New HUD Forms: Know Before You Owe

New HUD Forms Improve Customer Understanding, Aid Comparison Shopping, and Help Prevent Surprises

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) has issued the final rule for the new integrated mortgage disclosures, combining the overlapping disclosures required by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The new rule will, once again, change the residential mortgage and closing markets as we know them.

The new rule was issued in November 2013, but does not become effective until August 1, 2015 and will apply to transactions for which a creditor or mortgage broker receives an application on or after that date. The new forms are available for viewing on the CFPB website.

As stated in the CFPB’s final rule, a new Loan Estimate form will replace the current Good Faith Estimate (GFE) an early TILA disclosure, and the new Closing Disclosure Statement will replace the HUD-1 and final TILA disclosure.

The new Loan Estimate will combine the disclosures currently provided in the Good Faith Estimate and the initial Truth in Lending Disclosure. Lenders must provide the Loan Estimate three business days after an application is submitted by a consumer.

The new, five-page Closing Disclosure Statement basically reorganizes all of the information now contained in the three-page HUD-1 Settlement Statement. The reason behind the new form is to make it easier to read and explain at the closing table. Of great significance is the fact that the Closing Disclosure Statement must be provided at least three business days before the closing. The CFPB will need to relax this requirement or lenders and closing agents will need to make significant changes in the way we do business today. It is currently not uncommon for the settlement statement to be finalized within hours of closing, certainly not three days prior to closing.

The good news is that the CFBP has listened to our industry and incorporated some important changes in the final rule. The CFBP first issued a proposal back in July 2012 which sought to integrate the mortgage disclosure requirements of the TILA and RESPA.

Overall, it appears that the new forms are an improvement to the existing forms. As with all changes, this is yet another one that we will need to accept and change our practices accordingly.

Becky McNeal
Advantage Title Group

The Tallahassee Marathon & Half Marathon

What started as a 26.2 mile run at Natural Bridge Road in 1975 and Gulf Winds Track Club’s first race, has grown through multiple locations and race directors to the race it is today. The staging locations have included Tallahassee Nurseries, Killearn Estates, the Department of Education and, for 12 years, Wacissa Springs, along with a few places where it was only held a year. Directors—there have been at least 20, some of these as pairs or groups. Starting with the 2007 race, Jay Silvanima took over as race director. I had the honor of doing a fair amount of work on the 2008 race and became co-director for the 2009 race, as well as becoming Jay’s wife that year.

The race went from being very small and very home-town oriented (and on some courses that were not appealing to but a few) to being marketed on a national level and offering cash awards and perks for elite level athletes who were willing to come to our small town to run, in the hopes of scoring a great time on our fast course, which had only become home to the race in 2004. Jay saw the course (FSU & the St. Marks Trail) as being of great possible appeal to top athletes. They just had to be informed that it was here for them.

And as the race grew, it went from making little or no money to being something that a non-profit could be named as a beneficiary. The issue with this during the first year I worked on the race was that our two charities didn’t provide any support for the race in volunteers or other public means. They were, in fact, conspicuously absent until after the race with hands out for a check. The race needed some other non-profit organization that would be a good partner, and we found this in the American Lung Association.

Why lung health? I had had my personal battle with nicotine addiction for 30 years; only running got me relief from the slavery that smoking is. My father and many of the runners we know regularly deal with asthma. I am amazed by the athletes I know who have found ways to work around this and their determination to not let the condition get in the way. We were impressed with the Lung Association’s programs for smoking cessation and air pollution awareness, but even more so by the kid’s asthma camps that the proceeds of the race would help out with also. A friend and prolific local marathon runner (and former winner and director of this race), Jack McDermott, had been a participant at these camps when he was a kid. The kids are encouraged and educated about getting and staying active in spite of having asthma.

So, when I joined in working on this for the 2008 race, I asked my REALTOR® family to join me by taking on manning one of the crucial aid stations on the course, and you all have come through every year since then! Some of you have even become runners! Some of you have been inspired to take better care of yourselves through some other form of exercise. Some are out there for the fun and camaraderie, some there because of the positive atmosphere and great work that is done. And let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt that you get to look at some really outstanding (read: really attractive!) athletes while volunteering, too.

