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What’s Up With Housing?

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Cyber FraudDon’t Miss Tuesday’s Coffee Corner at 9:30am.
“What is Cyber-Fraud? Learn How to Protect Yourself and Your Client in Today’s World”

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Closing CostsHave You Ever Asked Yourself, How Much Are Closing Costs?
Learn about the fees you’ll pay when you close on the purchase of a home.

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U.S. Capitol BuildingRealtors are urged to stay engaged over the next year while Congress considers a full-scale reform to the United States tax code.
Mortgage Interest Deduction… 1031 Exchange… Fannie & Freddie… Flood Insurance
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Rising Home PricesThe Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners
Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly.
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Downtown St PetersburgSt. Petersburg/Tampa/Clearwater is 8th Fastest Metro in the U.S.
Florida dominate Forbes’ annual list of places on the economic upswing.
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Home Buying Etiquette7 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Every Home Buyer Should Know.
Here are some unwritten rules of etiquette that home buyers should follow in order to get the home they want without rubbing anyone the wrong way.
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Interest Rate HikeA March Rate Hike Now Looks More Likely.
If this trend continues, the Fed may be faced with a hard decision on interest rates when it meets in March.
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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com


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Are You Too Nice for Your Own Good?

We’re taught to be kind to everyone, but that means keeping your guard down against potential predators. Unfortunately, to stay safe, you must adapt your nature to a more dangerous world.

Realtor Safety MonthFollowing up on our May Coffee Corner discussing Safety, and the fact that September is Realtor Safety Month, I wanted to share some additional insights on this important topic delivered by Realtor Magazine’ Graham Wood.

In Robert Siciliano’s eyes, no one is ever truly prepared to defend themselves against an attacker. “It goes against human nature,” says Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, who teaches personal safety skills to real estate professionals. “We inherently need to trust one another in order to survive.”

According to Siciliano, most of us went through “civilized conditioning” as children, where our parents taught us to be courteous to others. While that’s a virtue of society, it also teaches us to keep our guard down — and hampers our ability to assess true danger — when dealing with strangers. “As good as it is to make [kids] behave, it also suppresses their instinctual need for survival. So when they come into contact with a predator, they don’t know how to deal with it,” Siciliano says.

Having the physical skill to thwart an attacker is only half the battle when it comes to personal safety. The attitude you’ve learned to adopt in social situations may be the biggest hazard to your safety. That’s why some experts suggest reconsidering your outlook on the world, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“A lot of people in society choose to ignore what’s going on around them,” says Gianni Cerretani, a martial artist and mortgage loan originator with HomeBridge Financial Services who teaches a mental-preparedness safety course for real estate pros in Atlanta. A year ago, the Georgia Real Estate Commission approved his class for continuing education credits for local REALTORS®. “We teach that you have to deal with the fact that violence happens and criminals are out there. If you’re aware of it, you have a better chance of surviving.”

Is It Rude to Be On Guard?
Cerretani was inspired to begin teaching safety after the case of a man disguised as a woman who brutally attacked several agents in the Atlanta area. The suspect, Jeffrey Shumate, was arrested last year after one such incident, but he has been linked to other attacks dating back to 2000. His first intended victim was Alicia Parks, an agent who was showing him a vacant property. “He was wearing white high heels, black stockings, and bright pink lipstick,” recalls Parks, GRI, a sales associate with Keller Williams Realty Lanier Partners in Gainesville, Ga. “He had on leather gloves, and he said his hands were severely burned and he didn’t want anyone to see them.”

Though she says she was on high alert from the moment they met, Parks thought the incident was a joke — even after the man began using provocative language. But after calling her his girlfriend and trying to get her to follow him to the back of the house, she knew she was in trouble. The meeting only came to an end after Parks accidentally set off the home’s alarm system, prompting the man to flee. “I didn’t even mean to set it off. I just pushed the wrong numbers,” she says.

Parks had an odd feeling when she first spoke to the man over the phone, but she went to the showing anyway. “Just the way he talked to me on the phone, he was so insistent that I come show him that house right away, and it was vacant. But I didn’t know him so I didn’t want to judge him.”

Siciliano, who helped formulate the original REALTOR® Safety initiative with the National Association of REALTORS®, says most people ignore gut feelings of fear or mistrust because they don’t want to come off as rude. They also don’t think ahead about safety because they adopt the mistaken idea that if they don’t think about it, it won’t happen to them.

“They live under the myth that if you’re prepared for a dangerous situation wherever you go, you’re paranoid,” he says. “It’s the it-can’t-happen-to-me syndrome.”

