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The above video is Wynton Marsalis and Wycliffe Gordon “dueling” from their hotel windows. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t get much better than this. If you’d liked to experience some great Jazz this weekend, then the annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday should suffice. Special guest tonight: Tony Bennett.

Also, for those of you who haven’t been to Clearwater, FL lately, and would like to learn more about the real estate opportunities, visit Jack and Cyndee Hayden’s website: Sandbars to Sunsets.  They recently posted about the wonderful Sand Pearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. (one of my favorite places.)

That’s it, enjoy the Jazz Holiday Weekend…

  -Tony Marks   Becoming Famous, 1 Mortgage at a Time.



What’s so funny about this recent picture, captured from a recent ALCS playoff game between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays?

Well, if you’re a Rays fan, (and I am), then it’s pretty amazing how lucky this fan was to catch a home run ball, hit by a Rays player, in Boston’s Fenway Park during the playoffs. Think about the odds of this scenario just 6 short months ago! I think this guy is pretty darn lucky. So, are the Tampa Bay Rays lucky too? Did they achieve this success, so abrubtly, so quickly, without luck? Or was it effort, tenacity and hardwork?

I’m a devoted fan of the Rays; have been for the past 8 years. I’m also a devoted fan of Seth Godin , a marketing guru, and innovator. He’s recently written about “effort” in his blog, and it applies to all of us. Look at the success of the Rays. Now look at the success of your career, can you become the next Ray of your industry? Can you become the next one to catch a home run ball?

Here’s Seth Godin’s post: enjoy.

People really want to believe effort is a myth, at least if we consider what we consume in the media:

  • politicians and beauty queens who get by on a smile and a wink
  • lottery winners who turn a lifetime of lousy jobs into one big payday
  • sports stars who are born with skills we could never hope to acquire
  • hollywood celebrities with the talent of being in the right place at the right time
  • failed CEOs with $40 million buyouts

It really seems (at least if you read popular media) that who you know and whether you get ‘picked’ are the two keys to success. Luck.

The thing about luck is this: we’re already lucky. We’re insanely lucky that we weren’t born during the black plague or in a country with no freedom. We’re lucky that we’ve got access to highly-leveraged tools and terrific opportunities. If we set that luck aside, though, something interesting shows up.

Delete the outliers–the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we’re left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success. Not all the time, but as much as you would expect. Smarter, harder working, better informed and better liked people do better than other people, most of the time.

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it’s more fun not to. Paying forward when there’s no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You’ve heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it’s easier to bet on luck.

If people aren’t betting on luck, then why do we make so many dumb choices? Why aren’t useful books selling at fifty times the rate they sell now? Why does anyone, ever, watch reality TV shows? Why do people do such dumb stuff with their money?

I think we’ve been tricked by the veneer of lucky people on the top of the heap. We see the folks who manage to skate by, or who get so much more than we think they deserve, and it’s easy to forget that:

a. these guys are the exceptions
b. there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.

And that’s the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don’t get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is totally available, all the time.

This is a hard sell. Diet books that say, “eat less, exercise more,” may work, but they don’t sell many copies.

With that forewarning, here’s a bootstrapper’s/marketer’s/entrepreneur’s/fast-rising executive’s effort diet. Go through the list and decide whether or not it’s worth it. Or make up your own diet. Effort is a choice, at least make it on purpose:

1. Delete 120 minutes a day of ‘spare time’ from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

  • Exercise for thirty minutes.
  • Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
  • Send three thank you notes.
  • Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
  • Volunteer.
  • Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
  • Give a speech once a month about something you don’t currently know a lot about.

3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don’t, you’d have a wider network and you’d be more focused.

It’s entirely possible that this won’t be sufficient, and you will continue to need better luck. But it’s a lot more likely you’ll get lucky, I bet.

 Thanks Seth Godin.   -Tony Marks 727-698-7264    marksmortgage@gmail.com


I believe in the 80/20 Rule: 20% are doing 80% of the business.

If you’re still successful in the current real estate market, then you’re part of the 20%; and you’ve worked hard to stay there.  I’ve been fortunate to stay in the business since 2000, and I don’t plan on a new career any time soon. In fact, sales are up. Way up for a 3 month period. Sales practically doubled if you compare (March-May) to (June-August).  

