How to win in Tampa Bay Sellers Real Estate Market Duncan Duo Show on 970AM WFLA

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    The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show. Now, your host: Andrew Duncan.

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    Andrew Duncan:              Good morning, Tampa Bay. We’re here with you for another week to talk about the local, Tampa Bay, real estate market: what we see going on the market, what we see in the future for the market. I’m excited to have Richard Vazquez from Artisan Insurance Group with us today and Randy Noon from BPG Home Inspections. We’re answering your questions live like we are most Sundays. You can call us whether you’ve got questions about buying, selling, investing, foreclosures, short sales, luxury homes, real estate marketing, the real estate business, mortgages – whatever your question is, we’d love the opportunity to talk to you: 990-9352 in Hillsborough County, 461-9352 in Pinellas County, toll-free 1-800-969-9352. Again, the phone numbers: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas and toll-free 1-800-969-9352. When we aren’t on air you can check our socials by searching for The Duncan Duo or The Duncan Duo Show on either Facebook or Youtube and we’d love the opportunity to talk to you about whatever your real estate question is, this beautiful Sunday morning.

    I want to start off by talking about winning in a sellers‘ housing market. I saw an article from money.com and it’s interesting because you are starting to see more and more markets across the country transition into a sellers’ market. In a couple of weeks on October – I think it’s the 14th or 16th, whatever the Sunday is of that week, I think it’s a 14th – we’re going to have a show with almost ten realtors all across the state of Florida on the show. I’ve spoken to a lot of them and I continue to hear the same things, and they will reiterate that when they come on the show. But it is transitioning not just in Tampa Bay, not just in Florida, but in a lot of other markets to a sellers’ market: whether there’s less inventory, less opportunity, homes are selling more quickly, for better prices. We’re starting to see some appreciation; a little bit of increase in average sale price. So what does that mean to you, the consumer? How do you respond differently?  How do you react differently? How do you handle it differently? And that’s what I wanted to start off the show today. If you have comments on this or questions about it, again, feel free to call us: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas and toll-free 1-800-969-9352.

    Interestingly enough, when you’re competing in a market like today against a lot of other consumers for a home you have to do some things to differentiate your offer, you are going to have to be more creative, your agent has to be willing to give you a good advice because gone are the days when you could negotiate, drastically offer the asking price. When a market shifts to a sellers’ market it, you better offer their price or someone’s going to come in and beat you with cash. Because our market right now we continue to see large groups of investors buying real estate, cash coming into the market place and a typical home-buyer that’s out there competing against sellers in a buyers’ market or competing against other buyers in a sellers’ market, is going to have a challenging time competing with that. So, you want to know what you’re up against. You want to offer a fair price, quick inspections, tighter contingences. Have your financing lined-up, too: not just have a pre-approval. Have your loan commitment outside…everything done by the appraiser on your loan. Have your financials go through underwriting. Literally, have everything done so that you can look like a real buyer to a seller that has multiple people making an offer on some home. Because it’s becoming more and more common and you’re going to have to compete with cash. If you watch the news the last couple of weeks or read in newspaper, you continue to see investors that are buying up and large companies buying up large amounts of inventory and as a buyer competing with that, you have to have everything lined up perfectly.

    As a seller in a seller’s market, it’s changed a little bit. You can drive the price a little bit more. You can hold your ground a little bit. Prices are coming up so if you looked to sell your home a year ago the numbers, very likely, are better today than they would have been a year ago. The other thing that you can do is you, literally, prepare your home to be the best possible condition it can be. You have this kind of scenarios where you could have multiple offers. Condition could drive your price even higher because you have multiple people bidding for it. And if you’re out the curious about what’s going on in your neighborhood, we set up a website at tampamarketanalysis.com. You can go online and get a free report about your home’s value and market snapshot to show you what’s going on in the neighborhood. In case you’re curious if you looked at selling a year or two years ago and you weren’t able to, there’s a good chance you may be able today, so we’ve got the website. Again, the website is tampamarketanalysis.com. If you’re looking for a free report that comes every month about your home’s value to keep you up to date on what’s going on, definitely check it out. It’s really important to be armed with all the information you can possibly get about your home’s value if you’re thinking about selling it now or a year from now, or two years from now, especially when the market starts to shift like it has.

