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!)

We finally got to check out The Soda Fountain in beautiful College Park! The new shop with the old-timey feel has a lot of menu items including ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes, ice cream floats and craft sodas.  Stop in and make it a family affair by sharing “The Zoo” -  5 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, caramel and peanut butter sauces, chopped peaunts, and lots of cherries.


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

APGardenDistrictThis is part three of the series about increasing values throughout Downtown Orlando neighborhoods.  As I mentioned last week, in 2012 there were over 2000 single home sales that took place within 5 miles of Downtown Orlando.  The median sales price of these homes increased from 2011 – 2012 and it seems the trend is continuing into the new year.

This week I’m going to talk about the ever popular Audubon Park.  This trendy neighborhood full of retro Florida ranch homes has  increased in value from 2011 to 2012.  There were actually more homes that sold in 2012 in this neighborhood than in 2011.  Currently there are only about 3 homes for sale in this highly sought after neighborhood and people keep asking when will there be more to choose from!  This lack of inventory will continue to drive up the values.

The median price increased in 2012 by just under 10% to about $160,000.  If the trend continues it will be on the rise in 2013 as well.   The median listing price for active and pending homes in this neighborhood is holding steady.

What does all this mean? 

You may finally have equity in your Audubon Park home!  Don’t miss your chance to sell.  Contact us today to sell your Audubon Park property.   Search for nearby Audubon Park homes for sale at our website.


407-494-2820 direct

*This information is based on personal data I have gathered from the local MyFloridaRegional MLS system.  It is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 
Image: Personal of flowers near Downtown Orlando 

Thornton Park 2In 2012 there were over 2000 home sales that took place within 5 miles of Downtown Orlando.  The median sales price of these homes increased from 2011 – 2012 and it seems the trend is continuing into the new year.  Each week for the next few weeks I’m going to show you how the  median price is on the rise in some of our favorite Downtown Orlando neighborhoods!

There were a few less home sales in Thornton Park in 2012 as compared to 2011.  However, the prices have gone up and continue to be on the rise.  From 2011 to 2012 the median price for the entire year increased 6%!  And  It took about half as long to sell a home in 2012 in this neighborhood than in 2011.

Things are looking up for 2013 with the current active and pending listings  (homes under contract) median sales price in the $350,000 range.  The days on the market for the pending listings is only 21 days.  If this trend continues we will see a huge year to year increase in the Thornton Park home values.

What does all this mean? 

Homes are selling quicker and for more money right now!  Don’t miss your chance to sell.  Contact us today to sell your Thornton Park home.


407-494-2820 direct


*This information is based on personal data I have gathered from the local MyFloridaRegional MLS system.  It is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. 

Today may not be the perfect day for this post.  With all this rain and gloomy weather I’m not super excited about going outside!  If it were a bright sunny summer day I might just wonder the streets of some Downtown Orlando neighborhoods on this Tree Tour.  Have you heard of this or seen this map from the City of Orlando?  I love the history and the old houses throughout Downtown Orlando and what makes these neighborhoods so beautiful are the huge oak trees that have draped over our streets and landscapes for years – even centuries for some.

This map leads you throughout Downtown from Dickson Azalea Park through Lake Eola and all the way to Lock Haven Park to see some of the oldest trees in the area.  This is definitely perfect for a bike ride through the city with your camera in hand.  Please send me photos if you take a tour of our cities oldest trees!

map from CityofOrlando.net Parks and Rec Department

I tried Sushi Lola’s for the first time since it opened in Audubon Park this week.  I was pleasantly surprised!  We missed the lunch specials – which looked very good and affordable – so I opted for a bento box because I like to sample a lot of different things.  It was tasty and at $10.95 it was really filling and worth the money.  I think with one extra sushi roll it was enough food for two people for sure! There was also a huge menu of sandwiches available as well which I will definitely be trying in the future. There is something for everyone here and from what I tasted you won’t be disappointed.

Have you tried Sushi Lola’s yet?  I definitely recommend checking out this little spot in Audubon Park.  Support the small businesses in our area, that’s what makes these Downtown Orlando neighborhoods unique and so desirable!



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