The 8 Best Moving Tips Ever

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Did you know that 45% of all moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day? As the selling market and summer season ramps up in Central Florida we’ve collected our best advice to make moving easier.

#1 – Start Throwing Away Today

Our father-in-law gave us this advice on our wedding day 33 years ago. It is important even if you don’t have a move on the horizon. Here are some great resources to help you start throwing away today:

How to recycle just about anything: http://greatist.com/health/how-to-recycle-anything

How to get rid of your stuff: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/get-rid-of-stuff-5-tricks-for-making-the-task-easier-210690

#2 – Nuts & Bolts

When unscrewing hardware from furniture, collect it in a Ziploc bag and tape it to the furniture. This saves time and lost nuts and bolts.

#3 – Invest in Packing Materials

Purchasing boxes and a good packing tape can keep your stuff safe and make it easier to stack and move. Also, most packing supply places offer packs of blank newspaper that keep your breakables clean.

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May Real Estate Market Full Speed Ahead

Market Update - blog

The Orlando Housing Market report for May 2015 is promising. It states “Orlando’s housing market is riding its traditional summertime wave of home sales — fueled in part by both low interest rates and more inventory — and posted positive numbers for the month of May.” The real estate market in our area continues full speed ahead. The median price is up 10% from a year ago, and all the other statistics strongly indicate the sellers’ market continues. For those who like all the statistics, you can find the graphs and charts here. Here are a few screen grabs from the report.

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7 Unique Homes Just Sold in Seminole County

7 Unique Homes Just SoldCurious about the Seminole County homes sold in the last month? We rounded up 7 unique single family homes purchased in May or early June. Oviedo ends up taking most of the titles for this month, but there are a few from around Sanford and Lake Mary.

Priciest Home – $1.85 Million | Mathers Cove, Oviedo

This expansive home overlooks Bear Gully Lake. It boasts a private boathouse, private gated entrance, coffered ceilings, walnut floors, and commercial grade kitchen appliances. It also wins best infinity pool!

Historical Home – Built in 1887 | Historic District, Sanford

Situated in Sanford’s Historic District, this historical gem is completely renovated on the inside, and features a wraparound porch and entrance turret. It sold for $299,000.

Tiniest Home – 792 Square Feet |Downtown Sanford

Right down the street from the historical home is Sanford’s tiniest sale this month. It sold for $92,000, and has charming details like a spiral staircase and claw-foot tub.

Greenest Home – Energy Star Certified | Winter Springs Village, Winter Springs

Going green means saving green, and this home is a great example with a high efficiency HVAC; programmable thermostat; vinyl, double-paned, tinted windows; spray foam insulated walls and attic; and energy star appliances.

Most Bedrooms – 7 Bed / 3.5 Bath | Live Oak Reserve, Oviedo
Not much information was provided about this home, but we do know it has 7 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a 3 car garage. It sold for $470,000.

Most Acreage – Over 7 Acres | Horseshoe Farms, Oviedo

Described by realtor Samuel Winer as an “equestrian lover’s dream” this estate has 7.83 acres to be exact, and sold for $545,000. It sits in the Horseshoe Farms neighborhood of Oviedo.

Smart Investment – $113,000 for a 3/2 | Egrets Landing, Lake Mary

The savvy buyers of this bank-owned home got a fantastic deal! It has a brand new interior, and is part of the gated community of Egrets Landing in Lake Mary.

Cell Phones, Schools, & Real Estate Values

Cell Phones, Schools & Real Estate Values

The two best predictors of future real estate value and appreciation a home are
(1) the quality of schools nearby, and
(2) the rent that home will receive if it were a rental.

Is that tried and true formula changing?

How’s my cell phone coverage here? People regularly hold up their cell phone in the middle of a home they are looking at to see if they get good coverage. Root metrics surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults and found that 76 percent ranked mobile services as important. By comparison, 60 percent identified good schools as important.

U.S. adults in all age groups ranked mobile phone service higher than schools. Continue reading

Finding the History of Your Central Florida Home

Finding the History of Your Central Florida HomeCentral Florida started expanding at the turn of last century, and since then its growth has exploded! Even if your home was built after 1980, every neighborhood and its residents have an interesting past to uncover. You may want to contribute to some of the groups who collect stories and histories from the Orlando-Metro area. We gathered together some resources to help you learn more about your Central Florida home.

