2021 Residential Pool Safety Law

2021 Residential Pool Safety Law


Florida Senator Ed Hooper (R) filed residential pool safety bill

Florida Senator Ed Hooper (R) filed residential pool safety bill (SB 124).

Residential pool safety is critical to prevent children from drowning in a pool. In an effort to prevent tragedies from occuring in the future, Florida Senator Ed Hooper (R) filed Florida Senate 2021 Bill (SB 124) [PDF, HTML] on December 4, 2020 for the purpose of amending Florida’s existing residential swimming pool safety law. The new elements or regulations of the bill (SB 124) impact the property owner, as well as, Florida real estate brokers, real estate sales associates, and home inspectors.


The world changed for Brittany Howard on September 28, 2017. On that day, her two-year old son, Kacen Howard, apparently pushed a sliding glass door open and bypassed a pool fence at her home. Brittany Howard’s son, Kacen Howard, ended up drowning in the pool.

The bill (SB 124) was inspired by the drowning death of Kacen Howard and is named the Kacen’s Cause Act. Senators from both sides of the isle have pledged their support for the bill (SB 124). However, a similar bill died in committee during the 2020 session.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows an average of 3,536 people drown each year in the United States – about ten deaths per day. The CDC also reports drowning kills more kids ages 1-4, apart from birth defects, and is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes involving children.

Current Residential Pool Safety Law In Florida

Florida Chapter 515; Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, regulates safety feature options at homes and provides for penalties when not in compliance with the law. Under current law, only one of Florida’s listed safety measures is required to be implemented around a pool. Do not confuse the “safety feature options” with “pool barrier requirements.”

Consequences for non-compliance with swimming pool regulations

A property owner, who is also typically the homeowner, that fails to implement a pool safety feature as required by Chapter 515 Florida Statutes commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. Under current law, this could send the property owner to jail for up to 60 days and/or fined $500. Fortunately, the law also provides a waiver of penalties if compliance with the law occurs within 45 days of being arrested, issued a summons, or the issuance of a Notice To Appear (NTA).

Florida’s residential swimming pool safety feature options as listed in F.S.S. 515.27:

  • The pool at a home must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements of s. 515.29 – (4 feet high, no gaps, no openings, placed around pool perimeter, etc.);
  • The pool at a home must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;
  • All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet;
  • All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor; or
  • A swimming pool alarm that, when placed in a pool, sounds an alarm upon detection of an accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. Such pool alarm must meet and be independently certified to ASTM Standard F2208, titled “Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared alarms. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “swimming pool alarm” does not include any swimming protection alarm device designed for individual use, such as an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water.

Florida’s Residential Pool Safety Law Overhaul

Florida Senate 2021 Bill (SB 124) [PDF, HTML] has amendments attempting to prevent serious injury or death at the home along with significant additions to the existing law language aimed at preventing a child of a new homeowner from inheriting a potential death trap. The new legislative language impacts property owners, licensed home inspectors, and licensed real estate brokers and their sales associates.

Pick at least two regulations

The amendment provides a list of approved pool safety feature options. A property owner must pick at least two to satisfy the proposed language of the bill (SB 124).

  • “(1) In order to pass final inspection and receive a certificate of completion, a residential swimming pool must meet at least two one of the following requirements relating to pool safety features:”

But, there’s a catch to the two requirement rule that sounded somewhat palatable.

Amendments to residential pool safety feature options – tacked on

It’s not just pick two pool safety feature options, instead of one, and move on in 2021.

In addition to the requirement of implementing two of the pool safety feature options, the pool safety feature options have amendments to themselves as well. While it may seem innocuous now, it could become difficult in the future for a property owner and, in turn, for a potential buyer of the property.

For example, the first option, which refers to a pool being isolated by a barrier, has the following added to the end of the existing sentence, “and ASTM Standard F2286, titled “Standard Design and Performance Specification for Removable Mesh Fencing for Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, and Spas.” ASTM is an acronym for American Society for Testing and Materials. The ASTM standard was last updated January 1, 2016 from its previous version in 2005. So, when ASTM decides to update their standard, legislators do not have to contemplate amending the statute again as the ASTM Standard F2286 is incorporated in the legislation.

A problem could arise should additional, cost-prohibitive standards, become the norm in a later revision, i.e. requirements to install an enhanced design of a non-climbable fence. Rather than list the additional language, it would be more prudent for the reader to view them on the Florida Senate website for Senate Bill 124 (SB 124) starting at line 33 of the bill text.

