Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sell your home faster with great curb appeal

When your Orlando home is for sale, its curb appeal will have a tremendous impact on your success for two reasons:
  1. If prospects don't like the looks of the exterior, they might decide not to come in at all. (Yes, I've had that happen.)
  2. If the yard and the exterior of the house look neglected and they decide to come in anyway, they'll automatically be looking for proof that the interior of the house hasn't been well maintained. Conversely, if the outside says "WOW," they'll expect to see the same inside. And strangely enough, we humans to see what we expect to see.
If your home is on the market, use this checklist to make sure your prospective buyers enter your front door expecting to see a well-maintained, attractive home - one that says "Wow!"
Curb Appeal Checklist:
The house itself:
  1.  Power wash and repaint if necessary.
  2. Scrape and re-paint any and all peeling trim
  3. Check the front door for scuffs and scratches – repaint with an appealing color or even replace it with a nicer looking door. Check the back door and repaint if necessary. If you have pets be sure to check for and remove muddy prints from the doors every day.
  4. Screen doors – make sure all screens are in good repair, hinges are tight, and the handle/ latch works properly.
  5. Window screens – wash, then repair any torn screens.
  6. Replace cracked windows.
  7. Clean the gutters.
  8. Check all window frames and door frames for spider webs. Those critters work fast, so if your family usually uses the back door, check the front door daily.
  9. Check your porch lights for unsightly bugs and burned-out bulbs.
The yard:
  1. Keep the grass watered, mowed, and edged.
  2. Trim or remove overgrown plantings – let people see the house!
  3. Add color with flower beds or potted plants on porch or steps.
  4. Add fresh mulch to the flower beds and around the shrubs and ornamental bushes. 
  5. Check the fence and gate for sags. If it needs new paint, paint it.
  6. Add an attractive doormat.
  7. Pick up and put away/dispose of everything that doesn't belong – check for and remove kids' toys, flyers, candy wrappers, hoses, gardening tools, etc. every day.
  8. Power wash and remove oil stains from the driveway.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Need to sell your Orlando home before you can buy? Avoid this mistake, potential disappointment and loss of money!

Do you need to sell your home in Orlando before you can buy? If so, you naturally need to know what a new home will cost and whether you'll qualify for the payments. You don't want to let go of your present home only find that you can't purchase a new one! That said, you should do a little looking on line and speak with a mortgage lender before going any further.  Looking on line will give you a good idea of pricing on homes of the size you need in the neighborhoods you want. You'll likely see a wide range, because some of those homes will be in top condition and some won't. Assume that the home you'll choose will be at the high end of the range.

Speaking with a lender will tell you whether you'll qualify for a purchase at that price.  BUT – Don't make the mistake of shopping for that new home just yet! Wait until you've listed your present Orlando home and have accepted an offer from a qualified buyer.  Shopping for a new home before you have the ability to make a purchase can cost you money and lead to disappointment.  Very few sellers will accept an offer contingent on the sale of a house that is not yet under contract. It just doesn't make sense for them to take their house off the market on the chance that your house will sell and you'll be able to close. Of course, a few will do it if you're willing to put down a sizeable non-refundable earnest money deposit.  Even if you do already have an offer on your current home, sellers are wise to be cautious and will perhaps counter with a "bump clause" allowing them to accept a different offer if you can't close within the specified time frame.  If by chance the seller does accept your offer, you'll have put yourself in another difficult situation – that of needing to sell your present house quickly. That, in turn, means you'll be more likely to accept a low offer just to get it done.  The need to hurry could cost you thousands of dollars.

So what else will happen if you shop too soon?  The worst case: You'll find "the perfect house" and you won't be able to buy it. And after that, no other house will measure up. Even if you find a different home that in reality is a better fit for you and yours, you'll always think the other one would have been better.  