I stay in the top 20% with FHA and VA Loans:

Everyone knows First Time Homebuyers are driving home sales. And with most First Time Homebuyers, an experienced Mortgage Broker with strong bank/wholesale relationships is crucial.

Communication is Important to You (and me):

There’s no way to have a successful transaction in this rapidly changing market without communication. How do you survive without a Blackberry?

Networking and Knowledge go Hand in Hand:

You can learn a lot from colleagues and fellow professionals. Web 2.0 makes us stronger.  I use Trulia, Linkedin, and my Blog: Almostfamousformortgages.com to keep up with networking and to learn how to improve my business.  



Let’s Work Together:  Cell: 727-698-7264            Email: marksmortgage@gmail.com



 On October 4th, Rinaldo Brutoco, President of Worldbusiness.org, will be a guest on Deepak Chopra’s Sirius Radio show. The topic will be “Economic Solutions.” Below is an excerpt of Rinaldo Brutoco:

The fundamental problem with Wall Street is not greed, but rather that it forgot the reason business exists.The origination of business was likely started a individual who  saw an opportunity to be of service  by offering to bring the excess crops of one farmer to the other and to receive as payment a portion of what he conveyed. That is the fundamental role of business in society: to be of service to society. The World Business Academy has been publishing it’s belief that the purpose of corporations is not to make a profit. The purpose of any business enterprise, and that would include business organizations that populate Wall Street, is to provide some service or material goods that society needs. Profit is there as a necessary component of the transaction, but when it is seen as the only reason, we inevitably lose our way as we have today. Gambling and speculation may be something that society can afford to tolerate, but not something society can afford to have as its central economic model. Success in life as well as success in business lies in the conscious participation of the  expression of abundance and creativity, not merely for one’s own sake, but for others in society. This model  of reward primarily through service rather than money is rooted in the truth that there is enough for everyone and  that no one is better than, nor lower than anyone else. The   question   is how we live this definition of success while watching our material world implode. If the answer lies in investment in green technologies, education and  infrastructure, then the next question is: How will you pay for all this when  so much money has already been committed to rescuing the financial institutions and credit markets?   In fact, by intelligently leaving Iraq and  reducing the military budget, along with judicious investment in wisdom-based economies, investment in education, universal healthcare,  and our infrastructure, the American economy  can actually create  more money than these investments will cost us in initial outlay. Re-creating our economy along the lines of this definition of  success will generate a level of wealth in the US that will be a hundred times greater than the explosion of wealth that the US has experienced since the end of World War II. It is ironic that greater material wealth will be created by adopting a non-greed definition of success but that is exactly what happens as a direct result of our collective decision to put important matters of humanity and the planet first. How does this happen? It happens as a direct result of making better choices so that we see our economic activity as being in service to each of us and to society as a whole. When we make better choices, business will begin to serve those choices as the most efficient way to thrive. Business in service to society.  For years I have stated publicly that I have never heard of, read about, or personally experienced any problem that human society faces for which we don’t already have all the resources and technology at our disposal to resolve. All that is lacking is our individual and collective will to resolve the challenge. This applies to overpopulation, global climate change, poverty, disease, and war. All that is lacking is our will to bring about this different paradigm of abundance and mutual success. And that begins with each of us accepting a new personal definition of success from which to experience all the difficulties we confront.The time to do this is now. The current bailout, is a band-aid. It is very important that we adopt it or something like it or society will bleed to death before we can make the fundamental changes to our society that will actually heal the broken economic system that we have. The pending bailout only buys us time. As soon as it becomes law we must put ourselves immediately to the task of re-building our entire economic system from one that was characterized as “trickle down” to one that I would characterize as “trickle up.” In a “trickle up” system we take care of ourselves and our neighbors by putting affordable housing, education, healthcare, meaningful employment, peace as a core commitment, and true success as our goals. The speed at which the economic system is unraveling is mind numbing. This much speculation has to be brought under control carefully. We need to let the air out of the balloon slowly rather than have it pop. Adopting the bailout bill by itself will solve none of the fundamental, underlying, structural flaws in our economy. It will, however, buy us the time to address those flaws from a new level of consciousness and social policy. That is the short and long-term solution. Rinaldo will be joining Deepak live on Sirius Radio tomorrow (October 4th) to discuss the economy.  


