USDA Loans – What are they?

usda-loans-osceola-county1

So, you may have heard about USDA loans but may not be sure what they are and what they entail. As a Realtor in Central Florida, I often get asked about the different loan options available. I’ve recently helped several buyers in Saint Cloud find properties that are USDA eligible; therefore, I thought it would be helpful to do a series on the different loan (mortgage options available). Since, the USDA loans have been the most popular this month, I thought I would start with this option.

So, let’s talk about what USDA loans are and how they work.

The Benefits of a USDA Home Loan

A USDA loan (also called a Rural Development Loan) is a government insured home loan that allows you purchase a home with NO Money Down. USDA Home Loans offer 100% financing to qualified buyers, and allow for all closing costs to be either paid for by the seller or financed into the loan. USDA offers some the lowest rates of any loan, and you will always have a fixed interest rate.

In addition, you may even qualify if your credit is less than perfect. You don’t have to have amazing credit to get approved; however, you should have at least a 620 to 640 credit score, but you may be able to use credit references like cell phone, insurance and utility bills to build out your credit if you don’t have very much of it.

Am I Eligible for a USDA Loan?

USDA Loan Eligibility will be determined by three factors:

Credit Worthiness: When an underwriter reviews your credit history on a USDA Loan the major thing they will be looking for is a history of paying your bills on time. If you have had blemishes in the past they may be overlooked as long as you have reestablished your credit over the past 12 months. Generally, any open judgments or collections will need to be paid off before you close on your new home.

USDA Loan Income Restrictions: You will need to be able to document your income on a USDA Loan. USDA will generally want to see a two year history of employment or consistent income. Exceptions on the two year requirement can be made for applicants such as students. On a USDA Loan Assets are not required for approval, but can help overcome any possible blemishes on credit.

Where you Live: In order to qualify for a USDA Loan your home must be located in a designated USDA rural area. You can check the USDA eligibility of your county. It might surprise you just how many areas of the United States do qualify for these no money down home loans. The goal of the USDA loan program is to help our nation’s smaller, rural communities thrive by making land and property more affordable.

Owning Additional Property:  The USDA does not currently allow buyers to own another “adequate” property and buy another home by utilizing the USDA Loan program.  The USDA loan is designed for those buyers who do not qualify for other financing and do not have adequate housing.  However, there are certain circumstances when the USDA will allow you to keep the other home.  For example, the USDA does not view mobile (manufactured) homes as adequate property.  Other circumstances include if you have to move or if your current home is not adequately large enough for the size of your family.

So, as I discussed earlier, Saint Cloud, FL (along with many other areas) is an area that’s eligible for the no money down USDA mortgage; however, you’re still going to need some money for an earnest money deposit, a home inspection & the appraisal.

For more information, you can visit the USDA’s Rural Development website at:http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do.

As always, if you have questions about the process, let me know! Also, feel free to contact me whenever you are ready to buy or sell your next home!

All my best,

Kelly M Foster Realtor Orlando Saint Cloud Kissimmee
Kelly Foster, Licensed Realtor
RE/MAX Blue Water Realty
321-946-1004 – Direct
Kelly@OrlandoMetroRealty.com
Serving: Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole County

Like this Post? Subscribe to our blog

Posted in Central Florida, Home Buying, Home Ownership, Mortgages, Orlando, Properties for Sale, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orlando Housing Market Report May 2015

April Housing Market Update Orlando

April 2015 Housing Market
Released May 15, 2015

View statistical reports and video

Median Price

*The median price of all existing homes combined sold in April 2015 — $175,000 — is a 7.69 percent increase from the $162,500 median price recorded in April 2014, and a 1.17 percent decrease compared to March 2015.

*The median price for “normal” existing homes sold in April is $198,000, an increase of 7.03 percent from the median price of “normal” existing homes in April 2014.

*The year-to-year median price for short sales increased by 2.96 percent in April, while the median price for bank-owned sales increased by 9.09 percent.

*The year-over-year median price for single-family homes increased by 8.99 percent, and the year-over-year median price for condos increased 2.60 percent.

Sales

*Orlando home sales (all home types and all sales types combined) in April 2015 were up 12.34 percent when compared to April of 2014 and down 3.22 percent compared to March 2015.

*Single-family sales increased 13.20 percent, while condo sales increased by 1.99 percent year to year.

*Of the 3,031 sales in April, 2,135 normal sales accounted for 70.44 percent of all sales, while 750 bank-owned and 146 short sales respectively made up 24.74 percent and 4.82 percent.

*The number of normal sales in April increased by 17.89 percent compared to April 2014, while foreclosures increased 17.00 percent and short-sales decreased 40.65 percent.

