June 19, 2019

Best FHA Loans of 2019 According to US News and World Reports

 For most Americans, the purchase of a home is possible with a mortgage. However, saving the traditional 20% down payment is an unattainable goal for some would-be buyers.

Enter the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, loan program, which has helped Americans buy homes since the Great Depression and remains a popular choice because of its affordability. FHA loans allow for smaller down payments while resolving some of the underwriting challenges borrowers face. The FHA insures these mortgages, which are issued by FHA-approved lenders. With a government guarantee, a lender can offer more flexibility with underwriting requirements, including credit guidelines and down payments.

This guide explains the FHA loan process and offers recommendations for lenders that can meet your home-buying needs.

Best FHA Loans of 2019

No single FHA lender is perfect for every borrower. U.S. News recommends these lenders for their overall performance in product offerings, eligibility requirements and customer satisfaction. These FHA lenders sell directly to the consumer and lend nationwide, and recommendations are meant to aid your research by showing companies that are most likely to meet your needs.

Best Lender for Customer Satisfaction

Fairway Independent logo

Fairway Independent

Fairway Independent Mortgage was established more than 20 years ago and has funded more than $50 billion in loans. The lender has excellent customer satisfaction ratings and offers most mortgage products, including USDA loans.


  • Mortgage types offered: Conventional, jumbo, ARM, VA FHA, USDA refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 580 (FHA), other loans vary
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43%
  • J.D. Power satisfaction rating: Five out of five
Jan. 1, 2019

#Phlorida Things: 188th Annual Mummers Parade

Posted in Video
Dec. 26, 2018

How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood

By David Hakimi

RISMEDIA, Wednesday, December 26, 2018—  Location, location, location. Half of buying a home is all about finding where you want to live. You might've found your dream house, but it's not in your dream neighborhood.


So, what should you be watching out for? Here's how you can find the perfect neighborhood:


Check It Out Online

Ah—the internet. It provides an immense amount of information. It's easy and entirely accessible for everyone, so you don't have any excuses not to take advantage of it. Look up what everyone is saying about a neighborhood you're interested in. Do people actually enjoy living there? What do they like and dislike about it?


Google the crime statistics for the area; safety should be top of mind. You don't want to get stuck in a neighborhood with a high break-in rate—take your safety and security seriously. At the same time, if you have kids, look up schools in the area. What are they rated? Most school systems have a rating scale based off mostly academics. Find out if they're good options for your children.


Scout It Out

Literally. Do drive-bys, and do them at different times of the day. Get a feel for a certain neighborhood. Is there a soccer field or baseball diamond close by? You'll want to know before it's too late whether or not cars will be lined up on your street. Make sure you're in the know. You don't want things like that to come up as a surprise after you've moved in. Furthermore, check out the traffic patterns in the area. What's that intersection near the home you're interested in really like during rush hour?


How Far Is Your Potential Home From Your Job?

This might not matter to some—if you're near retirement, it might not matter at all!—but a long commute has the potential to become an everyday stressor, one that you don't need or want. If you take the bus, look up the route and times. If you drive, check out the route during your normal commute times on Google Maps.


Do Your Research on Property Taxes

This could majorly impact your cost of living. Property taxes greatly differ from one region to the next. Do your research and find out what to expect. Don't let this come as a shock. You want to make sure you can afford the area you want to live in. Be sure to do your due diligence with some good research! Also, take this a step further, and look at other costs of living—think utilities and food prices.


Ensure your perfect home is in your ideal neighborhood. It's worth taking the time to do research and be sure it's really what you want.


This appeared first on RISMedia's Housecall.

 RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.



Copyright© 2018 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission.

Dec. 20, 2018

Why Millennials Choose to Buy


Why Millennials Choose to Buy

According to NerdWallet’s Millennials & Homebuying Study, the top 5 reasons young renters

choose to own are:

1. To Have Control over Their Living Space - 93%

Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying

their own homes, dream of the day that they will be able to paint

the walls whatever color they'd like, or renovate an outdated part

of their living space.

Many others who have waited to add a pet to their families

daydream about the day that they’ll be able to go pick out their

‘furever’ friend. Owning your own home gives you the freedom to

make those choices.

2. To Have a Sense of Privacy & Security - 90%

It is no surprise that having a place to call home, with all that

means, in comfort and security, is the #2 reason. As a homeowner,

you have control over who has access to your home, and you are

able to secure it how you see fit.


3. To Live in a Nicer Home - 81%

Similar to the #1 reason, when you purchase a home, you can

choose to live in a nicer home or choose to renovate a home &

restore its glory. Owning also allows you to accommodate your

growing family or a family member who may need to move in.


