Central Florida Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 7, 2017

It's Getting Hot In Here!

This August as temperatures rise the last thing you want to do is crank up the oven to bake a casserole. While summer isn’t over quite yet, the end of your days slaving away in front of the oven can be. With a bit of creativity, you can find some great ways to escape the heat of the kitchen. Don’t dread the remaining weeks of summer; enjoy it to the max with these fresh ideas.

Cooking Without Heat

There are a lot of great dishes you can make without needing a single degree of heat.

·       Cold Soups and Smoothies – Bust out your blender. The possibilities are endless.

·       Salads – Summertime is the ideal time to enjoy fresh produce. Keep in mind that vegetable and fruit salads are both a great option for picnic style dinners.

·       Sandwiches – Not just PB&J, get creative. Have a sandwich off with your family to see who can create the best masterpiece.

·        Raw Dishes – Raw cooking isn’t just for health nuts, it’s also for people who don’t want to sweat in front of a stove for hours on end. Raw cooking is cool, nutritious and delicious. Check out The Raw Food Kitchen for ideas.

Grill Master

If you are going to cook, do it outside so the heat doesn’t fill your home.

·        Meats – Chicken, pork, turkey, burgers. Get your grill on.

·        Vegetables – We all know grilled corn, but have you tried grilled bell peppers or grilled Portobello mushrooms?

·        Fruit – Once you have tried grilled pineapple you’ll never doubt that fruit can be grilled again. Grilled watermelon, peaches and coconut are particularly delicious as well.

Keep it Cool for Dessert

Everyone loves dessert. Homemade frozen desserts are perfect for hot summer days.

·        Popsicles – These tasty frozen treats come in all sorts of shapes and flavors and are exceptionally low cost to you and your family. You can even make them with an ice cube tray and some toothpicks!

·        Root Beer Floats – I don’t really think I need to say anything else. You are already on board.  

·        Kick the Can – Kick the can ice cream has many benefits. Firstly, it allows you to custom make your own ice cream flavors. Get crazy and try something new. Second, it really wears the kids out when they have to kick a can around for an hour for the ice cream to be ready. No kids? Good, you’re about to earn that ice cream with a workout. Third, it’s ice cream.

·        Frozen Grapes – Looking for the least effort dessert possible? Throw some red grapes into the freezer and eat them after dinner as a tasty snack.

Get Out!

Once in a while you just need to treat your family to an evening out and let someone else do the cooking. Take the family out once a week or plan to do a group dinner with neighbors so you take turns cooking and get a day off from the sweltering kitchen.

Beat the summer heat by being a step ahead of it. With proper meal planning and creative thinking you can spend less time sweating in the kitchen and more time with your family eating delicious summer picnics.

Bon appétit, it’s not too hot to eat! 

 

July 19, 2017

The Time To Sell Is Now

If the thought of selling your home has crossed your mind, now more than ever may be the time to take action!  The supply and demand concept clearly shows that the best time to sell is when supply is low and demand is high.  That defines today’s real estate market!

National Association of Realtors (NAR) data shows us that this is a great time to sell.  NAR recently released two major reports revealing information that this is a strong sellers’ market. 

The first report is the Realtors® Confidence Index that summarizes monthly data collected from over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices, and market conditions.  This month showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in the month of May.  Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.  Buyer demand is higher than the number of homes available for purchase.

The second report is The Existing Home Sales Report. The most important data revealed in this report is the low inventory of homes for sale (supply).  In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation of home prices.  The current national inventory is at 4.2-month supply, and houses are going under contract fast.  During the month of May, properties sold nationally were on the market for an average of 27 days. 

All indicators point to a strong sellers’ market.  If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

July 5, 2017

Interest Rates. Then and Now

It’s no secret that interest rates have been slowly climbing.  But, there’s no need for panic! 

Last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest mark this year, at 3.88%.  This is great news for homebuyers looking to purchase and homeowners looking to refinance. The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home.

