How to Buy U. S. Government-owned Homes

Housing Counseling

Anyone interested in buying a home for sale by the U.S. Government, particularly first-time homebuyers, should seek assistance from a housing counseling agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD supports a network of approved housing counseling agencies that provide counseling services across the nation. For a complete list of HUD approved agencies in your area, call the HUD housing counseling referral line toll-free at 1-800-569-4287 or visit the HUD website at

HUD Homes

After you find a HUD Home on that you want to buy, you should find a real estate broker who can submit the bid for you. The broker can submit the bid online. Normally, HUD Homes are sold in an "Offer Period". At the end of the Offer Period, all offers are opened and the highest reasonable bid is accepted. If the home isn't sold in the initial Offer Period, you can submit a bid until the home is sold. Bids can be submitted any day of the week, including weekends and holidays. They will be opened the next business day. If your bid is acceptable to HUD, your real estate agent will be notified, usually within 48 hours.

For more information on HUD Homes:

USDA/Rural Development Homes

After you find a USDA/Rural Development home on that you want to buy, you should contact the local USDA/Rural Development servicing office, which will provide the most current and accurate information regarding the status of the home as well as your eligibility for potential program benefits. You can find the local servicing office contact information on the home's description web page. Depending on your circumstances and the status of the property listed, your method of bidding and ultimately purchasing the property may vary.

For more information on USDA/Rural Development Homes:

VA Homes

After you find a VA Home on that you want to buy you should have a real estate agent or the selling agent prepare the Offer to Purchase And Contract of Sale VA form, and complete all necessary documentation. Your agent will submit your offer through the listing broker for approval. The listing broker's name and telephone number are found at the beginning of each listing.

For copies of required forms and more information on VA homes:

Need For Earthquake Insurance

In light of yesterday's 4.1 magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner urged California consumers to prepare for disaster and evaluate their individual needs for earthquake insurance.

"Disaster will strike when you least expect it," said Commissioner Poizner. "Our state is home to many devastating natural disasters - from wildfires to earthquakes. It is essential that all homeowners are prepared for the possibility of a catastrophic loss. I encourage every Californian to evaluate their individual situations and consider whether earthquake insurance is right for them. I also urge consumers to regularly inventory their assets and make sure to have adequate insurance coverage."

A 2008 National Association of Insurance Commissioners survey revealed that the majority of American consumers do not have the coverage necessary to protect themselves from specific types of losses that are not reimbursed under standard policies. According to the survey findings, 69 percent of Americans do not have earthquake insurance.

Get important information about preparing for a disaster from the California Department of Insurance website at Or, call our toll-free consumer hotline at 1-800-927-HELP.

Commissioner Poizner provided the following disaster preparedness tips for California homeowners and renters:

  • Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. Take photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.
  • Keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.
  • As you acquire more valuables - jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art -consider purchasing an additional "floater" or "rider" to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowners or renter's insurance policy.
  • Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).
  • Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home that is easily accessible in case of disaster. You may want to store your policies and inventory in a waterproof, fireproof box or in a safe, remote location such as a bank safe deposit box. Consider leaving a copy of your inventory with relatives, friends or your insurance provider and store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a website for easy retrieval.
  • Know what is and is not covered by your insurance policy. You might need additional protection depending on where you live. Make sure your policies are up to date. Contact your insurance provider annually to review and update your insurance policy.
  • Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
  • Find out if your possessions are insured for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home or possessions after depreciation while replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions without deducting for depreciation. Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether purchasing replacement coverage is worth the cost.
  • Speak with your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster.
  • Appraise your home periodically to make sure your insurance policy reflects home improvements or renovations. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy accordingly.

Home Buying Resources

Things to consider:

  • Before you use the services of a mortgage broker or lender:
    • You should make sure they are properly licensed
      • Check License Status
  • Before you apply for an adjustable rate, interest only or payment option mortgage see the following important information:
    • “Consumer Handbook on Adjustable Rate Mortgages”
    • “Interest-Only Mortgage Payments and Payment-Option ARMS – Are They for You”
  • If you think you have been wronged by a mortgage broker or lender and they are:
    • Licensed by the Department of Real Estate
      • Here is how to contact us
      • Here is how to file a complaint
    • Licensed by the Department of Corporations
      • Consumer Complaint Form

  • If you are behind in your mortgage payments or are in default:
    • HUD - How to Avoid Foreclosure
      • Foreclosure Counseling Services
      • Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
    • Homeownership Preservation Foundation
    • Advance Fees and Loan Modification Services
    • Mortgage Fraud Schemes (plus YouTube Video)
    • Consumer Alert - Mortgage Foreclosure Scams
    • New Rules on Foreclosures as of July 8, 2008

Real Estate Property Tax Information

This site provides real estate property tax information taken from the official property tax records for all residential and commercial properties in Miami-Dade County. The information available on this site is supplied by the Miami-Dade County Tax Collector's office.

