renttoownimg  Renting? With Prices Like This?!

A lot of folk seem to be obsessed about whether or not we’ve hit bottom. When I’m asked what I think on this subject, my response right now is “Who cares? Look at the deals out there!”

Truly, my advise is stop obsessing about bottom and just do the math, because that’s all that matters. If I have a 2012 Ferarri for sale for $20K, do you really care if you could maybe get it for $18K by waiting a couple of months?  I’d take it at $20K every day - with or without the wheels. Are you kidding me?

If you’re currently renting and have dreamed of owning a home, now may be the perfect time. is reporting that during the month of July, buying was cheaper than renting in 74% of the country’s 50 largest cities.

What’s tipping the scale to make buying cheaper than renting? Of course, it’s the declining home prices and historically low interest rates. Recently, interest rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed have been hovering near 4%. Also, the increased demand for rental units is pushing rents up, making now a good time to buy as purchasing a home is cheaper than renting one in most major U.S. cities.

This is making purchasing a home enticing for those who are planning to stay for several years and have the ability to put down a downpayment of about 20 percent.

And as reported by, Arlington, Texas; Sacramento, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida, “all had buy-rent ratios of eight,” according to Trulia.

New York is the highest city to rent a home (of the 50 markets surveyed). And to buy in that city would cost about 36 times as much, pushing the purchase price to about a million dollars.

Loans are tricky right now, however. With stricter lending requirements, having cash to put down is a make-or-break factor in purchasing a home. Buyers often have to come up with 20% and that can be a big chunk (or even all) of a person’s savings. Also, note that the money usually has to be “seasoned”. In other words, the downpayment money can’t just suddenly appear in your savings account only days before you decide to buy a home. Ask your real estate agent and loan officer for more details.

For more information on MetroWest Orlando homes for sale, including foreclosures and short sales, see our site via the link or call us on: 407-290-3408.

refinancing-houses-21  The Value of Refinancing

Making changes to your living and financial situations can be difficult.  Money and housing decisions and changes can cause anxiety and stress.  Additionally, your friends, family and mortgage lenders will all tell you different opinions about what you should do, making it almost impossible to make an unbiased decision.  Your home is your castle, and you want to make sure that you are doing what is best for you and your family.

There are several different reasons why you might be considering a mortgage refinance.  People refinance for several reasons, and it in no way is a sign of financial difficulty or danger.  Typically a refinance is beneficial.

You might be interested in taking advantage of the lower mortgage interest rates that are available since the economic downturn several years ago.  If you refinance your home, you can arrange a lower interest rate, which means your money will be used more towards the payment of your home’s principle, and not towards interest.  Perhaps you have the ability to start paying more each month towards your loan principle.  You may want to restructure your mortgage so that you can pay it off more quickly, which generally results in a lower annual interest rate.  This will allow you to purchase your home free and clear more quickly and save money on interest payments at the same time.

People will often refinance their mortgage to consolidate debts or to help fund necessary home repairs.  If you have are interested in remodeling or improving your home, you can refinance and withdraw the cash value of your home, above what is owed, to be put towards the cost of the repairs.  Additionally, if times are tight, you can extend the term of your home loan so that you pay less each month.  This generally leads to a raised interest rate on your mortgage, but will allow you to save money each month on your required payment.

If you are interested in a lower interest rate on your home loan or if you are curious to see what could potentially save, check your local mortgage refinance rates in your area and see if you could benefit from a mortgage refinance.

Guest post by Jessica Thorseon at

pricing  How Not To Price Your Home

“So looking at the most recent comparable sales,” I said to my would-be Orlando home seller, “Your house is probably worth about $275K.”

“Ok,” said the seller. “So let’s price it at $300k – so we have some wiggle room.”

Bad idea.

Here’s why. That strategy works in a good market when demand outstrips supply, but when supply is excessive as it is today, then overpricing your home just means that you’ll more than likely get looked over. Look at it this way, if for example, there are 6 other comparable homes in MetroWest that are priced cheaper than yours, then yours is going to be placed at the bottom of everyone’s “tour list” and chances are, you won’t even get a visit.

