Your home is your castle, not an ATM machine!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Tomorrow, I’m placing a home on the market, that is going to require a short sale. Seems like I’m getting an awful lot of these lately. This is one where I just don’t understand what some folks are thinking. Nice young family, who were first time homebuyers just about 2 years ago. They bought a great little house, new construction, and they only paid $135,000 for it in November of 2004. This was right before our big increase in prices that happened in Poinciana in early 2005. So when I made my appointment with them, earlier this week, I assumed they would be in a pretty good equity position. Even if they had purchased with 100% financing, which they did, they would still be able to receive a sizeable amount of money at closing. Based on my preliminary analysis, the property is worth between $225,000 and $235,000. That’s some real good appreciation for 25 months of ownership. After expenses they should be looking at around $70,000 to $75,000 in their pockets. That’s a lot of money for a young family.

Well, when I met with them, I was shocked to find out they currently owe $225,000 on this house! How the heck did that happen? From what they told me, when they moved into the house they wanted to fix it up and furnish it real nice, so about six months after moving in, they refinanced and pulled out the equity that had built up when prices started skyrocketing. They used this money to purchase the things they wanted. New furniture, TVs and all the other items that a young family think they need. What they didn’t count on was hitting a financial bump in the road about 9 months later. But they weren’t too concerned since they kept getting all these mailers from mortgage companies in the mail promising them more money.

The temptation, being too much, they decided to call one of the mortgage companies and have a salesman came out to see how he could “help” them. They said he was a real nice guy and he told them they could put a second mortgage on their house for $65,000. He was also nice enough to let them know, that the way houses are appreciating, that after a few months, they could refinance again and get rid of the second mortgage. He said “Don’t worry about the high rate, once you refinance the payments will come back down to what you can afford. You can use the $65,000 to make payments in the meantime.”

What a great guy! They can now get that new car they want and buy more nice things for their three young children. They told themselves, “It’s not a big deal. We know we will get jobs real soon and then we can just refinance like the nice man said. This homeownership is really awesome! It’s like having our very own ATM machine.”

Fast forward to this week. I met with them and they are in dire straights. Husband just started work a couple of months ago and the wife has still not been able to find work, since she is too busy, taking care of three small children. They have enough money to make two more mortgage payments and then they are done.

So, tomorrow, I am placing the house on the market at $225,000 and I will be trying to negotiate a short sale.

These folks are in their late twenties. Instead of selling the house and using their, what would have been, $70,000 equity to purchase a better and bigger home for their children, they are now looking at possibly being foreclosed on and in the best case scenario, ruining their credit for years to come. It is sad but it’s largely self inflicted. They made a mistake and they know it. They’re not bad people they were just weak in the face of easy money and instant gratification. Now they must pay the price. I hope I can get them through this with the least amount of stress possible. I hope they have learned a valuable lesson. I hope they move forward from this and are able to get it together. I hope all their new furniture looks good in their new apartment. I hope they don’t read this post.

Moral of the story: Your home is your castle, not an ATM machine.

Please don’t put Broker Bryant in the garbage!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK, so you'll like this one. I send out quite a few post cards every month. They are jumbo, high gloss and usually have something humorous or seasonal on the front. I've been doing this for years.

Anyway, yesterday while I was sitting around, "working" on ActiveRain, I received a call from what sounded like a little old lady. She said "Hi, is this Broker Bryant?" Me,"Yes mam. How can I help you" She replied, "I'm cleaning house today and before I forget, I just wanted to call you and let you know that I receive your post cards all the time. They are always so different. Most of the cards I get are the same and have pictures of houses on them. Yours are always so nice and I just wanted to call you and let you know that…………… before I throw them away!" Go figure.

Maybe I should change my picture.

The consumer speaks. Do we listen?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK I have an interesting one today. Following is an Email I received from a consumer, via Active Rain. I have already responded but thought it would be interesting to hear how you would handle this situation. Here it is:

Broker Bryant,

We just got back from the home inspection for our new home and some pretty big issues have come up and I need some advice from someone I trust….you.

