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Life After Buying a Home In Kissimmee

Buying a Home in Kissimmee | Bella Verde Realty 01

After buying a home in Kissimmee, you probably are thinking that you have so much to learn about the area. While this is true, don’t stress, here’s what you need to know about life after buying a home in Kissimmee.
When buying a home, it is very important to understand the C&R portion of the HOA, Covenents and Restrictions. There can be governing rules that do not fit your lifestyle. They are designed for most, but don’t fit all. Pet restrictions, house painting etc. A strong HOA with good reserves in good standing is essential. When an HOA is run well, it limits the potential for increases and assessments for common area repairs, etc.
Property Taxes
In some areas in the Central Florida area, there are CDD’s, Community Development Districts. Community development districts (CDDs) are independent special-purpose units of government established to finance basic services within a development, including infrastructure construction, services and maintenance.
Common infrastructure improvements provided by CDDs include:
• drainage
• potable water
• sewerage
• roads and parks
This CDD is incorporated in your Property tax payment. Some Districts have large bonds that can increase the taxes substanitally.
Researching the grade of your local Schools when purchasing a home are very important. Their grade rating can be found online and an experienced realtor will obtain this information for you.
Florida has been improving the transit system for years. When you depend on transit, best to search within city boundaries for best transportation options. Florida is a vast state and driving is essential. Excellent roads get you around quickly, but not all areas are serviced with good public transportation that runs beyond working hours. Living in the Tourist Capital of the world, many occupations require off hours which could be a challenge in some rural locations. An experienced local agent should know the transit options. This is one of my first interview questions when I begin working with a new client.
The locals in Central Florida have many options, with the weather so conducive to outdoor activities, the options are vast. Concerts in the park, Theatre, large venues like the Amway Arena, just to name a few. Locally we have some exceptional museums. Of course, the dining in Central Florida is superb, entertainment of all sorts is at your doorstep. Golf is still a #1 favorite, with over 1480 golf courses in Florida, Central Florida hosts 8 of the top ten best courses. Tennis is a great favorite as well.
Celebrity Neighbors
Have any celebrities recently bought or sold in the area? Since this is a golf/tennis mecca, yes, it is home to many greats…..Tiger Woods, Larry Bird, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Capriati, John Travolta, David Cassidy, JC, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dennis Rodman, just to name a few!

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Best Places To Experience Christmas in Kissimmee


Although the weather may not scream Christmas in Kissimmee, there is no shortage of exciting ways to celebrate this magical season. Whether you want to view amazing decorations, see a classic Christmas tale brought to life, enjoy a delicious Christmas meal, or something entirely different, you can experience all of this and more while celebrating Christmas in Kissimmee. Of course, the best part is that you do not have to freeze to death while enjoying the fun. Here are just a few of the top ways you can celebrate the holiday season.

Amazing Light Displays

What better way to celebrate Christmas in Kissimmee than by viewing mesmerizing light displays? If you only visit one place, it has to be 1642 Sunburst Way. For the past 24 years, the family has been putting up more than 60,000 lights and synchronizing them to music. (The music can be listened to on 95.1 FM.)

For more lights, stop by Gaylord Palms Resort for more than 2 million lights and acre after acre of decorations. It’s definitely a sight you will never forget.

Fun for the Entire Family

On Thursday December 18 starting at 4:00 pm, the city presents Holiday Spectacular at the Oak Street Park Community Center. This event includes plenty of treats, games, and more, including an Ugly Sweater Contest.
Located a short drive away in Harmony, the Harmony Winter Festival offers tons of fun. On December 19th, 30 tons of snow is delivered to play in. In addition, there are snow slides, craft stations, a variety of contests, face painting, and a visit from Santa Claus.
If your family is up for a short drive, Legoland® Florida presents the Christmas Bricktacular every weekend through Christmas. The entire park is festively decorated, but the 30 foot Lego Christmas tree and lifesize Lego Santa Claus are definitely the focal point.
It goes without saying that the Magic Kingdom knows how to celebrate the Christmas season. From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade to fireworks, character appearances, and more, this is certainly an experience the entire family will love. In addition, Epcot® features the Holidays Around the World and Candlelight Processional. This amazing event uses a celebrity narrator tell the story of Christmas and includes a 50 piece orchestra and mass choir.

