fl: Insurance Policies : Which Do You Need, Which Should You Skip? - 06/01/12 06:47 AM
Insurance is protection against unexpected expenses and insurance policies are available for nearly any scenario you can envision -- even your own ransom. But just because an insurance policy is available, that doesn't mean you should buy it. Some insurance policies give you good bang for the buck. Others are plain wasteful. In this 3-minute segment from NBC's The Today Show, you'll hear of several common insurance policies and their relative merits to people of FL who purchase them. For example, Americans will spend an estimated $450 million on pet insurance this year. Because of the policies' restrictions and deductibles, though, … (0 comments)

fl: Home Affordability Getting A Springtime Boost From Greece - 05/15/12 06:45 AM
Home affordability is receiving a boost from across the Atlantic Ocean this spring. For the third time in as many years, a weakening Eurozone is pushing May mortgage rates to new lows throughout South FL and nationwide. The story centers in Greece and begins in 2010. 2 years ago, it was uncovered that successive Greece governments had purposefully misreported the nation-state's economic statistics in order to meet European Union standards. The fraudulent data had permitted Greek governments to spend beyond their means while hiding deficits from EU auditors. The realization that Greece was heavy in debt with little means to repay … (1 comments)

fl: With LIBOR Low, Don't Rush To Refinance Your ARM - 05/09/12 08:09 AM
Is your mortgage scheduled to adjust this season? You may want to let it. This year's ARM-holding homeowners in FL are finding out that an adjustable mortgage may be the simplest way to get access to today's low mortgage rates -- without paying the closing costs. Currently, conventional adjustable-rate mortgages are adjusting to near 3.00 percent. If your home is financed via an adjustable-rate mortgage, you're likely cognizant of your loan's life-cycle. At first, your ARM's initial mortgage rate is agreed upon between you and your lender, a rate that both parties agree will remain in place from anywhere from one … (0 comments)

fl: America’s 20 Best Small Towns - 04/23/12 06:35 AM
America is stuffed with world-class "big cities"; New York, San Francisco and Chicago make for three great examples. But beyond the biggest cities, there are some wonderful small towns, too. Smithsonian.com highlights 20 of them on its website. Focusing on cities with 25,000 residents or fewer, the publication ranked areas high in "culture"; towns with high concentrations of museums, public gardens, art galleries and other cultural assets including resident orchestras. The author states "big cities and grand institutions per se don't produce creative works; individuals do. And being reminded of that is fun". The Top 10 Small Towns in America, as … (0 comments)

fl: Tax Tips : What To Do With Your Tax Refund - 04/12/12 09:01 AM
The typical U.S. taxpayer will receive roughly $3,000 in federal income tax refunds this year -- an average of $250 per month. So, what would you do with an extra $250 monthly? This segment from NBC's The Today Show offers some advice. Whether you've already filed your annual taxes for 2011, filed an extension, or will squeak by on the deadline, you could probably be doing more with your taxes. The above video shares some tips. It's four minutes of solid insight on tax refunds, tax withholdings, and reducing your household's overall "bad debt". There's something for everyone. Among the points … (15 comments)

fl: Fed Minutes Causes Mortgage Rates To Rise Suddenly - 04/04/12 10:32 AM
The Federal Reserve has released the minutes from its last FOMC meeting, a 1-day affair held March 13, 2012. Mortgage rates in FL are rising on the news. For the un-indoctrinated, 3 weeks after it meets, the Federal Open Market Committee, the sub-group within the Federal Reserve that votes on U.S. monetary policy, publishes its meeting minutes. Similar to the minutes from a corporate event, or condominium association meeting, the Fed Minutes recounts the conversations and debates that transpired throughout the meeting. The Fed Minutes is a lengthy publication, often filling 10 pages or more. By contrast, the more well-known publication … (0 comments)

