No Comments

What to do when Disaster Hits

What to do when Disaster Hits

What to do when Disaster Hits

NEW YORK – Sept. 6, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey has damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and put countless families into a financial tailspin. If you’re affected by a natural disaster, what does it mean for your mortgage? Here are frequently asked questions and answers.

What should I do first?

Get in touch with the following entities:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center or by calling 800-621-3362.
  • Your homeowners insurance company, plus your flood or earthquake insurance company, if either applies to your situation.
  • Your mortgage servicer. That’s the company that you send your monthly payments to; it might not be your original mortgage lender.

I can’t pay my mortgage. What are my options?

If the disaster makes it impossible to make your monthly house payments, ask your servicer for mortgage forbearance. A forbearance ‘allows you to stop making your payments for an agreed-upon time,’ says Lisa Tibbitts, director of public relations for Freddie Mac.

In a forbearance agreement, you might make partial payments or stop making payments for a specific time. Generally, a forbearance lasts up to six months and can be extended up to another six months. Interest still accrues during the time you aren’t making full monthly payments. But under a forbearance agreement, the lender won’t charge late fees or report you to credit bureaus.

The lender will want you to catch up on your missed payments after the forbearance period is over. That might involve paying extra every month for a few years, modifying the loan or reaching some other negotiated agreement.

To talk with a Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselor before agreeing to forbearance, call 800-569-4287.

What aid is available?

Direct federal aid consists mostly of loans from the Small Business Administration. As odd as that may seem, the SBA is in charge of delivering disaster-related loans to individuals and families.

The SBA extends loans at favorable interest rates to replace or repair primary residences. You can borrow up to $200,000 to cover renovation or construction costs. Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, the SBA will lend you up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as clothing, furniture, appliances and vehicles.

FEMA offers grants to fill in gaps between insurance payouts and SBA loans. The maximum grant is $33,300 per household for disasters that happen in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2017. Grants can be used for expenses such as basic home repairs that aren’t covered by insurance, temporary rent and disaster-caused medical and child care.

The Federal Housing Administration has a program that’s designed to help disaster survivors rebuild or buy replacement homes. Under the Section 203(h) program, the FHA insures mortgages for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in disasters. Borrowers don’t have to make a downpayment.

My house was destroyed. Should I keep paying the mortgage?

You should do your best to maintain your credit score. That means paying the home loan if you can afford it until you have talked with the servicer and have reached a settlement with the insurance company.

The way lenders look at it: You promised to repay your loan when you signed your mortgage documents at closing. “The borrower is liable for the loan debt, and making their payment is part of the borrower’s contractual obligation,” Alicia Jones, Fannie Mae spokeswoman, said in an email.

Note: If you apply for a loan from the SBA, it runs a credit check before inspecting your property. That’s one reason to preserve your credit score by paying your bills on time as best you can.

What happens if I stop mortgage payments without telling my servicer?

If you stop making payments without permission from your mortgage servicer, you could be charged late fees and your credit score could fall.

Homeowners “should call their lender,” says Brian Sullivan, supervisory public affairs specialist for HUD. “Don’t stop answering the phone. Don’t stop opening your mail.”

Talk with your mortgage servicer before you miss a payment. The servicer might offer forbearance.

What if I can’t contact my mortgage servicer?

Whether your loan is guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the servicer is expected to reach out to you.

In response to Hurricane Harvey, Freddie Mac is allowing servicers to “verbally grant” 90-day forbearances, and Fannie Mae is letting servicers grant 90-day forbearances ‘even if they cannot contact the impacted homeowner immediately.’

Even so, you should call the servicer or answer the mortgage company’s calls.

What happens if I’m in foreclosure?

Mortgage servicers receive foreclosure guidance from federal agencies, and the recommendations vary depending on the disaster.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the VA and the FHA have suspended foreclosures for 90 days in the Hurricane Harvey disaster area.

The house I was buying was destroyed or damaged. What happens now?

If a disaster happens between appraisal and closing, “the lender is expected to take prudent and reasonable actions to determine whether the condition of the property may have materially changed since the effective date of the appraisal report,” according to Fannie Mae’s guide to lenders.

If the damage is relatively minor and covered by insurance, the mortgage can be closed. But if the damage is uninsured, or if it’s major, then the house must be repaired before the mortgage can go through.

Copyright © 2017 The Steuben Courier Advocate, Holden Lewis. All rights reserved. The article “What to Do After a Disaster Hits Your Home, Mortgage,” originally appeared on NerdWallet.

