Now is your chance! Get involved in Property Management!

The Florida Realtors Property Management Committee had discussions at their mid-year committee meeting regarding the need to educate the new influx of Property Managers who have been forced into supplementing their sales incomes with income derived from property management.  FR staff has been able to negotiate with NARPM to provide a course at our convention in August which would also give 6 hours of CE credits.  They are required to have a minimum of 25 people sign up by July 15th in order to offer this benefit to our Realtor members.  With such short notice, please help us encourage interested members to” step to the plate” and make this happen.  Please complete the enrollment form for yourself and then distribute to others you feel would or should be interested.  Thanks for your commitment to Property Management.

Loans, Great Rates and New Rewards from REALTORS® FCU

REALTORS® Federal Credit Union understands your loan needs better than any other financial institution.  Look to REALTORS® FCU first for credit and loan products specifically designed with you in mind. With convenient, 24-hour access and comprehensive online banking, REALTORS® FCU is a great addition to your current financial portfolio.

Just in time for the summer, REALTORS® FCU is pleased to announce new loan products and referral rewards.  Plus, now it’s easier to join than ever before!

Join now for only $25!

Your membership strengthens the REALTOR® family by increasing the credit union’s ability to provide loans and services to members facing financial difficulties.  REALTORS® FCU has reduced the initial minimum deposit to join from $100 to only $25.

Loans at Lower Rates
REALTORS® FCU has also lowered rates on many of the loan products you need – making now a great time to apply for a loan or line of credit.   
Auto Loans (with Rewards for You and Your Referrals)

  • New, Used and Refinance loan options available to help you save money on your next auto purchase. Now through October 31, REALTORS® FCU is offering our own Auto Stabilization Program for new and used auto loans.  Take advantage of  new lower rates, see how you may be able to save money by refinancing your existing car loan* and receive a $50 cash bonus.  Plus, refer a friend to the REALTORS® FCU and if that friend receives an auto loan, you’ll earn a $50 referral fee.  For more details, click here.

Small Business Loans

  • For expenses including working capital, office equipment, and other needs to grow your business.

Professional Development Line of Credit

  • Designation or Certification coursework, Continuing Education, and your professional fees to help you stand apart from the competition and enhance your career.

Ready to become a REALTORS® Federal Credit Union member and take advantage of the full menu of loans, lines of credits and great rates? Join today or contact Member Care, 24 hours a day toll-free at 866-295-6038.

What Does It Take To Serve on the PRO Board of Directors?

The mission of the Pinellas REALTOR® Organization is to enhance and support the ability of members to achieve business success. 

Are you a leader who engages in strategic thinking and understands real estate industry issues? Or maybe you have the ability to inspire others and engage them in building a strong real estate community.  Perhaps you like to build consensus in groups and enjoy nurturing networks. Maybe your strength lies in financial and business expertise or understanding emerging technology with an eye on how it can help in real estate.  If you do, it’s time to consider service on the PRO Board of Directors.

The PRO Board of Directors operates in a manner designed to make effective use of director creativity, productivity, and time resources. Directors are expected to focus on the big picture while creating a vibrant real estate community with solutions to the issues and challenging facing the membership. The role of directors is to develop association policy and to ensure healthy resources for now and in the future.    

The Nominating Committee has the task of seeking out a slate of candidates for 2012.   The vacant positions are Chairman-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer, each for one-year terms and three Directors for two-year terms. 

Members who are interested in being interviewed for potential candidacy should complete the Consent to Serve Form now available on the website. Anyone interested in being selected to serve on the Board of Directors must also complete the Business Plan class which will be held on July 14.  This interactive class is focused on how PRO sets its annual goals and objectives and how these goals and objectives are carried out by the association’s leadership and staff.

Qualifications required by the bylaws to serve on the Board of Directors:

  •  Be a member in good standing, with dues paid by April 30.
  •  Complete the PRO Business Plan Class in previous years or this year on July 14.
  •  Complete and submit the Consent to Serve Form with your digital photo by July 29.
  •  Be interviewed by the Nominating Committee on August 4, 2011.

The nomination and election timetable:

  •   Consent to Serve Forms available on Web site June 13 – Download the forms HERE.
  •   Business Plan class (required for all candidates) July 14
  •   Consent to Serve forms and digital photos due at PRO July 14
  •   Nominating Committee interviews candidates August 4  
  •   Nominating Committee slate posted on the website August 5
  •   Voting online at  from September 15-20
  •   Annual meeting and election results September 21

There are many challenges and exciting times ahead. PRO needs members committed to strengthening the real estate profession and providing business tool to help members achieve success.

