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Real Estate News

Our housing market is highly competitive and has been for quite some time.  There are more folks looking to buy a home than folks looking to sell.  Housing prices, like all commodities, are based on Supply and Demand.  Many of our buyers have found themselves in situations with multiple offers, quick closing dates, and homes selling at unbelievable prices, making home buyers wonder if this is the right time to jump into the market.  If you purchase a home you love and plan to stay in the home for at least five years, you cannot go wrong.  Although interest rates are climbing, in five years interest rates are predicted to be even higher, therefore a home purchased now may be a bit overpriced, but your mortgage interest is still quite low, putting two x’s in the win column.  One X for the home you love, and one for the still favorable mortgage interest.  Historically home values rise, in this market it is possible for a year or two you may be underwater, but if you stay for a few years and enjoy your home you cannot lose.  Remember, in Real Estate the Mantra is Location, Location, Location and Solivita is an Award Winning Community in Central Florida, the perfect location and the Perfect Community.  You can always redo your kitchen, or change the paint color, but you cannot change your location and if you buy in Solivita your location is as good as “money in the bank”.

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U.S. News & World Report on the best Retirement Metro Areas

In a recent issue, the U.S. News and World Reports ranked 150 US Cities for livability in retirement. 11 Florida Cities were in the Top 20 Places to Retire to in the USA. I am happy to say Orlando and Lakeland were among the top. The study was based on how well each city met Americans’ expectations for retirement, with measures including affordability, health care and overall happiness.

The report states “The peninsula nailed down 11 of the top 18 spots even though Florida isn’t as cheap as it used to be.” Having said that, our area is still affordable with a high quality of life and low tax rates since there is no state income tax.

Floridians did not need to read about how good life is in Florida, but it is nice to see it confirmed in print; Florida is a good, healthy and a happy place to live.

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Thank You to Everyone Who Contributed to our GAL Drive. We are happy to celebrate another successful year thanks to the kindness and the generosity of our friends, neighbors, clients. We are proud to say our doorbell at the office was busy ringing with kind folks dropping off gifts for children of all ages. The gifts ranged from gift cards, new clothing in all sizes, stuffed animals, dolls, trucks, books, games, crafts, puzzles, footballs, basketballs, baseballs, and even cosmetics for the teens. We had one neighbor make baby blankets and BVR ordered baby dolls with carriers and lovingly wrapped each baby in a handmade blanket. The GAL Christmas Tree at Bella Verde Realty was brimming with wonderful gifts and together with your help we collected, matched, and delivered 3 carloads of gifts, over $1,000.00 in gift cards, PLUS Bella Verde gifted $3,000.00 for the Children in the Guardian ad Litem Program of Osceola. The GAL Social Workers set aside a room in the Kissimmee Courthouse for Bella Verde Realty that they have affectionately dubbed “Santa’s Workshop”. The gifts collected are sorted by age and placed in the workshop for GAL families and the Social Workers to gift to the Children in the Program. The financial contribution helps to supply needed items that were not collected, and gift cards are perfect gifts for children that are near 18 and will be leaving the program to start life on their own. You see, at 18 these children no longer are in the foster care program and need to make their own living arrangements. Life on your own, at the tender age of 18, quite a sobering thought. The children cycling out of the program get gift cards to be used for haircuts, clothing, pots, pans, and items they will require to begin a new life without the support of the social workers or their foster families. It is warming to know that we all helped these kids to have a brighter holiday and helped some kids start their new lives. Bella Verde is blessed to live and work with so many generous folks. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts to all who contributed, helped, and prayed for a successful collection.

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Looking for a Good Breakfast, Look No Further. First Watch has you Covered.

Yes, the name is unusual, my curiosity led me to do a bit of research into the name. Turns out the name is a nautical reference to the first work shift aboard a ship and since the First Watch Restaurants are only open 7 am to 2:30 pm the chain founders felt the name appropriate. This chain was founded after the co-owners of First Watch left the breakfast chain of Le Peep. Interesting, when we lived in NJ I used to love breakfast at Le Peep on Route 4 in Paramus. Thoughts of leisurely brunches at Le Peep evoke sweet memories of time spent with friends from my NJ Youth.