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Grand Panama Beach Resort 3 Bedroom

Panama City Beach condo view of beach

3 BR 3 BA CONDO AT THE GRAND PANAMA BEACH RESORT! Beautiful Sunsets from all rooms. This beautiful 3 bedroom 3 bath condo has stainless steel appliances and granite counter-tops. Wood and Tile floors through out. The unit features upgraded furnishings, flat screen TV’s, custom drapes, and a bunk area used as an office that can also be made into a walk-in closet. The balcony offers wonderful views of the gulf and the town. The unit is on a mid height level with beautiful views of the amazing Gulf. Tower II has its own heated pool and fully equipped fitness room. Grand Panama is one the most luxury Resorts on Front Beach Road

No Comments

Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City Beach

Tourism in Panama City has climbed over the last year, with May marking the fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth for the city.

Visit Panama City Beach and the Bay County Tourist Development Council announced that tourism numbers were up 14 percent in May as compared to the same month in 2016. In addition, overall numbers have increased by 14.8 percent for the fiscal year, which began in October 2016.

The tourism growth is being attributed to a new advertising campaign entitled “Make it Yours,” along with special events, visitor loyalty and ideal weather conditions. The fiscal improvements are also due to Tourist Development Tax, which is a five percent tax on short-term rentals including hotels and condominiums.

“Our continued success has brought an energy and excitement to Panama City Beach that is contagious for both our visitors and the entire community,” Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe said in a statement.

The Tourist Development Tax funds marketing and promotional activities led by the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the money is also used for beach cleaning and grooming, product improvement and beach renourishment.

Panama City was named the “Top Trending Spot for a Summer 2017 Vacation Rental Stay” by TripAdvisor earlier this year, and the area prides itself on providing opportunities for visitors to live the Panama City Beach brand throughout the summer season.

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Homeownership Beats Renting

Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Homeownership Beats Renting

LOS ANGELES – July 27, 2017 – Arizona, Nevada and Washington, D.C. are among the 11 states where it’s more affordable to rent than it is to buy a home. But owning a home still beats renting in Florida, according to a study by website GOBankingRates.

GoBankingRates surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and identified which states are best for buying a home and which are better suited for renting. The study, based on rental data on Zillow, was sourced to June 28, 2017. For the cost of owning, the study assumed a 20-percent downpayment on a 30-year fixed loan.

In Florida, homeowners have the advantage. They GOBankingRates study found that the average monthly rent of $1,543 is $167 higher than the cost of an average monthly mortgage of $1,376. The difference amounts to about $2,000 per year that the average Florida family would save by owning rather than renting, though actual savings would differ by metro area and other variables.

The 11 states where renting a home is less expensive than buying one include Arizona, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Millennial Homeowner? Now is the time to sell!

Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ AssociationFreddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtorsare each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.

Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

Bottom Line

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Upgraded Annabella’s Waterfront Unit!

Upgraded Annabella's Waterfront Unit

Upgraded Annabella’s Waterfront Unit

Townhouse on south end of building with only one connecting wall to neighbor. Townhouse has had many upgrades from 12×15 paver patio facing east so that you can enjoy Florida afternoons without being in direct sun. Garage flooring has epoxy coating with clear coat, backsplash in kitchen, etc. One year Home Owner’s Warranty transfers with sale. Two master suites with one on ground floor and one upstairs.

No Comments

Selling your Home

Selling your Home

Selling your Home

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX

Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

Selling your Home

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia.” 

Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Index shows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

4 vacation home issues every buyer should know

4 vacation home issues every buyer should know

4 vacation home issues every buyer should know

NEW YORK – July 7, 2017 – Before clients purchase a vacation home, make sure they’re ready for the responsibilities of owning a second property.

“Costs of owning and renting a vacation home can be very high,” says Todd Huettner, owner of Denver-based lending company Huettner Capital. “The hassles and costs of short-term vacation rentals are higher than most people expect. … People are way too optimistic about rental rates, vacancies, management fees, maintenance costs and home value increases.”

Owners buying a second home in a different part of the country than their primary residence may have to consider new climate issues, such as damaging blizzards in the mountains or corrosion from salty air in beachside communities, Huettner says.

The vacation-home market has made a full recovery in recent years, with prices returning to what they were in 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the median sales price increased by 4.2 percent in 2016 to $200,000.

