Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Homeless Man Who Used Last $20 to Help Stranded Woman Has Just Bought His Own Home

Johnny Bobbitt Jr. made headlines last month after he used his last $20 to help Kate McClure during her time of need. Now, several weeks later, strangers from all over the world have ensured that he is properly repaid for his kindness.

McClure’s car had ran out of gas on the outskirts of Philadelphia when Johnny approached her and told her to wait in her vehicle, lock the doors, and wait for him to return.

The homeless veteran of the Marine Corps later returned with a gas can that he had bought with the last of his money.

Shocked by the stranger’s kindness, McClure set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Johnny.

The campaign went viral and ended up accumulating over $400,000.

As donations soared, Johnny asked McClure to end the campaign because “other people needed the money” – but after the page was down for 12 minutes, they received an outpouring of messages from people insisting that they still wanted to give their money to Johnny.

Now, in order to ensure that Johnny will never have to worry about money again, the donations are being managed by a lawyer and financial advisor who have already set up two trust funds in his name. One of the funds will be for giving Johnny a yearly “salary” that will take care of his daily living expenses. The other will act as a retirement fund for his future.

Johnny just bought a new home, and he says that he also plans on treating himself to his dream car: a used 1999 Ford Ranger.

Finally, he plans on donating to several organizations and individuals who have helped to look after him over the years.

Johnny posted a thank you note to the donors on the GoFundMe page, saying:

“Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve been pretty busy the last few days as you can imagine (Kate taught me about emojis this week). Just wanted to let you all know that thanks to all of you and with the help of Kate and Mark I was able to purchase MY NEW HOME yesterday! The feeling is indescribable and it all thanks to the support and generosity that each and every one of you has shown. I’ll continue to thank you every single day for the rest of my life.”

Source: Homeless Man Who Used Last $20 to Help Stranded Woman Has Just Bought His Own Home

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What do today's homebuyers want in their real estate agents?

Helpfulness ranks No. 1

Today’s home buyers primarily want their real estate agents to be helpful, according to a new study from Open Listings. The study, which looked at the volume of certain keywords across five-star agent reviews on its proprietary platform, found “helpful” appeared the most out of all terms tracked.

Source: What do today’s homebuyers want in their real estate agents? | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy : The Mortgage Reports

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This Is How Fast a Home Sells Today.

The median time on market is shockingly shorter than it was five years ago, according to new NAR data.

Source: This Is How Fast a Home Sells Today

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Eco-friendly modular home is built from upcycled agricultural waste.

Copenhagen-based firm Een Til Een has developed a modular home out of materials upcycled from agricultural waste to create an eco-friendly building with a minimal carbon footprint.

Located in Middelfart, Denmark, and called the “Biological House,” the project was built from recovered grass, straw, seagrass, and other natural “leftovers” that otherwise would have been burned and which were instead processed into raw construction materials.

Tomato stems and wood chips, for example, were turned into composite boards, which were then used to build the house. Collaborating with another local architectural practice GXN, Een Til Een used digital production technology to design an adaptable structure that can be quickly assembled and just as easily disassembled—which is why it was built on screw piles instead of a traditional concrete foundation.

Developed in collaboration with a number of other companies including Deloitte and Teknologisk Institut, Biological House was made possible with support from the Danish Ministry of the Environment Fund for Ecological Construction.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Best Tech for People Who Appreciate Practical Gifts

All I want for Christmas is you and a sensible solution to a problem that’s been bringing down my quality of life in a subtle yet undeniable way.

Source: The Best Tech for People Who Appreciate Practical Gifts

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Charity Navigator - Your Guide To Intelligent Giving

America’s largest independent charity evaluator, provides free ratings of the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of thousands of charities. We are the individual donor’s first source for unbiased news and information on philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, wise giving, donating money, charitable donations, and charity ratings.

Source: Charity Navigator – Your Guide To Intelligent Giving | Home

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Complete Guide to Building a House.

Is is cheaper to buy or build a house? Which option will give you what you want, at a price you can afford? This complete guide to building a house will help you answer that question and get the most home for your money.

Source: Complete guide to building a house | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy : The Mortgage Reports

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Funny video about the big banks, must watch.