    I think the other thing that I tell people when you’re talking about winning in a sellers’ housing market, not only do you have to do everything to be prepared on your end. You’re having your finances lined-up and knowing really what you’re looking for, but work with a great agent. An agent that seems committed and focused on helping you is so crucial because inventory could hit Friday night at 11 o’clock that could be the perfect home – the home that you’ve told your agent, it’s the right one for you and if that agent checked out, doesn’t work on the weekend, by Monday that house is gone. So, as you’re talking to agents, make sure that you set the expectation what kind of communication you want from them, how often they need to be looking at inventory and how quickly they need to reply when the right property hits the market. Those are kind of some tips about how to win, how to change your mind-set really is a buyer or seller in today’s market. And if you’re looking for that free report as a home-seller, definitely check out tampamarketanalysis.com.

    And we continue to see tons of positive information about the market monthly: home price increases set a record nationally. We have not seen home prices increase like they have the last few months across the country in a long time. A long of analysts are signaling low inventory and interest rates and improving economy for the consumer. Confidence is up. Across the board the real estate market is in a much better place today than it was a year or two years ago. One another thing I wanted to get to quickly on the news release for those out there that are considering buying a home with a USDA Loan: USDA Loans are a 100 percent financing product that can allow you to buy homes with no money down in areas across Tampa Bay that are considerably rural: Wesley Chapel, Lithia, some parts of Riverview and Valrico and then you get up further north and there’s even more of them. USDA had recently come out and said that they’re not changing their maps for at least March, I think, of 2013. So it’s good news. A lot of real estate professionals and mortgagors are concerned that the USDA Loans were changing their maps and would eliminate some of the neighborhoods in Tampa and that is not going to happen. So, for now the maps are staying the same.

    So, if you have questions you can give us a call: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas and toll-free 1-800-969-9352. Home improvements sales are taking off. Apparently, more and more people that cannot sell their home or have decided to improve their home and stay put, maybe because the equity isn’t quite there yet. Most of home improvement retailers are reporting really strong numbers and I want to talk to you, Randy, about that. Randy Noon, our home inspector from Buyer Protection Group. How often – it’s not that we cannot encourage people to make improvements to their home on their own – but how often are you seeing in home inspections the do-it-yourself job that ends up being not done right on a home inspection report?

    Randy Noon:                      That’s probably our biggest finding on homes: items that haven’t been properly done by a home-owner. So, yeah, I used to work for one of the big box stores many years ago and I encouraged people to actually do it yourself on their projects.

    Andrew Duncan:              But do it right yourself. [laughing]

    Randy Noon:                      That’s right. Ask the associates at the stores how to do the projects or get books on how to do it and really pay attention to the details. If you think it’s going to be over your head, hire a professional to come out and do it. That’s the main thing.

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, and again, when you’re talking about that in a home inspection report, the concern the consumer has is: if that handyman job isn’t done right, what else in the house is not done right?

    Randy Noon:                      That’s right, because it can be an indicator that there are some other things around the house that may not be done properly. All those little things – and while it may just be a minor thing that’s done improperly, all those little things really add up and give the buyer an impression of the house that may be not accurate. That it may be a bad house when it really isn’t.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. The guy who did the do-it-yourself but should have gone a couple of extra steps. Then it may be a little better, had a little bit more quality and workmanship.

    Randy Noon:                      Right. And there are certain rules to the way certain things have to be. If you’re adding a ceiling fan in a bedroom and you’ve got to tap into some existing wiring, those connections have to be in a junction box and the attic has to be covered and a lot of people just go up and splice into a wire and leave that splice even though they use wire nuts and, technically, it’s properly connected. But if it’s not done to electrical standards then you have to…

    Andrew Duncan:              You have to say that.

