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Successful Open Houses In Today's Market Place


Monday, October 19, 2009 at 12:15pm

Open house events are becoming less and less frequent as the Internet takes over with online tours, videos, and neighborhood guides. But a computer screen can only convey so much about the actual look and feel of a property, and many people still prefer to visualize their future in a home by visiting one.

We understand how important it is for those who are hosting open houses to make a striking impression, so we have put together a list of things that you should be doing in preparing for your open house success:

LEAVE THE PREMISES
Nothing is more intimidating than having the owner of the home lingering around prospective buyers. It is difficult for buyers to ask questions and talk about their true feelings if the owner is in the house. Keep it professional by simply leaving for the afternoon and letting the real estate agents field questions and give tours.

HAVE PROPER SIGNAGE
While you may know the best route to get to your home, visitors have no idea. Make sure you put out noticeable and readable signs so that people can find where you are. If your particular subdivision has more than one entrance, be sure to cover those areas as well. Proper signage is key to getting people to your house quickly and efficiently.

STOW AWAY VALUABLES
No one likes to think that a prospective buyer would come into an open house and steal something, but it is extremely common for items to get stolen during one of these types of events. The recent Washington DC open house thefts are one example of this. Make sure your jewelry, credit cards, prescription drugs, expensive lotions and creams, etc. are secured in a safe, and keep one closet locked for larger, more valuable items that cannot be stored inside a safe.

TAKE FIDO ON VACATION
Having pets roaming around your during an open house is not the best idea. Some people may not be animal lovers, or simply won't buy a house knowing that pets have been there. Stash the dog or cat food away (including the litter box) and have a dog or cat sitter take your pet away for a while. You can also send your pet to the groomer for a day of pampering.

Open houses are not always successful, but if you decide to have one, follow these tips as an extra measure. Make sure to let your realty company know it is always best to have more than one agent on site for safety reasons.

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.

HUD Helping Florida Home Agencies with Grants


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 11:44am

This month, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD, doled out $1.2 million in grants to various housing agencies in Florida. The particular agencies that were the awarded the contributions were ones that have aided families going through a foreclosure, or helped people looking to purchase their first home.

Shaun Donovan, the HUD Secretary, who was accompanied by U.S. Representatives Alan Grayson and Kendrick Meek, made the grant announcement during a two-day tour of communities in Miami and Orlando.

Nationwide, $60 million in housing grants have been awarded, and the $1.2 million for Florida originates from this funding. Housing counseling services all over the country will be receiving aid, among these are 463 state and local organizations. HUD also presented $5 million to three national agencies to train over 4,000 housing counselors so that a wider range of families can be assisted.

All grants have to be approved through HUD, and can it can become quite competitive to gain access to HUD funds. All agencies that apply must be HUD-approved and pass performance evaluations in order to maintain proper HUD status.

The following agencies in Central Florida received grants. Some agencies received more than one grant as each organization deals with more than one housing need area.

ORLANDO-
Reliable Business Solutions, Inc. $38,228
Reliable Business Solutions, Inc. $5,000

WINTER PARK-
Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc. $42,724

If you are looking for the best deals in Central Florida property please visit our Best Deals Page 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.

Real Estate: Good Long Term Investment


Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:15am

In line with an article we posted regarding the slower increase in home values, yet more evidence has surfaced showing that homes are appreciating at a slower rate. While buying a house is still a fantastic investment, we are compelled to share the following facts and statistics with our readers.

There are many people who believe that buying real estate property is always a good investment because bricks and mortar always appreciates, indefinitely. This is not always 100 percent true, but holding onto an investment for more than a decade usually overcomes any economic slump that threatened its value.

Today, economists are seeing that home values are appreciating at a slower rate than in the past. For example, in the latter part of the 1990s, home values rose 8 to 9 percent each year for five years. Not only that, but the increase was 5 percent higher than that of inflation.

If we rewind back to the 1940s, it shows that home values rose about 4 percent per year (or about half a percent above the inflation rate) until 1968. Since 1968, the median sales price has climbed approximately 6 percent a year.

Although the value has steadily increased, during the last three years, home values have taken a 30 percent nosedive. The ultimate result? Homes are not appreciating as fast as they once were, so investing for the short-term (unless you are a house-flipper with deep pockets) may not be the best method on the agenda.