fl: Foreclosure Volume Slated To Rise This Spring - 03/16/12 06:45 AM
After a series of months during which foreclosure volume was low, total filings have started to rise again, says RealtyTrac. In February, 21 states posted a year-over-year increase in monthly foreclosure filings, according to the national foreclosure-tracking firm. This is nearly twice as many states as compared to December 2011, marking the highest monthly reading since November 2010. A "foreclosure filing" is defined to include any one of the following foreclosure-related events : (1) The serving of a default notice, (2) A scheduled home auction, or (3) A bank repossession. Nationally, the number of foreclosure filings fell 2 percent from January. … (0 comments)

fl: Home Affordability Reaches An All-Time High - 03/06/12 08:11 AM
Home affordability moved higher last quarter, boosted by the lowest mortgage rates in history, a rise in median income, and slow-to-recover home prices throughout FL and the country. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the quarterly Home Opportunity Index read 75.9 in 2011's fourth quarter. More than 3 in 4 homes sold between October-December 2011, in other words, were affordable to households earning the national median income of $64,200. Never in recorded history have U.S. homes been as affordable on a national level. Even on a regional and local level, affordability soared. Affordability was highest in the Midwest; 7 … (0 comments)

fl: With Retail Sales And Consumer Confidence Rising, Home Prices Are Expected To Follow - 02/15/12 09:48 AM
The U.S. economy continues to show signs of a rebound. According to the Census Bureau, Retail Sales climbed to $329 billion last month on a seasonally-adjusted basis, excluding automobiles. January's data marks the 18th time in 19 months that Retail Sales rose, a run that's increased total sales receipts by 11 percent. This is big news because Retail Sales accounts for close to 70% of the U.S. economy. In addition, consumer confidence is rising. In a separate, joint report from the University of Michigan and Thompson Reuters, it was shown that consumer attitudes toward the economy and the future are improving, … (0 comments)

fl: Top 10 Sunniest Cities In the United States - 02/13/12 09:04 AM
As compared to gloomy days, do "sunny days" put you in a good mood? If you're like many people in Florida , the answer is "yes". In a study of more than 1,200 people, researchers found that daily weather factors such as temperature, precipitation and length of day can alter a person's emotional state. Of all the weather factors, however, "sunshine" can have the most profound effect. The most likely reason is because sunshine affects people in a physiological manner. When the human brain detects sunlight, our bodies produce serotonin, a chemical which promotes happiness and well-being. By contrast, when the … (4 comments)

fl: Quick Tips : Boost Your Credit Score For Better Mortgage Rates - 02/09/12 10:37 AM
Credit scores play a huge role in today's mortgage market -- larger than at any time in recent history. Blame it on the high default rates of the last half-decade. Lenders are reserving their lowest rates for the customers most likely to make on-time repayments. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low in FL. However, the low rates you see advertised on TV and online are only available to the home buyers and would-be refinancers whose credit scores are pristine. Having a high credit score is often the difference between getting "the best rates" from your lender, and getting something worse. … (1 comments)

fl: Existing Home Sales Approach Bull Market Territory - 01/24/12 09:16 AM
The housing market finished 2011 with strength, and is carrying measurable momentum into 2012. According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, December's Existing Home Sales climbed by 120,00 units overall from the month prior on its way to an 11-month high. An "existing home" is a home that's been previously occupied; that cannot be considered new construction. After 4.61 million existing homes were sold in December, there are now just 2.38 million homes for sale nationwide. The last time the national home supply was this sparse was March 2005. At today's sales pace, the … (0 comments)

fl: Home Builders See More Sales, Higher Prices Ahead - 01/19/12 09:16 AM
Homebuilder confidence is soaring. For the fourth straight month, the National Association of Homebuilders reports an increase in its Housing Market Index. The index climbed 4 points to 25 this month -- its second four-point gain since October. With home sales activity increasing across all four regions, the monthly HMI has now nearly doubled in value since June 2011. The HMI is now at a 55-month high. The Housing Market Index itself is a composite reading; the result of three home builder surveys sent by the National Association of Homebuilders to its members monthly. Home builders report back on current single-family … (1 comments)

