Posted by: rgmorgan | February 4, 2014

We Can’t Afford That! Or Can We?

Many baby Boomers are now facing retirement. In some cases they want to sell their homestead and move to a smaller place or a warmer climate or to be near their Grandkids. Regardless of the reason they now face the dilemma of deciding what they can afford and in all too many cases are settling for less than they deserve. Part of the problem is they and in many cases their real estate agent are unaware of a great option for them. It’s a Federally insured loan program “HECM” which is actually a Revers Mortgage which can be used both as a source of taking equity out of your existing home or more importantly an excellent way to buy that home you want.

For years the term Reverse Mortgage was considered a dirty word. You heard this phrase and immediately a red flag popped up. Stories of people losing their homes or heirs devastated. Just like any other lending tool there were unscrupulous people quick to capitalize on a new “scheme” and take advantage of the uninformed. Look at what happened in the housing market just a short time ago. Was this caused by Reverse Mortgages? No of course not it was the greed of banks, builders and consumers. Regulation has eliminated some of the questionable lending tactics utilized during the boom. Likewise, more regulation has made Reverse Mortgages a safe and valuable tool for seniors wanting to live a more stress free retirement and increase their buying power at the same time.

I am not a lender so I will not get into how a Reverse Mortgage works but want all of my friends and clients to understand that it can be used for the purchase of a home and eliminate the monthly mortgage payment. Think about how this could make your retirement more enjoyable and stress free. As people retire they are in many cases relying on a fixed income to survive and a desire to keep the same lifestyle as before. Consider a Reverse Mortgage as one of the tools you can use to make this happen. It allows you many options when you decide to downsize or move into that dream retirement location.

I would be happy to discuss this further with any of you and also would be happy to put you in touch with an expert in the field of Revers Mortgages.

Posted by: rgmorgan | April 30, 2013

Who is really driving home prices?

The old adage that prices in real estate are market driven is just that an old adage. Remember when a property was priced for sale and the reaction from buyers told you if the price was too high? If you received no requests for showings it was probably priced too high. If you had several showings but no offers it was probably priced too high. If you had many requests for showings and several offers it was either priced correctly or maybe even a little low.
In today’s environment that “ain’t necessarily so”. You can have showings and receive offers which tells you that the market agrees with the pricing but wait. Then comes the appraisal process. Lenders not only have made the ability to obtain a home loan much more difficult they now are the sole determiner as to the homes value. In many cases using appraisers not familiar with the market area nor the many nuances that differentiate properties and their value. While I can certainly understand the banks need to ascertain the value of the collateral it seems strange to me that they base their decision on a single appraisal from one person. Yet when a lender needs to determine the value of a foreclosure or short sale they choose to utilize real estate professionals to provide them with broker opinions as to the right price.
Isn’t it time for some type of system that has more flexibility or at least some input from the market itself and what it is telling us?

Posted by: rgmorgan | August 19, 2011

Are you satisfied?

Seems like a vague question doesn’t it? Satisfied with what you might ask. Satisfied with the way you are treated today, whether in a retail store, a restaurant, a grocery store, movie theater, bank, etc. Do you feel the person ostensibly taking care of you really cares about your needs?
To me one of the most frustrating aspects of daily life today is the lack of customer service. Do people call you back when they say they will? Does the repairman show up when he said he would or for that matter does he show up at all. If you take your car in to be serviced does the job get completed on time, for the price agreed upon and does the repair solve the problem?
I’m in the real estate business and I know how frustrating it is when phone calls are not returned, appointments not kept and deadlines ignored. As licensed professionals we must be held to a higher standard yet many fail to meet the minimum expectations of customer service. Don’t get me wrong the majority of realtors work very hard and do their very best to exceed your expectaions. Unfortunately one bad experience can negatively impact the entire industry.
If you have had a bad experience and been frustrated by lack of communication or indifference, remember you’re the boss. Have a conversation and if you do not get satisfaction hire someone who wants to do a good professional job representing your interests.
Don’t settle for less than 10+ service after all you are the customer and despite some of the feelings to the contrary today we work for you.

Posted by: rgmorgan | July 26, 2011

Tips for Home Sellers

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Posted by: rgmorgan | June 2, 2011

So You Want to Sell Your House


I know I have talked about the impact that foreign buyers have had on our local real estate sales but new statistics from the National Association of Realtors confirm that impact is growing and should not be ignored.

In the year ending in March 2011 foreign buyers spent $82 billion dollars on US real estate up from $65 billion for the year before. This was split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants. These buyers came from 70 different countires up from 53 countries in the year before. They were led by Canada at 23%, China was second at 9%, Mexico, the UK and India were tied for third. Argentina and Brazil combined for 5% up from 3% the previous year.

The average price paid was $315,000 but 45% of homes purchased were under $200,000 so you can see they are not only after the luxury homes. 61% of the sales were single family homes and 36% were condos or townhomes. 62% of these purchases were all cash since financing continues to be a hurdle for foreign buyers.

There are three major factors affecting the buying decision; convenience to air transportation, climate and of course location. Florida had the most activity with 31% foloowed by California at 12%, Texas at 9% and Arizona with 6%.

Many realtors understand the importance of this market segment and have become more focused on marketing efforts and connectivity to the international market. The internet plays a significant part in this effort of world wide marketing.

