What A Start To The New Year!

January 2nd, 2012 and the weather here in Sarasota is truly fabulous.
A constant reminder of why we choose to live in this beautiful part of the world.

The year ahead is filled with opportunity and we are happy to say that lovers of
this fabulous lifestyle are once again choosing to buy, build, and renovate in our town.

Thanks to our clients, team, and everyone that has helped our family business to grow
and prosper.

Happy New Year!

Bird Key Yacht Club Completes Renovations – Celebrations Start With A Bang!

Murray Homes has just completed a major renovation of Bird Key Yacht Club. The project was completed on time and on budget and with outstanding results.

Established in 1959, the Bird Key Yacht Club has seen numerous upgrades and renovations over the years. This project included renovations to the entrance, parking lot, a new, nautically themed entry hall and reception and lobby area with a grand two-story foyer and a new port cochère.

A “Grand Opening” was held in conjunction with The Commodore’s Ball on Saturday, November 19th when Bird Key residents and club members descended in their finery to celebrate a ribbon cutting and a cannon salute followed by an exquisite dinner.

Murray Homes was chosen from numerous applicants to bid for the project. Comments from Bird Key Yacht Club reflect a happy and successful outcome: “Working with Steve Murray and Murray Homes on this project couldn’t have made for a better renovation experience,” said Rob Edwards, General Manager “. He never lacked focus or momentum and doesn’t compromise. He wants to get it right; that’s the way he operates!

John and Glyn Murray have been members of Bird Key Yacht Club since 1995 and the family actively races there.

Building & Selling on Bird Key

The combined expertise of Murray Homes and Murray Realty makes that “impossible dream” not so impossible! Whether it’s building your own stylish home, or building to sell, we can deliver. We can take it from the ground up – find the land, design and build your personal luxury waterfront home – or we can take an existing home and give it an extreme makeover like no other you’ve ever seen.

Our meticulous approach to building and understanding of this area’s real estate market came into play again as we recently completed and sold two multi-million dollar homes on Bird Key. Who says there’s no way to get what you really want out of life in today’s economy?

Whether you are a buyer or seller, the Murray team offers you unparalled quality service in all aspects of your real estate venture. Let us help you make that impossible dream a reality. Call us today.

According to the Sarasota Association of Realtors, this community is one hot commodity! Single family home prices have hit the highest level since June 2010 and the available inventory of properties has dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade. So what does that mean for you? It’s time to jump into the market! With prices for both single family homes and condos above the annual median prices for the past two years, it’s obvious that Sarasota is a destination for people on the move.

Forbes Magazine thinks so too…
Forbes Magazine recently named Sarasota a recession proof city! With a solid median home price of $143,000 and price increases for the first two quarters of the year, we’re looking pretty good!

7324 Broughton Street, Sarasota FL 34243 (Short Sale) – $169,900

2 bed 2 bath

7324 Broughton Street, Sarasota FL 34243

Short Sale – Beautiful home situated 1 block away from Sarasota Bay in historic Whitfield Estates and close to Sarasota/Bradenton Airport. The floor plan complements the square footage making it feel bigger. Kitchen has granite countertops. Great outdoor kitchen with a good size back yard. Close to US41 and the SRQ airport.  A/C Handler 2003, Water heater 2007, All the windows hurricane approved, with shutters for doors. BOA has already done their appraisal, the short sale documents have been collected and sent into the bank.Ready for offers!!!

To arrange a viewing please call
Jane Ebury, Realtor
Murray Realty
1255 Seeds Ave, Sarasota FL 34237

Murray Realty – Why you should choose us?

We have a few major factors on our side;

–    we have specialized in buying, selling and building on Longboat Key, Lido Key, Sarasota and  Bird Key since 1995. We have built and remodeled 21 homes on Bird Key alone and are currently building 2 new construction custom homes on the key, reflecting our draw to investors or potential building clients. All lots that have not been improved or rebuilt are seen as a potential tear down and rebuild, and clients come to us for that advice and expertise. We can also offer a potential client remodeling ideas and costs, which broadens your customer base.

–    There are many foreign buyers entering the Sarasota market at the moment, especially Europeans. We have just completed a days  shooting of our other listing, by a German production crew filming a home show airing in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Our UK connections have brought many European buyers into Sarasota over the years.

–    We have an affiliation with Savills and Country Life in the UK, the leading real estate agent and publication for estate homes and feature on their website. This generates a lot of referrals.

–    We are on all current media websites including Realtor.com, Facebook etc, we have an interactive search facility on the website that draws a lot of traffic. We publish regular e-blasts promoting our listings and send out a targeted monthly blog to over 3000 addresses.

–    We update you weekly on traffic, showings and market trends in order to ensure you remain advised on the status.

