Holiday Memories

We had cocktails with friends and colleagues the other evening while decorating the office for Christmas in preparation for the Fund Raiser for the Guardian Ad Litem Foster Child Program.  We all shared some Holiday Memories and spoke about what this time of the year means to each of us.  Some folks shared memories of special gifts received and given, a pair of GOGO Boots, a Hess Truck, a Special Rolling Stones Record Album, and some remembered family, food, and experiences.  I thought it would be fun to share a few with you.

One of the men in the group had a Grand Pa who would come over on Christmas Eve with a pocket full of silver dimes, of course this goes back to when the US minted coins with silver.  He would ask each grandson to jump on the scale and would give each a silver dime for every pound they weighed – up to 100 pounds.  He further went on to say, that prior to jumping on the scale he and his two brothers would consume as many Christmas Cookies and as much Hot Chocolate as they could hold to maximize their gift.  Sweet Memory of a simple time.   

Another of our friends, whose family did not celebrate Christmas, wanted Santa to come down her Chimney.  She remembers asking her mom, If I write to Santa do you think he would visit me?  Her mom said, if you never ask, you may never know.  Sure enough, Christmas Morning, Santa had found his way down her chimney and left a gift for her on the fireplace mantel.   A warm memory to be cherished.

Another friend remembers the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes shared with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, and Neighbors from the block.  As she remembers, all were welcome, and it was never a chore to add an extra plate, or two, to the table.  The evening was not fancy, but rather fun, joyous, tasty, loud, the fish was fried and delicious, and the meal was always meatless.  A meal, all looked forward to every year.  As the cousins aged, the circle grew, and the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes came to include more than just fish.  She remembers the last time they all shared a Christmas Eve Meal.  There was the traditional fish, but in addition the table included a baked ham, macaroni and cheese, rice, and fruit perogies for dessert.  All delicious and Sweet Memories.

Another remembers the Cookie Christmas Tree his Great Grandmother “GG” used to make.  He remembers she lived in a small house on the rail road tracks and although outside was cold in December, her house was always warm and scented with the sweet aroma of cinnamon.  There were 16 grandchildren and GG would hang her homemade cookies from the tree in the dining room.  Each of the grandchildren had their favorite cookie and when you kissed Grandma Goodbye she would hand you a tin baked especially for you filled with your favorite cookie. Truly a gift made and shared with love.   

Whatever you Celebrate, Lee and I hope you celebrate with a full, happy heart, and truly enjoy the goodness of the great life we share.  We wish you Joy, Good Health, and Most of All a Wonderful, Fulfilling Life.

Happy Anniversary to Bella Verde!

It is Anniversary Time for Bella Verde.  Although we have been selling real estate for over 30 years, we only opened our own Brokerage one year ago this month.  Time flies when you are busy and having fun…..Thank you to each, and every friend, client, and neighbor who helped us along the way.  We would not be celebrating this Anniversary without your support! We enjoy working with each of our clients; whether we are selling your home, helping you build a new home, or finding the home of your dreams.  Thank you for placing your faith in us and allowing us to be such an important part of your life.  We love introducing clients, friends, and family to the good life we share in Solivita, and we hope to continue this endeavor for many years to come.  

The entire team at Bella Verde Wishes You Joy, Peace, Health, and A Beautiful Holiday Season!

How To Sell A House in Orlando | Bella Verde Realty 02

How To Sell A House

Maybe you need some more space, maybe you want less space, maybe a new job requires a move to a new location, or maybe you’ve just got some life circumstance that compels you to move on. Whatever the reason, many homeowners will eventually need to know how to sell a house. This is often a tricky proposition: on the one hand, you want your home to sell quickly and with as little hassle as possible. On the other hand, you also want to get the highest price you possibly can for it. If your timing coincides with a good seller’s market, you may be in luck. But if it doesn’t, how do you sell a house quickly without losing a lot of time or money?

