Author Archives: Savino James

Realtor® Cindy Birge: Serving the Community

Realtor® Cindy Birge: Serving the Community

Residents of Chipley and other areas in the Panhandle struggled in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael with the devastation caused by downed trees, flying debris and other damage. Cindy Birge, a local Realtor, saw many needs and joined forces with fellow residents and other Realtors to help community recovery efforts.

CHIPLEY, Fla. – Cindy Birge is no stranger to hurricanes and powerful storms. After all, the broker-owner of Elite Realty in Chipley and member of the Central Panhandle Association of Realtors® has lived her whole life in the Panhandle. Hurricane Michael was different, she says.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Rise in Feb. 2019

Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Rise in Feb. 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., March 22, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in February compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 18,966 last month, up 1.9 percent compared to February 2018.

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Florida Realtors® and Dubai Land Dept. Sign Agreement to Encourage Collaboration

Florida Realtors® and Dubai Land Dept. Sign Agreement to Encourage Collaboration

CANNES, France, March 13, 2019 — Florida Realtors and the Dubai Land Department today signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during MIPIM 2019, the international real estate and property investors conference held March 12-15, 2019, in Cannes, France.

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Realtor® Benjamin Urrutia: Helping Children Smile Again

Realtor® Benjamin Urrutia: Helping Children Smile Again

Orlando Realtor Benjamin Urrutia, shown at far right wearing a gray suit with a red tie, proudly represents the Maitland Rotary Club, which partnered with the Bogota-Occidente Rotary Club to raise money to help underprivileged children in his home country of Colombia. A former member of the Bogota-Occidente Rotary Club Urrutia visited Colombia this past fall to present equipment and money to the cause.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Community service has always been important for Benjamin Urrutia, a sales associate with Charles Rutenberg Realty in Orlando.

“I came to Orlando in 2003 after living in Colombia and Chicago,” says Urrutia. “While in Colombia, I was a member of the Rotary Club of Bogota-Occidente, so once I was in Orlando, I joined the Rotary Clubs of Maitland to serve my community.”

Urrutia is doing more than serving his Orlando community. He’s also helping underprivileged children in his home country of Colombia.

“There is a large population of underprivileged children with the syndrome of cleft lip and palate,” he says.” Without medical intervention, life will be hard for them.”

So, he and other members of the Maitland Rotary Club came up with the idea to partner with the Bogota-Occidente Rotary Club to help those children by donating money to buy equipment for a rural school in Bogota. Once that money was raised, the group moved to their second goal – to fund an organization called Fisulab, which provides medical and psychological help to children and teens who have a cleft lip and palate. Fisulab was founded in 2000.

“It does more than medical care,” says Urrutia. “They have family workshops where they talk about the different aspects of cleft lip and palate, such as social consequences, how to deal with grief and a walk-through before and after surgery.”

He says, “It’s so important to help these children assimilate into the community.” With Urrutia’s help, the Maitland Rotary raised some $37,000 to donate to Fisulab.

He recalls, “I was able to visit Colombia in October 2018 to present at the official ceremony when we delivered the equipment and money.”

What Urrutia saw moved him.

“It was exciting to see kids who were now adults and had been through treatment – kids who learned to talk again and were now engineers, psychologists and nurses,” he says. “They were able to overcome their handicap and become productive members of society.”

He was especially taken with a “fellow who was now an architect and plays the piano. He had such a hard time when he was younger trying to pronounce words correctly, and now he’s a success,” Urrutia says.

While this project is now completed, Urrutia has encouraged the Maitland Rotary Club to take on a clean water initiative.

“We would like to repair the desalination plant in a rural area of Colombia inhabited by Indian tribes,” he explains. “The area is so close to the ocean. Without a working desalination plant, the water is brackish and of inferior quality.” Their goal is to raise $27,000 for the project.

For Urrutia, it’s all about serving others.

He says, “It is part of our job as Realtors and within the Rotary International Creed to serve others above oneself. I believe deeply in that creed.”

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to 187,000 members in 52 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at https://media.floridarealtors.org.

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Florida Realtors® and the Spanish International Realty Alliance® (SIRA) Sign Cooperative Agreement for the Future

Florida Realtors® and the Spanish International Realty Alliance® (SIRA) Sign Cooperative Agreement for the Future

CANNES, France, March 12, 2019 — Florida Realtors® and the Spanish International Realty Alliance® (SIRA) today signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during MIPIM 2019, the international real estate and property investors conference held March 12-15, 2019, in Cannes, France.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: New Listings, Median Prices, Inventory Up in Jan. 2019

Fla.’s Housing Market: New Listings, Median Prices, Inventory Up in Jan. 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 21, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in January compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. However, uncertainty over mortgage interest rates, the stock market and the federal government’s shutdown may have affected home sales, which were lower than the level of sales a year ago. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 15,526 last month, down 6.2 percent compared to January 2018.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, New Listings, Median Price Up at End of 2018

Fla.’s Housing Market: Sales, New Listings, Median Price Up at End of 2018

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 12, 2019 – Florida’s housing market wrapped up 2018 with more sales, higher median sale prices and more new listings compared to the year before, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

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Realtor® Sabrina Cohen: Overcoming Hurdles, Helping Others

Realtor® Sabrina Cohen: Overcoming Hurdles, Helping Others

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Sabrina Cohen, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Miami Beach and member of the Miami Association of Realtors®, knows what it’s like to face challenges in life. As 14-year-old, Cohen was in a car accident and, in the blink of an eye, was paralyzed from the neck down.

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Florida Realtors® 2019 Real Estate Trends: No Housing Price Bubble

Florida Realtors® 2019 Real Estate Trends: No Housing Price Bubble

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor, at left, welcomes Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Dr. Len Kiefer, right, to the 2019 Real Estate Trends summit at Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings.

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 28, 2019 – To Realtors®, homeowners and others who ask, “Are we in another house price bubble?” – the answer is “No,” according to Dr. Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist, who spoke to a crowd of more than 400 Realtors at the 2019 Florida Real Estate Trends summit last week during Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings.

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Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Rise in Dec. 2018

Fla.’s Housing Market: Median Prices, Inventory Rise in Dec. 2018

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 22, 2019 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in December compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. However, buyer uncertainty from rising mortgage rates and the federal government’s shutdown may have impacted home sales, which were lower than the level of sales a year ago. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,633 last month, down 9.9 percent compared to December 2017.

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