November, 2011:

PMI Group, Inc. Files Chapter 11

According to PMI, their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is in response to the seizure of two of its subsidiaries by their primary regulator in Arizona last month. The subsidiaries include PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. and PMI Insurance Co., who make up a significant share of the private mortgage insurance market in the U.S.


According to PMI, they now wish to “raise additional capital from new investors in order to allow a third subsidiary, PMI Mortgage Assurance Company, to serve as a platform to write new mortgage insurance nationwide”.


The Arizona Department of Insurance said that PMI will be making claim payments “at 50 percent”. Presumably, that means that the unpaid balance of the claim will become part of the bankruptcy creditor claims. It is interesting that none of PMI’s subsidiaries themselves filed bankruptcy, only the parent company. While PMI states that they will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business, as a debtor-in-possession, their operations will be under the scrutiny of a Federal Bankruptcy Court.


Sitting on approximately $735 million in unsecured notes that are now due and payable, it is yet unclear as to how PMI’s move will impact the many lenders around the nation who are presently seeking claims reimbursements. Also in question is how this may impact the many tens of thousands of short sales that PMI has insured. If bankruptcy court approval will now be required for claims authorization, the short sale process nationwide and along the Emerald Coast as well could be dealt yet another unwanted setback. Time will tell.

Is it true that the banks will pay you to short sale your house?

Yes, it is possible, if you qualify. In fact, we were selected to participate in a pilot program designed to assist distressed homeowners in the area. Many of our short sale sellers are receiving what is referred to as “relocation assistance” dollars at closing. We have assisted sellers who have received amounts of from $2,000 all the way up to $20,000 and even $35,000 at closing. 


For information on short sales, bank foreclosures and general real estate topics, please visit or email us at

To Be, Or Not To Be?

State Senators Don Gaetz and Greg Evers, joined by Reps. Brad Drake, Matt Gaetz and Doug Broxon addressed approximately 50 constituents at NW Florida State College in Niceville on Thursday night to field comments and concerns with regard to the proposed beach re-nourishment project on Okaloosa Island.  At the end of the day, the group voted to oppose the project.


Opponents of course believe that the sand to be used to shore up Okaloosa Island beaches will be too dark and will diminish the quality and desirability of the beach. Proponents believe the $12 million re-nourishment project is necessary to prevent future encroachment and erosion along the 2.8 mile stretch.


In September, an administrative judge agreed with the opponents and  recommended that DEP reject the beach re-nourishment project on the basis that the sand would be “too dark, have too many shells and have too high a carbonate content”.  The Okaloosa County Commission has supported the project all along. In fact, they recently filed a response in opposition to the judge’s decision. That is, until this week, when Okaloosa Commissioner Bill Roberts said the issue  should be dropped “because it has become too divisive”. An answer from DEP was otherwise expected by Dec. 29th. 


With Roberts about-face on the issue, for better or worse, the beach restoration project on Okaloosa Island is effectively dead. A public hearing will be held on January 17th to officially pull the plug. How this may affect future re-nourishment projects in the area is anyone’s guess.



Gambling in the Sunshine State

The Florida Supreme Court will be hearing an appeal on whether or not the Legislature can approve slot machine operations anywhere in the state.  An appellate court decision said that the Legislature can approve them, but the legislation is being opposed by moral grounders, competing business interests and some rather influential corporations such as Walt Disney World. Among other claims, opposition expresses the fear that casinos may tarnish Florida’s family-friendly image.


If the ruling survives the Florida Supreme Court challenge, lawmakers may  begin permitting casino resorts literally anywhere in the state. Some Bills have already been filed for next year’s legislative session, which will begin January 10, 2012.  The Bills could serve to license three casino resorts in South Florida.


There does not seem to be much of a push to establish further gambling in NW Florida. (We already have the Ebro Greyhound Park and Gambling Room near Panama City.) Although, Ft. Walton Beach was quite the gambling mecca during the 40’s. The area was gaining so much unwanted attention over the illegally operated casinos that the Florida governor actually removed the Okaloosa County Sheriff from office and appointed someone to crack down on these activities. Some of the old timers had joked that Ft. Walton Beach at the time had more neon than any other city east of the Mississippi River.

Garbage is a Dirty Word

Garbage can be a dirty word around Destin. With 15% of the voting population signing a petition to suspend an ordinance passed by the City Council, Destin is back to the drawing board with regard to garbage collection. At issue was a provision that would have placed residents’ trash bills on their annual property tax bill. Opponents argued that the city did not have the authority to take such an action to begin with. Other factors were that not all residences In Destin are occupied full-time. Some owners
would have to pay for 12 months of service for properties that are occupied for perhaps a couple of months or less per year.  


Also at odds with city residents was the limited discount that would have resulted. Waste Management stood to receive a large increase in both revenues and profit. Revenues because the city would bill out each and every residence.  100% of all homes and condos within the city limits would be assessed. Profit because Waste Management would no longer have to bill out 5,000+ invoices and quarterly stickers for the individual cans. Additionally, Waste Management would no longer have any billing delinquency issues such as they have now.  


What is next for garbage collection in the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village? I would suggest that if garbage collection is our biggest challenge next year, 2012 should be a very good year!