Insofar as being of benefit to the community, there is also funding that is raised for the presenting organization, the Gulf Winds Track Club. GWTC uses funding to help out many other races, most not put on by the club. Our equipment and organization volunteers at these races in turn benefit about 65 other nonprofits in our immediate area. Scholarships for middle school and high school athletes are awarded in track & field and cross country, and funds are often given to school running programs that are in need of some monetary assistance. Our beginners’ running groups, training groups, and kids’ summer track series helps get the word out that feeling good starts with good fitness, and that walking or running is an excellent foundation to build your fitness upon.

I personally encourage YOU to take up walking or running today to make yourself the fittest person you can be. We often speak of our home or real estate being our most valuable asset. I beg to differ—there is nothing of greater value to you than your health.

I’m blessed to be a member of the Board of Directors of GWTC, a former smoker, a runner and marathoner, a race director—and most of all, a REALTOR®!

Nancy Stedman
Retriever Property Enterprises, LLC

The Real Estate Weekend Showcase Is a Hit!

Anna Johnson is the new host of the popular Real Estate Weekend Showcase television show on WCTV, bringing fans and new viewers to the very successful program. “I am excited about the new format and the wonderful sponsors that are helping buyers, sellers and homeowners throughout the region learn new and exciting ideas that relate to home ownership,” she says.

“The new format is creating a buzz,” says Lew Wilson, producer. First the show starts off with Anna interviewing a local business to help share innovative ideas, facts, and tips for homeowners. The next segment is the “Featured Homes” with several pictures and narrations.  Following that is the “Video Tours” segment, which features a more comprehensive look at some special properties. Rounding out the show is the “Lightning Round,” fifteen-second listings with a single photo of some really great homes. All in all, the show has a creative flair with the professional touch of movie-like quality.

Impact Visual Media (IVM) is the creator of the show, with owners Charlie Belvin and Chucha Barber at the helm. IVM is a full service production company which tapes the show on their own set, which is furnished by Turner’s Fine Furniture. For the video tours, IVM sends out their professional photographer to help with the tour or take still photos, and is also available for any REALTOR® who needs that done, even if they are not in the show. IVM offers complimentary aerial footage for certain promotional packages. This is an ideal way to highlight large acreages, coastal, and significant properties.

For the featured home and lightning round segments, REALTORS® provide their own photos (must be high resolution as possible, in megabytes). Any photos that have been reduced for the Internet, magazine, or newspaper, will not look good on the television screen because they have been reduced from their original size. REALTORS® can also change their properties out for each show at no extra charge. Pricing is very affordable and is based on a four-weekend minimum order, which includes twelve shows. Of course, you can reserve space for several months or the entire year to make sure you “own” the space. All property listings and changes have to be submitted by 4 p.m. every Tuesday to be in the next weekend showcase. It’s best to call Bridget Elwell at 850-509-2268 to reserve your spot, then submit via the Real Estate Weekend Showcase website, then click on “submit your listings.” There you can pay for your spots and upload photos and property information. For more information, email

Only REALTORS® who are members of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® may advertise on this show. TBR Affiliates are encouraged to sponsor programs and highlight their business. These videos may be re-purposed for your website or for other uses.

Bridget Elwell
Impact Visual Media

President’s Message, February 2014

Welcome to February! 2014 is starting off with a bang!

Florida REALTORS®. The Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Conference was in Orlando last month, introducing the state leadership team for 2014 and outlining their goals:

1. Global-Capture International Business
2.  Brilliant Service
3. Be Professional
4. Cultivate Inclusiveness and Partnerships
5. Advocate for Real Estate 

Great American REALTOR® Day. Mark your calendars: GARD is March 19. Don’t forget to register. This is an amazing opportunity to meet with legislators and with REALTORS® from throughout the state.

RPAC. Contributing to your profession by making a donation to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee is of vital importance. Consider contributing at least $15—your “fair share”—this year. Members that invest a total of at least $99 by February 18 at noon are entered to win two tickets to the Daytona 500. Contact TBR at 224-7713 for more information and to donate.

Recovery & Challenges. Florida, as well as our nation, finally began to recover in 2013. All markets have membership increases, home price increases, time on the market being reduced—all of which are good for our profession! We still have our challenges; flood insurance is the latest hot topic. Read this month’s articles on flood insurance from the perspectives of a local lender and insurer.