Not only that, but since all Orlando MLS search engines include a price parameter, there’s a good chance your home won’t even show up in the search results: If I’m hoping to get $300K for my home and therefore price it at $325K, and someone actually wants to pay up to $300K for a home (and therefore puts in the price box “$200-300K”) guess what – your home at $325K won’t ever be displayed. Sale lost. To someone who was actually willing to pay your final price!

Unfortunately, most of today’s MetroWest sellers are competing with foreclosed homes down the street that have the same amenities for a fraction of the cost. In some areas, they might also competing with newly constructed homes (like Veranda Park) which the bank is desperate to move. Price your piece of real estate competitively, and you are more likely to get foot traffic and showings. With more traffic, you are more likely to have multiple offers that translate into a successful home sale.

“But I need to net $275,” you say. I hate to break it to you, but the housing market doesn’t care what you need to net. “But my house is better you say.” Again, I hate to rain on your parade, but I hear this every day. Every home seller thinks their home is special and worth more than their neighbor’s. But your neighbor thinks the same as you.

So unless you have gold plated tile floors, chances are, the differences are negligible. They might help your home get sold before another home in MetroWest, but they’re unlikely to affect price in a major way. A hard pill for most proud home owners to swallow, but it’s a fact you’ll need to learn to accept if you want to move on with your life.

So who determines the sales price of a home? Clue: It’s not the seller. Nope, it’s not the Realtor either. The ultimate value of any piece of real estate is determined by the market. A home, like any other commodity,  is only worth precisely what a ready, willing and able buyer is prepared to pay for it.

Conclusion: If you can’t or won’t sell your home at a price that will move it, then my advice? Don’t list it until you can. A newbie or desperate agent might take the listing, but the listing agent you really want… is the one that won’t.

Contact Orlando’s specialist MetroWest home sales brokerage for more information on MetroWest home sales and Orlando real estate information. You might not always be ecstatic at the news, but we’d rather tell you the truth and get your home sold, than have you upset with us in 4 month’s time when your neighbors home has sold, and yours still has that lonely “For Sale” sign in the yard because we just told you what we figured you wanted to hear.

Call 407-290-3408 or email:

metrowest-fountain  MetroWest Association: Honorable Mention

MetroWest Master Association (MWMA) received an Honorable Mention for Orange County Community Organization’s Excellence in Safety & Security Initiatives, recognizing MWMA’s commitment to community crime prevention and proactive safety awareness through its many safety initiatives.  The award ceremony was July 16, 2011, at Orange County Senior Center at Orange County’s 17th Annual Community Conference, championed by Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

MWMA, as the Master Association for all of MetroWest, has enthusiastically accepted the goal of increasing safety in its community through its 2011 launch of “Stomp Out Crime,” a themed initiative bringing together existing safety programs (i.e., Neighborhood Watch for homeowners’ associations, Crime-free Multi-Housing for condominium-owner associations and apartment complexes and Business Watch for local businesses), diligently outreaching to inform everyone about these programs and increasing active participation.  MWMA will host its 4th annual National Night Out event on August 2, 2011, at MetroWest Golf Club as another opportunity to engage its 14,000 addresses of residents and businesses in these effective safety programs.

Additionally, MWMA utilizes a partnership with Orlando Police Department (OPD) through consistent, proactive communication, hiring an additional police officer for extra daily community patrol and implementation of Innovative Response to Improve Safety (I.R.I.S.) cameras in MetroWest.  As well, MWMA employs a former OPD officer as its Crime Prevention Manager who serves as a liaison between OPD and MWMA to facilitate communications.

Neighborhood Crime Watch  MetroWest’s National “NightOut” 2011

What: 4th annual National Night Out… Safety awareness and family fun; Law enforcement and self-defense demonstrations; Home security exibits; “Stomp Out Crime” school art contest winners announced; kid’s zone with bounce houses!

Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Time: 6pm – 9pm

Place: MetroWest Golf Course club house

Cost: Free Community Event!