–    We believe that being a small company, we are able to act and react swiftly and give the personal service that high end custom homes require. We are Bird Key and Longboat Key specialists….this is our patch… and we have good relationships with all of the realtors in town that sell Bird Key, Longboat Key and waterfront property, meaning that all local realtors are aware of our listings and have complete access and knowledge to the attributes of the house. The MLS today means that all posted houses are available to buyers via the internet. Then converting an interested party to a sale, is what we do best.

–    We believe in and take good photography as these photos sell the houses to internet clients. We perform area caravans, showing local realtors and hold open houses on Sundays.

In conclusion, as a small but experienced company, concentrating on a small geography, and having the added bonus of our construction company and contacts, we believe that we offer the best service available for your property.

Hopefully this helps. If it sounds like a hard sell, it is, because we believe in what we do and are successful at doing it.

February 19, 2010 REAL Magazine Event

Tue, Feb 9, 2010

Events, Features, News

real-magazine-logo-squareFebruary 19, 2010 REAL Magazine Event.

Hosted by Steve Murray of Murray Homes at his Bird Key bayfront estate at 667 Mourning Dove Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34236, 11:30am-1pm. The keynote speach will be delivered by Jeff LaHurd, author and historian, on the history of Bird Key.  
jeff-lahurd667-mourning-dove-drive-february-real-magazine-coverOn February 19th 2010 from 11:30am to 1pm REAL Magazine will hold a networking event at 667 Mourning Dove Drive on Bird Key. The event will feature a presentation on the history of  Bird Key by noted local historian and author of 12 books on Sarasota, Jeff LaHurd.  A surprise giveaway ups the ante one more notch.

Click here for Jeff LaHurd’s biography

FHA Announces Policy Changes to Address Risk and Strengthen Finances

New Measures Will Help FHA Better Manage Risk, While Maintaining Support for the Housing Market and Access for Underserved Communities 

WASHINGTON – Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner David Stevens today announced a set of policy changes to strengthen the FHA’s capital reserves, while enabling the agency to continue to fulfill its mission to provide access to homeownership for underserved communities. The changes announced today are the latest in a series of changes Stevens has enacted in order to better position the FHA to manage its risk while continuing to support the nation’s housing market recovery.
The FHA will propose to take the following steps: increase the mortgage insurance premium (MIP); update the combination of FICO scores and down payments for new borrowers; reduce seller concessions to three percent, from six percent; and implement a series of significant measures aimed at increasing lender enforcement. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan previewed the changes in December of last year, noting that the FHA would announce additional details before the end of January.
“Striking the right balance between managing the FHA’s risk, continuing to provide access to underserved communities, and supporting the nation’s economic recovery is critically important,” said Commissioner Stevens. “When combined with the risk management measures announced in September of last year, these changes are among the most significant steps to address risk in the agency’s history. Additionally, by continuing to provide affordable, responsible mortgage products, FHA will support the housing market’s recovery. Importantly, FHA will remain the largest source of home purchase financing for underserved communities.”
Announced FHA Policy Changes:
  1. Mortgage insurance premium (MIP) will be increased to build up capital reserves and bring back private lending
    • The first step will be to raise the up-front MIP by 50 bps to 2.25% and request legislative authority to increase the maximum annual MIP that the FHA can charge.
    • If this authority is granted, then the second step will be to shift some of the premium increase from the up-front MIP to the annual MIP.
    • This shift will allow for the capital reserves to increase with less impact to the consumer, because the annual MIP is paid over the life of the loan instead of at the time of closing
    • The initial up-front increase is included in a Mortgagee Letter to be released tomorrow, January 21st, and will go into effect in the spring.
  2. Update the combination of FICO scores and down payments for new borrowers.
    • New borrowers will now be required to have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for FHA’s 3.5% down payment program. New borrowers with less than a 580 FICO score will be required to put down at least 10%.
    • This allows the FHA to better balance its risk and continue to provide access for those borrowers who have historically performed well.
    • This change will be posted in the Federal Register in February and, after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in the early summer.
  3. Reduce allowable seller concessions from 6% to 3%
    • The current level exposes the FHA to excess risk by creating incentives to inflate appraised value. This change will bring FHA into conformity with industry standards on seller concessions.
    • This change will be posted in the Federal Register in February, and after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in the early summer.
  4. Increase enforcement on FHA lenders
    • Publicly report lender performance rankings to complement currently available Neighborhood Watch data – Will be available on the HUD website on February 1.
      • This is an operational change to make information more user-friendly and hold lenders more accountable; it does not require new regulatory action as Neighborhood Watch data is currently publicly available.
    • Enhance monitoring of lender performance and compliance with FHA guidelines and standards.
      • Implement Credit Watch termination through lender underwriting ID in addition to originating ID.
      • This change is included in a Mortgagee Letter to be released tomorrow, January 21st, and is effective immediately.
    • Implement statutory authority through regulation of section 256 of the National Housing Act to enforce indemnification provisions for lenders using delegated insuring process
      • Specifications of this change will be posted in March, and after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in early summer.
    • HUD is pursuing legislative authority to increase enforcement on FHA lenders. Specific authority includes:
      • Amendment of section 256 of the National Housing Act to apply indemnification provisions to all Direct Endorsement lenders. This would require all approved mortgagees to assume liability for all of the loans that they originate and underwrite
      • Legislative authority permitting HUD maximum flexibility to establish separate “areas” for purposes of review and termination under the Credit Watch initiative. This would provide authority to withdraw originating and underwriting approval for a lender nationwide on the basis of the performance of its regional branches
In addition to the changes proposed today, the FHA is continuing to review its overall response to housing market conditions, and continuing to evaluate its mortgage insurance underwriting standards and its measures to help distressed and underwater borrowers through FHA/HAMP and other FHA initiatives going forward.


