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D’Amico & Associates your Full Service Insurance Agency

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You can make sure you have the Insurance Coverage you need before a sudden loss occurs, and you can avoid paying too much money for coverage you don’t need.  Rely on an agent you can trust at D’Amico & Associates, Inc., an independent full service insurance agency located at 223 Citrus Tower Blvd., in Clermont.  D’Amico & Associates focus on fulfilling the needs of each individual client by shopping the market place to obtain the best coverage at the lowest price.  Because of this commitment, you can look forward to superior coverage and service, both at an affordable price!

The agents at D’Amico & Associates have over 30 years experience in helping people obtain homeowner, mobile homeowner, land-lord, condominium, renters, flood, and vacant property policies.  They are affiliated with over 30 different companies in the state of Florida. But that’s not all!  They also have over a dozen different auto insurance companies and numerous commercial carriers for business insurance.

On the financial services side, Steve has access to all fund houses and utilizes the vast experience of their personnel to formulate individual customized financial plans.  He specializes in 401K Plan Rollovers, Annuities, Life Insurance, Traditional and Roth IRAs, Tax Free Income Estate and Tax Planning to avoid probate, College Funding, CD Alternatives, Wealth Transfer to pass money to heirs tax free, and all types of Retirement Planning.

D’Amico & Associates Financial Services & Insurance proudly serves all of Lake County especially Clermont, Leesburg, Tavares, Mount Dora, Groveland, Mascotte, Montverde, Umatilla, Howey in the Hills, and Eustis.  While they are licensed to serve the entire state of Florida they specialize in  Seminole, Orange, Polk, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.

For more information or a free quote today, visit our web site www.damicoinsurance.com.


Lake Extension Offering Certification for Green Industries

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TAVARES — The Lake County Extension, located at 1951 Woodlea Road in Tavares, is hosting a best management practices (BMPs) certification course for Florida’s green industries on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The Green Industries BMPs are designed to preserve and protect Florida's water resources from non-point source pollution. The BMPs cover proper fertilization, pest control, irrigation and cultural practices for landscape and pest control professionals. Knowledge of appropriate fertilizer rates, sources and application methods can greatly reduce any potential non-point source pollution of Florida's ground and surface waters.

Although adoption of the BMPs is voluntary at this time, legislation passed in July 2009 will require anyone who applies fertilizer for hire to obtain an applicator’s license called the Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer Application by January 2014. This certification course, which includes passing the exam with a 75 percent or higher, will be the prerequisite to obtain the license. Other local ordinances may require it as well.

The intended participants for Green Industries BMPs certification are supervisors and employees in lawn care, pest control or landscape industries; municipal parks & recreation facility supervisors and employees; irrigation industry workers; retail facility employees who sell fertilizers; city and county planning, environmental and water quality departments; and builders, developers, landscape designers and architects.

The Green Industries BMPs certification confers value as a client-marketing tool, credential of professionalism, furtherance of education and work opportunities and fulfillment of continuing education credits.

The cost of the certification course is $20 and includes lunch and training materials. To reserve a seat for the Green Industries BMPs certification course, call the Lake County Extension at (352) 343-4101. The Green Industries BMPs certification course brochure is available to download at http://cfextension.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/BMPforGI-11-8-10.pdf.


(Eileen Scates) Earns Real Estate, Short Sale Designation to Help Homeowners in Danger of Foreclosure

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Clermont, FL  "October" Eileen Scates of Coach Light Real Estate in Historic Downtown Clermont has earned the prestigious Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) designation, having completed extensive training in foreclosure avoidance, with a particular emphasis on short sales. At a time when millions of homeowners are struggling with the possibility of foreclosure, the skills and education amassed by Scates will help benefit Clermont area residents and communities.

Short sales allow the distressed homeowner to repay the mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even if it is lower than what is owed on the property. With plummeting property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy. More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.

Today, more than 13 percent of homeowners are delinquent on their mortgage or in the foreclosure process. This is occurring across all price ranges, and the fastest-growing category of homes in foreclosure is the luxury home market.

 "The CDPE designation has been invaluable as I work with homeowners and lenders on complicated short sales, " said Scates.  "It is so rewarding to be able to help families save their homes from foreclosure."

Alex Charfen, co-founder and CEO of the Distressed Property Institute in Austin, Texas, said that agents such as Eileen Scates with the CDPE Designation have valuable perspective on the market, and training in short sales that can offer homeowners real alternatives to foreclosure, which can be devastating to credit ratings.

 "These experts better understand market conditions than the average agent, and can help sellers through the complications of foreclosure avoidance," he said.

The Distressed Property Institute provides live and online courses to train real estate professionals how to help homeowners in distress, with a strong focus on handling short sales.

 "Our goal is to help as many homeowners as possible, by educating as many real estate professionals as possible, " Charfen said. "Eileen Scates demonstrated a commitment to struggling homeowners, a commitment that can provide much-needed stabilization to the community. "

For more information about CDPE Designation, visit www.cdpe.com.

Click here for more information about Eileen Scates.