Big banks only offer their own products, have little flexibility to serve their clients and don’t have as many choices as Us, an Independent Direct Mortgage Lender.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The benefit of homebuying vs. renting has increased!

Renters are seeing their budgets increasingly squeezed as incomes stagnate while homeowners are reaping the benefits of lower mortgage rates.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Who can remember everything that needs to be done to relocate your entire life? Based on the experience of moving ten times in the past 20 years, here are my best tips for keeping it together amidst the chaos.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tips For Moving Into A Smaller Space.

It seems more likely these days to hear of people downsizing their homes than to hear of companies downsizing businesses — and the connotations are getting more and more positive. Moving away from a large house, where maintenance is expensive and stuff seems to magically accumulate in the black hole of the basement, can be a really good thing, but getting from here to there is not so easy. How do you decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind? How and where can you sell all of your excess stuff? And how can you find a smaller place that still meets your needs?


Get Ready to Downsize

Change your mind-set. Don’t feel limited. If you are downsizing by necessity, it can be easy to get down about the whole process. But there can be a lot to love about going smaller; easier upkeep, lower maintenance costs, and less pressure to host large groups of people can be a relief after years of living in a big house. Or perhaps you will be relocating closer to an urban center, where you can reduce reliance on your car and have easier access to shopping, restaurants and cultural events. Try thinking of three benefits of downsizing and keep those things in mind as you winnow your belongings and move into smaller digs.

Set your top three priorities. What do you most crave, need or want in your living space? Really think about this and be honest. It’s not often you will get everything you want in a new place, but if you stick with your top three priorities (I suggest you actually list five but ultimately don’t settle for fewer than three), you can get what is most important to you. For instance, is it really important to you to have a private outdoor space? An entrance that is not in an enclosed hallway? Lots of light or an open floor plan? These will point you quickly toward the spaces that may be a good fit and allow you to move past others that would not suit your needs.

Start an inspiration/motivation file. It wouldn’t hurt to also start saving images of small spaces you find inspiring (like perhaps the rooftop patio shown here), as well as organizing and decluttering ideas. When you are feeling discouraged, you can flip through your Houzz ideabooks and clippings for a boost.


Decide What to Get Rid Of

List your must-haves. Imagine you lost your possessions in your home in a fire today. What would you immediately feel heartbroken to have lost? What would you need to replace right away to move on with your life?

Your answers to these questions should make up the beginnings of a list of things to definitely bring to your new home. I encourage you to start with your “yes, definitely” list rather than the other way around. You can always talk yourself into keeping something you don’t really need or want, but it is infinitely harder to let things go. Identifying your most important things right from the start should make the rest of the process easier.

Get rid of the obvious stuff first. You can probably think of a dozen things off the top of your head that fit this category — the broken toaster in the basement you never got around to tossing, outdated clothes, books you’ve been meaning to donate to the library. Take your time if you must, but doing a marathon day of clutter clearing can really get you motivated to continue. It’s liberating to get rid of stuff like this!

Cut back on duplicates and “just in case” items. When you live in a big house with plenty of storage, it’s easy to stash things just in case you might someday need them — but in a small space, it’s “use it or lose it.” If you need something, you can go out and get it, right? Also cut out as many duplicate items as you can, from the big (multiple sets of glassware and china) to the small (five pairs of scissors). What’s convenient or even necessary in a large home will simply not work in a small space.


How to Get Rid of Your Stuff

Give relatives a chance to take stuff. It can be quite upsetting for relatives to find out after the fact that you got rid of family heirlooms without consulting them first. Offering to pass along family treasures is a good idea — but you don’t have to put up with endless waffling or wait forever for relatives to get their act together to take what they want. Set a clear but reasonable time limit, and let your family know what you intend to do with the items they don’t want at the end of that time.

If you have younger family members who want something but have nowhere to store it, it’s your call how you handle it. If you are planning to rent a storage unit anyway and money is not an issue, you could (generously) offer to store the pieces for them for a certain amount of time. But it is not your responsibility to act as a warehouse for other people’s stuff — if you want everything off your hands now, just say so. Maybe another relative will step up and offer a garage corner.

Consider hiring a company to sell your things. If you have the time and patience, you may be able to make more money for your unwanted stuff by selling it yourself on Craigslist or eBay, or at a large yard sale. But if you want some help, it is available.