4. To Feel Engaged in Their Community - 75%

Owning a home in a community is one of the major reasons why

residents become more civically involved. The stakes are raised

once your home value is directly tied to the neighborhood and

community in which you live.


5. To Have Flexibility in Future Decisions - 53%

As we mentioned earlier, owning a home allows you to use your

monthly housing cost as a savings account that can be borrowed

against in the future. Having this option available during

uncertain times is just one of many reasons why homeowners feel

more secure in their homes.


“The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than

renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space,

flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”

NAR’s Generational Study found that 86% of millennials believe homeownership is a good financial

investment, with 45% believing it is a better investment than the stock market.

Nov. 12, 2018

Drexel University Thanks It's Student Veteran Population.

Honored to have come from University that has provided so many opportunities to area Veterans.

Here are a few data points relating to today's US Student Veteran Population.

73%-80% of Student Veterans are male; 21-27% are female.

Only 10-14% of military personnel being women, female Student Veterans are over-represented in postsecondary education.

Only 15% of Student Veterans are traditionally aged college students.

Most Student Veterans are between the ages of 24 and 40.

47% of Student Veterans have children. 47.3% of Student Veterans are married. 62% of Student Veterans are first-generation students.

Read more on VA.gov Student Veteran Factsheet



Nov. 9, 2018

List of Veterans Day Weekend Events in Broward County


Looking For Something to do for Veterans days in Broward County?

Check out these Veterans Day Weekend events in Greater Fort Lauderdale

According to a number of online sources(The Military Wallet, Sun Sentinel) there are quite a number of things to do in the area.  Looking for the best thing near you?  Here's a no BS Veterans Day event list that will give you some options.  Hoorah.  


1. AFWC's American Wine Experience- PARTY in the HANGAR by American Fine Wine Competition

LOVE WINE? See that picture above? Now imagine it filled with festive tables- lots and lots of wine, tons of food, incredible party music and a Chinese Raffle to benefit Dogs for Disabled Veterans.

Join us for this awesome event! Come and taste dozens and dozens of world class American wines- you'll grab a glass, and try everything from Chardonnay to Syrah, Cabernet to Albarino, Roussanne to Zinfandel! Blends, single varietals. Wines from California, Ohio, Washington, New York, Michigan, Virginia, Oregon, and more! There will even be (oh my!) an International Rose wine table. You've never been to a tasting like this!

The American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC) is excited to invite you to sample all of these delicious wines while enjoying food from area restaurants, a Chinese Auction and the (soon to be famous) "Cork Pull".

Comedian Bobby Collins Live

Bobby Collins is an American stand-up comedian and film actor. He is coming to Fort Lauderdale. Buy Tickets. 100% Buyer Guarantee. Don't miss the concert with Bobby Collins. Be there on time!


Oakland Park Veterans Day Ceremony

Remember and honor U.S. Military Veterans who served the United States. Join City officials and the Oakland Park American Legion Post 222 to honor all who served this country in the armed forces.


We will be showcasing the top local educational speakers and advocates in the industry. A variety of musical, art, and glass blowing talent for your enjoyment with a great selection of local vendors to shop from and much, much more.








Posted in Stuff to do
Nov. 8, 2018

Why Greater FTL?

Nov. 8, 2018

Give Me Land, Lots of Land… 5 Things to Keep In Mind

florida land for saleLand can be a good investment, whether you intend to build a house or business on a particular lot or simply want a place where you can stretch your legs and breathe a bit more deeply. After all, they’re not making any more of it (ok, technically this isn’t true, but you’d need to be volcano adjacent to get dibs on brand new land).

Buying land can be tricky, though, even after you secure a mortgage for it. There are several important real estate concepts you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with.

Lessons in Land Buying

Unlike purchasing a house in an established neighborhood, where everything is pretty obvious and cut and dry, land can throw a lot of weird wrenches into the works. Let’s take a look at the most important aspects to keep in mind before and during your land acquisition.

1.Title Restrictions

Before you even set foot on a piece of property you’re interested in purchasing, ask about title restrictions. These are conditions that, when met, could go as far as to revoke your ownership or punish you in other serious ways. For example, if you’re interested in land for farm and you come across a lovely place that happens to border on public forest, you may be restricted from owning sheep because of the danger they pose to the unique neighboring trees.

Another more common example would be that the title restricts your subdividing the land. If you just want to get away from neighbors, that probably won’t be an issue for you, but if you had planned to build some houses on that land and splitting off the parts you don’t want to keep, you’re in trouble.