Since January, interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of the year helping to balance out the rising home prices and helping to maintain affordability for many home buyers.  Experts predict that rates will increase slightly again by the end of 2017.  For 2018 the prediction is for the rate to be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher, at 4.5% by the end of year.  So a year-and-a-half from now, if the experts are correct, we’re still looking at a GREAT rate!

To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.

While no one wants to hear of mortgage rate hikes, we do need to think realistically about what the current news actually means.  Interest rates are still historically low and will remain historically low for the foreseeable future.  We can be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your aunts and uncles did ten years ago, and a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago.  You’re even getting a great bargain compared to your grandparents 40 years ago! 

 

So if the media hype of rising rates have soured your thoughts of buying, think again!  This is still a fantastic time to become a homeowner.

June 21, 2017

Why Now Is The Time To List Your Home!

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is currently at a 4.2-month supply, well under the 6-months needed for a normal housing market. This means, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, builder's confidence in the market has hit its highest mark in over 11 years. Experts are predicting that new construction of single-family homes will ramp up this summer.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae anticipates an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace. As the market continues to strengthen, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to a new low of 42 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.9% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4%right now. Rates are projected to increase in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

June 4, 2017

Nest(ing) Part Two: Meet "Nest" Protect

In a recent blog we told you all about the wonders of the Nest Thermostat.  When it comes to making wise investments into your home, Nest has more than just an awesome thermostat to offer.

When you are looking around your home considering home improvement projects, you tend to see the obvious – flooring, painting, lighting... You probably even have a running to-do list in your head, “mulch planting beds, trim shrubs, plant annuals…” Hold on a second; have you thought about your smoke detectors lately? These important alarm systems tend to be forgotten because they don’t exactly have curb appeal. Well, mark this day on your calendar folks, because today is the day that smoke detectors became sexy.

Traditional smoke detectors are a nuisance. They go off every time your toaster is overachieving.  We’ve all been forced into that frantic towel dance trying to fan the smoke away from the detector.  Often times we end up removing the batteries to eliminate the nuisance.  This is a big problem. Smoke detectors, while annoying, play an exceptionally important role in our everyday safety. Smoke detectors save lives and we should treat them with the respect they deserve. Introducing, Nest Protect. Nest Protect is a new innovation in the world of smoke detectors with a list of amazing features. What makes the Nest Protect the sexiest smoke detector in town?

 A human voice alarm system. No more beeping and screaming. Nest Protect uses a human voice alarm that clearly explains the problem so you know how to react. Instead of a mysterious beeping from afar, this smoke detector gives you specifics right away, “Emergency. There is smoke in the bathroom”.  

“Heads-Up” Warnings. Before waking up the whole neighborhood, Nest Protect will give you a heads up warning. If your oven is over zealously self-cleaning, or you just happen to be a terrible cook, you have a chance to silence Nest Protect in the case of a false alarm.  Simply wave your hand in front of the alarm during a “heads-up” warning and the alarm will remain silent.

 Double Duty. Smoke isn’t the only worry you should consider late in the night. CO2 protection is also a very serious matter. In 39 out of the 50 US states law requires CO2 alarms. There is no need for second box on the ceiling.  While Nest Protect keeping you safe from smoke, it’s also monitoring for CO2. Even better than just raising the alarm, Nest Protect will also switch off your compatible Nest thermostat in the case of CO2 detection to keep your family safe from further harm.  

 Mobile Control. All of the information you need to take care of your Nest Protect is in the palm of your hand. Use the Nest mobile app to ensure that all systems are up and running, receive alerts and keep track of when batteries need to be changed.

Star light, star bright. As if the Nest Protect wasn’t already cool enough, it’s also a nightlight. Use the “Pathlight” function to set your smoke alarm to turn on a pathway light when you cross beneath it in the dark.

Options. Nest Protect comes in two different colors (black/white), two different languages (English/Spanish) and integrates with both apple and android products. There is a Nest Protect that is built for you. You just have to go find it. 

Good night.  sleep tight.  Rest easy because Nest has it all under control.

