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Recent Blog Posts

Tips On Home Equity Loans
What are one of the most applied for forms of credit in the country? Home equity loans. Home renovations, room upgrading, even vacations are funded...

8648 Views - Add Comment - Posted 2/15 1:36pm


What Is A Mortgage Broker?
Have you been browsing the Central Florida real estate listings? Are you interested in buying a home in the Orlando area, but unsure of the steps nece...

8625 Views - Add Comment - Posted 2/9 4:37pm


Sell Your Home Fast! Three Tips To Help You Close Quickly
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and people are put into a situation where they have to sell their home... and fast! To tackle this daunting task in ...

17306 Views - Add Comment - Posted 2/4 3:47pm


Reducing Closing Costs On Your Next Home Purchase
The anticipation surrounding moving into your home can only be dampened by one thing: closing costs. Closing costs must be paid to your lender before ...

10257 Views - Add Comment - Posted 2/1 9:39am

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Tips on Home Equity Loans


Monday, February 15, 2010 at 1:36pm

What are one of the most applied for forms of credit in the country? Home equity loans.

Home renovations, room upgrading, even vacations are funded with home equity loans. If a homeowner has a significant amount of equity their home, this is one type of loan that may be for them.

As home equity loans do not pose a risk to banks, they are easy to become approved for. However, homeowners need to understand that if they fail to meet their payments, their equity (which is their home) is on the line.
Roadhouse Realty came up with some tips about the benefits and risks of home equity loans.

Make sure you educate yourself on the differences between a home equity loan and line of credit. Each with have varied repayment plans and interest rates. Basically, home equity loans provide a set amount of financing, and you must repay these funds - with interest - on a regular schedule. A home equity line of credit gives you the ability to draw funds leveraging the amount of equity in your home. You repay on the interest on charges that accrue on the amount of cash you spend.

Shopping around for the most competitive interest rates and fees is very important. Your rate is usually always indicative of your credit score, so if you have a high score, your rate will be good.

Inquire about any and all fees that you are asked to pay. Question their legitimacy too. If you have a good credit score, your fees will remain minimal.

Just because the money is available does not mean that you have to spend it! Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that with a line of credit, they are not realy borrowing any money, because they only have to pay for the interest. But remember to spend wisely and use the money for the items that you need.

Make sure that you consult a tax professional and find out if your loan is eligible for a tax deduction.
Remember, your home is the loan's collateral. Keep your home in good standing by making timely payments.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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What is a Mortgage Broker?


Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 4:37pm

Have you been browsing the Central Florida real estate listings? Are you interested in buying a home in the Orlando area, but unsure of the steps necessary to do so? Well, step one in buying your first home is to find out what type of home you will financially qualified to purchase. There are several ways to figure out what you are qualified for. Visiting your local bank branch, talking with a real estate agent or finding a mortgage broker are just some ways to see if your dream home is within reach. If you do not know what a mortgage broker is, or what one does, Road House Realty has provided a quick-read summary below to help you understand this and more.

A mortgage broker can usually help if the home buyer has had credit problems and cannot qualify for regular financing. Also, if you are self-employed or have a steady income job, getting a broker is one of the best ways to find finding for your home.

Since mortgage brokers are not steadily monitored or regulated in most states, doing your research in finding an honest, and trustworthy one is highly recommended. Also, if you have friends that can give refer you to a broker, this situation seems to work best. As always, find out if the mortgage broker is on any type of blacklist by checking with your state's business licensing department.

Once you have located a mortgage broker that you are happy with, make sure that everything you discuss is captured in writing. Go over all details - rates, fees and payments - with a fine-tooth comb. Make certain you understand exactly what is expected of you before, during and after financial negotiations.

