Central Florida Real Estate Blog

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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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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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

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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...

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...

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...

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...

How to Win with Multiple Offers

It's a great time to buy real estate -- really. I know the real estate world was touting that line in their marketing campaigns a couple year back as prices were plummeting and tax credits were being offered to first time home buyers. I didn't really buy into it then. I truly believe it is a great time to buy now. I'm confident we have seen the bottom of the real estate market and are well into the beginning stage of recovery.

It's ideal to buy as prices are going up, and with interest rates hanging in the 3s, now is a great time to grab a piece of the pie. There are challenges in purchasing in today's market. With inventory low and demand high, multiple offers are common place - especially in the Orlando area market. On top of that, cash is king and as of late nearly half of all real estate sales were cash deals. What does that mean for the average buyer, dependent on financing, and ready to buy? It means be ready to act, swiftly and with precision. It means stay positive and keep in mind that everything happens for a reason.

It is possible for a first time buyer to beat out the hedge funds, investors and others with deep pockets. It may take a little more time and the possibility of being out bid a couple of times before securing a home exist. (This is where staying positive and knowing everything happens for a reason comes into play. If the winning bid wasn't yours, then there is a reason that house was not meant to be. I am a strong believer in this and have seen this theory proven first hand time and again.) I have had a number of buyers beat out cash offers - strong cash offers. It is being done, and I am about to tell you how.

First and foremost, make your first offer your strongest offer. Agents are not required to disclose whether a property has multiple offers on it. Don't assume yours is the only offer, and don't assume you will be given an opportunity to negotiate. It's quite possible you will not be given the chance. Often times I...

Why I dislike HGTV and those other shows

As a Realtor®, I am not a big fan of coming home and watching shows like Get It Sold or House Hunters. (In fact, I had to Google real estate reality shows to share some titles.) The last thing I want to do when I come home from a long day of showings, negotiations, inspections, etc. is sit down on my couch and watch other people "sell" real estate......I have seen shows like this a few times and what I have found has been a bit disturbing to me, and I am sure other real estate agents in the field; or as I'll say here, living the reality. I've noticed these shows distort the reality of real estate. Shocking, I know, a reality show that isn't really portraying reality.

I have seen these shows imply that a real estate agent knows things like how much a new kitchen will cost or the cost of a new roof. I don't know if this happens on a regular basis. As I said, I've only seen shows like this a handful of times. When I have seen them, I have seen scenarios like I mentioned where estimated costs were given by agents. I'm not one to say, "That's not my job." In fact, I detest that phrase. "I am not trained for that" would be more appropriate in this case. I am licensed to sell real estate. I have not gone to masonry school, worked as a carpenter, termite inspector, home inspector or painter. I do not know how much a new kitchen or roof would cost and neither do those agents on tv. The shows are recorded after the fact. The buyers have bought those homes prior to taping . It is all staged for the enjoyment of the viewer. Sorry to burst any bubbles here.

If someone asks me how much a new roof is I tell them I can refer them to a roofer. A new roof could cost anywhere from several thousand dollars and upward, depending on the scope/extent of the work to be performed, quality of materials, size of the house and I am sure several other factors I am not aware of. Same holds true for a new kitchen or interior or exterior repaint; costs vary. These "reality" shows have created an expectation of some...

Central Florida Real Estate Sales- From Contract to Close I think we Got it Right.

Real estate sales are different from state to state. Procedures are different, how and when we go under contract is different and who closes the sale differs. I am licensed to sell real estate in Florida. I have never sold anywhere else. Based on stories I have heard, observations I have made and experiences REALTORS from other states have shared with me, I believe Florida has gotten it right when it comes to contract to close procedures.

I have contacts with REALTORS across the country. For the sake of brevity, I am going to discuss Massachusetts and New York in comparison to Florida. It is my understanding that these 2 sales handle real estate transactions similarly.

In Florida, title companies are typically used to close/complete the sale. The title company is a neutral party in the sale. They perform lien searches to ensure there are no liens against the property that a buyer may be held responsible for, make sure the chain of title is clean (no one has claim to the property), order payoffs, prepare and record the deed, etc. They basically close out the sale. In Massachusetts and NY, attorneys handle closings. Attorneys also handle contracts.