    Randy Noon:                      …we’re going to flag it in and [illegible]

    Andrew Duncan:              And then the consumers is going to…Because, literally, it’s so funny to see home inspection reports when consumers think that a place is like…Because you guys have to work things in a certain way. And the way that you’re wording them is like: “This thing isn’t wrong.” But what they see is like a shack.[laughing]

    Randy Noon:                      Right. [laughing]

    Andrew Duncan:              You say: “Ah, you got a couple of things here. This isn’t done up to code.” What they see is like a crumbling house. [laughing]

    Randy Noon:                      Yeah, right. And that’s definitely not what you want is a seller.

    Andrew Duncan:              Yeah, so that’s one of the things we talked about. That’s why it’s so important and something we talk about to a lot of our clients about inspecting their home upfront.

    Randy Noon:                      Right.

    Andrew Duncan:              You’re getting it done, pre-inspecting the home before you put it on the market. Because today, if we are in a sellers’ market house, a couple of weeks extra to put it on the market to make sure you’ve got everything right.

    Randy Noon:                      A preinspection really can save you a lot of money because all those things that we might find doing a home inspection can be addressed upfront and you can have time if it’s things that need to be done by licensed contractors, you can shop around, get some different estimates, you’ve got time to work it all right out and get the best price on it, as opposed to when the contract is in place and you’re under a time-crunch and you have to just grab the first person who can get to it and maybe pay a lot higher price.

    Andrew Duncan:              Or the buyer wants a credit or money number instead of getting the repairs done and they’ll leverage it into some…because a lot of home-buyers, especially when I work with the first-home-buyers, they are going to know the cost of certain things and they over-exaggerate: “Oh, you know, that roof repair is going to cost us 7,000 dollars.” Now, it’s really not, but the buyer has the right to cancel that contract in many instances depending on the way the contract’s written so they’re going to attempt to leverage it into a bigger, better deal.

    Randy Noon:                      So what the seller may give up in that concession and/or paying high dollar when they’re under the gun on the contract.

    Andrew Duncan:              They can get saved.

    Randy Noon:                      Yeah, they could have easily saved for a few hundred dollar home inspection.

    Andrew Duncan:              So, what are some home maintenance tips you have as we get the change in temperature and move to fall? What are some of the things you see can cause people heartache in home inspection?

    Randy Noon:                      Well, you know, a lot of times it’s just those maintenance items that people need to take care of. You should always consider changing air filters every month, but air conditioning items is a huge thing we come up with home inspections – probably my number one area of finding things wrong. It’s because people don’t really maintain or understand their heating and air conditioning systems. Having a contractor come out at least spring and fall [illegible]

    Andrew Duncan:              check into it

    Randy Noon:                      That’s right. I find air leaks. So often where people are just air conditioning their garage they have no idea they’ve spent thousands of dollars in cooling things out there. It’s one of the top things that I find. And when the weather is now cooling down, take a walk around the outside of your house and just take a look at it. A lot of things that I find are just general observation items.

    Andrew Duncan:              That you see easily.

    Randy Noon:                     Its A little paint missing, a little this and that that, if maintained now, will prevent further issues that may come up on that inspection.

    Andrew Duncan:              We’re going to continue talking about that and we’re actually going to talk to Richard Vazquez of some nightmare scenarios he sees in a change of offering insurance related issues, after a quick break here, on The Duncan Duo Show.

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    Andrew Duncan:              We’re back here on 970, talking about the local real estate market with Richard Vazquez from Artisan Insurance and Randy Noon from BPG Home Inspections. Randy, you wanted a quick touch-up. A couple more home-maintenance items during the fall that people need to pay attention to.

    Randy Noon:                      Right. Every year, spring and fall, it’s time to consider changing your smoke alarm batteries. A lot of times they’ll tell you by beeping but at least do check them: press the test button and make sure they’re OK. Cleaning the gutters – that’s a huge issue – probably not quite yet, although we don’t have much [xx] season in the air.

    Andrew Duncan:              Little bit longer.

