Using Zoom Video Conferencing

ACCESSING ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCING WITH TABLET OR SMARTPHONE OR COMPUTER/LAPTOP

Zoom (Cloud Meeting), is a video conferencing tool that allows us to see one another providing your tablet, laptop or computer has a camera. If you don’t have a camera, you will still be able to see those on-line that do.
Below are the steps for setting up on various devices for first time users.
If You Use A Tablet/Smartphone (Ipad, Samsung, Iphone, Etc.):

  1. You need to download the app called Zoom Cloud Meetings from the App/Play Store on your device. Zoom is FREE to use. We recommend you do this download prior to the Sunday service so that you aren’t delayed joining in.
  2. Accessing the worship service on Sunday morning can be done anytime after 9:30am (worship starts at 9:45am) by choosing one of the following:

a. Go to Facebook and searching for Harmony United Church Facebook page. You will see a post with a link for Zoom Meeting…….Click on it and it will open the Zoom App on your device.

b. If you receive Rev. Elizabeth Stevenson’s regular email mailout, she will be sending out the link and you simply click on it and it will open the Zoom App on your device.

  1. Depending on the tablet/smartphone you use, you will see other screens that will ask you questions such as:

a. Join with Computer Audio?
b. Join with Video?
c. Use audio on device?
d. Etc.

ANSWER YES/AGREE TO THESE QUESTIONS

  1. Once the questions are answered the video screen should appear in your App and you should see other folks that have joined in!

(Directions for Laptops/Computers)

ACCESSING ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCING WITH LAPTOP OR COMPUTER

Zoom (Cloud Meeting), is a video conferencing tool that allows us to see one another providing your tablet, laptop or computer has a camera. If you don’t have a camera, you will still be able to see those on-line that do.
Below are the steps for setting up on your laptop/computer for the first time.
If You Use A Laptop/Computer:

  1. The first time that you use Zoom, your laptop/computer will want to download what is called the “Zoom Client”. This will take a few minutes and so we recommend you start to do this around 9:15 on Sunday morning by following the instructions in #2 a/b below.
  2. Accessing the worship service on Sunday morning can be done anytime after 9:30am (worship starts at 9:45am) by choosing one of the following:

a. Go to Facebook and searching for Harmony United Church Facebook page. You will see a post with a link for Zoom Meeting…….Click on it and it will open your internet browser to a screen like below:

b. If you receive Rev. Elizabeth Stevenson’s regular email mailout, she will be sending out the link and you simply click on it and it will open your internet browser to a screen like below:

  1. The screen will say something like “A Download should start automatically”. You will be asked a few questions to which you should answer YES/AGREE….it is safe to do so. If you are asked “Let the App make changes to your device say YES. When asked to join with video or audio say YES. Within a minute you should see the Orange Box with the arrow ….click on the words below it (zoom with numbers beside it). Within a few seconds you will enter the video conference.
  2. Once you have downloaded the Zoom client it will be very simple every time after that!

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March 2020 Buyers Can Get More than March 2019 Buyers

Assuming a $2,500 monthly mortgage budget, a buyer today can afford a home that costs $508K compared to only $457K one year ago. While home prices have gone up, today’s lower mortgage rates make it a better deal – providing buyers can find a house that’s for sale.

SEATTLE – A dramatic drop in mortgage interest rates driven largely by coronavirus fears has given homebuyers a big boost in purchasing power in recent weeks, according to an analysis by Redfin.

At a mortgage interest rate of 3.2%, a homebuyer with a $2,500 monthly mortgage budget today can afford a home that sells for $51,250 more than in March of 2019 when rates were 4.4%. Put another way, a buyer who could accord a $457,000 home in March of last year can afford a $508,000 home today.

“Potential homebuyers now have an extra incentive to buy a home despite all of the economic uncertainty from the coronavirus,” says Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “And, many current homeowners now have the option to refinance their mortgages and gain some extra spending cash each month.”

Low interest rates won’t help with direct impacts of the coronavirus on the economy, like declines in tourism and service sector spending, he adds, but they’ll mitigate impacts to housing.