Robert Schiller, an economist at Yale University and the co-inventor of the Case-Schiller index, says he expects home prices to be roughly flat for five years.
Housing is a good investment if you stick with it, and with the bottomed-out home prices, the market has nowhere to go but up.

Related Stories:
Home Prices Appreciate Slowly

If you want to find the best deals in a Central Florida home please visit our Hot Buy Property Page or if you are not familiar with Central Florida visit our Communities Page and learn about the best places to live in Central Florida. You can let us do all the work for you Call us anytime at 407-392-4663

Drive Up Home Value with Bathroom Upgrades


Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:54am

According to the National Association of Home builders, the average single-family home has at least two bathrooms, occupying approximately 300 square feet of floor space. Utilizing and upgrading these areas can have a positive impact on your home value.

The home builder's study says that upgrading or adding extra bathrooms can result in hefty financial benefits for a home. The report states that "when the number of bathrooms is approximately equal to the number of bedrooms, an additional half-bath adds about 10 percent to the home's value, and one additional bath adds about 19 percent."

Furthermore, a midscale bathroom remodeling, which costs somewhere in the $10,000 range, can pay off a home buyer more than 100 percent of the expenditure once the house is sold.

Bathrooms are often one of the areas in a house that is overlooked. Much attention goes toward doing renovations of kitchens or main living areas. Bedrooms also get consideration, and aptly so. However, bathrooms are usually forgotten, even though they are part of the house that can really boost the overall value.

If you are selling your house, speak to your realtor about finding the best way to upgrade your bathroom. They will help guide you through the process and make recommendations on who to hire for any contract work.

To find a realtor with this knowledge in the Central Florida area, contact Roadhouse Realty at their website Road House Realty or if you want to learn more about the best places to live around Central Florida visit their Communities Page where you can read and learn about the best areas Central Florida has to offer for you and your family.

Home Prices Appreciate Slowly


Friday, October 9, 2009 at 4:37pm

Although the Echo Boomers could save the housing market in the short term, the aging population along with the decline in fertility rates (meaning less people) could impact the housing market in the long term. The positive side to this is that the home values will not increase as they have been doing since the 1940s.

Housing expert and public policy professor at the University of California-Berkeley, Robert Reich says," We can no longer assume that housing will be as good an investment for the future as it has been." Reich, who was the United States Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration added, "People in the middle class, although stressed, will still want homes, and homeownership will still be part of the American dream."
Although he warns against investing in a home, Reich is not saying that buying a home is not a good financial strategy; just that the value of the properties will not appreciate in the same way it has in the past.

Some people are in the business of investing in a home for future financial security, while others simple just want a place to call home - alluding to the American dream that Reich mentions above - but overall, buying a home is a good idea, especially in this market. If Reich is correct in predicting that home values will not rise as rapidly, getting real estate at lower prices will offset the impact of stunted values.

If you want to find the best deals in a Central Florida home please visit our Hot Buy Property Page or if you are not familiar with Central Florida visit our Communities Page and learn about the best places to live in Central Florida. We can let us do all the work for you Call us anytime at 407-392-4663

You Can't Go Wrong With This Condo


Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 12:08am

This is an incredible opportunity to own a condo for you or for the family for under $25,000. This is a 2 bedroom 2 baths 905 Sqft built in 2006 that sold for more than $200,000 during the boom.

Properties like this don't come on the market that often and when they do they don't last more than a few days, don't let this incredible deal pass you by.

What an incredible investment, It is close to the shopping areas just off Orange blossom trial in south Orlando.

Click here to see this property right now, If you are on the market for more deals like this please visit our hot deals page or call us at 407-392-4663 so that we can do the work for you.

One Out of Three Loan Applications Denied


Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 11:16am

Statistics are not looking good for loan borrowers, as one out of three mortgage applicants was denied last year. The strict standards, which predictably followed the housing market crash, show no signs of loosening the lending reins.

According to the Federal Reserve, 32 percent of loan applicants were denied a mortgage last year. The percentage remained somewhat unchanged in 2007, but is slightly raised from 2006, where the denial rate was 29 percent. It was also noted that white borrowers were twice as likely to get approved for a mortgage than blacks or Hispanics.

