FEMA UPDATE Hurricane Matthew

DSC00218_thumb.jpgIf you suffered damage in Hurricane Matthew and need assistance, please take a moment to read the following.  The press release below is dated, but you would be wise to check for eligibility.  If uninsured, unable to pay for repair or even if you have a loss and are insured, you should see if you qualify for assistance.

Nassau County Emergency Management and the Emergency Operations Center News Release

FEMA Teams Assessing Hurricane Matthew Damage

femaTALLAHASSEE, Fla. – FEMA personnel are on the ground in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns and Flagler counties today to pinpoint damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Teams will be deployed to additional counties as requested by the state. These individuals will help identify areas of damage where Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams will be needed. PDA teams, comprised of representatives from local emergency management, the State of Florida, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will then be assigned to areas identified by the state to further document the extent of damage caused by the hurricane to those areas. The PDA teams visit and inspect damaged areas and document their findings. However, they do not visit every home or business. The teams look at concentration of damage, number of primary residences affected, damage to public infrastructure and the amount of insurance coverage, and then provide this information to the state. However, the PDA process does not guarantee federal assistance. The major disaster declaration of Oct. 8 makes federal Public Assistance aid available for emergency protective measures and debris removal (categories A and B) in Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia counties. The governor’s request for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance categories C-G is still under consideration while damage assessments are underway. Damage assessment results from each county will be a factor used to determine the county’s eligibility for Individual Assistance. If a county is declared eligible for further assistance, individuals and households in the declared county may apply for that assistance. Florida residents and businesses don’t have to wait to find out if federal assistance is available to start their clean up. Keep repair receipts and document your damages whenever possible. Notify your insurance agent of any damages sustained to your property. You can also contact your local emergency management agency to report damage. If you are in need of shelter or have other emergency needs, call 2-1-1 for information. For more information on Florida’s disaster recovery visit fema.gov/disaster/4283, twitter.com/FEMA, facebook.com/FEMA, fema.gov/blog or #flrecovers

Source: http://www.nassaucountyfl.com/eoc October 17, 2016

Be Sociable, Share!

Next Goal….Se Habla Español

“Florida 6th Highest Population of Residents speaking only Spanish, with 1,187,335 or 7.895% of the population.”  Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/spanish-speaking-state-statistics/ 10/13/16 

My newest project is Spanish. In 25 or more years, since college Spanish courses, I’ve literally forgotten almost everything I once thought I knew. Never using the language is a good way to forget, but I’m now seeing far more potential for practical use. Florida has a huge population of Spanish speakers. Seeing the value of trying to communicate or at least understand native speakers is goes a long way in establishing a relationship.


Meeting a Journalist from a Venezuelan Magazine at Concours de Elegance 2014 on Amelia Island

So, where am I beginning? My old textbooks were long gone, so I’m using a combination of time on a website (www.babbel.com) and time with a few native speakers on, I hope, Skype or Facetime. Understanding is difficult, if you don’t spend time chatting with any actual people. The problem is in finding practice, but also in finding the right pronunciations. I’m beginning to encounter the big differences in colloquial expressions or ways of saying things….from area to area. Much to my Cuban friend’s amusement, I’m now spending a little time each week watching popular Spanish soap operas or series. All have variety and, most importantly, SUBTITLES! I hope to be semi-fluent in a year or two, assuming I can consistently budget time to learn.

As a broker, I want to find more to offer clients, but I also see the benefit of becoming competent in a second language. I’m far from comfortable in public or even particularly fluent. Send me a note if you’re interested in exchange of Spanish/English practice via Skype or just think I have a good idea. My preference would be several partners involved in the real estate or legal profession. Ideally, I would prefer learn with native speakers outside the United States. ed@edboner.com or search my name on Skype

