Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

h1

Happy New Year!

March 6, 2014

Image

Happy New Year???????? It’s March 6th of 2014 and I have to admit…I’m a wee bit late getting this blog up and rolling again. The holidays flew by in a flurry of activities and closings. Seriously…lots of closings. I’m thrilled that 2014 was a great year in real estate but it also leaves me little time to update the blog and chat with my favorite peeps. So, I’m starting my New Year’s resolution a few days late (well, a few months late) and letting you know that I resolve to keep you updated on Orlando real estate and I resolve to be a better hunter and gatherer of information on all things real estate. I don’t take these things lightly and I LOVE what I do. I will just work on being more communicative with you about selling Florida homes. Cheers my friends.

h1

It isn’t easy being GREEN – How to Stage a Home with Green Resources!

August 19, 2013

world-is-flat1

“Green” home staging can mean a variety of things, but one emphasis is on creating a “green story” for prospective buyers.

 

With green home staging, companies usually try to reuse or integrate as much of the seller’s original furniture as possible. In instances where new pieces are needed, green stagers will often reuse furniture from their own collection, or select pieces which are on consignment from local shops.

 

This can actually save a seller a fair amount of money in the staging process. A green staging company will also be sure to recycle all packaging associated with new furnishings used to stage the home.

 

In terms of paint and carpeting, green stagers will recommend eco-friendly replacements. One of the advantages of making green replacements is a home is the added selling point an agent can use with prospective buyers. Consider, for example, a couple looking to raise their first child in a new home. It’s not hard to imagine how fresh, non-toxic, environmentally friendly paints and flooring might favorably improve their view of the listing.

 

In addition to cosmetic recommendations, green stagers are specialists in pointing out improvements a seller might consider to both improve the energy efficiency of the home as well as further the green story for potential buyers. Air filters, weather stripping, and programmable thermostats are just a few details green home stagers often recommend.

 

What do you think? Can green staging matter? Do you think green staging ever presents an edge over traditional staging approaches?

 

(By the way… If you’re interested in green staging, I’d be happy to help you research the option for selling your home. Contact me today for more information: Linda Hutchinson, REALTOR @ lindahutchinson@msn.com or407-925-7721 Cell or Text.

h1

Underwater Owners Try Landlord Role

May 28, 2013
Daily Real Estate News |      Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home owners who are still underwater on their mortgage—owing more than what it is currently worth—have emerged as a growing crop of “accidental landlords,” CNBC reports. While home prices are on the rise, about a quarter of all home owners are still underwater, according to some survey estimates.

Some home owners may find they need to relocate for a job, but can’t afford to sell their home yet so they opt to put it up for rent. But jumping into the landlord role isn’t always easy, particularly for novices.

“When the market dropped, many people emerged with a life event prompting their need to move,” Todd Allen, a real estate professional in Northern Virginia, told CNBC. “Fortunately for many in the D.C. metro area with higher incomes and lending guidelines softening a little, individuals and families were able to qualify for the purchase of a second home, but their new landlord status did not necessarily generate positive income—often they incur a loss. Furthermore, many of my own clients have learned many other downfalls in being a landlord.”

The growing number of “accidental landlords” is one of the reasons behind today’s low inventory issues, real estate professionals say. “Usually a buyer is also a seller, making the transaction a wash in terms of inventory, but if the buyer is not a seller, and instead becomes a landlord, inventory takes a negative hit,” CNBC reports.

Source: “Underwater homeowners find they’ve become accidental landlords,” CNBC.com (May 24, 2013)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a Comment »

h1

Stumped on home upgrades??????????? Here’s some ideas…

May 16, 2013

images
Stumped as to which home upgrades make sense? Interested in renovations for value, but you’re unsure what to tackle? I have a few simple guidelines I use to help clients narrow their scope and focus on the right choices.

Question #1: How long will you live in your house?

If you’re hunkering down for the next decade or two, don’t hesitate to do what you would most appreciate in your home. This is especially true of cosmetic changes, when appealing to potential buyers is a non-issue. After a decade or two, your upgrades might need upgrades, so go with projects that make the most sense for your taste and the way you prefer to live in your home.

Question #2: What have the neighbors done?

There’s wisdom in getting an idea what the surrounding homes look like. On one hand, you may get inspiration from ways in which your neighbors have transformed homes which are probably similar to yours. On the other, you’ll get an idea how much renovation you can get away with in your market. Upgrade to hard and heavy and you might not be able to get any of that money out if you’re going to sell, since the home will need to be listed far above market comparables.