More Info:

Come along and meet your neighbors. It’s events like this that are bringing the community together and increasing the value of MetroWest real estate by making it a safer and more enjoyable place to live by promoting neighborhood watch initiatives.

confused-face  Arguing Over “Bottom”. There’s More To Cost Than Price

I’m growing weary of arguing with armchair real estate experts over whether or not we have hit bottom or not. Like it matters when homes are this cheap. Particularly when you’re talking about some of these cash, Orlando condo foreclosures which cost less than your average family car, the correct answer is: “Who cares?” The only legitimate question in real estate is, “Do the numbers work, and is it a good buy for me, right now?”  not “Will my neighbor get a better real estate deal than me six months from now?”

I would argue that homes are more affordable today than at any time in recent history. But understand it’s not just because real estate prices are down. It’s because mortgage rates are. And every time mortgage rates change, your  maximum purchase price changes, too.

Did you know : In June 2011, mortgage rates changed every 3 hours, 23 minutes on average.

With mortgage rates changing as rapidly as they are, your home affordability can be short-lived. Consider the budget-busting impact of rising mortgage rates.

For every 1 percent rise in mortgage rates, your maximum purchase price falls 10.75%.

For example, if you put 20% put down on a $300,000 home for sale in MetroWest Orlando, today (July 2011), you can probably borrow at 4.500% and pay around $1,216 monthly.

Now, take your armchair real estate expert who’s been watching CNN tell him the market hasn’t hit bottom yet. He refuses to buy and wait for the price reduction he’s sure is coming, and, 4 weeks later, he gets it — all the way to $285,000. He’s ecstatic and tells his agent he “told you so.” Until he talks to his lender and finds out mortgage rates are up 1 point. Big deal, he says. “I just saved 15 grand.”

That same MetroWest home — selling for $15,000 less — now costs $1,295 to carry. It’s a $79 monthly increase,

This is why it’s foolish to “time” the housing market. Sure, the guy got his “great price”, but his  rising mortgage rate wiped out the savings, and then some (particularly because he chose to lock in the 30-year fixed rate after his agent told him he would be better off with an ARM. His additional cost over 30 years? A cool $28,440. Enough for another 1-bedroom condo in MetroWest.)

Mortgage rates can be as important (often more so) than price. And the experts are saying that the rates we’re seeing today are still at historic lows and (fairly obviously) can only go up from here. Combine low prices now with low mortgage rates, and then tell me you really, really care whether or not bottom is or isn’t technically here yet.

For more assistance with your MetroWest home purchase, see our site featuring MetroWest real estate for sale or call your local MetroWest Realtor on: 407-290-3408.

sold sign  June home sales fall nearly 21% in Orlando

Metro Orlando saw existing home transactions fall year-over-year last month, while the median home price stayed flat at $110,000, the Orlando Regional Realtor Association reported.

Association members sold 2,418 existing homes in June, 21 percent less than June 2010 — driven mostly by a nearly 40 percent decline in bank-owned sales and a 14 percent drop in short sales. But the area’s home inventory sits at 10,559, a nearly 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace — the lowest since December 2005 — and 35 percent lower than June 2010’s inventory.

Interesting statistics that require some thought. With less than 6 month’s supply, we are technically no longer in a “buyer’s market” and certainly in the under $100k condo bracket, we’ve been in a strong seller’s market for nearly a year now, particularly in areas like Orlando’s MetroWest where condo conversions are increasingly tough units to acquire with a dozen contracts for every foreclosure. Can’t get your head around that? Well until you understand how aggressive and fast moving the foreclosure market in Orlando is, you may find home buying more of a challenge than you first thought.

See the full release here. For more information on Orlando’s MetroWest home sales call 407-290-3408 or email

5552  Goings on… July 2011

MetroWest, Orlando News

  • The MetroWest neighborhood watch program is up and running.
  • The most recent meeting was held in June at the Publix shopping center. For the past couple of years various communities have been a part of the MetroWest Master Association and have come together to celebrate the National Night Out Against Crime at the MetroWest Golf Club on Hiawassee Blvd. The date for this year’s event is August 2, 2011;
  • Next garage sale is Sept 2011;
  • Community Fall Festival Party is October 2011;
  • The Isles HOA Board of directors election failed to go ahead due to lack of quorum.