Posted in Real Estate News
May 17, 2017

Welcome to (the new) TonyDavidsHomes.com

We’ve been working on our new website for a while and are now excited to welcome you to our high tech, newly updated site!  We’d love for you to try out some of our hot new features and let us know what you think. Visit http://TonyDavidsHomes.com and send us your feedback!

So what’s new?

Our fast new site now includes many updates and new features such as your personal Home Evaluation Tool where you can find out what your home is worth in a few clicks.

We’ve added Orlando’s hottest new communities to our site as well, making it easy for you to locate Central Florida’s most coveted properties. Check out Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort where you’ll find luxury, comfort, and a little bit of pixie dust!

When it comes to searching for a new home on the internet, I’ll admit you have nearly endless options to choose from.  But how can you know for sure that the information you are seeing is current and accurate?  How many times have you fallen in love with a property, only to find out it was sold weeks ago?  Real estate is a fast-paced business and many online real estate sites can’t keep up.

Your frustration end here!  Let our state-of-the art technology deliver easy and accurate home search results. The real estate search engines on our website produces the exact same instant results that real estate agents have access to in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  And if you prefer to have your up to the minute results land right in your in-box, we’ve got you covered there too.  You can customize your own search parameters (or we’d be happy to help if you like) and let the fresh new listings come directly to you as they hit the market.

It’s so simple to use - just select a community, size of home with your budget and even mark your fave listings for future reference. The smart technology remembers your activity on the site allowing me easy access to properties you’ve viewed so I can  answer any questions you may have at a click of a button.

Check in daily for updates to our colorful ‘Blog’ section and find out all the latest developments in obtaining mortgages, remodeling, new construction methods etc. Tell us what Articles you would most be interested in seeing!

So please do check out our new site and let us know if there are any features you’d like to see us add to make your home buying experience even better.  See you online!

May 16, 2017

Getting Your Offer To Yes

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that dream house doesn’t slip away! Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

 

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process. Getting a pre-approval for a mortgage is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with confidence knowing that your lender has already approved you for the offer price.

2. Act FAST! 

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

 

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.7-month supply; this is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand is outpacing the home supply making it a competitive buyers market.  At TonyDavidsHomes, we are here to make sure you are a well prepared, strong buyer when we submit your offer and start negotiating on your behalf!

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

 

TonyDavidsHomes has been specializing in Central Florida Real Estate since 2003.  We are experts in the area and understand how to make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford. Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

 

Finding your dream home and submitting an offer are the easy part.  Negotiating to a “win” for you is where our talents take over.  And once we’ve got you under contract, we can help negotiate we can negotiate repairs that turn up during the professional home inspection.

5. Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, our team is standing by to serve you as experts in the Central Florida market to be sure your home buying process goes smoothly!

 

Give us a call today to get your house hunting underway!

May 9, 2017

Celebration Florida's West Village

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been having some fun helping you get to know Celebration, a Disney influenced, master-planned community with direct access to Walt Disney world and Disney Springs. In previous weeks I’ve introduced you to Downtown Celebration and also to North Village, which was the first community developed in Celebration.

On tap for today is West Village which, like North Village, is one of the original areas of this great town. Situated between South Village and Downtown Celebration, West Village abuts to the Celebration Golf Course, one of Orlando’s premier golf facilities. This 18-hole, public golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and it stretches and meanders through Celebration offering golfers an excellent view from every hole. Celebration Golf Club boasts a wonderful restaurant and is also hosts many special events, including weddings complete with a quaint gazebo in a beautiful pastoral setting.

One of the many endearing qualities about Celebration is the wide range of home types available. West Village is home to over 90 residences in a mix of size and unique styles, including adorable cottage homes and many luxury estate homes. Estate homes on Golfpark Drive enjoy front fairway views of the meticulous green.


If being close to the center of this quintessential town is important to you, then West Village would be your ideal place to call home. Residents of West Village enjoy being within walking distance to Celebration's K-8 School, downtown area shops and restaurants (and yes, there is a Starbucks…I know you were wondering), and the beautiful lake that serves as the focal point of downtown Celebration.