An Elegant Christmas Evening

For 20 years, the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate has captured the holiday spirit with exquisite decorations. This 20 room Mediterranean mansion features everything from authentic ornaments used by the home’s original owners to dazzling handcrafted decorations that fill every available space in this gorgeous home.

The Nutcracker

What would Christmas be without The Nutcracker? ICE™ featuring The Nutcracker at Gaylord Palms Resort is spread over 20,000 square feet and includes amazing ice sculptures, a 54 foot Christmas trees, live musical events, ice slides, a visit with Santa, and more. It is a daily event through January 4, 2015.
In addition, the Florida Dance Theatre will bring this story to life on December 20 at Florida Southern College in Branscomb Auditorium in Lakeland. If you can wait until after Christmas, the world renowned Moscow Ballet will present The Great Russian Nutcracker at The Lakeland Center Youkey Theater on December 30.

Dinner Entertainment

The Pirate’s Christmas Dinner Adventure is an exciting holiday show in Orlando that includes seasonal music, amazing sets, and more that is perfect for the entire family. In addition to their other entrée options, they’ve included turkey and ham in honor of the season.

The Perfect Place for a Christmas Meal

If you prefer to let someone else cook Christmas dinner, there are plenty of options for a delicious Christmas meal in the Kissimmee area.
In Kissimmee, Eleven at Reunion Resort offers an upscale version of Christmas dinner including Herb Roasted Prime Rib, Pecan Crusted Grouper, and Chocolate Chestnut Bombay.
In Champions Gate, Trevis located in the Omni Orlando Resort will have a delicious Christmas Day brunch and dinner buffet including ham, prime rib, pork loin, and much, much more.
In Lake Mary, Winter Park, Lake Mary, and Orlando, Ruth’s Chris Steak House will serve their full menu on Christmas Day, as well as several Christmas specials.
In Celebration, Columbia Restaurant will serve their usual Spanish cuisine, as well as several traditional Christmas dishes.
In you are planning to celebrate Christmas in Kissimmee, there is no limit to the amount of fun you can have. Be sure to experience Kissimmee and the surrounding areas this holiday season!

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Must Knows When Buying a Home

There are a few must knows when buying a home that any serious buyer should know. These things aren’t top secret industry knowledge, but they’re actually just real estate basics anyone can have access to. Realtor Lorraine Valdes shares some of these must knows in a short interview below!

How can someone identify when a home is overpriced?

A good realtor will know the local market, that is why it is so important to work with someone that is experienced. Days on the market is an indicator… most sellers feel their home is better than the rest and tend to ignore market values and overprice their home, which leads to a home sitting for months. Your realtor’s research is of utmost importance!

I research every home sold in the area before recommending offer price to my buyers.

Research tells me the price per square feet and the financing obtained by other buyers in the area. Once I have that information, I can ascertain what appraisals would have been based on the mortgage type. Current market analysis is performed for every one of my buyers.

What are three things that may usually go wrong when buying a home?

Inspection, finance, and COLD FEET.
Common issues with inspections are faulty wiring, leaking roofs, plumbing issues, heating/cooling system malfunctions. Some serious problems in Florida are traces of mold throughout the structure of the home.
Financing issues usually involve a buyer not being approved for having too low of a credit score, buyer recently lost his/her job, buyer income is not sufficient, the information provided wasn’t consistent, too much debt is being taken on, or because the home appraisal was low.
Cold feet. It just happens. The buyer or the seller just has a change of heart, and that means the deal is off. There are possible penalties to either party depending on the established contract.

What kind of “first-time homebuyer programs” are available?

Many areas in Central Florida are considered for USDA loans, which is a great program. An experienced realtor working with a good lender can place you in the perfect finance program that fits the needs.

Some parting words of advice.

When buying a home, be sure to work with an experienced realtor… A good realtor places ethics first!

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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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Getting Your Home Ready to Place on The Market. An Interview with Lorraine Valdes.

Move Out the Junk and Make Sure You Have a Dishwasher

“Getting your home ready to place on the market is a lot like hitting a factory reset button on your phone.” Lorraine Valdes doesn’t pull the punches when talking about how to get a home show worthy. Lorraine also goes into the importance of some key items for getting a good appraisal on your home.

As a Realtor do you give advice on how to make a home look more showy? Do you take a walk through the property and point out things that need to change to make the property market ready?

Always. I take a walk through at the listing appointment.
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