The boost in purchasing power won’t help buyers find a home as the for-sale inventory continues to contract, but interest savings should offset price increases seen in most metro areas if they successfully submit an accepted contract. In January, the housing supply fell 11% year-to-year, and there were fewer homes for sale than at any time since January 2013.

Despite fewer homes for sale in most markets, the share of homes for sale that were affordable on a $2,500 monthly payment nationally increased 1.9 percentage points – from 68.6% between March 4 and March 10, 2019, to 70.5% between March 2 and 8, 2020.

The markets where homebuyers are experiencing the biggest boost in the share of affordable inventory compared to a year ago were Dallas (+6.2 points), Portland, OR (+5.2 points), and Richmond, VA (+4.3 points).

“I just had a buyer who was at the top of his budget lock in a 2.99% mortgage rate and he is ecstatic at how much more flexibility his finances will have thanks to the interest rate drop,” said Portland Redfin agent Meme Loggins. “Another one of my buyers was looking at condos just a few weeks ago because he didn’t think he could afford a single-family home, but thanks to the low rates, he can now.

Despite the drop in mortgage rates expanding the range of homes that buyers can afford, the share of affordable inventory on a $2,500 payment fell 3.6 points in Phoenix, 3.4 points in Las Vegas and 1 point in Orlando year-to-year.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Call or text Tom Scaglione, ePRO, SFR, Realtor® with Future Home Realty, Inc. at 813-310-8200 Serving the Tampa Bay Area. #RealEstateAgent #HouseExpert #HouseHunting #RealEstate #TomScaglione #TampaMobileRealty.com #realtor #home #TampaBay #Florida #veterans #vet #buyhome #sellhome #newhome #homesearch #smart #tech #thehelpfulagent #trust #safety

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The 20% Down Myth

A Real Estate Myth that Won’t Die? The 20% Downpayment
Elizabeth Renter

2 out of 3 Americans still think they need to put 20% down to buy a home, per a NerdWallet report. But a good strategy and 3% down are the only things required.

NEW YORK – Many Americans may be unnecessarily talking themselves out of homeownership. Thirty-seven percent of non-homeowners say not having enough saved for a downpayment is holding them back from homeownership, but 62% of Americans incorrectly believe you have to have at least 20% of a home’s purchase price to buy, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 Home Buyer Report.

The truth is: You don’t need 20% of a home’s price to buy it. Some lenders offer mortgages with as little as 3% down. So, how do you know just how much you need to save up based on your specific goals? It requires a little strategizing.

Before you can zero in on a downpayment target, determine how much home you can afford and when you’d like to start home shopping. First, set your homebuying budget with a home affordability calculator to get estimated monthly payments based on various home prices, down payment amounts and locations.

Then, set an approximate timeline. Maybe you’re planning a wedding and know you won’t be ready to purchase for at least two years, or you’re just starting a graduate program and want to give yourself five years to find employment and settle down after graduation. Be realistic and account for your life circumstances.

With a homebuying budget and estimated timeline, you can start running numbers to set a downpayment savings goal.

  1. Is saving 20% by your goal date realistic?

Calculate 20% of that homebuying budget and determine if it’s feasible to stash that amount away in the time you’ve allotted.

If the answer is yes, great! A big downpayment doesn’t only lower monthly payments, it can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan and eliminate the need to pay private mortgage insurance.

If it’s no, you have two options: Revisit your goal parameters – opting for a less expensive home or pushing out your target date – or consider a smaller downpayment.

Example: For a $250,000 home, someone starting with $0 saved would need to save about $1,400 each month to reach a 20% downpayment in three years. For most folks, that’s a stretch. Adjusting the timeline to five years would require monthly savings of about $800. While that may be more realistic, a smaller downpayment could get you in a home sooner and with less stress to your monthly household budget.

  1. How much can you save by your deadline?

What’s the most you can save monthly for your down payment goal? If you don’t already know the answer, create a monthly household budget to help figure out where your money is going and how much you can set aside.

At a high level, allocating 50% of your post-tax income toward your needs, 30% toward your wants, and 20% toward savings (including your downpayment) and debt repayment is a sustainable approach. But by accounting for all of your income and spending, you may realize you can sacrifice a little of your dining out and entertainment money (wants) temporarily to make homeownership a reality sooner.