*The 6,975 pendings in April of this year is a decrease of 6.56 percent compared to the 7,465 pendings in April of last year (and a 3.90 percent increase compared to the 6,713 pendings last month).

*Short sales made up 22.90 percent of pendings in April, a decline of 46.91 percent from April of last year. Normal properties accounted for 53.00 percent (an increase of 26.44 percent) of sales and bank-owned properties accounted for 24.10 percent (an increase of 9.65 percent).

*Sales of existing homes within the entire Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in April were up by 13.46 percent when compared to April of 2014. Year to date, sales are up 18.55 percent in the MSA.

Each individual county’s monthly sales comparisons are as follows:

•Lake: 13.41 percent above April 2014;
•Orange: 19.42 percent above April 2014;
•Osceola: 2.69 percent above April 2014; and
•Seminole: 9.10 percent above April 2014.

Inventory

*There are currently 11,725 homes available for purchase through the MLS. The April 2015 overall inventory level is 10.12 percent higher than it was in April 2014; inventory is up 1.70 percent compared to March 2015.

*The inventory of normal sales increased 20.85 percent compared to April 2014, while foreclosure inventory is down 1.13 percent and short sale inventory is down 38.02 percent.

*Year-to-year single-family home inventory is up 6.22 percent; condo inventory is up 23.86 percent.

*The current pace of sales translates into 3.87 months of inventory supply.

Other

*New contracts are down 8.35 percent compared to April of 2014. New listings are up 2.43 percent.

*The Orlando affordability index increased to 182.67 percent in April. First-time homebuyer affordability in April increased to 129.90 percent.

*Homes of all types spent an average of 79 days on the market (down from 80 days the month prior) before coming under contract in April 2015, and the average home sold for 94.99 percent of its listing price (down from 96.87 percent the month prior).

Florida Market Overview

*Sales, existing single-family: 24.60 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Sales, existing condo: 13.70 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Median price, existing single-family: 9.20 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Median price, existing condo: 8.60 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

National Market Overview

*Sales, existing single-family: 14.70 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Sales, existing condo: 6.10 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Median price, existing single-family: 8.70 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

*Median price, existing condo: 1.60 percent increase in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

Persuasive Points Overview

*Homeownership is an investment in your well-being and future.

*Homeownership offers immediate benefits and long-term value.

*Today’s market offers great opportunities for buyers and sellers.

*Mortgage interest rates are low. Home prices are affordable.

*REALTORS® add value to the real estate transaction.

*REALTORS® are the most trusted resource for real estate information.

Economic and Social Benefits of Homeownership

*Homeowners benefit from the power of leverage. Buyers typically use their own money for just a portion of the home price, but the appreciation they realize is based on the property’s total value.

*Given the leverage in purchasing a home, the average return on a 5 percent down payment over 10 years is usually three to five times greater than stock market returns.

*The typical homeowner’s net worth ($205,200) was 49 times that of the typical renter ($4,200) in 2008, according to NAR calculations using the latest statistics from the Federal Reserve Board.

*Homeownership offers “pride of ownership” — giving you control over your surroundings.

*Homeownership strengthens communities. Homeowners are more likely to be involved and engaged in local issues, and they move less frequently than renters. This helps to prevent crime, improve childhood education and support neighborhood upkeep.

*Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth, providing both equity accumulation and tax benefits over time.

Use-a-REALTOR® Discussion Topics

*It has never been more important than now to work with a REALTOR®, the local market professional, to properly gauge local neighborhood conditions.

*Distressed sales — foreclosures and short sales — account for more than a third of all transactions nationwide. This varies widely from market to market — sometimes even from neighborhood to neighborhood. Distressed homes typically are selling at a 15 percent discount, but this varies widely by market, as well.

*REALTORS® have access to the most up-to-date and comprehensive property listing and sales information, making them a buyer’s best resource in finding the home that is right for each customer.

*Many markets have two levels of pricing: distressed sales and traditional sales. Foreclosures and short-sales tend to carry prices as much as of 20 percent below traditional homes in the same area. REALTORS® can help both buyers and sellers navigate today’s tricky market conditions.

Source: NAR Surround Sound Campaign

Why Homeownership Matters…

To people

*Homeowners are happier and healthier and enjoy a greater feeling of control over their lives.

*Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth. Historically, a homeowner’s net worth has ranged from 31 to 46 times that of a renter.

*Homeowners are free to redecorate, renovate, and modify their homes as they wish.

*Most home owners enjoy stable housing costs — a fixed-rate mortgage payment might not change for 15 to 30 years while rent typically increases 3 percent a year.

