Southwest Florida Childrens Charities hosts a reception for Wine Fest volunteers

Pam Wittenauer has volunteered for the SWFL Children’s Charities Wine and Food Fest for the past four (4) years.   This year they recognized the volunteers and had a reception.

SWFL Children’s Charities reception for wine and food fest volunteers

Pam Wittenauer awarded Five Star Real Estate Agent 2016

Over the past Five (5) Years Pam Wittenauer has achieved a GulfShore Life Five Star Professional Award.  See the other winners:

Free International calls? Theres an app for that

I went to Israel a few years ago on a pilgrimage and realized I needed cell service to still stay in touch with my business.  I know, I was on a pilgrimage and still could let go of my busy life at home.  I was able to pay $30 a month for international texting but that was really not what I wanted.  Now I have used Facebook Messenger when I need to get in touch with family who are travelling abroad.  I have Apple products such as my Ipads, but my phone is Samsung which I love but cannot FaceTime.   What do you use with your Samsung phone?   This article just put out by the National Board of Realtors is very helpful.  Has anyone tried this?

Free international calls? There’s an app for that

McLEAN, Va. – Feb. 28, 2017 – A common question we hear all the time – how to make international calls for free?

There are so many viable options now, and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to the wireless carriers. It’s another case of free apps to the rescue!

But which app to use? A good basic rule of thumb – use the app where your friends or family are. If they like to connect there, it will be the easiest place to find them.

Each app works differently, but, in a nutshell, look for the phone or video camera icon for guidance to where to make your free calls.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Skype has been the pioneer of free calls since it started in 2003. As it always has, calling “Skype to Skype” is free but making a call from your smartphone to someone’s landline or cellphone will cost you. Rates vary depending upon which country you call. Skype starts at 10 cents a minute to call mobile phones in the United Kingdom, for instance, or 2.3 cents per minute to call landlines. It also offers a monthly $6.99 subscription. Calls are easy to make, but the invite process is clunky. You can’t make calls until you both accept the request.
  • WhatsApp is probably the most popular app now among people in Europe for free calls, with more than 1 billion people using the service. Like Skype, the app works when your friends are there. Recently, WhatsApp expanded beyond basic free calls and messages to copy communications app Snapchat with a similar “Story” feature that lets members show off collections of photos and videos.
  • Apple’s Facetime couldn’t be any simpler to operate and should be your first choice if you have an iPhone, iPad or Apple computer. All you need is a phone number or Apple ID to begin making free calls. But if your mom is on Android and you’re on Apple, you’re out of luck. You’ll want to consider one of the other options. Unlike the other apps, FaceTime isn’t a download. It comes installed on all new iPhones, iPads and Macs. Look for the green camera icon on your mobile screen or in the menu of your desktop.
  • The Line app dominates in Asia, but it’s starting to make inroads in the U.S. with a delicious offer. Free international calls to land lines – as long as you watch a short 15-second ad first. App-to-app calls don’t require the ads. Give it a try – it’s the most colorful and fun of the free phone apps. It’s best known for introducing “stickers,” instant messages to pretty up your texts, from the likes of Pokémon and Mickey Mouse, to Dragon Ball and Star Wars. Most are available for sale – starting at 99 cents.
  • Facebook Messenger. With nearly 2 billion users, the odds are your friends or loved ones are already there, which is why I’d recommend starting here first. Plus, the audio quality is generally excellent.

To make the call, remember to use the Messenger app for your smartphone or regular desktop Facebook. Look for the video camera and phone icons at the top of the screen, next to the name of your friend.

Copyright © 2017,, USA TODAY, Jefferson Graham.


Mayor Henderson Speaks To Commercial Investment Professionals

Today I attended the CIP Breakfast meeting at Renes on Winkler Road in Fort Myers.   CIP is for Commercial Agents and Associates.  Randy Henderson said everything takes time and patience which he learned from his father. He  said he likes to go out to the restaurants in downtown Fort Myers.  He recently frequented Firestone with his friends last weekend.  I actually saw him on one of my walks downtown, in Scoops, an ice cream shop in downtown Fort Myers.  He spoke about developing Cleveland Avenue.  The new hotel that will be a division of the Marriott Chain.  The Community Foundation will be the new tenant of the old Train Depot and they will be adding additional commercial space to the property.  He asked the commercial realtor to please help David Fry rent the units at The Place on First.   For more information, keep checking into my blog.  Pam Wittenauer/RE/MAX Realty Group, Commercial and Residential Realtor

Land: What can an Industrial Developer pay for a land site?

What can an Industrial Developer pay for a land site?

Affordable Housing and Church Facility Land

Click link below:




Could 30-year mortgage survive without gov’t?

WASHINGTON – Jan. 24, 2017 – Republicans are raising the prospect of making the biggest change to home loans since the New Deal.