While there’s no specific formula for selling a home in a short time frame or for getting a figure in excess of your asking price, there are a few things you can do before you put your home on the market and while it’s an active listing to maximize your chances of a quick sale at a good price. Read on for some things to consider as you get ready to sell your house.

First Steps

Before you hire a realtor or take photos, you’ll want to take care of these important details.
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Clear the clutter. To give the impression of more space in your home, take things out of it. In the real estate business, this process is called staging. Reduce the amount of furniture you have, take down overfull bookshelves, and remove dense clusters of knick-knacks. This includes closets — cutting down on the amount of stuff you’re storing in your home makes it look like there’s more storage space. Also, remove photos of you and your family and friends so it doesn’t look so much like your place; this helps a prospective buyer to better envision himself or herself living there.

Fix what’s broken. Whether you have a leaky faucet, a broken light fixture, or a gutter that’s hanging down the side of the house, now is the time to get all those things fixed. If you are handy and can do it yourself, fantastic. If not, get a referral for a good handyman and get everything taken care of. Even touching up chipped or dirty paint can go a long way in making a home look well taken care of.

Clean everything. A clean house is much more appealing to prospective buyers (and to anyone!) than a dingy and dusty house. Cleaning is a chore, but the good news is that anyone can do it. Or, if you have the means, hire a cleaning service to get the job done.

Remember curb appeal. The front exterior is almost always the first thing that a prospective buyer will see. How does it look? If it looks less than beautiful, do everything you can to spruce it up. Planting flowers, tidying up outside, pulling weeds, and power washing hard surfaces can all help to boost curb appeal.

Navigating the Market

Once you’ve taken care of all your pre-sale tasks, you’re probably ready to put a sign in your yard. Here are some tasks associated with that.

navigating-real-estate-marketFind a good realtor. Not just any realtor — a good one who has a solid track record, embraces the latest technology, and will actively market your home to prospective buyers. Before hiring an agent, make sure he or she will do a preliminary market analysis to determine what comparable homes in the area are selling for.

Price aggressively. If you want to sell your home fast, you’ve got to price it to move. Based on your realtor’s market analysis, determine what the market value of your home is, and then list it for at least five to ten percent below that. Not only will this turn heads and attract buyers, but it can save you some negotiation hassle once an offer comes in.

Always be ready to show. When your agent calls and asks to show your home, the answer should always be yes. After all, if prospective buyers can’t get into the home to see it, you won’t get any offers. Additionally, keep up with housework so things always look neat and tidy for those inevitable last minute showings.

Sealing the Deal

If you’ve taken the time to address all of the aforementioned items, hopefully you’ll have an offer come in quickly. Here’s how to turn that offer into a signed purchase agreement and sale.

sealing-the-dealNegotiate. There’s a good chance that you’ll get a lowball offer. After all, buyers are looking to get a good deal as much as you’re looking to get a good price. Tempting as it may be, don’t just say no and walk away. Counter offer and do your best to negotiate to a middle ground.

Offer incentives and make concessions. If you have a buyer who’s fairly interested but still wavering, do what you can to make signing that purchase agreement more appealing. Things like small financial concessions for sprucing up the place or including high end appliances with the home can push many buyers over the line from indecision to sale.

Cover the closing. If a prospective buyer needs even more convincing, offer to pay the closing costs. Yes, this will cost you a bit of money, but for some buyers, it could mean the difference between a deal and no deal.

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3 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home When The Time Comes

Home ownership is one of the most important aspects of our adult lives. Becoming a home owner is a dream shared by most people and, once realized, is the most demanding, time-consuming, yet rewarding adventure we will ever undertake. So when circumstances change and it comes time to sell your home, it’s important to know the biggest mistakes to avoid when selling your home. Overpricing your home, neglecting to properly prepare the home, and failing to hire a realtor that is an expert in the particular market in which the home is located are all mistakes that are commonly made and can cause the home to sit on the market indefinitely.