To begin your search, select a method to “Search By:” from the select box on the left side of this page. You can search by address, owner or folio number – each method has it’s own set of instructions. After choosing the search method, click on the Locate button to find your property.

If you experience problems performing Property Tax lookups, the firewall settings on your network may be restricting access to the application. Please refer this page to your network administrator. If you are accessing the system from your home computer, check the security settings of your browser.

Evaluation Program


For three decades, Healthy People has served as an evidence-based foundation for public health agencies and organizations to reach goals related to improving health status in the U.S. As Healthy People has evolved, its use has become more widespread. Public health activities from national to local levels are increasingly aligned with Healthy People goals and objectives.

Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), Healthy People 2020 is being developed in 2 phases. Phase 1 includes the framework—vision, mission, and overarching goals. The framework provides a foundation for Healthy People 2020 objectives that will be developed. While general in nature, the framework offers specific, important areas of emphasis where action must be taken if the United States is to achieve better health by the year 2020. In partnership with the many national, federal, state and local stakeholders of the Healthy People initiative, HHS is now in Phase 2, developing specific objectives, targets and considering effective strategies for addressing Healthy People 2020. The full Healthy People 2020 initiative is anticipated to be released in 2010.

The Healthy People 2020 framework was developed by a federal workgroup with advice and consultation from a fully public member expert advisory committee and has included numerous opportunities for public comment. The result is a framework for improving the nation’s health which recognizes the multiple and integrated factors that impact health. These factors include social and physical environments as well as disease prevention, health promotion and health care. This change from Healthy People 2010 to Healthy People 2020 is intended to move-away from a "silo" approach to health and promote the notion that health is not the responsibility of the health sector alone; but also includes personal, social, economic, and environmental determinants. In addition, new and emerging issues and influences on health (health equity; health information technology; all hazards preparedness) are highlighted for their significance in promoting and ensuring the nation’s health.


The purpose of this evaluation program is to have state, territory, and tribal governments propose and conduct innovative and participatory strategic planning activities and processes, with an emphasis on multi-sector collaboration, using the Healthy People 2020 framework and population health improvement concepts (i.e., Healthy People 2020 mission and overarching goals; social, physical, and environmental determinants of health; and health equity) to improve the health of their communities. ODPHP is interested in evaluating the utility of the Healthy People 2020 framework in guiding program and policy for eligible entities in addition to their state, regional and community partners and stakeholders. ODPHP is also interested in entities’ responses to the revised Healthy People initiative to a more integrated approach to address health determinants and diseases/conditions.

Awardees will receive funding to support activities that create a dynamic and flexible approach to operationalizing the Healthy People 2020 framework to address their specific population health contexts and needs. Since draft Healthy People 2020 objectives are expected during the implementation of projects, awardees should plan to incorporate them into their project design to address state disease prevention and health promotion priorities and needs.

Funding from this evaluation program is intended to enhance existing or planned state, territorial, and tribal activities to develop a Healthy People plan based on the national Healthy People 2020 framework and objectives.

Foreign Lotteries

For years, scam operators have used the telephone and direct mail to entice U.S. consumers into buying chances in supposedly high-stakes foreign lotteries. Now they're using email, too — either to sell tickets or suggest that a large cash prize has your name on it. No matter what country's name is used to promote a lottery, the pitch follows a pattern: you should send money to pay for taxes, insurance, or processing or customs fees. The amount may seem small at first, but as long as you keep paying, the requests for funds will keep coming — for higher and higher amounts. Some victims have lost thousands of dollars.

Most scam operators never buy the lottery tickets on your behalf. Others buy some tickets, but keep the "winnings" for themselves. In any case, lottery hustlers generally try to get you to share your bank account or credit card numbers, so they can make unauthorized withdrawals.

