Exit Convention in Washington D.C.

Just got back from a week of fun and learning at the Exit Realty Convention in Washington D.C. and I am just blown away by the entire organization. From the regional owners to the trainers to the Brokers and agents to management and staff.  I spent about 18 years with ERA and went to many a convention, but never have I experienced the overwhelming SUPPORT the Exit organization gives to its membership!

I learned more in 6 days than I have in the past 6 YEARS! Exit Realty really cares about US and my move to Exit was the best decision I could have made for my family…… for my retirement!

I am just blown away by the Forbes family, by the support I get from them, all the way to the top of the food chain in Exit.  I feel part of the family, like I belong.  That is how Exit treats their agents

That was before they rolled out the red carpet for ALL of us in Washington D.C.  Steve Morris is a first class of a man and a GREAT leader and a great motivator.  I could not believe the access we all had at the convention.  The breakout sessions were the best I have ever been to and a special call out to Valerie Reyes who just blew the crowd away with her “Summit” session.

If you are burned out with the same old same old, give Exit a look!  My Team was #1 worldwide with ERA in 2008, like #4 or 5 the year before.  I was never treated like anything other than another number, another fool that paid them $30,000 to $40,000 a year in franchise fees and nobody knows your name!

Moving to Exit was the best decision I have EVER made and as I watched Steve Morris hand out a $100,000 check (like they do every year) to the lucky guy whose name was randomly pulled out of a barrel, I thought to myself, “wow, it’s nice to belong to a company that actually gives something back to the agents that made the company what it is.”

To learn more about Exit Realty, visit my website at http://www.headofrealestate.com


What is Right With Tampa

Tampa Skyline

Tampa Skyline

With all of the negative publicity surrounding real estate these days, with the government “takeover” of FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC, with record foreclosures in Florida added to skyrocketing homeowners insurance rates and unpredictable gas prices, and with frequent hurricanes (Hurricane Ike is about to hit Florida so hard that they may re-name the state Tina Turner) what is there to like about Florida? Who would want to invest in Florida or Tampa Bay?

With all of the negatives, there is one really good reason to invest in Florida real estate. MONEY. The overall population of Florida is expected to double by 2030. Although builders over extended themselves with all the armature investors on 2005, even those investors who held on to bad investments will soon reap the rewards of their patience! A few things to remember about Florida: There is NO STATE INCOME TAX! That alone offsets most of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph on this blog! No snow! We are the Sunshine State! I’m at the beach the week before Christmas getting a tan while the rest of the country is shoveling snow! The Arts, the nightlife, the diversification of life and lifestyles! Not to mention The Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), The Tampa Bay Rays (MLB). The Super Bowl will again be in Tampa in February of 2009!

I was watching my favorite show last week (The Million Dollar Listing on BRAVO Network) and my friend Chad Rogers (who is the star of the show, a Realtor reality show) was showing property in Malibu and Beverly Hills. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Talk about sticker shock! In Tampa, you can buy a brand new home in The Reserve of Old Tampa Bay (some of the best real estate in Tampa) for less than $1,200,000! I’m talking a 4000 square foot home on the water! Get in your boat and drive to Nassau water! That home anywhere in LA would bring $20,000,000. There are no $20,000,000 houses in Tampa and any agent who disagrees is talking EGO, not reality!

The fact that you can purchase a quality home in Tampa for $300,000 that has 3500 square feet, five bedrooms and three to four baths with a pool and a three car garage in a SAFE, great location (neighborhood) with some of the best schools anywhere in the USA (with a pool) is unheard of! In Tampa it is abundant! Yes it was over developed in 2005 and 2006, but the people are still coming, the jobs are still coming, there will be a time in 2010 where investors will say about Florida, “Could have, should have”. And here we are! To find out more about Florida and Tampa real estate, visit my website at www.headofrealestate.com

A Mortgage Rescue Plan

A great story from the AP today. Please read below. After the article, I have my comments: __________________________________

WASHINGTON (AP) — A mortgage rescue plan to save hundreds of thousands of homeowners from foreclosure drew overwhelming Senate support Monday, inching toward passage despite Republican objections. The Senate voted 76-10 to advance the bill, a broad array of housing measures including overhauls of the Federal Housing Administration, the Depression-era mortgage insurer, and government-sponsored home loan giants Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500). Its centerpiece is a new $300 billion FHA program to allow debt-ridden homeowners who are currently too financially risky to qualify for government-backed loans to refinance into safer, more affordable mortgages. The measure is on track for passage by an overwhelming margin, possibly by week’s end. It has survived several test votes in the Senate, repeatedly demonstrating that there’s enough support for it to override President Bush’s promised veto. But Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is blocking its progress because Democratic leaders have refused to allow a vote on attaching an $8 billion package of renewable energy tax breaks. Ensign has said he wants the tax incentives to hitch a ride on the housing measure because it has a good chance of being signed into law by Bush. “This will be the major achievement and accomplishment of this Congress when it comes to dealing with the underlying economic crisis, which is at its heart the foreclosure crisis,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee Chairman who wrote the legislation.