My advice: Exercise patience. First, list your home at its current market value. Then do all you can to make it attractive, appealing, and accessible to qualified buyers and their agents. Then negotiate reasonably and get that home under contract.  Once your house is under contract with a solid buyer, start shopping for your new Orlando home

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Cheaper to buy a home than rent!
When the real estate bubble burst, millions of Americans, many right here in Central Florida, found themselves out of their homes, but still needing a roof over their heads.  They became renters.  And then, in perfect accord with the laws of supply and demand, rents began to rise.  Now as many as 3 million former homeowners are expected to rebound and become homeowners again within the next five years.  In the meantime, investment property owners in many areas can almost name their rental rates - so they do.
Right now, studies are showing that it's 35% cheaper to buy than to rent, and that's not apt to change soon. If you're renting, you should expect to pay more next year than this year – and even more the next year and the next. Meanwhile, if you purchase a home with a fixed rate of interest, the only parts of your monthly payment that could go up are the taxes and insurance. As your income rises, your base housing expense will not.
In the panic immediately following the housing crash, banks tightened their policies and most loans required 20% down. But that's changed. If you haven't checked into home ownership lately, you may not be aware that there are once again loan programs offering down payments as low as 3% - and zero percent for veterans. You do still need to have a steady income, a good credit rating, and a minimum of debt – but that protects you as much as it protects the bank.  If you want to own a home, visit a local mortgage broker and find out where you stand. 
Do you need a few more reasons to consider owning your own Central Florida home soon? Here are a few:
  • Right now, you are buying a house – but it's for your landlord.
  • You're not building any equity.
  • You're not getting any Federal income tax deductions for your housing expense.
  • You're not putting down any roots.
  • Your landlord could decide not to renew your lease at any time.
  • Your landlord could fail to make his or her payments – and "your" house or apartment could be foreclosed upon.
  • You need permission to paint a room or hang a picture. In fact, you can't do much of anything to personalize your space.
  • You need permission to own a dog or a cat – or to plant a garden.
  • Every year you wait rents will go up and home prices will go up. And one of these days – interest rates will go up.
Are you ready? So call. I'll be happy to put you in touch with a couple of lenders I trust so you can get pre-approved. Then I'd love to take you shopping.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

If you need to sell your Central Florida home before you can buy... Avoid this mistake

Do you need to sell your home in Central Florida before you can buy? If so, you naturally need to know what a new home will cost and whether you'll qualify for the payments. You don't want to let go of your present home only find that you can't purchase a new one!
That said, you should do a little looking on line and speak with a mortgage lender before going any further.  Looking on line will give you a good idea of pricing on homes of the size you need in the neighborhoods you want. You'll likely see a wide range, because some of those homes will be in top condition and some won't. Assume that the home you'll choose will be at the high end of the range.
Speaking with a lender will tell you whether you'll qualify for a purchase at that price.  BUT – Don't make the mistake of shopping for that new home just yet!
Wait until you've listed your present Central Florida home and have accepted an offer from a qualified buyer.  Shopping for a new home before you have the ability to make a purchase can cost you money and lead to disappointment.  Very few sellers will accept an offer contingent on the sale of a house that is not yet under contract. It just doesn't make sense for them to take their house off the market on the chance that your house will sell and you'll be able to close. Of course, a few will do it if you're willing to put down a sizeable non-refundable earnest money deposit.  Even if you do already have an offer on your current home, sellers are wise to be cautious and will perhaps counter with a "bump clause" allowing them to accept a different offer if you can't close within the specified time frame.
If by chance the seller does accept your offer, you'll have put yourself in another difficult situation – that of needing to sell your present house quickly. That, in turn, means you'll be more likely to accept a low offer just to get it done.  The need to hurry could cost you thousands of dollars.
So what else will happen if you shop too soon? The worst case: You'll find "the perfect house" and you won't be able to buy it. And after that, no other house will measure up. Even if you find a different home that in reality is a better fit for you and yours, you'll always think the other one would have been better.
My advice: Exercise patience. First, list your home at its current market value. Then do all you can to make it attractive, appealing, and accessible to qualified buyers and their agents. Then negotiate reasonably and get that home under contract. Once your house is under contract with a solid buyer, start shopping for your new Central Florida home.