90 Day seasoning dropped

The HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has announded, as of the 1st Feburary 2010 the 90 day seasoning that new homeowners have to wait before they are able to resell will be dropped temporary for 1 year.

To protect the FHA borrowers against predatory practices  of “flipping,” the waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following general conditions;

  • All transactions must be arms length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
  • In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20% or more above the sellers acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
  • The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.
  • Specific conditions and other details of this new temporary policy are in the text of the waiver, available on HUD’s website: www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/waivpropflip2010.pdf

Market News

Happy New Year!

Phew!!  The last 12 months have been somewhat eventful – a new president, banks going out of business, the Stock Exchange at an all time low, and the housing market crashing………

Many of us have been affected by one or more of the above. And like the government and banks, we have been unsure which way to turn.  With the New Year starting, we are all a little wiser and reassured that things can only get better.

Today’s Market

The real estate market has been very prominent in the media over the last two years, with prices plummeting and record number of foreclosures.  The banks have never before had to deal with such volume of real estate on their books and this has in some cases been their downfall. 

We are continuing to see a high volume of Short Sale properties entering the market and there are still a number of realtors and banks out there still educating themselves to deal with the volume.  Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are hiring and training more staff, developing software systems for expediting short sales and increasing their marketing of short sale options to delinquent borrowers.

Experts predict that this first quarter will see an increase in activity due to historically low interest rates and everyone trying to beat the $8,000 Tax Credit deadline of June 30, 2010.  Sellers will face a busier market as early as February. So now is the best time to sell your home.

Proposed Treasury’s Plan

The Treasury and the Government are now insisting that the banks need to get organized and do whatever is necessary to keep homeowners in their homes. They are proposing that the Treasury would pay up to $1,500 for a homeowner to relocate, $1,000 to loan servicing companies that accept a sale and a maximum of $1,000 to help settle a second mortgage or subordinate lien.  The lender must agree to release the borrower from all liability of repayment of the balance for the mortgage, under the proposed Treasury plan.

Tax Credit

The $8,000 tax credit certainly helped young and first time buyers get into the housing market.  The extension issued in November will help the market continue to move during the first quarter of this year.  Buyers are taking advantage of the Tax Credit and historically low interest rates. This will help reduce the inventory and stabilize the house prices.

Sarasota Market

In December 2009, Sarasota recorded the highest number of sold transactions since March 2007. Short Sales and REO/bank owned properties impacted the Sarasota market in 2009.  Distressed property sales accounted for 40% of all sales compared to 21% in 2008.

Foreclosure and Short Sales

An estimated 7 million foreclosures loom in the next two to three years, according to RealtyTrac.  Foreclosure filings are still up 18% from a year ago and a new wave is expected this year as unemployment remains high and borrowers fall out of loan modification programs. More than half of the loan modifications of delinquent mortgages re-default within a year, according to a report by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  The underlying problems are still there so the foreclosure crisis is likely to get worse before it gets better. More than 14% of homeowners with a mortgage are either late on their payments or in foreclosure and that number is expected to keep rising as unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Short Sale properties can benefit a neighborhood because they clear out stagnant homes and bring in fresh owners with intentions of improving.   It also releases the homeowner from a lien(s) that they are unable to pay due to a hardship, without hurting their credit score too much.

Credit Score

A borrower’s credit history after a short sale is typically reported as “settled” and considered as severe as a foreclosure. According to Minneapolis-based FICO Corp, it may drop a credit score of 780 to 620. 

I hope this information has been useful to you. If you know someone that is struggling with their mortgage and a short sale may be the way forward. Please do not hesitate to give them our contact details.  We are happy to help!