July, 2011:

Florida made $63 million last year selling our personal information!

Channel 10 Miami reported that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has been selling our names, addresses, dates of birth and a list of the vehicles that we drive …  $63 million in “legally” disclosed information and a Florida judge has even validated the practice!


So, who gets all this information and what are they doing with it?  According to Ann Howard of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,  “Per federal mandate, there are companies that are entitled to this information. Insurance companies, for example, are entitled to this information. Employers are entitled to this information.”


Companies that buy this information from the state are then re-selling the data. Companies like Lexus Nexus and the nefarious sounding Shadow Soft.  The information is not supposed to be sold to any company that would utilize the information for marketing or solicitation purposes. And although Florida is not selling our driver’s license and social security numbers (yet), many are uncomfortable about this information being so freely disseminated.


One possible benefit … If a vehicle manufacturer issues a recall, the Florida database could help identify the whereabouts of the current vehicle owners. That information could be uploaded to the manufacturer who could in turn notify the owners.


How to improve your credit score?

If you are turned down for a loan, what to do? A provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that went into effect last week mandates that should you be denied a loan, the lender must provide you with an “adverse action” notice that will include your credit score as well as explain why you were turned down.


Many factors can affect your credit score such as paying your bills on time, how much debt you have, your available credit limits, length of credit history and applying for new credit. The reason given for your denial will help assist you in improving your score. For more information on factors that impact your credit score,  you can visit: http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/fivetips_creditscore.htm


For information on general real estate topics, short sales and bank foreclosures, please visit Ed and Terri Smith at http://www.FloridaBrokers.com

or email us at smith@realtor.com

A Normal Realtor?

According to an article in this week’s Destin Log, a “normal” Realtor in Florida had 10 sales transactions in 2010. Additionally, the article states that only 60% of Florida Realtors have a website and only 10% have a blog, yet 40% use social media.

So what is normal really? Based on the extremely high percentage of Florida agents that work part-time, an average of 10 transactions per agent sounds rather optimistic.  Large companies throughout the state and even in the local markets average 5 transactions per agent or less. Agents at RE/MAX Coastal Properties have typically averaged about three times the national average. Ed and Terri personally closed 99 transactions in 2010.

However, even more curious is the stat that 60% of Florida agents have a website. That means that 40% do not? All agents associated with RE/MAX Coastal have multiple websites. It is inconceivable that any agent in today’s market could survive without good internet presence.

Social media and blogs are relative newcomers in terms of real estate marketing, but there is no doubt that they are both here to stay. But regardless, in this rollercoaster of a ride that we call a real estate market, normal may just be a moving target for a while longer!

Are Foreclosures on the Rise?

According to many sources, the banks are now “gearing up to play catch up” … After nearly a year of stalled foreclosure actions resulting from the “robo-signing” debacle last year, most lenders are now ratcheting up their foreclosure efforts. This will have some impact on the market as the REO inventories increase nationwide. Some markets had actually been seeing decreases in overall inventory levels.  This may soon change.