Remember, in the end, you are the only one responsible to find a mortgage broker that fits with your payment abilities and standards. Using a broker, often times, can mean the difference between giving up owning your dream home or actually finding the financing to purchase that home. If you have any questions, your real estate agent, like the ones here at Roadhouse Realty, is here to help you and answer any of your questions

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Sell Your Home Fast! Three Tips To Help You Close Quickly


Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 3:47pm

Sometimes the unexpected happens, and people are put into a situation where they have to sell their home... and fast! To tackle this daunting task in the fastest most efficient way, Road House Realty has a few tips to help you sell your home quickly.

MAKE A PLAN: The first thing you want to do is set a price, one that is reasonable. Obviously, you are always looking to make a profit, but the main undertaking is to get your house sold. Make sure you consult with a Central Florida real estate agent to figure out what your home is valued at. You can also set high and low prices, so you know what price you will not quote over, and what price offer is too low. Don't forget, you can always rent out your property until you feel the market is right to make a proper and profitable sale that you are happy with. Doing things quickly is great, but doing things right is much better.

STAGE YOUR HOME TO SELL: We offered some advice on this topic in our article "Stage Your Orlando Home To Sell," so it goes without saying that this is a vital part to closing a sale fast. Keep your theme neutral with some wow-factor accents like red pillows or lampshades. Clutter is also an important issue to keep under control. The less "stuff" that is visible in your home, the better and more appealing it will be to buyers.

THROW IN EXTRAS: If you find that you cannot work the sale price to be appealing to buyers, the best thing to do is offer them a better value. One way is to include incentives like appliances, or large-ticket items and furniture. Another way is to include a year of condo fees, or other costs associated with the home that you would be able to budget for. Throwing in extras like this entices buyers who are looking for a home with a truly unique deal.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Reducing Closing Costs On Your Next Home Purchase


Monday, February 1, 2010 at 9:39am

The anticipation surrounding moving into your home can only be dampened by one thing: closing costs. Closing costs must be paid to your lender before you are allowed to officially move into your house. After shelling out money on a down payment, many people start to ponder whether there are any strategies behind reducing these costs. Road House Realty has summarized small ways to save money, and also things that you need to do to make sure you are not paying more than you should.

Lenders are not legally bound to reveal what your closing costs are upfront. This can be quite disconcerting, but they are required to give you a good faith estimate. The good faith estimate is usually accurate with a small margin of error. If the estimate and actual closing costs are largely different, it is mandatory that you ask for a proper explanation of why this occurred.

Many home buyers do not the obvious: shop around. Trying to shop for the lenders with the best rates and fees should be second nature. If you are patient and look around without settling on your first of second lender, your legwork can pay off. Especially now, lenders are vying for new business so the stiff competition between companies can actually land you a better deal. Closing costs average out to 3% to 5% of the home sale price. If you find lenders giving you numbers higher than this, you should not be working with that particular lender.

Lenders are known to try and persuade you to buy products of services that you may not need. Understand your situation and buy only what you need. Items such as credit insurance are often times included at no cost, and some lenders charge for this. Make sure you check first whether it is included or not.

Always ask questions. This cannot be stressed enough. If there is any language you don't understand or anything that doesn't make sense, ask questions. If you do not ask questions, chances are the language indicated hidden costs, or unusual items are disguised as extra charges. Always make certain you get an explanation for all items on the contract before you are obligated to pay for things that you didn't intend to.

Although not all lenders like to do this, you can always ask if the closing costs can be pro-rated or rolled into your mortgage payments. This can be a huge relief for home owners, especially after large down payments or purchasing a home that requires immediate investment or work. You will not lose anything by asking your lender to do this, only something to gain: a bit of “easing up” on your closing costs

Central Florida's Real Estate Surplus Equals Huge Positive for Investors


Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 8:21am

This year, Central Florida is poised to become a bargain location for real estate investors seeking affordable housing. A recent report from Winkworth International stated that some Florida properties were selling for just $47 a square foot.

As the housing recovery slowly begins, real estate experts are forecasting a rise in investor confidence. This will help bring up the average home price, clear some of the excess inventory and initiate some stabilization for the industry.

Winkworth International reported that Florida has been one of the states where surplus was a major contributing factor in the low home prices, and foreclosures as well as unfinished condo projects are also to blame.