    Randy Noon:                      Not until the leaves drop of which down here it’s a little later than it is up north but keeping your gutters clean, that’s a huge issue we find pretty consistently on home inspections.

    Andrew Duncan:              Richard, what are the biggest challenges insurance agents have with the changeover in the seasons in fall? Claims and things like that. Things that people need to pay attention to?

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, the two biggest things that we run into are: number one – and I want to throw this out to everybody – check your heating system before the first colds snap. Don’t wait till it gets cold and you turn on your heater and it doesn’t work because then you put yourself in a bind. Check your heating system, make sure it’s working properly because the one – there are actually two items that cause us to have a lot of claims – and the first one is space-heaters. And that’s caused by people who haven’t checked their heating systems when that first cold front comes through, they go into the closet, pull out that old space-heater and have to use it for a night or two. It causes a lot of fires in our customers’ houses.

                                                    The other one that we run into, surprisingly, is turkey fryers. Thanksgiving is a kind of a scary day for insurance agents. I seems like frying turkeys is getting a lot more popular than roasting turkeys nowadays. Just make sure that if you’re going to fry a turkey, you do it outside and in an area where you’ve got a lot of space around you. Make sure that that turkey is completely thawed out. Make sure that there’s no ice in there. Everything, all the ice crystals are removed because if you drop a turkey into a turkey fryer and it’s got ice crystals on it, usually the turkey fryer over-boils and it catches fire and we get a lot of claims from turkey-fryers, as well.

    Andrew Duncan:              That’s interesting. I would have expected that but that’s just because I’m never going to be frying turkeys. [laughing]

    Richard Vazquez:             [laughing]

    Andrew Duncan:              Again, you’re listening to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show here, on 970WFLA. If you have real estate questions, we’d love the opportunity to talk to you. You can call us and we’ll answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Or if you have a general comment about the real estate market, whatever it is, you need help with things real estate-related, we’d love to talk to you. Our calling numbers: in Hillsborough County 990-9352, in Pinellas County 461-9352, toll-free 1-800-969-9352. If you have questions, please do call us. It seems like every week we have a whole bunch of callers calling at the end of the show. We talk for an hour and then we’ve got four minutes left and six people call. So, if you are thinking about calling, go and give us a call now. Don’t wait till the last five minutes of the show when we can’t get to your question.

    One other thing I want to talk to you about, Richard: a lot of discussion about insurance, rate hikes for Citizens. There was a meeting that Citizens had with home-owners this past week. A lot of people feel that it could be disastrous to the real estate market and the local economy if there is such a drastic increase. Again, not to say whether it will or won’t but what are your thoughts on that?

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, that’s kind of a two-way sword. Here, in Florida, we already pay much higher rates than the rest of the country. It is a burden on home-owners when they have to pay such a high home-owner’s insurance rate. At the same time…

    Andrew Duncan:              Also a higher risk.

    Richard Vazquez:             Yeah. At the same time there is more risk here, in Florida, between the sinkholes, the hurricanes, the molt – all the things that we have to deal with here, in Florida, that other states don’t have to. And you want a solvent insurance company that’s able to pay for claims when the claims come up. So I don’t want to pay any more in home-owner’s insurance than the people listening out there but at the same time, if I do have a claim, I want the insurance company to have money to be able to pay that.

    Andrew Duncan:             And that’s the downside because they’re talking about an increase of up to 12 percent. We’ve had these discussions before. I remember when there was an article saying that Citizens plans to increase their rates up to 200 percent.

    Richard Vazquez:             Yeah, that was a lot of speculation

    Andrew Duncan:              And so, it’s not that 12 percent isn’t a big increase, because it is. I mean, if you’re paying $2,000 that means you go from $2,000 to maybe $2,200, you know. So it’s not. But I think that the challenge though is that because it’s a government-backed organization – an insurer of the last resort, that’s why we have so many challenges and why consumers are so interested in it. So, we are going to continue to talk about that as well as talk about Citizens reports for property insurance discounts being rejected. How you can go about contesting that and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you, after a quick newsbreak here, on 970WFLA.

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    The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show. Now, your host: Andrew Duncan.