As many of you know, Trulia.com is a great place to start your real estate search. Generally, I look at volume of sales, as opposed to actual percentage of value/price increase/decrease. Reason being, not all sales are created equal; many are in distress, (divorce or death), others are going into foreclosures or short-sales, and then there’s your good old fashion, clean, “everybody wins” sales.  But, no matter the type of sale, they all contribute to value, and since I’ve been in the industry for years, I know that value can go up, and down.

So, to my point, (and this is where first time homebuyers should take notice), sales are up for my area. Volume is up. Quantity of sales is up. However you want to word it, the number of purchase transactions from June/08 – August/08 has increased considerably compared to the previous three months. Obviously, depending on your locality, there may be differences, but that’s where Trulia.com can help. Personalize your real estate data by using Trulia’s “Stats and Trends” function. Simply type in your city and instantly get every stat and trend you can think of. For me, it’s the number of sales that’s most important. So, if you’re a first time home buyer sitting on the fence and waiting for the right time to buy, take notice: Number of Sales have doubled since (March/May) to (June/Aug) in each of the corresponding areas shown below:

 Here’s a break down of my local areas, first one being Tampa, FL: (Click on graph to see full size)

Now, here’s Saint Petersburg, FL: (Click on graph to see full size)

Lastly, here’s Clearwater, FL. (Click on graph to see full size)

 Sales are up. First Time Homebuyers, don’t wait until sales prices jump as well. WIth FHA finacing we can still get you approved for as little as 3% out of pocket and a low fixed rate. Call me today at (727) 698-7264 or email me at marksmortgage@gmail.com  to learn more.   -Tony Marks

Thanks to Trulia.com

 …to buy a home!

Uncle Sam has been working to come up with incentives to help stimulate the current housing market. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 has a few incentives designed to help you, the homeowner or future homeowner, get back into the housing market. On July 30, George W. Bush signed into law the Housing Stimulus Bill H.R. 3221, as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The focal point of the bill is a $7,500. tax credit for eligible First Time Homebuyers. Call me, 727-698-7264, or email me at marksmortgage@gmail.com to learn more. Meanwhile, here’s “Question and Answer” from HUD/Government Website:

Q:  How will the law help struggling homeowners keep their homes?
  Through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an estimated 400,000 borrowers in danger of losing their homes will be able to refinance into more affordable government-insured mortgages.  The program offers government insurance to lenders who voluntarily reduce mortgages for at-risk homeowners to at least 90% of the property’s current value. 

Q:  When will the program begin?
A:  The program will begin on October 1, 2008 and sunset on September 30, 2011.  Homeowners in danger of losing their homes before October 1, however, should not wait to contact their loan servicers and should begin applying for federally insured mortgages now.

Q:  Who is eligible?
  To be eligible to participate in this program, a borrower must:

  • Have a loan on an owner-occupied principal residence.  Investors, speculators, or borrowers who own second homes cannot participate in this program.
  • Have a monthly mortgage payment greater than at least 31 percent of the borrower’s total monthly income, as of March 1, 2008.
  • Certify that he or she has not intentionally defaulted on an existing mortgage, and did not obtain the existing loan fraudulently.
  • Not have been convicted of fraud.

Q:  How can a homeowner access this new program?
A:  Homeowners or a servicer of an existing eligible loan need to contact an FHA-approved lender.  The FHA-approved lender will determine the size of a loan that a borrower can reasonably repay and that meets the requirements of the program.  If the current lender or mortgage holder agrees to write-down the amount of the existing mortgage and make the new loan affordable, the FHA lender will pay off the discounted existing mortgage.  Loans provided under this program must be 30-year fixed rate loans.

Q:  Are lenders required to participate in this program?
A:  No.  The program is completely voluntary for lenders, investors, loan servicers, and borrowers.