It’s not widely known, but many estate sale companies also handle sales for the living — either in your home, like a typical estate sale, or outside in a yard sale. If you want only a little help, some will come over and appraise your items, set prices and help you get organized for a sale you run yourself. Search online for “estate sale company” plus your city and state to find help.

Rent a storage space as a last (temporary) resort. There are times when renting storage space makes sense: if you think you might move again into a larger space within the next year or so, or if you simply need to buy yourself more time before letting go of everything. Just remember, you are literally buying yourself time, and that time can get expensive. Choose the smallest space possible and give yourself a deadline to decide what to do with the stuff.


Finding and Moving Into the New Place

Try to have it meet your top three criteria. There is no doubt you will have to compromise on something — price, location, size, style — but if you get your top three needs met, consider that a major win. For some, the bedroom shown here, with its lovely French doors leading onto a private balcony, would be worth sacrificing living space; others wouldn’t mind a smaller, darker bedroom if the main space is bright and sunny. Know yourself and stick with what’s important to you. If you’ll be living with a partner, each of you should come up with your own top three priorities and then combine them to create the top three things you both agree you want.

Expect to shed even more stuff. Even the best-laid plans are sure to have a crack or two, so don’t beat yourself up if your already pared-down collection of dishes doesn’t fit in the cupboards. You can avoid some of this last-minute shuffling by making adjustments as soon as you know exactly where you’ll be moving to. Those final weeks offer you a chance to replace a few pieces of furniture with smaller versions that will fit the new space better, and to do one last pare-down.

Source: Tips For Moving Into A Smaller Space

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How To Declutter Your Home.

Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. OK, some of us may have more than a little. Regardless of how much stuff we have, we can all benefit from getting rid of clutter and excess things we don’t need any more, or things we haven’t even seen in a while. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) conducted a poll that suggests nearly 65 percent of Americans feel their home is at least somewhat disorganized

Monday, November 20, 2017

Should you hire a custom builder or an architect?

Planning to build a home is an exciting time. From selecting the block of land to watching the project come together during construction, there is much to look to forward to.

Building a home from a unique design, bespoke to an individual family and having the complete control on all of the key details of the design, heightens the excitement further.

This excitement can be dampened, however, if the design put forward cannot be completed for a variety of reasons.

“Clients often come to us after seeing an architect; they’ve already spent a lot of money to get complicated plans which can’t get approved through the council and are way over budget,” Riverstone Custom Homes Owner and Director Tim Marshall said.

The alternative, Mr Marshall said, was choosing to build a home with a custom home specialist who would oversee every aspect of the project.

“At Riverstone we always design with an eye for building and completing the house from start to finish,” he said.

One of the great advantages of using an architect is that they are a skilled professional who is required to be registered with the Board of Architects.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Home Builder Confidence Hits Five-Month High

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes took a four-point ascent to a level of 68 in October on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This was the highest HMI reading since May.

Source: Home Builder Confidence Hits Five-Month High

Thursday, October 19, 2017

5 ways to improve your credit -- fast!

Building good credit takes time. But sometimes, you need to improve your credit quickly.

Your credit history might affect your ability to get a new apartment or a job. And good credit is key when you need access to funds for a new car or house. Sometimes we can’t plan those changes.

If you’re already paying your lenders on time, there are a few extra steps you can take to boost your credit rating in a pinch.

  1. Correct your credit report

First, take a look at your credit report. It should include all of your credit accounts, inquiries made on your credit and information on any overdue debts. But errors are fairly common. If you spot any mistakes, let the relevant credit bureau know by filing a dispute.

The credit reporting companies have to investigate the disputed items (unless they find them to be frivolous) in a timely manner — usually within 30 days of the complaint. Once the investigation is closed, the agency has to give you a copy of the results in writing, as well as a free copy of your report if anything in it has changed.

You can ask the bureau to send out corrected versions to anyone who has received a copy of your report in the six months leading up to the dispute.

Related: Millennials aren’t opening credit cards. That’s a mistake

Remember that your lender might agree not to report a late payment to credit agencies. If you have an extenuating circumstance or a history of on-time payments, it’s worth asking if you can have a break.

