6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

February 23rd, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
HouseLogic.com – by G. M. Filisko

Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers.

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

1. Understand the process.

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

2. Set baselines.

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

3. Create an offer review process.

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

4. Don’t take offers personally.

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

5. Review every term.

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures — such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments — to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.

Have the buyers attach a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?

With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

6. Be creative.

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.

Read more:

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Things To Do This Weekend

February 22nd, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate

Clematis By Night – Thursdays
Clematis by Night is the place to be for great live music, a taste of mouth-watering foods and fun people all in the hip ambiance of an energized downtown waterfront. Centennial Square at the end of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.
100 N Clematis St. – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Clematis By Night

Florida Renaissance Festival – Now to March 25th
Browse through our enchanted crafts Village where over one hundred merchants and artisans demonstrate and sell their wares. Behold glass blowing, hammered pewter, wooden toys, unique pottery, clothing and a wealth of other riches. Applaud Hundreds of Performers, not only on our twelve stages but literally all around you. Sword fighters, minstrels, magicians, wenches and more. For all the world’s a stage. Cheer Battling Knights, as they mount their steeds, lower their visors, aim their lances and charge at full tilt, thrice daily. Feast on Hearty Food fit for a King! Visit the Pub and toast to the Royal Court with a tankard of ale or cider. Hip! Hip! Huzzah! Play Games of Chance and games of skill which challenge both young and old alike…archery, the test of strength, Jacob’s Ladder and more…
401 Powerline Road – Deerfield Beach, FL 33442  Florida Renaissance Festival

The Honda Classic – Wednesday to Sunday
The Honda Classic brings the world’s best PGA TOUR players to Palm Beach County, providing a week of entertainment for the entire community.
400 Avenue of the Champions – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418  The Honda Classic

The Lake Worth Street Painting Festival – Saturday & Sunday
Join the tens of thousands of art lovers who will attend the Annual Festival over the weekend. With more than 600 artists on the pavement, music on the mainstage, restaurants, shops, festival food court and bistro, you’re sure to get caught up with the excitement. Admission is free.
Downtown Lake Worth – Lake and Lucerne Avenues  –  Lake Worth Street Painting Festival

Comic Con Revolution – Saturday
Comic Con Revolution, the inaugural 1-day event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018. CCRWPB will feature over 30 comic creators, artists and authors as well as comic companies including AfterShock Comics & StormKing Productions. 
650 Okeechobee Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Comic Con Revolution

10th Anniversary Block Party – Saturday
Join us for our 10th anniversary block party! Live in Concert: G.LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE with opening by SPRED THE DUB. Street Food & Specials. ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT!
224 Clematis Street – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  –  Block Party

Classic Car Show & Neil Diamond Tribute – Saturday
Live music from The Real Neil, performing legendary classics by “Neil Diamond” beginning at 7pm. Check out the Classic Car Show hosted by South East Rods & Customs. Car show starts at 6pm.
200 N US Highway 1 – Jupiter, FL 33477  –  Harbourside Place

Spring Training Season – Now to Sunday, March 25th
The Ball Park of the Palm Beaches – 5444 Haverhill Road – West Palm Beach, FL 33407
Roger Dean Stadium – 4751 Main Street – Jupiter, FL 33458
First Data Field – 525 NW Peacock Blvd. – Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

The Gardens GreenMarket – Sundays
At the Market, you can shop an abundance of just-picked, orchard-grown goods, a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits, fragrant herbs, honey, homemade old-fashioned breads, pies, cheeses, sauces, handmade crafts and much, much more. This event is rain or shine.
10500 Military Trail – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410   The Gardens GreenMarket

Green & Artisan Market – Sundays
Stroll along the waterfront and shop fresh produce, specialty foods, flowers, fashion, local art and more! This market is free and open to the public. Every Sunday 10 AM – 3 PM.
200 North US Highway 1 – Jupiter, FL 33477  Green & Artisan Market

The Market Preview

February 21st, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Jackie Doran – Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC

Inflation Leads Mortgage Rates to Higher Ground

Federal Reserve officials have wished for more consumer-price inflation in recent years. It appears their wish has finally been granted by the powers able to grant such wishes.

The Labor Department reports that its Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.5% in January. The percent increase was higher than most market-watchers’ estimates. The consensus estimate called for only a 0.3% monthly increase.

Stock prices initially fell on the hot CPI report, but they soon recover. Bond prices also fell, but unlike stock prices, they stayed down. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose above 2.9%. It remains above 2.9% as we write. The yield hasn’t been this high since January 2014.

As the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note goes, so go mortgage rates. Quotes on a prime conventional 30-year fixed-rate loan hit a four-year high this past week. Mortgage News Daily’s latest survey shows that 4.625% has become the predominant quote across the land.

The ascent has certainly been palpable. We entered 2018 with quotes on a prime 30-year loan vibrating between 4% and 4.125%. Quotes are up roughly 50 basis points in the past seven weeks.

Inflation is to blame, though Interesting enough, the CPI isn’t all that heated if we consider the year-over-year change. The CPI shows consumer-price inflation up a tepid 2.1% over the past 12 months.

Of course, the future is what matters. Perhaps bond investors are extrapolating the latest monthly CPI reading to indicate the year-over-year rate will rise. Or perhaps bond investors take their cue from other data sources.