Here they are: 

The house is listed on the MLS as a 4 bedroom house. The Sellers are using one "bedroom" as an office, which is fine……except it does NOT have a closet. I thought there was a small closet in the corner of the room, when we first toured, but could not be sure because of the furniture. I screwed up by "assuming" but didn't want to move their decor around to be sure. Turns out it was a decorated room divider. Where the closet should have been, when it was built, the recess in the wall was changed into a large bookcase. That's fine as well…..but it cannot be called/considered a bedroom w/o a closet. Isn't that true? Doesn't one less bedroom affect value?

2) On the MLS are listed features of the interior. First on the list is "central vacuum system". When the inspector was there he could not find it so he asked ME! We looked around, and sure enough, there's not one.

I don't mind people making mistakes, but there's a pattern developing…..

On her web site she listed the house as 1.5 stories which I brought to my agent's attention and we both laughed….simply a mistake. Now, when we truly get down to it…..these two come to light.

I have a 10 day option so I can cancel the whole deal and only be out my expenses for the inspection and $100 to the seller so that's no big deal.

My questions are:

Is this ethical of the listing agent?
What are my options other than cancel and begin my search again?
How would you handle it?

I had my agent talk with the listing agent's office to express my displeasure and concern and the response was "Oops, I made a mistake". I told my agent to call them back and tell them that's not good enough! I don't appreciate people pissing on my leg and telling me it's raining…..know what I mean?

If you could see your way to give me some advice and direction, I'd certainly appreciate it. Your name will NEVER be mentioned; you have my word. If you'd rather not comment, I completely understand….no problem. After my realtor experiences, I don't know what's going on over there. My agent is little more than a mouthpiece and doesn't press my position….period.

Lastly, could I, and would you, file a complaint with the real estate commission?

Now folks, I'm posting this because I want to get your feedback on what advice you would give this consumer. So have at it. I will post my response tomorrow.


Broker Bryant's advice. Sound or foolish? 



I’m going to sell me a house!!! PART DEUX

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK folks, first, I promise there is NO singing in this video. Now, if you haven’t read my previous post I’m going to sell me a house” I”ll wait… la la la la…OK you back? Folks, I think this video below will sum up my weekend. I hope you enjoy it!!! And this is all I have to say about this matter. Maybe.


Now wasn’t that fun?

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

American Home Mortgage…..what do we do now?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Today, for the first time in a very long time, I actually have three post topics floating around in my head!!!! The first one I was going to write today was a follow up to "Are you hulking up your business plan". I had said I would write a post outlining things you can do to improve your business that do not cost much time or money. I promise to write this post later this week. Today, I'm going to be a little self indulgent instead.

I woke up this morning with some questions on my mind and I want to try to get some answers from you guys. I know a lot about listing and selling properties but have to say I lack in my knowledge of the mortgage business. So this is where I need help.

Just about everyday I get phone calls from folks wanting me to list their properties. As always, I start the conversation with some qualifying questions i.e. When did you purchase the property? How much did you pay? How much do you owe? Are you current on your payments? And, Who are your lien holders? More times than not the answers are not good. We bought it 14 months ago. We paid $285,000(it's now worth $225,000). We are three months behind on our payments. We have a 1st with Countrywide and a 2nd with American Home Mortgage.

Now folks, I'm very good at what I do BUT I can't perform miracles so, I pass on the majority of these listings and tell them they need to speak with an Attorney. I have however listed a few of these in the hopes of being able to negotiate a short sale. And that brings me to my questions.

As we know, American Home Mortgage just went belly up. I've read a few press releases on this, this morning, trying to figure out how this affects my Sellers. All I can find is "Current mortgage customers will not be affected". Well OK then. All is well with the world. But………………

  • Real life example #1. One of my pre-foreclosure/short sale Sellers had just agreed, about 10 days ago, to give American Home Mortgage a "Deed in lieu of foreclosure". Well the obvious question is…How is he affected? Can AHM, now that they have filed bankruptcy and are insolvent, still accept his DILOF? I don't have a clue.
  • Real life example #2: Countrywide, as the first lien holder, has just started foreclosure on another of my listings. The 2nd lien holder, again, is AHM. My Seller received foreclosure papers from AHM this week and has 20 days to respond. Well…what does he do now? Does the fall out of AHM buy him more time?