If your lender has agreed to let you off the hook for a late payment, making sure credit bureaus are up to speed can help protect your score.

  1. Pay off debt

Your credit utilization — or how much you owe on credit cards compared to your total credit limit — makes up 30% of your credit score. Ideally, you should be utilizing no more than 30% of your limit.

“Thirty is the magic number,” said Carl Holubowich, a certified financial planner with Armstrong, Fleming & Moore. “You don’t want to be over that. If it’s 29, it’s fine.”

The trick is to decrease your utilization before a credit card statement is generated, said certified financial planner Jonathan Colby Winslow of WaterOak Advisors. “Once the statement is produced and a balance shows up on your credit report, that is considered part of your credit utilization and may reduce your score,” he said. If credit agencies don’t see any outstanding balance when they run a credit check, he added, “your credit utilization rate looks significantly better.”

To help keep your utilization rate low, consider making several payments throughout the month, or pay off a chunk of debt just before the next statement closes.

  1. Increase your line of credit

If you don’t have enough cash to pay off some of your debt, you can also lower your credit utilization ratio by increasing your total available credit.

You might be tempted to do that by opening a new line of credit. But you probably shouldn’t.

While a new credit card might lower your credit utilization ratio, it can also hurt your score by triggering a new credit inquiry. That’s because the creditor will want to check your credit first — a process which temporarily dings your score. That’s the last thing you want when trying to quickly improve your credit.

Plus, opening new credit cards lowers the average age of all of your accounts — another thing that factors into your credit score. In general, older accounts positively impact your credit score.

Related: The smartest way to pay off credit card debt

A better way to increase your available credit is to call up your current credit card issuers and ask them to increase the limit on your cards. While some might require a credit check, others may be willing to approve you for a smaller line of credit increase without running your credit.

  1. Don’t close any old cards

A lot of people think that simply closing an old credit card with a negative payment history will erase the bad information. It won’t.

Because old credit cards can be credit boosters, shutting existing cards is a bad move in this situation. “If you have an old credit card that you don’t use any more, still keep it open,” Holubowich said. Malik Lee, a CFP and associate at Henssler Financial, added that closing a credit account when trying to quickly increase scores is “probably the biggest mistake” he’s seen people make.

Length of credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score, and credit mix makes up 10% — so you might want to keep any retail cards open, as well.

  1. Become an authorized user

Finally, you can ask a relative or spouse with a good credit history to add you as an authorized user on their credit cards. Even if you don’t have access to the card itself, you’ll gain the credit benefits of increased utilization. Plus, your length of credit history will go up.

If the cardholder misses payments, however, your credit is on the line, too.

Source: 5 ways to improve your credit — fast – Oct. 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tapping Your Home Equity for Cash Is Big Again

Home-equity lines of credit and cash-out mortgage refinances are back in vogue with consumers. That reflects growing confidence.

Source: Tapping Your Home Equity for Cash Is Big Again |®

Friday, October 13, 2017

Top 5 things to do this weekend on Treasure Coast

Highlights include a historic rodeo, a massive paddleboard party and a family-friendly fall festival, and that’s just in one county.

Source: Top 5 things to do this weekend on Treasure Coast

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

8 Hand-Built Homes Provide an Escape From the Norm

From a tower in New York to a home in Seattle erected by a Swiss craftsman, we found eight homes for sale from coast to coast built entirely by hand.

Source: 8 Hand-Built Homes Provide an Escape From the Norm |®

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Your Best Mortgage Bank Might Not Be A Bank!

A few years ago, everyone went to “the bank” for mortgages. Or at least 70 percent of home buyers did, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. But today, non-bank institutions have the majority of the mortgage market.

Source: Your best mortgage bank might not be a bank | Mortgage Rates, Mortgage News and Strategy : The Mortgage Reports

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

US Probes High-Pressure Mortgage Sales Targeting Veterans.

The U.S. is investigating lenders for allegedly pressuring veterans and members of the military into unneeded mortgage refinances — unsavory conduct that not only leads to higher consumer costs but has consequences for one of the world’s largest bond markets.

Lenders allegedly pressured vets and military members into unneeded mortgages and refis.

