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How to Choose a Real Estate Broker

Choosing the Correct Real Estate Agent is an important step in every real estate transaction. A good agent will come to the table with contacts, experience, and the ability to save a transaction that may not be moving forward smoothly. An Educated Consumer is the best consumer and all BVR Agents are open, honest, and educate their clients along the way.

When looking for a realtor we always recommend you ask trusted friends or family for a recommendation of a realtor they may have worked with. I also recommend that every client interview at least two realtors. Ideally, the interview and selection process of a realtor will be quick. A good realtor will come prepared with a home value analysis and current comps in your neighborhood. The realtor you choose should be a realtor with experience in your neighborhood, a realtor with an honest reputation, and a realtor that will not only work for you, but listen to your needs, and work with you.

The Real Estate Market is still “a buyer’s market” therefore homes are selling quickly, but as mortgage interest rates rise the experts predict the market will slow down a bit. Housing inventory is still in short supply and pricing of homes is commodity based (supply and demand) so at this time in the cycle it does not appear that house prices will be dropping anytime soon.

If you are considering the sale of your home, a BVR Realtor is always happy to come out and meet with you to discuss your home and provide a detailed report estimating your value. If you are looking to buy a home in Solivita or in our surrounding areas, call any of our realtors, we are always happy to work with folks to find them the home of their dreams.

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Live Performance Theatres near Solivita

Although we love to play golf, tennis, pickleball, and go to the pool, we all need a change of pace, and it always nice to have a diversion.  Our local theatres have the solution.  It is Easy and fun to Visit and Enjoy local theatre.  Due to Disney and the amusement parks we have allot of talent waiting in the wings, so head to one of the local theatres and see a show.  

Recently the Winter Haven Theatre has undergone quite a few major renovations.  The theatre now has new entrances, a renovated and expanded lobby, new lighting, and newly renovated restrooms.   This Theatre is comfortable and is an easy drive from Solivita.  The Mainstage Theatre has 332 seats and currently mounts five shows.  If you subscribe to the five shows you are guaranteed a seat and five great evenings or weekend afternoons of entertainment at very reasonable prices.  In addition, the Theatre is featuring Three Professional Touring Productions this year.  It is always nice to have “tickets in the bank”, as it gives you an event to look forward to, the joy of a good show, and if you treat yourself to dinner or lunch, you have a great day. Season tickets and Touring Tickets are on sale now, and individual show tickets for the Mainstage go on sale in September.  https://www.theatrewinterhaven.com

Good Live Theatre at Osceola Arts with the new season’s tickets going on sale June  15th.  This season Osceola Play House will mount 8 shows on the Mainstage. With the purchase of one of the season ticket packages, you will experience Central Florida’s acclaimed Broadway style productions at a fraction of the cost.  The season ticket packages for 2022-2023 are available June 15th to October 2nd.  Plus, if you are a season ticket holder you can also add tickets for two Special Engagement Productions at a reduced rate.   https://www.osceolaarts.org

Do you enjoy Good Fun and Entertainment and have a hankering for an historic theater setting?  If so, visit the Historic Ritz Theatre in Winter Haven.  The Ritz has been downtown Winter Haven’s Stage since 1925 when it opened as a venue for silent movies and vaudeville. In years gone by the Ritz played “A” Movies with casts including Betty Grable, Errol Flynn and Shirley Temple.   Today the Ritz is back in business with Multi-Level Seating that can accommodate over 450 guests.  Tables and Chairs are set on each level of the theatre for very comfortable seating.  The sound and lighting systems are wonderful, and the live performances and stage shows are fun.    Visit the Ritz at :    https://ritzwinterhaven.com

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Mango, Corn, and Black Bean Salsa

This is the perfect easy summer recipe, no cooking involved, yet you can serve this with chicken or pork, or serve in a taco, on a salad, or a fajita.  We enjoy this salsa on a slice of cucumber or a taco chip. Sour Cream on the side is a tasty accompaniment. 

3 Large Mangoes, diced

16 Oz of Frozen Corn defrosted and drained.

16 Oz Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained

2 Limes Juiced, if you feel the salsa needs more juice add the juice from an additional lime

¼ Cup chopped fresh cilantro or if you do not like cilantro sub in parsley

½ Red Onion Finely Chopped

Toss all the items except Cilantro in a bowl and combine.  Add the Cilantro, serve and enjoy.

 

This Salsa is also good on chicken or fish and since we are all grill enthusiasts, this is a great accompaniment to whatever you are cooking up on your grill.