Modifying Your Frame of Mind
Cerretani aims to change how people think about safety. Teaching physical combat is an important component of safety training, he notes, but “to try and teach someone who has never done self-defense in their lives how to do martial arts training in a four-hour class is a waste of time. They’re never going to retain that information.” So instead, he focuses on mental tips such as these:

Look at yourself as a victim. “We ask people, ‘How would you attack you?’” Cerretani says. That question gets people thinking about the weaknesses in their daily routine. Are you often working alone outside the office? Are you aware of whether a door has been locked after you’ve entered a home with a client? Are you leaving a listing when it’s dark? Are your keys in your hand before you get to your car? “One or two people in every class say they don’t lock their house. People aren’t aware that they’re not aware of their vulnerabilities.”
Be hyperaware in “transitional zones.” Stepping out of your car and into a parking lot, or entering a gas station, particularly at night, are situations in which your level of safety can swing widely. “If you really pay attention to a gas station at night — we call it the ‘watering hole’ for criminals — there’s so much commotion going on that it’s very easy to have a criminal activity happen,” Cerretani says.
Watch people’s hands. Certain hand movements — such as balled-up fists — can signal an intention to attack. Other places to pay special attention to include beltlines and underneath shirts to determine whether a person is carrying a concealed weapon.
Focus on what’s near you. Most people focus on their final destination or goal, which can leave them vulnerable. For example, when entering a parking lot, those who are looking for their car are more focused on what’s further away. “If attackers are closer to you and you’re looking far out, you’re vulnerable,” Cerretani says.
Watch your back when you’re on your phone. Put your back against a wall when you’re engulfed in texting or talking on a device so no one can come up behind you and surprise you.

Is the Industry Better Prepared?
Timperis Robertson, founder of the Interactive Real Estate Academy, works with Cerretani to set up his safety class at real estate offices in the Atlanta area. She took his course before it was added to the CE curriculum, and she says it had a big impact on the way she thinks about her day-to-day routine. “It really makes you think about where you’re most vulnerable,” says Robertson, who is also a practitioner with First Home Realty in Lithonia, Ga. “It touches on the situations we face or may face every day. Those are things we don’t think about. We’re just so happy to have a client interested in a property.”

While it takes a concerted effort to change your thinking around safety, it appears many real estate professionals are making strides. With 42 percent of REALTORS® saying they use a safety app on their smartphone, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Member Safety Report — a staggering leap from the 13 percent who said so in NAR’s 2015 survey — a sea change is evident in the way pros are preparing for danger.

More REALTORS® also say they carry a self-defense weapon in the field, the most popular ones being pepper spray, a firearm, or a pocket knife. However, fewer indicated that their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety — 44 percent in 2016 versus 46 percent in 2015 — a possible indicator that agents are taking on more ownership of their own protocols.

Still, it can be difficult to get agents who have never experienced an attack to think about common-sense safety measures, says Kimberly Allard-Moccia, who helped develop the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®’ first safety class. “You think you’re going to just run if something happens,” says Allard-Moccia, GRI, broker-owner of Century 21 Professionals in Braintree, Mass. “Let’s face it: If most of us in the room are over 50 and wearing inch-and-a-half heels, you’re not going to make it.”

If you don’t think about safety ahead of time and prepare for the worst, “you will cycle in denial and delay,” she adds, “and that’s when you become a victim.”


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Interesting Housing News

Thank you for attending yesterday’s Coffee Corner.  Lots of great information regarding changes to the The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act.

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Towers of SecrecyU.S. Will Unmask Secret Buyers of Luxury Real Estate.
Beginning next month, the Treasury Department will take steps to increase transparency in luxury real estate transactions. The new initiative will target all-cash real estate purchases made by shell companies, LLCs, partnerships, and other entities that conceal the homebuyer’s identity.

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Tiny HouseNew Tiny House Model Offers Buyers an Affordable Escape.  Look out McMansions, the latest tiny home creation from manufacturer Escape is jam packed with features and has a very well-designed layout.

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The Rise of Urban Real EstateThe Incredible Rise of Urban Real Estate
New data from Zillow shows that average urban home prices in the U.S. now surpass those of the suburbs.
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Tropicana Field RedevelopmentSt. Pete puts out call for ‘once in a generation’ redevelopment plan… The city of St. Petersburg is laying the groundwork to redevelop Tropicana Field.

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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com

 


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Interesting Housing News

In case you hadn’t heard, we are having another Coffee Corner next Friday, the 26th, at 9:30am. Please join us and learn about:  Changes to The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)

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Presidential Election and the Real Estate IndustryWill the Upcoming Presidential Election Affect Job Growth and/or the Real Estate Market? Does the political party the president belongs to determine job growth and real estate demand?