The total number of loan applications filed was down one-third from last year, and down 50 percent from 2006.

Many loans were insured by the Federal Housing Administration, especially for those given to blacks and Hispanics. The number of FHA-backed loans increased to 21 percent last year, a stark contrast to the less than 5 percent in 2005 and 2006. John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said, "I'm hard-pressed to believe that many of those borrowers couldn't have been served by the private sector. It implies that the industry has shut down in serving this population."

"You still have a certain degree of risk-based pricing in the market," said Jay Brinkmann, the Mortgage Bankers Associations chief economist. Lenders are being more cautious as the number of bank-owned properties has soared this year, forcing many lenders and banks to go into property management business.

One bright spot, the $8,000 federal tax credit is allowing some new home buyers to make down payments that they would not be able to do under normal circumstances. However, lenders are still cautious, making sure that even these borrowers have the ability to repay their loan.

If you are looking for the best deals in Central Florida property please visit our Best Deals Page 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.

Florida Home Insurance Rates Increase Again


Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 9:44pm

After a long bout of affordable home insurance rates, Florida home owners are witnessing a steady increase in prices of policies. Companies like Federated National Insurance and Northern Capital Group have had rate increases of 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Each company stated that the rate increases were necessary to help cover lost revenue over because of the higher wind mitigation credits they are now required to offer.

Other insurance firms are still waiting on rate increase approvals. United Property and Casualty has requested a 12 percent state-wide increase and Southern Fidelity and Capitol Preferred have both requested at 7.2 state-wide increase.

Lisa Miller, former deputy commissioner and current consultant to many Florida-based insurance companies stated, "Insurance Commissioner [Kevin] McCarty told the governor and Cabinet last week that insurance companies now need to shore up their claims-paying abilities through modest rate increases."

Although there are some companies that are keeping rates the same, for now, it seems that a majority of Florida-based companies are following suit and proposing rate increases to cover revenue losses. However, with the record-breaking low home prices all over the state, the higher priced insurance policies may not be the deal-breaker it is being made out to be.

If you are looking for the best deals in a Central Florida home, please visit our Foreclosure page or visit our Google Map Search and choose from bank-owned,short sales, or for sale by owners... all around the Central Florida area.

Orlando Condos Are the Most Affordable in the State Of Florida


Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:39am

Orlando condos are some of the most inexpensive in the state of Florida, according to a report released by the Florida Association of Realtors.

In comparison to last year, single-family home sales increased by 48 percent, much higher than the state-wide increase of 28 percent. The high sales numbers could be due partly (or wholly) to the 29 percent price decrease in Orlando homes... still higher than the state-wide's 22 percent decrease.

There is even a significant reduction in the median home price in Orlando which is now $144,200. The state's median price is for metro-area homes is $147,400, and Orlando has rarely dipped below the state median in the past four years. The explanation is most likely due to short-sales and foreclosures, as Orlando still tops the list of cities with the heavy distressed home sales.

Condo's are also following the same pattern as Orlando homes, with median prices at $49,000, they are way below the state's average of $107,000. In addition, they are the lowest in the entire state of Florida.

With the $8,000 tax credit, first-time home buyers have also flooded the market and realtors are insisting that the extension of the credit beyond the November 30th deadline is imperative. Because of the sheer amount of distressed and foreclosed homes, the median price (for the state and Orlando) is being driven down. In order for home prices to begin stabilizing, the open inventory needs to clear out, which is why the buying flurry associated with the tax credit could help if it is extended.

Please visit our Orlando Condos Page and get the find the condo that fits your budget, or visit our Google map search and search by square foot or by price and get the best price on a Central Florida Condo today.

Should the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit be Extended?


Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 10:14am

Central Florida is one of the areas benefitting from the $8,000 federal tax credit for first time home buyers. Designed to improve the housing market, 1.5 million Americans have taken advantage of the program, and more are rushing to do the same as the credit expires November 30, 2009.

Sales have been increasing all over the country, although the low interest rates and falling home prices are also credited with the boost.