Question #3: What’s a hassle in your house?

If something in your home is a hassle, it’ll probably bug prospective buyers as well. Is there limited storage space? Nowhere for guests to stay? An old-fashioned bathroom with a funky layout? There’s good reason to handle these headaches. You’ll not only enjoy the upgrade while you live in the home, but you’ll improve it for buyers when the time comes to sell.

When you get down to actual projects, there are details to consider, such as budget, timing, and design choices, but these three questions go a long way to getting your upgrade ideas organized.

I’m also available to offer my professional thoughts on possible upgrades. Get in touch if you’d like me to stop by for a walk-through of your home. I’ve seen hundreds of homes and would love to provide a helpful perspective: Call me at 407-925-7721 or email: lindahutchinson@msn.com.

Posted in bathroom renovations, renovation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a Comment »

h1

The Art of Real Estate (or any type of) Negotiation

March 19, 2013

In my mind, a successful negotiation is not where one side has pulverized the other. You don’t “win” a negotiation; you get the best possible outcome for your clients while doing the least harm. No one should leave a negotiation angry. After all, you never know when you might have to negotiate with the same people again.  When it comes to negotiating on behalf of my clients, I keep the following in mind:

 

Set the stage: I like a location that’s quiet, neutral, pleasant, and away from distractions and confusion.  It’s best if everyone turns off their devices, and refrains from calls or texts during negotiations.

 

Be prepared: I never enter without my homework. I verify any outstanding facts before the negotiation begins. (Later fact-finding can cause a negotiation to bog down!)

 

Present a united front: I represent clients and have been hired to act on their wishes. At times I may not agree with their position, but I never share that with the other side. If I feel a client’s position is less than optimal, I only discuss it with them in private

 

Leave attitudes at the door: It’s very simple… treat everyone in the negotiation with respect, regardless of personal opinions. If anyone disagrees, disagree with the idea, not the person.

 

Watch non-verbal cues and body language: (Sorry, but I can’t reveal all of my secrets here… suffice it to say I take it all in!)

 

Hold something in reserve: I discuss concessions with my clients beforehand and only offer these concessions when we absolutely need to concede something.

 

I don’t harp about points that don’t matter to my clients: Negotiations should never choke over a minor point.  I like to get agreement on major points such as price and terms and put lesser items aside to return to later.

 

Never volunteer too much information: Knowledge is power in a negotiation. Telling the other side any information, however insignificant seeming, could weaken my clients’ position. On the other hand, I learn as much about the other side as I can.

 

If you ever need someone on your side in a real estate negotiation, feel free to contact me directly: 407-925-7721 (Cell or Text) or lindahutchinson@msn.com.

Posted in Buyers in Orlando, Central Florida real estate, Florida real estate, Home Buying, Home Purchase, Market Conditions, Orlando, Orlando real estate news, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

h1

CalcMoolator – fun web stuff…

January 22, 2013

CalcMoolator: Your Financial Swiss Army Knife

CalcMoolator LogoFinancial health and stability depends upon making informed decisions about loans, debt, taxes, savings, and more. Unfortunately, most people (including first-time homebuyers!) lack a true understanding of how to apply math to help them clearly understand these essential areas.

While there are many specialized calculators out there for a particular area (say debt, or mortgage payments), there are few which consolidate all of the most popular financial calculators in one place. Not to mention, you can chalk up quite a bill paying $2 – $5 for each independent calculator you may need.

Recently we discovered CalcMoolator, an incredible online collection of calculators which also has easy-to-use apps for both iOS and Android devices. The most popular calculators include:

What’s more, you can even embed web-based CalcMoolator calculators in your own website/blog. It’s very handy for showing Rent vs. Buy and Mortgage Payment estimates.

Check out CalcMoolator for yourself (and share it with clients!): http://www.calcmoolator.com/

Tuesday Tactics was developed in the Fall of 2008 by Scott Levitt, owner of Oakley Signs & Graphics, to help real estate agents survive and thrive in an increasingly challenging market. In addition to Oakley Signs & Graphics, Scott is also the founder of My Real Helper, a real estate marketing content service designed to help agents market themselves and build rapport with clients.

By Scott Levitt, as originally published in the Tuesday Tactics Newsletter produced by Oakley Signs & Graphics.

http://www.TuesdayTactics.com and http://www.OakleySign.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

h1

What are Home Buyers looking for? This is a great read….