Strategic Marketing for Small Business

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Surviving a tough economy requires rethinking your business, and developing those basic skills that make a business strong. Join Jerry Ross in this practical and motivational session as he shares his time tested tactics for getting a business through tough times! This seminar will inspire you to action and motivate you to implement a new focus for dealing with today’s economy.

Jerry Ross is a life-long entrepreneur who has held leadership positions with AT&T, Ohio Bell, and Goal Systems Software. He has been an active entrepreneur in Orlando for the last 20 years, launching a variety of successful enterprises. In 2007, Jerry was selected in a nationwide search to become the Executive Director of the Disney Entrepreneur Center. He has been called a “virtual business incubator” by the Orlando Business Journal, and has been named one of Central Florida’s “Top 10 Businessmen to Watch”. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on small business development, and a frequent guest on local media. Jerry is the chairman of the District Export Council of Central Florida and a board member of Orlando Regional chamber of Commerce. He graduated from Heidelberg College, holds an MBA from Dayton University, and is a Certified Business Consultant from The University of Central Florida.

DATE: October 20, 2010
TIME: 6:30-8:30PM
LOCATION: Health Services Building-Auditorium, Room 131, LSCC
9501 US Hwy 441, Leesburg, FL 34788
RSVP: Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Call: 352-365-3579
COST: Free


The Lowdown on Short Sales, Finally

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short saleFor those of you who aren't quite sure of the meaning, a short sale is when you sell your home for less than the amount you owe, with your lender's permission.

For example, if you owe $100,000 on a home that is now worth $80,000 you're not going to find someone to pay $100,000 for it.  But you might find someone willing to pay $80,000 for it.  Now you have a choice.  You can either bring $20,000 with you to closing, if you have it.  Or you can try to convince your lender to accept $80,000, eat the $20,000 deficiency and consider the loan paid in full.  If they agree, you are well on your way to completing a short sale.

The volume of short sales has skyrocketed. According to Alex Charfen, CEO of the Distressed Property Institute, an organization that trains real estate professionals how to facilitate short sales, and confers the CDPE designation: "In January 2010, Bank of America received 50,000 short sale inquiries compared to January 2007 when they processed a total of 7 short sales."  Many years ago, many homeowners would have found their mortgage lender to be more difficult than helpful when the topic of short sales came up.  Today, however, according to Charfen, "Bank of America, Citi, Chase, WAMU, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo have been great about it."

The problem now isn't so much knowing what a short sale is but more so getting accurate information about how it impacts your credit reports and credit scores.  There is an enormous amount of incorrect information floating around regarding the impact of a short sale on your credit scores.  Some people claim that a short sale will never show up on your credit reports and therefore will have no impact to your scores.  This is correct, and incorrect at the same time.  "A short sale is not reported on a person's credit history, but I have seen them show up as Paid as Agreed, $0 Balance Due, Charged Off, Settled and even Charged Off and Owing", says Charfen.
The reason there's no way to specifically report a "short sale" to the credit bureaus is because there is no "short sale" option from the pre-existing list of credit reporting codes.  According to Norm Magnuson, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Consumer Data Industry Association, the trade organization of the credit reporting agencies, "For credit reporting purposes, a short sale is considered to be the same as paying an account in full for less than the full balance, therefore a new code was not assigned."  What he is referring to is a settlement, where the lender takes less than they're owed and considers the loan paid in full.  There are already pre-existing credit reporting options for "settlements," and since a short sale is a settlement with a fancy name, the use of the existing credit reporting option is sufficient.

A settlement, however, is one of the seven deadly FICO sins, so the impact on your scores can be profound, especially if you have good credit otherwise.  The impact is going to be the same as a foreclosure, charge off, collection or other serious delinquency.  It can impact your ability to get a job, car loan, credit card, insurance or any other product or service that uses credit reports and/or credit scores to assess risk.

A short sale is not clean, as many would have you believe.  Just because your credit report doesn't say "Short Sale" doesn't mean your credit is home free.  Suggesting that the absence of the exact wording somehow makes it benign is selectively omitting the most important part of the story.
There are even real estate agents who claim to be able to convince your lender not to report the settlement to the credit bureaus.  If this is true, and I haven't seen one example or any evidence supporting the claim, then the credit bureaus won't know that you sold short.  And since credit scores are solely based on credit report data, the lack of any settlement reporting means your scores would not be affected.  It would also be blatant misreporting by the lender and, according to a consumer credit attorney who agreed to be interviewed under the condition of anonymity, "I think that would violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act."  I'm also reasonably certain the credit bureaus would frown upon the withholding of the loan's true disposition because the next lender down the line would not know about the settlement and might approve a loan application for someone they would have otherwise declined.

The bottom line is that short sales don't show up on your credit reports, but that's really wordplay.  They do show up, but in the form of a settlement (I've also seen it listed as a charge off).  There simply is no fully clean way out of a bad mortgage and a short sale is no exception.  Sorry folks, don't shoot the messenger.

Still have questions or know someone that may be in need. Call or email me today for an informative consultation … my services may be available to you for free but my expertise is priceless.

Eileen Scates, CDPE (321) 229-2265 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

—Originally Published on Credit.com 2010

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