Archive for July, 2008


Household Tips

July 28, 2008

by Linda Hutchinson

I am here today to share some household tips with you. OK…not the kind of tips you would expect.  To be honest. I don’t do dishes, don’t cook and have help around the house. Too much darn real estate to sell out there and I couldn’t care less what stain peroxide will remove.

But I do want to give you some buying tips for finding just the right house for you:

  1. Get pre-qualified. This is important. Too often I have buyers who come in ready to purchase a home and they think they know their price range. In today’s lending world, you have to sit down with an expert and talk to your lender. They can assess your financial situation and let you know, quickly, at what price point you will be comfortable. Surprisingly enough, it’s usually not the home price that matters. It is how much cash you have to put down and how much you have to pay per month.
  2. Narrow your search. There are so many listings in Orlando and many of them are luxury homes and many of them are homes in the $250,000 range. I have NEVER seen so many homes under $300K that were this high quality. If you were wondering if you could afford a nice home in the low $200K range…now is the time. They are out there and they are fabulous. BUT…you have to know where you want to live. Looking all over God’s green earth will only confuse you and wear out your agent. Chose a location and go for it!
  3. Be prepared to compromise. This may come as a shock to some but NO HOME IS PERFECT. There are many beautiful homes but not one has everything. I have not yet met a buyer who said this home was absolutely perfect. Most buyers end up with homes that are close to perfect and most importantly, make them happy. That is true perfection.
  4. Buy something you can afford. You don’t have to spend a fortune and you don’t have to spend up to your maximum loan limit. Buy what you will find is reasonable and enjoy life a lot. It is better to buy something you feel fits your budget than to buy a home that leaves you cash poor.
  5. Be satisfied. As my Dad always says…there is always someone with more than you and someone who has less than you. Be grateful for what you have and enjoy living. To borrow Martha’s phrase…It’s a good thing!

Cheers, Linda


Attention Relocating Buyers…. New Site Available

July 27, 2008

Orlando Real Estate

Search and find homes for sale by real estate agents – Realtors® across the United States. Gain access to real estate listings through the MLS, houses for rent and foreclosures in your desired area. Get home values plus local mortgage rates and lending information. Also, research neighborhoods and schools on National Relocation.


What in the world??????? Orlando Real estate remains strange but solid.

July 27, 2008

Rates are climbing. The President is signing and BUYERS are out in droves. Maybe the interest rate increase is a GOOD THING with buyers realizing that they have to get out there and buy a house NOW!  Here are my facts…today I showed homes to three buyers with another two set up for tomorrow. That is a busy weekend my friends and buyers are back in the market.

Every week I think to myself that I cannot be shocked anymore and then another week comes and I am shocked! Things change so rapidly that only serious real estate agents can keep up.

Here are some highlights:

  1. Short sales are STILL A BAD BUY. Banks can NOT seem to make decisions that will save thousands of dollars and help move a property out of foreclosure and into the SOLD category. Everyone is talking about short sales and newspapers and newscaster seem to think this is the panacea everyone looking to stop foreclosure proceedings. Trust me…it isn’t working. There is no “YES” person at the bank. Realtors often are in over their heads on this one and I strongly believe that short sales are a waste of time. Until the banks get SHORT SALE DEPARTMENTS with an actual knowledgeable people in control that can make decisions…don’t bother.
  2. Foreclosures are coming. This is a guarantee. I heard recently that only 20% have come on the market in Central Florida. Sadly, I think this may be the case. This could affect home values for a few years in Central Florida.
  3. FHA loans are BACK. GOOD NEWS HERE. We need these loans to stimulate sales. Bad news, the maximum amount you can borrow in Central Florida/Orlando is only around $350K. No enough for most homes on the market.

We are in a market that changes daily. I don’t say that lightly. One day we have loans, the next day banks are tightening standards. Recently, we had a rate increase yet President Bush is signing legislation to help homeowners in foreclosure crisis. Every day is a new discovery. What does this mean to you? It means that we stay the course, work hard and get your home sold. It remains my number one priority.


Luxury Cottage Lifestyle

July 23, 2008

I not a fan of posting articles on my blog but this one caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you. Why does it appeal to me? Because it is really what a lot of people are looking for today in the housing industry. They will sacrifice space and other amenities in order to have a sense of community.

They want green space, they WANT neighbors, they want to belong. Everything old DOES become new again. It’s our grandparents and great-grandparents lifestyles and it’s back. So charming and oh so enticing.