Source: US probes high-pressure mortgage sales targeting veterans

Monday, October 2, 2017

Calendars | Port St. Lucie, Florida | Official Website

Calendars for government meetings, events & programs, and rentals

The City of Port St. Lucie maintains three calendars on this website:


The Government Meetings (below left) lists all government meetings, public and non-public.


The Parks & Recreation Calendar (below middle) lists all classes, events and programs by the Parks & Recreation Department.


The Civic Center Calendar (below right) lists all rental and hospitality events at the Civic Center.

Source: Calendars | Port St. Lucie, Florida | Official Website

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

City Services App | City of Port St. Lucie, Florida

Residents of Port St. Lucie can now report concerns relating to city services or conditions through their mobile devices using the new AccessPSL smartphone application.

Source: City services app | City of Port St. Lucie, Florida

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Have you ever had the feeling of not understanding where your money drifts off to each month? Do you even know how much your lifestyle costs you? The best way to develop a better understanding or relationship with your money is to spend time learning more about it and yourself. When you schedule time with your money, you begin to actualize your commitment to becoming more money-wise.

A personal spending plan is the tool which provides you with the ability to control your financial life. Think about the first time that you actually jumped into your career or maybe you’re still in the process. Did you or have you considered earning first OR the amount of money that you needed to make in order to afford your current lifestyle-including but not limited to-rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, debt, daycare, savings and more. So what is that magic number? Without a spending plan, you never know how much money you have, how much money you need, or where your money is going. As a result you rarely feel in control of your money.

To make things a bit easier, it’s always helpful to take a step back by identifying how much you really should be spending on expenses and savings each month. You may have heard of these concepts before and huffed at the fact that you live in a very expensive city or maybe you believe that your earnings won’t allow you to save on a consistent basis. I challenge you to give it a try even if that means tweaking a few areas that you do have control over.

The following is a guide (only), it is provided to help you better understand the flow of your money. Before you begin to review this, consider your thoughts before moving out on your own, before taking your job, before accruing debt, or even prior to having kids? Did you have a thought process or strategy around what it would take financially to live comfortably without financial strain? As you walk throughout this process be mindful that there will be some areas where your current percentage may be over what’s recommended. Keep your thoughts open to adjusting your spending plan. There’s always a way to make it work.

Use this in conjunction with your net monthly income (the income that you actually bring home, after taxes and insurance). As a quick example: “If I earn $4,500 per month, 30% of my earned monthly income is $1,350, which is the recommended amount that I should be spending on housing.

Housing: 30%

This includes mortgage/rent, taxes, insurance

If you live in a more expensive state/city, consider reducing areas that you have control over such as transportation, accruing debt, or personal expenses.

Utilities: 10%

Includes phone, cell phone, gas, water, cable or internet

Feeling the wrath of this? Scale back on cable, internet and cell phone usage. Some of these are nice to have items not need to haves.

Food: 10-20% (depending on the size of your family)

This expense includes groceries and eating out.

Keep an eye out for grocery shopping and when you eat out. Are you purchasing groceries but not cooking? Stay well balanced in this area.

Transportation: 10-15% (could be a little more if you pay for parking)

This can be a sticky one. Include car payments, mass transit, gas/oil, maintenance, insurance and parking for this expense.

Evaluate the cost of your car payment and research the costs of insurance. Be sure to get the maintenance done on your car when necessary to avoid expensive auto repair bills.

Clothing: 5% or less

How often do you actually need to purchase new clothing. Focus on shopping off season or choose a few times per year (with a clothing shopping budget).

If you’re on a tight budget, take pride in remixing your wardrobe. Classic pieces will carry you a very long way.

Medical: 5% (depending on necessary health treatments or prescriptions)

Remember this is just a guide. There are several variables associated with health expenses. Include medical and dental insurance, over the counter drugs healthcare premiums and specialty appointments in this expense.

Personal + Discretionary: 10%

How often do you budget for entertaining (out with your friends/ family, putting funds aside for vacations, etc.)?

To avoid burnout from work, be sure to set aside at least 10% each month for a nice outing or getaway. Don’t skip this.

Savings: 10%

Saving money allows you to prepare for expected and unexpected expenses.

Prepare for the things in life that you enjoy and the experiences that you dream about.

It also helps you to establish financial security and reassurance.

