Why move to Ocala? We have everything, and just enough nothing at the same time to make this the perfect place to live.
If you have spent any time at all in some of our larger Florida metropolitan areas, you will know that there is a great way to kill a good mood. Try getting stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for hours on end. Here in Ocala, there just isn't enough here to cause hours and hours of bumper to bumper traffic. There are plenty of other roads to get you where you need to go.
What about all the great things the larger cities have to offer? We are smack in the middle of four of Florida's largest cities: Orlando, Tampa, Daytona Beach, & Gainesville.
No matter where in the world you live, chances are you have at one point considered a vacation to visit the mouse. Not only can you visit Disney for the day and still make it home before bedtime, you also can get some substantial discounts for being a Florida resident! Orlando also offers much in the way of shopping, restaurants, malls and other attractions.
There are few that would argue that both Daytona and St. Petersburg/Tampa have some of the best beaches in Florida, if not the entire United States. Both of these beaches are just about 90 minutes away. Spending the day at the beach is a fantastic way to relax with family and friends while still making it back home in time to have a cookout at home without all the sand.
Or pop into one of the many restaurants that Ocala has to offer! While we still don't have the traffic here that you find in most larger cities, you can still find all of the amenities! We have an indoor and outdoor shopping mall, plenty of parks, restaurants and family friendly activities.
Come for a visit and you will see how many amazing things there are to do and see right here in Ocala, Florida!
"COSTA MESA, Calif. – Oct. 28, 2016 – With the economy rebounding and the average national credit score on the rise, many consumers are coming back from harder times, dusting themselves off and re-entering the mortgage market.
Foreclosures, short sales and bankruptcies remain on a credit report for seven years, which means those black marks will fall off the credit files of 2.5 million consumers between June 2016 and June 2017. And most will then qualify for another mortgage.
Experian's latest analysis finds that 68 percent of these rebounding consumers are scoring in the near-prime-or-higher credit segments.
The study takes a close look at these potential borrowers and the consumers who foreclosed or short-sold between 2007 and 2010 and have since opened a new mortgage. According to Experian, these "boomerang borrowers" generally show responsible credit behaviors, have improving credit scores and are current on their debts. Overall, the short-sale ex-owners are rebounding at a higher rate than those who went through foreclosure.
"In the coming years, boomerang borrowers will be a critical segment of the real estate market," Raneri predicts. "While many of these borrowers have gone through a very difficult time, it is encouraging to see them taking control of their finances with better credit scores and all-around better credit management."
The VantageScore credit scores of the boomerang buyers have climbed significantly since their foreclosures and short sales, even surpassing the scores they had prior to the negative event:
"WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Sept. 28, 2016 – The likelihood of home price declines across the United States over the next two years remains very low – only 4 percent, according to the Fall 2016 Housing and Mortgage Market Review published by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company.
While the overall risk is only 4 percent, it's also on the decline. One year ago, the risk was 6 percent; two years ago, it was 13 percent. In Florida, the two-year risk of a housing price decline is only 2 percent.
Despite the low overall risk of home price declines, however, some areas of the U.S. have decelerating home price growth and remain at heightened risk for home price declines. Those areas are generally the energy-extraction (coal, oil or natural gas) states.
'Apart from some underlying issues that continue to hold back the housing sector, ranging from weak wage growth to skyrocketing student debt, strong dynamics are now in place that will continue pushing up home prices faster than inflation for the foreseeable future," says Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, global chief economist, mortgage services at Arch. "Positive fundamentals in today's housing market include affordability, job growth, a shortage of housing, rising rents and underpriced or fairly valued housing in most areas of the country. Given these positives for home prices, it isn't surprising that there is a low probability home prices will decrease in two years.'
The report presents the state- and metro-level Arch MI Risk Index. The company bases its risk assessment on recent economic and housing market data.