Another inflation measure, the Fed’s Underlying Inflation Gauge (UIG), shows 12-month inflation growth at 3% in December. That’s the highest rate recorded in nearly 11 years. The last time the UIG measure was this high was September 2006.

Consumer-price inflation remains within the realm of Fed reasoning, according to the CPI. The UIG tells a different story. Perhaps bond investors at least consider the UIG when deciding on portfolio allocations.

The bottom line is that inflation rules the roost these days. Past increases in the federal funds rate (the rate the Fed manipulates) have had little lasting influence on longer-term credits, such as mortgages. Inflation expectations ares another story. More market participants anticipate rising inflation, which is evinced in rising yields on long-term credits.

Many borrowers long for mortgage rates that existed only a couple months ago. People naturally anchor their expectations to the recent past. For this reason, a borrower might be tempted to float in hopes better rates will materialize. The journey can be perilous.

The mortgage-rate waters are as treacherous as they’ve been in years. It would be worthwhile to wait for a few days of calm (flat or easing rates) before venturing a float.

The Key Variable for Sustaining the Housing Market

Raising mortgage rates have led to lower mortgage activity. Refinance activity understandably trends lower. Purchase activity has also trended lower in recent weeks. Lower purchase activity has dropped the year-over-year gain to 4%.

Market watchers are concerned rising mortgages will derail the housing market. A Mensa IQ is hardly needed to understand that rising financing costs lower affordability without a compensating drop in home prices.

Of course, affordability can be sustained in other ways, such as through rising wages or additional compensation. The good news is that recent tax reform, which lowered the corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35%, has motivated more companies to either increase wages or offer additional bonuses.

Major companies like Wal-Mart, Comcast, Charter Communications, Apple, Cisco Systems, Delta Airlines, AT&T, Boeing, Home Depot, CVS Health, and others are funneling more money to their employees through higher wages and bonuses. They can funnel more to their employees because lower corporate-income-tax rates means they funnel less to Washington.

Many of these same companies are also funneling more money to their shareholders through increased dividends. It’s fair to assume most working Americans own a dividend-paying stock either directly or indirectly, such as through a mutual fund in a company-sponsored retirement account.

Yes, mortgage rates are higher, but so is borrower income. Therefore, we remain upbeat. We hold our upbeat sentiment with important company.

Home builders remain upbeat as well. The home builder sentiment index posted positively for February. Home builders are particularly upbeat about first-time buyers entering the market. First-time buyers are leading beneficiaries of higher wages and tax-driven bonuses.

Jackie Doran
Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC
Loan Officer
NMLS # 364090
Jackie.Doran@CapitalPartnersMtg.com
(561) 716-0448
www.mortgagesbyjackie.com
© 2017 Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This communication does not constitute a commitment to lend or the guarantee of a specified interest rate. All loan programs and availability of cash proceeds are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions apply. Jackie Doran NMLS # 364090, . 11290 Legacy Ave, North Palm Beach, FL 33410. Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC  1515 N. University Drive, Suite 102D, Coral Springs, FL 33071. Corp NMLS# 1084639 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.com). Equal Housing Lender. 

The Markets In A Minute

February 20th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Jackie Doran – Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC

The Economy

Consumer prices rose more than expected in January, fueling fears that inflation is moving higher. Rising inflation will continue to pressure mortgage rates higher.

The labor market is still showing strength, with jobless claims remaining below the 300,000 threshold. Wages are also showing signs of increasing.

Rising inflation and the strong labor market have economists thinking the Fed may actually raise policy rates 4 times this year instead of 3.

Housing News

Higher rates are affecting mortgage applications, which were down 4.1% overall last week. Purchase applications were still 4% higher than last year though.

Two-thirds of home buyers said they searched 3+ months before going under contract. Twenty-seven percent said they were outbid by another buyer.

In a recent survey, only 6% of home shoppers said they would stop their current home search if mortgage rates were to rise above 5%. Not too bad.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

Jackie Doran

Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC
Loan Officer
NMLS # 364090
Jackie.Doran@CapitalPartnersMtg.com
(561) 716-0448
www.mortgagesbyjackie.com
© 2017 Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This communication does not constitute a commitment to lend or the guarantee of a specified interest rate. All loan programs and availability of cash proceeds are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions apply. Jackie Doran NMLS # 364090, . 11290 Legacy Ave, North Palm Beach, FL 33410. Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC  1515 N. University Drive, Suite 102D, Coral Springs, FL 33071. Corp NMLS# 1084639 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.com). Equal Housing Lender. 

The Market Preview

February 19th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Jackie Doran – Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC

Falling Stock Prices Halt (Briefly) the Mortgage-Rate Rise

To say stock prices have been volatile over the past week is to say Eagles QB Nick Foles played a decent game in the Super Bowl. It’s to understate the obvious.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,175 points last Monday. The point drop, in absolute terms, was the largest on record.

When things get a little testy in the stock market, investors seek havens elsewhere. U.S. Treasury securities are frequently the haven of choice. The price of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was bid higher to see its yield lowered by nearly 12 basis points.

Stock prices rallied over the subsequent days. Prices of U.S. Treasury securities, in turn, fell. Yields rose.

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) take their cue from long-term U.S. Treasury yields. Mortgage rates take their cue from MBS. Long story short, mortgage rates fell and then trended higher. They trended high enough to touch recent highs set the week before.