Habitat for Humanity. Sarah Kosturko, Chairman of the Community Affairs Committee, organized a Habitat Build “Grill Out” at TBR on Jan. 30 and raised over $500, which combined with Terry Kant’s generous $1000 donation, put us over the top for our Habitat Build for 2014, building and funding half the home. We had our first TBR Habitat Build Day on Friday Jan. 31 and began framing the home. Volunteer and sign up to join us on our remaining build days in February, March, and April.

Jeffrey D. Doxsee, Sr.
2014 TBR President
Capital Property Consultants

Legal Update: Protecting Tenants in the Foreclosure Process

Much talk now involves the erosion of the middle class. As wealth with home ownership has evaporated, so have the spending habits of the vast majority of Americans. Since 2009, when the recession officially ended, spending by the bottom 95 percent of Americans has accounted for only one percent of all inflation-adjusted spending.

A result of these changes in lifestyle patterns is that now more tenants are finding themselves the victim of foreclosures against their landlords. Tenants with limited resources, limited options, and limited knowledge of the legal system can suddenly find themselves homeless even though they have been timely paying rent to their landlord.

It was Congress’s intent in 2009 to stop or slow down this hammer on tenants. And now that 2009 law is about to expire; its chances for an extension are poor.

In 2009 Congress passed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. The PTFA replaced and superseded state-by-state laws that gave tenants various levels of protection, most of them not very good. States with stronger protections still have those laws in effect.

There are two types of protections for tenants. Long term tenants in good standing can stay in the property and complete the entire term of the lease. This is a major change from what most states provide. The buyer at the foreclosure, usually the lender, must abide by the terms of the lease. But if the buyer is going to be an owner-occupant, the tenant can be required to vacate within 90 days and the long term lease cut short.

The other protection is for tenants that have no lease (a very bad move in any economy) or have a short term lease. In either case, the tenant is entitled to 90 days’ advance notice before the successor landlord can evict.

But this law does not just apply to lenders and landlords. REALTORS® and attorneys working for a successor owner must follow this law, or risk getting themselves and the owner sued.

The tenant must be a bona fide tenant. A foreclosed owner cannot make themselves a tenant for the purposes of the law, just to get additional time to stay in the property. The same is true with a tenant who did not enter into the lease with arms-length negotiations, or has a government rent subsidy.

Enforcement of this law has been sporadic. It is not generally enforced by government but rather private causes of action. Also, you can complain to the regulators of the lender that foreclosed on the property. Most of that process is online.

The lenders are now recognizing that they have an obligation to comply with this law. When they seek a writ of possession from the court, it results in a court order telling law enforcement to give possession to the new owner, usually the lender. But if the occupant is a tenant subject to the PTFA, the lenders are trying to work with those tenants to comply with the law.

The law is set to expire December 31 of this year. A bill has been filed in Congress to extend the legislation and to make it permanent. So far, its prospects have not been bright. But at least till the end of this year, every REALTOR® involved with a residential foreclosure involving bona fide tenants, must be aware of this law.

Joe R. Boyd
TBR Legal Counsel
Board Certified Real Estate Attorney
Boyd & DuRant, P.L.


MLS Update: HERS (Part 2)

Let me be clear: A home does NOT have to have a HERS index to be entered into our MLS.

Does a home have to have a lockbox to be entered into our MLS? The answer is “NO.” But, when entering a listing, you will see the field “lockbox,” and you must click “yes” or “no” to proceed.  If you click “yes,” you must enter the type—“supra” or “other.” This is almost identical to the HERS entry.

When entering a new listing, you will see the field “HERS.” There will be a “yes/no” drop down.  If the house does not have an index, click “no” and proceed with entering the listing.  If the house has an index, click “yes.” You will then put in the year it was done, and the actual score. Then continue entering the rest of the listing data. Simple, easy, done.

If a listing has an index, you now have the opportunity to use that standard of energy efficiency as a marketing tool. Check out the saving summary below. The subject house is compared to a Florida Code reference house (sounds like we are doing an appraisal, doesn’t it?) and the savings are highlighted. Here are the savings summary pages from two homes. Both are new construction: one built by Premier Construction and Development, and listed by Capital Property Consultants; the other built by Bluestar TurnKey Services, and listed with Kathy Lee of Neil Ryder Realty. Yes, they both have the bells and whistles, the location, and great floor plans. But what else do they have? Quantified energy efficiency. Not an “either/or” but a “both.”