First Watch in Champions Gate is convenient and a really good choice for breakfast or lunch. Lee and I start our days early, so finding a great spot for a good, healthy Breakfast is a great bonus to us. First Watch serves up fresh, made to order, locally sourced, and truly inspired menu items. Yes, they are a chain, but a responsible chain who care for their employees, give back to the community, and are concerned about the quality of the food they serve. On a recent visit at 7 am I started my day with the Turkey Egg White Omelet with house roasted onions, tomatoes, spinach and Feta. The Omelet was piping hot and delicious, and carried me through the entire day. Lee enjoyed The Avocado, freshly smashed on Toast with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a squeeze of lemon and sea salt served beside two basted eggs. First Watch does get crowded on weekends and at peak breakfast and lunch hours, but it is worth the wait. Since Lee and I are out working, breakfast at 7 am works for us, but I hear from my retired friends that First Watch is the perfect Brunch Spot for dining at 10 or 11 am.


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Tis the Season to Enjoy Fall Flavors

Pumpkin Quinoa Bars, Gluten Free, Great for Breakfast, a Snack and good on the Golf Course too!

1 ½ Cup Quick Cook Oats

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa (cooled to room temp)

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup ground flax seed

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ cup real maple syrup

½ cup pumpkin puree (right from the can)

1 egg

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. To keep these Gluten Free do not use spray with flour.

Combine oats, quinoa, baking powder, flax seed, and pumpkin pie spice and stir till distributed

In a second bowl, whisk the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, egg, almond butter and vanilla together.

Combine the wet with the dry, stir into a batter and fold in the nuts.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the center rack of the oven for 25 – 35 minutes until the bars are golden and firm to the touch.

Remove the pan, cool completely. Once Cooled, slice the bars. I wrap these bars individually and freeze them. These bars will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and in the freezer longer.

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Tips for Getting Top Dollar for Your Home

If you are reading our newsletter, congratulations, you have come to the right place when choosing the BEST REALTY Company to provide Real Estate Services to you and your family. A member of our team will be happy to come out to your home and perform a complete Home Value Assessment for you, plus share with you the SUCCESSFUL Marketing Strategies Bella Verde Realty Employs. Bella Verde Realty has a great online marketing presence, a large group of knowledgeable, experienced Realtors, and a proven, successful track record. We are consistently ranked as ONE OF the TOP REALTORS in SOLIVITA. Please call us today to arrange an appointment that is convenient for you.

Following find a few tips to help you get the best price for your home:

  1. Fix Everything including broken faucets, door handles, and make sure nothing annoying or embarrassing is visible that could spoil a showing.
  2. Paint the interior rooms in your home a neutral color.
  3. If you have a tile roof, have it cleaned. Removing the dull look from a roof can make it look newer and reduce buyer concerns.
  4. Tidy up all interior and exterior spaces for the best listing photos possible.
  5. Curb Appeal is very important as the potential buyer’s decision is, many times, made from the street. So, it pays to do a little landscaping, fix any broken or raised sidewalk pieces. If you have a lanai, and are in residence, add a few colorful potted plants. An attractive lanai is a good selling feature. Flaunt your space by adding attractive, colorful pillows, and set your table to enhance that welcome home feeling. Stage your residence so it appeals to potential buyers, and you want potential buyers to see themselves and their loved ones enjoying and living in your space.
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Florida Housing Market Forecast for 2020

The Florida real estate market is experiencing growing sales, prices and growing transaction volumes. Although active inventory is up, new home and condo listings are down. Could it be that very low prices and constrained supply is a buy signal?

Experts agree, when Americans are feeling wealthy, they look to buy in the Sunshine State, and with the recent tax cuts and the strong job market, Americans report they are feeling wealthy. This leads the experts to believe that buying in Florida is a wise long-term real estate investment decision.

When you compare the low prices of a Florida home to homes in California or New York; and add to the mix Florida’s favorable tax situation, I am surprised that more folks are not selling and moving to our lovely state. Interest in buying Florida properties is strong and given the strength of the Florida economy, plus an aging population, I expect to see strong prices for many years. So, if you are considering selling your home this is a good time, and if you are considering buying a home, prices are only going up. Why wait, when you can lock into a great Florida home at a good price with a low interest rate now and enjoy your investment while your equity grows.