What price can we put on community? Well as you can see here…a cottage home runs around $700K which is pretty substantial for your average home buyer. But it is a dream lifestyle for those who can afford it.

Pretty impressive stuff and kudos to the architects.

Here you go:

Daily Real Estate News  |  July 21, 2008

Small Homes, Cottages Score Big With Buyers

However, home buyers these days increasingly are interested in smaller homes that consume less energy and encourage interaction among neighbors.

Developers in cities such as Seattle, Boston, and Milwaukee are building cottage developments to meet the rising demand.

Architect Ross Chapin and developer Jim Soules have erected nearly 50 Craftsman-style cottages during the last 10 years in the Seattle area. (Watch Video: Choosing Cottages Over McMansions)

The quirky homes sell for as much as $600,000, despite the fact that they range in size from just 800 square feet to 1,500 square feet.

Chapin uses clever design tricks, such as corner windows and skylights, to give the illusion of more space. He also makes the most of every inch by including crawlspace storage and built-in bookshelves and cubbies.

“These days, we drive to the house, open the garage door, go in,” Indianapolis developer Casey Land told the Wall Street Journal. “But it’s important to get to know your neighbors. I think people miss that.”

Source: Wall Street Journal, Sara Lin (07/18/08)


Orlando Luxury Home Stats – Plenty of Options, Plenty of Sales

July 22, 2008


There are currently 15,661 homes for sale in the Central Florida region – specifically, Orlando! WOW. That’s an astounding figure.

But what is even more interesting is that there are 699 homes currently for sale over $1M in Orlando with the highest priced home on the market hovering around $12M. Most of these homes can be found in the Dr. Phillips/Bay Hill or Windermere areas (all in the same neighborhood) and sales there remain brisk. Most, if not all, are on ski lakes. Waterfront brings top dollar in Orlando.

Currently there are 37 homes pending for sale over $1M with the highest priced home under contract at $6.12M having been on the market for almost a year.

Finally, in the last 90 days, there have been 699 homes sold over $1,000,000 in the Orlando region. For many areas of Florida, there weren’t 699 homes sold in ALL price ranges. This is VERY good news indeed.

So should you think that there is a lack of interest in homes in the luxury price point…you only have to look at the facts. Just keep in mind it pays to live in Windermere…the home of many professional athletes! It also pays to live on water! No wonder they call it the City Beautiful.


Dome, sweet dome – it’s a rich dog’s life

July 20, 2008

Every now and then I have to remind myself that dogs have the best life! So now your dog can have its own DOME – it is a dog crate with attitude. For those who are into luxury items for their dogs…this is a work of art and the basic version can be yours for only $420. For those who want a dome home in 22K gold leaf – it’s affordably priced at $11,000. I can’t make this stuff up, folks! This is obviously for people who really, really, really LOVE their dogs and who don’t intend to leave their children an inheritance.

This would look perfect in that contemporary; Frank Lloyd Wright designed home that is just begging for a luxurious doggie bed in the corner. Something to make it look more warm and fuzzy maybe? So what if it cost as much as a small mini-cooper.

Check out for more information. I wonder if the dog comes with the $11K? Too cute for words.

PS: I promise after this to blog about real estate again.




A Cat Tale – Lessons from my cat on buying a home

July 15, 2008

By Linda Hutchinson

I was watching my cat today and was amazed at his ability to precisely clean himself until he was satisfied. He left no stone unturned and was a fresh and happy kitty. What Tiger (I know his name is super-original) exhibited was precise planning, implementation of his plan and satisfaction at a job well done.

What does this have to do with real estate? Well it’s a stretch (pardon the pun) but we would do better to follow Tiger’s lead in looking for a home. We should leave no stone unturned, plan precisely and implement our plans. Then we sit back, enjoy our new homes and pride ourselves on a job well done. I call it – basic cat theology.

One of the ways we can turn our economy around is by spending. I wonder how many of us in recent weeks have reacted to the gloom and doom news accounts by cutting back spending and buying into the panic. While I don’t encourage a free-for-all of spending. I do think we are part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Buyers…it’s time to spend. Sellers…it’s time to sell. Let’s all help the economy move forward not only in baby steps (buy milk) but in big steps (buy homes). We can get this whole wide world back on track by planning, implementing and watching the results. Now that’s a purr-fect day!