Example: You decide you can set aside $350 each month. If you’re still hoping to start home shopping in three years, this would leave you with $12,600, or a 5% downpayment. Because many lenders accept downpayments of 5%, and even lower, you’ll be in a good place to buy around your three-year target date.

  1. Do you qualify for downpayment assistance?

Even setting aside $12,000 in three years can seem out of reach for some people, but all hope is not lost. First-time home buyers, or those who haven’t owned a home for the past three years, may qualify for downpayment assistance, a grant or loan to cover some or all downpayment costs. And in some cases, repeat buyers may qualify.

Downpayment assistance programs can both shorten the path to homeownership and free up existing savings for closing costs, moving or other homebuying costs.

Weighing the trade-offs of a high vs. low downpayment

A downpayment doesn’t have to stand in the way of homeownership. Smaller downpayments and downpayment assistance programs can help you achieve your homebuying dreams more quickly and leave you some savings for an emergency fund or unexpected repairs.

It’s worth considering, too, since there’s no guarantee your $250,000 homebuying budget will get you the same type of property in three years as it would if you bought sooner. Home prices have been rising, but what will happen in the future and what it could mean for your downpayment target is hard to know.

On the other hand, a bigger downpayment can equate to a better interest rate on your loan, lower monthly payment, more equity in your home right away, and not paying monthly for mortgage insurance. Because you’re borrowing less money, you’ll pay less in interest over the life of your loan and have lower monthly payments.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press, Elizabeth Renter. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. This article originally appeared on the personal finance website NerdWallet. Elizabeth Renter is a writer at NerdWallet

Shared by Tom Scaglione, ePRO,SFR, Realtor® (813) 310-8200 with Future Home Realty, Inc. from my Florida Realtors® newsfeed.

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Florida Realtors: Jan. Single-Family Sales Up 17.9%

Fla. condo-townhouse sales were up 14.5% year-to-year. The statewide median price for single-family homes rose 6% to $265K, and condo-townhouse prices up 9.6% to $200K. New pending sales and pending inventory also rose statewide in both property categories.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s housing market started the year off on a positive track, with more closed sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and higher pending inventory in January 2020 compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 18,298 last month, up 17.9% from January 2019.

“Many of the same market conditions we saw over the past few months – like favorable mortgage rates, buyer demand and low inventories – have continued into 2020,” says 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of Florida Suncoast Real Estate Inc. in Bradenton. “Lack of inventory continues to put pressure on home prices. However, new pending sales increased 12.4% for single-family existing homes last month and new pending sales for condo-townhouse units rose 14.3%.

“Buying or selling a home often is a complex process, but a local Realtor who understands the market area can offer guidance and peace of mind.”

Statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties in January rose year-over-year for 97 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $265,000, up 6% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $200,000, up 9.6% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2019 was $276,900, up 8% from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $255,400. In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $615,090; in Massachusetts, it was $412,250; in Maryland, it was $300,000; and in New York, it was $290,000.

Looking at Florida’s condo-townhouse market in January, statewide closed sales totaled 7,714, up 14.5% from its level a year ago. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

Florida’s housing market in January looked similar to the data trends shown in the previous month, according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor.

“Market conditions – particularly interest rates – have been very favorable for home sales over the past several months,” he says. “Remember, however, that part of these January year-over-year increases is due to January 2019 being fairly weak in terms of sales. Back then the stock market had been undergoing some major fluctuations and we were in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Mortgage rates were only really beginning to fall at that point, so they were not yet benefiting buyers who were closing at that time.”

Still, January’s gains in closed sales and median prices in both the single-family homes and condo-townhouse categories continues positive trends for the state’s housing sector, O’Connor says.

“Coupled with the median sale price gains we saw in December, this is some of the hottest price growth we’ve seen in either property type category in quite a while,” he adds. “Statewide inventory levels are up a bit from last month, which is normal for January, but they continue to trend downward overall. Single-family inventory at the end of January was down 16.4% year-over-year, while condo and townhouse inventory was down 11.7%.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62% in January 2020, down from the 4.46% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors’ Statistics and Research section on floridarealtors.org. Realtors also have access to local market stats (password protected) on Florida Realtors’ website.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Shared by Tom Scaglione, ePRO,SFR, Realtor® (813) 310-8200 with Future Home Realty, Inc. from my Florida Realtors® newsfeed.