Good marketing tool? You bet!

















Finally, a great big thanks to the 11 people who finished reading my January article and entered the drawing to win a free HERS index. Our very own Steven Louchheim drew the winner on January 30. Congratulations to William Turner with Coastwise Realty!

Jane Conn
ES Green & Company, LLC

Flood Insurance: Lender’s Perspective

Concerns and letters are flooding in… 

The impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 has taken some time to sink in, but now that the implementation date has arrived and the financial impact is being realized, it’s getting plenty of attention.

Basically, the federal government is phasing out subsidies for flood insurance and the impact on cost and timing varies depending on the use and elevation of the property. The challenge that we face in the real estate business is that if the property is sold or if the policy lapses, subsidies will not be applied to the new premium and the full impact is immediately realized.

Here’s what’s being done and a tip on how you can prepare:

In Washington, bills have been written by both houses of congress to either delay the implementation of the act or change the act to lessen the severity of the consequence. At the time I’m writing this article, it’s uncertain how successful these efforts will be given the varied impact across the nation.

There are only a handful of states that are feeling a significant impact, and Florida tops the list. In an effort to help the situation with Florida legislation, Senator Brandes presented a bill to the Banking and Insurance committee last week. Both Florida REALTORS® and the Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida supported this bill that would allow for private insurance firms to compete in Florida for flood insurance policies. Currently, only the National Flood Insurance Program is available, and it is hoped that adding a private alternative will help keep premiums lower.

Because there will be the possibility for private companies to establish their own premium/risk calculations, it will be important to have a flood elevation certificate done on any property that could be subject to flood insurance. Having this done at the time you take a listing on a property in a special flood hazard area, and obtaining a flood insurance quote from an insurer prior to contract will provide more complete disclosure to a prospective buyer. This additional information quantifying the impact of flood insurance may just save a deal.

Tallahassee REALTOR® eZine contest for February: simply send an email by February 28, 2014 to with the name of the 2012 flood insurance act. A drawing of all the correct answers will be held for a $25 Bonefish gift card.  

Jay Ralstin
Envoy Mortgage

Flood Insurance Reform: Insurer’s Perspective

The flood reform legislation of Biggert-Waters in 2012 (known as BW12) made many changes in the flood market for home buyers. There have been discussions and legislative bills put together on halting some of the changes of this reform. Unfortunately, as of today, the only change made has been to delay removing the grandfathering provision in flood until Sept. 30, 2014.

One of the first major changes in flood insurance with this reform was eliminating pre-firm, subsidized rates. A flood policy on a home that is pre-firm, using subsidized rates, and has had no lapse in coverage after July 6, 2012 but is now being sold to a new owner will not have the same rates as the current owner. The new owner will be required to get an elevation certificate (EC) when purchasing the home. The flood premiums will increase by 25% each year until actuarial rates are met.

New scenario, a home with pre-firm, subsidized rates, has a lapse in coverage at the renewal date Jan. 4, 2014.  To renew the flood policy, this existing flood client is now required to get a new EC. Even with a new EC, companies may require additional photos, forms, and information in order to get the correct rates for the home that has been insured for flood for 20 years. This flood policy will have a 25% rate increase until the full actuarial rates are met. There is no time limit how long that will take. The 25% is the maximum increase in any given year.

Good news is that any pre-firm homes that were rated with an EC and used post-firm rates are not required to get a new EC. Their rates should already be at the full actuarial rates and, therefore, if they sell, the new owners will have a more accurate idea of the flood costs.

Let’s talk about the grandfathering that was mentioned in the beginning. So a home that was built prior to the flood maps and was built in compliance with the flood plain can be grandfathered to receive the flood zone in effect at the time the maps were made. So a home in a current flood zone of V could be grandfathered into an A-zone rating and have lower rates. On Sept. 30, 2014, the grandfathering provision will be eliminated and the home rated in an A zone will be changed to a V zone. This will raise the rates for these homeowners and any prospective buyer of these properties.

