Do You Know the How Much the Sale of a Home Means to the Economy?

Check out this video by the Florida Association of Realtors on the impact Real Estate has on the economy.

FAR says, Realtors should be proud of the jobs created and the boost they give their community every time they sell a home.

Each home purchased pumps $60,000 into the economy through tremendous job creation… providing 2.5 million private sector jobs per year and even more once the home is sold.

Housing touches dozens of occupations. contributing over 15% to GDP.


Florida Realtor’s Legislature 2012 Positives

Here are some highlights from the 2012 legislative session, which adjurned midnight Friday.  The Realtor’s primary focus was on initiatives that could strengthen the real estate market and improve the business environment.

Real estate sales associates and broker associates exempt from local business taxes. HB 7125, a bill by the House Economic Affairs Committee and Rep. Ken Roberson (R-Port Charlotte) exempts real estate sales associates and broker associates from paying local business taxes (formerly known as occupational license fees) if required in their city or county. Under Florida law, these individuals must affiliate with a real estate broker who already pays local business taxes. Brokers will continue to pay the tax. Repeal of the tax will save real estate licensees $3.8 million annually. Effective date if signed by governor: Oct. 1, 2012.

Mandatory septic tank inspections out, optional inspections in. HB 1263 , an omnibus health care bill by Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples), was amended yesterday with Realtor-supported language originally provided in HB 999 by Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Heathrow) and SB 820 by Sen. Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) to repeal the mandatory septic tank inspection law passed in 2010. It establishes an optional inspection program for the 19 counties with the 33 largest springs. However, other cities and counties may opt into the program as well. Also, septic tank inspections cannot be required as a condition of sale. Effective date if signed by governor: March 9, 2012.

A major step toward creating a competitive property insurance market. HB 1127 by Rep. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) reduces the amount of money private insurers must give Citizens Property Insurance Corp. if the state insurer goes broke after a catastrophic storm. The first check a private insurer writes after a catastrophic storm should be to their policyholders, not Citizens. However, current law requires insurers to pay Citizens up to 18 percent of their premiums within 30 days of being assessed. They can later recoup these monies from their policyholders. It’s hoped that HB 1127 will attract new insurers to Florida and keep existing insurers here. Effective date if signed by governor: July 1, 2012.

Tax boost for businesses. HJR 1003 by Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando) creates a proposed constitutional amendment to increase the exemption for tangible personal property taxes. Under current law, an exemption applies to the first $25,000 in property taxes such as business equipment. If approved by 60 percent of voters in the November election, the exemption would expand to include the value of tangible personal property between $25,000 and $50,000.

Options for challenging Citizens replacement cost estimates. In January, following discussions with Florida Realtors and policyholders concerned about unreasonably high replacement cost estimates, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. agreed to consider valuation sources other than 360Value software. HB 1101 codifies three options into law, including valuations prepared by real estate appraisers licensed under Chapter 475, F.S. Effective date if signed by governor: July 1, 2012.

Broad range of economic development incentives. HB 7087 is a large omnibus tax bill that’s part of the budget deal agreed to between the House and Senate. Of particular interest to real estate companies is an increase in the corporate income tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. Effective date if signed by governor: July 1, 2012.

Reducing condo inventory and protecting an appraiser’s interests.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) pushed two bills this session that contain items of interest to the real estate industry. You may recall that the 2010 Legislature wanted to encourage investors to purchase blocks of condo units to reduce inventory levels. This was accomplished in part by amending condo laws to protect bulk buyers from some of the liabilities faced by condo developers. These protections were set to expire on July 1, 2012. HB 517 by Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa) extends the “bulk buyer” provision to July 1, 2015. Effective date if signed by governor: July 1, 2012.

The other DBPR bill, HB 887 by Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola), prohibits Appraisal Management Companies from requiring appraisers to sign hold harmless agreements as a condition of business. Effective date if signed by governor: Oct. 1, 2012.

Budget appropriations. Though the Legislature swept all monies collected for the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund into general revenue, it appropriated funds for economic development initiatives and tourism that could ultimately benefit the real estate market:

  • $61 million for the State Economic Enhancement and Development (SEED) Fund and other economic development funds. These monies may be used to fund affordable housing programs and projects.
  • $27.5 million for Visit Florida, the state’s marketing agency.
  • $8.6 million for Enterprise Florida, a state economic development agency.

In addition, the Legislature set aside $285,000 to combat unlicensed activity, $30 million for Everglades restoration, $8.4 million for the Florida Forever land acquisition program and $1.5 million to study nitrogen reduction and develop possible new technology for passive septic systems.

via  Florida Realtors® News

Top Ten Reasons to Vote No on 4!