We thought we would see a little more down drift in mortgage rates. The bond-market response to the stock-market route was more tepid than expected. The prospect of rising consumer-price inflation and three increases in the federal funds rate tempered investor enthusiasm for bond havens.

Enthusiasm was tempered further by the employment numbers for January. Another 200,000 payrolls were added for the month. The number was strong, but wage growth was the real story.

Hourly wages grew 0.3% in January, while wage growth in December was revised higher to 0.4%. The year-over-year rate of wage growth stands at 2.9%. This is the highest annual increase since the economic recovery began in 2009.

Wage growth due to productivity growth is never an issue. If employees are more productive, and if employers can sell more product profitably, employers will logically offer higher wages to lure employees. (But keep in mind, wages are relative. A potential employee will move to another job only if the wage is higher than the one he or she currently receives, ceteris paribus.)

Wage growth across the board, on the other hand, is a monetary phenomenon. New money the Federal Reserve injects into the economy can slither into asset prices, consumer prices, and wage prices. We’ve seen asset prices rise. We see that consumer prices are rising. We could see wage rates rise at an accelerating rate.

We could see a rise in inflation pervade the entire economy.

If this occurs, the Fed is sure to continue raising the fed funds rate. More important from our perspective, investor interest in long-dated bonds would continue to wane. Interest rates, including mortgage rates, would continue to rise.

A lot of theorizing, to be sure, but rising interest rates are what market participants anticipate these days. Any deviation from the script — such as a dip in mortgage rates — should be viewed as an opportunity to lock.

Is Rising Market Volatility in Our Best Interest?

We refer to stock-market volatility, which is really a euphemism for falling stock prices.

Falling stock prices occurred on the previous Monday: stock prices fell, and so did interest rates. Mortgage rates are a version of interest rates. They, too, fell.

Good for us, at least for the short term. But to answer the question, no, stock-market volatility isn’t in our best interest.

For one, cosmic justice frowns upon engaging in schadenfreude — pleasure derived from another person’s misery.In addition, falling stock prices, though good for interest rates, would be a net negative, principally for their impact on the wealth effect.

Rising stocks raise the wealth effect — emotions associated with changes in investment and asset values. A positive wealth effect — rising investment value — imbues people with a sense of comfort and security, which prompts spending. Spending on big-ticket items, like homes, are keen beneficiaries of a positive wealth effect.

Mortgage rates were a hot-button issue five years ago. Today, the issue has cooled. Job security, productivity-driven wage growth, the wealth effect are more influential considerations. The good news is that all three trends positively.

So, if higher mortgage rates are the price to pay for a positive wealth effect, so be it. We don’t see rising mortgage rates derailing housing and mortgage lending. Purchase-mortgage activity supports our assertion. It’s mostly up this year, even though mortgage rates are up too.

Jackie Doran
Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC
Loan Officer
NMLS # 364090
Jackie.Doran@CapitalPartnersMtg.com
(561) 716-0448
www.mortgagesbyjackie.com
© 2017 Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This communication does not constitute a commitment to lend or the guarantee of a specified interest rate. All loan programs and availability of cash proceeds are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions apply. Jackie Doran NMLS # 364090, . 11290 Legacy Ave, North Palm Beach, FL 33410. Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC  1515 N. University Drive, Suite 102D, Coral Springs, FL 33071. Corp NMLS# 1084639 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.com). Equal Housing Lender.  

Younger Americans Aren’t Moving Like They Used To – What’s Changed?

February 16th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia – by Alexandra Lee

Americans are moving at historically low rates. In 2017, 34.9 million Americans changed residences, translating to a household mobility rate of 10.9%. That’s the lowest mobility, or what we’ll also refer to as a “moving rate,” that the U.S. has seen since the Census Bureau started keeping track more than 50 years ago.

Millennials have been charged with ruining everything “from dinner dates to golf” – but are they also to blame for America’s low mobility rate? No. But their reasons for moving in recent years are changing.

In 2017, 38.4% of 18 to 34 year olds lived with parents or other relatives, up from 28.7% in 1962. And, when compared with older generations when they were the same age, millennials move at much lower rates. However, that narrative clouds the real story—that mobility has decreased across all age groups. For the millennials who are moving, they’re moving more to strike out on their own rather than for traditional reasons such as getting married.
To better understand millennial mobility, Trulia analyzed the reasons why people move, with an eye toward what sets millennials apart and how the young cohort is changing.

We found that millennials are not ruining mobility at all, rather:

  • When broken out by age group, the composition of movers has remained consistent over time. Mobility among millennials is at an all-time low—but that’s true for everyone else as well.
  • Marriage is less of a reason to move: younger Americans today are nearly twice as likely as they were in 2000 to move out to be on their own as opposed to marriage being a primary reason.
  • Young women are closing the gap for job-related moves. While job-related moves for young males has remained consistent over the last two decades, young women moved for jobs at a rate 5 percentage points higher in 2017 than in 2000.
  • Millennials are rebounding from the effects of the recession, moving for positive reasons – such as to own instead of rent, or for better housing – at higher rates, and moving for negative reasons – specifically, for cheaper housing – at lower rates.
Mobility Across the Ages

Other than a spike in moves by young adults in the 1970s and 1980s – when the Baby Boomer generation started forming their own households — the proportion of moves made up by each age group has stayed relatively constant. This suggests that the reasons behind millennials’ recent low mobility are not generation-specific. Mobility rates have steadily declined in the last decades, proportionately across all age groups.