Q:  How does this law help neighborhoods that have been hit by the foreclosure crisis?
A:  The impact of the current crisis has not been isolated to individual borrowers or investors, but has been felt broadly by neighbors, communities, and governments across the nation.  The law strengthens neighborhoods hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis by providing $3.9 billion in Community Development Block Grants to states and localities to buy foreclosed homes standing empty, rehabilitate foreclosed properties, and stabilize the housing market. 

Q:  Will this law be a bailout for speculators, homeowners, investors, and lenders?
A:  No. It is narrowly tailored to keep families in their homes.  For example:

  • Only primary residences are eligible: NO speculators, investment properties, second or third homes will be refinanced.
  • Investors and lenders must take big losses first in order even to participate.  The owner of the old mortgage can get a maximum of 90% of the current value of the home (which presumably will be considerably less than the value of the original loan).  In many cases the loss will be significantly greater, but 10% is the minimum. 
  • In addition, lenders must waive any penalties or fees, and help pay for the origination and closing costs of the new loans.
  • Most homeowners will have seen the equity in their homes disappear before being able to refinance under this program.  In addition, the FHA will get a portion of any future profits on the house, to make sure the government recoups its investment over the long run.

Q:  Will this law reward families who bought homes they could not afford?
A:  Many homeowners facing foreclosure were misled, were deceived, or were in other ways the victims of unfair lending practices. 
To prevent future abuses by lenders, this law will establish a nationwide loan originator licensing and registration system to set minimum standards for all residential mortgage brokers and lenders.  It also strengthens mortgage disclosure requirements to help ensure that borrowers understand their mortgage loan terms.

Q:  How will this law make it more affordable to own a home?
A:  There are a number of provisions that will make homeownership more affordable:

  • Creates a refundable tax credit for first-time homebuyers that works like an interest-free loan of up to $7,500 (to be paid back over 15 years).
  • Grants states $11 billion of additional tax-exempt bond authority in 2008 that they can use to refinance subprime loans, make loans to first-time homebuyers and to finance the building of affordable rental housing.
  • Raises conforming loan limits for the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $625,500.  Because of the high cost of housing in California, a majority of the state’s residents were previously shut out from these programs.  Raising these loan limits will lead to lower interest rates on some loans, greater refinancing opportunities, and enable more borrowers in high cost areas to avoid the type of nontraditional and frequently abusive loans that led to the current crisis.
  • Provides couples using the standard deduction with up to an additional $1,000 deduction for property taxes ($500 for individuals).

Q:  Does the law provide help to those who still cannot afford to own a home?
A: Yes.  The bill includes a number of provisions to increase the supply of affordable housing, which has been a major problem in California pre-dating the current foreclosure crisis.  For example:

  • The bill creates a new permanent affordable housing trust fund – financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and not by taxpayers – to fund the construction, maintenance and preservation of affordable rental housing for low and very low-income individuals and families nationwide in both rural and urban areas. 
  • In addition, the legislation provides a temporary increase in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and simplification of the credit to help put builders to work to create new options for families seeking affordable housing alternatives

  I recognize the fact that many homeowner’s today have been abandoned by their Lenders, Mortgage Brokers, or Loan Officers. I refer to homeowner’s who haven’t heard from their broker or lender, as “Orphaned Mortgages”. In other words, now that business isn’t booming for many mortgage professionals, they’ve left the industry, or have simply gone “out of business”.  So who would you call for questions or advice regarding your mortgage? Well, you can call a “call center” and wait on hold, or you can have your mortgage adopted by my company, (I’ve recently co-founded), Marks & Marks Financial, and we’ll give you the personal attention you deserve.

My Mortgage Adoption Program is FREE and doesn’t require refinancing. I’ll simply review your mortgage, and offer advice on how to manage your debt. Beyond that, we’re here to answer any questions you may have about your housing debt. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, we’ll include you in our “Rate Watcher” program at no extra charge, to help you monitor and determine the best time to refinance out of your ARM. Furthermore, we have over 25 years of collective experience, and can help you purchase a new home, take out equity, or restructure your home loan.