 

West Village architecture was inspired from all areas of the US – from regency style townhomes to southern style wrap around porch homes to estate homes and bungalows, you’ll find a style and size for every taste and budget.  If you're interested in a home in Celebration, give me a call at 407-922-9011, or visit my Celebration Real Estate page to see available homes.

 

May 6, 2017

Nest(ing) Part One

Nest, a commonly known alternative for the word home, holds a lot of meaning. It’s where we settle together as families and take care of our young.  Our nests are very important places.

So, that’s the traditional meaning of the word.  But there’s more…

Remember when your child’s toy “Furbie” was all the rage.  The Furbie could learn how to be a smarter toy. Well a similar learning technology can be found in a much more  useful role in the world of climate control. Introducing the Nest thermostat. Teach it your lifestyle, then let it work for you and save you money. So what does the Nest thermostat do?

 Personalized for any system – Everyone’s home is unique and so is every Nest thermostat. As your Nest system learns about your home, it customizes its settings and features to best suit your personal lifestyle.

·         Eco Setting – Forget to turn your thermostat off before you walk out the door? No worries, Nest’s motion activated feature will detect that no one is home and adjust the temperature for you.

·         Remote Control – No, we don’t mean an old fashioned piece of plastic that requires AAA batteries, we mean smart phone remote control. Control your thermostat from home, work, or the train from your personal phone.

·         The Leaf – Not sure what is energy efficient and what isn’t? It can be hard to understand the science of your electric bill. When the nest thermostat displays a small green leaf on the screen this means you are officially saving energy.

·         Custom Scheduling – Setup your Nest to know you. Include specific times for different points of the day, and be able to override them if your schedule changes.

·         Detailed Energy History – Curious what you’ve been up to and how much you’ve saved? The Nest keeps track of your usage on a daily basis and provides you an easy to read report about your energy usage. Use these reports to see how Nest helps you save and find even more ways to save yourself with these handy reports.

·         Weather Aware – Using your wifi connection, Nest anticipates changes to your home climate based on changes in the outside climate.

·         Filter reminders – When was the last time you changed your a/c filter? Wait, did you even know you had one? Nest keeps track of maintenance of your system as well and reminds you when it’s time to clean and upgrade.

·         Pays for itself – Average savings with the Nest are up to 20% per month. Within a year the product could pay for itself in addition to making your life more convenient.

On top of all these great features, the Nest comes with easy installation, friendly customer service, and an online support community for you to share your stories and ask questions 24-hours a day.

Whether you are at home or away, let your mind rest and put Nest to work bringing you comfort and energy savings.

 

Stay tuned for Nest(ing) Part Two to learn about the Nest Protect Smoke Detector!

Posted in Buying a Home
May 5, 2017

Celebration Florida's North Village

North Village Estate HomeWe recently shared the first in a series of posts about Celebration, FL.  We hope you enjoyed the information about the downtown area, which is truly amazing for residents and tourists alike.

Aside from the downtown area, Celebration is comprised of six uniquely beautiful villages. North Village was the first community (or neighborhood) to be built in Celebration and it was constructed shortly after the downtown area was completed. Construction of homes began in the late 1990’s and continued through the mid 2000’s.

As with all the villages in Celebration, North Village is comprised of a mix of home types ranging from condo’s and townhomes to various sized single family homes to sprawling estate homes. The Acadia’s is an exclusive area of North Village where you will find absolutely breathtaking estates, many of which enjoy golf course frontage and/or lake views.

Amenities abound in North Village with parks, walking paths, and a centrally located community swimming pool. Of course, all of the downtown area amenities are available for North Village residents including the large heated community pool, basketball courts, tennis courts, splash fountain, shops, restaurants, and the much-anticipated Celebration Unleashed Dog Park which officially opens this month.

Located on the outer edge of Celebration, North Village residents gain quick and easy access to the Celebration Water Tower Publix, US Highway 192, State Road 417, and a quick shot to the Orlando International Airport.

In some instances, you may find a good bargain in North Village as compared to other Celebration Villages since these homes were the first to be built and some are in need of updates and/or renovations.

If you are interested in viewing available properties in Celebration click here or give me a call so we can schedule some time. 407-922-9011