Fixed Mortgage rates drop for 8th week

WASHINGTON – June 10, 2011 – Fixed mortgage rates have dropped for an eighth straight week, but the low rates have done little to boost the depressed housing market.

The average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.49 percent from 4.55 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinance option, slipped to 3.68 percent from 3.74 percent. Both are lows for the year.

Rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year yield has been dropping as investors have snapped up Treasurys over fears that the economy is slowing.

Most people can’t take advantage of the low mortgage rates because they can’t meet tougher lending requirements. And many who could afford to refinance likely did so last year, when rates fell to their lowest levels in decades.

Prices fell in the first three months of this year to the lowest levels since before the housing bust. Prices are expected to keep falling through the year, by as much as 10 percent, economists say.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.28 percent. The five-year adjustable rate loan hit 3.25 percent in November, the lowest rate on records dating back to 2005.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan fell to 2.95 percent. That’s the lowest on records going back to 1986.

The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee was 0.7 for both the 30-year and 15-year fixed loans in Freddie Mac’s survey. The average fee for the five-year ARM and the 1-year ARM was 0.5 point.
AP Logo Copyright 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz (AP Real Estate Writer). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

MARS forms update

Several new resources are available to assist Realtors who may be impacted by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) regulations.

These materials are available at the MARS Info Center on Florida Realtors’ member website.

• Instructions for Short Sale Agreement Disclosure will assist Realtors who want to create their own disclosure form, and provides information on filling out the new MARS Short Sale Agreement Disclosure.

MARS Short Sale Agreement Disclosure [MARS-SSAD-1] replaces the MARS Disclosure for Offer from Lender (Part I) [MARS-3(I)] and should be attached to the short sale lender’s offer before the offer is presented to the seller.

MARS Consumer Specific Commercial Communication Disclosure [MARS-CSCCD-1 ] replaces the MARS Disclosure for Consumer Specific Commercial Communication [MARS-2] and should be used at a listing presentation before any negotiations for a short sale listing agreement take place.

Both disclosure forms are available from Form Simplicity. Please note, too, that the MARS Disclosure for Offer from Lender (Part II) [MARS-3(II)] has been deleted from the MARS Info Center, as it applies to loan modifications and not short sales.

Questions? Please call Florida Realtors Legal Hotline at (407) 438-1409.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

Feds: Banks don’t modify enough mortgages

The nation’s largest mortgage loan servicers have done a poor job in modifying distressed home loans through the government’s foreclosure prevention program and need “substantial improvement,” the Obama administration said Thursday.

Based on a recent audit, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase will lose government financial incentives that reach at least $1,000 for a permanent loan modification until they improve, the Treasury Department said. They received $24 million in such incentives last month.

None of the 10 largest servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program have done a good job, Treasury said. Ocwen Loan Servicing also needs substantial improvement and six others need “moderate improvement,” the audits show.

The government’s audits, which for the first time are linked to financial incentives, are intended to hold servicers more accountable for their participation in the federal program, which has led to 700,000 permanent loan modifications since its start in 2009. That’s far fewer than first envisioned.

The audits checked performance areas such as how well servicers dealt with homeowners and evaluated them for modifications, which could include lower interest rates.

One concern is whether the servicers correctly assessed homeowner incomes, which determine eligibility and modification terms.

The government’s auditor found that BofA, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo all calculated incomes incorrectly on more than 22 percent of audited loans.

The mortgage servicers took issue with the government’s reviews and said they don’t reflect improvements.

“It paints an unfairly negative picture” of modification efforts at Wells Fargo, the company said in a statement. JPMorgan Chase also said it “disagrees” with the assessment, while BofA said that future reviews will confirm that company’s progress. Wells Fargo, which is formally disputing the report, says its income calculation error rate is now down to 4.5 percent and that the audit’s higher number stemmed in part from modifications done at a time when applicants weren’t required to document their income.

If the quarterly audits uncover mistakes, servicers will recheck cases, the government says.

The new tactic may improve servicer performance, but won’t alter the fact that Making Home Affordable is a voluntary program, so has been largely ineffective in addressing the foreclosure crisis, says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

“It’s about time,” the government took action to penalize bad servicer behavior, he says.

© Copyright 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

Pinellas County Real Estate Statistics for May 2011

It appears the recent unemployment numbers as well as the overall economic uncertainty may be affecting the Pinellas County housing market.  Although there are still signs of a slow but steady improvement in the numbers, there was a marked slowdown in May. Sales in both single family and condo markets were lackluster and the median sales price increases seen during the first half of the year disappeared.  The one trend in the real estate market that continued unabated is the steady decline in active listings for both condo and single family.

View the full statistics report here.