Now a bigger question looms in my head. When is Countrywide going down? My market was big time sub prime territory and just about everyone I speak with has a Countrywide mortgage. Heck, I've got two of them myself. It's my understanding that CW was doing a whole bunch of 80/20s and then selling the 2nds to AHM. Almost all of the builders in Poinciana use/used CW. There were 1,000s of new homes sold in Poinciana from late 2004 to late 2006 using CW mortgage. ALL of these properties are now worth anywhere from 20% to 35% less. If Poinciana is any indicator then CW is going to be in a whole heap of financial trouble by the beginning of 2008.

So there you have it, inquiring minds want to know. I've given you some questions, do you have the answers? I sure don't.

*** Image compliments of Rich Schiffer. Thanks Rich!!

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings



Hey…..I’m not a softy!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 So let me ask you this: Are you one of those REALTORS® that throws money at a problem to make it go away? You know what I'm talking about. You're sitting at the closing table and the Buyer is refusing to close because the Seller didn't complete the repairs and the Seller ain't budging. Don't you hate it when that happens? You've worked your butt off for the Seller to get to the table and now the deal is getting ready to collapse over a $1,000 repair item.

Of course, the Buyer's agent was smart and stayed home. I guess they thought if they weren't at the closing and couldn't be reached, they wouldn't have to spend any money to get this sucka closed. You know, there's a lot of truth to this thought. "It's a late Friday closing, if they can't reach me they'll solve the problem and get it closed."

So here I am sitting at the closing table with a deal getting ready to fall apart. The agent can't be found, the Buyer and Seller are standing firm and playing hard ball. What do you do?

I'll tell you what I do, I solve the problem and get the deal closed. Usually by eating a $1,000 of my commission. I know what your thinking: "Broker Bryant that's weak. It's their problem why are you throwing your hard earned money at the deal to get it closed? It's not your responsibility."

Well, that is a valid point so let's see if I can explain my way of thinking. First, my policy is to get the deal closed no matter what, of course, it has to be legal but other than that I get it closed. I make a lot of money. I figure my time is worth between $100 to $150 an hour. If I have to spend 10 hours of my time to solve a problem I'm way ahead of the game by just "chipping in" to get it done.

But most importantly, I truly believe it is the right thing to do. My Sellers are under a lot of stress and I feel it's not fair of me to add to it. So before things get ugly I just "throw money" at the problem and make it go away. I've done this many times and have never felt bad about doing it. To me it's just part of the business.

It also helps that I'm the Broker. I have the authority to make on the spot decisions, all the money is mine, and I can do what I want with it. I truly don't have the time or the desire to stress over the small stuff. If all I have to do is make a little less on the deal, to get it done, then I will. My job is to get my Sellers to the closing table and to get the deal done. Until this happens I have not earned my fee. Some may call me weak but I call it taking charge and getting the job done.

Now here's the catch: I do not negotiate or reduce my fee at time of listing. The reason I don't is because I know that during the course of the year I will have problems that I need to make go away. This cost of business is figured into my commission structure.

When I "throw money" at a problem I just think of it as an advertising cost. I am building good will with the Seller, the Buyer and the other agent. It almost always comes back ten fold in referrals and repeat business. It makes very good business sense to me.

Next time you have a problem, that just won't go away, consider just "throwing money" at it. It doesn't make you weak….it makes you stronger. I'm sure quite a few folks will disagree with this but that's OK. Everyone has to find what works for them. So what works for you?

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

I made it to the mountain top!! 300,000+ Points!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Ok so I just read this post and it sucks! Sorry about that but it's all I got today. It sounded a lot better in my head. Anyway, here goes……

Well folks, today I'm breaking one of my ActiveRain rules……I'm joining a group!!! That's right, I have been a member of AR for about 18 months and I finally gave in to the pressure and decided to join a group.

The good thing is there are only two members in it. So I won't have too much competition. Sharon Simms was the first member and joined about 2 weeks ago and here I am member number two. "The Platinum Star Hall of Fame" was started by Neal Bloom and is for ActiveRain members who have reached the 300,000 points plateau. 300,000 points!!!! I really need to get a life.

So how the heck did I end up with 300,000 points? That's a good question. First let me outline what I don't do:

  • Don't belong to any groups. (Except this one)
  • Don't solicit for subscribers.
  • Don't send out emails asking for comments.
  • Don't ask for featured posts.
  • Don't respond to every comment on my posts.
  • Don't get involved in the behind the scenes politics.
  • Don't tell people how to blog.
  • Don't enter contests.
  • Don't post 10 times a week.