Mi proyecto más reciente es el español. En 25 o más años, desde cursos de Español colegio, literalmente he olvidado casi todo lo que una vez pensé que sabía. Nunca uso de la lengua es una buena manera de olvidar, pero ahora estoy viendo mucho más potencial para uso práctico. Florida tiene una gran población de hablantes de español. Ver el valor de tratar de comunicarse o por lo menos entender a hablantes nativos es va un largo camino en el establecimiento de una relación.
¿Por lo tanto, dónde yo empiezo? Mis libros antiguos eran cosa del pasado, así que estoy usando una combinación de tiempo en un sitio web (www.babbel.com) y el tiempo con unos nativos, espero, Skype o Facetime. Comprensión es difícil, si no pasa tiempo conversando con personas reales. El problema está en la búsqueda de práctica, sino también en la búsqueda de las pronunciaciones de las derecha. Estoy empezando a encontrar grandes diferencias en expresiones coloquiales o formas de diciendo cosas… de zona a zona. Mucho a la diversión de mi amigo cubano, yo soy ahora gasto un poco de tiempo cada semana viendo popular español telenovelas o series. Todos tienen variedad y, lo más importante, SUBTÍTULOS! Espero ser semi fluida en un año o dos, suponiendo que pueda constantemente tiempo presupuesto para aprender.
Como corredor, quiero encontrar más para ofrecer a los clientes, pero también veo el beneficio de ser competentes en un segundo idioma. Estoy muy lejos de cómodo en público o incluso particularmente fluida. Me envía una nota si te interesa a cambio de la práctica de inglés via Skype o solo que tengo una buena idea. Mi preferencia sería varios copartícipes en la inmobiliaria o la abogacía. Idealmente, preferiría aprender con nativos fuera de Estados Unidos. Ed@edboner.com o buscar mi nombre en “Skype.com”

(my apologies, in advance, for any mistakes in the above translation)


Be Sociable, Share!

Post Matthew

Growing list of tips…

  1. Watch Nassau EM on Facebook or Twitter…you will see current updates there. 
  2. If you map trips with a smartphone, Apple mapping and others show traffic and trip times based on real time. It color codes routes to show when the delay is shorter or roads are less blocked.   
  3. I’m posting updates on my twitter feed www.twitter.com/Edboner and to AMELIA ISLAND LOCAL’S group on Facebook. (Smaller local’s only group).  

Be safe and more to come soon….

Be Sociable, Share!

Amelia Island Waiting….Hurricane Matthew

We’re all watching the hurricane tracking map for updates, as a potentially damaging storm approaches.    Some of the things going through my mind … hoping any evacuations are specific.    Broad evacuations, in themselves, can be difficult.    I’m also thinking about everything potentially windblown.    I’ll put the chairs in the pool, plants go inside or, if big and potted will lie on their sides.    Windows are covered as needed.   If in doubt or missing material, the north and east sides are usually harder hit.   

The power went out about 30 minutes ago and wind/rain really isn’t bad yet.   I really would prefer more underground lines.    

Be Sociable, Share!

IP Addresses, ICANN Transition, Virtual Real Estate and Thoughts


Data Source: http://research.domaintools.com/statistics/ip-addresses/ on 9/29/16.

As we near 10/30/16, the apparent deadline for transfer of domain registry control to an international group, I wonder.  While supported by a variety of tech giants, the number of IP addresses, as of today, is proportionately much, much higher in the United States.  In fact, we have more IP addresses than the following 10 countries combined.

While I understand the idea…technically, considering the massive number of IP addresses and the function of the internet to date, is it necessary and is there a point to doing this, other than ceding control…….???   What is the logic?  Are our #FirstAmendment protections guaranteed after the transfer happens?

Source: http://research.domaintools.com/statistics/ip-addresses/  9/29/2016

  • United States 1,604,856,293
  • China 337,577,488
  • Japan 204,973,953
  • United Kingdom 124,415,185
  • Germany 121,508,555
  • Korea, Republic of 112,922,371
  • Brazil 82,954,729
  • France 82,474,637
  • Canada 71,412,233
  • Italy 54,271,242
  • Netherlands 50,882,978

My concern is in not understanding what we are giving up and how the governing body would protect the rights/freedom we currently enjoy.  Personally, I see this as virtual real estate.  Giving something away without understanding the value or even what liability you created, is simply un-necessary.  We’re holding all the cards now….so why would we cede control?

“Too many important questions remain unanswered,” TechFreedom President Berin Szóka said before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. “How will ICANN work after the Transition? Will existing antitrust and consumer protection laws be able to discipline ICANN? Will key provisions of ICANN’s new Bylaws stand up under California non-profit law? And most of all: is there a government property interest here?”

“The U.S. government clearly has always had the right to exclude others from administering this portion of the Internet.”
Source: Daily Caller 9/29/16 Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/24/obama-admin-wants-to-surrender-us-control-over-internet-to-global-bureaucracy/#ixzz4LhdyHJFS

Another friend and technology professional had this to say…..

