Central Florida Real Estate Blog

Support

If you’ve only sold one house in real estate, you understand how difficult a job this really is.  It’s a lot of work and when you need support, when you need help, when you need advise, it should be there for you.  I’ve been in the position where I had a question and I had a question and needed an answer now, and wasn’t  able to find it; wasn’t able to get that support that I needed.  That support is really important: in business and in life.  You need to have someone there to bounce things off of, answer questions, help you with contracts, guide you through, give you different perspectives, even just lend and ear.  It’s important.  You shouldn’t have to pay for that.  You shouldn’t have to pay for coaching.  You shouldn’t have to pay for someone to help you with a contract.  You shouldn’t have to pay for someone to listen.  That is not support.  That is consulting.  In our business we work really hard for our money and again, no one understands how hard we work for this money unless they’ve been in this business themselves.  

I have been in this business for 10 years.  I have seen a lot.  I got into this market at the same time the market crash.  Boy did I learn a lot and I am grateful for that.  However back to the subject here, support.  Having support, having someone there for you, having someone that can answer questions promptly.  That’s what I’m here for.  That’s what your broker should be here for.  I’m not going to charge you for that.  Never have.  Never will.  Don’t believe in it.  Monday through Sunday – 7 days a week – 8am to 7pm I am available to my agents.  I typically return calls in a half an hour.  Sometimes it takes up to an hour but I am there.  I do everything I possibly can to be entirely...

Winning in Multiple Offer Situations

A quick 2 minutes on multiple offers and how buyers can best submit their offers and agents can write them up.  This house behind me had multiple offers on and there were some consistencies or inconsistencies I noticed with the offers.  When you’re a buyer and you want to buy a home and it’s got multiple offers, the first thing that you need to ask yourself is 1.  How much am I willing to pay for this house, and put that best offer forward.  You may not and likely will not have an opportunity to present another offer so be sure you’re puting that best offer forward so that way if you miss out on it, you’re not kicking yourself for going up a couple thousand dollars when you could have or probably should have. 

So that’s tip #1 when you are dealing with multiple offers.  Any offer, honestly, especially one with  multiple offers, you should have strong escrow.  This house for instance was on the market for $205,0000.  Escrow of $1000 or even $2000 is not strong escrow.  When you are writing an offer, when you are submitting an offer on a property, you should have a stronger escrow.  This house should at least have an escrow of $3000 to $5000 minimum on it especially with multiple offers.  You want your offer to look the best and for your offer to look the best do not ask for things you do not need.

 Do not ask for a home warranty if you’ve got multiple offers.  Do not ask for closing costs that you do not need.  Only ask for things that you need and put your best foot forward at the beginning.  Make sure your offer is clean.  Make sure the title company information is included on it.  Make sure you’ve got strong escrow, you’ve got tight windows – 7 to 10 day inspection period, 30 day closing, if it’s cash, sooner….Make sure you’ve got...

Check Your Comps Before Listing

If you pay any attention to the real estate market, I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s red hot.  Inventory is low, demand is high, a number of price points in the market are seeing multiple offers.  And as a seller that could really tempt you to do something that could backfire and that would be over-pricing your home.  When we hear that the market is busy and inventory is tight and multiple offers abound, it’s very easy to get sucked into the idea that you can price your house here (Say $350,000 for example) when the top of the market is here ($300,000).  Although there is an exception to every rule, what’s going to happen is your house is going to be more than likely appraised.  Unless you have a cash deal any body getting financing is going to have an appraisal.  Appraisers are going to keep your house, your listing, they are going to keep these appraisals within these brackets and it’s very hard to get an appraiser to go outside of these brackets in this marketplace.  Again, there’s an exception to every rule but be very very careful when you are pricing your house to sell, that you keep at a price point that is within the market, that is reasonable and if you do push that envelope a little be prepared for the possibility that you may have an issue with your appraisal.  The listing agent should be having this conversation with you at the time they are taking the listing and getting the house ready for sale.  Your listing agent should also be meeting with the appraiser at the time of the appraiser as well to show them what they saw to help put the house at the price point that it is at.  Ask your agent these questions when you’re meeting them about listing your home.  What happens with the appraisal?  Do you meet with the appraiser?  What are your strategies there?

