Monday Market Report – 3 Reasons to Buy a Home near a Main Street District

The Orlando Main Street Program it is a business development program for selected districts in the City of Orlando.  The program is a part of the National Main Street Center whose purpose is to offer business revitalization support in older business districts throughout the United States.  The main street districts receive financial assistance and training to help each of these business districts and businesses located within them grow and thrive.


In full disclosure, I am the current President of the Mills50 Main Street district.  As a volunteer for this organization, resident, and business owner in the district I can say firsthand these organizations do amazing things to promote and help grow these business districts into walk-able thriving communities.

Since the program has been in effect it has had great success.  If you have lived in Orlando more than 5 years, just take a stroll down Mills Ave, Corrine Dr. or Orange Avenue to see the difference!  As all of these great new businesses, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and breweries open in our main street districts it has a subsequent effect other than providing great places to shop and eat.  The residential communities surrounding these areas have become more desirable to live as well.  Here are the top 3 reasons you should buy a home near a Main Street District.

  1. There is a dedicated Board of Directors working to improve the community nearby!  
    • The Main Street Four Point Approach® outlines how each board can establish committees to help these business districts thrive again.   Through collaboration between business owners, promotion of the district and the businesses in the district, design improvements, and thoughtful use of existing buildings these organizations are creating desirable places to do business and to have fun!img_2274
  2. Walk-ability – Americans Prefer to Live in Mixed-Use, Walk-able (or bike-able!) Communities
    • In 2013, when asked to choose between a neighborhood that “has a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to” versus a neighborhood that “has houses only and you have to drive to stores and other businesses,” the walk-able neighborhood was preferred 60 percent to 35 percent!
    • The National Association of REALTORS®2013 Community Preference Survey also indicated that although the size of a home matters most respondents were willing to compromise size for a preferred neighborhood and less commuting.BrickRoad_Bike_Plant
  3. Potential Resale Value – Home values are rising at great rates surrounding our Main Streets in Orlando.
    • It’s no secret the real estate market in Orlando is on the rise.  More and more buyers want to live in the neighborhoods surrounding these now thriving business districts. For example, the Colonialtown North neighborhood which sits to the East and North of the Mills50 district has seen home values increase +8.47% over the last 12 months.  Audubon Park which is the neighborhood bordering the South side of the Audubon Park Garden District has seen an increase in home values +7.89% in the last 12 months.
    • That is almost 30% higher compared to the average for Orlando as a whole.  As more improvements and growth come into these business districts, the demand for housing within walking distance should only grow making for a sound investment in real estate in the area!


Want a taste of the Main Street Program – be sure to attend this year’s Main Street Restaurant Week!

Thinking of buying or selling in one of the Orlando Main Street Districts?  We have got you covered.  Call Kathryn at 407-494-2820 or email us at

* National Association of REALTORS® 2013 Community Preference Survey

*Stats for home values Realtor Property Resource

*Image credit:  Logo from Orlando Main Street, all others my own.

Posted in Downtown Lifestyle, HomeBuying Trends, Monday Market Report, Real Estate Market | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – Audubon Park Garden District Bastille Day Celebration

Bastille Day

I had to do some serious research on this unique event put on annually in the Audubon Park Garden District.  I had no idea what Bastille Day was.  It turns out Bastille Day is a French national holiday.  Commonly know as Le quatorze juillet, it commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution on July 14, 1789, which began with the storming of the Bastille.  Each year since 1880, the French Military marches for a morning parade.  This is the oldest and largest military parade in Europe.  From the photos, it looks like quite the spectacle.  Thousands of uniformed military men and women, 300 vehicles, 240 horses marching through the streets and 80 planes and helicopters (according to Wikipedia).  They all pass the President of the French Republic, his government and foreign ambassadors in great ceremony through Champs Elysees.

This Saturday, July 11th the Audubon Park Garden District event will host this fundraiser which benefits the district and offers many events for free.  There is a celebrity siting by Marie Antoinette and an indoor Open Market at Redlight Redlight.  They also offer a variety of ticketed events such as a crepe breakfast and an artisan cheese and wine pairing.  If you keep up with us on social media, you may have seen my tweet about the Dinner Party Project a few days ago.  This interesting concept brings strangers together for dinner and conversation in a social setting.  The Dinner Party Project will be holding an dinner party at P for Pie Bake Shop with catering by The Smiling Bison, Bikes Beans and Bordeaux Cafe and P is for Pie Bake Shop.

While I have never personally been to this event, it is definitely on the calendar for my family this weekend.  I hope you’ll join us as we celebrate Bastille Day and all things magnifique!

