December, 2011:

Who Pays for Past Due HOA Fees on a Short Sale?

The foreclosing lender will often pay up to a point, but we have seen many cases in which the back HOA fees exceed $50,000. We are working on one now with a $65,000 HOA lien on it!

The lenders know that they only have to pay for the most recent twelve months in past due HOA fees should they foreclose the property, so they are often less than enthusiastic about paying more than that. Knowing this, many HOA’s will negotiate the fee down to facilitate the transaction.

It is often a win-win if the HOA can come out with much more than the stautorily mandated twelve months worth of fees. However, in a short sale, both buyers and sellers should be prepared to contribute should the foreclosing lender and HOA reach an impasse.

Are loan fees going up on Fannie Mae mortgages next year?

Yes. Maybe. Our elected Mensas in the U.S.  Senate, in an effort to aid and assist an ailing real estate industry (ha!),  voted to increase mortgage fees on newly originated Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loans. This increase will equate to $180 per year on a $200,000 mortgage, and will last for the life of the loan.  This new tax is said to be necessary to extend the much publicized “payroll tax cut” for an additional two months.  Okay, then what? And besides, who ever said that intelligent life exists in Washington?


Congress may very well choose to reject this latest Senate proposal, in which case the payroll tax cut may be allowed to expire. If so, expect a cut in your take-home pay come January 1st.

Florida Sales on the Rise

Florida businesses posted record gross sales of nearly $80 billion for the month of September, the most recent month for which figures are available. This increase represents the first such monthly record since the “Great Recession” began.  While increases were noted through most urban areas of the state, conspicuously lagging was SW Florida. According to the Herald Tribune, Sarasota and Manatee Counties reported some of their worst performances since June 2011 and February 2010 respectively.


Northwest Florida counties posted large gains in bed tax receipts for October. Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties reported collection increases  of 14.7, 10.9 and 42.7  percent respectively.  According to the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council,  Okaloosa had the best October ever. Bed taxes for Okaloosa County are primarily generated through hotel and condo short term rentals in Destin and Okaloosa Island.

Florida Lottery Sales Surge

Not all sales numbers are gloomy in the Sunshine State …  According to state officials last week,  The Florida Lottery is expecting a record year in sales, to the tune of $4.26 billion!  After many years of consistent growth,  Florida Lottery sales declined as the economy faltered in 2009.  


So what is behind the surge in ticket sales? Some say it is a sign that the economy is recovering. Others contend that consumers are simply feeling more desperate. One thing is certain … With retailer-giant Wal-Mart jumping on the Florida Lottery bandwagon, Lottery officials must be giddy. 


You would be hard-pressed to find a convenience store in Florida that does not sell Lottery tickets today. Supermarket chains in Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and South Walton like Winn-Dixie and Publix have long been on board, and most independents have jumped into the fray as well. The sale of a winning ticket can mean huge rewards for the vendors. In fiscal year 2008-09 Florida retailers earning a staggering $220 million in Lottery sales commissions.


The Lottery is not likely to go away any time soon. With states around the nation scrambling for dollars, shortfalls abound. Florida Lottery officials claim that the Lottery generates a whopping $1 billion per year toward education and college scholarships. That equates to 5% of Florida’s $20 billion annual education budget.