fl: Fed Minutes Show An Improving U.S. Economy Threatened By The Eurozone - 01/12/12 09:40 AM
The Federal Reserve has released the minutes from its most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Fed Minutes are a detailed meeting recap; the companion piece to the more brief, more well-known press release. As a comparison, the minutes of the last FOMC meeting contained 60 paragraphs and 7,027 words. The post-meeting press release was just 5 paragraphs and 382 words. December's Fed Minutes shows Fed members with a positive, cautious, take on the economy. Recent data suggests that the U.S. economy is expanding, the Fed said, but "strains" in global financial markets pose "significant risks" to the downside. This … (0 comments)

fl: Pay Your Mortgage Early, Boost Your 2011 Federal Income Tax Deductions - 12/23/11 09:26 AM
Time is running out to boost to your 2011 federal tax refund. All you have to do is make your January 2012 mortgage payment while it's still December. It's a simple tax strategy that works because of how mortgage interest is paid, and of how the U.S. tax code is written. Different from rent which is paid for the month ahead (i.e. "you're paying January's rent"), mortgage payments are made only after mortgage interest has accrued (i.e. "you're paying for money you've already borrowed from the bank"). This is called "paying interest in arrears" and U.S. tax code states that the … (2 comments)

fl: Mortgage Payments Fall 12% Since February 2011 - 12/16/11 11:16 AM
As mortgage rates drop, so do housing payments. It's a good time to consider refinancing your home, or making an offer on a new one. Mortgage payment affordability has never been so high in history. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is now 3.94 percent -- an all-time low -- with an accompanying 0.8 discount points. This means that in order to get access to the 3.94 percent rate,Parkland & Coral Springs homeowners and home buyers should expect to pay a loan fee equal to 0.8% of the borrowed amount, plus "normal" closing costs. Last week, … (0 comments)

fl: Bank Repossessions Drop To A 44-Month Low - 12/15/11 09:39 AM
Foreclosure activity continues to concentrate over just a few states. According to foreclosure-tracker RealtyTrac, November's foreclosure filings fell 3 percent as compared to October, and 14 percent from November 2010. "Foreclosure filing" is a catch-all term for the various "action steps" throughout the foreclosure process. The grouping comprises default notices, scheduled home auctions, and bank repossessions. As in most months, though, foreclosure activity remains concentrated by state. More than half of last month's bank repossessions can be traced to just 6 states. California : 14.8% of all bank repossessions Florida : 12.7% of all bank repossessions Texas : 7.0% of all … (0 comments)

fl: Simple Real Estate Definitions : Tax And Insurance Escrow - 12/08/11 09:37 AM
As a homeowner in Parkland , your fiscal responsibility extends beyond just making mortgage payments. You must also pay your home's real estate taxes as they come due, as well as your homeowners insurance policy premiums. Failure to pay real estate taxes can result in foreclosure. Failure to insure your home is a breach of your mortgage loan terms. There are two methods by which you can pay your real estate tax and homeowners insurance bills. The first method is to pay your taxes and insurance as the bills come due, usually semi-annually. Depending on your home's tax bill size and … (0 comments)

fl: Have Mortgage Rates Bottomed Out? - 12/07/11 11:19 AM
Mortgage rates have troughed. Or, so it seems. According to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 4.00 percent nationwide -- roughly the same rate as it's been for 5 weeks. During that times, rates have ranged between 3.97 and 4.02 percent with an accompanying 0.7 discount points, plus "typical" closing costs. Closing costs vary by state and 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size. In other words, to get the weekly, published Freddie Mac rate, borrowers in FL should expect to pay a complete set of fees to … (0 comments)

fl: Fed Minutes Suggest New Economic Stimulus Next Week - 12/06/11 11:45 AM
The Federal Open Market Committee released its November 2011 meeting minutes, revealing a Fed split on whether new stimulus is needed for the U.S. economy. The Fed Minutes is published 8 times annually, three weeks after each scheduled Federal Open Market Committee meeting. It's the official record of the meeting's policy-shaping debates and dialogues. The Fed Minutes is the lengthier companion piece to the FOMC's more well-known, post-meeting press release. As compared to press release which is concise and focused at 492 words, the Fed Minutes is comprehensive and broad, totalling 7,682 words over 11 pages, complete with charts. The November … (0 comments)