Wanted to share that piece of advise with you in this very busy marketplace.  That’s...

Appraisal Issue....Now what

Oh Happy Day…..You got a house under contract.  Whether you’re a buyer, seller or a Realtor, everyone’s having a good day when you get a house under contract.  So you know you’re going through the process, everything is going well, no issues with the inspections and oops…. You hit a snafu.  There’s an issue with the appraisal.  The appraisal didn’t come in at contracted price.  Seller could be obviously upset about this wondering “Why didn’t my house come in at appraised value? My house is a castle.  This is a beautiful home.  What’s the problem?” You know buyers could potentially be a little excited about the possibility of getting the house for less money or they could also be concerned about why the value came in at a lower price than the contracted price.

The agents need to work it out with both parties and try and keep this deal together.  And here’s what can happen.  One thing that can happen is one of the agents, usually the listing agent, can challenge the appraisal.  They need to provide three comparable sales that support the price of the home and the lender would send that back to the appraisal management company for review and get it worked out that way.  Another thing that could happen is the seller could agree to sell it at the appraised value and the other option is to meet somewhere in the middle. This happens sometimes and sometimes unfortunately, buyers aren’t in the position to bring extra cash to make that happen.  And last but not least, the final option is cancel the contract and start all over again.  Nobody really wants that.  It’s very disappointing when a house goes out of contract and you have to start all over again; whether you’re a seller or a buyer hunting for that perfect house to secure.  It’s no fun when you have to start from scratch. 

So back to one of my...

Sold on Bronson Rd.

This home on Bronson Rd. is no longer available.  A buyer has been secured for it.  Scroll down to view homes available now in Clermont listed from $250,000-$275,000.  

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Lake Clair Place Sale

If you'd like to talk or would like more information, feel free to reach out to us via the Contact Request Form below.  We will respond promptly.  

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The Company You Keep

The company you keep is so important and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here today.  Lisa Meyer with Success Mortgage has been with me since I started in this business, and she is absolutely phenomenal.  You don’t have to babysit, you know it’s being taken care of and you know you’re in good hands.  It is so crucial to be in good hands and to surround yourself with people you can count on when you’re in the real estate business.

 If you’re looking for someone that you can count on, that’s going  to be there for you and make sure you’re doing the right things, give me a call.  I am here for you.  352-536-4104.  That’s my cell. 

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Trilogy Orlando

Trilogy Orlando, located about 30 minutes from Downtown Orlando, has something for everyone.  This is possibly the most active, active adult community around that features a spectacular clubhouse and home sizes and sites to fit just about any taste.

The 57,000+ square foot Magnolia House is at the heart of the community and   its features include a heated indoor/outdoor community pool, pickle ball courts, bocce ball, tennis courts, athletic club, aerobics, clubs, party room with test kitchen, event center/ballroom (and boy are there events galore), golf simulation, on site restaurant, and so much more. I could go on for days, but you really must see for yourself. This community is like a dream come true.

Trilogy Orlando with home prices from $200,000 to $400,000 plus.  Whether you are looking for a new home or resale, we can help. 

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Making Time - Creating Balance

Real estate can be a very emotional business.  Transactions can be stressful.  There’s a lot of emotion involved with buyers and sellers sometimes and it is a very stressful profession.  Those of you that know me know that I am all business when it comes to business.  I like to get things done.  I like to do them well.  I like to make sure everyone’s taken care of.  On the flip side of that, some of you may not know that I like to have fun, too.  We need to have some fun.  We need to relax.  We need to be able to enjoy those little moments: take in a sunset; take in a sunrise; put on our circus afro; drink through a bendy straw...you know just kind of be silly and let go once in a while, and it’s important to do that.  We need to do that once in a while in order to be able to better serve the people we’re working for and working with. If you’re interested in learning ways to let go, recharge, create some time for yourself in your life, let me know I’m here.  352-536-4104 --  that’s my cell.  You can text me if you’d like.  You can email me at [email protected].  You can also message me via Facebook if you’d like. Let’s get together.  Let’s talk.  Let’s see what we can do to bring some fun into your life or create moments for yourself.  Thank you so much. 

