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Welcome to Real Estate 101: Determining the List Price for Your Home.

Every seller wants to get the maximum price for their home when selling their property. At Bella Verde Realty, we not only help you get the best price for your home, but as professional realtors we strive to partner with every client and engage each client completely in the transaction. We believe this philosophy is the key to creating satisfied, happy, knowledgeable home owners and sellers.

The sale price of your home is based upon many factors; the condition of the property, the COMPS (comparatives) in your neighborhood, and LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. If you already live in Solivita, your home is in a good location and a good neighborhood. The next factors used in determining the value of your home: the model, the square footage, the location of the property within your community, the condition of your home and the upgrades. The community of Solivita is known as a Production Community. Translation – a community with one builder, with set model homes. Example – if you own an Operetta Model Home, the base value of your home will be compared to other Operetta Model Homes. The next step an experienced realtor will take is to visit you and your property for a listing appointment. During this meeting a good realtor will come prepared with basic information on your home and your lot.

For example, a good realtor will know if you are on an oversized lot, on conservation, or a pond lot, or any other special lot features that may exist. During this listing appointment the realtor will do a walk-through of your home to review improvements and changes you have made, and the general condition of your property; both inside and outside. Your realtor will be looking to see the age of your roof, age and condition of your kitchen and bathrooms, age of your appliances, HVAC, plus any other updates to the floorplan. Once your realtor has completed their walk through, the above factors are considered and a value for sale will be determined. If you feel comfortable with the realtor and the determined price, the next step is to sign the paperwork and clear away any clutter; as your home will be on the market. Photos will be taken for the website and potential buyers will be viewing your home on the web and visiting your property with a realtor. A good realtor will take care of arranging all appointments and keeping you apprised of all developments.

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Hosting a Broker’s Open House

Realtors in Solivita typically host a broker’s open house, inviting local realtors and industry professionals to view your residence upon listing your home for sale. A broker’s open house gives your listing more exposure and allows realtors to gather informed feedback from other real estate professionals. If your home shows well, the agents who toured your home may recommend your home to one or more of their buyer clients. The more “buzz” we can generate the better the chance of planting a SOLD sign on your front lawn in a timely manner. I forward all broker comments to the seller and the experts at Bella Verde Realty review all comments as well. If your home does not get great reviews, do not be upset, this is our opportunity to make a few subtle changes while we keep showing your home. Relax, your home will sell. We know it can be a stressful process, but it will be worth it in the end.
Bella Verde Realty also hosts Client Open Houses. Usually these open houses are set on a Saturday or a Sunday for a few hours in the afternoon. I always suggest when we host a Client Open House that the sellers place fresh flowers in a vase in the entry and set their dining room table as if they were hosting a small dinner party. The key is to make your home inviting and warm to a prospective buyer. You want the buyer to see themselves living in and loving your home. A neglected home is an invitation to a low offer. A well cared for home is inviting and will secure solid, reasonable offers.
Whenever your house is on the market, it needs to be show ready. Light the lights as light brightens the space and makes rooms appear larger. Open all curtains and blinds and let the natural light stream in. Always remember that buyers will judge your home on the outside too. Spruce up your porch furniture, make sure the shrubs are looking good, and if your outside entry provides space for a few plants, place a few freshly potted flowers around to add color and interest.
The most important thing is to stay open to buyers’ comments and to follow your agent’s advice. Whatever the advice, remember it is NOT PERSONAL – it is just the business of selling your home.

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It's a New Year and a New Brokerage


Just when I thought we could start winding down after all the holiday celebrations, gift giving, food, fun, and visits with friends and family we are pleased to announce that Lee and I have opened a new realty company – Bella Verde Realty.   Translation – Beautiful Green. We are grateful and thankful for each and every client, friend, family member and neighbor that has helped us achieve this goal. We could not have done it without you. Thank You.