However, it is true that the under 35 age group accounts for the largest proportion of moves—in 2017, they were 19% more likely to move than Americans aged 35 to 54, and 32% more likely to move than Americans aged 55 or older. So, any changes to the millennial mobility rate weighs heavily on the nation’s mobility rate as a whole.

Young Americans Are Striking out on Their Own

Though housing-related reasons account for the majority of moves across all three age groups, family is a close second for younger Americans – driven by their desire to start their own households. That’s come at the expense of marriage as a primary reason to get a different home.

The reasons Americans give about moving can be aggregated into three main reasons: family-related (e.g. change in marital status, or to establish their own household), housing-related (e.g. to own instead of rent, or for new or better housing), and job-related (e.g. moving for a new job). Of these three categories, moves for housing-related reasons are the most prevalent across all age groups. However, young Americans are significantly less likely than other age groups to move due to housing, with family-related reasons taking up more ground.

Young Americans are about twice as likely than their older counterparts to move because they want to establish their own household – unsurprising, as older age groups will have already established their own households. However, this reason has gained strength over time among young Americans. In 2000, young adults moved to establish their own household 2.5-times more frequently than they did because of getting married. In 2017, they are doing so 4.2-times more frequently.

Note that family-related reasons account for about the same percentage of moves over time; 26% in 2000 and 29% in 2016. In other words, millennials are still moving at the same rate due to decisions surrounding family – but instead of moving for marriage, they’re moving to strike out on their own.

Young Women Are Closing the Gap

Younger Americans also move for job-related reasons at rates higher than the rest of the population. That’s not unusual. What is: women are more likely to move for a job than they were a generation ago. While males still are more likely to move for job-related reasons than females, that gap has narrowed. In 2000, the share of young males moving for jobs is 9 percentage points higher than females (24% vs 15%), but last year the difference fell to only 5 percentage points (24% vs 19%). The shrinking gap is notably not due to young males moving less for jobs, but young females catching up.

High moving rates for jobs are not necessarily a good thing – moves for jobs peaked among both young males and females during the recession, between 2007 and 2009. However, more parity in job-moving rates between males and females suggests that the two groups face more equal choices and opportunities, which may be related to women also gaining ground in education. The Census Bureau found that since 1996, young women aged 25 to 29 have had higher college attainment rates than young men. While college attainment among young men was at or below 27% during the 37-year period between 1976 and 2011, young women college graduates rose from 20 to 36 percent. In closing—and surpassing—the educational gap, young women open themselves to a greater playing field of career opportunities.

Housing Woes Decline as a Reason To Move

The most recession-sensitive reasons for moving were housing-related. During the recession, positive housing-related moves – moving to own and not rent, for new or better housing, or for a better neighborhood – bottomed out. At the same time, rates of moves for negative reasons – specifically, moving for cheaper housing – increased.

From 2009 onwards, however, we start to see a strong reversal in these trends, especially among younger Americans. In 2017, millennials moved for new or better housing at the same rate as the previous generation of young adults in 2000 (Gen X-ers), climbing back to 16% from a recession low of 13% in 2008. Moves for better housing among middle-aged and older Americans remain at levels lower than before the recession. Millennials also still want to own homes – moves to own and not rent make up 6% of all millennial moves in 2017, up from 4% in 2012 and just a few percentage points lower from the rate of middle-aged Americans (9%).

Given these positive post-recession signals and shifting tastes of millennials, we can expect housing demand to change as well. Since the recession, more moves have been into starter and trade-up homes (as evidenced by increasing shares of moves to own instead of rent, and for better housing). At the same time, millennials are looking for a place to call their own – spouse-free. This demand could put even more pressure on smaller, starter homes. We’ve documented the continued inventory crunch in the US, as well as the market mismatch between demand for starter and trade-up homes and what’s available on the market. These trends spell trouble for prospective homebuyers, but a look back on 2017 new construction offers some hope – last year was the best year for homebuilding activity in a decade, meaning 2018 should see increased growth in single-family construction and inventory.

Methodology

We used U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS) microdata to calculate the mobility rate and determine the reasons why people moved. All figures represent householders, and not individuals, as all individuals in a household are assigned the householder’s reason for moving. We categorize all head of households under 35 in 2017 as millennials. Trulla’s analysis categorized reasons for moving as follows: family-related reasons include: Change in marital status, To establish own household, Other family reason; job-related reasons include: New job or job transfer, To look for work or lost job, For easier commute, Retired, Other job-related reason; housing-related reasons include: Wanted to own home (not rent), Wanted new or better housing, Wanted better neighborhood, For cheaper housing, Foreclosure or eviction, Other housing reason; and all other reasons included: Attend/leave college, Change of climate, Health reasons, Other reasons, Natural disaster. When discussing specific housing-related reasons for moving, we did not include “Other housing reasons” and “Foreclosure or eviction”, due to differences over the reporting period in how these answers were collected.

