Around Florida

Here is were we discuss issues which affect the entire state of Florida.

State Farm and Florida Insurance Commission Reach Agreement

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After months of hearings, threats of policy cancellations and plans to exit the market, State Farm Insurance and the Florida Insurance Regulators have come to terms on the company continuing to offer homeowners insurance within the state. The announcement brings welcome relief to some policyholders and anxiety over having to find a new insurer for others. The agreement allows State Farm to drop 125,000 policies beginning in August of next year and to immediately begin raising its insuranc...

Florida Real Estate - October, 2009 Sales Update

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The real estate market in Southwest Florida continued to boom in October and the rest of the state is doing quite well too. In fact, for the first ten months of the year, the Cape Coral and Fort Myers market area has seen sales soar 96% on a year over year basis and the Bonita Springs and Naples market area was not too shabby either, up 42%. The Sarasota market also joined in the fun, seeing sales rise 36% year over year. Port Charlotte did not fair as well, as sales were up only 4% for the ...

Short Sale Debt Relief - Let's Review

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Many homeowners who have opted for a short sale still seem to have a great deal of confusion over when the lender will issue an IRS 1099 form. As we described in our post below (Mortgage Workouts Are Now Tax-Free for Many Homeowners), there are specifics as to how this situation is handled and who will actully incur a tax liability. When a lender forgives a debt in a short sale transaction, the benefit the homeowner receives is the same as if they were receiving income. Lenders that forgi...

Florida Real Estate - July, 2009 Sales Remain Strong

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After a sizzling first six months of the year, real estate sales in Southwest Florida remained strong in July. In fact, July marks the thirteenth month in a row sales have climbed in Lee and Collier counties. The Cape Coral and Ft. Myers market area saw total sales soar over 100% on a year over year basis and the Bonita Springs and Naples market area wasn't too shabby either, up 67%. Overall, Florida's existing home and condominium sales have risen on a year over year basis for eleven str...

And the Foreclosure Beat Goes On - Florida Task Force Recommends Mandatory Mediation

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The residential task force set up by members of the Florida Supreme Court and others to review current foreclosure guidelines used by Florida courts recommended Monday that all cases involving "primary homesteaded foreclosure homes" should be subject to mandatory managed mediation. In addition, the 15-member panel also said that judges should expedite cases dealing with vacant or abandoned properties. According to the task force, Florida should require mediation between lenders and borrow...

Homeowner Insurance Premiums Dropping in Florida

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Florida homeowners are saving hundreds of dollars on their property insurance premiums thanks to increased coverage options and their own efforts to claim discounts from getting a wind mitigation report on their homes' storm resistance. Many customers are seeing a 10 to 20 percent drop in premiums from just one year ago. Local insurance agents are saying the property insurance market today is very different from just a few years ago, when homeowners might only have found one company willi...

Florida Short Sales Representation Follow Up

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I wanted to follow up on our previous post on "Short Sales and the Florida Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Law." In it, I referenced the following situation: ...One of these individuals recently made an interesting observation regarding "short sale" listing prices and fraud on the public. If you notice in Attorney General McCollum's statement above, "...ascertains that the fair market value of the home is less than the loan amount...", this particular complaint might just carry some weight. Spec...

Short Sales and the Florida Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Law

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According to a letter sent to the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) by Attorney General Bill McCollum, the new Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act does not prohibit Florida real estate agents from being involved in a short sale, as long as the only compensation they seek for their services is the commission on the sale. The new law, which took effect Oct. 1, 2008, is designed to help protect homeowners who are facing the possibility of foreclosure from individuals who would seek t...

Florida Cities Receive Foreclosure Help

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Under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program enacted as part of the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, 48 local and state governments in Florida will receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding specifically for foreclosure relief. The program is designed to provide local governments with a source of funding to respond to rising foreclosures and declining property values. Florida was allocated $541 million, which includes $91 million to the Department of Communi...

Changes At Florida's State Run Insurance Company May Raise Coverage Costs

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It looks like wind storm homeowner's insurance costs may become more expensive for some Florida homeowners come next year. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. officials announced this past Tuesday they will require some 350,000 wind-only customers within the state to reapply for coverage beginning February 1, 2009. Citizens is the state's insurance company of last resort and has become the largest insurer in Florida covering some 1.2 million customers. The company cited two reasons for the ...