Bill still faces hurdles Beyond the Senate, the election-year package still faces a tricky path. The president has said he thinks a deal is possible, but the White House is balking at key portions of the bill, particularly $3.9 billion included for buying and fixing up foreclosed properties. Democrats argue the money is key to preventing neighborhood blight, but most Republicans call it a bailout for lenders who helped cause the mortgage mess. The two architects of the plan, Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, have been negotiating privately to iron out Democrats’ differences on the plan, but the stalling tactics in the Senate have sapped momentum for a quick agreement. 

One key divide is over limits on the mortgages FHA can insure and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, which the Senate measure sets at $625,000. The House-passed bill set the caps at $725,000, which is preferable to lawmakers from the highest-cost housing markets, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. 

Also at issue is whether the new regulator and tightened rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should take effect immediately, as dictated by the Senate bill. The House-passed legislation delays them for six months, leaving it up to a new president to implement the changes. And the two sides are at odds over which tax breaks to include and whether to pair them with offsetting tax increases to prevent a rise in the deficit – something that conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats insist on. The Senate’s $14.5 billion package falls $2.4 billion short of being paid for, while the House’s $11 billion is fully covered. 

There is broad agreement on using the FHA to help struggling homeowners refinance into mortgages they can afford. The Bush administration has twice broadened the agency’s authority to do so under a program it calls FHASecure. Top housing officials were planning to discuss the expansion – as well as the fate of the housing legislation – on Tuesday.


 As a real estate agent, I love the idea that Uncle Sam is getting involved. As an American, I not certain they should! About a year ago, we (Real Estate) were all alone in this mess! In 2008, Gas Prices have joined the loop (just filled up my Expedition at a cost of $98.00), skyrocketing property taxes got noticed and our great Governor, Charlie Crist has kicked the insurance industry right in the “mommy / daddy button” and it seems like the world is going to fall apart! NOT SO! Everything is not what is seems!

At our office, we have this big “Sale Pending” board that shows what deals are currently pending escrow. We use color to describe the deal. Bank foreclosures are green, short sales are blue and regular, arms length deals are black. since mid 2007, that board is 95% green and blue! However, in the past week, black has made a glorious return! The past 3 weeks we have been partying like its 1999 (or 2005) as MANY regular deals are starting to close. A CLEAR SIGN that the worst is behind us! If the government wants to get involved (article above) to speed the process, I say “run Uncle Sam, RUN!.”  We have hit bottom and we are turning the corner!  2009, here we come!

As a final note: As the NFL training camp is about to open for all 32 teams, I want to wish my client, Michael Pittman the best of luck playing for the Denver Bronco’s. As a Buccaneer, her was not appreciated enough and like Chris Simms (not in Tampa when the season starts), Michael will shine in Denver. It would be great to see him play in the Superbowl here in Tampa this February!

Turn in Your Keys?

On March 31, Fannie Mae sent out new guidelines to lenders intended for walkaways and other foreclosure situations. Fannie will now prohibit foreclosed borrowers from getting another mortgage through the giant investor for five years. 


I say to this WOW!  What it boils down to is this: The lenders are waiting for the Federal Government to bail them out. When they were clipping borrowers for 9% or 9.5% loans in 2005 things were GREAT, the REASON they charged those rates was R I S K. Now that the greed plan did not pan out, everybody sits back and waits to see what Uncle Sam is going to do. 

Freddie Mac? Fannie May? They say “hey, lets see if we can make it worse” and release new guidelines to try and scare property owners from walking away from homes!  GREAT IDEA!  The problem is this…….. many (not ALL) property owners are SMART for walking away. They owe $150,000 more than the home is worth. They make $50,000 per year.  Why would they pay that loan to a lender who is unwilling to work with them on this worse than expected realty market? Why would they spend 10 years to get “right sideup” again when the lender who tried to rape them at 9.5% is unwilling to help? If lenders are not going to take “Short Sale Offers” while waiting for the government to step in, what option are they giving the average layman? Can they forgive the back payments and add them to the rear of the loan? No! Will they refinance those borrowers into today’s rate? NO, will they sell the home to an investor for less?  Eventually. But to THE property owner, there is threats, intimidation, relentless harassing calls and every attempt is made to make their life miserable in despicable attempts to force borrowers to come up with monies they don’t have.  A novel idea is this: Try helping them out!

If lenders don’t get a grip on this situation FAST, foreclosure and bankruptcy filings will be even greater than they are today. As bad as you may think it is, the current lending guidelines are making “turning in your keys” the smart thing to do sometimes.

For more information, go to www.myforeclosureattorney.com and know your options!