January 16, 2013

Buyers: Don’t just list a home – prepare it first

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 16, 2013 – To sell a home or get top dollar, sellers must look at their property through the eyes of a potential buyer. Consider the following five tips:

1. Get rid of clutter and Aunt Mary’s photo.

“Selling your house is about taking your personality out of it and having people going through it envisioning their own life and personality,” says Candice Olson, host of “Candice Tells All” on Canadian television station “W Network.”

It’s hard for buyers to imagine themselves in a home decorated wall-to-wall with photographs of people they do not know, and knick-knacks that hold no special meaning. In preparing a home for sale, all the things that personalize a home to the family within should be stored for the next home – including all the pictures and magnets on the refrigerator.

Olson says even art on the wall should be analyzed because people have different tastes. She recommends retaining any mirrors, however. “Art is very personal, but mirrors aren’t,” she says. “Mirrors are great for adding depth and dimension and visual space and light … it’s non-committal art.”

2. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.

Most buyers who fall in love with a kitchen fall in love with the house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers should invest in an expensive upgrade. The best kitchen is one that aligns with buyers’ tastes, and that’s not always one with upscale cabinets and granite countertops. At the least, the expensive of those upgrades may not come back to the owner in a higher selling price. Sellers should also focus on lighting.

Hilary Farr of the Toronto-based “Love It or List It” television show suggests spending upgrade money on refacing kitchen cabinets and counter upgrades, such as replacing the backsplash.

Olson has simple advice for any would-be seller considering a kitchen upgrade: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

3. Make your home look like a hotel suite – inviting but neutral.

Floors make a big impression because they’re big, the “first thing that strike you when you walk in the front door,” Farr says.

Bathrooms should look like a just-cleaned hotel room: New soaps, clean towels and perhaps some cut flowers. Beds should be made with neutral blankets or comforters.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, the “Property Brothers” on television, suggest that sellers consider a home stager. Stagers arrange furniture and furnishings or bring in their own to make the house look as appealing as possible to potential buyers.

“Staging is such a crucial part of it,” says Drew. “It’s just as important as any sort of renovation, because if a buyer can’t walk into a space and picture themselves living there, they’re not going to give you top dollar, for one, and they might just turn and walk away.”

4. Price the home based on market value, not your personal opinion

Do you need to recoup the money you spent at the market’s height in 2006? Buyers don’t care. Did you raise three kids in the home? Your fond memories aren’t worth anything to potential buyers.

Sellers have to switch from emotional attachments and see the sale of their home as a business decision. Realtors give unbiased opinions, and some home sellers even have an appraisal done before they list their home.

5. Focus on curb appeal first

If buyers love the outside of a house – their first impression – there’s a greater chance they’ll love the inside. Sellers can upgrade kitchens and bathrooms all they want, but if a buyer chooses not to enter the home because the outside doesn’t dazzle them, but upgrades won’t do any good.

Paint shingles, doors, garages and railings. Plant new shrubbery and trim existing greenery. In summer, mow the grass twice per week.

A new-looking exterior doesn’t have to be expensive to make potential buyers look twice.

Source: Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

Posted in Buyers in Orlando, Central Florida real estate, Florida real estate, Home Buying, Home Purchase, Market Conditions, Orlando, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a Comment »

h1

2013 Orlando Real Estate Crystal Ball…

January 7, 2013

My Real Estate Crystal Ball...

Some of my friends like to come up with a “word” for the year. Well in real estate – my word of the year for 2013 would be “tough”.

I know that REALTORS are supposed to be overly optimistic and happy and positive and to be honest, I am all of that. But it is still going to be a tough year.
Why? Well that’s a good question with many answers.

How can it NOT be a tough year when everyone’s paycheck is smaller due to recent tax increases? Remember that promise to not tax the middle class? Have you looked at your paycheck yet? You been scammed and Congress and the President took out more payroll taxes! Frankly, I am shocked that no one is making a stink about this. I’m beginning to worry we are a nation of sheep following blindly behind a group of crazy people.

Secondly, there is so much manipulation of the job market. Our job growth is seriously underscored and it is a lot worse than most people realize. Ask your neighbor? You probably know at least ONE person who is not working at this time.

Finally, credit will be an issue. I could write a book about the inability for the credit agencies to fix their inaccuracies but I could add to that book about the mortgage lending business consolidating to provide you with fewer alternatives for mortgage loans.

Know who will be buying in 2013? Investors and cash buyers (which are basically one and the same). They are snapping up property at amazing rates.
Orlando real estate will sell and homes will turn over but to whom? It’s going to be an interesting 2013.

