Archive for September, 2008

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One House at a Time – How to Buy in today’s market

September 29, 2008

The rock band, Three Dog Night may have sang “One is the loneliest number” back in the 70’s but it’s not true. A great way to kick-start the housing market is ONE house at a time.

Can one person really make a difference? Ask Winston Churchill, ask FDR, ask Gandhi, ask Mother Teresa, ask Martin Luther King…these are just a few of the vast number of individual people who made a difference. I don’t think they started on their path to change the future of our world and thought they were limited. They didn’t think in terms of what they could not accomplish. They just took one step forward into a limitless future and made an enormous difference in the world.

What about today? How do we change the economy? We can do it ONE person at a time. It only takes one. It takes ONE willing and realistic home seller and ONE willing buyer. It takes ONE strong and willing lender, it takes ONE appraiser to give honest insight. It takes ONE REALTOR to facilitate the transaction.

It doesn’t seem so hard if we start out with ONE step forward into our own limitless future.

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Outdoor Living Space – The New Luxury Item

September 25, 2008

One of the hottest trends we are seeing in Florida is the extension of the home into the outdoors. The new must-have for the luxury homeowner is an outdoor space with pool, fire pit, sofa, pillows, pergolas, and state-of-the art grilling centers. These are now top selling features in upscale homes. Fireplace in the back yard? Not a problem. More and more home buyers are looking for a place to hang out in the fantastic Florida climate and enjoy the day late into the night. I think the high stressed and hard-working homeowners want to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest and the new outdoor living room is just the answer.

When you are thinking back yard…it’s not just a screened pool anymore. It’s a fireplace, a waterfall, a lounge area. It’s so much more. It’s totally zen and a spa-like retreat for the work weary.

Modern backyard landscape design takes the traditional, simple lawn and extends the enjoyable living space of your home into the natural appeal of the outdoors. Today’s outdoor living spaces incorporate all the elements of indoor living, from purposeful living areas to detailed accents, to create a true estate home that is enjoyable throughout.

Creating an outdoor ambience is critical and should compliment your home design and style. It should be a place to entertain, relax and to bond. Look for this trend to continue well into the next few years.

It’s extending home life into the outdoors.

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Luxury Home Sales in Orlando – Recent Statistics

September 16, 2008

Luxury homes sales continue to improve in Central Florida. There are currently 1,260 homes for sale in Central Florida that are priced over $1,000,000. This may sound like a significant number of high priced homes but it is actually a reasonable number of homes in this price point. In other words, there isn’t a huge volume of luxury homes available. This makes it a good time to start thinking of selling and if you want to buy…get going!

There were 66 homes SOLD in the last 90 days over $1M with the highest local sale located in Winter Park, Florida for a final sales price of $5,375,000. This fabulous home sold on July 1st and was on the market for over 275 days.

Most importantly, there are currently 50 homes UNDER CONTRACT. This is the statistic that matters…there are almost as many homes that are UNDER CONTRACT as have sold in the last ninety days. If you are looking for a “sign” that now is the time to buy – this should be it.

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Mortgages and Hurricanes – Time to Clean up

September 16, 2008

I read a quote in the New York Times the other day that stated: “The storm was easy. It’s what came after that was terrible.” BRENDA SHINETTE, of Galveston, Tex., who rode out Hurricane Ike but went to a shelter on Sunday hoping to be evacuated.

Having been through many hurricanes in Florida as well as Hurricane Camille in Gulfport, Mississippi, I know what devastation looks like. It’s pretty darn ugly. The hurricane itself, while scary, isn’t as bad as the aftermath. It’s the long, HOT days of clean-up that take their toll on the mental and physical well-being of our friends and neighbors.

And so it is with the mortgage industry. We have gone through the WORST of the storm and we have come through with damage. In the wake of this mortgage mess, we have a weary public who is wary of buying. We have a mortgage industry that doesn’t know what hit them or how to fix things and we have sellers and buyers who don’t know how to return to “normal”.

This is not to make light of our friends in the Gulf Coast. My deepest sympathies are with them.

But when it comes to real estate, it is time to pull up our boots and start marching. It is time that we all realized we have to work toward the better good of the country. It’s time to buy and sell real estate.

What will it take? It will take time and an organized and concerted effort to make sure this does not happen again. It will take honest politicians and honest borrowers. It will take fair-minded buyers and sellers who can negotiate a deal without trying to squeeze someone for more money.

That day is dawning and I’m proud to be a part of an industry that realizes where it is going. It is still an industry that recognizes the longing for a place called home. Be it ever so humble…

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – what does it mean to America?

September 8, 2008

I am going to make this very simple. It is absolutely essential that the Federal Government bailout and help to support Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac in order to restore a semblance of order and reverse the chaos that is currently overtaking our lending institutions.

Fannie Mae’s vision statement reads: “Fannie Mae’s role is to serve America’s housing market. We don’t lend money to home buyers but we do work with lender partners to make affordable financing available for people who are ready to buy a home. We want buyers to find a home and a mortgage they can afford over the long term”.

In our current market, we have too many lenders who do not have sufficient reserves or sufficient investors to fund the purchase of homes throughout the United States. This is critical. I have said it before and it bears repeating – AS THE HOUSING MARKET GOES…SO GOES THE ECONOMY.

Every American should be thrilled that finally, our governmental representatives recognize that they must actively invest in these two entities to stop the insanity. Their involvement will help to fund home purchases, refinance horrendous loans and yes…bail out some borrowers prior to foreclosure. It will also stimulate the economy, reduce the inventory of homes on the market, help neighborhood values stabilize, help people avoid foreclosure, and keep our economy moving in the right direction.

In addition, there is a direct correlation between the health of the housing market and the secondary market of home related purchases, i.e. furniture, lawn companies, pool businesses, contractors, and wood manufacturing…just to name a few. Many businesses count on homes being sold AND FUNDED and this is a tremendous shot in the arm for the recovery of our economy.

Now that’s a Good Thing!

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What do First-Time Home Buyers want?

September 7, 2008

So….tell me what you want, what you REALLY, REALLY want? A recent survey found some interesting facts about first-time home buyers…

THEY WANT A LARGE HOME. Overwhelmingly, they want more space. Doesn’t matter if there is only one person or two…they still demand room to roam.

The SECOND most important thing – 81% of people stated they wanted a home in MOVE IN CONDITION. With the advent of HGTV–type shows, more and more buyers (first-time or sixtieth-time) want homes that need no repairs, no work and are move in ready. In the real estate industry, we call that “turn-key” condition. The television shows have created people who expect perfection and will wait till they find it. Only 7% of the American population would even consider a fixxer-upper. Not good news for those of you who have dated homes for sale.

Finally, the THIRD most desirable feature would be-PROXIMITY TO WORK. The long commute to the suburb is a thing of the past. People work hard and they want to play hard without driving an hour to get there. So when you are looking to buy and considering future resale potential, take into consideration the commute to your downtown business centers and where your home is located. It could be the most crucial decision you make.