Home Price

missing-the-target-priceThe most common mistake that home owners make when placing their home on the market is missing the target price and thus overpricing the property. Setting the home’s price is critical and an art form for many realtors. It’s important to use comparable homes in the area that have recently sold in order to understand the current market for the home. Overpricing will only eliminate potential buyers from even seeing your home as they are looking to buy at the market rate for the geographical area. Most realtors use internet-based searches to find homes within a particular area and price range. If the home is overpriced, the seller will miss the opportunity to reach buyers that are willing to buy the home for the going market rate. Once the price is set at a rate that is too high for the market, the seller will be in a position to essentially chase down the market with incremental price reductions. Potential buyers will see this as a problem with the property and possibly avoid it all together. Therefore, a strong market analysis coupled with geographical research is crucial before setting the price of your home.

Home Preparationprepping-a-home

Looking at home after home in order to find the perfect fit can be an arduous process for many home buyers. It’s no secret that buyers love to see their future residence look like it was lifted from the pages of a home fashion magazine. Model homes sell at an incredibly high rate simply because they are pristine and professionally decorated. One of the biggest home seller’s mistakes is to neglect to properly prepare the home for sale. This includes obtaining needed repairs and normal upkeep items that are immediately noticed upon arrival to the home. On the exterior of the home, the landscape should be mowed and trimmed, porches and decks should be clean and free from dead vegetation, and the roof and exterior painting should be repaired and touched up as needed. Inside the home, it’s important to pay careful attention to unsightly things that have become commonplace and fully acceptable for you, the homeowner. For example, the home should be completely free from clutter and personal items, such as excessive trinket and novelty items, as well as family photos and kids’ artwork. Unnecessary furniture items should be removed so that the overall space feels and looks larger. Removal of these items will enable potential buyers to see themselves living in the home instead of viewing the home with your life in mind. Additionally, it’s imperative that all pet smells are eliminated from the home before the listing has been made. One of the biggest complaints from potential buyers is pet smells, and it’s one that can easily be remedied before the very first showing. Unfortunately, homeowners become accustomed to these smells, but when buyers enter the home it’s the first fault they’ll find. The nose knows!

Searching For The Proper Agentsearching-for-proper-agent

In the age of rapidly improving technology, information about buying and selling homes is readily available for anyone to see. The internet is full of websites about how to sell your home without enlisting the help of an agent. However, hiring an inexperienced, less knowledgeable, real estate agent, or not hiring one at all, is one of the biggest home seller’s mistakes, and can be the most costly in the long run. A realtor is a valuable asset to have on your side when selling your home. She has the knowledge and expertise to help with all the statistical, legal, and strategic aspects of real estate that are invaluable for you to get the best price in the quickest amount of time. Hiring a friend or family member, or just picking one without an interview, may prove to be a huge mistake for the overall end result. The agent you chose should have an excellent reputation for selling homes in your market. Her track record should be one of superb service to her clients, vast neighborhood knowledge, and strategic negotiation skills. In addition, you’ll want an agent that will make herself available to you when you have questions both before and after closing. With the proper agent, this common home seller’s mistake won’t happen to you and your home will sell as a part of a long list of credentials held by the agent you choose.

Selling your home can be one of the most challenging decisions you will ever make as a home owner. Overpricing your home, failure to properly prepare your home for sale, and neglecting to hire the proper agent are the top three biggest home seller’s mistakes that can make all the difference in how successful you are in the process. It’s best to try to avoid these selling mistakes by doing a little research up front to adequately price your home, properly prepare it for showings, and hire the most qualified, experienced real estate agent in your market. Doing so, will have you on top of the real estate game and in your next home in no time at all.

Statistics on Average Daily Home Sales

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Safe Eye for the Aging Guy: Home Improvements to Promote Safety

As your favorite senior heads into his golden years, a home improvement  “makeover” may not be the first thing on your mind. But, I’m going to tell you why it should be.

I’m talking about making over his home to improve his safety. By improving his home, you help him age in place. You are not only upgrading a home, but you’re also improving a life. Read more

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Existing Home Sales Report

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