Posted by: rgmorgan | May 15, 2011

Why We Live in Florida

People always ask why would you live in Florida? They have hurricanes there and the weather is too hot in the summer. Well, we have been here for over 30 years and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It’s not just the warmth in the winter that makes Florida such a wonderful place to live, but that certainly does help. We live in Clearwater Beach, FL which for those of you unfamiliar with Florida’s geography is on the west coast about half way down the state. We are in Pinellas County just west of Tampa, FL. The overall area is referred to as “Tampa Bay”. It’s also only an easy drive from Disney World and Key West.
From a recreational aspect we have five professional sports teams (Tampa Buccaneers NFL, Tampa Bay Rays MLB, Tampa Bay Lightning NHL, Tampa Bay Storm arean football and Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer). The Lightning are currently in the conference finals trying for their second Stanley Cup and the Rays are leading the tough eastern division of the American League. But that isn’t the reason we live here either but it is great to have the ability to go see these great athletes in action. St. Petersburg also hosts its annual Grand Prix with the roar and excitement of Formula 1 racing. This area is home to some of the greatest golf courses you can find such as the Copperhead course at Innisbrook sight of the PGA Transitions tournament. So if you like to play golf year round this is the place.
We have water all around us so fishing, boating and other water sports are readily available. If you want deep sea fishing with a professional captain it’s here. If you are a recreational boater the options are endless. If you enjoy getting a suntan we have some of the world’s best beaches right here.
For those of you who enjoy fine dining there are many great restaurants in the area as well as the casual dining places where you can enjoy a “cheeseburger in paradise”.
If you are interested in cultural activities we have the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; all of which host broadway plays, top name entertainment, operas and other wonderful shows throughout the year. St. Petersburg also is home to the Dahli Museum as well as the Chihully Art Museum.
Want to gamble? We have the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Tampa Bay Downs horse racing in Oldsmar and dog racing in St. Petersburg.
Both Clearwater Beach and Tampa have great aquariums for you to enjoy. The Clearwater Beach Aquarium is the home of Winter the tailless dolphin and the site where the upcoming feature movie “A Dolphins Tale” was filmed.
Busch Gardens, a theme park with exceptional rides is in Tampa and provides excitement and a great day of family fun. Lowrey Park Zoo is an intimate zoo with many exotic animals and most are in their natural habitat instead of just behind a cage. Another great way to spend time with your family.
I could go on and on about the area we call home, great universities, college sports, great parks etc. and I am sure I am omitting some things I will regret not mentioning but this gives you an idea why we love Florida and the Tampa Bay are in particular. If you have a family there are so many ways to spend quality time together and create memories that will last a lifetime and if you are single it’s a great place to meet others and enjoy all the area has to offer. And the weather really is terrific, not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer despite what you may have heard.
For more information or to add your ideas visit It’s Five O’clock Somewhere in Tampa Bay on Facebook.

Posted by: rgmorgan | March 30, 2011

America (Florida) on Sale

The St. Petersburg Times had a great article in today’s edition. Mark Puente wrote about the tremendous influx of foreign buyers of real estate in the Tampa Bay area. Over $120 million in overseas purchases have occurred in the Tampa area the last 12 months. Waterfront property is the main attraction and condos are particularly appealing.
Do they know something Americans don’t? Probably not but foreign buyers continue to expand their interest in scooping up bargain priced properties while many wait for better deals. If the current trend continues there is a possibility that the best deals are happening now and waiting could be an expensive strategy. Don’t sit on the sidelines and later wish you had acted.

Posted by: rgmorgan | March 25, 2011

Housing Market – Worst Ever?

It’s amazing how what we read in the newspaper impacts our actions. If you read the paper you would believe that this is the worst housing market in history. Are there lots of foreclosures? Yes. Is inventory high? Yes. Is it harder to get a loan than it was in 2005? Yes. Are many people upside down in their current homes? Yes.
All of this is true, but………… Are interest rates still at or near historical lows? You betcha! Are home prices lower than they have been for years, especially lower than the recent boom where many people were priced out of the market? You betcha! If you can prove (document) your ability to repay can you get a loan with a good rate? You betcha! Is the selection of affordable homes better than perhaps ever? You betcha!
Just a few years ago many people couldn’t afford home ownership because the prices were so high and perhaps even worse many people who couldn’t afford the home they wanted ended up finding a lender who was willing to lend them the money. Now lenders are doing the due diligence to make sure people do not get in the situation where they have no chance of keeping the home once purchased.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog home ownership contributes greatly to your wealth but regardless of that, according to a recent survey, 85% of new home buyers cited the number one reason for buying a home was simply the desire to own their own home. 50% felt like it was a better investment than stocks.
Whether you are a first time buyer or looking to move up, now is a great time to buy real estate. Don’t let the pundits who preach doom and gloom sway you. Work with a reputable real estate consultant and lender and enjoy the benefits of home ownership. The glass really is half full!

Despite all that has negatively impacted the housing market and equity in homes home ownership is still one of the most important factors in building personal wealth. Unlike some investments such as the stock market where it is possible for an investment to zero out to no worth real estate even in bad times retains some worth. In what has been one of the worst real estate markets in recent history very few investments had as great an impact on one’s wealth.
I have attached a brief presentation from the NAR that gives you some insight into how owning your own home would positively affect your total wealth. Just click on Wealth building
In a recent study conducted by Wells Fargo the vast majority of people across all ethnic groups still strive to own their own home. It appears that this is not only an emotional decision but a prudent fiscal decision.

Posted by: rgmorgan | March 15, 2011

Housing Trends

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MARCH – 2011 Housing Trends eNewsletter

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.

Please click here to view the MARCH – 2011 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.”>

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