Compliance required to sell a parcel

There are two additional requirements in the bill (SB 124) that directly impacts a property owner wanting to sell their home. One of the additional requirements is placed in Paragraph (2) of Section 515.27, Florida Statutes, regulating pool design, and the other additional requirement comes in the form of adding Paragraph (d) to subsection (1) of Section 468.8323, Florida Statutes, which regulates home inspections.

  1. A residential pool must have at least two of the pool safety feature options. The bill (SB 124) states, “A property owner may not transfer, for consideration, ownership of a parcel that includes a swimming pool unless the swimming pool meets at least two of the requirements under subsection (1).”
  2. Prior to the sale of a home with a pool, a licensed home inspector must furnish a certified report disclosing the pool and any safety devices. The bill (SB 124) states, ” (1) The home inspector shall report: …. (d) If there is a swimming pool, as defined in s. 515.25, any safety features, as described in s. 515.27(1), which are present.”

Yes, this has implications for property owners who want to sell “For Sale By Owner,” for property owners who use a licensed real estate broker or sales associate, and for licensed home inspectors. This proposed amendment delivers new provisions that most may initially overlook.

Drilling down finds potential problems

A comparison of the ASTM Standard from 2005 with the current standard from January 1, 2016 could not be done. Unfortunately, the publication with the standards is not public domain and must be purchased on the ASTM International website for about $42. Several government organizations published brochures incorporating the ASTM F2286 guidelines, from prior years, in their material for pool design and performance.

Ironically, a publication discussing ASTM Standard F2286, was published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, entitled Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guide appears to be a 2012 version, with a footnote of “Publication 362 (08/12).” Now, the Florida Department of Health appears to have a newer version of Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools with a footnote of “Publication 362 (04/15)” The PoolSafely.gov website, referred to in these government publications, also has the “Publication 362 (08/12)” in the footer and is published to their website. I was unable to find any publicly available reference to the ASTM F2286 standards that went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Comparing Guides Using ASTM Standards

There is additional content in the guide from the Florida Department of Health compared to the guide from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A single page excerpt is below and shows the new content. It is unknown if the additional content is derived from the January 2016 version of ASTM F2286 Standards or if the additional content is merely suggestions made by the Florida Department of Health.

The fact that standards, by which government entities rely upon for enforcement, are not publicly accessible from ASTM and freely available is a concern. This is because a property owner should be able to refer to the guidelines so that they can ensure compliance. Theoretically, a contractor installing a pool, safety barriers, and covers should know the requirements but that is not always the case. Ultimately, it is the property owner’s liability.

The proposed language in the bill (SB 124) only refers to “ASTM Standard F2286” and not to a year in which the standards were published for reference. A court could make the determination the law is ambiguous.  The same goes for pool coverings as the proposed language in the bill (SB 124) only refers to “ASTM Standard F1346.”  Even ASTM International refers to the 2005 version of ASTM F2286 as “F 2286 – 05” incorporating the year of the standards with the designation.

Inconsistent Legislative Intent

Now, perhaps failing to include a year in the ASTM Standards was an oversight. Maybe that is so, but it would not explain why the amendment to paragraph (e) of Section 515.27, Florida Statutes regarding swimming pool alarms clearly restricts and clearly states what year of the standard will apply. Legislators intentionally included the year for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) standards, to wit: “. . . [a]nd must comply with the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., ‘Standard for General-Purpose Signaling Devices and Systems,’ UL 2017.”

Exploiting An Oversight

Who would benefit from such an oversight or seek to exploit it? It is not hard to believe that those in the pool and leisure industries could network with, or already have ties to, ASTM staff to create additional standards. Why do such a thing? Collaborating, or in the criminal sense, conspiring, for the sole purpose of crafting a new standard would trigger the need to manufacture an ‘enhanced’ product to meet a newly created standard. Manufacturers or members of the supply chain for a particular product would financially gain from such a plan. Who gets taken advantage of? The property owner and, by virtue of an increased sale price to cover expenses, potentially the buyer of a parcel.

Major Takeaways of Amendments To Existing Law

There are several major additions to bill (SB 124) that could become law in 2021.