ICANN controls two primary Internet data bases: DNS and ARIN. They decide who gets a domain name if there’s a conflict between two people who want it, but more importantly they control who gets an IP address and how many IP addresses they get. Potentially, they could deny a country IP addresses or even take away their IP address blocks, essentially kicking them off the Internet. The rest of the world hates the US having control of the system because it gives them those powers. The thing is, the next war will involve cyber warfare. Not having control places the US at greater systemic risk should a cyber war break out. Russia and China are becoming the global superpowers in cyber warfare. The United States has a significant cyber warfare capability, but I have no doubt the documents that Edward Snowden took to China and Russia contained a lot of information about how our tactical capabilities worked. In my mind, it’s no coincidence that Russia has had such great success hacking into US government systems. So that’s the concern. At a trade level, we are giving up the role of mediator in dispute over who gets what Internet domain name. More importantly, at the defense level, we are giving up Control over the primary systems that determine who even gives access to the Internet.  Source: Anonymous IT Professional 9/29/16

Be Sociable, Share!

Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

You don’t see this as often today, but there is a significant advantage to considering this, if you owe more than the property is worth.   FNMA calls this a “Mortgage Release”…..the same basic idea.

A Mortgage Release is an alternative to foreclosure and should be considered if:You are ineligible to refinance or modify your mortgageYou are facing a long-term hardshipYou are behind on your mortgage payments or will fall behind in the near futureYou owe more on your home than it’s worthYou don’t want to sell your home or haven’t been able to sell your homeYou can no longer afford your home and you are ready to leave

Source: Mortgage Release™ (Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure) : Fannie Mae

Considering the disadvantage of a traditional foreclosure, from the borrower’s perspective, there actually is quite a bit to lose.  Credit scores drop.  Your credit history, the record of a foreclosure and the potential for a deficiency judgement all loom.  Credit scores can change the rate you pay for every loan, some insurance, rentals and potentially even employment opportunities.   Lenders can look for the deficiency in the form of a judgement and may have years.  A deed in lieu is sometimes an option with payment and even an organized move from the property.  As a broker, I’m familiar with short sales and have been on both the listing and buying sides in foreclosure auctions.  My advice, not as an attorney, but as a broker, would be to consider the least credit-damaging and most financially neutral option.

Foreclosure is usually not the only path.  FNMA and other lenders will often look at other options.  If you’re in trouble, look for options before you’re in the middle of a foreclosure proceeding.  Selling the property, deed in lieu, renegotiation of the loan, refinancing, forgiveness of a portion of the loan or even renting the property, if the market supports a higher rent.   Can you rent something smaller and rent your home to pay the loan?   I’ve done quite a few “Short Sales”.  These aren’t as common either, but knowing all the potential options can help.

Above all, consider a consultation with an attorney specializing in foreclosure defense and bankruptcy.  Knowing exactly what to expect makes life far easier.  Having a basis for that expectation is worth the consultation.    As a broker, I’m always happy to walk your property and provide a “Broker’s Price Opinion or Comparative Market Analysis, but I’ll also tell you what I’d do in you shoes.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tip: Four Point Inspections and Renovation Records

DSC00749.jpgIn almost every sale, buyers need to find insurance coverage.  Occasionally, they miss asking for a current Four Point Inspection, when ordering a home inspection.   If you aren’t inspecting, you always ask for a prior policy or look for permit information, if current.  An example of a citizen’s insurance four point inspection form, at the time of writing, is linked.

Permits online, owner’s disclosures or copies of recent updates from contractors might be used as proof of inspection.  If I’m making bigger changes to a property, asking for a letter from he contractor, attached to a 4 point inspection, is just smart.  On a commercial building, I kept letters  and plans noting current code updates for windows, electric, plumbing and roof, as of the renovation year.   You’ll see the picture to the right.  I also found keeping records of the renovation were extremely helpful over the following years.


As of September 30, 2012, "all inspection forms must be inspected and completed by a verifiable Florida-licensed professional. Without a verifiable, certified inspector’s dated signature, the form will not be accepted. The following FLORIDA-LICENSED individuals may complete a 4-Point Inspection for Citizens in its entirety:
  • A general, residential, or building contractor
  • A building code inspector
  • A registered architect
  • A home inspector
  • A professional engineer
  • A building code official who is authorized by the State of Florida to verify building code compliance

Note: A trade-specific, licensed professional may sign off only on their trade component of the 4-Point inspection form (e.g., a roofing inspector may sign off only on the roofing portion of the form)." Source: Internachi www.nachi.org/4point.htm 9/24/16

Be Sociable, Share!