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    Andrew Duncan:              We’re back talking about the local real estate market with Richard Vazquez from Artisan Insurance and Randy Noon from Buyer Protection Group Home Inspection, continuing to talk about the local real estate market. It looks like one of the releases I saw, Richard, I thought was interesting: Citizens reports – of, here’s the report. It says 90,000 property insurance discounts rejected. I thought that was kind of interesting. Why do you think that is?

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, it’s a combination of a couple of things. One of the things is that they’re really getting nit-picky on the forms that they use and the verification that has to along with the forms, the photographs, the…

    Andrew Duncan:              The documentation.

    Richard Vazquez:             The documentation.

    Andrew Duncan:              We’re seeing that pretty regularly, too. So you might qualify. So if you’re out there and you’ve been rejected on one of these things, do keep pushing. Look at what the report’s providing. Maybe there was a mistake. Maybe the person you hired to do your wind mitigation forgot to check a box or…

    Richard Vazquez:             It could be something very simple like that. One of the things that we run into a lot is that on the hurricane straps, they’re requiring that the straps be attached with three nails and I’ve seen them rejected because they just couldn’t see the nailing pattern on the straps. So, maybe it was there, maybe it wasn’t – I don’t know. But if it was there and that home-owner certainly deserved to get that discount and that’s one of the larger discounts that you can get on a wind mitigation inspection.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. So, again, sometimes it’s the details. Sometimes, you don’t qualify for the discount you’re trying to get. Citizens, I think, for years it was like: “Oh, yeah, they’ve got…this discount.”

    Richard Vazquez:             Exactly.

    Andrew Duncan:              Literally, it was like a rubber stamp. I was like: “I have dual-pane windows.”

    Richard Vazquez:             [laughing]

    Andrew Duncan:              OK. Ch-check.

    Richard Vazquez:             Yes, discount. Yes, check and move on down and now they’re going back and double-checking and they’re finding that a lot of those people didn’t deserve some of those discounts that they were being given year after year. And I think that’s kind of scared them a little bit so that now they’ve gone in the other direction and they really don’t want to get the discounts unless you’ve got iron-clad proof.

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, so it’s upsetting some people but at the same time – look, we’ve all talked about this; we’ve talked about it on the show many times: Citizen’s is supposed to be the insurer of last resort and everything that they’re doing right now is to get them back to that place.

    Richard Vazquez:             Exactly.

    Andrew Duncan:              They do not want to be the insurer of first resort. And they don’t want to…there are a lot of policies they do not want. So, they’re selling them off to other companies, they’re making their guidelines more stringent because they’re supposed to be the last resort.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right.

    Andrew Duncan:              And they’re not.

    Richard Vazquez:             Uhm. And I see it a lot that we have customers who come to us who have newer houses built in the 90s, built in the 2000s. They’re not in a high risk area – they might be in Riverview, they might be in Wesley Chapel, they might be in Lakeland, and you ask them who their insurance company is and they tell you: “Citizens.” And we’re kind of confused on why that customer was placed with Citizens, so we have to…

    Andrew Duncan:              The other question I have for you: aren’t there a lot – and I’ll say ‘large-name’ insurance companies locally that only do Citizens or that they don’t write policies any more even though their name is out there. They don’t really write policies in Florida, except for Citizens. They don’t have the right options for people. Isn’t that common as well?

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, it’s…Yeah, there are some of the large-name companies who are encouraging their agents to use Citizens because they don’t want to send the business to their competition.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. So, if they write it under Citizens, they get a financial benefit?

    Richard Vazquez:             Right.

    Andrew Duncan:              And if they send it off to another insurance company, they can offer a lot of different under-companies but then they don’t get any benefit.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right. Basically, the way they look at it is they’ve lost a customer, whereas if they’re placed with Citizens, well, maybe if something changes in the future, we can get that customer back.

    Randy Noon:                      From what I’ve heard from several agents that I work with, Citizens is still cheaper – even if they’re getting quotes from other companies, Citizens is still cheaper.

