Real Estate Information Archive


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Why Should I Buy Real Estate in Avon Park?

by Maureen Cool

The Avon Park Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has a great incentive to invest inCarl Cool Engineering Avon Park. 

After purchasing a business or residential home, a buyer may qualify for free money or matching funds to improve the exterior of the property. I cannot say enough about this fantastic opportunity offered by the CRA. There are many great deals on commercial building, residential homes and rental/investment properties within the three CRA districts of Avon Park. Speaking from my personal experience, I was able to take advantage of the CRA matching grant for business owners. After purchasing a commercial building Main Street in downtown Avon Park, my husband and I qualified to receive a CRA Matching Grant.

As a past member of the Avon Park City Council and now property owner on Main Street, I believe in Avon Park and take pride in making our city better. For businesses, matching grants are available for the improvement of storefronts. This is the grant my husband and I applied for. Total allowable funds per business are 50% of costs up to a maximum of $5,000. Last year, after purchasing a foreclosed office building on Main St., which is now home to Carl Cool Engineering and Main Street Professional Offices, we applied for a grant. This grant paid half the costs for repairing stucco, exterior paint, adding stacked stone to the building front and a new awning. Carl and I are very proud of our office building and have received so many compliments with what we have done with the building.

Also available are Free Home Facade Grants for homeowners who meet very low, low or moderate income requirements. Homeowners who qualify can receive funds up to $2,500 per owner occupied homes every two years. For homeowners who do not qualify for the Free Home Facade Grant, a Matching Facade Grant is available. The total allowable funds for this matching grant are 50% of costs up to a maximum of $2,500 per residence per year. The homes do not have to be owner occupied.

Interested parties must complete a Facade Grant Application, which is available at City Hall. Grant funds will not be considered for projects already under renovation and is based on appropriated funding designated for the CRA program and are on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information about the Facade Grant Application process or to obtain an application form, please contact Wes Hoaglund, CRA Redevelopment Director, at (321) 287-6543 or (863) 452-2039. The application is also available online at in the Resources Section under Publications.

Interest rates have never been better. Commercial rates are at a 40 year low. If you are looking for investment, commercial or residential property, throughout Highlands County Florida.

Maureen Cool or RE/MAX Realty Plus is your expert on Avon Park. Contact Maureen at 863 873-7243 or 1-888-243-2665 or email for great deals and foreclosures available in the CRS districts or

Getting Your Loan Approved: Not as Simple as it Once Was

by Maureen Cool

Getting a home loan approved today is not as simple as it used to be.  Just having good credit and a steady job doesn't seem to cut it these days.  You need to make an impression.  I have included some great tips that could help you get your loan for your dream HIghlands County home. These suggestions can help you make the best possible impression on your home mortgage lender.

Just as job hunters may wonder what top employers want to see on a resume, prospective borrowers may be curious about what lenders look for on a loan application.

The four C's

The answer may be summed up with a mnemonic called "The four C's,"

•    Capacity, which refers to the adequacy of the borrower's income to cover the interest and principal due on the loan, plus property taxes and homeowners insurance.
•    Character, which refers to the borrower's track record of paying debts, as evidenced by his or her credit history and credit score.
•    Capital, which refers to the borrower's down payment (or equity) as a percentage of the current value of the home.
•    Collateral, which refers to the safety and soundness of the home and the value of the home as determined by an appraisal relative to the agreed-upon purchase price.
Today’s mortgage broker might use a quadrant with "income," "credit," "assets" and "property" in the four corners, but his point is the same as that of the four C's:  What lenders like to see is strength and stability in all four areas.

Maybe your credit score has some dings or you need a stated-income loan.  Borrowers who are qualified but whose down payment will be less than 20% of the purchase price of the home must withstand a second level of scrutiny. That's because mortgage insurers also have to approve such loans, and they have "completely different qualification ratios”. Borrowers in this situation should discuss their options with a loan officer who is familiar with lenders' and insurers' guidelines.

Have paperwork in order

Be able to back up your word. Lenders rely not on the borrower's say-so but on a pile of paperwork to verify and document the borrower's financial position. At a minimum, most borrowers are required to submit the following:
•    One month of paycheck stubs.
•    Two years of W-2 forms.
•    Three months of bank account statements.

Additional paperwork also may be required:

•    If you're self-employed or earn more than 25% of your income from commissions or bonuses, you'll need to hand over two years of income tax returns.
•    If you're divorced, the lender will want a copy of your settlement to ascertain how much alimony or child support you're obligated to pay or are entitled to receive and the duration of those payments.
•    If you've filed for bankruptcy protection within the past seven years, you'll need to show your bankruptcy papers.
•    If you've deferred repayment of student loans, you should provide your deferral agreement as well.

If you have a student loan that is going to be deferred for at least 12 months, that may help you qualify. So definitely bring in the account numbers for those loans. Student loans are considered debt, but deferral of payment could possibly strengthen your application.







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Contact Information

Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897



Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.

Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 



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