Things To Do This Weekend

February 15th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate

Clematis By Night – Thursdays
Clematis by Night is the place to be for great live music, a taste of mouth-watering foods and fun people all in the hip ambiance of an energized downtown waterfront. Centennial Square at the end of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.
100 N Clematis St. – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Clematis By Night

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show – Wednesday to Tuesday
The 15th annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show will take place on February 14-20 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. The event will feature a stunning selection of art, antiques, and jewelry from many of the world’s most sought-after exhibitors. Displays will include fine art, antique and estate jewelry, furniture, porcelain, Asian art, American and European silver, glass, textiles, sculpture, and much more. The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show continues to uphold its reputation as the largest and most prestigious show of its kind, known as the season’s must-attend event for both the art connoisseur and the art-curious.
650 Okeechobee Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Jewelry, Art & Antique Show

Daddy Daughter Date Night – Friday
For dads with daughters ages 4 and up. Kick up your boots and stay awhile as dads spend a special “Wild,Wild West” evening with their daughters. Enjoy lots of food from Park Avenue BBQ, down-home fun, and even some country line dancing with instruction from the Palm Beach Gardens Performance Ensemble. Dress your best western look! Guests must pre-register.
10500 North Military Trail – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410  Daddy Daughter Date Night

St. Catherine’s Greek Festival – Friday to Sunday
The theme for this year’s festival is “Greek Food & Wine Fest” as we focus on authentic Greek Cuisine with all your favorite Greek dishes: Mousaka, Pastichio, Leg of lamb, Lemon Chicken, Spanakopita, Greek Salad, Dolmades, Gyro, Tsaganaki, Souvlaki, and much more! The Greek Taverna will be fully stocked with Greek Wine, Greek Beer, Ouzo, and Metaxa!
110 Southern Blvd. – West Palm Beach, FL 33405  Greek Festival

West Palm Beach Spring Home Show – Friday to Sunday
At the Home Show, our goal is simple: to inspire, motivate and excite you for your upcoming home improvement – whether it’s a minor renovation or a major remodel. Our events feature a wide selection of home improvement professionals in a fun, interactive environment. After meeting with and comparing our expert exhibitors, we know you’ll be inspired and motivated to start planning with confidence. More importantly, we want you to be excited for all the fantastic possibilities that come with your project!
9067 Southern Blvd. – West Palm Beach, FL 33411  Spring Home Show

ArtiGras Fine Art Experienced Festival – Saturday to Monday
Celebrating 33 years, ArtiGras Fine Art Experienced Festival has grown from a small, local art show to a nationally recognized fine arts festival attracting tens of thousands of art lovers and collectors. ArtiGras was recently named one of the top 50 fine art festivals in the country and showcases a juried exhibition of gallery-quality art from 300 artists. ArtiGras also features a Hanley Foundation Youth Art Competition, Hanley Foundation ArtiKids family interactive activity area, live entertainment and much more.
1200 Town Center Drive – Jupiter, FL 33458  ArtiGras 2018

India Fest – Saturday
With thousands of people attending each year, the 15th Annual Indiafest brings the richness of India to South Florida. Hosted by the Palm Beach India Association, a non-profit organization, Indiafest is a free event that is held outdoors and is open to the public. Enjoy cultural performances, yoga classes, Indian classical and Bollywood music, cuisine from different regions of India, henna tattoos, Indian jewelry and handicrafts.
105 Evernia Street – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  India Fest

Sunday on the Waterfront – Nuthin’ Fancy – Sunday
Nuthin’ Fancy, named after the band’s platinum album that debuted in 1975, is coming to town prepared to sing sweet southern songs in West Palm Beach, Florida, “where the skies are [also] so blue.”  Fans can come together and enjoy the music that made southern and classic rock what it is today while enjoying the throwback tunes of the classic 70s. The look, sound, lineup and feel of the overall show – led by magnetic front man Tommy Roxx, who is said to be a Ronnie Van Zant clone – is sure to impress.
100 N. Clematis Street – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Sunday on the Waterfront

The Gardens GreenMarket – Sundays
At the Market, you can shop an abundance of just-picked, orchard-grown goods, a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits, fragrant herbs, honey, homemade old-fashioned breads, pies, cheeses, sauces, handmade crafts and much, much more. This event is rain or shine.
10500 Military Trail – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410   The Gardens GreenMarket

Green & Artisan Market – Sundays
Stroll along the waterfront and shop fresh produce, specialty foods, flowers, fashion, local art and more! This market is free and open to the public. Every Sunday 10 AM – 3 PM.
200 North US Highway 1 – Jupiter, FL 33477  Green & Artisan Market

Thinking about a PACE loan? What you need to know

February 14th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Florida Realtors®

MIAMI – Feb. 12, 2018 – It sounds almost too good to be true: Major high-dollar home repairs, such as new hurricane-resistant impact windows, roof replacement, solar energy systems, hot water heaters, air conditioning systems and more, financed with no money down and no credit check.

You just need to show that you have equity in your home, a good history of making your mortgage payments, and that you make enough money to make payments on the debt.

Welcome to Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, a program that has funded improvements for thousands of South Florida property owners over the past three years. Many local governments in the region have approved PACE financing assessments on borrowers’ property tax bills as a way to encourage residents to make their homes more energy-efficient and to strengthen them against the effects of storms and climate change.

The program has been a blessing for many, providing a means to fund needed upgrades that they couldn’t afford relying solely on savings or creditworthiness.

But some say they didn’t realize what they’d gotten into until it was too late – that a lien would be placed on their home, that they would be expected to repay roughly double the project cost over the life of the loan, and that most banks would require them to pay off the loan in full before they could sell their homes.