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One Plus One Giving Program, Sponsored by Bella Verde!


Donations are kindly accepted from 10/15/2019 – 12/3/2019 at our office. Bella Verde Realty will match every gift or gift card donated. You give one and the children will get two. Let’s make it a Happy Holiday Season, please give generously. Bring your unwrapped gift to the BVR Office and place it under our tree. Santa’s sleigh delivers the gifts to the Offices of Guardian Ad Litem and the Elves (AKA Social Workers) sort and deliver these presents to the children in time for the holidays. Currently over 500 children are enrolled in the Voices for Osceola’s Children Program and gifts at this time of the year are especially appreciated.

Visit with us on Facebook and Watch the Giving Tree Grow! Please see our flyer in Reflections, stop into the office with a gift for the children and let the HOLIDAY CHEER START TO FLOW! Thank you for your Generosity and Your Business. We are truly Thankful for each of You!

An inspirational Quote:

It’s good to be blessed. It’s better to be a blessing.
― Author Unknown

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Thanksgiving Time in Central Florida

Time to break out the turkey roaster and get going on Thanksgiving preparations. The last few years Lee and I have been putting up our Christmas Decorations before Thanksgiving. We find that having the decorating done affords us extra time to spend with each other and to enjoy the season.

The longer we live in Florida the more we realize how lucky and thankful we are to live in such a pretty place and how non-traditional our Holidays have become. As our families have moved to different states, and the children have grown, we find our desire to prepare and host large Holiday Dinners has changed. Instead of preparing and cooking for days and hosting twenty or thirty guests we now enjoy a lovely dinner and focus on spending time enjoying Florida and the life we have built in our Southern Home. A few of the wonderful options for Thanksgiving in Florida are below:

  • Enjoy a few days in the Nation’s Oldest City as it decorates with millions of lights during the Annual Night of Lights Celebration that starts the weekend before Thanksgiving. The City of Augustine is charming and really puts on quite a show. A great way to start the season.
  • If driving up to St. Augustine seems too much of a challenge, Enjoy a Disney Adventure. Mickey, Minnie and the gang always dress up to celebrate the holidays and not only do they play dress-up, but the park dresses up too, and adds lights for sparkles. If the grandchildren are in for the holiday, think Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, it is held in the Magic Kingdom during select nights starting around Thanksgiving. It is a special ticketed event; and is a ton of family fun.
  • After enjoying Your Turkey Dinner, put on your bikini and head to one of 14 pools in Solivita. They are all heated, beautiful, and most of the time surprisingly quiet.

Whatever you do on Thanksgiving Lee and I wish you fun, love and good health. We will probably see you at the pool.

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Road Trip from Solivita

We recently entertained friends from up north and spent a few hours at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg browsing the surreal masterpieces of this world-famous artist. Wow, did we enjoy the afternoon, the Dali in St. Petersburg houses the biggest collection of Dali’s art outside of Europe. Dali’s Works are housed in a modern museum on the waterfront and the museum was constructed with a glass atrium. A lovely building in the daylight, but in the evening, the entire building is illuminated and shines on the waterfront – a real showstopper. We signed on for a tour and were glad we did. The Docents genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge of each piece and the symbolism embedded in each work. Cheers to the beautiful modern museum, the art, and the docents who share the life and times of Dali with you. It was an insightful day, full of fun, discovery and we left the museum with a new appreciation for Salvador Dali and Modern Art.

Following the Dali Museum, we enjoyed a walk in the quiet of the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete. It was cool under the canopy of trees and we were happy to enjoy an hour in the serenity of the gardens. The Sunken Gardens are four acres of well-established botanical gardens in the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood of St. Pete. These gardens have existed for more than a century and are one of the oldest roadside tourist attractions in the U.S.

St. Pete is just a couple of hours drive away and is a good day trip; but is also a great spot to spend an evening or a few days. Lee and I did not have the time to spend a night away, but if we did, we would have been happy to enjoy an evening at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg. The Historic Hotel is at the Marina in downtown and has a lovely courtyard with a pool, great public spaces, a wonderful restaurant and a small section in the lobby devoted to the Vinoy’s colorful past. Lee and I are adding this hotel to our list of must dos next time we have a few days away.