I hope it’s not too tough.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

h1

Orlando Home Sellers and Buyers are Worried

January 7, 2013

Orlando, FL – Economic Anxiety, Fiscal Cliff Uncertainty, Drive Traffic Lower In December

TrafficHome PricesIncentivesDecember Market Trends

“Buyers are concerned about the economy.”

(4,554 single-family permits in 2011, 12th largest market in the country)

Traffic slips on economic and political concerns.

Buyer traffic missed expectations again in December, as our traffic index fell to 36 from 42 in November, below a neutral reading of 50 (indicates lower than expected traffic for this time of year). Agents voiced buyers’ anxieties over the direction of the U.S. economy and concerns about taxes and the potential fallout from the fiscal cliff. This is similar to commentary from our November survey, in which agents also mentioned concerns about the fiscal cliff. One agent in December noted, “There is too much uncertainty and my buyers have been showing less confidence.” Another agent noted, “Concern over potential tax increases and higher unemployment is leading to lower traffic levels.” Agents also noted that lower inventories have worked to discourage some buyers, as they do not find the current selection of inventory appealing and find little reason to look for more properties. However, some agents did note steady demand from investors, while others noted that traditional buyers expressed interest in capitalizing on low interest rates.

Pricing moves higher in December.

Prices rose further in December, as our home price index came in at 80 (from 75 in November), with readings above 50 pointing to sequentially higher prices. This marks the region’s tenth consecutive month of higher prices. Meanwhile, inventory levels continued to trend lower in December, as our home listings index came in at 87 (from 75 in November), well above a neutral reading, signaling sequentially lower inventories. Meanwhile, agents pointed to a lower time needed to sell, as our index came in at 83 (from 67 in November), above a neutral reading of 50 (less time to sell). We view the lower inventories and time to sell as positives for future pricing.

Comments from real estate agents:

 

 

 

Source: Credit Suisse

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

h1

Cash is KING for real estate & other random real estate thoughts.

August 24, 2012

This may be a wild and wooly post but I’m just going to share whatever is on my mind today:

What in the world is going on in real estate in Orlando? I’m glad you asked. It’s a rather unique market right now with super low inventory of homes for sale and still lots and lots of distressed properties on the market. Not as many foreclosures but a lot more short sales.

I am seeing multiple bids on homes that are in move-in condition. I listed and sold a home in ONE day recently that was located in Winter Park and was completely remodeled. We had a bidding war and over 20 showings in two days. Absolute madness. What this tells me is that there are so few homes available that are in pristine condition that people will swarm over the good homes for sale. Note to Sellers: FIX YOUR HOUSE UP and make it shine. It paid off for my Sellers in a BIG way.

I recently had a chance to speak with an appraiser (yes…he actually spoke to me) and he told me that 8 out of 10 homes he appraises are fixed up and renovated. He hasn’t appraised a dumpy house in a long time. It is interesting to note that most people are looking for that type of home. After buying a home with 20% down, there isn’t a whole lot of extra cash leftover to fix up the home. So have your home in beautiful condition and watch the offers come in.

There are still distressed homes for sale and while lenders are putting lipstick on these pigs (i.e. paint and carpet)…they are still often showing signs of neglect. The interesting thing is that people are still bidding high on foreclosed homes. I am not sure what is going on here because who wants to OVERPAY for a home anymore? Have buyers lost their minds? Foreclosures are NOT a “deal” at the moment.

Finally, investors are still out there trying to work creative financing and get all sorts of hinky transactions closed. Flippers are back. I won’t deal with anything that may appear unethical and some of these deals just don’t seem “right” to me. Best to move forward with buyers who are working the deal with integrity. That is not to say that investors are not ethical…I just have not felt comfortable with the ones that have approached me lately.

Finally, CASH is KING. If you want to guarantee your offer will be accepted, I hope you are lucky to have cash. People know that the mortgage process is still dicey with resulting delays as things move through underwriting. If you have CASH…you have a guaranteed deal once you pass the inspection phases.

That’s real estate in a nutshell for Orlando…things are moving and selling but we have precious little homes available for sale. If you want TOP DOLLAR for your house – now is the time. I have not seen prices this good in a long time. Let’s get selling…

Posted in buyers, Buyers in Orlando, buying tips, Central Florida, Central Florida real estate, Florida real estate, foreclosure in orlando, Foreclosures, home renovations, home repair, Home trends, Home values, Homes in Central Florida, Mortgage loans, Mortgage Loans in Orlando, real estate financing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a Comment »