by a vote of 72-22. This is the bill that the US House passed last week. This is incredible news for REALTORS® and property owners. The bill will now to sent directly to President Obama for his signature. Both US Senators Nelson and Rubio voted in favor of the bill. Here is a synopsis of what the bill accomplishes:

* Reinstates Grandfathering – This bill permanently repeals Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act, meaning that grandfathering is reinstated. All post-FIRM properties built to code at the time of construction will have protection from rate spikes due to new mapping – for example, if you built to +2 Base Flood Elevation, you stay at +2, regardless of new maps. Also importantly, the grandfathering stays with the property, not the policy.

* Caps Annual Rate Increases at 15% – This bill decreases FEMA’s authority to raise premiums. The bill prevents FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond a 15 percent average a year, with an individual cap of eighteen percent a year. Pre Biggert-Waters, the class average cap was 10%. Currently (Post Biggert- Waters), the class average cap is 20%. The bill also requires a 5% minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. The updated legislation also states that FEMA shall strive to minimize the number of policies with premium increases that exceed one percent of the total coverage of the policy (e.g., 1% of $250,000 = $2,500).

* Refunds policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates

* Permanently Removes the Sales Trigger – This bill removes the policy sales trigger, which allows a purchaser to take advantage of a phase in. The new purchaser is treated the same as the current property owner.

* Allows for Annual Surcharges – This legislation applies an annual surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for second homes and businesses, until subsidized policies reach full risk rates. All revenue from these assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund, which was established to ensure funds are available for meeting the expected future obligations of the NFIP.

* Funds the Affordability Study and Mandates Completion – This legislation funds the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters and mandates its completion in two years.

* Includes the Home Improvement Threshold – This bill returns the “substantial improvement threshold” (i.e. renovations and remodeling) to the historic 50% of a structure’s fair market value level. Under Biggert-Waters, premium increases are triggered when the renovation investments meet 30% of the home’s value.

* Additional provisions – This legislation includes several other provisions including preserving the basement exception, allowing for payments to be made in monthly installments, and reimbursing policy holders for successful map appeals

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Housing News: A Week In Review

Happy Thanksgiving… We are filled with gratitude (and turkey) for all our friends, business associates and loyal clients.

Florida Realtor sIn contrast to national outlook, Floridians are feeling more optimistic: UF’s index rose 6 points – and many think it’s a good time to buy big-ticket items.   http://bit.ly/1eJ61YC


Homebuyer PreferencesAmericans Are Very Confused About What They Want Out of a Community…  NAR poll: They want to have their cake and eat it, too! http://bit.ly/1icLD73


The New Definition of the American FamilyThe Changing Definition of American Family…  American households have never been more diverse, more surprising, more baffling.   http://nyti.ms/18tX9XM