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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hurricane Preparedness - Be Ready

Two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.

Source: Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Announce Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By Harvey

Three federally-sponsored agencies announced they are suspending foreclosures and evictions for 90 days on homes that have been affected by the catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Homeowners with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Federal Housing Administration qualify for relief on properties located within a “FEMA-declared disaster area that are eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance,” the federal agencies said on Tuesday.

In addition to the foreclosure and eviction moratorium, Fannie Mae said homeowners impacted by Hurricane Harvey may qualify for a forbearance, a temporary suspension or reduction of their mortgage payment for up to six months.

Freddie Mac announced it would suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months. The agency also said it will work with servicers to ensure that no property inspection costs resulting directly from Hurricane Harvey will be passed on to the affected borrowers.

JJ Watt Breaks $18M in Fundraising Campaign for Texas

But despite relief from mortgage payments and penalty fees during the moratorium, interest on their loans would still accrue, CNBC reported.

What’s more, flood insurance has sharply declined in Houston, according to The Associated Press, and some residents may not have the finances to fix up their homes and will be forced to go into debt, sell or abandon their home altogether.

With more than 400,000 U.S.-backed loans guaranteed by three federal mortgage agencies, Fannie, Freddie and the FHA may face possible losses.

Calif. Woman Driving ‘Ark’ Full of Donations to Houston

Fannie Mae guarantees loans on over 36,000 homes, totaling nearly $5.1 billion in unpaid principal balance, in Harvey’s initial impact area, according to Reuters. Freddie Mac’s portfolio has 167,000 homes with mortgages it secured in counties affected by Harvey.

About another 200,000 Federal Housing Administration-insured homes are in the affected counties, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

“That number could grow if FEMA identifies additional counties in Texas and parishes in Louisiana in need of individual assistance,” Freddie Mac spokeswoman Lisa Tibbits said in a statement to Reuters.

Harvey Deaths Rise to 48 as Victims Face Dire Housing Needs


Source: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Announce Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By Harvey – NBC Chicago

Follow us: @nbcchicago on Twitter | nbcchicago on Facebook

Source: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Announce Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By Harvey – NBC Chicago

Friday, September 1, 2017