Category Archives: Winter Garden

Winter Garden has a draw for people looking for that Old Time, Mayberry RFD type lifestyle. A trip through Winter Garden’s Main Street (Plant Street) takes you back down memory lane to the turn of the century when things were more simple. Stop at a sidewalk cafe for a bite and a chat with a neighbor. This place is like Winter Garden without the price tag. A more affordable place to experience a quality of life in a small town atmosphere.

Multiple Offers?, I thought this was a buyer’s market?

Sorry I haven’t had time to write any articles lately. I’ve been extremely busy with foreclosures representing both buyers and sellers. (Sellers being banks).

Investors and first time homebuyers are picking up all the deals it seems. Many agents that I’ve been speaking with in the Orlando area are telling me the same story, busy busy busy.

Last month, the Greater Orlando Association of Realtors President, Leslie Simmons, announced the bottom of the market. I would have to agree. Of course I refer to this area only, since real estate cycles are localized. The bottom of the market has come and gone in many parts of the country already. I do wonder about the rash of foreclosures that the government has stalled, (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.) Since they put a moritorium halting foreclosures on these government backed loans, I’m wondering since this has recently been lifted, if we’ll see any significant changes in our market.

Recently I’ve represented a bunch of buyers in all price ranges who’ve ran into bidding wars with the homes they’re interested in. It’s common now to have 5-10 offers in on one property at the same time. Banks are pricing aggresively and it seems buyers want the best deals. Good idea but do you have the stamina? One buyer had to put in 5 offers with me before he got one accepted. One offer was $20,000 higher than list price and this poor buyer still didn’t get it!

Since there are so many investors out there now snatching up the best deals before prices increase again, there are more buyers out there then ever with cash. Buyers with cash often win out over financed offers because the banks realize that more deals are falling through because of tighter lending restrictions.

I’ve taken a few bank owned foreclosure listings recently and have seen it from both sides of the real estate fence, representing buyers and sellers on these foreclosures so I can tell you that cash does talk. Sometimes when we’re lucky, we’ll find a house that no one else is interested in, make a decent offer and get it accepted.

Not too worry if you did miss out on the exact timing of the “bottom of the market”. Typically, the market rebounds at a much slower pace on the way back up.


First Time Home Buyer $7,500 Tax Credit

Good news for first time homebuyers! Homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009 are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. It really is a great time to buy, especially with all the low priced foreclosure homes available now. Investors are coming out of the woodwork buying up all the deals. Financial advisors nationwide are advising their rich clients to place their investment money in real estate. Typical of any down market cycle, the sign of a recovering market are the investors. These are not the run-of-the-mill investor types, rather these are the real investors with loads of money. If they’re out buying multiple properties, a first time home buyer should get a signal that this might be the best time to purchase instead of signing another 12 month lease. There are many skittish potential first time home buyers out there sitting on the fence waiting for someone to say it’s the best time. Though difficult to pin down to a specific day, week or month, if you buy within the year of the bottom of the down cycle, you’re going to be doing well. No one will know exactly when the bottom has hit until long after it happened.


I saw a news report on the local news which stated that real estate was up about 50% from this time last year. Another report issued by our local Realtor board stated that we were up 25% in the previous month as compared to 12 months ago. The media certainly has more control over the public perception of the real estate market than the actual facts. Certainly people are always going to be influenced by the negative press releases about the economy. This is only prolonging the down cycle. I hear many buyers say they’re still waiting.


I’d like to remind buyers of the homestead exemption purchase and filing deadlines.  You must own and occupy your home prior to January 1st of the year that you make application for the exemption. The deadline for filing is March 1st, however, you can pre-file at any time during the year for the following year. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding filing. 

More great news! For 2009 homeowners can claim double exemptions for up to $50,000 but you must be in the home by December 31, 2008 to qualify for 2009.


With the tax credit and homestead exemptions and low low Orlando home prices, It could make a huge difference in their monthly payment come December 2009 and beyond.  This alone won’t save our Orlando real estate market by itself, I believe the investors will, but great for the entry level buyers!