If you're thinking about responding to a foreign lottery, OnGuard Online wants you to remember:

  • Playing a foreign lottery is against the law.
  • There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of getting any money back are slim to none.
  • If you buy even one foreign lottery ticket, you can expect many more bogus offers for lottery or investment "opportunities." Your name will be placed on "sucker lists" that fraudsters buy and sell.
  • Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch. Once they get your account numbers, they may use them to commit identity theft.

Facts of Health Online

Going online can be a convenient way to research health care products and find answers to health-related questions. But taking your health online also requires some extra investigative effort on your part.

  • Know who’s on the other end. Before you hand over any personal or financial information, do some research to find out who you’re dealing with, and make sure the website is secure.
  • Consider the source. In a health search, always consider who’s behind the information. Government websites (sites ending in .gov) and university or medical school websites (.edu) are good bets.
  • Only buy prescription drugs from licensed, U.S. pharmacies. Reputable pharmacies should require a prescription, have a licensed pharmacist to answer questions, and provide a physical business address and phone number.
  • Talk to your doctor or health professional. Your doctor can tell you about the effectiveness and risks of a health care product. Don’t trust a website just because it looks professional.
  • Report online fraud. If you think you may be a victim of fraud, file a complaint with the FTC.

Avoiding Investment Scams Online

To avoid Internet scams, OnGuard Online suggests the following:

  • Independently Verify Claims. Never, ever, make an investment based solely on what you read in an online newsletter, bulletin board posting, or blog — especially if the investment involves a small, thinly-traded company that isn't well known. It's easy for a company or its promoters to make grandiose claims about new product developments, lucrative contracts, or the company's financial health. Before you invest, make sure you've independently verified those claims. Get started by turning to unbiased sources, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), your state securities regulator, and securities industry self-regulatory organizations (including FINRA, Amex, and Nasdaq).
  • Do Your Homework. Offers to sell securities must be registered with the SEC or eligible for an exemption — otherwise the offering is illegal. To see whether an investment is registered, check the SEC's EDGAR database and call your state securities regulator for more information about the company and the people promoting it. The fact that a company has registered its securities and files reports with the SEC doesn't guarantee the company will be a good investment. Likewise, the fact that a company hasn't registered and doesn't file reports doesn't mean the company is a fraud. But many investment frauds, including online scams, involve unregistered securities — so always investigate before you invest.
  • Be Skeptical of Self-Provided References. Fraudsters will falsely assure you that an investment is properly registered with the appropriate agency and purport to give you the agency's telephone number so that you can verify that "fact." Sometimes they will give you the name of a real agency — other times they will make one up. But even if the agency does exist, the contact information they provide invariably will be false. Instead of speaking with a government official, you'll reach the fraudsters or their colleagues — who will give the company, the promoter, or the transaction high marks.
  • Thoroughly Check Out Promoters and Company Officials. Many fraudsters are repeat offenders. Whenever the SEC sues an individual or entity, the agency issues a "litigation release." Litigation releases going back to 1995 are available on the SEC's website — simply run a search for the promoter, his or her company or newsletter, the company being touted, and its officers and directors. You also can check the licensing and disciplinary history of the person or entity promoting the opportunity by using FINRA 's free BrokerCheck service or by calling your state securities regulator.
  • Find Out Where the Stock Trades. Many small, thinly-traded companies cannot meet the listing requirements of a national exchange. The securities of these companies trade instead in the "over-the-counter" market and are quoted on OTC systems, such as the OTC Bulletin Board or the Pink Sheets. Stocks that trade in the OTC market generally are among the most risky and most susceptible to manipulation.
  • Watch Out for High-Pressure Pitches. Beware of promoters who pressure you to buy before you have a chance to think about and fully investigate an investment opportunity. Don't fall for the line that you'll lose out on a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to make big money if you don't act quickly. Remember: if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Consider the Source and Be Skeptical. Whenever someone you don't know offers you a hot stock tip, ask yourself: Why me? Why is this stranger giving me this tip? How might he or she benefit if I trade? Never forget that the person touting the stock may well be an insider of the company or a paid promoter who stands to profit handsomely if you trade.