*Homeowners can typically deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their federal individual income tax return.

To communities

*People who own homes vote more, volunteer more and contribute more to their neighborhoods.

*Homeowners do not move as frequently as renters, providing more neighborhood stability. In turn, this stability helps reduce crime and supports neighborhood upkeep.

*Children of homeowners do better in school, stay in school longer, are more likely to participate in organized activities and spend less time in front of the television.

To the United States

*Sixty-seven percent of American households are owner-occupied. America is a nation of homeowners.

*Homeowners pay 80 to 90 percent of federal individual income taxes, contributing to federal programs that benefit all Americans.

*Every home purchased pumps $60,000 into the economy for furniture, home improvements, and related items.

*Housing accounts for more than 15 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product, a key driver of our national economy.

Source: NAR Homeownership Matters Campaign

###

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor MFRMLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or MFRMLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA REALTOR® sales, referred to as the core market, represent all sales by members of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, not necessarily those sales strictly in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any REALTOR® association, not just members of ORRA.

For detailed statistical reports and video, visit the Orlando Regional REALTOR®Association website.

As always, if you have questions about these statistics or trends, let me know! Also, feel free to contact me whenever you are ready to buy or sell your next home!

All my best,
Kelly Signature
Kelly Foster, Licensed Realtor
RE/MAX Blue Water Realty
321-946-1004 – Direct
Kelly@OrlandoMetroRealty.com
Serving: Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole County

Like this Post? Subscribe to our blog

Posted in Central Florida, Financing, Home Buying, Home Ownership, HUD, Orlando, Properties for Sale, Real Estate, Real Estate Investing, Real Estate Market Update | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®

shutterstock_237776851

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.

1. You’ll have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Get objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Find the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

4. Benefit from their negotiating experience. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Real estate has its own language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Buying and selling is emotional. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

9. Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a customer of a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for REALTORS® to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years.

As always, if you have questions about the process, let me know! Also, feel free to contact me whenever you are ready to buy or sell your next home!

All my best,

Kelly M Foster Realtor Orlando Saint Cloud Kissimmee
Kelly Foster, Licensed Realtor
RE/MAX Blue Water Realty
321-946-1004 – Direct
Kelly@OrlandoMetroRealty.com
Serving: Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole County

Like this Post? Subscribe to our blog

Posted in Central Florida, Home Buying, Home Ownership, Orlando, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Happening in and Around Orlando in May

local events in central florida 031513

Check out these great Central Florida events!

05/01-02: Smokin Blues, Boats, Bikes & BBQ @ St Cloud Lake Front
05/02: Kentucky Derby Party @ Sanford/Orlando Kennel Club
05/02: 6th Annual Earth Fest @ Lake Concord Park
05/03: MetroWest Jazz Fest @ Turkey Lake Park
05/06-07: Body Art Showcase & Exhibit @ Majestic Event Center
05/07: Winestock @ Cranes Roost Plaza
05/09: Nitro Circus Live! @ Amway Center
05/09: 2015 Black & White Gala @ The Hyatt Regency Orlando
05/09: Taste of Sanford @ Fort Mellon Park
05/13-17: Thunder on Cocoa Beach @ The Exploration Tower
05/13-26: 24th Annual Orlando Fringe Festival @ Loch Haven Park Area
05/22: 3rd Annual Central Florida’s BBQ Blowout @ Oviedo Mall

Hope to see you around this weekend! Have fun and be safe!

All my best,

Kelly M Foster Realtor Orlando Saint Cloud Kissimmee
Kelly Foster, Licensed Realtor
RE/MAX Blue Water Realty
321-946-1004 – Direct
Kelly@OrlandoMetroRealty.com
Serving: Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole County

Like this Post? Subscribe to our blog

Posted in Central Florida Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orlando Housing Market Report January 2015

OrlHousMrktSnap022015

The Orlando housing market enjoyed healthy January-to-January comparison increases in both sales and median price as we head into the annual homebuying season, reports the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association.

The overall median price (all sales types and all home types combined) for the month of January 2015 is $155,000, a 3.68 percent increase compared to the $149,500 median price in January 2014. The year-to-year median price comparison has increased each month since July 2011, and is now 34.20 percent higher than the $115,500 recorded for that month.

Orlando’s median home price experienced its typical January-to December comparison decline; the January 2015 median price is 8.28 percent lower than the December 2014 median price of $169,000.

In addition to the overall median price increase, each individual sale type and home type all experienced a year-to-year median price increase in January. Short sales led the way with a 16.60 percent jump, while the median price of foreclosures increased 8.40 percent and normal sales increased 7.56 percent.