The best place to begin your search is with the building and property records of your home. County history centers and local courthouses maintain building permits, real estate listings, photographs, maps, neighborhood plans (Sanborn maps), artifacts, exhibits, and official public records. Also these organizations record histories capturing the lives and tales of the residents and leaders in Central Florida. Your mid-Florida Realtor can also view the transaction history of your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Continue reading

Home Buying 101 for New Graduates

Class of 2015 - blogCongratulations to the new grads this year! Although buying a house may seem like a distant dream there are steps you can take now to buy your first home a few years after graduation.

Step One: Get Your Credit Report
You can find our your credit score right away at annualcreditreport.com. If you have yet to establish credit, you can do so right away by opening a credit card or paying your cell phone bill. To ensure the best credit score possible, make sure you always pay your bills on time, keep your balances low or at zero, and keep the cards open. The longer you maintain clean credit the better your score gets.

Learn more about credit reports & scores here: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Step Two: Collect Important Documents
When applying for a mortgage you’ll need to provide various financial and official documents from the previous two years. As you receive them, make sure to collect and save pay stubs, bank and investment statements, W-2’s, tax returns, credit card statements, student loan balances, car loans, diplomas (for applicants who attended undergraduate/graduate school in the past two years), and a list of addresses where you have lived in the last two years.

Step Three: Saving Up
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Real Estate Outlook for Spring 2015

Market Update - blogTwo articles from FloridaRealtors.org have given us insight into the market for Spring. A reduced inventory means a seller’s market is in full swing and projected to last into the Summer. Buyers have taken advantage of lower mortgage rates (right around 4%) which contributes to the contracted supply of homes on the market. The depressed rates have motivated high-end buyers to jump on homes valued between $750,000 – $1 million or second vacation homes. Other advantages for buyers include loosened lending standards, and the FHA’s reduced annual insurance premium.

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15 Apps for Aspiring Home Owners

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What a time to be alive! Mobile apps make buying a home easier than ever before. These are 15 apps that will turn you into an unstoppable investor and wise decision maker.

When on the Hunt

Realtor.com

When searching for a home to rent or buy we recommend Realtor.com for the most accurate market information. Use it to check median home prices in your area as well.

Homesnap

Take a picture of a home that’s caught your eye with your smart phone and see the sale information, schools, and other data pop-up instantly. This app makes the home-buying process easy to share with friends, family, and your realtor.

Zillow Mortgages

Zillow offers 3 easy-to-use calculators to determine monthly payments, affordability, and refinancing. The home screen of the app tracks current market trends and loan programs so that you can always stay up-to-date.

Saving for Your Future

Mint

Offered by Intuit, Inc., the creators of Turbo Tax, Mint makes tracking bills and spending hassle-free. With all of your accounts and investments viewable in one place, saving for your dreams becomes a reality.

Making Your Decision

Sigalert

Find out your commute times, traffic patterns, and best routes using Sigalert. This app provides real-time traffic updates to keep you moving.

Meetup

When you’re new to an area it can be difficult to meet new people. Meetup connects users with other people in their community who share the same interests or needs.

Indeed

Indeed is an essential app for casual and serious job-seekers alike. You can search for jobs in your area or based on your expertise, as well as upload your resume for employers to see.

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Strong March Numbers Keep Our Local Inventory Tight

The Central Florida real estate market indicators from March 2015 are excellent! The median price of homes is up 10% from last March, and we had the most homes sales in one month in a long time, breaking the 3000 ceiling (3067).

Our close to home real estate market in Orlando has been strong and steady for a few years, and March showed the surge here as well. The biggest contributor to this was the normal first-of-the-year bump. Also, many buyers began jumping into the market to lock-in what may be the twilight of the super-low interest rates we have experienced for several years.

This has reduced our inventory to less than 4 months (3.75), which almost always means the market is moving in the direction of a stronger seller’s market, prices are going up faster than average Continue reading

Contingent Offers Make a Comback

It was once common to make an offer on another house that was contingent on the sale of your current home in order to close. For over 5 years since the downturn in 2008, contingent offers of this kind have been unheard of. Part of this had to do with so many owners with no equity or negative equity, and part of it was because average marketing time was months and months and few sellers wanted the entanglement.

All that has been gradually changing over the last year, and many sellers are again ready to entertain offers contingent on another sale. Recently we have been involved in three sell-and-buy transactions like this that were contingent on the buyers first selling their own homes. This is a strong indicator that the overall real estate market in our area is returning to a more normal function.

Why make a contingent offer? The reasons are simple:

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