Not exactly what you would expect to hear from the #2 point person in the system but it's true. It's almost like I'm the anti-blogger.

Here's what I do do. That sounds kind of crappy doesn't it? Do do. Now I'm on TLW's turf 🙂

  • Do post consistently 3 to 4 times week.
  • Do write posts that will help my peers in their business while at the same time providing the consumer with useful information.
  • Do respect other members and their right to voice their opinions.
  • Do help anyone that emails me and ask for it.
  • Do write to the best of my ability and with honesty.
  • Do voice my opinion on matters whether folks agree with me or not.
  • Do try to share what I know in an entertaining way.

I guess I haven't really done anything special. I just keep doing my thing no matter what. I would like to take this time to thank everyone who reads and comments on my posts. Your participation really is appreciated.

By the way, the best part of ActiveRain? Is all you guys! I LOVE this place.

OK so I guess this is where I'm supposed to put my stats in here. Now folks please don't hate me when you see these. I swear it just happened. After you have read what I don't do and what I do, you have to agree that the only reason I have over 300,000 points is because…………….I'm sooooo good looking! Don't believe me? Ask Lenn.

Score: 301876
Members Invited/Referred: 61
Blog Posts: 351
Rank in Florida: 2 (Featured Member)
Featured Posts: 156
Rank in Polk County: 1 (Featured Member)
Comments Received: 15870
Rank in Poinciana: 1 (Featured Member)
Comments Made: 8982
Blog Subscriptions: 484

The frog graphic is compliments of Lenn Harley. Thanks Lenn!!

Broker Bryant Blogging!!Hi folks. This post was inspired by Lance Winslow's post "ActiveRain Point System Needs an Upgrade". In Lance's opinion, the point system is weighted too heavily in favor of older members and makes it difficult for newer members to catch up. Partly due to the 10 posts a week limit (for points). Also, he is concerned with the "integrity of the types of comments made and the quality of the blog posts". Please stop over and read his post if you want to get his full opinion.

This post is my opinion. Now folks, first I want to say that I have been here for a long time. In fact, when I joined back in June of 2006 there were only about 600 of us.

I have seen many changes since I joined and I have seen many folks come and go. So while I am certainly not the "best" or most prolific blogger on AR I am speaking from a position of experience.

The guys that run ActiveRain have always been very receptive to the community's suggestions and have made changes when they felt they were needed.

So let's talk a little about points. In my opinion, the point system was genius!! In AR's early stages points were used to "direct" members to the areas that ActiveRain wanted to build. When they needed growth more points were awarded for inviting new members. When they needed to grow Localism points were offered as an enticement to do so.

Unfortunately, where there were points, there were folks trying to get them in a less than honest manner. Because of this, limitations and changes were made. One of these areas and the area that Lance seems to have the strongest opinion on is the amount of posts that are given points during the week. At one time there was no limit and folks were joining and spending the next few days just copying and pasting their entire web site content on AR. We would see page after page of the same person just throwing stuff up to get points. So then they made a limit of 3 per day (I think). This still didn't work so it was changed to where it is today, 10 per week.

This was not just some random number that was picked. It was decided by the community. At that time, the community felt 10 was a fair amount so that one or two people couldn't just come in and dominate the main blog area of Active Rain. It was meant to be fair and I feel it is. It wasn't about the points it was about quality over quantity. My opinion, is that most folks can make their "point' with 10 posts per week. 10 posts a day is overkill. It is an attention grabbing technique and should not be rewarded or encouraged as it distracts from other member's efforts.

This same "metamorphosis" applied to comment points. Comment points started out being unlimited but there were folks that would post 100+ "nice post" comments per day just to get the points. So the points were limited and still are. For the record "nice post" receives ZERO points. It is my understanding, that in order for a comment to receive points, it must have a minimum of 50 characters.

While I agree it may be difficult for a "newbie" to acquire lots of points, in a short period of time. I certainly don't agree, as Lance states, that it's impossible. There are many newer members who have risen very quickly in their rankings because they are consistent. Also, folks are constantly coming and going. With very few exceptions the folks at the top today will not be at the top 6 months from now.