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, in some cases.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. And that’s starting to change from what we’d talked about on the show before. It’s starting …because Citizens struck increase they’re starting to see more competition and they’re seeing – because we haven’t had the big one.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right.

    Andrew Duncan:              And that’s: please, let’s pray, let’s not have the big one.

    Richard Vazquez:             Knock on wood

    Andrew Duncan:              But we haven’t had the storm or the damage so their claims haven’t been as heavy. You know, there are other companies coming into the market.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right. And the whole key to avoiding that situation that you talked about is to shop around. If you dealt with insurance agent A and you’ve dealt with him your whole life, then it’s time to get home-owner’s insurance and all you call is insurance agent A. He may only have Citizens available to him. But you really need to shop around. You need to find agents that deal with five, ten, fifteen different insurance companies to make sure that you’re getting good coverage through a proper company.

    Andrew Duncan:              Right. Not just the best price, but the best coverage

    Richard Vazquez:             Exactly.

    Andrew Duncan:              That’s the key. So, we’ve got Jim from Palm Harbor with us on line one. Jim, you had a question about Citizens insurance?

    Jim:                                        Andrew, I’m wondering if you could help me out. I know what you’re going to say, Andrew. Because I’m on a very, very low income and I have a home that’s paid for and I had a wind mitigation not getting me a discount on Citizens about two years ago and, as you probably know, Citizens have been checking everybody out…

    Andrew Duncan:              Oh, yeah. That’s what we were talking about.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right.

    Jim:                                        Well, they checked mine and about a month later I get a notice that it’s going to go up almost $900 by January 1. And my question for you, Andrew – and I know this is awfully foolish, but you’ve got to keep in mind I’m on an extremely low income. I was considering: if I cancelled the insurance for a couple of years, would I have a hard time getting insurance later on?

    Andrew Duncan:              I’ll tell you, there are people out there that choose to go without it, you know. It depends on…Because, obviously, there are people out there who have a high-end on land values so maybe that the land is worth more than the structure but there are people that choose to do that. We don’t encourage it but there is usually some sort of catastrophe policy you can get, too, right Richard?

    Richard Vazquez:             Yeah…Before you go completely without insurance, I would probably recommend scaling your insurance back, you know.

    Jim:                                        OK.

    Richard Vazquez:             Because maybe you don’t want to file a claim if your TV blows up because of lightning…

    Andrew Duncan:              So, deduct it: increasing your deductibles and lowering your coverage. It could be an option.

    Richard Vazquez:             Right. If you have a catastrophic event: if your house catches fire or something catastrophic happens, you need that big coverage.

    Jim:                                        That’s what I may be doing for now.

    Andrew Duncan:              Richard could help you.

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, I can help you. You can call your current agent – whoever’s helping you now.

    Jim:                                        Well, I get Citizens. I was trying to stay away from them maybe.

    Richard Vazquez:             Well…

    Andrew Duncan:              Well, the other option, Richard, could there be a different carrier for that catastrophe type policy that’s better than Citizens? Because Citizens, again, they’re not…you know. Or, the other thing that Richard could look at is: maybe your wind mitigation or your increasing of your fee was declined on a technicality. We’ve seen that a lot.

    Randy Noon:                      It’s part of that because the form changed. He said he had it last time two years ago and in February this year the new form came out – which is much more stringent, so some of the things that qualified in the past, do not any more.

    Andrew Duncan:              Don’t qualify.

    Randy Noon:                      The form is different.

    Jim:                                        One of the biggest difference that I didn’t have hurricane shutters. That was one of the big things at my house.

    Richard Vazquez:             Uhm. Well, if you’d like to give us a call during the week, we’d be happy to look at it and see if we can guide you in the right direction.

    Jim:                                        Yeah, I don’t have my eyes set. I put it on a tape. Before you go off the air would you put your number on, Richard?

    Richard Vazquez:             Sure.

    Andrew Duncan:              Yeah, we’ll release it on the air. Lee , our producer, could probably get your number as well if you took any information they may have got, so we’ll make sure to follow up with you.

