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Flood Insurance Reform

In 2017, House Financial Services leadership announced that the flood insurance reform would be a priority. The flood program was going to expire on September 30th, in 2017. However, several controversial reform bills were introduced that stalled in Congress.  Once the 2017 hurricane season hit, Congress changed focus which led to multiple short term extensions of the flood program. 2018 saw many extensions which turned into program lapses and more week-long extensions.

New Tax Laws Trigger Moves to More Affordable Florida

Who doesn't love living near or on the beach, close to Disney and Universal Studios, or in a nice tropical paradise filled with rivers, beautiful nature, and tons of activities for the family (no matter their taste)? The obvious answer is nobody; Florida is a giant mixing pot for many reasons. People from other states are more frequently deciding that Florida is perfect for them, not just because of the things listed above, but for the fact that it is more affordable; Especially those in high tax states.

Tax Returns for 2018 are a Little Different

Doing your taxes from 2018 could look slightly different than it did last year. There were more than 600 rule changes that took place by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was passed by Congress in late 2017. Those changes also made industry experts concerned because of the government shutdown on December 22nd of 2018. However, this was resolved by President Trump announcing that the Government will partially be up and running on January 25th, making it possible for taxes to be filed as early as the 28th. Tax filers need to understand that it won't be the usual system used in previous years due to the changes.

New Tax Rule Creates Big Win for Realtors

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) call the new tax rule a Massive win for realtors. The new tax law sees a reduction of the corporate tax rate going from 35 percent to 20 percent. This new ruling will help realtors give better deals at better prices. Also, this is tax return time, so that means more money to spend on future homes.

Wire Fraud is on the Rise

Scammers will do whatever it takes to get their hands on your hard earned money. For a scammer to trick individuals, they must first gain trust. However, why make you believe what they are selling when they can act like someone you know? Recently they have been doing just that, using emails disguised as coming from someone you are doing business with, and then following up with a text message from the same area code or close to yours, claiming to be the same individual. These numbers close to yours might make you want to answer the call or text, but you should always be confident of their identity before giving away any valuable information or making important decisions.

What's Coming in 2019?

The economy will experience ups, downs, and plateaus in 2019. After a well rounded 2018, how will 2019 fare against it? Well, professionals are saying not that great. This year will be slowed, not drastically, but we should expect numbers to go down. You can not expect numbers to stay high forever. This is just economic nature; like a roller coaster, it goes up and down.

Property Management & Cybersecurity

The thought of computer hackers being abundantly present is an often overlooked and frightening realization. Hackers have gotten so skilled at their craft that there are very few protections that they can not breach. It is crucial for real estate businesses to be aware of the possible detriment to the agency if there is a potential breach in security of its clients. Cybercriminals have been taking advantage that there is currently no federal law for real estate businesses to possess security measures to protect client information. As high as 50 percent of real estate companies admitted to not being adequately prepared for cybercrime according to KPMG research. In a society where cybercrime costs roughly 6 trillion a year according to Forbes, being unprotected in a mostly digital business world can be a terrifying thought.

Cost and lack of understanding are two main problems that prevent an effective Cybersecurity system in the real estate business. Even a basic security package can be financially taxing for many companies. Further maintenance to keep this system effective and frequent updates can increase the costs exponentially. Rarely are property management professionals also IT experts, and this can lead to a lack of knowledge about what actually must be done to protect valuable digital information. Chief Technology Officer at Abacode, Jeremy Rasmussen, provided a five-point plan for establishing the basis of a cybersecurity strategy. This plan is as follows :

1. Inventory all systems to understand what data is possessed, what type of data and where it is stored.

2. Assess systems externally and internally. Verify proper security controls versus a Cybersecurity framework.

3. Address gaps through policies, procedures, processes, people and layer security controls.

4. Monitor the situation continuously and respond to incidents in real time to contain threats.

5. Empower employees to be the first and last line of defense.

Vigilance is the keyword in the prevention of cyber loss. Property managers can significantly benefit from everyone on their team being involved in the challenging task of proper Cybersecurity.

Top Florida Real Estate Stories of 2018

SETCO stays on top of real estate stories and wants our clients to stay in the know as well. Florida Realtors website chose to cover some of the top stories of 2018. Being about anything from Hurricane Michael to cuts in business rent tax, these stories are ones to read.

SETCO is Ready to Help Clients of All Ages With Closings

Most people believe their first home should be bought when they are young and new to the adult world. In reality, it is very common for people to purchase their first home later in life when they are more financially stable, or ready to make the move from renting to owning. Whatever the reason may be, SETCO’s Title Professionals are more than prepared to help our clients of all ages navigate their first closing.

SETCO is Prepared for Growth in the Real Estate Industry!

The Mortgage Bankers Association estimates a 4.2 percent increase in mortgage originations from 2018 to 2019. In addition to that, the refinance originations are expected to decrease by 12.4 percent to $395 billion. Overall, in 2019 there is predicted to be a significant decrease in mortgage originations from $1.64 trillion to $1.63 trillion. Setco is prepared to handle these changes with stride. These estimates allow us to be sure that we properly handle our client's closings to make it the best and easiest process of their lives.