The Fall 2016 edition also has a special report on regional oil shocks and the home price index that compares the decline in oil prices over the past two years to the oil shock of the mid-1980s. Although there was a similar decline in crude oil prices of roughly 60 percent both then (November 1985 to March 1986) and now (June 2014 to year-end 2015), the size of the employment shock in the 1980s was far larger than the most recent event.
Today's housing market has been less affected by the decline in oil prices, thanks to both a greater economic diversity and because the 1980s home-price drop was amplified by the savings and loan crisis.
On a state level, North Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia remain the states most at risk of home prices declines. The economies in these three states are currently in recession with weakening employment, due primarily to declines in energy-related jobs. North Dakota has the highest Arch MI Risk Index value at 47 (a 47 percent chance of a price decline of any magnitude over the next two years); Wyoming has a Risk Index of 44; West Virginia has a Risk Index of 31.
© 2016 Florida Realtors®"
First, I'm assuming you have a job and that you have had that job for a few years and you feel pretty secure in your job.
Second, I'm assuming you have thought about owning a home instead of renting.
Third, I'm assuming you haven't checked your credit because you are afraid to and don't know where you can for free.
Taking those things into consideration, I say this:
First thing's first. Find a lender, someone who will work with you on credit issues if you have them (usually for free). Yep, free! A good lender can tell you pretty quickly if home ownership is within reach immediately or at least within a relatively short time if you have something to work on. A good lender will also be able to create a plan with you on what you need to work on and how long it will take to get you to the place of being able to obtain a mortgage. A good lender will not simply dismiss you and say, "sorry, you can't do this." A good lender is going to give you the tools, provide you a plan and be sure you stay in the price range you are comfortable with. I happen to know a GREAT lender who will do all the things I mentioned! When talking to the lender, you will learn about your credit too. You may be surprised to find out that changing your score is quicker and easier than you thought. Your Credit Score is updated every two weeks; most people don't know that. I know I didn't before I got into real estate.
If you want to look at your credit on your own a good free place to start is www.creditkarma.com. This site is free and has cool features that you can use all for free to calculate your score if you paid down or off a credit card. It's free all the time. Another place to check out your credit is on www.annualcreditreport.com. You can't see your score on this site, but you can pull your credit once a year for free from all three credit reporting agencies.
Now that you know your score and how to keep up with it and that you can obtain a mortgage loan the next thing to do is find an agent. Find one that you like, that fits your personality and that you feel you can spend a lot of time with. You'll be spending a lot of time with that person, so it's important that you guys jive. An agent should not only help you find a home and take you to view homes and write a contract for you, they should have your best interest at heart! They should listen to your needs, your wants, ask your opinion, re-evaluate those wants and needs throughout the process, be a reliable source of information and be available to you. Wants and needs change throughout the process. You may think you want certain things and won't negotiate on those wants, but then you get out there and you find you want other things instead and that your first thoughts weren't exactly spot on. Your agent should be able to move with those changes and find you a home to call your own. Could you go at this process without an agent? Sure, there's nothing stopping you; except that that's a very bad idea. If you aren't versed in the real estate world, you might get lost and scammed in the transaction. An agent is your protection, and your buyer agent is free!
Okay, so now you've talked to a lender, you're qualified for a mortgage, you know what your price range is, you have your agent picked out and you're ready to start hunting. Wait; I thought you said you couldn't buy a house? Well, just like everything else that changes in the world, your thoughts on this matter have changed too!
Home ownership is a great investment, source of pride and is still the Great American Dream!
Call The Proeber Team today to get started!
"WASHINGTON – July 26, 2016 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) won a trademark cancellation proceeding before the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). The issue focused on NAR's trademarked term "Realtor" and whether real estate sales people who were not members of NAR could legally use it.
In the proceeding, a Realtor member petitioned the USPTO to cancel NAR's trademark registration for the Realtor trademark, alleging that the trademark was generic and no longer deserved legal protection.
The USPTO rejected the allegations, however, upholding NAR's longstanding trademark rights.