Two of President Trump’s Cabinet picks, along with Republican lawmakers, have been speaking publicly about curbing government backing for the kind of loan that the majority of Americans rely on to buy a house: the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Supporters of the change say removing U.S. backing could protect taxpayers from being on the hook for billions of dollars in the event of a market collapse – as they were after the financial crisis of 2008.

But some in the housing industry say that without the government’s support, 30-year mortgages may become scarce, leaving homeownership out of reach for many Americans.

“Eliminating the government guarantee would likely lead to higher rates, making credit more expensive, or take the 30-year fixed-rate option off the table altogether,” said William Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors.

Making changes to the housing market carries political risk. If homebuyers can’t obtain affordable mortgages, they may turn against Republicans responsible for the change. About 71 percent of home purchases and refinances in October used a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to the Urban Institute, a Washington-based research group.

Ben Carson, Trump’s nominee to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told senators Thursday that the 30-year mortgage could survive without a government guarantee. He said the private market could take on much of the responsibility.

“You can’t do it overnight. It has to be a gradual change,” Carson said at his confirmation hearing. “We can’t do it in a haphazard way, and we can’t do it in an ideological way.”

Trump hasn’t detailed any formal policy on mortgages, and Carson’s comments came only after being asked about the topic. Transition spokeswoman DJ Nordquist said in an email after the hearing that Carson “believes strongly” in the need for a 30-year mortgage option.

Until recently, such debates have been mostly academic.

While the Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee has passed legislation that would constrict the government’s role in the market, such plans never had much of a chance getting past the Senate or President Obama. Now, with Republicans controlling the legislative and executive branches, curtailing the government-mortgage guarantee is becoming more than an ideological pipe dream.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, created by the government and spun off as shareholder-owned corporations, for years have been the foundation of the housing market and have backed the 30-year mortgage. They purchase mortgages and package them into bonds, absorbing much of the risk, making it easier for homebuyers to obtain loans and freeing up money for banks to make more loans. When the housing market melted down in 2008, the government spent $187.5 billion bailing out Fannie and Freddie. Since then, they’ve become profitable again and sent the government more than $250 billion in dividends.

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, said Fannie and Freddie should “absolutely” be privatized, in an interview with Fox Business Network on Nov. 30.

Some mortgage investors and others in the housing industry are expecting an overhaul.

“I don’t know anyone who’s not at least paying lip service to the idea that having a market dominated by the government is not a good idea,” said Lewis Ranieri, who runs an investment-management firm and helped invent the mortgage-backed security.


Home starts Surge

U.S. builders ramped up home construction in December, led by a surge of apartment building, while single-family houses lagged.

Housing starts jumped 11.3 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The figures are volatile month to month: Starts plummeted in November after a big gain in October. Apartment construction soared 53.9 percent last month, while single-family housing starts fell 4 percent.

The figures cap a solid 2016 for home construction: Developers started work on the most new houses and apartments since 2007, the year the Great Recession began. Single-family home building increased 3.9 percent and apartment building was 10.3 percent higher.

A fair housing violation? How can that be?

Recently, a broker in Florida received a demand letter in the mail from a Fair Housing Center in Texas. The letter included a copy of one of the broker’s rental listings that included “no kids” in the public remarks. When the broker talked to the listing agent, she explained that the owner is a close friend, the home’s pool does not have a child safety fence, and it’s unsafe for children to live there.

The broker, the agent and the homeowner in this scenario are in violation of U.S. fair housing laws.

Under the Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal to discriminate in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. This “no kids” example, although not intentional, is a per se effort to discriminate based on familial status — and Realtors must use extreme caution when working with sellers because they’re as liable as the homeowner if they discriminate against a protected class on the seller’s behalf.

Foreclosures? What foreclosures?

Foreclosed homes have been a noticeable part of many Florida housing markets for the past few years. However, a decline in the listing inventory coupled with a foreclosure drop made these bank-owned properties more expensive as selling prices came closer and closer to fair market value. In 2016, Florida led the nation in foreclosures for a few months, but by October it dropped to No. 6, according to ATTOM (formerly RealtyTrac). Heading into 2017, the trend should continue, though with a slight increase possible thanks to an October ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that freed lenders to foreclose on some homes previously protected by a five-year statute of limitations.

Lease breaks due to medical reasons

The medical lease break
Florida law does not allow a tenant to break a lease due to a medical condition, either preexisting or new, although you may want to allow the tenant to break the lease without penalty in certain circumstances. There are many elderly tenants in Florida who cannot complete their lease terms due to having to be placed in an assisted care facility. Other tenants may have a serious sickness which requires long-term care or some condition which does not permit them to reside on the premises on their own. We recommend that with verification from a physician, you allow individuals to break their lease without penalty. If you were to decide to take the case to Small Claims Court, many judges would probably rule that due to the impossibility of the tenant to perform the lease obligations, through the judge’s equitable powers, the tenant will be allowed to break the lease without penalty.