    Jim:                                        Hey, I appreciate it, Andrew. Thank you.

    Andrew Duncan:              Thanks, Jim. Have a great rest of the weekend. So, again, you’re listening to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show here, on 970WFLA. Richard, you want to go and give your phone number on so that he’s got it.

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, for Jim in Palm Harbor, he’d probably best use our toll-free number, which is 1-888-668-6467.

    Andrew Duncan               :               And it’s artisaninsurancegroup.com.

    Richard Vazquez:             Well, artisaninsurance.com

    Andrew Duncan:              artisaninsurance.com

    Richard Vazquez:             Right.

    Andrew Duncan:              Oops, my bad. So, anyway, I wanted to also talk real quick amendment four and its impact on our local real estate market. Amendment four is something that’s going to be on the ballot. Obviously, real estate organizations are very pro amendment four but I wanted to just give it a quick insight as to what amendment four it is going to cover for people out there that are preparing to vote for Mitt Romney. Did you hear that? They’re preparing to vote for Mitt Romney. [laughing]

    Richard Vazquez:             [laughing]

    Andrew Duncan:              But in all honesty, the Florida’s economy’s has traditionally been dependent on a strong housing market. Amendment four is really meant to untie the legislators’ hands so it can be put under the unfair State Law. It reduced the cap on assessment hikes for non-homestead properties. So, if you own investment property or if you own a second property in Florida but it’s not your homestead, right now your assessment on your property taxes can go up 10 percent a year. They want to change it to where your taxes cannot go up more than five percent per year – really beneficial thing for small business owners that will definitely positively impact reinvesting in the marketplace and being able to continue to stay in business for some of them: lower prices for consumers, increasing salaries for employees. By lowering a cap an assessment increases amendment four’s hoping it will recruit more companies to invest in Florida. There’s a lot of studies that have been done in the National Association Realtors, Florida Association of Realtors support the amendment four.

    There’s always been long standing challenges, especially with a lot of retirees that have homes down here that kind of get beat up on taxes. They get beat up on taxes because your taxes…you know, homestead person’s taxes can only go up – I think it’s three percent a year and the non-homestead people pay a huge burden in that, when some of them spend more time in Florida than the homestead people who have been travelling around the country for their jobs. Nonetheless, it’s something that I’d encourage you to look into it. We obviously support amendment four and we encourage you to look at it and do the same but do your own research and diligence.

    So, again, you’re listening to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show. We’ve got a little bit more time for maybe any more questions if you have any: 990-9352 in Hillsborough, 461-9352 in Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-969-9352.

    High costs are continuing to burden more renters. Rent increases are up about 20 percent across the United Stated over the last year, according to a study released by the AP this last week and from the Census Bureau. Rent’s again continuing to climb. It’s why I think a lot of times people really need to look at home ownership, especially with rates as low as they are. If rents are climbing as dramatically as they are, you’re having a hard time finding a rental property – and I know some neighborhoods, I mean, we have rental property that we own, we put it on the market and some neighborhoods just rent it and days, literally, like a waiting list in days. So it has gotten more challenging because your economy is harmed more people’s credit, this, that and the other. But there are so many people out there that can qualify to buy and save money every month, where it would be cheaper. And you’d come out of pocket very little to make it happen. You’re already getting in your first last and security with rental.

    A lot of loan products today in certain areas: FHA or USDA or VA Loans – you can come out of pocket even less, maybe, than that. So, just really need to look. There are a lot of people out there that short sold their homes two and three years ago, that may qualify again but they think they cannot. Talk to your mortgage lender because you’d surprised of how the high costs that you’re paying, you get the same property or something really similar for a lot of price point.

    So, we’ll continue our conversation with Richard Vazquez from Artisan Insurance and Randy Noon from BPG Home Inspections as well as answering some email questions about a high-end property question as well as a short-sale question after a quick break here, on 970WFLA The Duncan Duo Show.

