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Back-to-school sales tax holiday starts Friday

Debra Spadafora

Starting Friday, Aug. 4, Floridians won't have to pay state sales tax on certain clothes ($60 max), school supplies, personal computers ($750 max) or other items. According to the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), this sales tax holiday is the state's second busiest shopping "holiday." It predicts "near record-breaking sales." Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $687.72 on apparel and accessories, shoes and school supplies, up eight percent from 2016, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey conducted by Prosper...Continue Reading!

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Consumer Alert: Mortgage Phishing Robbing Home Buyers of Life Savings

Debra Spadafora

It starts with an email to home buyers about wiring a final payment; then scammers intercept and take it all. NBC Nightly News’ Jo Ling Kent explains how to prevent this from happening to you. Continue Reading!

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New email scam targets Google users

Debra Spadafora

A new phishing scam can display what looks like a Google sign-in page if users click on attachments. If they then log into their Google account to view the file, the program sends account names and passwords to hackers. The scam has specific relevance to the real estate industry. Since it gives hackers access to Gmail accounts, Realtors who use Gmail could have two people with complete access to their email for both sending and receiving – themselves and a hacker....Continue Reading!

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NAR predicts stable commercial market in 2017

Debra Spadafora

WASHINGTON – Feb. 23, 2017 – Steered ahead by strengthening demand in smaller markets, the commercial real estate sector should remain on stable ground in 2017 and offer decent returns for investors, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® (NAR) quarterly commercial real estate forecast. National office vacancy rates are forecast to retreat 1.1 percent to 12.1 percent over the coming year as job growth in business and professional services brings increased need for office space. The vacancy rate for...Continue Reading!

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Available in Miami-Dade County: Software that appeals property taxes

Debra Spadafora

CHICAGO – Feb. 23, 2017 – A technology startup, TurboAppeal, says it has created a software program that "puts the homeowner in more control of lowering their property taxes." For a flat fee of $29, the company claims that its software might be able to lower a homeowner's property tax bill. "We have spent the past year building this completely transparent product that places all the needed appeal evidence in the hands of the homeowners for a small fraction of what...Continue Reading!

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FHA lowers borrowers’ mortgage insurance premiums

Debra Spadafora

WASHINGTON – Jan. 9, 2017 – Lower costs are coming for homebuyers seeking a Federal Housing Administration-insured (FHA) mortgage. FHA announced that it's cutting annual premiums for mortgage insurance from 0.85 percent to 0.60 percent, a move the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) says breathes new life into the program. With FHA loans, buyers pay mortgage insurance to protect FHA's funding in exchange for down payments as low as 3 percent. "FHA mortgage products exist to serve an important mission: providing homeownership...Continue Reading!

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South Florida’s newest road hazard: toll scammers

Debra Spadafora

By: Alfonso Chardy  achardy@elnuevoherald.com If you received a letter from something called Toll Enforcement, LLC, demanding payment for overdue highway tolls, ignore it. It’s a flim-flam. The official-looking warning letters began arriving in the mail last week to dozens, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people. The Final Warning Notices instruct recipients to send a cashier’s check or money order for $57 to an address near Doral as payment for outstanding tolls of $7 —plus a $50 fee. Do it, the letter warns,...Continue Reading!

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Tax Reform Proposal Would Dramatically Alter Housing Landscape

Debra Spadafora

The comprehensive tax reform discussion draft that House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., released yesterday envisions a very different picture for home owners than what’s in place today. In a statement about the plan, NAR President Steve Brown says the association is concerned with many of the proposals. “Proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local property taxes ... will impact every single American, either directly or...Continue Reading!

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The Time Has Come To Spring Forward

Debra Spadafora

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In a sleep deprived nation, we’re all about to lose a little more as Daylight Saving Time arrives Sunday. This means the daylight will begin later in the morning and the sun will set later in the evening. So this is your reminder: Before going to bed Saturday night, move your clocks and watches forward by one hour or risk being an hour late to Sunday church or other activities. The lost hour will return Sunday, November 6th, when...Continue Reading!

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Scammers find twist on old timeshare-resale trick

Debra Spadafora

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 31, 2013 – Travis Young got ripped off by a company that claimed it would unload his timeshare for a price. Then a scammer called with a new twist on the old con. “John Anthony” told Young that he worked for the fraud unit at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and would get Young’s money back. The catch? Young had to wire $390 to the state for lawyers’ fees. Instead, Young...Continue Reading!

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