HUD Implementation of the Recovery Act

The Recovery Act includes $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 75 percent of which was allocated to state and local recipients on February 25, 2009 – only eight days after President Obama signed the Act into law. Recovery Act investments in HUD programs will be not just swift, but also effective: they will generate tens of thousands of jobs, modernize homes to make them energy efficient, and help the families and communities hardest hit by the economic crisis. The remaining 25 percent of funds will be awarded via competition in the coming months. Additional guidance on the implementation of all funds will be routinely provided on this website.

Promoting Energy Efficiency and Creating Green Jobs

These investments are powerful vehicles for economic recovery because they work quickly, are labor-intensive, create jobs where they are needed most, and lead to lasting neighborhood benefits. Many will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save Americans money by retrofitting housing to make it more energy efficient.

  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $4 billion invested in energy efficient modernization and renovation of our nation's critical public housing inventory.
  • Native American Housing Block Grants: $510 million invested in energy efficient modernization and renovation of housing maintained by Native American housing programs, and the development of sustainable communities.
  • Assisted Housing Energy Retrofit: $250 million invested in energy efficient modernization and renovation of housing of HUD-sponsored housing for low-income, elderly, and disabled persons.
  • Lead Hazard Reduction: $100 million invested in lead based paint hazard reduction and abatement activities.

Supporting Shovel-Ready Projects and Assisted Housing Improvements

These investments will support a broad range of housing and community development projects that are ready to go. Many of these projects have been held up for lack of private investment due to fallout from the broader economic crisis and credit crunch.

  • Tax Credit Assistance Program: $2.25 billion invested in a special allocation of HOME funds to accelerate the production and preservation of tens of thousands of units of affordable housing.
  • Project-Based Rental Assistance: $2 billion invested in full 12-month funding for Section 8 project-based housing contracts. This funding will enable owners to undertake much-needed project improvements to maintain the quality of this critical affordable housing.

Promoting Stable Communities and Helping Families Hardest Hit by the Economic Crisis

These investments will help communities and families that have experienced the brunt of the economic downturn. Resources will be used to stabilize and revive local neighborhoods and housing markets with heavy concentrations of foreclosed properties. Funds will also assist the vulnerable families and individuals who are on the brink of homelessness or have recently become homeless.

  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program: $2 billion invested in mitigating the impact of foreclosures through the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed, vacant properties in order to create more affordable housing and renew neighborhoods devastated by the economic crisis.
  • Homelessness Prevention: $1.5 billion invested in preventing homelessness and enabling the rapid re-housing of homeless families and individuals, helping them reenter the labor market more quickly and preventing the further destabilization of neighborhoods.
  • Community Development Block Grants: $1 billion for approximately 1,200 state and local governments to invest in their own community development priorities. Most local governments use this investment to rehabilitate affordable housing and improve key public facilities – stabilizing communities and creating jobs locally. Tribes that received Indian Community Development Block Grant funds in fiscal year 2008 are eligible to compete for a portion of these the CDBG funds.

Commotion interconnected Unpleasant Incidents

The following are recent jet airliner mishaps from around the world. In each event, at least one passenger/flight attendant was injured during an unexpected turbulence encounter.

  • During a flight from Singapore to Sydney with 236 passengers and 16 crew, the airplane encountered turbulence over central Australia. The plane hit an "air pocket" which caused it to drop 300 feet. Nine passengers including one pregnant woman and three crew members suffered various neck, back and hip injuries, with one of the passengers requiring surgery. Those who were injured were not wearing seat belts.

  • During a flight from Japan to Brisbane 16 passengers were injured when a large aircraft encountered turbulence. Passengers had been advised to keep their seat belts fastened while seated. The pilot in command reported that flight conditions were smooth prior to encountering the turbulence. The weather radar did not indicate adverse weather, so the crew did not turn on the seatbelt signs. A number of the passengers who were not wearing their seatbelts were injured when they were thrown from their seats.

  • A jet hit air turbulence shortly before it landed at a Hong Kong airport, injuring 47 people, seven of them seriously. "It happened very suddenly and everything was very chaotic," one of the 160 passengers aboard the flight said. "The plane just dropped and I saw things flying all over."

