Go Local Wednesday – Lake Eola

LE 3
Over the last few weeks there have been a lot of news articles about “The City Beautiful’s” iconic Lake Eola.  City hall is currently hashing out whether they will allow development on the southwest corner of Lake Eola Park.  Many residents and critics don’t want the new residential tower, which might impede the view and splendor of such a beautiful area in Downtown Orlando.

Did you know that Lake Eola is actually a huge sinkhole?  Neither did I!  At its deepest place it is 80 ft.  Lake Eola plays host to many local events, including the weekly Lake Eola Farmer’s Market on Sundays and the annual Fourth of July Fireworks at the Fountain, just to name a few.  On the east side of Lake Eola is a park which houses a playground for the little ones, a historical monument and a Chinese Pagoda.

The park site was originally donated to the city by wealthy Orlandoan Jacob Summerlin.  His only stipulations were that the gifted area be beautified and turned into a park.  As part of the deal he put in a reverter clause that states if the area around Lake Eola wasn’t beautified, turned into a park and maintained by the city, his heirs could reclaim the land.

For locals and visitors Lake Eola is truly a gem in our large metropolis.  A picture of authentic Florida beauty.  Go to the farmer’s market, attend one of the events held throughout the year, whatever you do – Go!  Be a local at Lake Eola.

Image Credit: Patrick Fatica

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Monday Market Report – Buying and Selling Simultaneously? 7 Tips for a Zen-like Closing

I know that title is a mouthful, but closing two homes in one day can be a difficult task. We want to help you transition from one home to another and feel calm and under control throughout the process!  If you are ready to make a move but you must sell your current home first, you probably know that can offer a whole extra layer of stress to the process.  Coordinating a simultaneous closing is one of my favorite things.  There are many pieces to put together and things don’t always go as planned, but here are 7 tips to ensure a zen-like experience! smooth closing

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan! First things first, contact us (407-494-2820) to review your home value and determine about how much you’ll have to take with you to the next home purchase as a down payment.
    • You want to have a great agent on your side that has done simultaneous closings successfully in the past – that’s me!
  2. Speak with a mortgage person about your loan options.
    • Make sure that you have a buffer for funds to close.  If you can only buy a house if you get out an exact number from your current home be sure that your expected net will yield a sales price that is REALISTIC for the market.  The last thing you want to do is prep your home for sale and then have it not sell!
    • We can recommend someone to you that has a record of closing on time.  The last thing we want is for you to select a lender that cannot close on time.  That could have a ripple effect!
  3. Review new home options at our office before we list your home. Let’s make sure there are at least a few options for what you need in a new house before we list your home for sale.
    • Although those few homes may not be available when you’re ready to buy – we need to make sure you can accomplish your goals for a new home before we get your home on the market.
  4. Prepare your home for sale.
    • Stage, repair, and de-clutter.  Since time is of the essence in a simultaneous closing, you need to make sure your home is show ready from day one.
  5. List your home first.
    • It is much more ideal to have your current home under contract and then find your new home than to try to buy something before your home is pending.
    • You may want or need to include a contingency to sell your home first.  If that is the case, then it’s unlikely that a home-seller will accept your offer with that contingency if your current home isn’t even on the market yet.
  6. Once your home is under contract, immediately get out and search for a home.
    • The ideal time to make an offer on a new home is after your current home’s inspection period.  We want to make sure your home purchase seems pretty solid before making an offer on a home for you.
  7. Create a contingency plan!
    • Even if you do everything right, there are so many parties involved that either one of your home sales could be delayed.  If that happens you’ll need somewhere to live in the interim.
    • Be sure you have planned to put your belongings in a storage unit so that if the closing is delayed they can move it to the storage facility for a few days.  Also plan to stay with family, friends, or in a hotel if you do not close on time.

Having a backup plan from day one will prevent you from feeling upset and stressed if things don’t go exactly right.   Also, having us on your side will alleviate the day to day stress because you’ll be able to view activites that happen throughout the process anytime on a private webpage.   You never have to wonder if the inspection is done or if the appraisal came in at value!

Want to move up, downsize, or just change things up for a few years?  Contact us today 407-494-2820 or visit our website dedicated to making a simultaneous move from the home you currently own to a new one.   www.HeartOrlandoHome.com

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Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – American Ghost Adventures

AGA ImageThere are plenty of spooky places in Orlando and I’m not talking about the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.  I came across an article about the American Ghost Adventures and was immediately intrigued.  It’s not often I come across something in Orlando that I didn’t know existed, but this was one of those special times.

In doing a little research I learned the AGA is actually voted #2 on TripAdvisors Sights and Landmarks in Orlando.  This group of local guides take you on tours through Downtown Orlando, Daytona, Winter Garden, Mount Dora and Deland.  Tours are 2-4 hours long and according to the reviews give you a lot of history about our little patch of earth.  They offer a Haunted Pub tour too.  The tours consist of a guide taking you through out the streets and venues of Orlando, give you an opportunity to learn about EMF and other paranormal equipment and even take you into an old building that is writhing with paranormal activity. Don’t believe me, take a look at this YouTube video, here.

