Archive for September, 2007


Luxury Luggage Services

September 26, 2007


By Linda Hutchinson 

As airports become more and more strict about checked luggage on air flights there is a service being offered by Luggage Forward that picks up your luggage and delivers it to your destination. Celebrities have been using this service for some time. The company says that they are “the premier door-to-door luggage delivery service to more than 200 countries. Whether shipping golf clubs or excess baggage, your bags are guaranteed to arrive safely and on time. Luggage shipping provides total travel convenience.” You can get a quote on their website to see what it would cost you to have your luggage delivered to your next travel destination.



September 25, 2007

By Linda Hutchinson 

I find this question to be intriguing and I would have to say that the high-end homebuyer wants value for the dollar, they want luxury items that are sensible, they want multiple homes, and most importantly, the high-end luxury home buyer wants to know costs. As a recent article in “Lore” magazine states, people used to say “If you have to ask what it cost, you can’t afford it…” The author goes on to say “That’s not true anymore,” The current buyers know the value of a dollar and want to keep tabs on costs.” I don’t know about you but I just think that is the sign of a smart investor and a smart homeowner.



September 20, 2007

by Linda Hutchinson 

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The very rich are different from you and me.” Just how different is where it gets interesting. According to the Wall Street Journal the rich are really going to new heights. How so? Their children are becoming art collectors. Everyone who deals with wealthy clientele knows that collecting things is central to their lives. They collect homes, land, cars, and more.

According to a recent news article in the Wall Street Journal, buying art is a way to encourage them to spend money in lasting ways. One parent is quoted as saying “We want our kids to feel the same way we do about art, but we also want to keep them grounded, and that’s tricky.” I find the thought of a nine year old owning a Warhol to be extraordinary. Why not? Something tells me Warhol would be immensely amused.


Pricier Homes Still Selling

September 19, 2007


by Linda Hutchinson

A recent search of the Mid Florida Regional multiple listing service reflects that there have been 219 homes sold in ORANGE County, Florida for $1M or more since January 1st of 2007. This is only slightly lower than the 251 sales for the same time period in 2006. However, it is important to note that the highest price sold in 2006 was only $8.815M with 2007 boasting a recent sale of a 15,000 sq. foot, $10M mansion in Isleworth. In total sales volume, luxury sales are on pace to meet or exceed last year’s statistics. This is good news indeed.

For those who are interested, the majority of homes sold in the $1M plus price range were in Windermere with almost 100 homes sold this year. Winter Park is a distant second at 49 homes sold. The balance of homes sold is spread out around the county. Most homes over the million dollar mark feature at least five (5) bedrooms and 4,500 square feet of living space. It would appear that market conditions (whether real or imagined) have not adversely affected the luxury home market in Central Florida.


Wine Storage Tips From Sotheby’s Wine Auction Experts

September 18, 2007

Whether it’s a toasty chardonnay with salmon, a bold cabernet sauvignon with grilled steak or a smooth merlot with roast lamb, we often take great pains to pair our favorite wines with the ideal gourmet cuisine.

To ensure a wine’s fine qualities, homebuyers are increasingly seeking homes with wine storage facilities. Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty, as a premier provider of luxury real estate in Central Florida, has experienced a growing trend towards homes with distinctive wine storage facilities. This luxury real estate firm offers many extraordinary homes offering such features.

According to Jamie Ritchie, senior vice president of Sotheby’s Auction House wine department, we may be making great strides in wine and food pairings, but we are not taking the time to properly store our favorite drop. Ritchie recommends making the most of preferred wine selections by storing them in the appropriate conditions. Wine aromas will intensify, colors will deepen and flavors will enhance the taste of the most scrumptious of fare.

For optimum taste and enjoyment of wine treasures, Ritchie suggests the following storage tips for all types of wine stored for more than a couple of months:

Maintain temperature-

The ideal temperature for wine storage is a constant 55 degrees. If the wine is too warm, it will mature too quickly and the flavor will decline. If the wine is too cold, the complexity of the flavors becomes dull and flat. Storing wine at the ideal temperature will allow it to reach and maintain peak aromas and intensity.

Rest it on its side-

Bottles must rest on their side for the wine to maintain contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist, preventing air from getting into the bottle and oxidizing the wine.