Google sees income positive

Web search engine Google has seen better than expected quarterly results even as income growth slowed following the economic recession. The company saw net income reach $1.48bn (£900m) in the 3 months to 30 June, compared to $1.25bn a year before. Revenue rose 3% for a period at $5.52bn and over half - 53% - came from outside the UNITEDSTATES. Analysts reacted largely positively to the results, noting that the company had performed well in holding costs. The firm was cheerful about the results especially given the continued big economic downturn.
Chief executive Eric Schmidt said: "These results highlight the continuing strength of our business model and our responsible hard work to manage expenses." Google earned $5.36 a share, excluding certain items, better than the $5.08 per share forecast by analysts. Sameet Sinha, an analyst with JMP Securities said: "The numbers are good. Revenue was in line with expectations, and strong operating efficiencies were brought about by the new chief executive." It certainly shows that Google is a best company for online advertising. Generally, the focus is on what's going to happen in the second half. Shares in the firm Google expanded 1% to $442.60 on but later dropped 2.4% in after-hours trade.

source : bbc news

China grows faster amid worries


China 's economy grew at an annual rate of 7.9% between April and June, up from 6.1% in the first quarter of the year, the latest official figures have shown. However, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which announced the latest data, warned that economic recovery was not yet assured. Economists had forecast a second-quarter growth rate of 7.5%. The government has claimed it would achieve 8% growth over the year, well ahead of much of the world.

Numerous challenges

China 's growth figures, which peaked at 10.6% in the second quarter of 2008, are widely watched for indications of recovery in world trade. But officials said the numbers could not obscure continuing problems. "The difficulties and challenges in the current economic development are still numerous," said NBS spokesman Li Xiaochao at a news conference. "The basis of the rebound of the people's economy is not stable," he said. The base for recovery is still weak. Growth momentum is unstable. The recovery pattern is unbalanced and thus there are still uncertain and volatile factors in the recovery process," the NBS said in a statement distributed ahead of a news conference. It said that urban per capita incomes were up 11.2% from a year earlier, and that real rural per capita incomes were up 8.1%. Meanwhile, China 's consumer price index fell 1.7% in June compared with the same month a year earlier, the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Exports in June were down 21.4% compared with a year earlier, the government said last week.

Public private progress

But the private sector is doing its part too, he explained. China 's state controlled banks have lent huge amounts of money to the country's state owned and private sector businesses. Companies have used the cash to try to avoid shedding jobs and to invest in new equipment, he added. The many new government infrastructure projects have provided employment for many of the migrant workers who have been laid off - mainly in the export sector, our correspondent said. Analysts broadly welcomed China 's latest economic data. It's very encouraging: the 8% growth target [for the year] is in sight," said Daniel Soh, an economist at Forecast in Singapore . It's by now clear that the fiscal stimulus package has offset the contraction in export activity. Industrial output - a measure of activity in the nation's factories and workshops - grew by more than 10% year on year in June. Urban fixed asset investment - a measure of government spending on infrastructure - rose by more than 35% over the same period. China 's economic growth in the first quarter of 6.1%, had been the weakest growth since quarterly records began in 1992. The country experienced double-digit growth from 2003 to 2007, and recorded 9% growth in 2008.

source : bbc news

Virtual property market booming

The 23-year-old gamer known as Deathifier made the money back in under a year. The virtual Treasure Island he bought existed within the online role-playing game Project Entropia. He made money by selling land to build virtual homes as well as taxing other gamers to hunt or mine on the island. Project Entropia offers gamers the chance to buy and sell virtual items using real cash, a trend which is gaining popularity as the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds continue to blur.

Property boom

There are fortunes to be made in the burgeoning world of MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role playing gaming). "The money made to date is only a taste of what can be achieved with my virtual island purchase," said Deathifier. "We've really only just begun with the estate sales and land management, there is still more room for growth and revenue with the untapped resources surrounding the land."Last month, another of Entropia's virtual properties - a virtual space station - sold at auction for £57,000.

Bridging gap

While the real housing market may be somewhat static, the one in the virtual world is booming, said the space station auction winner, gamer Jon Jacobs, AKA Neverdie. He said the virtual real estate market was "on fire" as gamers increasingly realised that virtual worlds could start to compete with real worlds at an economic level. Neverdie plans to use his space station to establish an in-game "night club" through which the entertainment industry can sell music and videos to gamers. The Entropia economy works by allowing gamers to exchange real currency for PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and back again into real money. Ten PEDs are the equivalent to one US dollar and gamers can earn cash by accumulating PEDs via the acquisition of goods, buildings and land. Project Entropia was launched in 2003 and now has 300,000 registered accounts.
source : bbc news