"The Realtor trademark is one of the most commonly recognized marks in the industry, so we fight to defend it on the state and national level," says Margy Grant, vice president and general counsel for Florida Realtors. "It's not simply someone who sells real estate. The trademark indicates a major difference between someone with just a real estate license and a professional who has agreed to honor and uphold the Realtor Code of Ethics."
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – the adjudication arm of the USPTO – oversaw the proceeding. A cancellation proceeding looks at whether an already-registered trademark should be canceled, thereby cancelling the protections and rights associated with that registration. Anyone who believes they'll be damaged by the registration may initiate a proceeding.
Common grounds for commencing a cancellation are abandonment, genericness and priority. With an allegation of genericness, the petitioner must show that the trademark has become the generic name for the goods or services the trademark is connected with.
In this case, the Realtor member petitioned to cancel NAR's registration for the Realtor® Mark based on genericness, but the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board disagreed.
This decision is in line with an earlier case, Freeman v. National Association of Realtors®, Cancellation Nos. 27,885 & 28,047 (U.S.T.T.A.B. June 18, 2002).
NAR's full explanation of the case can be found on its website.
Read the full decision: Schermerhorn v. National Association of Realtors®, Canc. No. 92061031 (TTAB Mar. 30, 2016)
© 2016 Florida Realtors®"
"SPRING HILL, Tenn. – July 13, 2016 – The real estate market will always have its ups and downs, but real estate is an often-profitable investment. Real estate investors do their investing for various reasons. Some see a house as a place to hang their hats for years and years, while others look at properties as nothing more than investments.
Buying a home with the intent to fix it up and resell it is called a "fix and flip." In such situations, investors buy homes at below-market prices before refurbishing the homes with the goal of recouping their initial investment and then some when the homes are ultimately put back on the market. Flipping has become popular for both expert remodelers and novice investors.
RealtyTrac, the nation's leading source for comprehensive housing data, noted in its "Year-End and Q4 2015 U.S. Home Flipping" report that 5.5 percent of all single family home and condo sales during the year were flipped properties. This marked an increase from the same time the previous year.
Investing in a fixer-upper requires a leap of faith and a vision of what the home can look like in the future. Turning a real estate lemon into lemonade requires certain skills and a good measure of patience. The following are some guidelines to get anyone started.
Copyright © 2016 The Advertiser News, all rights reserved."
This summer has already been crazy with rentals! We have had so many tenants either transferring jobs, or purchasing houses and so many vacancies all at once. We are just trying to keep up!
The idea of 9 families moving within a 30-60 day period is amazing. So far anything that became available for rent has been rented right away. So the rental market is still hot.
For the first time in 2 years, I actually have a rental list to email to people!
There have been many inquiries about whether or not we accept section 8 vouchers. The simple and quick answer is yes, we do. As a company, Home Team Property Management and Berkshire Hathaway HS Home Team Realty does accept section 8. In fact we have a few tenants on the program. What about the not as simple answer, well, for that you’d have to ask if we have any available homes that will accept section 8 vouchers.
While we do have several rental homes available, only one of the owners showed any interest in using the program. So many prospective tenants have been distraught over the lack of houses available and have taken their frustrations out on me, but truthfully, it is not up to me. “Why wouldn’t you take it, I’m a good tenant, I won’t destroy the place and it’s immediate guaranteed rent.” This is normally what I hear. What the prospective tenant doesn’t understand is it is first and foremost up to the owner of the house. In fact, the owners have to sign notorized documents stating that they agree to the program and all of its stipulations.
Once Ocala Housing Authority receives those documents (which in my experience they normally lose or ‘don’t receive’ multiple times in the course of the following weeks) the house also must be inspected by Ocala Housing Authority to make sure it meets their standards for housing. Between scheduling it and actually having it done, this can take several weeks. In the meantime, the owner is losing rent money. They don’t like that.