    [break]

    Andrew Duncan:              We’re back here, wrapping up the show here, on 970WFLA. We’re here with you every Sunday at 10:00 to talk about the local real estate market. When we aren’t on air, you can check us out on our socials by searching for The Duncan Duo. It’s a D-U-N-C-A-N-D-U-O. I want to send a quick reminder to you about tampamarketanalysis.com. If you’re out there curious about what your home value is, curious about what’s going on in your neighborhood or maybe you were thinking about selling your home a year or two ago and reconsidering that process, go to tampamarketanalysis.com, feel up the form, you’ll get a nice report that shows you what’s going on in your neighborhood so that you can make a decision about whether you sell and then your report will continue to come to you every month. Each month down the line you can keep an eye on whether or not it’s time for you to consider selling your property.

    Our team hand-picks a list of the best of bargain properties in the market every week from Tampa…all over Tampa Bay: from Apollo Beach to New Tampa, to Tierra Verde to South Tampa, Pascoe County, Pinellas County, Hillsborough County – basically, we’ve got the entire Tri-County area covered with this website: tampabaysmokingdeals.com – a hand-picked list of the best bargains in the market. So, foreclosures, short sales and we’ve got everything from single-family homes down to inexpensive, cheap condos on the website, high-end luxury properties – they are discount-priced as well, so go ahead and check out tampabaysmokingdeals.com if you’re out there in the marketplace looking for a steal on a real estate property.

    I want to get to a couple of email questions. I had one question about short sales: Erin from Fish Hawk wants to know what kind of credit damage she’ll get if she ends up short selling her home. She’s attempted the modification and it hasn’t worked. Things that she made are going down this path. It’s really hard to tell you what your damages are going to be on a short sale. We’re seeing anywhere from 100 to 250 points on a credit score damage because your credit score is going to vary from someone else’s. Your profile is going to be different: how many lines of credit you have opened, how many credit cards, how many mortgages. The impact on your credit score is going to vary considerably based on that. What I can say is that it’s significantly lower than a foreclosure. Your ability to respond from a short sale is significantly better than a foreclosure and it’s generally the better path to go. You certainly want to talk to an attorney because sometimes there are other options for you but when you look at the credit damage, it’s really going to depend on what specifically lines of credit and the shape of your credit score right now. I’d love to give you a more exact answer but without knowing more it’s hard to say. The more of lines of credit, the more credit you have, the longer you’ve had a good credit profile, the less impact it has and the shorter your credit history, the more it may impact you because you’ve got a delinquent bad account over in not as many accounts spread out.

    Again, we’re here with you every Sunday to talk about the local real estate market. Next weekend, we’re going to have Pulte Homes – local home-builder on the show as well as ERC Homes – local building, construction, development and home-renovation company, talking about that segment of our market. Two weeks from now, like I mentioned earlier on the show, we’re going to have real estate agents and real estate brokers from across the state of Florida on the show with us, talking about what we’re seeing in some of these other markets. If you own a property in another portion of Florida, thinking about moving to another area in Florida or you just want to keep up to date on an area maybe in another part of Florida – remember, whatever it is, tune in on October 14th because we’re going to talk about that show and getting some insight about what’s going on in some of the other markets. Because, let’s face it: real estate is local. What we see going on in Tampa, may not be going on in other parts of the market.

    My wife and I went out to dinner last night with Erin Catron who’s down in Punta Goarda and covers Sarasota as well and her and her husband. We met them after dinner last night and we were just talking about what we’re seeing in the market there versus here. There seem some similar things but there are some different things, too. Some population difference and things like that. So, you may hear us talking about these great things going on in Tampa Bay but it may not be the same in another market in Florida. So, tune in to that show, we’ll have more information for you on it and if you are listening in Sarasota, Bradenton and thinking about real estate, you need to check out erincatron.com. It’s E-R-I-N-C-A-T-R-O-N dot com.

    So, next week again we’ll have Pulte Homes and ERC Homes, we’ll be answering your calls and when we aren’t on air, make sure to search for us on Facebook or Youtube by searching for The Duncan Duo. Have a great rest of your weekend. Thank you for tuning in here, on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show.