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Go Local Wednesday-Orlando Brewing


Being new to Downtown Orlando, I’m always looking for cool watering holes.  I ran across Orlando Brewing by accident while researching the new Florida Law allowing the purchase of growlers (a 64 oz. container of your favorite brew).  This brewery has actually been in Orlando since just after the turn of the century.  In 2004 it was taken over by a group of men who had a revolutionary idea.  They committed to brew their beer in harmony with the German Purity Law of 1516 (the Reinheitsgebot), and only use organic ingredients.  They were forced from the original location on Gore street to make way for the South Street-I-4 exit and relocated on Atlanta Ave, next to the Amtrak station.  Since then they have found much success.  Having their beers named the first “Fresh from Florida” brews and achieving organic certification in 2006.

Almost nightly they have different  events, bringing people together to listen to various artists or play games.  They even offer free tours Monday – Saturday at 6PM (first come, first serve)!  If you’re downtown you should really think about stopping in.  This is definitely a unique Orlando find!

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Monday Market Report – Top 7 Reasons Why NOW is a great time to be a Home Seller

7 reasonsThe real estate market has drastically improved in the Downtown Orlando area since it hit bottom over 5 years ago.   In fact the median sales price is 48% more than it was when the market was at the bottom in January of 2010.  As the market increases many seller are tempted to keep holding out to get more money when they sell.

Yet there are many good reasons not to wait.  A regular real estate market only increases 3-5% a year and that might not be worth the wait considering how great it is to be a seller in today’s market.  The best time to sell is when buyers are buying!  Here are the top 7 reasons it is great to be a seller in today’s market.

  1. The Number of Sales is up 10% since last year!
    • That’s a lot more home sales happening.  More sales means there are more buyers looking for a home like yours!
  2. Low inventory.
    • The number of single family homes for sale in Orlando actually decreased over the last week.  And the overall number of homes for sale in Orlando has remained pretty steady over the last six months.  When there is less competition that means your home will sell for closer to asking price and quicker.
  3. Homes are Selling Quickly.
    • The average days on the market continues to drop.  It has gone down the last three months consecutively.  Currently in Orlando the average days on the market is 72.  To put that in perspective, even in 2010 when prices were amazing the average days on the market was 104.
  4. Low interest rates.
    • If you’re selling your home, you’re likely buying another one.  The average interest rate is still under 4%.  That’s like free money!  Selling now will save you tons of money on your next purchase.
  5. It’s a seller’s market so you have the upper hand in negotiations.
    • As mentioned, inventory is low and homes are selling quickly.  That’s reason enough to sell while the market is hot.  However, these factors lead to something even better…you have negotiating power to work out the best terms for you and your move.
  6. Summer is hot season to buy.
    • More buyers are jumping into the market every day. The best time to sell is when there are a lot of buyers in the market and they are motivated to close.  The number of sales statistically slows into the fall.
  7. You don’t know what the future holds.
    • I hear too many people say they will wait another year so they can walk away with more money.  But we don’t know what the futures holds for the Orlando real estate market.  Your equity may not continue to build over the next year.  At some point the market will level off and the average appreciate is between 3-5% per year.  Even if the market is average, that minimal amount may not be worth the wait especially if you can take advantage of a lower interest rate on a different house today.

Have you been thinking of selling your home for some time or possibly hope to next year?  It might make sense to sell now rather than wait.  Contact us today to discuss if now is the right time to list.  407-494-2820 or email me at

*Facts and figures from Orlando Regional Realtor Association 

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Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – Daytona Intl Speedway

Coke Zero

Written by April Martin

One of the wonderful things about living in Orlando, is our close proximity to some amazing places.  While I would typically highlight places within the city limits I think the NASCAR races in Daytona are something every Orlandoan should do!  This 4th of July actually marks the 13 year anniversary of my very first race.  (Gosh!  Seeing that number is a little scary!)

The first year I went to the races, I was not a fan of racing.  I actually knew nothing about racing or the culture that surrounds it.  However, I was instantly wrapped up in the excitement, the sites and sounds of all things NASCAR.  The feel of the cars whizzing by you, literally, moving you a few feet from your seat as their speeds reach an excess of 200 mph.  Pulling rubber out of your hair that is blown off the specialty wheels.  The entire experience is something truly unique.

On February 22, 1959 the Daytona Intl Speedway held it’s first Daytona 500.  However, racing in Daytona actually dates back to 1927 on Daytona Beach when Major Henry Segrave and his Sunbeam 1000 horsepower Mystery set a world land speed record.