Mortgage Adoption is a new concept with genuine intentions. We realize that with over 200 lenders closing their doors, or downsizing in the past year, many of you are without a real personal contact to help you manage your mortgage. At Marks & Marks Financial we’re family owned and operated and have taken the necessary steps to navigate through the downturn in our industry. It’s with this dedication to serving our current database, that we decided to create the Mortgage Adoption Program.

So if you need your mortgage adopted, or if you have friends for family who can’t find their mortgage broker, “Get Adopted” by me, at Marks & Marks Financial.

To Get Your Mortgage Adopted:

Email the following to marksmortgage@gmail.com

1. First and Last Name

2. Phone number

3. Address or Zip Code

Email Marks & Marks: marksmortgage@gmail.com

Thank you,

-Tony Marks

“Becoming Famous One Mortgage at a Time.”


cheesewedge_350.jpegAs of March, 2008, FHA Loan Limit Caps have been increased. The new loan limits allow loan amounts as high as $729,750 for one-unit properties,(high-cost areas), and they open up additional home financing opportunities for consumers.

The maximum loan limits vary by geographic area. To determine the current FHA loan limit for your area, visit HUD’s Web site at: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm

Government Cheese gets a bad rap. Let’s face it, when someone says “Government Cheese“, they’re not being complimentary. In fact, beyond putting down your choice in cheese products, they’re often referring to “living on Government cheese”or government assistance to those who are in need of financial help. (As if that were a bad thing.) But I’m here to tell you future homeowners and homeowners alike, ”FHA: is not your government cheese.”

Ok, first things first. The history of the Federal Housing Administration is actually quite interesting. But, for the sake of this post, I’m just going to highlight some facts…

  • Congress created the Federal Housing Administration in 1934.
  • At the time when FHA was created the housing industry was in shambles. You needed 50% down, and the lending terms were difficult to meet.
  • Less than 40% of households were homeowners. (compared to 68% in 2001).

It was obvious in 1934 why we needed a Federal Housing Administration, but what exactly is the FHA? And why is it relevant now? The FHA provides insurance on loans made by approved FHA lenders. Basically, in a nutshell, FHA is one gigantic insurance company. Because FHA is willing to insure, banks can lend with less risk. Over the past 5 years, (at least), we haven’t needed to use FHA insured loans because regular conventional mortgages were easy to obtain, and there wasn’t much risk. (so we thought.) Now, we’re seeing a tightening, or a “credit crunch”, and banks are less willing to bear the risk on certain mortgages.

FHA is relevant again! (and to the rescue.)

  • FHA requires a minimum cash investment of only 3% and in some cases will insure loans for borrowers who have no funds of their own.
  • Borrower’s can have little or no traditional credit references, and need not to have impeccable credit.
  • If you’re a parent, you can help purchase a home for your child by being a non-occupant co-borrower.
  • FHA can be used for purchases and Rate/Term Refinances. (CASH-OUT Refinances limited to 95% LTV).
  • 30, 25, 20, & 15 year Fixed mortgages available.

“Say Cheese”.  I could go on and on about FHA and how it is a viable choice for homeowners. Today’s conventional mortgage market is credit score driven and it’s all about limiting risk for banks. Fact is, FHA isn’t your government cheese; it’s government cheese for lenders. So why not take advantage?


It’s gone seemingly unnoticed over the past couple of weeks due to the holidays, time of year, etc., but we’ve gone from mid 6’s to: 5.75% on a 30 Year Fixed Mortgage. (as of 1/09/2008)

UPDATE: January 22, 2008: Federal Reserve announced a unprecedented 3/4% Rate Cut prior to their upcoming scheduled fed meeting. This suprised many, and resulted in an early morning sell off of the Dow to an alarming -400 points. The good news, (if there is any), is that we’re now at 5.5% for a 30 year mortgage.  I stand by my position of locking in your rate. Probably not the best quote, but: “The pigs get fatter; the hogs get slaughtered.”  Very few, if anyone, forecasted rates this low.  -Tony Marks

Considering risk vs. reward, the risk of mortgage rates rising after the Fed meeting Jan. 30th far outweighs the reward of locking in 5.75%.

If you have a mortgage application or are waiting for the right time to refinance your Adjustable Rate Mortgage, the time is now.