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Elegance in Simplicity

Real estate transactions can be really complicated.  There’s a lot of hands in the pot and there’s a lot that we need to make sure is being done.  They can be complicated, and people can complicate the transaction.  That’s why I m a big fan of keeping it simple.  These videos are an example of keeping it simple.  I get my point across in just a couple of minutes and there’s really nothing elaborate.  There is a time and a place for elaborate in presenting certain homes and all of that.  There is a time where we need to pretty things up or give a sparkling appearance, but I am a firm believer that there is definitely elegance in simplicity.    Keeping it simple is crucial in business and also in life too.  If you’re looking for ways to uncomplicate your business, simplify your business or you are a big fan of keeping it simple already, lets talk.  Birds of a feather should flock together.  I’d love to chat with you.  And if you are interested in finding ways to simplify your business and finding ways to simplify your transactions, let’s talk.  I can help you with that.  Thank you.

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Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?...

A Taste of Windermere

Windermere homes for sale are some of the most prestigious properties in the country. While Windermere proper has an official population of about 3,000 residents, the surrounding Lake Butler area has a booming population of over 15,000 that has more than doubled in the last decade thanks to the wave of new construction in the area. The large majority of residents are affluent married couples with children.

While the Windermere real estate market does have a selection of townhomes, condos, and older ranch homes starting around $180,000, the area's true bread and butter is its fine collection of luxury waterside homes which typically sell for over $1 million. Nearly 40 percent of homes in Windermere are located along the waterfront along the Butler Chain of Lakes. These properties range from Spanish villas, to island-resort-like homes, to Colonial mansions, to 18-acre lakefront estates. No expense is spared in these homes, as they typically include heated pools and spas, three-car garages, lavish gardens, and private boat docks.

The most sought-after homes are in gated luxury lakefront communities like Reserve at Belmere, Isleworth, and Reserve at Lake Butler Sound. There are also gated golf course communities such as Keene's Point. These exclusive neighborhoods with homes designed by many of the country's best architects and designers carry an esteemed legacy of celebrity home owners.

Amenities Near Windermere Real Estate

Downtown Windermere is as warm and inviting as you'd expect a small town to be, despite the recent influx of construction in the area. Locals are keen on preserving the town's small-town feel. The town recently underwent a downtown renovation project which included the installation charming brick streets and roundabouts designed to help the flow of traffic through the city. The city has a variety of laid-back shops of all sorts.

Most home buyers flock to Windermere thanks to access to the Butler Chain of Lakes, which includes Lake...

A Taste of Clermont

Clermont is a growing city that, once found, is hard to forget.  Clermont homes for sale offer one-of-a-kind views, as Clermont is one of the few places in Florida with rolling hills—not to mention the city's many beautiful lakeside properties. Clermont's Chain of Lakes have long had the adoration of the locals. Although Clermont is growing, it has held onto its small town feel and hospitality. Clermont is known as a hub for biking, triathlons, and other outdoor events that keep its population active. Located less than 30 minutes to the attractions, 40 minutes to Orlando International Airport, and about an hour to either coast, Clermont is convenient to much of what attracts people to Central Florida.

Clermont is a lake lover's paradise. The Chain of Lakes provide residents with no shortage of beautiful waterfront properties, with the most highly sought-after homes featuring private boating ramps that provide direct lake access. Luxury buyers will be interested in the area's many luxury homes, country estates, gated communities, golf course communities, and equestrian acreages.

The Clermont real estate market features predominantly single-family homes with stucco exteriors, including both single-story  homes and two-story homes. Typical home features include vaulted ceilings and plenty of windows designed to welcome in the region's year-round sunlight. Screened-in lanais and swimming pools are also popular with residents.

Amenities Near Clermont Real Estate

Clermont offers an unmatched quality of life thanks to plenty of sunshine, a healthy local economy, lots of outdoor recreation options, and a host of cultural activities. Many shopping centers, business centers, and restaurants along Highways 27 and 50 make all of life's everyday needs within a short drive from home. Of course, downtown Orlando and all of the region's world-class tourist attractions are all within a short half an hour drive.

Clermont is famously known as the...