“I understand it was very stupid of me not to read that long contract,” wrote Maria Rossello, who lives in a seniors-only condominium with a market value of $37,400, according to the Broward County Property Appraiser’s website.

In October 2016, she signed an agreement to install three impact windows in the Sunrise condo. Repayment, according to Broward County official records, would cost $639 a year over 20 years. That’s on the low side compared with an average PACE loan, but for Rossello, who said she was told she wouldn’t be charged interest, it still presented a hardship.

The experiences of Rossello and others underscore what experts and customers alike say anyone considering a PACE loan must do:

“Make sure you read all the paperwork. Read the fine print and make sure you read every bit of that contract,” said Scott Nathan, a Pompano Beach resident who borrowed $52,000 for a solar energy system, new roof, new water heater and solar-powered attic fans. Nathan said he scrolled through loan documents online and missed that the sum of all payments over the 20-year loan term would be around $97,000.

He said his contractor told him that savings on his electric and insurance bills would cover all but $30 a month of the repayment cost. But those savings weren’t nearly that substantial, he said, and now his monthly mortgage payments – which include taxes, insurance and his loan repayment installments – are $2,278, instead of $1,556. Nathan said he’s not sure he’ll be able to keep his home.

A typical PACE loan financed through Ygrene Energy Fund Florida runs about 20 years at an interest rate of about 7 percent. Borrowers can expect to repay twice the project cost over the payback period.

Complaints about disclosure practices prompted California to enact a law requiring all PACE providers to disclose all project costs, fees, interest rates, annual and monthly payback terms in a simplified document patterned after “truth in lending” disclosures required from mortgage lenders in home sales. Another law requires PACE providers to review all terms with borrowers in a live phone call before any financing documents are signed. Ygrene and Renovate America said they have voluntarily added both practices to their Florida operations. A third, RenewPACE, said it provides the simplified disclosure form to its customers. A fourth PACE provider, Florida PACE, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Borrowers with excellent credit might save money by taking out a second mortgage or home equity line of credit, Ygrene senior vice president Mike Lemyre said in an interview on Friday. But for people with modest income, modest savings and modest credit, PACE loans offer good value, he said.

Ygrene (spelled Energy backward) is a California-based company that arrived in South Florida ahead of the other companies, getting a head-start in obtaining necessary agreements by Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, and most of the region’s cities, to have repayment obligations assessed as part of customers’ property tax bills.

Since 2013, Ygrene has funded about 15,000 projects in the tri-county region, and doubled its business in Broward and Miami-Dade counties between 2016 and 2017, Lemyre said.

The company recruits local contractors and trains them to explain to customers how the Ygrene program works. But while Ygrene and other PACE programs say they constantly review feedback about contractors’ performance with their customers, some residents say contractors told them only what they wanted them to hear.

Consumer complaints alleging predatory practices by PACE contractors were subjects of warnings by several consumer watchdog organizations in late 2016 and a federal suit seeking class action status filed last spring by plaintiffs in California and South Florida.

Manuel Hiraldo, a Fort Lauderdale attorney involved in the lawsuit, said he has been contacted about once a week by unhappy customers seeking to join the suit.

Some contractors charge more for projects they know will be financed through PACE, said Hiraldo said.

However, Lemyre said he has seen no direct evidence that contractors inflate prices for PACE programs, adding that Ygrene encourages homeowners to solicit competitive quotes just as they would if they were funding a project with cash savings.

Would-be borrowers must understand a key part of how PACE financing works, Hiraldo said. “People need to know that a lien will be recorded against their home. That lien can make it difficult, if not impossible, to refinance or sell their home without first paying it off.”

Early promotions for PACE loans – and even material still circulating today – described the financing as an assessment that stays with the house and not the owner. Because it is recorded with the property’s local taxes, the debt theoretically can be transferred with the home to a new owner.

That could work if a buyer can afford to pay cash or can swing a mortgage loan not insured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. But Fannie and Freddie, as well as the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, won’t insure mortgages with PACE liens because those liens go to the front of the line for repayment if a borrower defaults.

Because the federal programs won’t insure mortgages on homes with PACE loans, many traditional lenders won’t either, meaning the transferability advantage primarily benefits sellers in cash-only transactions, or through specialty lenders.

So what happens when a homeowner with a PACE loan wants to sell? Get ready to find a way to pay it off before sitting down at the closing table.

For projects financed before the third quarter of 2017, Ygrene charges a prepayment penalty of 5 percent of the balance of the debt. That penalty was discontinued late last year for new customers only, Lemyre said.

Customers have also complained of being charged $100 just to learn the payoff amount of their loan. Lemyre said the $100 fee was collected by a third-party administrator hired to record transactions and get them on local tax rolls. Recently, Ygrene negotiated the fee down to $50 per inquiry, he said.

Markisha Collins, who with husband Johnny Collins Jr., used Ygrene to finance installation of impact-resistant windows and doors in 2016, said they weren’t made fully aware that their PACE financing showed up as a lien against their property until getting a phone call from the title company involved in the upcoming sale of their house. It added a major complication to their sale efforts, she said.

She recommends that homeowners use PACE only if they know they plan to stay in their house for the length of the payback period.

“If you’re going to be in your home for a lifetime, do it, by all means,” she said. The new impact windows and doors undoubtedly enhanced the value of the 1,100 square-foot home the couple bought for $60,000 in early 2016 and now plan to sell for well over $100,000.