-Tony Marks

727-698-7264  marksmortgage@gmail.com

tony1.jpg As most of you know, I personally never dealt with subprime business. At First Horizon Home Loans, (my previous employer), we had a process of passing “subprime” borrowers to a specialized “alternative” credit department. Simply put, these loans would be shopped/brokered to subprime lenders. (all of which are now out of business). There were plenty of times I felt like I was losing income, or missing out on opportunities. (Customers were closing loans with other lenders, and I was left shaking my head. “How was that possible? There’s no way they could afford that loan.” ) But, in the end, I’m very thankful for staying the course, maintaining integrity, and providing ethical business. It’s with this clear conscience, I look forward to 2008. Here’s the link to the article: SUBPRIME

-Tony Marks  727-698-7264   marksmortgage@gmail.com

Hello, it’s time for a guest post from a well known Realtor, Jackie Colson-Miller of Keller Williams,  Author of the popular Tampa Bay blog: “Real Estate Sizzle”.   For any potential real estate buyers in the Tampa area, Jackie comes highly recommended. Enjoy the post. -Tony Marks


The Tampa Bay Area is experiencing the the most incredible “Buyer’s Market” in over 10 years.  It recently made the list of “Top Ten Buyers Markets” by Forbes.com.

So, if you are a Buyer in the Tampa Bay Market, what can you do to make sure you are making a wise home-buying decision?

1. Hire a Buyer’s Agent – Don’t attempt to navigate the process yourself.  An experienced real estate agent has up-to-the-minute recent sales figures to guide you in getting the best home, at the best price.  Since the agent’s commission is generally paid by the seller, there is NO reason to be without good representation.

2. Understand the price trends in certain neighborhoods. In some areas sales remain steady. In others, prices and sales are down more than 30% over last year.  If you are planning to be in your home less than 5 years, or there is the possibility that you may relocate, be sure to buy in a neighborhood with a steady sales record.

3. Know Your Credit Score -You credit score and credit history are more important than ever. The tighter underwriting guidelines have changed the type of loan programs you may qualify for. Most buyers can still obtain financing, but there may be more documentation required, or a larger down payment.  The higher your score, the wider your loan options will be.

4. Get Pre-Approved by a Lender.  Along with knowing your credit score,  getting a pre-approval letter from a lender will strengthen an offer when you start to negotiate. 

HINT: If your lender “qualifies”  you for a specific amount, i.e. $300,000, ask for several letters, one for $300,000, one for $275,000 and another for $250,000.  Why?  Because if you make an offer of $250,000, on a $300,000 home, you don’t want the seller to know that you can afford the $300,000 price, or you lose your  leverage in negotiating!

5. Make an offer. -Any offer.  In this market, a smart buyer will not wait until the prices start to recover.  Your agent can advise you about how long a property has been on the market and how motivated the seller may be to look at any offer. You can ask the seller to help pay some of your closing costs.  Is the roof over 12 years old? You may negotiate a new one.  An aging A/C system?  The sellers may be willing to negotiate, depending on their circumstances.  You won’t know,
until you try. But, if you wait until the prices are back on the upswing, you will pay a higher price AND have less negotiating room.

What are you waiting for??

Copyrights: Jackie Colson-Miller “Real Estate Sizzle”. Nov. 2007

tony1.jpg Hello Everyone,

I’m excited to announce my complete dedication to “brokering” loans from now on. As many of you know, I’ve worked for a bank for the past 6 years, and although this experience has been phenomenal, the new mortgage market arena requires more diversity, and therefore, more independenceHow does this change affect you? Well, I’ve had the ability to broker loans the entire time, but now I have access to improved pricing, and I’m set up with just about any bank/lender you can think of. Better pricing? More creative solutions? It’s a win-win for all of us.

For all of my “First Horizon Bank” customers, don’t fret. I’ve enjoyed many years of managing your accounts, and will continue to do everything I can to ensure your mortgages are secured and properly adjusted to your financial needs.

For all of my City of Clearwater Employees, I will continue to be a recommended source for your mortgage needs. All discounted coupons will be honored.