Once all is accomplished, the tenant is approved (they still have to submit a rental application and pay the security deposit) the house has passed the inspection, the rent is set up through OHA, we are all set, right?
Well, sort of. What happens if the amount that OHA agrees to pay of the rent is not the full amount? Sometimes, they only subsidize the rent. Which means the tenant has to pay $75 dollars and OHA pays $700 for the rent of $775 for an example. OHA periodically verifies that the tenants income is still the same, if it has gone up, then the voucher amount goes down. The rent amount stays the same, but we now have to look to the tenant to pay a portion. They don’t always do that. It is also incredibly difficult to do an eviction since we have still received a portion of the rent. Not impossible, just difficult.
If you think OHA will help at all with a difficult tenant, you are very much mistaken. One good thing to know: if you successfully evict a tenant on the program, they are not eligible to receive it again for 4 to 5 years, which is a helpful incentive for them to pay their portion in a timely manner.
Do not misunderstand, I am not anti-section 8 vouchers or HUD program. It can be an awesome program and for some people that get in a temporary tight spot, it is amazingly helpful. I have also recommended it to a few people over the years since it was something they could truly benefit from. But I am kind of annoyed by all of the people telling me it’s immediate guaranteed income and that I just don’t know enough about it…it’s not and yes, I do. Nothing is guaranteed, and it is definitely not immediate. I have been doing this long enough to know exactly what is involved and be able to state the facts of the matter as I have experienced them.
One thing I can say, once you have a tenant with a section 8 voucher in an approved house they will not up and move out at the drop of a hat. In fact, they will normally be there for several years, since the process is so lengthy when they want to move. Once the tenant has been through the process once, they are not too eager to put themselves through all of that again anytime soon.
For any tenants out there that are considering applying for section 8 vouchers; If you are having a hard time paying your rent, this can be a good option. My recommendation would be to go ahead and apply at the OHA, then approach your current landlord about getting the house you are already residing in approved by OHA. It is much easier to have a landlord accept the program vouchers when they won’t be losing out on rent waiting for the process since you will still be paying the rent in the interim. If the house doesn’t pass inspection, or the landlord won’t even consider it, then you are already approved, look for a house that has already been approved through the OHA first, since that is a much quicker and easier process for everyone.
If none of that works, calling every house that is currently available and asking if they accept section 8 vouchers will work, but please do me a favor and don’t take out your frustration on the property manager (namely: me) especially since, when an owner does decide to accept the vouchers…I’m the one that will be helping you through the process.
I am so excited to share with you all the Market Report for 2015:
Not only that, but with the new system upgrade to our local MLS I will be able to provide you, my wonderful readers with up to date monthly reports for Marion County Florida.
In fact, I will even provide you with last months report now:
http://www.omcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/March-2016-MMD-Reports.pdfI’m not sure if you are as excited as I am about this information, but I can hardly contain myself!!!!!
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – April 12, 2016 – The likelihood of home price declines across the United States over the next two years remains low at 5 percent, according to Spring 2016 Housing and Mortgage Market Review published by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company (Arch MI). For most of Florida, the risk is even lower.
The report by Arch MI attempts to gauge the likelihood that home prices will be lower in two years based on recent economic and housing market data. Despite the low overall risk of home price declines, however, some areas in the “Energy Patch” states (coal-, oil- or natural gas- producing) remain at heightened risk. While home prices probably won’t decline even there, they may experience slower than normal economic and home price growth, according to Arch.
Statewide, Florida’s risk of a price decline over the next two years is only 2 percent in 24 Florida counties, including Miami-Dade and Broward. And the likelihood in a handful of other places, such as Palm Beach County, is only 3 percent.
“Apart from a subset of energy extraction states, home prices should rise faster than inflation thanks to strong fundamentals,” says Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, Arch MI’s Chief Economist. “Positives include strong affordability, home prices generally below their historical relationship with incomes, U.S. job growth of more than 2 million jobs a year, and a low levels of construction relative to growing demand.”