A Taste of Gotha

Tucked between Windermere and Ocoee, Gotha is a small town charm and appeal. Gotha is convenient to hospitals, shopping and dining and is possibly most well know for the restaurant Yellow Dogs Eats, a country store turned restaurant that happens to have been standing for over 100 years.  Yellow Dog Eats offers BBQ, sandwiches, vegetarian dishes, and daily specials. They also carry "an excellent selection of wines from $6 to $200, and an assortment of jams, jellies, condiments and sauces."

Gotha homes for sale range from quaint single-family homes in the $100,000s to higher end homes on land selling from $400,000 and up. Median home prices sit in the low $300,000s.

Located within 10 minutes of Winter Garden and Dr. Phillips amenities, it is easy to slip out of this quiet little hamlet and enjoy shopping and dining options from either nearby hub.

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A Taste of Dr. Phillips

Anyone can tell you Bay Hill is known for golf, but there is so much more to the Dr. Phillips and Bay Hill section of Orlando. Dr. Phillips homes for sale are always in high demand as the area is well-established, convenient and well-located to anything you could possible need. Dr. Phillips is renowned for its Restaurant Row (featuring over two dozen casual and fine dining restaurants) and is mere minutes to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney World, and all of Orlando's top attractions. Shopping, dining, entertainment—it's all at your fingertips in Dr. Phillips.

 

Dr. Phillips homes for sale offer a wide variety of styles and prices for people of all lifestyles. There are condos and attached townhomes available near the I-4 from $50,000 and up, and small detached homes starting at $110,000. While these affordable homes do exist, Dr. Phillips is most well-known for its prestigious gated communities and waterfront luxury homes. Luxury estates along the waterfront can easily sell for well over $7,000,000.

Most Dr. Phillips real estate was developed as a series of planned communities built in the 1990s, so the area is well-established by now. These master-planned communities are home to swimming pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and more. You'll find traditional family neighborhoods as well as gated luxury communities such as Cypress Point, Pointe Tibet, and Phillips Landing.

Across Dr. Phillips, you'll find a wide variety of home styles, including craftsman bungalows, traditional single-family homes, contemporary luxury estates, Mediterranean-style homes, and more. The most coveted properties are the custom waterfront mansions along the Chain of Lakes that you have to see to believe.

Within Dr. Phillips, the Bay Hill area is centered on the Bay Hill Golf and Country Club, one of the country's top golf courses and home to the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here you'll find a variety of contemporary, traditional, and Spanish/Mediterranean-style...

A Taste of Minneola

Minneola homes for sale provide the relaxed-pace living that people expect out of Central Florida. Traditional ranch homes are complimented by new construction two-story home developments that are expected to continue to grow in the area in the near future.

Single-story ranch homes on the Minneola real estate market typically sell from $150,000 to $265,000. The majority of these homes were constructed between 1995 and 2005. In these homes, you'll find vaulted ceilings, open floor plans, and screened porches built for entertaining. Even the more budget-friendly homes typically feature backyard pools to enjoy the beautiful weather year round.

The newer developments in Minneola are typically two-story homes ranging from $230,000 to $350,000. These brand new homes feature gourmet chef's kitchens with custom cabinets and quartz countertops, wide-open floor plans, beautiful master bedrooms, and sophisticated master suites. In these neighborhoods, you can find community pools and clubhouses built to bring the entire neighborhood together.

The most prized Minneola homes for sale are lakefront properties that sell between $275,000 and $500,000. These properties typically feature private pools and exclusive lake access thanks to private boat docks and boat houses.

With the new Turnpike exit opened in Spring 2017, two major developments are expected to bring thousands of new homes to Minneola. The Hills of Minneola neighborhood is slated to bring 3,971 new homes, while the Sugarloaf community is set to include 2,555 new homes. Minneola is currently home to just over 1,000 households, so this is a truly dramatic expansion that will bring a lot of change to the Minneola real estate market.

Not only are all of Orlando's amenities and workplaces more accessible, but Minneola itself is sure to see a dramatic rise in commercial development as well. The area's population is expected to rise from its current 10,000 residents to over 50,000 residents, which should draw significant attention...