Here’s a website that will explain in more detail about the $7,500 credit…

History Repeating

Is the real estate market crash really a big surprise? Real estate is cyclical.  Since the 1950’s, when they first started tracking such cylces, the real estate market has had a history of peaks and valleys. There is always a peak followed quickly by a huge  valley  about every 10-15 years. Most savy investors know this. Buy low and sell high is the mantra. Do you think that the banks and mortgage lenders out there who were giving 100% loans, (sometimes more), would have learned a lesson from the last crash and all the crashes before? You certainly would think so. I find it hard to believe that mortgage underwriters didn’t know that we’d have another fallout. UGH!

Pre-Foreclosure Pitfalls

What is a buyer to think? Everywhere you look, Foreclosures, Pre-Foreclosures, Bank Owned, Auctions, etc. I would like to share some personal experiences in this field to clear some clouds of doubt for buyers who may be interested in a Pre-Foreclosure. I would like to write this article to educate buyers on some of the benefits and pitfalls of a pre-foreclosure. There are many aspects to a pre-foreclosure sale that an average person may not know.  I heard an expert in this field talk recently about the subject of Short Sale Pre-Forclosures. 

 Foreclosure Homes Orlando Real Estate

A short sale is one where the lender has agreed to accept less than what’s owed on the mortgage in order to avoild a foreclosure. Certainly there must be a bunch of buzz out there about short sale pre-foreclosures because everyone is talking about it. He said that roughly 50% of pre-foreclosure, short sales are not qualified to sell with a reduction of the mortgage balance. The seller must be able to show and document that they are in financial duress and are unable to pay the mortgage payments. They must also, with the help of their Realtor, show that the property is not worth what is owed or that there is no way to sell it for what is owed. 


I am seeing an over abundance of short sales in the MLS. Untrained agents are submitting listings in the MLS in rapid form to grab some of this action. It would seem that many are untrained in dealing with this complicated and time consuming process. What’s in it for the seller? They can avoid as many as 10 years of derogatory credit if they foreclose. With a short sale, their credit is effected, however they may be effected for as little as 12 to 18 months.

 Is this short sale process being abused? I’m sure it is, but most are abusing it without even realizing it. Sadly, it is effecting the normal seller. Many short sale listings in the MLS are priced way lower than all the others which grabs the buyers attention. Most buyers right now are only looking at the largely discounted prices. Most are not aware, however, that a good portion of the short sales are not priced at a price in which the bank will accept.

 The bank’s pre-foreclosure process is intense and buyers are forced to wait as long as 2 months to get a response to their offer from the bank. The bank will not counter an offer if it unacceptable. Usually the bank will generate a few other offers and they will choose the best one. So a buyer may wait that long only to find out that they did not get the house.

” Buyers are forced to wait as long as 2 months for response from banks for thier offer”

Bank owned foreclosures are certainly easier and less time consuming however there are always certain risks involved with buying a bank owned foreclosure. The bank doesn’t give you a regular deed and there may be unpaid liens on the house which the buyer may have to pay in order to buy the house.

 In the past, bank underwriters would allow between 10 to 15% less than what the property would appraise for. We are seeing that number increase however over the course of the last few months to as much as 20%.  Many buyers are dead set against paying more than 20% below appraised value for anything right now, however in a short sale, they may not get that.

Sellers who are needing to sell in this market must compete with the short sales and bank owned properties in order to get a shot at receiving an offer. Currently, less than 3% of homes in our local MLS are selling each month. Many listings are expiring and many sellers are blaming their agents inability instead of looking at the market and how bad it actually is for a seller. Great market for a buyer, however. So many homes to choose from and certainly more than a bunch of motivated sellers out there.

If you would like to know more about short sale pre-foreclosures, please contact me on the contact form provided in this blog or call me at (407)925-2526

Winter Garden Music Fest – 3 days Free to Public!

Winter Garden Music Festival 2007    October 5, 6 & 7 Downtown Winter Garden, Florida. Mark your calenders for free concert open to the public. Experience downtown in a festive atmosphere with featured local entertainers. The featured musicians will represent several music genres including Jazz, Blues, Urban Jazz, Southern Rock, Big Band, Swing, Zydeco, Dixie Land, Country, Blue Grass, Classic Rock, Pop, Folk, Classical, Japanese Taiko Drums, Christian Pop, Gospel, R&B, Ragtime, African, Mariachi, Celtic and Thai. Local vendors, restaurants are sponsoring this celebrated 3 day event. Read more at: . I hope to see you there!