However, the United Kingdom is one country that continues to have a vested interest in Florida, and Central Florida in particular. There are even entire communities and neighbourhoods made up of British expats and former citizens. According to Charles Peerless, director of Winkworth International, "Low prices on a wise range of top quality luxury homes and condominiums in world class developments, combined with a favorable exchange rate and low interest rates, buyers who seek sun, golf and wide ranging lifestyle attractions can now buy a home here for about half what they would have paid in 2005."

Sean Snaith, economics professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, agrees saying, "For international buyers, 2010 will be a great time to buy in Florida. The imbalance of supply and demand puts the buyer in the driving seat. Large inventory, pricing power and the continuing weakness of the dollar when compared to other currencies mean awesome deals in the housing sector."

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Trend Report: Homes Built with Cost Efficiency in Mind


Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:13am

American homes are now being planned and constructed to help the owners save money and reduce waste. What is considered as waste or wasteful? Well, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and grills are some design elements being cut. Bathroom features such as dual showerheads are being replaced with single ones, and these new homes are focusing on natural light, energy efficient appliances and extra storage.

Better Homes and Gardens conducted a survey that was released at this week's National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Show in Las Vegas. The results showed that home owners are building smaller properties and ditching the luxury amenities and high-end add-ons.

Green living has taken precedence in the past few years, garnering a lot of praise, while downsizing has always been looked at as a last resort... until now. Now, downsizing is the look people are going for. For example, high ceilings that inflate energy bills are not popular anymore.

The NAHB reported that the size of the American home decreased 100 square feet. Also, the number homes with three-plus bathrooms also decreased - for the first time since 1992.

Builders also echoed the same sentiment adding that they are not building as many homes with outdoor kitchens, game rooms or media rooms, and sunrooms. New homes are likely to include larger closet space, a laundry room, energy-efficient appliances and insulated front doors.

Last year, almost 25 percent of new homes received an Energy Star rating, which took a huge jump from the number in 2007.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Florida Update: Government Loan Modification Slow to Start


Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10:57am

Out of the almost 100,000 Florida loans that are trial modifications under President Obama's foreclosure curbing program, only 8,405 have received permanent amendments. Unfortunately, the program has not been running as smoothly as originally thought. The aim was to help the country's 3 million-plus home loans that have been defaulted on by their borrowers.

According to the Treasury Department, the program was marketed as a support solution for millions, but the success of the plan is taking a lot longer, with enormous amounts of red tape and complicated logistics involved.

Florida has reported lower than expected numbers, especially since the state was one of the hardest hit by the subprime crisis and the housing market decline.

The plan, which is monikered the Making Homes Affordable program, provides incentives to banks to alter their loans by either lowering interest rates, lengthening the loan, or reducing the principal amount owed.

The Making Homes Affordable program gives incentives to banks to modify loans in three basic ways; reducing interest rates to as low as 2 percent, increasing the life of the loan, and reducing the principal owed on the loan.

"You keep hearing about this wonderful program the government is doing but it's not working," said Joel Bienvenu, a Florida resident who has applied for a loan modification. "I keep getting excuses that they are just overwhelmed."

Anthony DiMarco, executive vice president of government affairs for the Florida Bankers Association, said the government is trying to help and that the lenders are also trying to figure out a way to speed up their learning curve. "I think the industry is working hard," he said. "You can't ramp up a program like this overnight."

Shari Olefson, a real estate attorney in Ft. Lauderdale thinks that the high unemployment is preventing the plan from working. "The program itself is a failure," said Olefson. "It's trying to put a square peg in a round hole."

It remains to be seen whether the rising unemployment does in fact bar the Making Homes Affordable from succeeding. Until then, Florida homeowners are anticipating answers to their loan modifications and waiting to hear if they will be able to save their mortgages and their homes.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Foreign Investors love Florida Real Estate


Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 10:11am

Much of the recent increase in Florida home sales can be attributed to foreign buyers. These investors are cash buyers and can usually only purchase homes because of this; otherwise they are excluded from financing because of their nationality.