As insurance agents, we will be advising clients to get a new EC on the home they are purchasing, so they can get the most accurate rates possible, with no surprises. The seller may want to have one completed as an incentive for new buyers. The days of assuming the old owners’ flood policy to keep the lower rate is gone.

Hope Lamantia
Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance, Inc.

There’s Gold in Them There Hills

Yep, there’s gold, or as Steven Louchheim commented, silver, to be had in the hills of Tallahassee. When Barbara Corcoran was in Tallahassee recently, it was obvious that she made her fortune (Gold and Silver) by thinking out of the box in real estate.

Now start thinking outside of the box and do something that no one else has thought of. Need more listings?  More sales? How about a twofer? In open houses, many people are starting to look at the possibility of downsizing. Or, they may be in the process of deciding whether to downsize or move to another location. In either case, the majority will need to sell their homes in order to make that move.

How do you mine these oportunites? If you have been in real estate for 10 years or more you probably have a number of past clients that you have sold homes to. Why not give them a call to see how they are doing, and if they are anticipating a move. If they want to downsize and stay in Tallahassee, then you could get a listing and the sale of another home (there’s the twofer). Even if they move out of the area you would still have a listing.

So you are fairly new to real estate, or have past real estate experience, but just moved to Tallahassee. What do you do? Go into the tax rolls and find homes that have been on the tax rolls for more than 10 years. There are many neighborhoods where most of the homes have been occupied by the same owner for years. Try Betton, Waverly Hills, Midtown, several neighborhoods in the northwest, the Country Club area, Killearn Estates, and many more. Give them a call.

Another opportunity for getting the gold, or silver, is to go again into the tax roll and look for vacant home sites. Did you know that there is beginning to be a shortage of single family home sites? Either individual home sites to build on, or larger tracts where builders would be interested building a small community. Call these people. They may not have even been aware of the value of a vacant home site, or need to sell. You will never know until you call.

Now go out and look for the gold and silver in the hills of Tallahassee.

Ann Cleare
Capital Property Consultants

Wakulla Chapter Update: It’s First Thursday, B.A.B.Y!

Greetings to all TBR members! Remember this date, and tell other members: TBR Wakulla Chapter, It’s First Thursday, B.A.B.Y! This year the promotional theme for our Wakulla Chapter of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® “Being A Better Y.O.U – Year of Unity in Our Community.”

I’d like to send out a great, big thanks to my fellow Chapter members; I’m excited about serving this year as the TBR Wakulla Chapter President. The 2013 TBR Wakulla Chapter President, Carol Odell, Century 21 Silver Coast Realty, has so kindly placed in my hands the delicate task of leading our Chapter into 2014. My goal, which I encourage all TBR members to share, is to let this be a year of unity in our community.

TBR membership comes with many wonderful and rewarding benefits. Perhaps the greatest reward is that we are one. We, our association of REALTORS® and Affiliate business partners, give of our resources and time to reach out into our various local communities.

We are TBR! We spread out beyond one county. Our membership opens the market areas in our region to include Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties, and all of our members are invited to attend the following marketing meetings:

  • In Leon, Tuesday morning marketing meetings at the TBR office.
  • In Gadsden, marketing meetings every second Wednesday.
  • In Wakulla, marketing every first Thursday – It’s First Thursday, B.A.B.Y! – at the Wakulla Senior Center in Crawfordville.

Jeff Doxsee, our 2014 Present of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® shared with all in attendance at the first TBR business meeting held at the Board on January 28, that this year is to be a year of “TBR recognition in our community.”

The TBR Wakulla Chapter monthly meetings will reflect this positive goal of community, too. We’ll join together and look forward to this year: “Being A Better Y.O.U. – Year of Unity in Our Community”.

The Wakulla Chapter elected a fine group of leaders. I’d like to introduce you to the 2014 TBR Wakulla Chapter leadership team:

TBR BOD representative, Shari Edington of Shell Point Realty

Chapter Secretary, Cheryl Swift of BlueWater Realty Group

Chapter Treasurer, Doris Crosby of Forest Realty, Inc. & Centennial Bank

Chapter Affiliate-Business Partner, Ann Shook of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage

Chapter President Elect/VP, Susan Jones of BlueWater Realty Group

Chapter President, Joan E Smith of BuyerSide Realty 

See ya First Thursday, B.A.B.Y!

Joan Smith
BuyerSide Realty