Fla. Will Offer Vets Housing Assistance Via $8M Program

A program under the Florida Housing Finance Corporation will offer down payment and closing cost assistance programs, coupled with low-interest-rate first mortgages.

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a “Salute Our Soldiers” Military Loan Program (SOS) for veterans and active duty military personnel throughout the state following a roundtable to discuss ongoing issues and initiatives that involve Florida’s military and veteran population.

Administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing), the program is offering up to $8 million in a variety of down payment and closing cost assistance programs, coupled with low-interest-rate first mortgages. There will be down payment and closing cost assistance options that are forgivable after five years. The program will be available starting March 2, 2020.

“Florida Housing will set aside funds to assist over 1,000 veterans and active duty military members by making the homebuying process easier and more affordable,” DeSantis said when he unveiled the program. “More veterans calling Florida home is a great thing for all involved, and we look forward to the positive impacts this program will have on the lives of our veterans and the communities in which they live.”

“Florida Housing is grateful to our veterans and active duty military members for their service and sacrifice to this country,” said Florida Housing Executive Director Trey Price. “To show our appreciation, we, along with Gov. DeSantis, wanted to provide them with an incentive to put down roots and call Florida home.”

“Salute Our Soldiers” Military Loan Program details

It will offer a variety of down payment and closing cost assistance products with little or no interest charged


Florida Assist down payment assistance – $7,500 at 0% interest with no payments for 30 years but due upon sale or refinance

Salute Our Soldiers PLUS forgivable down payment assistance – choice of 3%, 4% or 5% of the purchase price forgiven at 20% per year over five years. Active duty military members who receive official orders to relocate will have any remaining balance forgiven upon sale of the home

Homebuyer Loan Program (HLP) down payment assistance – $10,000 at 3% interest over 15 years

Reduced costs (no documentary stamp taxes or intangible taxes on the notes and mortgages) and fees to the military homebuyer

Veterans are exempt from the first-time homebuyer requirement. Active duty military members cannot have owned a primary residence in the last three years.

For more information, visit Florida Housing’s Homebuyer Loan Program Wizard.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Shared by Tom Scaglione, ePRO,SFR, Realtor® (813) 310-8200 with Future Home Realty, Inc. from my Florida Realtors® newsfeed.

Almost 45% of Today’s Owners Plan to Move Within 10 Years

Study: While almost half the U.S. population says they plan to move over the next 10 years, more millennials are starting to question the value of homeownership at all. Of those potential movers, 1 in 3 wants a lower cost of living and 1 in 4 wants a better job.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – According to a survey commissioned by LendingTree, 45% of homeowners plan to move to a different house within the next decade – but a few millennials question whether homeownership is the best fit.

Key findings

While 45% of homeowners have plans to move at some point before 2030, 22% haven’t set any expectations. Of those who plan to move within the next 10 years:

16% plan to move to a new house in their current location

15% plan to move to a new city within their current state

15% plan to relocate to a new state altogether

Of those who plan to move, the top reasons for moving include:

Finding an area with a lower cost of living (30%)

Better job opportunities (28%)

Closer proximity to children (21%)

Retirement (18%)

While 26% of millennial homeowners anticipate “moving to a larger house” in the next 10 years, 28% plan to do the opposite – return to renting. Regarding renters, the survey found:

1 in 10 (11%) current renters plan to buy a home in 2020

Another 42% of current renters want to become homeowners in the next two to five years

25% don’t ever plan to buy a home of their own

Top reasons homeowners would buy a home in next 10 years by generation

** Millennials (ages 23-38)

Moving to a larger house: 26%

Upgrading from a “starter home”: 18%

Relocating because of job: 17%

No reason to buy a different house: 11%

** Gen Xers (ages 39-53)

Retirement in a new area: 19%

Moving to a larger house: 16%

No reason to buy a different house: 15%

Downsizing as empty nesters: 12%

** Baby boomers (ages 54-73)

No reason to buy a different house: 35%

Retirement in a new area: 26%

Downsizing as empty nesters: 18%

Other: 7%

** Return to renting?

About 1 in 6 homeowners plan to return to renting at some point over the next 10 years, and one in 10 millennials plan to rent again in 2020. However, 68% of baby boomers don’t plan to ever go back to renting.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