Phenomenal blog… reprinted with permission of ANNE-MARIE WURZEL, Realtor

Now typically I wouldn’t take an opportunity on my blog to discuss a political stance.  However, since Amendment 4 affects property owners and their rights, I believe it’s very important for everyone to know how its passage could affect our day-to-day lives.  You might not own property…but you frequent someone’s property every day. Whether it’s your place of work, where you eat, or where you have fun on the weekends.

Amendment 4 affects all of us.  Amendment 4 would require that voters approve changes to their local comprehensive land use plans.  These plans are growth management plans that cities and counties use to outline the specifics of future development.  At first it might seem like a move touting democracy (in which governmental decisions are made by public referenda).  However America’s Founding Fathers established a representative democracy because it allows for thoughtful consideration of complex issues and requires elected officials to balance competing interests rather than simply relying on popular opinion.  Amendment 4 is hyper democracy…something our founding fathers long warned against because it is a threat to our republic form of government.

Now without further adieu…I present to you…(trumpets playing…)

The Top Ten Reasons to Vote No on 4!

  1. Amendment 4 will cost jobs – A recent study by the Washington Economics Group shows that Amendment 4 is likely to cost over 260,000 jobs and reduce Florida’s economic output by more than $34 billion per year.  That will make businesses tougher and more expensive to grow!  If you think we’ve got empty commercial plazas now, just wait to see what happens if Amendment 4 passes.
  2. Amendment 4 will raise taxes – If Amendment 4 passes, it will likely necessitate an average of two special elections for each Florida voter, the direct estimated annual cost to the taxpayers throughout Florida would be between $44.6 million to $83.4 million.
  3. Amendment 4 will hurt Florida’s economy – A local version of Amendment 4 has already caused higher taxes, fewer jobs and more lawsuits in one Florida town.  According to the St. Petersburg Times, the measure has been “divisive, expensive and an impediment to much-needed re-development.”  When St. Pete Beach voters approved four pro-economy changes to their comprehensive plan in 2008, Amendment 4 lawyers sued to overturn the election.  More than a year later, St. Pete voters are still fighting to defend their vote in court!  The St. Petersburg Times concludes that Amendment 4 “invites short term thinking and frequent referendums that are even more susceptible to well-financed campaigns by powerful interests.”
  4. Amendment 4 will cost taxpayers millions and lead to confusion at the polls – Under Amendment 4, the taxpayers will be forced to fund expensive referenda for every technical change to their local comprehensive plan.  The Editorial Board of the Orlando Sentinel pointed out that these costs would “soar into the millions.”  It would not be uncommon for voters to face 200 or 300 minor plan revisions on a single ballot. According to a review of state records, the residents of Carrabelle-a small Franklin County town-would have voted 617 times if Amendment 4 had been law in 2006.  THIS SHOULD BE REASON ENOUGH…But there are still six more reasons to VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 4!
  5. Amendment 4 is not intended to empower voters – Under this proposal, special interests on both sides of the development debate will gain influence at the expense of ordinary citizens. Imagine political ads for a school, a hospital, a fire station, a new neighborhood, or a new plaza.  I know I can barely stand watching political ads a month before an election…what if Orange or Seminole county residents had 300 things to vote on?  How many ads would that be?
  6. Amendment 4 will cost jobs and encourage sprawl – Over 200 organizations have opposed Amendment 4 because of its impacts on Florida’s economy.  The Florida Chamber of Commerce has called the measure a “jobs killer.”  It could also encourage sprawling patterns of development leading to disorganized growth.
  7. Popular opinion will not protect common interests – As our cities, counties and state grow, so too do the demands for programs, facilities and new technologies.  What is the likely outcome of a “popular vote” for the need to change future land use to accommodate a landfill, a prison or a homeless shelter?  The “not in my backyard” mentality will halt any thoughtful and fair planning.  While we may be discussing high-speed rail and nuclear power today, “popular vote” will not allow the creativity and flexibility to plan for the unknown.
  8. Less Accountability – Elected officials would no longer be accountable for their decisions on growth issues, because they would no longer make the final decisions.  While the current system has its flaws, it maintains the power to elect or remove the decision makers.
  9. The ends don’t justify the means – There is hardly another topic so complicated and important in Florida than growth management.  While it would be easy to point to specific projects or localities that have made poor decisions, the process we currently have is still the best tool to address the complexities of growth management.  Amendment 4 would seek to abandon an imperfect process with an imperfect and inflexible policy.  This approach will not serve Floridians well.
  10. Amendment 4 moves your property rights from private to public – One of the greatest things we can do as Americans is own land, we have that right.  Amendment 4′s envisioned re-structuring of property rights from private to public and the associated change in decision-making from the marketplace to the ballot box will certainly have devastating, lasting effects on Florida’s economy, the taxpayers and the cities and counties throughout our state. Commercial and residential investment as well as business formation and expansion will diminish.  Higher costs will emerge for approved commercial and residential investment as well as forming new businesses and expanding existing ones.

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