Long Anti-Trust Kind of Day


This was an odd day.  An email from a competitor included a question about a fee I chose to charge and pay on a sale.   I think the mistake was unintentional, but talking about commissions between offices or even questioning how much a cooperative fee should be, can cross the

cap with r taken out

NEVER suggest a fee or imply there is an industry standard.

anti-trust line.  The wordage in this image is an example of what you should not say.  We all compete for clients.  NEVER suggest coordinating a rate, a standard local rate or an industry standard.  There is no industry standard and all brokers compete.

As a Licensed Real Estate Broker, I completely avoid discussion of commission rates with competitors.     We’re usually friendly competitors, but directly or indirectly discussing a fee is something you should always avoid with competing brokers or offices.


These laws are intended to prevent unreasonable restraints of trade. Examples of antitrust violations that impact you are price fixing and group boycotts. Competing brokers should never engage in discussions of their commission rates or the amount of compensation they offer cooperating brokers. You must also avoid conduct that could lead to allegations that you agreed not to do business with a certain competitor.

To limit antitrust liability: Adopt an office-wide policy that addresses such issues as discussing commission rates with potential sellers, and education of all sales associates with respect to antitrust compliance policy. Avoid preprinting commission rates on standard form contracts or in advertising. 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/law/article/2000/03/top-10-legal-issues-facing-brokers

Be Sociable, Share!

Choosing the Right Security System and Company…Check to Be Sure Your System “SELF-TESTS”

I’m a little reluctant to use the company name, so I’ll just use XYZ Security (no relation to a real company), when describing my recent experiences in changing monitoring and service. As a broker, I’m usually pretty aware of whether a company provides great service or truly falls down on the job. During the last 10 years, I used XYZ, was a dsc01677loyal customer, kept cards on my front office desk and felt a little shocked to find we were not being monitored for 12 to 36 months. The system was not calling in to "self-test", any alarms were not going to a central monitoring station and our billing was not particularly competitive.

A few things I learned over the last 30 years help, when selecting service or a system. Some lessons were unexpected.

  • Rates are negotiable and vary from company to company. Asking about monitoring makes a difference and some companies give discounts for paying in advance.
  • Does your contract automatically renew or do you go to month to month service?
  • How often does your system "self-test"? This is a sore subject with me, since we were paying for as many as three years for non-existent monitoring. I like weekly, but I would shy away from anyone telling you checking the system is your responsibility.
  • Can you reach a live person at a higher level, do you have email contacts and do you have a live person to call, if you have a problem? When we experienced a proble m, trying to reach anyone able to give an answer became surprisingly difficult.
  • Look at reviews online. I always suggest calling a few current clients to see if they rave or if you get the "awkward silent" response when you ask about a current company.
  • Does the company offer wireless monitoring or wired? In a coastal area, in my opinion, wireless is a great idea. Cell signals are usually back up more quickly than cable or traditional phone lines. If power is out at your home, the backup battery and cell signal still calls monitoring if you have a problem. The cost with my current company is less than the cost for wired monitoring with the prior XYZ Security.
  • Do they offer current signs? I like window stickers or signs to show I’m actually using security. Whether it acts as a deterrent or not, I’d prefer to be a more difficult target and just avoid the whole issue. The company I just left, never brought new signs and we had signs from the name they haven’t used for 5 years…. still in the yard. I’ve nevedsc01673r experienced sadder customer service.
  • What kind of keypads are used and are the keypads compatible with other systems?
  • Are the alarms locked out or open? Alarms panels are often standard. You tend to sign a contract and most companies will leave the panel unlocked. Some companies will lock the panel, requiring a service call or making the panel, you usually own either at the beginning or after completion of the contract, more difficult to use.
  • Are upgrades offered without a fuss? I’m not talking about free upgrades. I asked one company at a commercial property for new keypads…I kid you not….4 times. I wanted to pay for the replacement. Finally, I changed companies, but they would take the call, tell me someone would be in touch and no one called.
  • Is there a phone app?
  • Is there an available history for the system?
  • Can you attach video or speech capability?