We are ready to list, show homes, show commercial spaces, assist you in your move to Florida or just find a new home for you around the corner from your existing home. The past does dictate the future, and we remain happy to provide each of our clients with a beautiful new home space to hang their hats in.
Lee is our Commercial Space Expert and will be happy to assist you in locating commercial space for the relocation of your business or assist you in securing space for a new business venture.  I will continue to concentrate on the residential side of real estate sales, as I find great satisfaction in finding clients the home of their dreams.
Our office is set up and running and we are pleased to say the phones have been busy.
Please call us with any of your real estate needs, questions, or concerns. Or, we invite you, your friends and your family to join our newsletter – a great way to stay in touch with me and to stay in touch with what is going on in Solivita and real estate. Sign up today to see what is new in Solivita, Photos, the Latest Information, Fun Ideas, Reviews, Recipes, Articles, Etc. We publish the Newsletter once per month and I will be delighted to add you to our list.
May 2017 bring us all Great Health, Peace and a Beautiful Year!

Stay in touch with our
Email Newsletter

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When the impossible is possible: Richard and Family

Dear Lorraine,

I can’t thank you enough for selling Mom’s Home in one day.  Mom knew you from Church for 14 years, always said nice things about you, and told us you were tops in your field.  She was right, you are tops.  You did what we thought was impossible.

Thank you for your help, and the kindness you shared with us, during the listing and sale.

Richard and Family

Finding the right Agent is the answer to getting your home SOLD QUICKLY for the RIGHT PRICE.  Glad I could help Richard and his family.  I can help you and your family with my proven successful track record of marketing and sales.  I have been the number one sales agent in the area for the last 3 years and have achieved this goal by being honest and working hard for my clients.  This week I was notified that I am on track to be awarded the 2016 Chairman’s Club Award.  This means I have been the top sales agent in the area for 4 years in a row.    Do not hesitate to call me for help with your real estate needs.  I am not only a top agent but also your neighbor and will help you through the process of selling and buying a home. 

-Lorraine Valdes

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Every Reason You Need to Avoid Buying or Selling Without an Agent


Many things are doable with a little bit of research and time, but is buying or selling without an agent a gamble you are ready to take? A real estate agent has put hundreds and hundreds of hours into market research, developing skill sets, and creating systems that will allow them to out perform other agents in their market. Your greatest ally and strategy for buying or selling is to have an expert agent by your side. If you’re still not convinced, here are 5 reasons buying or selling without an agent is something you want to avoid:
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Kissimmee Florida Homes Sales Summary


April 1st marks the opening day of the real estate major league season, or at least that’s what I like to call this busy 4-month period. Kissimmee Florida homes sales peak between April and July, making it the busiest season of the year for many reasons. For people with kids, school is or has wound down and they are looking to make the move during the Summer months while the kids are out of school. For people who have an empty nest and are in retiring mode, they have had enough of the snow by April and get into relocating mode. What ever your situation may be, the following information is one you should take into consideration if you are buying or selling a home in 2016.

Kissimmee Real Estate Cold Hard Facts

According to a recent news report, this January, the Orlando Metro area housing market outperformed the state of Florida’s. In the Orlando metro area, buyers paid a midpoint of $202,000, which is $3,000 higher than the current median price throughout the state of Florida.
A report by Florida Realtors stated that a tight job market along with a thinning inventory helped boost Orlando’s real estate market up by more than 14 percent over the past year. Over the course of the past year, the state’s 13 percent price growth was surpassed by Central Florida’s market.
The region’s strong price growth wasn’t hurt by its pace of sales. The Orlando metro area accounted for 2,000 single-family home sales in the month of January, a 4.3 percent increase from January of 2015.
However, not every price range was selling according to Florida Realtor Chief Economist Brad O’ Connor. Affordable home sales dropped by 17 percent and the inventory of houses through- out Florida decreased from a supply of 5.9 months in 2015 to 4.5 months of supply just last month. The demand for such home prices was maintained, even with 30-year mortgage interest rates rising to nearly 3.8 percent.

What Does This Mean If You’re A Seller?

Make repairs now – gutters, squeaky doors, leaky faucets, broken moldings, paint touch-ups, pressure washing, new roof (if approaching the 12 year mark), add fresh mulch, weed flowerbeds, and any other simple repairs or improvements that could be an excuse for a buyer to submit a low bid. Keep curb appeal closely in mind as a clean, bright driveway and maintained landscaping will create competition for your home and thus being able to sell closer or above your asking price.

What Does This Mean If You’re A Buyer?