  • Two pool safety feature options must be in place. (AMENDED)
  • Home inspectors must disclose the existence of a residential pool and list safety features. (NEW language)
  • Pool safety feature options have amendments to their criteria and now incorporate ASTM Standards for pool safety feature options (ASTM F2286) and pool coverings (ASTM F1346) that could become problematic for property owners to maintain compliance. (AMENDED)
  • Before a home or “parcel” can be sold by a property owner, there must be compliance with Chapter 515, Florida Statutes. (NEW language)
  • The bill (SB 124) removes criminal penalties and replaces them with a noncriminal violation punishable as provided by s. 775.083, keeping the $500 fine. As with the current law, the waiver of the penalty is possible so long as the pool safety options are in place within 45 days of the issuance of a violation notice. (AMENDED)
  • If signed into law by Florida’s Governor, it would take effect on October 1, 2021.


The goal of this bill (SB 124) is to prevent another tragedy. A good and noble action to undertake by Senator Hooper. The end result of instituting the additional requirement for a pool safety feature option would be to seek redundancy of safety measures. The idea being that where one safety precaution fails, another will prevent injury or death. In Kacen Howard’s case, the pool had a fence around it, but failed to prevent access to the pool and him drowning.

In my opinion, the requirement of simply adding another pool safety feature option was adequate to achieve the primary goal of preserving life. However, crafting additional criteria for almost every pool safety feature option was not necessary. As discussed, the incorporation of ASTM Standards into law could very well be problematic as there is no control as to when, or to what degree, ASTM Standards will change from one year to the next. As written, the legislation would require a property owner to now keep up with ASTM Standards in order to be in compliance with Chapter 515, Florida Statutes.

At the very least, legislators should place restrictive language, simply by adding the year of the ASTM Standard, to prevent the constant compliance dilemma when future ASTM F2286 (pool design) and ASTM F1346 (pool covers) Standards come out.

Stay Connected

Are you a licensed real estate broker or sales associate, a potential seller, or a potential buyer, a home inspector? I would like to know how you feel about this proposed legislation. Living out of state? If passed, this legislation could become a model for other states to enact in the near future. How would you feel if your state enacted the same legislative language?

Legal Disclaimer

This article was written for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult an attorney should you have any questions about this proposed law or any current law or regulation.


Florida Department of Health

Florida Department of Health Guide Excerpt

Consumer Product Safety Commission


Please visit the Tips & Tricks Zone for more blog articles like this one. One of my most viewed blog articles is Polybutylene Plumbing Crisis – 99% Bad

Polybutylene Plumbing Crisis – 99% Bad

Polybutylene Plumbing Crisis – 99% Bad

Is Polybutylene Plumbing Bad? Yes.

Knowing The Difference

     Whether you’re buying a house, selling it, or replacing pipes, you should know the differences between all of the materials. One of the most popular materials used for about three decades was polybutylene plumbing. Polybutylene is a type of plastic resin. This type of plastic resin was commonly used in the manufacture of water piping, from about 1978 through the end of 1995, and is known to flake off and deteriorate after several years of use.

     Polybutylene plumbing is bad because it breaks off into the water supply. The flakes can be toxic, causing sickness upon ingestion. Furthermore, naturally occurring substances in tap water cause the deterioration process to become accelerated. If you have polybutylene piping in your home, it’s best to remove it as soon as possible.

PolybutylenePolybutylene chemical

     Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information:

  • Several reasons that polybutylene plumbing is bad
  • Suggestions for buying and selling houses with polybutylene plumbing
  • Answers to common plumbing questions and concerns

What’s So Bad About Polybutylene Plumbing?

Polybutylene used to be one of the most common piping materials around, but it’s not as popular these days. In fact, it was only used from 1978 to 1995, according to Polybutylene.com. Once people started to realize all of the issues associated with it, they immediately tried to remove the substance from homes.

Here are five reasons that polybutylene isn’t used anymore:

  1. As mentioned above, it starts to flake and crumble apart. The remnants can be toxic, but they also have the possibility of causing choking hazards. Regardless of the method, polybutylene is dangerous from the deterioration that happens when it comes in contact with most types of tap water.
  2. Polybutylene can cause serious leaks. The deterioration that you’ve read about can cause the pipes to become quite porous. You’ll end up spending more money on lost water and pipe repairs if you don’t replace them completely. Not only that, but they can start to break and slow water pressure.
  3. Long-term leaks can eventually lead to structural damage. When water continues to drip or pour from cracked polybutylene pipes, it starts to cause a pool underneath your home. The process weakens the foundation of your home, causing it to shift and become unstable. You’ll end up having to spend tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.
  4. Some insurance companies refuse to provide policies for houses with polybutylene pipes. The unreliability is so bad with the material that companies don’t want to be responsible for the inevitable damage that they’ll cause. Even if you manage to secure a policy, they’re typically much more expensive than traditional offers.
  5. Finally, polybutylene pipes can have a negative effect on a house’s value. If potential buyers are made away of the material’s presence, they’re much more likely to look elsewhere. Much like insurance policies, possible buyers won’t want to deal with the certain destruction caused by polybutylene.
    As you can see, there are all sorts of reasons that polybutylene is terrible for modern plumbing. If your home has it, you probably will notice leaks within the near future. Best Plumbers points out that polybutylene starts to show signs of flaking and deterioration within 12 years of installation.

Should You Buy or Sell a House With It?

     If you’re looking to buy a new home, it’s important to pay attention to the small details. Everything might look perfect on the outside, but never forget to ask about the plumbing. Even a tiny leak can lead to disastrous results.

     Upon finding out that the plumbing is made with polybutylene, you should immediately request that they repair it beforehand. Buying a house that has this type of plumbing is a surefire way to cost tremendous amounts of money and stress. If they’re unwilling, then there needs to be a financial compromise.

     You’ve read all of the negative effects of having polybutylene pipes, so don’t settle for the asking price. Another way to get around it is to get an inspector to deliver a price estimate. If they tell you a certain amount, you can request to shave it off of the total price after negotiations. For example, a $10,000 repair quote should mean that you pay that much less for the house.

     On the other hand, if you’re selling a house with polybutylene plumbing, always disclose it to potential buyers. If they find out later, you might be in deep water. Many states require that sellers inform all potential buyers of the presence of polybutylene since it’s such a bad substance to have around.

     If you want to work around the potential red flag, have them replaced before the house is ever put on the market. Get a quote and have plumbers come out to replace the polybutylene plumbing with new-age, modernized plumbing. This route means you’ll never have to tell anyone that there was a possible hazard.

     Buyers and sellers should both take caution when dealing with and discussing polybutylene plumbing. The substance is toxic, unreliable, and costly to replace. Unfortunately, a clean sale isn’t very likely without simply replacing the plumbing beforehand.

     If you’re still curious about the issues surrounding this material, proceed to the next section.


     There’s no longer any doubt that polybutylene needs to be removed from all plumbing around the world. However, you might still have a few questions about why it was used, what you can do, and so on.

Here are the most common questions about polybutylene paired with their respective answers:

  • Does homeowner’s insurance cover polybutylene plumbing? Most policies no longer cover these types of pipes because they’re bound to break soon enough. Since policies are designed for “what if’s” rather than “when’s,” it’s easy to see why so many companies are shifting away from coverage.
  • How much does it cost to replace polybutylene plumbing? According to Home Advisor, these pipes cost about $2,500 to $15,000, depending on how many pipes need to be replaced. Leaks, corners, and straightaway lengths can all affect the overall price estimate.
  • How do you replace polybutylene piping? Replacing the pipes around your house can depend on where they are, how much water flows through, and what types of materials are available in your area. Check out this good demonstration on replacing polybutylene plumbing with PEX.
  • How do you identify polybutylene plumbing in a house? The best way to know if your pipes are made out of polybutylene is to look for the ‘PB’ marker somewhere along the pipes. They’ll likely be followed by several other letters and numbers, but PB at the start of the code is a clear indicator.
  • Are polybutylene pipes illegal to install or own? While there currently aren’t any laws banning the use of polybutylene plumbing, they’re not sold anywhere. Even if you want to start installing them around your house or on a side project, you’d only be able to buy them off of someone who’s replacing them.

     Polybutylene is an undoubtedly nasty material to have sitting in your house. It can leak, ruin the value of your home, and cause numerous structural issues.


     If you’re about to move into a house with polybutylene plumbing, or yours already has it, then it’s time for a change. Get quotes and do whatever you have to do to remove the pipes from your home. The longer you wait, the more damage you’ll have to pay for in the long run. Polybutylene plumbing is clearly 99% bad and likely closer to 100% bad, but I was generous and gave that 1% in recognition of this type of pipe being capable of carrying water, at least for some period of time.

     Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Polybutylene can crack, leak, crumble, and deteriorate.
  • Ingesting the substance can cause sickness and/or choking.
  • Most insurance companies won’t cover polybutylene plumbing.
  • You should always request to know about the plumbing of a home before buying it.



Don’t Save To Lose.

Contact Bill Moore today!

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I am committed to diligently marketing your home and seek out ready, willing, and able buyers. But, first thing is first. We need to determine what your home is worth! Because no two homes are identical, I will need to conduct Comparative Market Analysis or “CMA.”

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    Local Lender Offers Thousands To Buyers

    Local Lender Offers Thousands To Buyers

    First Time Home Buyers: A local Orlando, FL lender is currently offering a $10,000 forgivable grant at closing. There are guidelines for this grant and one such requirement is that it is only available with a Conventional Loan 97% (Fannie Mae).  Additional requirements include: Buyers must have 640+ FICO, be a first time home buyer with no ownership of a principal residence in the past 3 years, obtain a FTHB Education Certificate, satisfy income limit ($87,500 for most counties), and find a home you like for less than $331,423 – purchase price limit for most counties.

    This offer is through the lender, not Alpha Real Estate of Central Florida, LLC.

    Here’s the lender’s example of what you could expect if you qualify:

    Sales Price: $250,000
    Loan Amount 97%: $242,500
    Down Payment: $7,500
    4% GRANT: $10,000 FREE

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    William “Bill” Moore
    Licensed Real Estate Sales Associate
    FL License: SL3386034
    Cell: ‪(407) 680-3670‬

    Alpha Real Estate of Central Florida, LLC
    1423 W. Fairbanks Ave.
    Winter Park, Florida 32789
    FL License: CQ1039886

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    Fed Meets In March 2019

    Fed Meets In March 2019


    The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meets in March

        The FFed Meets in March – this month! The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve System will meet later this monthThe Federal Reserve Flow Chart on March 19, 2019 and March 20, 2019. The FOMC will provide a “Summary of Economic Projections” report at this meeting and projections in the report may be the deciding factor on whether or not to raise the Federal Funds Target Rate (FFTR), which will in turn, trigger a rise in interest rate offerings by financial institutions.  The report considers projections for GDP growth, the unemployment rate, inflation, and the appropriate policy interest rate. 

    On January 30, 2019, the Federal Open Market Committee met for the first monetary policy meeting of 2019. The committee, at that time, voted to leave the Federal Funds Target Rate (“FFTR”), the rate that banks charge each other for overnight lending, at 2.25% – 2.50%. The Federal Funds Target Rate is a benchmark rate and is used to calculate the United States (Fed) Prime Rate.  The United States (Fed) Prime rate is calculated by adding the FFTR + 3%. As of January 30, 2019, the United States Prime Rate is 5.50%.

    The FOMC has indicated plans to raise the rate to 3.6% by 2020 and 3.8% by 2021. This means that by 2020, the United States Prime Rate could be 6.5%, or possibly higher, and lenders will increase mortgage interest rates lock-in-step with the increases by the FOMC.

    For additional information on this topic and how interest rates are calculated, please read my article titled, Mortgage Rates Stay Low, written earlier this year. Questions? Contact me anytime.

    Mortgage Rates Stay Low

    Mortgage Rates Stay Low



        On January 30, 2019, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve System “FOMC” had its first monetary policy meeting of 2019. The committee voted to leave the Federal Funds Target Rate (“FFTR”), the rate that banks charge each other for overnight lending, at 2.25% – 2.50%. The Federal Funds Target Rate is a benchmark rate and is used to calculate the United States (Fed) Prime Rate.  The United States (Fed) Prime rate is calculated by adding the FFTR + 3%. As of January 30, 2019, the United States Prime Rate is 5.50%.