“But if you are young and thinking about selling your home soon … it could be a hassle.”

© 2018 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Ron Hurtibise. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Cozy Country cottages for Sale Under $200,000

February 13th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia’s Blog – by Brie Dyas

Settle into a rocking chair and sit a spell: These 8 inviting country cottages are waiting for you.

When looking for a home, there are a few things you’re going to consider: location, price, size, and (maybe) style. We’d like to add one more thing to your list—the aww factor. It’s the emotional pull that a particularly adorable home brings. It can make you fall in love the minute you step into the driveway. No style has more “aww” than a classic cottage, particularly when it’s in a storybook setting. Plus, since cottages tend to be on the smaller side, you can often find great bargains. Don’t believe us? We’ve rounded up eight country cottages under $200,000 that are the very definition of enchanting.

1. Greentown, Pennsylvania

Classic cottage near a lake

$69,900

Summer is when Greentown shines. That’s because life in this small village near the Poconos revolves around Lake Wallenpaupack, a popular spot for fishing and boating. But the village has its charms year-round, especially if you’re into outdoor pursuits. For instance, the general area is very popular for hunting, and the rural beauty of Greentown is especially gorgeous in the snowy season. While it’s a bit remote, (there’s a small grocery store in town, and that’s about it), you’re not too far from civilization. Scranton is a quick drive on nearby I-84, as is Port Jervis, New York where you can—believe it or not—pick up a train to New York City.

This cheery, mid-century, two-bedroom cottage is surrounded by trees, giving you a lovely view no matter the season—especially from the enclosed porch. You’re close to the aforementioned highways along with lots of parkland, giving you the ideal location for work-life balance.

2. Alton, New Hampshire

Roomy, storybook home in the woods

$175,000

Alton is part of the vacation-friendly Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where summer resorts have thrived for decades. It’s located on the water in the scenic cove of Alton Bay, off of Lake Winnipesaukee. Alton is a great choice for those who enjoy the beauty of the region but aren’t huge fans of the summer crowds. Tourists stick mostly to the campgrounds on the shore of the lake, and anyone else passing through is likely en route to the nearby mountains: Rocky Mountain, Pine Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Mount Major—need we go on? Hiking and skiing are the things to do here, so if you’re the type who is at L.L. Bean so often that you could send the staff Christmas cards, Alton is for you. There’s also a great garden center (Alton Home & Garden) and a beer/wine-making supply shop (Kettle to Keg Homebrew).

At 1,338-square-feet, this two-bedroom home has plenty of space for your hobbies. Built in 1910, living in this cottage is like stepping back in time. From the shutters to the stone fireplace, this cozy home looks kind of like a place Goldilocks would visit.

3. Hayesville, North Carolina

Sweet chalet in the mountains

$99,900

Living in Hayesville is like living in a postcard—you’re surrounded by some of the most dramatically beautiful vistas in the state, which range from mountains to lakes. What you won’t be surrounded by? People. Located near the North Carolina-Georgia border, Hayesville has a population of fewer than 350 people. It’s an ideal town for aspiring Thoreau-types who have grown tired of the packed sidewalks of cities or the constant traffic in big suburbs. While you won’t find any trendy bars in Hayesville, you will find something to do beyond relaxing on Chatuge Lake or hiking the famed mountain trails in the region. (You’re near the Blue Ridge Mountains, along with the Appalachian Trail.) From sampling vintages at Eagle Fork Vineyards to indulging in a hot fudge sundae at the old-fashioned ice cream counter Chinquapins in the historic (and tiny) downtown square, you’ll quickly understand why weekenders love this town.

For such a beautiful destination, you’d expect sky-high prices and huge weekend homes. That’s not really the case here. For less than $100,000, you can call this downright adorable two-bedroom cottage yours. Even better? It’s right on the lake.

4. Running Springs, California

Vintage home with rustic character

$113,000

If you want to find a bargain in California, you have to head away from the coasts and cities. And up a mountain. Sitting 6,000 feet above sea level, the town of Running Springs is mainly known as a ski destination. (Locals take advantage of the weekday discounts—and the free birthday admission—to Snow Valley Ski Area, a favorite since the 1930s.) There’s plenty of snow to enjoy, but the winters are mild. Plus, summers offer events like the Mountain Top Days—a community-wide celebration that includes a chili cook-off and outdoor concerts. The lack of big chain stores adds to the charm, though you can find all the essentials you’ll need on Hilltop Boulevard. While the small-town vibe and uniquely beautiful scenery make Running Springs feel remote, it’s only 90 minutes east of Los Angeles.

Located in Smiley Park Country Club, this 1930, two-bedroom home is a throwback to the town’s heyday. Vintage-home lovers will hone in on the period details and quirky charm, from the stone fireplace to the beamed ceilings. A little cosmetic TLC, and this is a gem that’ll shine.

5. Corvallis, Montana

1920s home with an unexpected modern layout

$194,000

Derived from the French words for “heart” and “valley,” Corvallis lives up to its name. This is the kind of small town where you’ll get to know all your neighbors. There’s just a handful of hangouts for the fewer than 1,000 people who live in the region. By “handful,” we mean three: The Memories Cafe, the Corvallis Tavern, and Wild Mare (a western-themed bar). So, what’s everyone doing here, aside from enjoying the year-round Christmas shop The Brooks? Probably taking in the scenery. Corvallis is home to the Teller Wildlife Refuge and is part of the beautiful Bitterroot Valley region. What Corvallis lacks in excitement, it makes up for in stunning natural beauty—perhaps this is why the town is home to a few artists and studios, like Aspen Hot Glass.