Keep it still-

Ensure that wines are in a vibration-free location. Store them away from the boiler room or areas of high traffic in the home. Keeping the wine static will enable the naturally forming sediments in the bottle to fall away and ensure a clean and clear-tasting pour when it comes time for serving.

Turn out the lights-

Store wines in the darkest room in the house, preferably in a cellar or a dark closet. Light will prematurely age a bottle of wine and potentially ruin the flavor.

According to Ritchie, the single biggest mistake that wine enthusiasts make is to store their wines in the kitchen. “Unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled storage unit, the kitchen, including the refrigerator, is the worst place to store wine,” Ritchie said. “The refrigerator is too cold, and the kitchen is an environment of frequent changes in light and temperature as well as extreme traffic and movement – all conditions to avoid in proper wine storage.”

Considering that wine cellars are found in only select luxury homes, finding such estates means working with the right real estate firm that specializes in extraordinary properties.

Linda Hutchinson proudly represents the Seller of just such a home. This extraordinary property offers a brand new nearly 5,000 square foot home, under construction, in downtown Orlando that will be one of the few homes in the Central Florida region with a full basement that features a wine storage facility ensuring proper care for an expensive wine collection. Please review the information (on this blog) for the listing at 335 N. Hyer Street in Downtown Orlando. This estate home is priced at $1,800,000. More information on this home can be found here.

In addition to the firm’s main office in Orlando, Florida, Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty, also operates offices in Dr. Phillips, Windermere, Heathrow, Winter Park and Ormond Beach. Additional information is available at, as well as at




September 17, 2007

by Linda Hutchinson

The “idle” rich moniker no longer seems to hold true according to Robert Frank, a senior writer for the Wall Street Journal. He reports that the uber-rich are now seeking discrete, savvy and educated professionals for their home staffing needs. The luxury homebuyer now seeks professional help through headhunters and employment services. In addition, there is a greater reliance on professional help when it comes to managing wealth. I believe this also holds true for real estate agents. It is no longer good enough to be a licensed real estate agent, one must know and understand the high-end buyer or sellers needs, wants and desires while having an expanding market knowledge and ability to advise clients on making sound financial decisions with the purchase of first, second or multiple homes.


State of Downtown Address – October 4th

September 15, 2007


This would be a great event for any Orlando neighbors to attend. I look forward to hearing Mayor Dyer’s vision for the future of Orlando as we move into 2008.


What’s In A Name?

September 14, 2007



by Linda Hutchinson

Florida Today reports that people sometimes make home selections based upon the names of the streets. Flowers are popular while street names like “Soggy Bottom” are not highly regarded. The article found here notes the real importance of street names in a variety of arenas, including ease of access for the fire and police departments as well as plain likability. This article is so dead on…and I don’t mean dead end. I have had a lot of buyers who would not live on certain streets because they didn’t like the name. One client thought Harmony Lane was just too cute. I also had a customer who would only buy a house where the house numbers totaled seven. Fortunately, I found her a house with the numbers 421 and she bought it! You never know what will help a home sell but names (and numbers) do make a difference!



Photography – What You Need to Know to Sell Your Home!

September 12, 2007

by Linda Hutchinson

Home photography makes a great difference when it comes to attracting buyers to your home. For the record, Sotheby’s research reflects that buyers require a minimum of six photos to hold their interest as they view homes over the internet. With over 80% of the public starting their home search online, it’s important that home photography be of the highest quality with multiple photos of the home available to internet users. It’s a whole new world out there in real estate sales! Great tips on home photography here.


Sinkholes, Sharks, & Alligators… Welcome to Florida

September 12, 2007

by Linda Hutchinson

Right next to sinkholes is the fear of sharks and alligators in Florida. The reality is that sinkholes don’t happen that often, sharks rarely attack our swimmers and alligators are afraid of humans. But for some reason, one of the first things that new residents ask is “have you seen a live alligator”? For the record, I have. It lives in the lake behind my house. We tend to have a mutual admiration relationship and we keep our distance. He does not come up to the back door nor does he come into the yard. I just see him floating in the lake from time to time to remind me that wildlife in nature still exists just as God intended!