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Make Your Home Welcoming

Have you ever entered someone’s home and immediately felt relaxed and comfortable? What is it that makes the difference between homes that exude an immediate sense of welcome and hospitality, and those that may not? Is it the home environment, or the host? In my experience, both play an important role. Whether you entertain occasionally, or just want to be prepared for the pop-in visitor, below are a few WELCOME tips from our Bella Verde Realtors. 

Declutter your space.  If you feel comfortable in your home so will your guests.  File your paperwork away, declutter your kitchen counters, stow your gear away in the garage, or make space in your closet. Tackle your most visible spaces first.  This way whenever company walks into your home, you are comfortable and will welcome guests with open arms. Your house does not need to be spotless just orderly. 

Is your sofa, chair or ottoman looking tired? A great trick to clean up your well-worn but loved furniture is by buying a new, textured neutral throw and draping it appropriately.   On the couch a throw will cover a multitude of spills or stains.  If you need to cover a sin or two on your ottoman, artfully drape your throw, and stage a wooden tray over it. You can also add a few coasters and your remote controls to give the tray purpose. Now with one simple throw and bit of flair you have just moved from messy to orderly. 

Warm up your spaces with accent pillows.  Accent pillows bring color and texture into any room giving a dated couch a fresh look or accentuating the season.  New accent pillows are a great way to freshen up a space. 

Fresh Flowers always brighten up a space and if they have a scent even better.  Not one to maintain fresh flowers, no worries, plant a few pots filled with succulents.  Scatter pots of succulents around your home, they bring life and beauty into your space and are easy to maintain.

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What Inflation Means to the Housing Market

Inflation is Up.  But since our last housing market crash in 2007 we have many protections in place to prevent a crash similar to the crash we experienced in 2007.  In the old days, “anyone with breath in their bodies could get a mortgage” but not so today.  Underwriting standards have been improved and lending laws are much stricter in 2022.  In fact, it is not easy to obtain a home loan due to the strict guidelines and the verifications all lenders apply to all loan applicants. Housing and interest rates are up due to the economy, but at this date, the market remains steady. 

The Plus side, all Homeowners have record amounts of equity this time around.  Even if prices were to drop, which is not expected, lots of equity has been built up to protect the homeowner.

So, what can we expect, well with inflation and rates rising, the housing market can expect a slow-down. 

If you are planning to buy a home and want to gauge how inflation and higher rates will influence your goals, reach out to a mortgage professional and they will crunch the numbers for you. 

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

It is easy to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Put a Corned Beef in a pot, add some cabbage, carrots and potatoes and boil till tender, break out the mustard and rye bread and it is a feast.  Of course, It is easier to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by letting someone else do the cooking. When we lived up north St. Patrick’s Day would find us at McSorley’s Old Ale House, a New York City Institution that opened sometime around the Civil War.  It was always fun, lively and the beer was fresh and cold.  Now that we live in the Sunshine State we head to Lizzy’s in Orlando for an Irish Pub.  Lizzy McCormack’s is  “a hole in the wall” on Orange Avenue in Orlando and always an interesting stop.  If you are looking for a real St. Patrick’s Day party Lizzy McCormack’s has an Outdoor Beer Garden, Multiple Bars inside and a Front Patio that is party read for St. Patrick’s Day.  Of course, every space has multiple bars and on St. Patrick’s Day McCormack’s is serving from 8:30 am to 2:00 am.  We have friends with tickets for St. Patrick’s Day Kegs and Eggs Breakfast at Lizzy’s and they have planned a day filled with fun, music and the wearing of the green.




Our family Celebration will be at Mom’s for a Traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage Celebration, and it is a night we all look forward to.  After all, we get up and go to work the next morning, so a quiet, tasty evening filled with good food and the love of family is the perfect celebration for us.




Sorry if you are not lucky enough to have Mom in the Neighborhood cooking up a delicious, corned beef dinner just for you.  If you have to go out, may I suggest you head over to Toojay’s Deli, 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL for a great Corned Beef Sandwich.   When Lee and I have a craving for deli TooJay’s is where we head.  We usually go for breakfast; but end up eating a Corned Beef or a Pastrami Sandwich, after all we can get eggs anywhere.  If you go, please don’t forget the pickles.




Lee and I can always stop by Lizzy’s later in the year, when we find ourselves in downtown Orlando, and enjoy a pint when the crowds and excitement of St. Patrick’s Day is done and we can quietly contemplate how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful spot.  In Central Florida we have it all.  Orlando is only a short drive or a quick trip on the Sunrail away, providing the benefit of the various activities the city offers, the parks, concerts, events, museums and restaurants while we enjoy life in  a pristine private community surrounded by nature.



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Bring More Sunlight into Your Home

An affordable way to bring natural light into your home is with a Solar tube a/k/a sun tunnel.  These high performance, natural lighting systems significantly brighten your living space at a fraction of the cost of a skylight or other lighting options.

Adding this option to your home is not only a green solution but it is a nice feature for any room, hallway, or even your closet. Your home is a unique reflection of you and your style but without proper lighting your home may feel closed in and dark.  The benefits of daylight are indisputable; studies have shown that daylight can make you more productive by boosting your energy level,; it can strengthen your mental abilities by improving concentration and it can enhance your well-being by lifting your mood.  Even on a cloudy day, a Solar tube will bring in an amazing amount of natural light into your space.  In addition, a solar tube can be installed by a pro in a few hours, and we know a very handy do-it-yourselfer who even installed his own.   This is a small investment with a big payoff PLUS think of the electricity you will save while enjoying the beauty of pure light.   Our environments have the ability to shape and influence our emotions and your home should be a place that restores, calms, and rejuvenates your mind and spirit. We added a solar tube to our home and light is streaming in highlighting the pure beauty of the colors, textures, and furnishings we surround ourselves with.   

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Considering Solar. What to know before you make the investment.

Solar energy is becoming more popular for homeowners. and we are starting to see panels on many roofs in our Central Florida Neighborhoods. Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to produce clean energy and will reduce your monthly electric bill, but before you invest you need to do your research. First determine how long you plan to remain in your home to see if you will benefit from reduced energy costs vs the expense of installing Solar Panels. If you are only adding solar to reduce your cooling/heating expenses be sure you are not trading off your energy expense for a Solar Panel Expense. If you are looking to reduce your footprint at any cost then Solar Panels are a really good choice.




Before signing a contract, consider the age of your roof. You would not want to install new Solar Panels on an Older Roof. Additionally, the weight of the solar panels must be considered as your roof may need to be engineered to support the panel weight. Check the Solar Companies References and business practices to be sure you choose the right company for you. Finally, before signing the contract, do your due diligence and Review the Panel Manufacturer’s Warranty, as Solar Panels are expensive to replace.




We are all for Green Energy, but as a realtor, we have seen too many Solar Contracts signed with long term payouts. What happens if you want to sell your home, but you still have a Solar Panel Payment in place? The Seller needs to pay off the panels in advance of the home sale, or the buyer needs to add the cost of the Solar Panel Contract to the sale price of the home.




Hopefully, in the future we will see the Federal Government Jump on Board and help to reduce the initial expense of Solar Panel Installation making Green Energy not only good for the environment but good for our pocketbooks too.