Their Facebook, as well as, TripAdvisor is teeming with rave reviews from locals and tourists alike.  I found multiple articles both recent and dated that said this is one of the best lesser known attractions of Orlando.  I even found an Orlando Sentinel article of a group of kids going on the tour and really enjoying it!  Believers and non-believers alike seem to relish these tours.  I’m a firm believer that we should try to step out of comfort zone every once and while to experience something you might not normally experience.

I am definitely putting this on my list of MUST DO’s in Orlando.  Now I just have to find a friend brave enough to go with me.  Look for a follow up on this one!

Image Credit: Yelp.com

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Go Local Wednesday – Anthony’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant


TripAdvisor.com just named Orlando fourth best city for pizza, thanks to two popular theme park pizzerias: Red Oven Pizza Bakery at Universal’s CityWalk and Via Napoli in the Italian Pavillion at Disney’s Epcot.  I definitely enjoy a good slice of pizza, every now and again (truth: more now than again).  My husband is more of a New York style lover, while just about anything with an abundant amount of cheese and sauce will make me happy.  That’s not to say that I don’t have a sophisticated pallet, rather I’m not afraid to branch out and try new things.  Odd toppings, crazy sauces and all types of crust send me into pizza amour!

I can’t think of a district in the Orlando region I haven’t had a slice in, but true to our local theme I’d like to present my downtown favorite.  Anthony’s Pizza of Thornton Park, is located at the corner of Summerlin and Washington.  Anthony’s Pizza has been in operation since 1998.  They truly do pizza right!  Anthony actually started his first pizzeria in New York City in 1976.  Now owned and operated by Anthony’s nephew, they have stayed true to their New York state of mind.  The ivy covered building offers indoor seating, or if you’re a people watcher, like me, find a place on the patio.  It’s a great location for a glass of wine and good conversation!

Anthony’s offers everything from the traditional New York pie to a unique Stuffed VIP (double crust with a side of marinara), and a plethora of toppings, you’re sure to find something you can fall in love with.  Feeling adventurous, try one of their speciality pies or calzones.  You can even make this a date friendly restaurant with their authentic Italian pasta entrees.  Whatever you decide, I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

Image Credit: ThorntonParkDistrict.com

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Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – National Dance Day


This Saturday, July 25th the Center for Contemporary Dance and Orlando Ballet School is presenting the 3rd Annual National Dance Day Orlando .  This event seeks to bring educational, community-driven dance opportunities for non-dancers and dancers.  According to their website ‘This year’s event will encourage families and friends to begin the morning of July 25 at the NDDO Community Celebration, located at Cultural Park, to participate in exercises, dance routines, and performances by Central Florida dance professionals.  Within walking distance of the park is the Orlando Ballet Central Campus where 30 free specialized dance classes will be offered throughout the day to ages 3-100, including special needs movement classes.’  There are a variety of classes to choose from in styles such as salsa, barre, swing and even hip hop.

If you haven’t heard, this weekend is going to be a little wet and rainy.  What better way to spend a rainy Florida day than learning a new dance style or routine?

For more information on this event click here.

Image Credit: Dribble.com

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Go Local Wednesday – The Coop

The coop

Being a Texas native, I am an avid southern food lover.  One of my first lunches in Downtown Orlando, I found this counter-style restaurant and was instantly in love.  The founder of 4Rivers Smokehouse, a fantastic BBQ restaurant, set out to create a restaurant with passed down recipes and using seasonal ingredients.  Their signature dish – fried chicken!  Doesn’t get much better than fried chicken in my world.

As I stood in line, it’s nearly impossible to pick exactly what I wanted.  It all looks and smells divine.  I decided to go traditional and have the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and fried okra.  All of it was so amazing!  Rarely do I clean my plate but this meal was too good to go to waste.

I also really enjoyed the seating arrangements.  You feel like you’re sitting at grandma’s table, because you are.  The restaurant is full of mismatched dining room tables and chairs, giving you that “come in and stay awhile” feel.

If you haven’t tried this fantastic location, you have to put it on your to do list!

Image Credit: 10 Best

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Monday Market Report – Home Sales in Orlando “Skyrocket” and Hit Record High!

skyrocketIf you follow me on social media you may have seen my recent post about the number of sales in Orlando.  The home sales in Orlando hit a record high in June with almost 3500 home sales!  The number of home sales for June 2015 “skyrocketed” to the highest number of sales recorded since the Orlando Regional Realtor Association started recording these numbers!

That means that homes are selling at great rates and people are buying.  Due to that heavy demand of buyers the prices have also risen 8% and the month of inventory available is at about 3.5.  This is considered a sellers market, but the number of listings did go up 2% as well.   We have had 5 consecutive months of listing increases, so have no fear if you’re buying there are more options coming soon!

If you are thinking of selling, now is the time to list!  See my other post with the Top 7 Reasons why it’s a great time to be a home seller

If you are hoping to buy a home, the competition is thick but you can still get a great deal because the interest rates were only 4.08% on average in June!  They have been at these low rates for so long I think people take for granted how amazing that interest rate really is.

What are you waiting for?  It’s a great time to move up, stop renting, or relocate.  Call us today for all of your residential real estate needs 407-494-2820 or email me Kathryn@ThinkLiveBe.com

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