I have placed this last, BUT do this first.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Aug 2017 Real Estate Market Statistics

We’ve taken monthly and annual housing market statistics straight from Florida Realtors® and created easy-to-interpret, one-page summaries for your customers in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, and Martin Counties.

Source: RAPB – Local Market Statistics

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

FEMA Assistance Available.

FEMA Assistance Available

St. Lucie County officials have been working with representatives with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make sure residents are getting the services and assistance that they need, following Hurricane Irma. St. Lucie County has been declared as a disaster area for Individual Assistance. All residents are encouraged to register for assistance, even if they do not see immediate damage, as once the deadline passes – residents will not be able to file for or receive assistance after the fact. Residents can register for assistance by visiting: Residents with roof damage can have the Army Corp of Engineers help secure a temporary roof through the Blue Roof program by calling 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258) or visiting: (This registration is separate from general public assistance.) FEMA representatives are out in our communities encouraging residents to register for assistance; however, residents should be cautious of scammers and fake representatives. All FEMA workers will carry an official FEMA photo/ID – residents shouldn’t hesitate to ask for identification. If residents see fraudulent representatives or suspicious activity, call 911 or the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Private non-profits and community organizations are also eligible for public assistance through FEMA. Through the Private Non-Profit (PNP) Public Assistance Program, FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly-owned facilities, and the facilities of certain organizations. The program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process. For details visit: The deadline for PNP program is noon, Thursday, Sept. 21. UPDATE: Residents that need help with the online filing process for FEMA assistance can visit the following St. Lucie County locations: · St. Lucie County Community Service, 437 North 7th St., Fort Pierce; Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. · Lakewood Park Branch Library, 7605 Santa Barbara Drive, Fort Pierce; Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. · St. Lucie County Veterans Services, 1664 SE Walton Road (Suite 205), Port St. Lucie; Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. · Morningside Branch Library, 2410 SE Morningside Blvd., Port St. Lucie, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Climate Change to Trigger Housing Crisis?


Coastal flooding, wildfires, and extreme weather events are posing an increasing risk to real estate. Last week’s Hurricane Harvey will likely go down as one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history with projections, so far, coming in at $10 billion to $20 billion in damages. Texas homeowners are left picking up the pieces from record levels of flooding.


The threats of weather-related disasters continues to grow. Freddie Mac’s chief economist last year wrote that an increase in coastal flooding and storm surges will eventually worsen to the point that homeowners, unable to sell flooded properties, will abandon their homes and mortgages. That could trigger a housing crisis, he wrote.


The government has spent $357 billion on disaster recovery in the last 10 years, according to Insurance Journal. The second highest payout on record was in 2016.


Read more: Harvey Sparks Flood Insurance Disaster

The home insurance market is seeing costs rise, and it’s projected to get worse. Over the next 15 years, the U.S. could see higher sea levels and storm surges that could increase the annual cost of coastal storms along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico by up to $35 billion, according to a 2014 analysis by Risky Business.


Flooding poses the biggest threats as the costliest type of natural disaster in the U.S. The National Flood Insurance Program was created to help alleviate the expenses from private insurers, but now the NFIP faces a looming expiration date.


The NFIP has a Sept. 30 deadline for Congress’ reauthorization. The NFIP helps to pay for and provide policies for millions of properties in at-risk flood areas across the country. The program is currently $24.6 billion in debt.


If Congress lets the NFIP lapse, the Federal Emergency Management Agency won’t be allowed to sell or renew flood insurance policies, pay existing claims, or start any mapping or management activities to create accurate assessments of risk, reports.


Carlos Gutierrez, a real estate pro with Florida’s Gutierrez Group in Miami Beach, says the NFIP program is “a key part of the equation in Florida real estate,” as well as in other coastal regions and areas at risk of flooding. Ninety-three percent of the buildings in Miami Beach are located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, which means they are required to have flood insurance for federally backed mortgages.


“We’re depending on the NFIP program,” Gutierrez told “It could really hurt our industry if it isn’t renewed, and could cause thousands of home sales not to happen.”


Source: “How Extreme Weather Risk Is Creating a Real Estate Insurance Disaster,” (Aug. 29, 2017)

Source: Climate Change to Trigger Housing Crisis? | Realtor Magazine