Always check the title restrictions because many will run with the land (that means they’re enforceable as long as the land exists). Don’t assume that because they’re 50 or 60 years old they’re unenforceable. They are.

2. Easements

Easements are a very specific type of property ownership where the legal use of your land is granted to another person or company. A good example of this is the utility easement that often runs along one edge of a home’s lot. That easement gives the utility company the right to go in and perform necessary upgrades and repairs without having to beg and plead with homeowners for permission.

Before you make an offer on any piece of land, it’s important to know what easements, if any, apply. There almost certainly is a utility easement somewhere, but there can also be private easements granted by any former owner that could remain with the property. It’s much better to know what it is that you’re buying and how much of that land is usable. If you don’t understand the maps that show these easements, ask your Realtor to explain them to you.

3. Landlocked Property

In the United States, there is no such thing as a landlocked property. That being said, there are properties that appear to be landlocked because there’s no way to access them from the road. In these situations, a right-of-way easement is created to allow unencumbered access to the landlocked property.

If you’re the one buying the “landlocked” property, these easements are generally not a point of concern. However, as a seller, right-of-way easements can hurt the value of your land and create an additional expense maintaining that strip of Earth you can’t use for other purposes.

4. Surveys

Buying a house in a subdivision is easy because the land has already been surveyed and small metal pins placed at the corners of the lots. Even if your bank wanted some sort of survey done for a single family home purchase, all the surveyor has to do is find those pins and mark them. Ultimately, they’ll record your property as something like “Lot 12, Smith’s Addition, Your Town, State.”

When it comes to land, the story is very different. First, a surveyor has to do a bit of research beforehand to figure out where the parcel’s boundaries should be. Land is one of those things that can stay in families for decades, or even longer. Depending on where you live, that empty property could reasonably still be held by the original family to take title. It creates a significant challenge for surveyors.

Regardless, you need that survey to ensure that the land you’re buying is the land you think you’re buying. The surveyor can also verify the easements you’ve been told exist. Once that’s established and everyone is in agreement, you can go to Closing with confidence.

5. Adverse Possession

There’s nothing in the real estate sphere as confusing and infuriating as adverse possession. This is a situation where someone, often a neighbor, has managed to somehow use your land without your permission over a long period of time. Through a series of events, they then become the legal owner. And you won’t see one red cent ever.

This sometimes happens in urban and suburban neighborhoods when a homeowner installs a fence, for example. They may not even realize they’ve crossed the lot line. It’s nowhere near the same issue as it is when you’re buying land. Acreages can see significant shrinkage if a fence is even a few feet over the line. If the lot line is 300 feet long and the neighbor is intruding by two feet, that’s 600 square feet that you no longer control and may be at risk of losing.

Fortunately, if you catch the problem early, you can take actions to reclaim your land and rid yourself of your accidental squatter (because, let’s face it, most of the time it is an accident).

Step 1: Ask the neighbor nicely to move their fence. Show them your survey so they can see where the fence should be.
Step 2: Post “No:Trespassing” signs that are visible to the neighbor. This removes the “hostile claim” condition of a successful adverse possession claim. “Hostile” in this situation means that they’re using your land against your will.
Step 3: If the neighbor needs to continue to use the land for some reason, have them sign a land lease and demand a small rental fee. Again, this will remove the hostile claim condition, but in a much more concrete way.
Step 4: Lawyer up because it’s time to take this thing to court. Although the time that a squatter must occupy property to take it as their own varies, the sooner these issues are addressed, the better. The court can force your neighbor the squatter to move his fence to where it belongs.

No one wants to take their neighbors to court, so try everything else first. If you and the neighbor can come to an amicable agreement about the fence placement, you’ll be in a much better place to have a harmonious long term relationship with them.

Are You Ready to Own Your Own Bit of Earth?

Buying land can be a scary proposition. The upkeep and planning for its future alone can be overwhelming. Don’t panic! Your HomeKeepr family is just waiting for you to put them to work keeping the grass cut, drawing up plans for your future home or business and bringing it all to life. Just ask your Realtor for recommendations from the community and wait to be connected to the best of the best in your area!

Sept. 26, 2018

Can Millennials Move On and Up?

Can Millennials Move On and Up?

By Suzanne De Vita

RISMEDIA, Wednesday, April 11, 2018—








As the biggest cohort of homebuyers, millennials are exercising influence in the market in unprecedented ways. They are at the center of demand for housing—built-up after many moved back in with their parents, and now releasing slowly, but surely, as the crash fades from memory. 