The median price of single-family homes increased 5.38 percent when compared to January of last year, and the median price of condos decreased 3.72 percent.

Completed Sales

Members of ORRA participated in the sales of 2,074 homes (all home types and all sale types combined) that closed in January 2015, an increase of 9.79 percent compared to January 2014 and a decrease of 26.01 percent compared to December 2014.

According to ORRA President Sharon Voss, the traditional December-to-January sales decline is due in large part to an annual rush in December to close prior to the end of the year. “The homestead tax exemption is a primary financial benefit of homeownership,” explains Voss. “Owners have to be in possession of their new home before January 1 of the New Year in order to claim the exemption on the coming year’s taxes.”

Voss says that a steady decrease in interest rates is prompting REALTORS® to expect a steady rise in sales over the coming months. This prediction is also supported by a 14 percent increase in the number of pending sales between January 2015 and December 2014.

The average interest rate paid by Orlando homebuyers in January decreased to 3.67 percent, the lowest since May of 2013. This month last year, homebuyers paid an average interest rate of 4.47.

Traditional sales increased by 6.66 percent when compared to January 2014. Closings of short sales decreased by 50.22 percent while closings of foreclosures increased 45.01 percent.

Single-family home sales increased 13.96 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014, while condo sales increased 2.55 percent.

Homes of all types spent an average of 82 days on the market before coming under contract in January 2015, and the average home sold for 96.41 percent of its listing price. In January 2014 those numbers were 73 days and 96.31 percent, respectively.

Pending Sales

Pending sales – those under contract and awaiting closing – are currently at 6,037. The number of pending sales in January 2015 is 6.55 percent lower than it was in January 2014 (6,460) and 13.69 percent higher than it was in December 2014 (5,310).

Normal properties made up 42.09 percent of pending sales in January 2014. Short sales accounted for 27.36 percent of pendings, while bank-owned properties accounted for 30.54 percent.

Inventory

The number of existing homes (all types combined) that were available for purchase in January is 17.17 percent above that of January 2014 and now rests at 11,631. Inventory increased in number by 74 properties over last month.

The inventory of single-family homes is up by up by 14.08 percent when compared to January of 2014, while condo inventory is up by 26.37 percent. The inventory of duplexes, townhomes, and villas is up by 30.67 percent.

Current inventory combined with the current pace of sales created a 5.61-month supply of homes in Orlando for January. There was a 5.26-month supply in January 2014 and a 4.12-month supply last month.

Affordability

The January affordability index is 206.07 percent, an increase from December’s index of 184.49. (An affordability index of 99 percent means that buyers earning the state-reported median income are 1 percent short of the income necessary to purchase a median-priced home. Conversely, an affordability index that is over 100 means that median-income earners make more than is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home.)

Buyers who earn the reported median income of $56,240 can qualify to purchase one of 5,927 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $319,407 or less.

First-time homebuyer affordability in December increased to 131.19 percent from last month’s 130.42 percent. First-time buyers who earn the reported median income of $38,243 can qualify to purchase one of the 3,568 homes in Orange and Seminole counties currently listed in the local multiple listing service for $193,064 or less.

Condos and Town Homes/Duplexes/Villas

The sales of condos in the Orlando area were up 2.55 percent in January, with 281 sales recorded in January 2015 compared to 274 in January 2014.

Orlando homebuyers purchased 169 duplexes, town homes, and villas in January 2015, which is 11.05 percent less than in January 2014.

MSA Numbers

Sales of existing homes within the entire Orlando MSA (Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties) in January were up by 6.38 percent when compared to January of 2014.

Each individual county’s monthly sales comparisons are as follows:

• Lake: 5.33 percent below January 2014;
• Orange: 14.25 percent above January 2014;
• Osceola: 6.31 percent below January 2014; and
• Seminole: 8.41 percent above January 2014.

###

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor MFRMLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or MFRMLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA REALTOR® sales, referred to as the core market, represent all sales by members of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, not necessarily those sales strictly in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any REALTOR® association, not just members of ORRA.

For detailed statistical reports and video, visit the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association website.

As always, if you have questions about these statistics or trends, let me know! Also, feel free to contact me whenever you are ready to buy or sell your next home!

All my best,
Kelly Signature
Kelly Foster, Licensed Realtor
RE/MAX Blue Water Realty
321-946-1004 – Direct
Kelly@OrlandoMetroRealty.com
Serving: Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk and Seminole County

Like this Post? Subscribe to our blog

Posted in Central Florida, Home Ownership, HUD, Mortgages, Moving, Properties for Sale, Real Estate, Real Estate Market Update | Tagged , , | Leave a comment