Todd Pillars Realtor®, S.R.S. … Learn More.
I attended a Jan. 23rd Town Hall meeting, hosted by Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, at which some pretty exciting proposals were announced.
First was the proposed joining of the “Tri-County Trail” to the existing trail system starting in Downtown St. Petersburg, Fl and ending on the Space Coast in Cape Canaveral, fl. The seven mile stretch from current end of the trail at the intersection of Keystone Blvd/Tarpon Springs Rd. and East Lake Rd/611 would travel down Keystone Rd to Brooker Creek Preserve, then travel north along the Duke Energy Trinity corridor near the Hillsborough County line, and finally cross HWY 54 over to Starkey Blvd at the Longleaf entrance. When completed there will be 275 continuous miles of trails to walk, bike, or otherwise travel in Central Florida.
Second was the announcement of the Starkey Ranch District Park, and school, and library, and yes, even a theatre. Scheduled for an opening in 2015 the Park District would be built in 2 phases. Phase one would include five Baseball/Softball Fields, 6 Multi-purpose fields, a Pavilion with picnic tables, a Playground, and almost 6,000 feet of trails. Phase two would include 3 Multi-purpose Fields, a Playground, and almost 2,000 feet of trails.
Most importantly for the Starkey Park Ranch District Park is the construction of a 20,000 sq. ft. K-8 Public School Building, with Library and Theatre. The Master Planned Unit Development (MPUD) is zoned for 5,050 new construction homes, but a modest 2.500 is proposed.
Tampa Bay Times article on the ceremonial tree planting at Starkey Ranch
The Tampa Tribune article on the Ground Breaking Ceremony at Starkey Ranch
The Suncoast News. Developer: First Starkey Ranch houses ready in a year
The most controversial announcement of the night was the exploration of an “Elevated Toll Road” – potentially spanning 33 miles from U.S. 19 in New Port Richey to just past I-75 in Wesley Chapel. The County contends there is ample evidence that the traffic patterns dictate the need for up to 20 (yes 10×2) lanes of roadway to move vehicles West and East along HWY 54. Needless to say, local residents are not happy about the environmental impact and have become very vocal in their opposition.
The summary provided the most exciting news: In Six proposed developments a total of 14,000 new construction homes. Over 7.4 million square feet of Commercial space from Little Rd/HWY 54 to HWY 54/US 41.
I asked this question to a Mortgage Broker the other day, and he replied, “Todd, the difference is fact vs. fiction.”
At first I laughed knowingly, but thinking about how the names sound so much alike, and how first-time home buyer might get confused by that, I pressed for a more in-depth explanation. Did I ever get an earful!
So, what is the difference between a Pre-Approval Letter vs Pre-Qualification Letter? It may be the difference whether you get your dream home… or not!
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a home for sale in Trinity, Florida or Juno, AK, first and foremost, sellers want to know that the person making an offer to buy the property has the ability to do just that. It’s a reasonable expectation, yes?
Here’s the FDIC definition of a Mortgage Pre-Approval:
- In general. Application means an oral or written request for a home purchase loan, a home improvement loan, or a refinancing that is made in accordance with procedures used by a financial institution for the type of credit requested.
- Preapproval programs. A request for preapproval for a home purchase loan is an application under paragraph (b)(1) of this section if the request is reviewed under a program in which the financial institution, after a comprehensive analysis of the creditworthiness of the applicant, issues a written commitment to the applicant valid for a designated period of time to extend a home purchase loan up to a specified amount. The written commitment may not be subject to conditions other than:
- Conditions that require the identification of a suitable property;
- Conditions that require that no material change has occurred in the applicant’s financial condition or creditworthiness prior to closing; and
- Limited conditions that are not related to the financial condition or creditworthiness of the applicant that the lender ordinarily attaches to a traditional home mortgage application (such as title insurance, completion of a home inspection (VA and FHA), certification of a clear termite inspection).
Yikes! What does that mean???? Basically, if a lender gives you mortgage pre-approval letter it implies that a credit decision has been made and that it will more than likely result in a mortgage commitment letter at some point in the near future. It’s not a guarantee, but a really good indication that you’re going to be loaned the money you need. More to the point, the mortgage loan has been submitted to the underwriting engine and has, at least preliminarily, gotten the stamp of approval.
So what’s the definition of a Pre-Qualification Letter ?
You are a buyer and you’re looking for a home. To purchase the home you need borrow money, because even though you may have a down payment, you don’t have the cash in hand to buy it outright. Today most people start their search online to research options (I’ll give you some reasons you don’t want to do this, but I’m getting ahead of myself) and many find it a quick and simple way to estimate their buying power and possibly learn of the different loan programs and ultimately choose which might be the right one.
What get’s printed out at the end is a mortgage pre-qualification letter. Basically an estimate of borrowing power, it states, that based upon your current financial circumstances, i.e. time on job, income, debt and credit levels, you will likely qualified for a mortgage of a certain amount, sometime. It’s important to know (because of how quickly this can be done) that the lender may or may not run a credit report to confirm the details of your finances – which can influence the amount and terms you’ll qualify for.
Back to the original question; Pre-Approval vs. Pre-Qualification. What’s the Difference?
Pre-Approval -> You’ve done most the hard work, and if no major changes to your finances occur, there’s a very good chance you’ll get the loan for the amount you need, by the time you need it.
Pre-Qualified -> You talked to a person and the bank, and based on the info you gave them, they said you’ll probably get a loan for some amount in the near future.
So, while “Fact vs. Fiction” may be a little strong of a descriptor, this does show you the importance of being Pre-Approved vs. Pre-Qualified.
As a Real Estate Buyer’s Agent, I will not take a buyer who is not Pre-Approved through a property – there’s just no point in showing homes to a buyer who is not qualified to purchase it. As a Seller’s Agent it’s important too. Why, just because the house is for sale doesn’t mean unqualified buyers can just traipse through because it’s on their wishlist. Seeing a home without getting a pre-approval is generally a complete waste of everyone’s time. It’s especially true if you are the buyer and you find the “perfect” house. Holding out a Pre-Approval Letter may be the difference in getting the home or not.
So Buyers, do yourself a HUGE favor and get PRE-APPROVED for a mortgage. This time well spent will put you in the strongest position to purchase the home of your dreams.
Grandma and Opa took the kids for the afternoon, and after the cool weather of the last couple of weeks, we decided we needed to stick our toes in the sand. We headed over to the Gulf of Mexico near Tarpon Springs and visited the 155 acre Fred Howard Park – a jewel in Pinellas County.
The Howard Park Causeway connects the main park – with 9 picnic shelters, 2 playgrounds, a launch for canoes and kayaks, and the all-important restrooms – to the white sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico. The causeway is also used for sunbathing, fishing and exercising.
We saw Snowy Egret, Blue Heron, Ibis, Mallard and Wood Duck, an Osprey, and of course, the ever-present Seagull. I’m told Eagles, Dolphin, and Manatees, are occasionally seen in the area.
Many unusual animals inhabit Fred Howard Park including some endangered and/or threatened species, such as eagles, gopher tortoises and fox squirrels. We’ll have to get out in the spring to see the park’s many different kinds of butterflies and flowers.
Enjoy some pictures from the outing…