If you want to have your own studio, this recently updated two-bedroom cottage might be for you. Built in 1920, the two-bedroom home was remodeled to maximize the interior light—a must for any artist. This effect was achieved by creating a more open floor plan, another feature that helps you get creative. Art studio in the living room? Why not?

6. Moodus, Connecticut

Tiny cottage near the water

$59,900

Moodus is a country getaway that was super popular in the 1940s and 1950s when this village had the nickname the “Catskills of Connecticut.” You can still see glimpses of this past in the area’s vintage buildings. If you love history, you’ll definitely feel at home here. There’s even a ghost town (Johnsonville Village), a house museum (Amasa Day House), and the Machimoodus State Park, where you can take in great views of the region from a lookout point on Mt. Tom (including the adjacent Sunrise State Park, a former summer resort).

Though the woods are beautiful, they’re also home to an unusual phenomenon called “Moodus Noises.” Described as kind of a low screaming, this unexpected noise comes from micro-earthquakes. The good news? You can’t hear them from this tiny two-bedroom home on the other side of town. The roomy yard makes up for its size, along with deck space, an enclosed dining porch, and a pier on the Connecticut River. Plus, it’s just across the river from The Gillette Castle, a mansion inspired by a medieval castle.

7. Deer Park, Washington

Sweet little bungalow with a huge lot

$84,900

With just 4,000 residents, Deer Park has the feel of a small country town. It’s a tight-knit community with a lot of local pride, which comes out in full-force during the town’s three big annual events: Winterfest, a family-oriented celebration held in January that includes outhouse races and a craft fair; a summer concert series held in Mix Park; and Deer Park Settler’s Day, the oldest community celebration in Washington, held every July. The year-round entertainment options are similarly down-to-earth and mainly revolve around the local bowling alley. You’d swear you were in the Midwest if it wasn’t for the breathtaking mountain landscape surrounding Deer Park. And when you want a little taste of city life, Spokane is a 20-mile drive away.

This 1900 bungalow is as quaint as you’d expect for Deer Park, complete with a white picket fence. The blue and white charmer is also technically zoned “central commercial” in case you are looking to start your own small business. The price is just right if you’d rather invest more of your budget in your new venture.

8. Englewood, Tennessee

Little red house with an unexpected interior

$89,000

With a low cost of living and plenty of natural beauty, Englewood might be ideal for retirees—or anyone on a budget. The town dates back to the early 1900s when Englewood was a thriving hub for textile production. (You can see glimpses of its past at the Englewood Textile Museum.) Located almost halfway between Chattanooga and Knoxville, Englewood is the very definition of a rural retreat. There isn’t a main street, or touristy areas, just the splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains nearby. Your Walmart and supermarkets are in nearby Athens, while Target and other suburban standbys are about a half-hour away in Cleveland. What we’re trying to say is that you should really love peace and quiet if you decide to live here.

The serene atmosphere makes this rural one-bedroom house feel like a retreat. Though the exterior is appropriately quaint, inside you’ll find a huge open-concept layout with polished hardwood floors. And there’s vintage charm too—like stained glass windows and built-in shelves.

Originally published May 5, 2015; updated January 29, 2018.

Brie Dyas is a lifestyle expert with a love for all things vintage. She’s appeared on NBC’s Today and on HuffPost Live as the host of “Throwback Thursday,” a regular series that discussed the best in nostalgic photos and videos. She was the founding editor of HuffPost Home and Stylelist Home and also held positions as a managing editor of HuffPost Style and Stylelist.

The Markets In A Minute

February 12th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Jackie Doran – Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC

The Economy

Mortgage rates have consistently crept up a little each week through 2018, hitting 4-year highs. Even still, rates are historically low, which may make it a good time to buy.

The rising bond yields responsible for higher mortgage rates have also shaken up the stock markets. There is a lot of fear that we may see accelerated inflation.

The outlook for 2018 is good for the economy, and the Fed is expected to raise policy rates. It’s likely mortgage rates will increase some more this year.

Housing News

Mortgage applications have been on the rise recently despite higher rates. Applications were up 5% last week compared to the same time last year.

Swift price increases and inventory shortages are frustrating renters looking to purchase. Still, 58% of those polled say now is a good time to buy.

Robot open houses? Technology at San Francisco-based Zenplace enables agents to show properties remotely. A live agent speaks through a video monitor and controls the robot’s movements.

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.

Jackie Doran

Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC
Loan Officer
NMLS # 364090
Jackie.Doran@CapitalPartnersMtg.com
(561) 716-0448
www.mortgagesbyjackie.com
© 2017 Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This communication does not constitute a commitment to lend or the guarantee of a specified interest rate. All loan programs and availability of cash proceeds are subject to credit, underwriting and property approval. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions apply. Jackie Doran NMLS # 364090, . 11290 Legacy Ave, North Palm Beach, FL 33410. Capital Partners Mortgage, LLC  1515 N. University Drive, Suite 102D, Coral Springs, FL 33071. Corp NMLS# 1084639 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.com). Equal Housing Lender.