“Meeting new people,” Lorraine says in response to the question of her favorite thing about being a Realtor, “I am constantly meeting new people. Being able to see the joy in someone starting a new life. Moving a family into a new home. It’s very exciting and very rewarding.”
There is no such thing as a typical work day for Lorraine. Success comes from serving people and meeting their needs. In the real estate business each day brings different people with individual needs. She stays busy and often schedules out in advance. But she leaves room to serve impromptu clients because she believes that if she can serve their needs then she will. She credits the drive of serving people and doing what is right as the secret to her success. This interview with Lorraine Valdes covers her suggestions of what a buyer should do before calling her to buy a home, the impact of summer on the Central Florida Market, and gaining momentum of the Florida Housing Market.
What are some things a prospect buyer should know, or do, before they call you about owning a home?
Know the market, be familiar with the location you’re interested in! Just asking to be relocated to Central Florida is too broad, that covers 6 or 8 counties. Target in on the area that you are interested in. If you have children, check out the school systems, do a little bit of pre-planning before you decide on a location. What you pretty much need to know is: focus on an area, know your budget and stay within it. Also, you have to be pre-qualified, you can’t buy a house without having pre-qualification for finance or proof of funds. Take time to understand real estate taxes and how mortgages are amortized. Buying a home is a commitment. If you have plans of selling it in the future then you’ll need to maintain the property in order to hold it’s value.
Summer is here! How does that affect the Central Florida Housing Market?
Summer is a slow season in Solivita. People in over 55 communities are people who are retired or semi-retired and come down to Florida for the winter months to escape the cold. Our high season is September through March when snowbirds flood the housing market. While they are here, just on vacation or month long rental or something like that, they fall in love with the weather and want to relocate. High season drives prices up, there are more people searching so there is more demand to purchase homes. Most people will list their home to sell it in high season, so yes, you have more homes to choose from but you have much more competition in purchase power. Summer time is slower, less inventory but more serious buyers. People that come down in June or July want to buy a house. They have already sold their home, they need to get in a new one soon. Now on the other hand, I do work outside 55 community, and what drives the market is school season, people start shopping in June and want to be in by August because school starts in August. So there are two very distinctly different markets I work in. People with children are busy shoppers in June/July because they need to be in by August.
The housing market is supposedly gaining momentum in Florida. As a Realtor do you notice the difference from this year as opposed to previous years?
Yes, absolutely. It has been a very busy year in the housing market. I attribute much of it to the weather conditions that have been going on in the North and Midwest. The colder the winters are the more people want out and immediately start to consider relocation to Florida. The market has been consistently high because banks are loaning again. Mortgages are quick and easy to achieve. After the bust in 2005-2007, people did a lot of short sales and foreclosures. Now they are coming upon year seven, their credit is good, and they can buy again. Central Florida is also driven by tourism. So if you have a lot of people that get laid off, or want to relocate, Central Florida is the perfect place to go because no matter if you are in management, banking, or a waitress there is always, always work here. Being in close proximity to Disney World creates a very major draw for anyone that needs to work. There is constant employment here due to tourism.
So, there are still a lot of foreclosure homes on the market?
Yes. We are still seeing a tremendous amount of foreclosures on the market. People don’t realize that process is a very lengthy one. Just because someone falters on their mortgage does not mean that the property immediately goes back to the banks. You might have seen someone get evicted from a property you want last month. Well, that property will be on the market in about four or five years. The process for the bank to acquire the deed of a foreclosure is a long one that goes through the court system. Right now they are working on foreclosures that banks took back in 2009. But there are plenty out there right now on the market that people can buy.