Lance is a very prolific blogger having written well over 300 posts in his very limited time here, about 40 days I believe. That's incredible!!! But it is an exception. I'll be more impressed if he is still blogging here 6 months from now.

First and foremost, ActiveRain is a Network to help real estate professionals in their business. It is NOT a competition. Points are an incentive and they are fun but they are not the reason for participating on the network.

Now having said that, I'm sure the point system is not perfect and may very well be due for a change. It's just not as easy as it seems. If everyone was honest and could be counted on to not abuse the point system things would be easier. But they aren't. Some limitations have to be kept and/or put in place to stop the scammers. It's just he way it is.

I do agree with Lance that it doesn't hurt to explore new ways and new systems. So if you have ideas write a post about it. I'm sure, the AR guys will read it and take it into consideration. They always have. Just remember, rules are changed to enhance the community not to appease a handful of members.

BUT….let's remember that this place is truly not about the points. It's about sharing, giving, learning, making friends, getting business and posting relevant content.

If all you want is points, well……..I have 328,000 of them I'd be happy to sell you. Ok I'm done. Now go play nice in the Rain!!

Here are a few other posts about blogging you may find interesting.

ActiveRain…A Social Club?

A Peek Into the Head Of Broker Bryant.

Hello John Q. Consumer. Welcome to Our World!

Is Your Blog Relevant?

Dundee FL homes for sale.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Hi folks. Have you ever wanted to live in a quaint little citrus town? If you have then you may want to consider Dundee FL. Dundee is located right in the center of the State and has a population of about 4,500 people. It’s located at the beginning of the Citrus Ridge which is one of the highest points in the State of Florida and is home to more endangered species than almost any other place on the planet. Miles and miles of citrus groves, pasture land, rolling hills and fresh water lakes. These lakes have some of the best large mouth bass fishing in the country. Dundee FL is 10 minutes to Cypress Gardens, Bok Tower Sanctuary and about 35 minutes to Disney World. Following are details on a few properties “for sale” that may interest you. Cut your speakers on and enjoy the shows.


This property is Range Priced. The seller will consider offers between $199,000 and $209,000 with $209,000 being a full price offer. Broker is owner. Over an acre fronting a small lake. High on a hill with awesome views. New carpet, AC and exterior paint. Very unique property high on a hill overlooking a small lake and miles of citrus groves. Very private and secluded location. The town of Dundee owns and maintains 50 ft around the lake. The lake is rarely used but has great bass fishing and is spring fed so fine for swimming. This could make a great get away. If you like to tinker then you’ll love this one! If you want room to roam and privacy then this may be the one for you.


Folks, this is the home you have been looking for. Located 10 minutes to Cypress Gardens and 30 minutes to Disney in the quaint town of Dundee Fl. Sit on the front porch and enjoy the evening breezes. Hard wood floors in all living areas. Upgraded kitchen and bathroom. Treed and landscaped corner lot. Just a few blocks from downtown Dundee. Churches, schools, parks, lakes and shopping all a walk away. Come down and enjoy the simple life. You’ll be glad you did. Won’t last long so act today!! ONLY $79,000


This property is Range Priced. The Seller will consider offers between $179,000 and $199,000 with $199,000 being a full price offer. Huge house on a double lot. Also there is a 3rd lot available to the right for $29,900. Very spacious 2550 sq ft home. Large rooms including a covered and enclosed 16×12 rear porch. A 10×09 laundry room and a 09×17 work shop off the garage. Lot next door can be purchased to make more than 1/2 acre. All appliances are included. Folks you won’t find a better home for the money so act today!!!

Sell Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion*** 

Does anyone want a brownie? Good luck with that!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK, this is another mindless post. It’s actually a “Friday funny” posted on Thursday because…….well because I felt like it. I’m not sure what has gotten into TLW lately, but today, as I was sitting in my office working blogging, the arousing aroma of chocolate baking came pouring in. So, I just had to get up to see what was going on. Anyway…….here’s what I found.

Online Videos by

As you can see, I now have a desire that has not been satisfied. So, please…… someone, send me some brownies…..the real ones. Because TLW’s sucked!!!  

The video is the property of ROAR! Productions!


About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.