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"Henry" LoansLow Down Payments Would Reward High Earners in ‘Henry’ Loans…  Mortgage lenders may loosen jumbo-loan down payment requirements for a so-called “Henry”—an acronym for ‘High Earner, Not Rich Yet.’

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AgrihoodsHomes built adjacent to functioning farms?
Welcome to “Agrihoods” — pastoral ventures with healthier foods as their focus. This farm-to-table residential model has been sprouting up everywhere from Atlanta to Shanghai.

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Big banks are fleeing the mortgage marketMore Big Banks Just Say ‘No’ to Mortgage Lending.
Some analysts think big banks will retreat entirely, leaving mortgages to small banks and online lenders.
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Importance of HomeownershipImportance of Homeownership Finally Makes Political Debate. Tuesday, one of the candidates running for President spoke out about the importance of homeownership in America.

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Barbi's Smart HouseThe future is here: Even Barbie has a smart home.
Barbie’s Dreamhouse now has voice-activated smart home commands.

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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com

 


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Interesting Housing News

Realtors: Please join us at next Tuesday’s 9:30 AM Coffee Corner, and learn exciting new ways to grow your business in 2016.

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Pantone's 2 colors for 2016Pantone’s 2 colors for 2016…  Rose Quartz, a “warmer, embracing rose tone” and Serenity, a “cooler, tranquil blue” are intended to demonstrate balance by reflecting connection, wellness, and peace.

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Downtown St Petersburg Multi-FamilyAnother 366 Apartments Expected to Break Ground This Month in Downtown St Petersburg.

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Smart Home AutomationSmart: Myth Vs. Reality for Home Tech and Automation… 2016 is being hailed as the year that our homes truly enter the high-tech future, and all that talk about the “Internet of things” becomes more than just blather.

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FARIt took longer to close a home loan in November… is TRID the culprit?  VA loans closed in an average 50 days while conventional loans took 49 days. According to NAR, almost half of all Realtors are reporting longer closing times.

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Will the FHA Play an Encore on MIP Cut?Will the FHA Play an Encore on MIP Cut?  If the FHA drops the annual MIP again it will attract hordes of new borrowers who will instantly pay 1.75 percent of their loans into the program in the form of the up-front MIP.

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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com

 


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Recent Housing News

REMINDER… Our Coffee Corner is this Tuesday at 9:30AM.  Hear and discuss post October 3rd TRID positives and negatives. 

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Fully Transparent Solar Panel

A Michigan State University research team has created a fully Transparent Solar Cell that could make every window in your house a power source by harnessing wavelengths of light that are invisible to the human eye in order to generate power.

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Multi-Family Housing Demand Expected to Surge Over Next 10 YearsMulti-Family Housing Demand is Expected to Surge Over Next 10 Years.  This surge in household formation, and expected related housing demand, will be driven largely by hispanics, baby boomers and millennials.

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2016 Housing ForecastA 2016 CRYSTAL BALL
Initial housing forecasts for 2016. What’s your take?  Predictions show some headwinds and tailwinds.

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Industrial Residential DesignIndustrial Design Picks Up Mojo in Residential Architecture and Has Begun to Win Over Suburbanites. Open floorplans, exposed ductwork, concrete floors and other elements of industrial design are increasingly found in suburbia.

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Interior Design Trends 201616 Interior Design Trends You’ll Definitely See in 2016…  Some of the examples focus on form and function of materials, color, fabric, and the aesthetics of our home interior interfaces, while others are farther out there, such as Matcha tea brewing, and the emergence of design-trepreneurs.

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2016 Real Estate Trends2020 Vision on 2016 Housing…
Five real estate trends to watch in 2016. Maybe it’s the year of the Millennial trade-up?
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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com

 


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Recent Housing News

SAVE This Date:  9:30AM, December 8th. Title Security’s Coffee Corner
Hear and discuss post October 3rd TRID positives and negatives.

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Action vs TalkACTION VS. TALK… Attitudes, preferences, and values of Millennials may say one thing; what young adults do, and what they buy, may be another.
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nothaft_dem_fig1_largeMillennial Surge, Boomer Bulge Set to Give Market a Boost.  Millennials and Baby Boomers, the “barbells” of the U.S. population, will muscle up housing demand in the period to come.

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OG-AG121_201511_GR_20151111105054Do You Know How Parents Can Help With Jumbo Mortgages? Advice for when mom and dad are ready to co-sign loans for a pricey property.

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FARWhat’s increasing in demand? Tech use and environmentally friendly housing.  And no, millennials don’t prefer renting – and not all boomers want to retire to Florida.

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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com