With the November 30 deadline fast-approaching, realtors have been busy assisting with closing dates for their clients, most of which are young professionals and newlyweds; because a closing can take a month or longer, the pressure is definitely heightened. Late buyers are hoping that the Senate will extend the deadline for six more months. A bill introduced last Thursday seeks to do just that. Although the real estate industry has been lobbying for some sort of extension, the Obama Administration is keeping quiet on the outcome. Realtors are arguing that the tax credit is helping to clear out the distressed and foreclosed homes that bring down area home values.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Realtors' group said, "The first-time buyer tax credit is having the intended impact of bringing buyers into the market, allowing them to take advantage of very favorable affordability conditions."

While some oppose the tax credit, many are very thankful for it. The opportunity to buy a home would not otherwise exist for hundreds of thousands of Americans who have utilized their $8,000 thus far. It is unexpected when the Senate will decide if there will be an extension or not, but if there is, the country will be seeing many more grateful new homeowners.

Visit our Foreclosure Page and get the best deals in a Central Florida Home before the tax credit expires. Or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live around Central Floria.

Floridians Paying More For Housing


Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:06am

Despite the fact that the home prices have taken a deep dive, Floridians are finding that housing is still unaffordable. What's more, people are spending more of their money on mortgages or rent.

The government standard tells us that a home should cost 30 percent or less of annual (combined) household income (HHI). In this case, housing costs include mortgage payment or rent, taxes, insurance, and utilities. However, over 40 million Americans spent more than 30 percent of their HHI on housing --this includes both mortgage payers and renters. Predictably, the total number of homeowners dropped, while the number of renters increased. The bottom line: housing is downright unaffordable.

The government reasons that owners and renters that pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing costs are over the "unaffordable housing" limit. In Florida, nearly three in five homeowners are included in this "unaffordable" bracket, one of the highest in the country after California.

But, it seems as if the percentage in this equation has changed. In 2008, the people paying 30 percent or more has stabilized. It looks as if more people are willing to spend a larger percentage on housing than in the past. So, the combination of this coupled with the housing market crash makes higher mortgage/rent spending inevitable. For example, a study by USA Today and the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows that 25 percent of renters are paying one-half or more of their annual income on rent!

"Although housing affordability for newly purchased homes has improved, overall affordability for renters or owners is unchanged or worse because of the economy," says Daniel McCue, research analyst at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. "People are still hurting."

You can still find some affordable housing in Central Florida by visiting our Foreclosure page or visit our Communities page ad learn about the best neighborhoods around Central Florida.

Books for First Time Home Buyers


Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 10:39am

The Internet is a wonderful, in-depth source of information for first time home buyers. In fact, a study by the California Association of Realtors revealed that 84% of people flock to the Web to house-hunt. However, if you are one of those people who find it unappealing to laboriously navigate the search engines for specific answers, try doing it the old-fashioned way: read a book.

Below is a list that should be of interest to any first time home buyer. Written by industry experts and experienced real estate professionals, these books cover every topic imaginable.

HOME BUYING FOR DUMMIES
By Eric Tyson and Ray Brown

Not that we are implying first time home buyers are unintelligent, but the "...For Dummies" collection prides itself on really outlining the surface (and details) of each topic it delves into. The latest edition even explains the subprime crisis and summarizes financing, negotiating, paperwork and basic real estate issues. This book will serve as a great reference throughout the home buying process.

100 QUESTIONS EVERY FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER SHOULD ASK
By Ilyce R. Glink

This is a super book that can be used as a general overview of the home buying process. It is not so much a "tips and tricks" book at it is educational. One good thing is that the author covers unusual topics that are not found in other books, such as negotiating a new construction home.

THE 106 COMMON MISTAKES HOME BUYERS MAKE (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)
By Gary W. Eldred

This book is geared towards first time home buyers and educates on the basis that your home is an investment vehicle. It also covers smarter ways to use the Internet to find the properties that are right for you, and many time and money saving tips that people not exposed to the home buying process would not consider. The best part of the book is that it covers "real estate lingo" in an easy-to-read format. One of the hardest parts of jumping into this experience is understanding the vernacular, and this book does a great job covering just that.

HOW TO BUY YOUR FIRST HOME
By Diana Summers

This book directly addresses the fears and anxiety that first time home buyers experience when searching for their dream house. The glossary of terms, checklists and Internet resources are extremely useful sections of the book. It is organized in a very methodical way, and the reader is not overwhelmed by the wealth of information the author doles out. This is a good book to refer back to during the home-buying process.

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.