On a state level, Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia currently have the highest risk of home prices declines. Total employment continues to weaken in those states, even as home prices continue to rise.
Report risk highlights
Recently a client told me that I had ‘grit’. Considering that I spend hours cleaning grit off of the flooring in our home each week, I was a bit surprised and was wondering if I should be offended. I looked up what ‘grit’ actually meant. (Thank you google)
The first definition was what I had thought of first: “Abrasiveparticles or granules, as of sand or other small,coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.” Living in Florida, we have sand everywhere, I am very familiar with grittiness. (That’s normally when I know the tile floors need sweeping again.)
But what is this as far as a personality trait? The definition is: “Firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck.”
Hmmm, I guess I’m fairly plucky…
Going even further, wikipedia.com defined it best I think:
“Grit is defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Building upon biographical collections of famous leaders in history, researchers and scientists have reached similar conclusions about high achieving individuals. Specifically, those individuals who were deemed more successful and influential than their contemporary counterparts typically possessed traits above and beyond that of normal ability. While ability was still critically important, these individuals also possessed “zeal” and “persistence of motive and effort.” Grit is conceptualized as a stable trait that does not require immediate positive feedback. Individuals high in grit are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity. Their passion and commitment towards the long-term objective is the overriding factor that provides the stamina required to “stay the course” amid challenges and set-backs. Essentially, the grittier person is focused on winning the marathon, not the sprint.”
With this definition in mind, I have to think that it is the best definition of what a Realtor is, than anything else I have read thus far. To my client that gave me such high praise, I hope you are reading this and know how much I appreciate this compliment.
So I guess the questions would be to anyone selling their home and interviewing real estate agents:
“Does he/she have grit? Will they persevere with the sale of your home, even when things are looking bad? Will they push through and stay upbeat and motivated through the entire process? Will they carry you through this marathon, or give up when they discover its going to be much more than a sprint? Will they give you feedback about your home as opposed to needing positive feedback to stay motivated?”
The rate of new home construction isn’t impacted only by a lack of qualified labor – it’s also slowed by a lack of local government staff who must approve permits before construction can begin.
The manpower shortage at city governments across the country has increased the time it takes for builders to get permits and other approvals. During the recession, construction declined and city budgets were cut. As a result, a skeleton crew today can’t keep up with the onslaught of new projects submitted for approval. Burned by the recession, however, many local governments don’t want to hire a lot of new employees to speed the process along.
This is according to an article in the Wall Street Journal the other day. Apparently this shortage is especially difficult in our market here in Florida. What does this mean to you and I? We are about to see this shortage of houses create higher demand. House prices are going to escalate, rapidly. If we don’t have that many houses currently on the market, large quantities of people are actively looking to buy homes and they are unable to build a house since it will take 6 months longer just for the permitting process…these buyers will be forced to pay more.
Basically, our market is about to swing from the ‘Buyers Market’ that it has been for the last decade to a strong ‘Sellers Market’.
We will also see an even higher rise in rents since many of those that are looking to buy or build can’t find anything and are forced to rent. Those Landlords that have been renting out homes waiting for the market to come back have been selling off those houses in recent months.
So what happens after that? Once the market shifts just enough, you will see the vacant lots that have been stagnating for a decade start to sell. Some of the housing developments that were lost and abandoned with only a handful of houses built will be revitalized. Our city is growing again.
So what comes first, the permits or the building demand? We need houses to be built again if nothing else to hold on to the stabilizing market. With this increased demand still being fairly new, our City and County is not going to rush out and hire a bunch of new employees in order to keep up, especially with the sting of the recession still fresh in our minds.
For now, growth will have to happen slowly, at the speed of the South…is that so bad? We’ll see…
WASHINGTON – Feb. 29, 2016 – According to the National Association of Realtors®(NAR), pending home sales in January declined month-to-month but rose year-to-year. Only the South saw an uptick in contract activity.
NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings – declined 2.5 percent to 106.0 in January from an upwardly revised 108.7 in December. However, year-to-year it’s 1.4 percent above January 2015 (104.5). Although the index has increased year-over-year for 17 consecutive months, last month’s annual gain was the second smallest (September 2014, 1.2 percent) over that time.
A myriad of reasons likely contributed to January contract signings subsiding in most of the country, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
“While January’s blizzard possibly caused some of the pullback in the Northeast, the recent acceleration in home prices and minimal inventory throughout the country appears to be the primary obstacle holding back would-be buyers,” Yun says. “Additionally, some buyers could be waiting for a hike in listings come springtime.”
Existing-home sales increased last month and were considerably higher than the start of 2015, but price growth quickened to 8.2 percent – the largest annual gain since April 2015 (8.5 percent).
While Yun hopes that appreciating home values will start to entice more homeowners to sell, Yun says supply and affordability conditions won’t meaningfully improve until homebuilders start ramping up production – especially of homes at lower price points.
“First-time buyers in high demand areas continue to encounter instances where their offer is trumped by cash buyers and investors,” says Yun. “Without a much-needed boost in new and existing-homes for sale in their price range, their path to homeownership will remain an uphill climb.”
NAR forecasts that existing-home sales this year will be around 5.38 million, an increase of 2.5 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.3 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.
Pending sales in the Northeast declined 3.2 percent to 94.5 in January, but it’s still 10.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 4.9 percent to 101.1 in January, but it’s still 1.4 percent above January 2015.
Pending home sales in the South inched up 0.3 percent to an index of 121.1 in January but remain 1.3 percent lower than last January. The index in the West decreased 4.5 percent in January to 96.5, but it’s 0.4 percent above a year ago.
Courtesy of © 2016 Florida Realtors®
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jan. 29, 2016 – Consumer sentiment among Floridians fell a very slight amount in January, dropping to 91.5 from December’s 91.6, according to the latest University of Florida (UF) consumer survey.
Among the five components that make up the index, three declined and two increased, with Floridians’ view of the economy down for both the short and long term.
Expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next year fell 1.8 points to 84.1; and the outlook for U.S. economic conditions over the next five years fell 4 points to 86.8. One year earlier, both were higher.
Opinions as to whether it is a good time to buy a big-ticket item fell 1 point to 100.9 but it was still higher in a year-to-year comparison.
Perceptions of personal finances now compared with a year ago rose 3 points to 83.7, which is 6.2 points higher than for the same month last year. Expectation of personal finances a year from now rose 3.5 points to 102 – the same reading as January 2015.
“While only three out of five components fell, the biggest change between January 2015 and 2016 was the more than 11-point decrease in anticipation of U.S. economic conditions over the next year,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
Sandoval says the “biggest declines in expectations of U.S. economic conditions were observed in those aged 60 and over, and those in households making more than $50,000, (but) this unfavorable perspective is shared by all Floridians in general, independent of their gender, age or income level.”
In spite of a lukewarm view of the economy, Florida’s economic data reports continue to be mostly positive, particularly in the labor market. Unemployment among Floridians continues to fall, with December’s rate at 5.0 percent. There has been a gain of 233,100 jobs since December 2014 – an increase of 2.9 percent. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, December was the 65th consecutive month with positive annual job growth.
Although inflation is expected to pick up as unemployment falls, the inflation rate decreased as the cost of energy products declined. This generates uncertainty on how the Federal Reserve will respond, given the increase in the interest rates announced last month to stay ahead of inflation. Nonetheless, the low price of gas represents a huge savings for Floridians and puts more money in their pockets.
“Despite the positive trends in the labor market, the decline in Floridians’ consumer sentiment, in particular the decline in the short- and long-run expectations on U.S. economic conditions, might be due to the drop in the stock market this year combined with the deterioration of the Chinese economy,” Sandoval says. “On one hand, if the turmoil in the stock market persists, this will reduce consumer spending in the medium-run; on the other, job losses might occur as a consequence of China’s slowdown.”