    Determining Your Interest Rate

        Banks utilize the target range, the “FFTR,” for the federal funds rate as a starting point to establish the interest rates they want to charge for loans. Banks also use other factors to set their interest rates. The bottom line is that banks want to maximize profits, through the Net Interest Margin. The Net Interest Margin is simply a ratio that measures how successful the bank is investmenting funds compared to the expenses on those investments. Banks want to show shareholders gains, not losses. However, banks also realize consumers and businesses seek the lowest rate possible

        It’s no secret banks adjust interest rates based on risk and the lower the risk, the better the interest rate for a borrower. When borrowers have a high credit score, put up collateral or a large down payment, and use services from the same bank (checking, savings, brokerage, mortgage) they may get a discount on the interest rate. Another strategy may be for a borrower to borrow during a down economy or when uncertainty is high, such as inflation or a volatile interest rate environment, in order to get a favorable rate. So, under these circumstances, a bank may be especially motivated to make a deal or give you the best rate possible. Borrowers who seek out a loan or rate with government backing can also secure the lowest rate possible. The U.S. weekly averages as of February 7, 2019, as reported by Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac, are:  30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage, 4.41%, 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage, 3.84%; 5/1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgage, 3.91%.  This is a 10-month low; however, the current rates are still above last year’s rates by .09%; 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage rate averaged 4.32%, compared to the current 4.41% rate for a 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage rate.

    Chart of interest rates 2018 to 2019- Freddie Mac


    The Outlook

        The decision by the FOMC to not increase the Federal Funds Target Rate means banks will keep their interest rates steady as well. This means the Spring of 2019 will be a great time for borrowers to secure mortgages from lenders at historic low interest rates before interest rates increase in the coming months or year.

        The next meeting for the FOMC is March 20, 2019 and economic projections will be heard at this meeting. The FOMC meets at least 8 times per year and have a published schedule for the remainder of 2019. It should be noted that the FOMC has indicated plans to raise the rate to 3.6% by 2020 and 3.8% by 2021. This means that by 2020, the United States Prime Rate could be 6.5%, or possibly higher, and lenders will increase mortgage interest rates lock-in-step with the increases by the FOMC.  The FOMC meets at least 8 times per year and have a published schedule.

        Historically speaking, the FOMC of the Federal Reserve System kept the Federal Funds Target Rate (“FFTR”), the rate that banks charge each other for short-term loans, at zero between 2008 and 2015. The recession ended in June 2009.  The Federal Reserve raised the target level of the federal funds rate in 2018 on the following dates by the following percentages:

    Date FFTR U.S. (Fed) Prime Rate (+3%)
    Mar 22, 2018 1.75% 4.75%
    Jun 14, 2018 2.00% 5.00%
    Sep 27, 2018 2.25% 5.25%
    Dec 19, 2018 2.50% 5.50%

    The Federal Funds Target Rate History from 1990 to present is available to view by clicking here. 


    Tax Refunds Buy Homes

    Tax Refunds Buy Homes

    Tax Refunds Buy Homes

    A substantial tax refunds, or even a small tax refund, could buy homes for many Americans. According to FreddieMac, the Internal Revenue Service began accepting tax returns on January 29, and estimates nearly 155 million individual tax returns will be filed for the 2018 tax filing season.

    Here are three ways it could bring you closer to home-ownership.

    Save for a down payment

    One of the biggest barriers to home-ownership is the lack of savings on hand for a down payment. Don’t overestimate the size of the down payment you may need. Your credit history, along with other factors, will dictate how much of your money is needed for a down payment. Many borrowers are permitted to make a down payment of about 5 to 10% — not 20%, which is often the percentage borrowers confuse with the amount of equity needed to avoid Property Mortgage Insurance (“PMI”). For example, Freddie Mac’s 3% down mortgage, known as the Home Possible Advantage®, helps qualified borrowers make a down payment of as little as $6,000 for a $200,000 home.

    Down Payment Assistance Logo


    Down payment assistance programs can also be leveraged too fill thecash gap. Get in contact with me about the many programs across the country that can help you save on your down payment and closing costs. In fact, Orange County Government and the City of Orlando offer some programs to qualified borrowers and some are offered based on the location of the home. Check to see what Down Payment Assistance programs you may be eligible for by clicking here.


    Pay for closing costs

    A home-buyer will typically pay between about 2% and 5% of the home purchase price in closing fees. However, these fees can fluctuate depending on the interest rates, incentives offered, etc. The average for closing costs, by state, can be viewed here and further understand your costs.

    Lower your interest rate

    You can use your tax refund to pay discount points in order to “buy down” your mortgage interest rate. A “point” equals one percent of the loan. This is commonly used to lock in a lower interest rate on your fixed–rate mortgage. For example, if you are borrowing $100,000, paying one discount point would mean paying $1,000 upfront at closing. Here’s the great part. By having a lower interest rate you may even end up saving more in interest payments over the life of the loan. FreddieMac’s Mortgage Calculator can give you an idea of how paying extra points might lower your rate.



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