"Sixty percent of our buyers are foreign," said Joe Milton, president and chief executive of J. Milton & Associates in Coral Gables. Milton wants to see more financing options for foreigners, as he predicts that real estate investment will increase even more if this happens.
"International buyers are activating this market and reactivating sales," said Jenny Huertas, the international sales director for Condo Vultures, a Bal Harbour brokerage and consultancy company.

Buyers from all over the world are being lured to invest in the United States now that prices have reached a level that they can afford; an opportunity that perhaps hasn't been available in previous years. Gabriela Guinmaraes, a partner with Integra Solutions, a Florida real estate consultancy that works with Brazilian nationals, says, "Investors are aware that assets have never before been so depreciated in a country like America."

For the first time in 30 years, it is actually cheaper to purchase housing in Florida than it is in some Latin American cities says Walter Defortuna, chairman of Fortune International Realty.

As many areas in Central Florida worth only half of what they once were, property is being acquired rather quickly, with the weak dollar also helping to boost investment.
"The Swiss, Spanish, groups from Italy and England who already own some stuff down here are seeing it as a good time to buy, leveraging the economy and the currency effect," said Mike Lapointe, vice president of Baybridge Capital Advisors in Miami.

Although the recession has been a global phenomenon, and foreign investors have been dwindling slightly, they are still more active in the sector than domestic buyers.

Please visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deal on your next dream home or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Florida.

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Orlando Realtors Make Haiti Contribution Efforts


Monday, January 18, 2010 at 8:25pm

As the world watches the devastation that is occurring in Haiti in the aftermath of the hurricane, many individuals and companies are coming together in an effort to help and provide aid to those in need. One such partnership includes Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors making a contribution in collecting donations to send to Haiti.

"We have all been deeply touched by the horrific damage and loss of life caused by the earthquake in Haiti. It is truly incomprehensible how the Haitian people are suffering," says Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis.

The leadership team in Florida, which is headed by Davis, came together to contribute $10,000 toward Haiti and to the National Association of Realtors' Relief Foundation.

In addition to those funds, Florida Realtors will attempt to collect individual donations when their Mid-Winter Business Meetings are help from January 20 - 24 at Orlando, Florida's Renaissance Resort. The fund is said to be collecting checks and cash, but no credit cards. The contributions can be made at the event's registration desk and all funds will be given to the National Association of Realtors' Relief Fund.

"It is in challenging situations such as this that Realtors come together to, once again, show that their compassion and devotion to community are unmatched," says Davis.

Send checks, payable to "Realtors Relief Foundation," to:

Dave Garrison, Vice President of Finance and Administration
Florida Realtors
P.O. Box 725025
Orlando, FL 32822-5017

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Central Florida Real Estate Listings Via Mobile Phone


Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 1:04pm

Millions of web-enabled cell phone users will have easy access to hundreds of Central Florida properties thanks to the Road House Realty mobile phone application. The application makes it convenient for buyers to get information about homes on the go. With the zip code listings, street names, and even subdivision listings, anyone can zero in to the home location they want.

The Road House Realty application is free and it can be access by going to www.roadhouserealty.net/mobile on your mobile phone. Anyone with a web-enabled phone, fancy or not, can access the application. This is one example of how Road House Realty is bringing new technology to their buyers and those interested in Central Florida real estate. Users can even track listings by MLS number and then send the information to their family and friends via third-party applications like SMS messaging, email, twitter and facebook. Road House Realty understands that buyers practically live on their phones today, and they want to make the property search experience seamless for those with the technology.

Although a phone application can never replace the real-life interaction with a real estate agent, it certainly helps buyers filter results, property types, and gather MLS ID numbers. Also, seeing their desired properties on a map is helpful to understand where the houses are located, and if they are in the vicinity of their target area.