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Fla.’s Home Sales and Median Prices Show Gains at End of 2019

Fla. Realtors data: Single-family sales up 5.9%, median price up 3.7% year-over-year while condo median price up 3.8% over 2018’s end. Condo sales eased slightly, down 0.8%, compared to a year ago. A growing economy and strong jobs outlook bode well for 2020.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s housing market wrapped up 2019 with more sales, higher median sale prices and more pending inventory compared to the year before, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Florida’s economy is growing and every day, more than 900 people are moving to the Sunshine State, according to state economists,” says 2020 Florida Realtors President Barry Grooms, a Realtor and co-owner of SaraBay Suncoast Realty Inc. in Bradenton.

“The state’s jobs market remains strong with the latest unemployment rate (December 2019) at a record low of 3% – even better than the national unemployment rate of 3.5%. Mortgage interest rates have continued to remain at historically low levels, which is good news for homebuyers. And Florida’s homeownership rate in 4Q 2019 was 66.6%. All of these factors are positive signs for the state’s housing market in 2020.”

  • 4Q 2019

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 70,839 in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 11.6% compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“Fueled by low mortgage interest rates, sales of Florida homes in the 4th quarter were very strong compared to a year ago,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor. “Meanwhile, the number of properties being listed for sale has not been changing much, so the result is that the surge in sales is continuing to drive down inventory levels. As long as we continue to see these low rates, we should expect this trend to keep pushing home values upward.”

The statewide median sales price for existing single-family homes for 4Q 2019 was $265,900, up 4.3% from 4Q 2018. New pending sales for existing single-family homes for the quarter rose 13.2% compared to a year ago, while pending inventory was up 8.7% from 4Q 2018.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of condo-townhouses, a total of 26,932 units sold statewide in 4Q 2019, up 3.3% compared to the same period a year earlier. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties for the quarter was $195,000, up 5.9% over the previous year. New pending sales for condo-townhouses for 4Q 2019 increased 6.8% compared to a year ago, while pending inventory was up 4% from the same quarter the previous year.

  • Year End 2019

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 294,120 at the end of 2019, up 5.9% compared to the 2018 figure, according to data from Florida Realtors research department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations.

Looking to 2020, Chief Economist O’Connor forecasts a robust outlook for Florida’s housing market this year. In-migration to the Sunshine State from other states remains strong, with the five top origin states being New York, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, respectively. In fact, in-migration to Florida helped to drive increased home sales in 2019, according to O’Connor.

“It was exciting to see the almost 6% growth (5.9%) in closed single-family sales in 2019 from 2018,” O’Connor says. “Florida topped over $100 billion (total of $101.9 billion) in volume in home sales last year, up 8.3% from 2018; for condo-townhouses, we reached $31.6 billion in volume, up 1.8% over the 2018 figure.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes at year’s end was $264,000, up 3.7% from the previous year. New pending sales for existing single-family homes rose 5.2% at the end of 2019 compared to the previous year, while pending inventory for single-family homes increased 8.7% from a year ago.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of condo-townhouses, a total of 115,659 units sold statewide in 2019, down slightly (0.8%) from 2018. The statewide median price for condo-townhouse properties at the end of the year was $192,000, up 3.8% from year-end 2018. New pending sales for condo-townhouse units for the end of 2019 increased 0.2% compared to a year ago, while pending inventory for condo-townhouses was up 4% from year-end 2018.

At the end of 2019 and also for 4Q 2019, inventory for single-family homes stood at a 3.4-months’ supply, while inventory for condo-townhouse properties was at a 5.2-months’ supply, according to Florida Realtors.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.94% for 2019, down significantly from the previous year’s average of 4.54%, according to Freddie Mac.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center at and look under Latest Releases, or download the 4Q 2019 and Year End 2019 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

Shared by Tom Scaglione, ePRO,SFR, Realtor® (813) 310-8200 with Future Home Realty, Inc. from my Florida Realtors® newsfeed.