The Wall Street Journal featured some considerations for buyers who aspire to purchase a vacation property:

1. Check your reason for buying. Some buyers find that a vacation home can be a moneymaker. Sabrina Robinson of Santa Cruz, Calif., said that she rents her vacation condo in Lake Tahoe to tourists year-round. The rental income covers her mortgage and utilities and generates a $20,000 profit annually.

But buyers of second homes don’t always want to become landlords.

“Our buyers today are buying for a number of reasons, with the number one reason being lifestyle and use,” says Nick Cassini, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Four Seasons Private Residences in the Caribbean island of Anguilla. NAR surveys also find that vacationing is the primary motivation for buyers who purchase a second home.

2. Assess the location. Sales prices and rental demand can vary significantly between locations. “The owners who are most displeased are ones that rush the purchase decision because they are blinded by their dream,” says David Angotti, co-founder of SmokyMountains.com, a vacation rental listing site in Tennessee. “For example, they fail to understand that location, view, features and other amenities are critical to the overall revenue.”

Owners may also want to consider how far their second home is from their primary residence. Fifty-seven percent of vacation properties are located in beachside or lakeside communities at a median distance of 200 miles from owners’ primary properties, according to NAR.

“In our experience, living close is really helpful if something goes wrong, but there are a huge number of services out there to hold keys, offer concierge services, or otherwise help if you live farther away,” says Laura Hall, communications director for Kid & Coe, a vacation rental website. “So anything is possible if you’re willing to pay for it.”

3. Budget for the true costs. Buyers shouldn’t just focus on purchase price, rental rates and recent market trends when considering purchasing a second home. They need to be aware of other factors that can push up costs, such as fees for cleaning, management, routine maintenance and repairs. For example, homeowner association fees can be more than $1,000 a month in some markets. Financial experts recommend that buyers also factor in real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities and any state sales tax on rental income.

4. Consult local rules. If the intent is to rent out a second home, check out local ordinances and homeowners association rules, which may reduce the pool of potential renters.

Source: “What to Consider Before You Buy a Vacation Home,” The Wall Street Journal (June 11, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Origin at Seahaven Post Auction Sales

Origin at Seahaven Post Auction Sales

Origin at Seahaven Post Auction Sales

 

Origin at Seahaven Post Auction Sales

The Origin at Seahaven Auction was a huge success with over 100 buyers in attendance and 70 units sold for almost 10 million in sales! If you missed the auction on June 29th, don’t worry, currently there are still about 25 units left in the original block of 95 and the seller is entertaining offers for the remaining units. There are still some good opportunities to be had in this building and our agents would be thrilled to help you find your piece of paradise! The Origin is in a great spot in Panama City Beach about 1 mile from Pier Park and right across the street from Sharkey’s Restaurant. Just stop by our onsite office in the front of the Origin building and ask to take a tour!

__________________________________

Life’s A Beach Real Estate is a full service Real Estate Company on the beautiful Emerald Coast.  Our headquarters is located in one of the most unique condominium buildings on the beach, The Origin Beach Resort. We have over 700 condos for sale on Panama City Beach as well as beachfront and vacation homes in the world famous 30A area.  A large part of our business is Condo sales but we also assist our clients with new homes, investment opportunities, commercial properties, new construction and development.

No Comments

Annabella’s Townhome 4 Bedroom!

Annabella's Townhome

Annabella’s Townhome

Professional Pictures Coming soon. TONS of great points about this Townhome! FOUR bedrooms and three and a half baths, corner unit with additional parking right across the street and your very own yard right outside your door! Downstairs Master or Mother-in-Law Suite, Granite countertops and stainless appliances, you will not find a home of this size on the beach with these upgrades at this price point!

Welcome To Annabella’s…An Affordable, Established Gated Townhome Community, Thoughtfully Located on Back Beach Road Just West of Hathaway Bridge and Sugar White Beaches Nearby. Nestled in a Resort-Like Setting, Each Residence Enjoys Subtle Hints of Southern Charm, Spacious Greenbelt Views, Along with Access to a Private Swimming Pool and Clubhouse with Fitness Center. This Four Bedroom Home Features Open Floor Plan, Tile Flooring in the Main Living Areas, 9′ ft Ceilings On 1st Floor, Kitchen with Breakfast Bar and Stainless-Steel Appliances, Granite Countertops Through Out, 2nd Floor Laundry, 2 Car Attached Garage. Maintenance Free Living

SHORES OF PANAMA CONDO AUCTION99 Fully Furnished Condo Units for Sale
PRE-SELLING NOW! AUCTION DATE DEC 4TH!

Fill out the form below to get information on these Shores of Panama condos for auction.





Learn More