I prefer local companies with at least one live person I would know and recognize. Alarm systems are personal. Being treated fairly and receiving the service you expect, means a lot, but alarm systems have a purpose. I would NEVER recommend the company I described as "XYZ" and they do have a significant local presence. I find poor service and unfair practices appalling and, even though I’ll never mention the actual name of the company, I will never furnish the name to a client.

Check the operation of your system and the "self-test" policy your company may have. If they don’t set systems to notify anyone when inoperable, you might want to change companies. If you get a pat answer…." We recommend monthly testing" …. instead of "Yes Sir, your system calls in monthly, weekly, etc.…with confirmation of operation. Our policy is to contact you immediately to notify of the failure and set up an appointment to be sure your safety is uninterrupted." …I would recommend a change. Believe it or not, some security companies are far more interested in the monthly fee, than they are in providing the service they were paid to provide.

Be Sociable, Share!

Morning Thoughts and I Need My Clients!

I’m thinking about work this morning.  I have 30 plus years in the business and a massive knowledge base.  What do I lack?  When I sell properties, I always need more clients.   Think of a gas tank…with a leak.   How to I communicate the way I work?  I care about clients.  I know the business well and am professional.  Clients are never to be manipulated.   I put my client’s interests first.   I have “MASSIVE” experience.   I’m a native and local.   All are great messages and I think forgotten or difficult to repeatedly communicate.  Either reminding old clients you still need to work or finding new clients, can be distracting.  Agents or brokers are constantly working to attract clients….in order to work.    In this area, there are “468” matches for “AGENT” in the local MLS, as of today…9/18/16.  The majority of these work or also work on Amelia Island.    Assuming, and assuming should probably be in CAPS, they all could potentially work on Amelia Island.  This does not consider the few offices without MLS membership and working as referral only offices or rental agents or non-MLS agents or most commercial-only brokers.   More people line up for smaller slices every year.

What can I say to a client to encourage them to work with me?  I use the word “with”, because selling a home or property requires cooperation.    Thinking through some of the process and some of the thoughts I have in talking with a client, I’d like to pass on a few thoughts I hope to leave with you, the reader, and, in this case, a homeowner.  Your thoughts matter.  Before I expect someone to work with me or listen to the ideas I may have, I want to know my new client.  We’ll be working together for a little while and selling a home for or to you, means understanding how you think and how you want to live.   You and I need to talk about reality.  Most owners begin to overlook flaws in a home and most buyers tend to focus on flaws.  I try to put it all in perspective.  Selling a home often means I’m working with buyer, seller and sometimes another agent.   I want to know about your home, but I want to be certain you recognize a good property or buyer and have the benefit of an experienced perspective.

This morning, I read a blog post offering real estate listing tips.   I won’t quote the source, since I found some of the tips a little repulsive.  I never intentionally manipulate clients.  I’ll change the text to be sure everyone knows the “NEVER” ideas are not my thoughts.

NEVER and (My Views)

  • Agree with an owner to get the listing…..offer fake compliments.  (I only compliment clients or a home when I mean it.  You get honesty and the good, bad, ugly truth)
  • Give the owner an arbitrary assignment to be sure you begin the manipulation.  (I don’t manipulate clients…. period)
  • Extort a promise.  Promise to come back to me because (_______)……fill in the blank.  
  • Show the client a preprinted marketing brochure with a marketed plan.  It doesn’t matter if the same plan goes to every client, with the names/address changed, they’ll be impressed.  (Every agent has a marketing plan.  Printing a marketing plan out is just a kind of manipulation to try to convince an owner an agent is experience or different or just make you think they gave you something valuable/create obligation.  I can think of at least 5 places I can print a plan out and make minor changes, including almost any MLS system.)
  • OH…by the way, if someone actually tries to offer a better commission, it must be because they aren’t offering the same quality services.   (I do negotiate commissions, depending on the property.  My overhead is lower and I believe in free market competition.  As a broker/owner, I’m personally able to negotiate rates I want to make enough to operate, but if I also don’t have rent, debt or franchise fees)
  • Compliment the home.   Instead of actually offering advice, use phrases like “I’ll check” or “research tells us”….   (When know, I’ll offer advice.  If I don’t know, I don’t fill in the gaps with…. “research tells us”.   Substance and experience should always win.  Genuine trust and competence should always win.) 


Be Sociable, Share!