Orlando News


Hey foodies! This one’s for you.  Winter Park will be holding it’s annual Taste of Winter Park this Wednesday, April 16th. Get your all inclusive ticket and enjoy unlimited samples from 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners for an exciting night at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market.

The event will have live entertainment as well as raffle prizes. don’t miss out!



This one is fun for the whole family! The Spring Fiesta in the Park is in it’s 25th year at Lake Eola. The lake is already a fun weekend spot and this weekend will be no exception. The fiesta includes live entertainment, a kids area (complete with inflatable fun), and over 200 arts and crafts booths with original work from around the country. The event will also have food and drink vendors, and is pet-friendly. The fiesta is a great way to kick off spring in Central Florida, and oh yeah – it’s free to attend!

The Spring Fiesta in the Park is April 5th & 6th from 10am-6pm. Check the website for additional information.

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You may or may not have seen that little “Winery Open” sign near the corner of Virginia and Mills. Tip: follow it! We visited Quantum Leap over the weekend and can say these folks know what’s up! The staff is extremely friendly and super knowledgable about the many different wine offerings. You can get a “tasting” of many wines or a full glass and enjoy it inside or on the patio outside.

Quantum Leap Winery is Florida’s only sustainable winery, meaning that they focus on reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional wine production. Basically, they have found a way to bring us delicious wine that is also eco-friendly! Bravo.

The winery is open on Thursdays & Fridays 2-7pm as well as on Saturdays from 12-6pm. About once a month or so there is also a “Wine Down” event with live music. The very cool urban feel also makes the winery an ideal location for private events and parties.

front, postcard, McRae Spring 2014Don’t miss out on one of Winter Park’s hidden art gems. The McRae Studios house some of Orlando’s finest talent in the visual arts. Tucked away in a warehouse by the railroad tracks, the studio has 22 different artists working in a variety of medium.

McRae will be having an open studio tour on Saturday, March 29th from 6-9pm. This is a great chance to  check out the artists studios, and see new work as well works in progress. We went to the last open house in December and it’s truly a great time. The event is free and artists are available for questions and conversations (there’s also refreshments!)

The Great Orlando Mixer Party Tickets Giveaway Free 2014

Channel your inner Gatsby this weekend at The Great Orlando Mixer! Craft cocktails are all the rage and the best bartenders in town will be serving them up. You’ll also get your nom’ on with hors d’ oeuvres and jive along to live entertainment. The event will take place in the vintage-esqu Cheyenne Saloon at the historic Church Street Station.

Need some outfit inspiration? Check out the photos from last year’s event.
Tickets are $30 pre-sale (and going fast!)

*Image from The Orlandoan

newpriceIn the Orlando area, the home sales are up 24% from July 2012 to July 2013.  With news of increasing sales prices in Orlando and across the country, home sellers are listing properties to take advantage of a hot market.  The problem is that although the market has certainly shifted to a seller’s market in Orlando, only about 35% of the listing inventory actually sells.  What about the other 65%?  They’re probably overpriced.

This is a pretty common conversation I have with home sellers in any market; but particularly if the market is improving.  Sellers want to get the most money possible so they will ignore clear indicators that buyers in the area are not willing to pay that price for a similar home.  Pricing is an art not a science and there are many factors that play into the appropriate listing price.  A great listing price is one that procures an offer or multiple offers and sometimes takes some adjusting along the way!  Here are the top 5 signs your home may be overpriced:

  1. The National Association of Realtors® statistics show that if a home has been shown 10 times and has received no offers, it is overpriced.
  2. They also tell us that if we go two weeks without any showings we’re overpriced.
  3. If the feedback from other agents or buyers is that the house is overpriced, that’s a clear sign it’s time for a price reduction!
  4. If you continuously receive feedback about the home’s condition, floor-plan, or lack of updates those all translate to “house is overpriced”.  There are many reasons why a home price may make sense on paper but if the actual buyers that are in the market don’t feel the same way – then you have to adjust the price.  Price cures all things.
  5. Last but not least, your home is overpriced if the only offer you receive is particularly low.  The lack of inventory may lead some buyers to make an offer on an overpriced listing in hopes they can get the seller down to reality.  If you receive an offer that’s 10-20% (or more) lower than your asking price that is a sign that your home is overpriced.

Buyers will pay a premium for a nice home in good condition and in a good location; but they won’t grossly overpay.  Price your home in the range of values for similar homes and if buyers are telling you they still don’t think that’s the right price make adjustments and do it quickly.  It is always a snapshot in time and that means that the market value can change regularly.  Keep up with the market around you and adjust when new comparable homes sell that affect your home’s value.

Find out your Orlando home value.  We’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a brief market analysis.

Image credit:  New Lower price by Rutlo via Creative Commons
Statistics via Orlando Regional Realtor Association

Well it turns out I forgot to hit publish on this post yesterday – better late than never!

As you may have read in my previous post, Market Report – Bidding War, the Orlando real estate market has shifted.  Long gone are the days of 26,000 listings to choose from and offering $100,000 less than asking price. If you are a buyer in today’s market times are tough. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great time to buy.  It just means the strategy for offering has changed.