In Florida, REALTORS handle contracts. In most instances, contracts that have been drafted and approved by The Florida Bar. The steps of a sale in Florida are pretty straight forward. Buyer finds a house they like, they make a written offer on a contract and buyer and seller agree to terms. The terms are spelled out on the contract. Terms include sale price, closing date, escrow deposit and how it is handled in case of buyer or seller default, inspection periods, financing contingencies (including financing type and loan commitment deadlines), repair limits, etc. It is all spelled out and agreed to in writing by all parties prior to moving forward with inspections, appraisals and loan approval. Once the contract is executed by the buyer and...

Ready to Sell? Now What

Ready to sell your home but not ready to put it on the market yet? Then this post is for you. Committing to the decision to sell can take time. Once you've made that commitment, the next step is preparing the house for sale. You know, doing the deep clean, making repairs, freshening paint or neutralizing a vibrant color, de-cluttering, and maybe tweaking a few things here and there.

Not sure where to start? De-cluttering is a fine place to begin. I've heard the DIY shows tell you to remove all personal photos, etc. I'm not 100% sold on that theory. Yes, you do not want a buyer looking at your stuff and family photos for a number of reasons. I once showed a house loaded with personal items and my buyer felt bad about buying the house because she saw they had so many good memories and didn't want to take that away from them. This may seem a little far-fetched to you, but it's a true story, and I'm sure if one person felt that way, another did, too. We want potential buyers to feel comfortable in the house and leave with a good feeling. On the other hand, you still live in the house. So when you are clearing shelves, start with non-essential items. (You are planning to move. Packing non-essential items is a good place to start. Heck, you might decide you don't miss some of those knick knacks once they're out of sight.) However, you are still living in the house. Leaving out a few cherished family photos will not hinder a sale. Having a wall plastered with years of memories may.

Repairs and paint freshening would be next or in tandem with the de-clutter. A fresh coat of paint can really help a room; especially if it's covering a color others might find loud or too vibrant. If the paint in a home/room is currently neutral and clean, don't repaint. If the walls have become dirty with streaks or fingerprints or past touch ups do not give the wall an even color appearance, a professional repaint should be done. I say professional because we ideally like...

Oh Experian - It's about more than your credit score.

Have you seen the great creditExperian commercials about how a person's great credit score virtually guarantees a low interest rate and/or line of credit? A good credit score is important. That is true. The higher the score, the greater the odds of getting a lower interest rate on loans or revolving credit lines. What irks me about these commercials is a great credit score is not a guarantee of anything as Experian suggests; especially when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.

Credit is only one of the determining factors in obtaining a mortgage. Other factors include income and job longevity, the amount of debt a person carries, outstanding liens/judgments that may be looming out there, savings, a previous bankruptcy or foreclosure.

A person could have great credit but no money saved to afford the costs associated with securing a mortgage or meet a possible requirement for reserves (additional savings cushion in the event of emergency). A person with great credit could have started a new job in a different field of work than previously held or may be collecting unemployment benefits. Lenders typically like to see at least 2 years employment with the same company or within the same field of work. Someone with great credit may be carrying a little more debt than they should per lender requirements or have a recent bankruptcy that hasn't been discharged long enough to be able to qualify for a mortgage.

Re-building credit after a bankruptcy or foreclosure does not take as long as someone may think.....However, lenders require certain time pass after a bankruptcy is discharged or a foreclosure date has passed before approving a new mortgage. These time frames can vary based on the loan product being offered...

More Than Amusement Parks

Orlando:  More than Amusement Parks

Amusement parks are more than likely the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Orlando. Living in the Orlando area does provide the perk of any time access to some of the most exciting amusements on earth, but there's more.

Beaches are easy to access. The Atlantic Ocean is not far. Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach and Melbourne Beach are just about an hour away. The Gulf Coast is about 2 hours away and a great place to visit if you prefer calmer waters. Gulf Beaches include Treasure Island, Clearwater Beach, Siesta Key, Ana Maria Island and more.

Central Florida is also know for its Lakes. Windermere has the Butler Chain of Lakes. There is the Conway Chain of Lakes in Orlando, Clermont has its own Chain of Lakes, and the Winter Park Chain of Lakes to name a few. Boating, skiing and fishing opportunites are plentiful when you live near Orlando.

And Hills...Believe it or not South Lake County has some of the highest elevations in the State of Florida. Known for its Lakes and Hills, the Clermont area has some stunning landscapes and beautiful views.

Shopping, Dining, Nightlife and let's not forget Golf....It's all here in the Orlando area. From the Mall at Millenia with anchors like Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Bloomingdales to Orlando Premium Outlets where you can find something for everyone,shopping options abound.

Downtown Orlando has a vibrant nightlife. Church Street Station is a local favorite for dining, drinks or people watching before going to an event at the Amway...