As many tech-savvy people tend to be skewed younger, first time home buyers will undoubtedly take advantage of this application. Especially, with the first time home buyer tax credit being extended until June, the popularity of our mobile search is expected to increase.

If you are looking to save on a Central Florida property please visit our Bank Owned Properties or if you want to learn about the best communities around Central Florida visit our Communities Page and find the home of your dreams. You can also call us at 407-392-4663 and we'll do all the work for you.

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Top Questions to Ask Your Home Inspection Specialist


Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:31pm

Home inspections can be slightly intimidating, if you don't know the right questions to ask. Road House Realty has come up with some key questions that you should ask your home inspector so that you can feel comfortable with the entire process.

1. Do you have the appropriate license?
This may seem like a petty question to ask, but it is necessary that they have a license to operate in the Central Florida real estate area.

2. How long have you been in business?
Remember, not all reputable companies are the ones that have been in business longer, but it is usually a great indicator of a positive track record if the home inspector has had extensive experience.

3. Do you have any references?
This is always a great way to benchmark how satisfied you will be with your home inspector. Provided that he gives you proper references, you should contact those people and find out how happy they were with the services..

4. How long does the inspection take?
Inspections that take too long, or those that are too short are ones to be cautious of. On average, an inspection should take anywhere from two to three hours. Anything outside this range may be a cause for red flags.

5. Do you provide a summary report?
This is important because a home inspector will always give a written report. Verbal reports are totally unacceptable. You need something tangible to show that your home has been inspected.

6. How much will the inspection cost up front?.
There should be no hidden costs with a home inspection. Find out, up front, what the costs are going to be.

7. Can I attend the inspection?
If you cannot attend the inspection, you have likely hired the wrong company! It is your home, and you always have the right to attend your home inspection

If you are looking to save on a Central Florida property please visit our Bank Owned Properties or if you want to learn about the best communities around Central Florida visit our Communities Page and find the home of your dreams. You can also call us at 407-392-4663 and we'll do all the work for you.

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Appraisals Distort Real Home Value


Monday, January 11, 2010 at 1:38pm

Almost one out of four members of the National Association of Realtors stated that their clients have lost sales as a result of skewed appraisals. On the other hand, the National Association of Home Builders said low appraisals are sinking one quarter of all new homes sales. They say it's unfair to compare homes in default to those that are brand new.

Out of all the home sales this past year, approximately 40 percent were short sales or foreclosures. This basically infers that the home sold for less than the mortgage. In markets with a high percentage of foreclosures, like South and Central Florida, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, that number has reached over 50 percent.

The property value of a home is determined by appraisers taking a look at recent sales of homes in similar categories in the immediate and neighbouring area. Features such as a basement, swimming pool, gated community, are all taking into consideration; however, a foreclosure is not used as a comparison tool. This is what skews the market.

In larger metro areas, like Los Angeles and San Diego, the market hit bottom early in 2009 and those places are not in recovery. However, there are numerous communities all over the country where homes that have been defaulted and distressed properties are able to pull in sales.

Unfortunately, if you are attempting to sell your home in an area where foreclosures and short sales are prevalent, it is very likely that an appraiser could tell you that your home is worth less than what some buyers are wiling to pay for it.

Many critics are up in arms because the appraisers operate under new industry rules. These rules limit any conflict of interest that can have an affect of the appraiser's decision. In addition, mortgage brokers cannot hire appraisers themselves, so they must go through a mortgage lender. In turn, lenders hire appraisers from third-party companies, such as appraisal management companies, and neither party speaks about the value of the home they are looking it.

This means that the appraiser is coming into an area that is outside his or her knowledge range, leading to botched appraisals. There is no benchmark for them to set the appraisal against.

Until the foreclosure crisis starts to ease up, this is one of the unfortunate side effects that the housing market must come to terms with, unless rules are changed in the near future.

If you are looking to save on a Central Florida property please visit our Bank Owned Properties or if you want to learn about the best communities around Central Florida visit our Communities Page and find the home of your dreams. You can also call us at 407-392-4663 and we'll do all the work for you.

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