You might wonder why things are so tough for buyers.  Well…the listing inventory has declined about 17% since this time last year.  And it hasn’t been this low since the boom days of 2005.  The demand is extremely high, especially for homes in good condition or location.  If the level of demand we are seeing in certain Downtown Orlando neighborhoods keeps up, this strong sellers market could go on for a while longer.  It’s not just cash investors out there buying up homes - although there are many of those.  There  are mainly three types of buyers:

1.  The buyers who have been looming for the past 2 or 3 years
thinking they were going to wait until the prices hit bottom have now
realized they missed that opportunity and are rushing to get in before
prices rise much more.

2.  Investors – prices are still affordable and they are eating up
much of the inventory in good locations anticipating a high return in
the future.

3.  Regular buyers – those who are just now in a position to buy and
ready/willing/able.  Perhaps they finally have equity to sell their
home and move up or they finally have a strong job history.

ImageSo why buy in Orlando?  Even with the lack of inventory and multiple offer situations,  interest rates are still amazing and you really can’t complain about getting a 30 year loan for under 4%.  On top of that, the rental market is very strong and with increasing rental prices it can still be more affordable to buy than rent.  The housing affordability in the Orlando area is still at around 220%!  An affordability index that is over 100 means that median-income earners make more than is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home.

The key to buying in every market is to not get emotionally attached.  It’s very difficult because most of us make decisions based on emotions rather than logic.   Just remember the home you’re falling in love with…well so is everyone else.  Take a step back, be patient and be willing to offer above asking price when it is appropriate. You will eventually have a place to call home.

I don’t want to share all of my secrets; but one of my strategies lately is to look for houses that have been on the market longer than 30 days.  Those listings might be overpriced.  Get in and make an offer before the seller drops the price and then you’re in another bidding war!  Contact me today to learn more about finding a home in this challenging market.

*Stats from Orlando Regional Realtor Association

The Orlando real estate market has really shifted over the last year and although we are seeing multiple offers in many situations and prices increasing slightly, there are still issues at hand.

Due to the extreme shift, appraisals in some cases can’t keep up with the active and pending prices.  Appraisers typically pull comparable sales from the last few months.  Things have moved so quickly that homes sold in the last 3-6 months may not match the listing prices and the sometimes higher than asking price offers.

This creates a situation where a buyer may have to pay over appraised value to get the home that they want because if they don’t there is probably someone else who is willing and able.  This isn’t true in every situation but it is starting to feel like the boom years and I’m not sure it’s a good thing.

All in all, we do sort of expect this high demand/low inventory scenario to keep up through the end of the year as large investor groups will continue to buy up homes and compete with primary home buyers.  Then it will probably start to fade a little as prices rise to levels where investors are no longer comfortable.

Once that happens, things will maybe return to a normal or equal market for a while.  We do still have a lot of pent up demand and inventory that will creep onto the market probably at a pretty similar rate in the future.

Don’t get me wrong I love quick offers and higher sales prices, but I think we have seen that  cannot sustain for too long before things level off or shift again.  Have you experience increasing home values in your neighborhood?  If you have been thinking of selling, now is a nice window of opportunity where you have little competition and very solid sales prices.

Contact me today for more info at 407-494-2820 or visit ThinkLiveBe.com to get a quick market analysis for free.

mills50presentationI am super excited to be hosting an event this Thursday morning for the business members of the Mills 50 District at our office on Colonial Dr.   Mills 50 is a city of Orlando  Main Street district which supports local businesses in the area.   I live and work in the Mills 50 district so I support it to the fullest extent and am extremely excited to be hosting an event to discuss the Mills 50 real estate market in the area.

We presented to the group in September of 2011 when we started to see some signs of recovery for home values.  It’s been a bumpy road for the industry for the past 7 years or so; but things are looking up these days!  There are several signs that the recovery is on track and I will be discussing these things this Thursday.

You may have started to hear the buzz about prices being on the rise or low inventory levels; but we will dig a little deeper into why the market is shifting on a local level.   After all, what is happening in our neighborhood is much more important than what’s happening in the entire state of Florida or the entire United States for that matter.

What I said back in 2011 still remains true, there are big factors that affect overall consumer confidence or interest rates, etc.  However, your home value is largely determined by what’s happening within a mile from your home – a street over from your home – or even right next door.

To get a brief look at your “local” data, visit our website ThinkDowntownHomes.com and become a Market Insider.  When you enter your zip code you are provided with a ton of information about your personal real estate market and that’s how you determine if now is the right time to sell or buy!

Mills 50 members please  RSVP to director@mills50.org and don’t forget parking is in the back on Hillcrest St!

frontwindow_hammeredlambI tried to post this last week after I visited the new bar in Ivanhoe Village last week; but I got busy with selling homes.  The blog takes the back seat sometimes.

The new hot spot in Ivanhoe Village is called The Hammered Lamb.  They had a soft opening early last week and then officially opened the doors on Friday.  The location is perfect with beautiful views of  Lake Ivanhoe from the large outdoor patio bar.  Inside there are video games, tons of TVs, plenty of spots to sit and chat or listen to the awesome 90′s set-list.  It’s a relaxed neighborhood bar vibe that is just right for the area.

They will be serving light dishes in the future but for now it’s a great place to have a drink and enjoy the Florida weather on the outdoor patio.

Thinking of moving to the area?  Search nearby homes for sale in Lake Highland, Colonialtown North Eola Heights, and College Park or call me to learn more about Downtown Orlando real estate at 407-494-2820.


Image Credit:  from window from Hammered Lamb instagram


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