The most recent recorded real estate sold (within last 7 days) in terms of single family homes in the MetroWest area:

  1. A 4-bed, 3.5 bathroom home in Palma Vista with 4,000 SF, listed at 400,000 – short sale, 199 days on market;
  2. A 3-bed, 2-bath single family home in Cinnamon Bay with 1500 SF, listed at $113,000 – short sale, 25 days on market;
  3. A 3-bed, 2-bath house in Victoria Place with 1986 SF, listed at $162,500 – short sale, 11 days on market;
  4. A 3- bed, 2-bath home at The Isles, Westpointe Cir (Chathamoor Dr) with 1654 SF, listed at $157,500, 64 days on market.

The final sales prices for this MetroWest sold homes has not yet been recorded with the county, however it’s clear that the best deals are not staying on the market for long. For more information on these and other recent sales, contact the MetroWest real estate specialists at: 407-290-3408.

staged home  Home Staging Secrets

In a tough market, sellers need all the competitive edge they can get. Home staging is a great way to make your home appear to its best advantage.

Staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers. It’s about creating an image of a lifestyle that buyers can’t resist. They need to be able to imagine themselves living in your house.

Staging doesn’t require a big budget either. Although, if you have the budget to make your home a showpiece, go for it! In general, though, successful staging means paying attention to the details.

Here are 10 secrets of staging that can help your home sell.

1. Declutter. Clutter can be one of the most distracting aspects of showing a house. Instead of a buyer focusing on the unique architectural details of your room, they focus in on your trinkets and trash. You don’t have to toss your decor, just put it away for now.

2. Furniture: Large, oversized furniture can makes rooms look smaller than they are. The converse if true as well. Small furniture in large rooms looks disproportionate.

3. Room true to purpose: You may have your dining room set up as an office or a second bedroom set up as a craft room, but buyers need to see homes true to their purpose. They want to see the formal dining room that was advertised on the MLS. They want to see 2 bedrooms, not one and a craft room.

4. Proper lighting: Good lighting makes everything look better. CFL lights in “daylight” color makes rooms look light and bright even during the evening hours. Be sure all rooms are well lit, including laundry rooms, garages, and closets.

5. Repairs: Most buyers aren’t interested in fixer-uppers. They want homes that have been well-maintained. You may have to spend a little time and

money to fix broken doors, drawers, and windows. Buyers will notice every loose board and trim piece. Fix it before you start showings!

Read the rest of the article here.

Call MetroWest Realty on: 407-290-3408, or visit our site for more information on MetroWest (Orlando) real estate and homes for sale.

home-inspection  Home Inspections: What to Expect

Inspections are a great thing. They can be a tool for price reductions in a “normal” sale or, in the case of a distressed real estate sale where the bank will not make repairs (regardless of the outcome), you will at least find out what you’re getting yourself into.

In all cases, you can expect a full written report back which is usually accompanied by photos of any offending items.  A word of warning: There WILL be offending items – it’s their job to find them – and you can expect a long laundry list.

TIP: Every single thing that’s noted will be listed. If they don’t point them out, then they could be accused of not doing a thorough job so you’ll find a lot of “petty” stuff on there. Do not feak out and blow the sale. This is normal. Most of the items are small and repairable from missing door handles to missing light bulbs. No house is perfect. The stuff to look out for are the major items such as HVAC repair, Chinese dry wall, roof repair, extensive wood rot and the like. These items can be costly, although if the price is right, it may not matter.

A word on mould. Mould (mold) is everywhere and in every house, whether you can see it or not. There are different types of mould but where there is moisture you will likely see it. It’s not the end of the world and it’s not unusual to find. You don’t need to run a mile at the mention of the word, but you do want to check it out and make sure that a.) it’s not extensive and b.) it can be quickly and inexpensively remediated.

If you have any questions on Orlando home inspections or would like a referral, please feel free to contact email your MetroWest real estate specialists or call: 407-290-3408. If you’re looking for a condo inspection, you’ll find some useful information on our  Orlando condo inspection page.

Next Page »