Conducted Jan. 1-24, the UF study reflects the responses of 427 individuals who were reached on cellphones, representing a demographic cross section of Florida. The index is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.
Courtesy of © 2016 Florida Realtors®
IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE…YOU SAW IT ON CRAIGSLIST.ORG
This is the advice I give to the deluge of phone calls from very confused prospective Buyers, current Sellers and prospective Tenants. They are getting caught up in real estate scams off of craigslist.org. Think you are immune? Think again.
The Proeber Team does not advertise on Craigslist.org EVER. In fact, we have begun putting in all our online advertising the fact that we do not use Craigslist and if they see that house advertised on Craigslist to call the police immediately, it is a scam. Sound like overkill?
Well, let’s look at the dangers of a scam like this.
Keep in mind that we are not slamming Craigslist or the internet to advertise. We love the internet!
In fact over 70% of people that have bought homes recently found their houses online. Craigslist has revolutionized the way people buy and sell. What I am against are the thieves that are lurking out there online, misusing the web to harm people or to take advantage of them.
How does it work?
A Seller or Landlord or reputable real estate agent places a house for sale or rent. Even if you strictly advertise off the web, your home will find itself online somehow since newspaper classifieds can post your house online. Once online, the thief can copy your ad or your home info and place the info on craigslist.org for rent. It most likely will not be identical, sometimes they will add an imaginary pool or fireplace etc. The thief will then put the house up for rent at a ridiculously low rental rate then sit back and wait for the phone calls to pour in.
Within minutes people will call or email begging for the house. They will then be told some variation of the following:
“I am renting out my personal home since I had to move to Texas/Zimbabwe/Orlando/? for a missionary assignment. I had a realty company that was trying to rent/sell my home for me but they were terrible. I bet they haven’t even taken down their signs yet! If you drive by the home, would you do me a huge favor and let me know if they have taken down their signs? __ Oh! That’s so nice of you! You seem so nice, I would love to rent my home to you. You will take care of it, won’t you? Would you mind filling out a rental application for me? I can email it to you. Now, if you will wire/send me the security, last month and first month rent I will gladly send you the key…”
The wise will have figured it out by now. The unwise will send via email all of the info needed for identity fraud. They will most likely have sent well over a thousand dollars to…someone…somewhere.
This is if it’s not too bad…if it’s on the bad side, it could be much worse.
Locally, if the house is vacant, someone will break into the home to conduct “Showings”.
Can you seriously say you would want to enter a vacant house with a stranger you met off of craigslist?
It’s not just real estate either, here’s an article about the Ocala police department and what they are doing to help ensure the safety of people buying items off of craigslist:http://www.ocalapost.com/the-ocala-police-department-creates-safe-e-commerce-exchange-zone/
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Stop looking at Craigslist for houses!!!
Look for homes at places where the Seller has to pay to advertise (eg the newspaper or Realtor.com). I have yet to see these thieves pay for advertising.
Another thing you can do is go to an established Real Estate company and ask them to help you find a home to buy or rent. You don’t normally even have to pay for that service! Why wouldn’t anyone use a free professional service that ensures your safety and security?
If you are out of area, go to a real estate agent that you know and ask for a referral: they can do it. If you honestly don’t know any, you can either google search for a reputable brokerage (i.e. Berkshire Hathaway www.bhhshometeamrealty.com) or just google the local Realtors association in the area you are moving to and they will give you several phone numbers of ethical agents.
Lastly, here in Florida we do have some interesting real estate laws but it basically falls under “Buyer Beware”.
Just remember: “If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is…especially on Craigslist!”
Andrea Proeber is now a Broker Associate! She has been a Realtor in Marion County for over a decade and specializes in long term real estate investing and property management.