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Pizza in Florida

When living in NY and NJ we could get great pizza with lots of flavor, sometimes we would order a thin crust, well done pie and sometimes we would order a Wood Fired Pizza with lots of crispy, burnt edges.  Living in Florida we almost forget the taste of a good pie, but recently we found a delicious pizza at a neighborhood place, unfortunately just not in our neighborhood.  We had pizza at Dimitri’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar and Grill in Sebring , Florida.  We were working with clients in Sebring who recommended we give this local “joint” a try.  We were glad we did.  The pizza was delicious and reminiscent of NY Pizza.  It was well done, served hot and bubbly and really hit “our pizza spot”.  In addition to Pizza, the 5’O’Clock Somewhere Bar has a full bar including Cold Beer on Tap, and how could you not love a beer with your pizza.  Casual, Comfortable and VERY LOCAL but Worth the trip in our book.

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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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Road Trippin

Time to Plan an End of the Summer Trip.  Awhile back, Lee and I enjoyed a trip to the “Sippin Safari “ held at  Zoo Atlanta on September 17th. The whole zoo becomes uncorked for everyone over 21.  This event is always fun and features wine sampling and delicious bites from the best Restaurants in Atlanta. 

VIP Hour: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. |    Main Event: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets go on sale in June. https://www.zooatlanta.org

Tickets go on sale in June, and although it seems that September is a long time away, we all know that time flies by when you are having fun in Solivita. 

The Sippin Safari is a great event to plan a road trip around.   Last time we attended this event we did a short but fun road trip.  Our first stop was Valdosta, GA where we enjoyed a delicious meal and wandered through the area before checking into a hotel for the night.  Well rested, the next morning, we were up and out on our way to Atlanta.  Atlanta is a great city with lots of interesting neighborhoods to enjoy.  Lee and I like to stay in Buckhead or in the Inman Park Neighborhoods of Atlanta, but there are lots of nice places to stay and great attractions to visit while in Atlanta.

If a few days in the city is not your thing, spend a few days out in Clearwater Beach.  Tons of great things to do beside hanging out at the beach or pool.  Take a boat cruise, watch the dolphins frolic in the sea, go fishing, go shelling or take a ride to Dunedin.  Dunedin is an out of the way, cool little town with nice dining, a few interesting stores to wander around in, plus there is a sheltered beach with a good vibe.  

Whatever you do in Florida you can count on the sun shining and nice weather.  We are heading into Hurricane Season so watch the weather before you take off for the beach.

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Cool Down with an Ice Cream Cone

Summer is here and a great way to cool off is with a delicious ice cream cone. A short road trip to Frostbite, Florida can solve your ice cream craving, and a car ride to Frostbite is an easy, traffic free trip. The location of Frostbite Ice Cream & More is not a location you would normally pass by, as it is on a country road nestled in the farmland of central Florida.  This spot was recommended to us by two separate clients, two weeks apart, so we thought we would give it a try.

Frostbite Ice Cream & More is a true throw-back to the “Happy Days” of poodle skirts and D.A.’s , a true retro feel. You can pick a table inside or choose a table outside under the awning and revisit the happy days when eating a cheeseburger, drinking a shake, or enjoying an Ice Cream Cone did not raise your cholesterol or your glucose.

Frostbite Ice Cream and More is located at 801 N. Scenic Highway, Frostproof. FL 33843 and is Mom approved. Mom and our family friend, Marilyn were the first ones hopping in the car to try out Frostbite Ice Cream & More, and they both loved it.

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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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Planning for Retirement

While Most of our Clients look forward to the time they can officially stop working full time and change their work status to “Retired” we do have some clients that want to live in Solivita yet still work. It is all possible, Solivita is a great place to live, gated, private, peaceful, and surrounded by beauty. The bonus of our area is there are lots of jobs outside our gates. If you want to work at Disney, great, Disney has special work programs for seniors; and who doesn’t want to work in the “happiest place on earth.” Would you rather work at Publix, no worries, they are a great employer and have multiple stores near Solivita.

Solivita is near hospitals, medical offices, manufacturing plants, and stores offering lots of opportunities for employment while you ease into retirement. I have had many clients move to Solivita and work full time for a few years and many clients who move to Solivita and work part time while considering full time retirement. When you move to Solivita you will be assured of a beautiful home in a lovely, active community filled with life, lots of new opportunities and plenty of friends to make.

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Easy Chicken Hawaiian In Foil

  • 4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup of Teriyaki marinade
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Ripe Florida Fresh Pineapple cut into chunks
  • Pepper to taste (salt is already in the marinade)
  • Preheat your grill to medium high heat

Lay out 4 squares of Heavy-Duty Aluminum foil. Place one piece of chicken in the center of each square. Pour the sauce over the chicken in each packet and turn to coat. Distribute the peppers, onion, and pineapple chunks in each packet sprinkle each packet with fresh ground pepper and fold the foil up to tightly seal each four packet.

Place the packets on the grill, cook for 25 minutes. Open one packet and check to see if chicken juices run clear when tested, if so, remove all four packets and enjoy.  Clean up is a breeze.