There are factors, however, that could keep a lid on the millennial move-out. According to Freddie Mac's monthly Insight, recently released, the amount of households led by young adults is down 3.6 percent from 2000—attributable to costly homes and stagnating wages. From 2000 to 2016, earnings grew just 1 percent for young adults; by comparison, home prices grew 29 percent. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in March, home prices were up 5.9 percent year-over-year. 


Analysts at Freddie believe the gap is too great to ignore. They posit that affordability constraints are the cause of more than one-quarter of the decline in the formation of households by young adults—and If the climb in costs persists, there could be dire implications for the market. For millennials, even an incremental rise could stall them: A 1 percent hike in home prices cuts the likelihood millennials will head up their own household by 5 percent. (A 1 percent increase in income, inversely, ups the odds 3 percent.)


"Housing costs are a major factor holding back young adult household formations," says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Our research results indicate that 28 percent of the decline in young adult household formation is due to housing costs. If housing costs continue to rise, we could see about 600,000 fewer households over the next decade."


Another factor? Timing. The catalysts (conventionally) for forming a household—aging, children and/or marriage—are not occurring as quickly. Comparing young adults in 2000 and 2016, data on fertility and marriages is lower now than it was—and according to realtor.com® research, "family needs" are the biggest millennial motivator for a purchase. 


If conditions improve for millennials, Freddie forecasts an additional 19-21 million households by 2025. The alternative, the analysts believe, could have critical consequences for homeownership, investing and overall wealth.

Sept. 24, 2018

Understanding Cap Rate

How to Calculate the Cap Rate

The cap rate is an important concept in real estate investmenting and it is widely used. There is often confusion about how to calculate the cap rate using various methods. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate several ways to calculate the cap rate.

How to Calculate the Cap Rate Ratio

Perhaps the simplest place to start is to calculate the actual cap rate ratio. The cap rate ratio is just net operating income (NOI) divided by value, so if we know what a property’s net operating income is and we also know what a property’s value is, then we can easily calculate the cap rate.

How to Calculate Cap Rate

For example, suppose we know that a property has an NOI of $100,000 and a value of $1,000,000. Then we can calculate a cap rate by dividing $100,000 by $1,000,000:

How to Calculate Cap Rate Example

This results in a cap rate of 10%.

How to Calculate the Cap Rate with Sales Comps

Since a property’s value is often what we don’t know, it is common to simply divide our known net operating income by a market based cap rate. This will tell us what a property’s value is.

How to Calculate Cap Rate Value

Calculating a property’s net operating income is easy enough, but if we don’t know what the market based cap rate is, then how do we calculate it?

One approach is to find comparable properties that have recently sold. Then we can take those comparable sale prices and calculate a cap rate. For example, suppose we observe the following recent sales of similar properties:

How to Calculate Cap Rate From Sales Comps

Based on our knowledge of the local market we might decide to simply average all three of these cap rates to get a market based cap rate of 8.33%. Now we can use this market based cap rate to figure out a value for our property. If our property has an NOI of $100,000 then we can find its value like this:

How to Calculate Cap Rate From Comps Example

This is the expected market value of our property using the direct capitalization method, based on recent comparable sales we observed in the local market.

How to Calculate the Cap Rate Using the Discount Rate

Another way to calculate the cap rate is based on the relationship between the cap rate and the discount rate. When income and value grow at a constant rate, then the discount rate is equal to the cap rate plus the growth rate. This idea comes from the dividend discount model, also known as the Gordon Model, which is used to value a stock.

How to calculate cap rate discount rate

We can re-arrange this equation to solve for cap rate, which says that the cap rate is equal to the discount rate minus the growth rate:

How to Calculate Cap Rate Growth Rate

So, if we know the required rate of return (discount rate) for a property, and we also know the expected growth rate for the property’s NOI, then we can calculate the cap rate. For example, suppose we know the discount rate is 12% and the NOI growth rate is expected to be 3%. This is how we can estimate the cap rate:

How to Calculate Cap Rate Growth Rate Example

The cap rate is calculated as 12% minus 3%, or 9%.


In this article we discussed several ways to calculate the cap rate. First, we talked about how to calculate the simple capitalization rate ratio when you know both the NOI as well as the value of a property. Next we discussed how to estimate the cap rate when you don’t know the value of a property. This can be done by finding cap rates for recent sales of comparable properties. Finally, we covered the relationship between the cap rate and the discount rate and walked through an example of how the cap rate can be calculated based on the discount rate and the expected growth rate of net operating income.