Be flexible. Things can begin moving rather quickly during this time and you must be ready for calls, face-to-face meetings, and other things that may come up during this process. Expect to exceed the asking price. In these types of market conditions, chances are the seller has several good bids and yours may not make the cut if you try to bid cheap. Get in touch with the seller and show him/her your interest in creating a home out of their space – they may prefer to sell to you even if your bid isn’t the highest because they can relate to you. Have at least two areas you would want to live in. The market is tight so we may need a back up plan.

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Finishing Strong: What You Need to Know About Your Home Closing

For many home buyers, first-timers especially, closing can be the most tedious and harrowing part of the process. Tedious because it often puts buyers in the cross hairs of both the legal system and the real estate paperwork tangle that’s required to complete the purchase.
The harrowing part is a separate issue entirely. Many of the deadlines associated with closing real estate seem ridiculously arbitrary, and missing one or forgetting a crucial piece of paperwork can delay or hinder the purchase in ways that seem impossible to anticipate.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. What follows is a set of broad guidelines about what to expect during and before a home closing, including an outline of the process, some information about the timeline and some of the requirements for different parts of the purchase.
It’s important to note that the nomenclature and procedures described here can vary slightly from state to state, so you need to know which minor variations matter most.

Before the Home Closing

One of the best ways to prepare for a closing is to thoroughly understand what it’s about. The overall goal is to transfer the title of the home from the seller to the buyer, and some critical paperwork must be exchanged or verified for that to happen. The actual time required for the closing can be anywhere from a few hours to an entire day.
But much of the process takes place before the actual date of the closing. It starts when you sign the contract for the house. After that there are several important pieces that come into play.
One is the verification of the loan. Before most closings, the lender has three days to provide the buyer with an estimate of the closing costs, along with a booklet describing the process. (This booklet is also called a settlement in some parts of the country.)
In addition, the bank must do an appraisal of the property, which is normally paid for by the buyer. If the appraisal is lower than the agreed-on price, the difference must be accounted for in the financing plans in case the bank ends up foreclosing on the home.
Another important element is the title investigation, which also starts once you sign the contract. This investigation, which is normally conducted by a company or agent specializing in doing this, verifies that the title is in fact free and clear and the previous owner owes no taxes or liens on the property or the home itself.
Homeowners must also get title insurance, which helps protect both you and the bank from any undiscovered liens or taxes associated with the home and the property.
And then there are the inspections. These include a general inspection of the home, a pest inspection, environmental inspection for issues such as asbestos and mold, flood reports, and boundary verification for some rural properties.
Finally, the seller’s disclosures must also be approved. Notification of these disclosures is required in advance, and this helps the buyer become aware of any problems with the property or the home that weren’t outlined in the original listing.

At the Closing

Paying for the house itself is a separate process that’s usually verified at the closing. The previous mortgage must be paid off if that’s part of the process, and that payment must be verified. The money you’re paying will be put into an escrow account, which is verified and monitored by an escrow company, which becomes a neutral third party in this part of the transaction.
The most important piece of paperwork in the closing is the HUD-1 form, which verifies the terms of the loan and the closing costs. This is compared to the initial estimate, and should be checked for any discrepancies in fee amounts as well as mistakes.
A final walk through of the property is usually part of the closing. This includes a review of appliances or fixtures, and buyers and sellers may pressure each other to back out of an agreement if there are problems with this part of the process.
Insurance is an important element of the transaction as well. Buyers must have homeowners insurance and hazard insurance, and these are normally verified during the closing as well.
This rundown describes most of the basics. It’s important to have an array of qualified professionals helping you, from the real estate agent to your lawyer, title agent, etc. With all of this in place, its much easier to anticipate any curveballs and make the process much smoother and less stressful.

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How To Sell A House

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

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.
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.

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Should You Rent or Sell Your Home When Moving Out?

According to online real estate database Zillow, the housing market in mid-central Florida remains steady, with an approximate 4% increase predicted in sales over the next year. It’s not a bad time to sell your home, but it might stay on the market for awhile before you find a buyer willing to meet your price. That leaves you with a choice: should you rent or sell your home when you get ready to move? This article looks at pros and cons of both sides.
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