Fort Lauderdale Real Estate and the National Real Estate Crisis

Maintaining the quality of our housing inventory

Over the last five years as the real estate crisis took hold throughout the United States and affected economies worldwide there has certainly been plenty of blame to go around, as to who caused this crisis.  In the Fort Lauderale Real Estate market we watched as home values dropped 50% in some neighborhoods.We have heard the blame land squarely on our government whose role in this was to allow borrowing guidelines to be loosened allowing many families to purchase their first home in Ft Lauderale. Lets be honest about this blame, many more families who borrowed  under the easier terms are still in their homes, than have walked away, many hard working Americans benefited from their ability to buy a home, and will continue to benefit long term as communities stabilize, and yes prices start to rise. Let me remind you these hard working, paying Americans, who add everyday to the economy of our country, and our local Ft Lauderdale econmy may not have a chance of getting a mortgage today.

We have heard that the mortgage industry is to blame for not checking carefully the qualifications of their borrowers. As if any of these lenders actually wanted to be involved with a buyer who could not pay. The mortgage industry checked clients moving forward with the simple assumption that people clearly understood, if they took out a mortgage, they needed to pay to stay. There is enough blame to go around but it is more imperative than ever that we start looking towards the future, learn from the past, and not put so much energy into figuring out who is to blame. The Fort Lauderdale real estate market is starting to turn and there is no doubt that there is a future ahead for home ownership in America. We need to focus on the problems that lay ahead, the issues that need to be addressed and move this economy and the housing industry forward.

On a personal note from this Fort Lauderdale Realtor, ...sorry but I can’t blame Bob (he was my mortgage broker) for the fact that my house is $100,000 underwater; sounds crazy doesn’t it, when you hear it, I made an adult decision and will continue to make adult decisions that work for myself and my family in regards to my real estate.

Now just as you thought I was going to wash away all blame for the real estate crisis, not just yet. The truth is I just don’t want to discuss the past. I have checked my personal rewind button that would have allowed me not to be upside down on my home and it is currently out of order. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to discuss the current state of affairs in the Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Market and give out some credit where I sincerely feel it is due.

Fannie Mae, no doubt, they have their issues; we have all read the negative media attention toward them ongoing. However, a positive mention is in order on their proactive approach in selling foreclosures with an apparent interest in stabilizing neighborhoods and markets. They have instituted a requirement that investor offers will only be looked after 15 days and allowing any potential end users to have the right to bid on the property. This apparent interest in restoring neighborhoods and communities, along with stabilizing real estate prices is where our focus needs to be today. The involvement needs to be on numerous fronts, and it is sincerely time for some tough attention to this matter.

One enemy to the rebuilding of neighborhoods are some real estate investors who are clearly utilizing the system of the banks and their agents to their best interest with few repercussions. It is not an issue with all, but the issue is out there in dramatic numbers nevertheless. Properties are often handed to investors without ever allowing an end user a chance to buy. As of late, a new attempt to be able to get any attention for a buyers offer has been for the buyer’s agent to ask to be paid their commission by the buyer. This will allow the listing agent to get paid for both sides of the deal, simply it’s a bribe to get the deal some attention at the bank. If banks really want to see property sell at market value, all offers need to go directly to the banks asset managers. Foreclosures should not involve one agency representing both the buyer and seller, there needs to be a guareentee that market value has been achieved.  I know these conditions of sale sound dramatic because of the abuse of a few; however, the goal now needs to be stabilization of our communities. We can’t see foreclosures coming back on the market after 90 days, with minimal renovation done to them at increased prices that will lead us down the same road again. Many banks acknowledge this by putting into their contracts that you can’t resell for 90 days, most investors are perfectly accepting of a 91 day resale.

We need to focus on rebuilding communities and neighborhoods. Municipalities all over American are having financial troubles and yet foreclosed homes are sitting unmaintained, waiting for the bank to take the property, hire a realtor, and have the realtor lay out the money to clean the property for sale. Local governments need to put people to work taking care of these homes, place a service charge on the work, and take care of the neighborhoods and their budgets at the same time. Instead we watch bank after bank send their attorneys to municipalities to have their violation liens reduced. Often they find a very cooperative city hall willing to drop fines to a level that has actually cost tax payer’s money. Recently I heard a story of a code violations department tell a homeowner, that we “no longer go out to that property, it has now reached a point where that home is on an automatic $100 a day fine”, if I am hearing this correctly, what was said is, we as the city will no longer maintain that property, “we give up”.  The property was recently sold and the city we are talking about settled the fine prior at closing for $2000, after two years of neglect. Cities must stop giving tax payer’s money away and turn neglected homes in a place to provide work, if cities took a harder line banks would find a way to move vacant homes through the system faster.

Its all about community, its about buying enough grass seed to spread some on your neighbors lawn, its about reaching out to the homeowner who is having a tough time and helping them do their lawn. It is all about not allowing a home on your street  to become a 2 year story of neglect. As a homeowner, you need to call the bank, call the city, and call code enforcement, until you see results. Relentless homeowners can be the most effective tool to saving a neighborhood from neglect, just as homeowners who continue to stay in their homes will be the heroes that lead us out of this real estate crisis.

In the State of Florida the amount of back condominium fees a bank is required to pay is now one year, it was doubled at the last revision of the law. I will end here with a simple comment, why should the banks not be required to pay every penney of back maintance when the property they are selling has been maintained and paid for by other responsible owners ? What would the property be worth to the bank if the lights and elevators were off becausse the electric bills were not paid ?

Our website Fort Lauderdale Real Estate provides the most complete buyer, seller and investor information for the Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Market. Additional articles by Eric can be found at Articles by Eric Miller.

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Eric Miller REALTOR®
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
3696 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Direct: (954) 383-8170
Fax: (954) 630-7050
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