NASCAR racing, which is steeped in tradition, fan allegiance and the occasional “big one” wrecks, bring tens of thousands of spectators to the area twice a year.  Typically the Coke Zero 400 would be held on Saturday night, under the stars and concluded with a spectacular fireworks show after the race.  However, the race was shifted by one day this year to avoid NBC affiliates broadcasting their local city’s fireworks.  But don’t you worry, it will return to it’s normal schedule in 2016.

Daytona is only an hour from Orlando, making it very accessible to you.  Take a day trip and enjoy all the track, the fans and the race have to offer.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

– April

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Go Local Wednesday – Alfond Inn


The Alfond Inn, a boutique hotel located in #WinterPark, established to raise money for scholarships by Rollins College, is a lovely addition to the already spectacular community. The Alfond Inn opened in August 2013, a little unsure of how it would be received but was recognized as one of the Best Hotels in Florida by Condé Nast Traveler’s 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, and received their AAA Diamond four diamond rating in the first eight months of being open.  They offer unique packages and one of a kind experiences.  With their success, @TheAlfondInn hopes to offer seven to ten full scholarships a year, to some very deserving students.

Hoping to be more than a place of lodging, the Alfond Inn works very hard to find innovative ways to bring people in, hosting unique events.  In March they hosted 5 Chefs 5 Courses 5 Charities fundraiser with proceeds benefiting Harbor House, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Pace Center For Girls, Edible Education Foundation and The Kevin Fonzo Foundation.  They even hosted Jazz on the lawn, once a month during the spring!  The events included live music under the stars, wine portions, award winning Smoked Pig with accompaniments, valet parking and an extended happy hour.

The Alfond Inn also boasts the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, a satellite exhibition space from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College.  The first Wednesdays of the summer months (plus September) take a free “Happy Hour Tour.” Meet in the lobby at 5:30 p.m. for a tour of the collection, and afterward enjoy $5 sangria and $8 appetizer specials.

The packages are well thought out.  They invite patrons to indulge in all that Winter Park has to offer.  They will even pamper your pooch, with the VIP Package (Very Imporant Pup).  A new package being offered now through Dec. 15th, the Auberge in the Park, allows patrons an evening of dinner for two of the Chef’s Table menu with wine pairings in the Hamilton’s Kitchen restaurant and luxurious accommodations  for only $309 plus tax and gratuity.  Come see all everything this hotel has to offer – you won’t be disappointed!

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Monday Market Report – How to Choose the Right Agent?

As the market heats up here in Orlando, many homeowners are considering selling their homes.  As you plan to sell there are some things you will probably consider- Where will we go next?  How quickly will our house sell and for how much?  On our last market update we discussed how quickly your home might sell given the hot market here in Downtown Orlando.  The number of home sales in the Orlando area is up 10% since last year.  With more buyers and still not a huge inventory of listings, homes that are priced right and in good condition sell quickly.

apple-apples-orange-2723463-lNow you just need to find the right agent to achieve that goal.  Deciding who you will choose to list your home with can be a difficult task.  Real estate agents are independent contractors.  We each run our own business under the umbrella of our brokerage.  So you can have varying experiences with agents even within the same company.  It can be like comparing apples to oranges if you don’t know the right questions to ask.  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish a good agent from a bad one.  Asking the right questions from the beginning will help you determine what they will do for you as your representative and what kind of customer experience you will receive.   Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. Are you a full time agent?
  2. How long have you been selling real estate?
  3. Are you a full service agent?
  4. What is your average List to Sales Price Ratio? (how much of the listing price did the agent actually obtain for their sellers on average)
  5. How will you communicate with me?
  6. How will you market my home? Do you create a marketing plan?
  7. Do you have references I can contact who worked with you to sell a home?
  8. How will you recommend a price for me?  (pricing a home is not an easy task and not every agent knows how to do this well)

Of course you can avoid this tedious interview process all together and list with us.  We make it really easy for you to know what type of experience you will receive.  We’re transparent about what we will do for you at all times by providing you with a private webpage you can access 24/7 and see all of our activities to sell your home.

Our communication commitment rivals any agent!  We commit to speaking with you at a minimum of two times a week; once with a comprehensive email update and once via phone. The private website where you can view our activities 24/7 is there so you never have to ask the question, “what has my agent been doing to sell my house?”.

In the last 3 years I have consistently sold my listings for an average of 3% more than the average for the Orlando area.  How do I earn more for my sellers?  For each listing I create a custom marketing plan so we both know exactly how we are going to target the right buyers for your home.

But don’t take my word for it.  Read any one of our reviews and you’ll see that our customers feel we lived up to the promises we committed to.

Thinking of Selling?  Don’t end up with someone without experience or a plan to sell your house.  Contact us today at 407-494-2820 or

Image credit:  Apples & Oranges – They Don’t Compare by The Busy Brain via Creative Commons

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