A Taste of Winter Garden

Winter Garden homes for sale come in all shapes and sizes across all price ranges. Townhomes, condos, and small one-story homes are available as low as $110,000, while you also have luxury homes and stately mansions available for over $2,500,000. With a mix of older and newer homes, there's something in Winter Garden for everyone.

Winter Garden real estate is made up of an eclectic mix of Mediterranean homes, Craftsman bungalows, Spanish Colonials, and spacious ranch homes, as well as a variety of townhomes, condos, and mobile homes. There are many family-friendly neighborhoods whose sidewalks are always busy with young professionals, growing families, and retirees alike. The recent growth of the area has resulted in many new neighborhoods being constructed in recent years to compliment the area's more established neighborhoods. 

The most popular properties in Winter Garden are lakeside properties along the city's many lakes, including Lake Apopka, Black Lake, Lake Roberts, and Lake Beulah. Imagine sitting on your private dock, drink in hand, watching the sun set over the lake. It's hard to beat that.

Amenities Near Winter Garden Real Estate

Winter Garden real estate is a quick 20 minute drive from downtown Orlando, offering a convenient commute for those who work in the city. Winter Garden is bordered by Windermere to the south, Ocoee to the east, Oakland and Clermont to the west, and lake Apopka to the north. The West Orange Trail runs through Winter Garden, which is a 22-mile trail that's extremely popular with hikers, joggers, and bikers.

Spanning both North and South of State Road 50, Winter Garden has two unique personalities. North of 50 is where you find the Winter Garden Historic District with its brick-paved roads, cozy restaurants, independently owned shops, and brick-faced buildings. Local establishments like the Winter Garden Heritage Museum and the Winter Garden Farmers Market contribute to the charming small-town personality of the town....

Selling Season in Central Florida

Huffington Post posted an article about peak seasons for house hunters throughout the US. According to the article, buyers' online search for homes in Florida peaks in January & February. Makes sense since a lot of the country is tucked in their homes for the Winter and day dreaming of warmer climates. Having lived in Rhode Island for 30 years, I remember the days well - sometimes even fondly.

What I have found as a Realtor selling in the Orlando area is that the buying season in Florida never ends. We do find more snowbirds (people who live in FL during the Fall & Winter and go back North for the Spring and Summer) purchasing in the Winter months, but ultimately the sales season in Florida never ends.

The climate and desire to relocate to the area assures us a steady selling season. There is never a bad time to list in Florida. Buyer traffic is steady and diverse. Our markets include primary home owners, second home owners, investors - rental and flip, vacation homeowners, etc. About 1/3 of all transactions are cash and we have a melting pot of domestic and foreign buyers; the bulk of which hailing from Canada, Brazil, the UK & China currently.

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Costs to Sell a Home

When you are ready to sell and talking with a REALTOR about listing the house, s/he should include the estimated cost involved in selling at the listing appointment. What I typically do is provide a breakdown at 3 or 4 different price points from projected sale price to worst case scenario. It's important to include that information up front since we should all work towards the best while being prepared for the worst.

Knowing these costs up front helps in preventing any surprises down the line. Real estate transactions are delicate matters. Scenarios can change from day to day based on inspection results, appraisal results, buyer financing, lender productivity and more. Eliminating surprises should be a priority for an experienced agent. Surprises in day to day life can be exciting and fun. Surprises in real estate transactions typically are not. Educating a seller on the costs to sell up front is one of the steps I take to eliminate surprise. Imagine going through the process of selling and reviewing the settlement statement (HUD) 30-45 days after entering into a contract and learning you are walking away with less than you anticipated. That's not a fun surprise by any means. That is why it is important to know these numbers at the time of listing.

Since I believe knowledge is power and in educating sellers and buyers, I am going to share these costs with you. Cost to sell a home in Central Florida are as follows:

Real Estate Commission this is what you and your agent agree upon. The commission is typically shared evenly between the listing brokerage and the selling/buyer's brokerage.

Documentary stamps on the deed. This seller cost is based on the sales price. It is calculated at 70 cents per one hundred dollars. Example: Sale price of $250,000 = $1750 in doc stamps on the deed. (250000 x .007)

Taxes are pro-rated. (If your taxes and insurance are escrowed into your mortgage, those escrows will be returned to you by your lender...