Finally, for the time being, all questions and concerns should be directed to: marksmortgage@gmail.com and phone calls should go to my direct line: 727-698-7264.

P.S. Thanks to all of you who have already called or emailed to congratulate me on my new move! I’m continually grateful for everyone’s support!

-Tony Marks

 Becoming Famous, 1 Mortgage at a Time.

Almost Famous for Mortgages is excited to introduce Realtor Janis Gagliardi, Author of “The Port Orange Juice”,  a leading real estate blog gaining popularity for industry insights and community news. “Thanks” to Janis and her team at The Port Orange Juice for the following posting:

Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear; I’m here to tell you what you need to hear.”
If you are thinking about selling your home you  have probably spoken to several real estate agents. The agent comes to your home and  provides a market analysis which is an opinion of price. Usually, these opinions are all different but there’s a high one in the mix and that one sounds really impressive to you! Should you hire the agent that prices you above the market?

Most of us value our homes highly because we all get a little egocentric about our assets!  We think we have the best home on the block!! So you list your home higher than the homes in your area and after 30 to 45 days on the market you decide to lower your price because you haven’t had any showings. By this time, any buyers probably have moved on to something else because you were priced 10K higher than others in your community.  The house around the corner sells because it was priced to sell!

Don’t chase the market!!! In this market you have to price your home at just below market value. You don’t want to be the one to say, “I can’t sell my house.” It will sell if it is priced right!! Price your home right from the beginning and you’ll most likely have more initial activity and the potential for multiple offers. The first 30 days are the most important so do your best to price correctly from the start.684401_buy_a_house
Tips For Sellers:

  • Don’t list on the high side. You’ll chase the homes in your neighborhood as they lower their prices to try and sell. Let them chase after you!
  • Sell now and take advantage of being a buyer! What you may lose on the selling side is often compensated on the buying side!
  • Do not get involved in a weekly price reduction.  Just suck it up and reduce to the right price!
  • Mum’s the word on why you’re selling. Don’t advertise  “Price reduced ” or “motivated seller.”  This screams out trouble and compromises your situation and makes you look desperate. Revealing your motivation to sell your home almost always gives the buyer a stonger negotiating advantage.
  • Shop the competition on the market!


trulia-real-estate-search-home.gif     In an earlier post, “Pepsi or Coca-Cola?”, I discussed the arrival of Trulia, and the changing of guard from the old school online real estate resources, to the new Web 2.0 versions of social networking platforms.  For those unfamiliar with “Web 2.0”, it’s really just the evolution of how we use the internet for social networking and business networking. Think MySpace or Facebook, and you pretty much have Web 2.0 platforms. For my industry, you have Trulia and Zillow  as examples of web 2.0 platforms. If you’re a homebuyer or homeowner, you should take advantage of these sites. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet and asked a few questions, or read a few of the “Trulia Answers”, you can take your new found knowledge and contact your local Realtor to help you take the next step. For specific mortgage questions, or help choosing a qualified Realtor, contact me directly for immediate responses: marksmortgage@gmail.com

Here’s an article by Michael V. Copeland and Tom McNichol, Business 2.0 Magazine:

“Tap the Wisdom of Pros”

The rise of online services like Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin loosened the real estate industry’s stranglehold on property information. Now these sites are adding Web 2.0-style social-networking features to further democratize the buying and selling process.

Perhaps the best of the Web 2.0 apps is Trulia Voices. Launched in May, it’s something like a Yahoo Answers for real estate. Questions about local housing trends are submitted by home sellers and buyers, and answers are provided, for the most part, by real estate agents. “It taps into a deep knowledge base about local real estate that’s already out there,” says Trulia CEO Pete Flint. “Today, people are asking more questions.”

The housing downturn has made buyers and sellers even hungrier for information about their local market, while prompting previously Web-phobic real estate agents to offer free advice in the hope of attracting clients. Questions range from “Should I increase the buyer’s agent’s commission?” to “In what neighborhood are the best elementary schools?” Experts are ranked according to who provides the most relevant answers as judged by the participants. “The real estate industry has been late to adopt technology,” Flint says, “but now we’re seeing a real turnaround.”