Mecum Auto Auction Kissimmee

The Mecum Auto Auction is this week (January 24-29, 2012).  With so many events in the Central Florida area every weekend, I am sure that it is hard to decide what to attend.  This is a great one!  With approximately 2000 cars, you can see vehicles from every different era and price range.  Keith attended this event last year, and loved it.  The atmosphere is fun, and the weather is supposed to be great this weekend.  He will be heading over on Saturday.  If there are particular cars that you are interested in, you can get more information and check the schedule online by clicking here.  If you can’t make it down this weekend, you can watch the auction on TV.  It will be televised today and tomorrow from 2-10 pm (EST).  

Celebration FL Kids Night Out

Since I try to keep you updated on all the fun things going on here in Celebration, FL, I wanted to let you know this weekend (January 20, 2012) Celebration Parks & Recreation is hosting a Kids Night Out. Parents can use this great opportunity to have a date night for themselves while their children enjoy some fun entertainment and time with friends at Heritage Hall in the South Village.

This event is for children from 6-12 years old. This will be an evening (6-10 pm) filled with dancing, crafts, and games. The cost is $15 per child and that does include pizza and drinks. All proceeds benefit Relay for Life, so you can enjoy a fun night out and help a great charity at the same time. Its a win-win! Spaces are limited, so call Town Hall at 407-566-1200 to register today.

Child Care at Celebration Fitness Center & Day Spa

Because I take the content of our website and my blog very seriously, I am a firm believer in the old adage – “Write about what you know.” I only review restaurants and services I have been to or personally used, so you can be sure that I am giving a first-hand account.

As a very busy mom & Realtor, I thought it would benefit other moms to know about some of the services that I use on a weekly, if not daily basis. One of those is the Childcare at the Celebration Fitness Center & Day Spa. I have been a member of the Celebration Fitness Center for well over a year, and I love the classes and the facility. It has state of the art equipment, friendly staff, and is very well maintained. One of the other amenities that I love and take advantage of frequently is the little tram that will pick you and drop you off at your car. I know this sounds lazy for someone going to the gym, but you if you are lugging 2 kids and a gym bag like I am, it’s a must.

The childcare at the gym is wonderful! I can not say enough good things about it. If you are a member of the gym, you can sign your children up and then they are allowed to be in the childcare area for up to 2 hours per day. The children are separated by age – under 3 years old are in one gated area and the 3 and up kids are in another. They have swings, bassinets, pack ‘n plays for the babies and little guys. The older kids get to play (supervised, of course) on the basketball court at a certain time each day and they make crafts, watch movies, and play with a variety of toys & games. The children to adult ratio is very low and all of the children are very well-monitored by the caring staff.

For this mommy , it is a lifesaver. I can enjoy some me-time while knowing that my children are not only safe, but enjoying activities with other kids as well.

The Bistro at The Melia Hotel Celebration

This past weekend we tried one of restaurants located in the new Melia Hotel Celebration, formerly the Mona Lisa Hotel. I have always loved this hotel. It has a wonderful contemporary decor and its location inside of Celebration, FL and proximity to Walt Disney World make it much sough after.

The Bistro Restaurant and Bar at the Melia Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration is a very nice restaurant located on the first floor of the hotel. You can chose to sit inside and enjoy the bar area with its multiple televisions and pretty mosaics or you can chose to sit outside overlooking the pool. The menu has so many options. You can opt for lighter fare like gourmet burgers, salads, and various appetizers. Or you can go for a full meal like lamb chops or a tender steak. The service was excellent and they have wonderful Happy Hour specials from 5-7pm. The food is moderately priced and the ambience can’t be beat.

If you would like more information on this hotel, please click here.

Pending Home Sales Continue To Rise

Often times we see newspaper and internet articles that center around the housing market and its strength. Some of this data is easy to interpret as a consumer and some of it is not. Since I spend pretty much all off time looking at these types of numbers and analyzing the data avilable, I can see the market and the economic recovery as more of a marathon and not a sprint. As consumers and homeowners, it is very easy to see one report and put all of our faith in it, but there are many factors to assess when gauging the overall strength of the real estate market.

One major indicator used to assess the overall health and well-being of the real estate market is the Pending Home Sales Index. The NAR (National Association of Realtors) explains the Pending Home Sales Index as follows: “The index measures housing contract activity. It is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops. A signed contract is not counted as a sale until the transaction closes. Modeling for the PHSI looks at the monthly relationship between existing-home sale contracts and transaction closings over the last four years.”

That’s all fine and well, but what does it mean? Well the NAR distributed a press release on December 29, 2011 that stated the PHSI had risen for the second consecutive month. So let’s put that into perspective. This is the highest level that it has been at in 19 months (when people were trying to close before the new home buyer stimulus ran out)!  That means that the market is making a rebound without any government stimulus or outside intervention, just good old supply & demand and low interest rates. Buyers & investors are getting off the sidelines and entering market as the perfect storm of affordability and low interest rates has hit.

The news often paints a picture of gloom and doom, but it important to note that information needs be gathered and evaluated over a large period of time before we can truly know how it will effect us. I have seen the real estate market here in Celebration, FL stabilize and become competitive again over the course of the last 18 months, but I can not use the conditions here to paint a broad picture. That’s why I stay on top of the national numbers, and it is great to see that the trend we are experiencing here is making its way through all of Central Florida and on to the rest of the country as well.

As the saying goes, “There is no time like the present.”

New Year’s Resolutions – Jump Start the new year

So this is about the time of year that everyone starts making a list of things that they want to accomplish this year. Often times, this list is over the top and the maker has no chance of getting all of these things done. I have come to notice that household projects are often part of people’s new year’s resolutions. Sometimes they want to finish projects that they have previously started, and other times they want to freshen up their home by completing some small tasks that they have been putting off. Well I wanted to give you a manageable household project list. These tasks will help you get organized for the New Year as well as freshen up your home’s look and feel. The best part is that none of these jobs are very expensive or even time-consuming. So start setting aside a few hours every Saturday, and you’ll be finished in no time.

1. PAINT YOUR FRONT DOOR & CLEAN UP YOUR FRONT PORCH
It goes without saying that your front of your house is what gives visitors their first impression of the home. Clean and paint the front door. Maybe try a brighter color to really make it pop – red, perhaps. Then make sure to clean the front porch of any debris and cobwebs.

2. PUT IN A TILE BACKSPLASH IN THE KITCHEN
This great idea can add a lot of color and finish to your kitchen for not a lot of money. Your local home improvement store will have a wide variety of materials and colors for you to chose from, and it will be fun to pick it out. If you need some help, ask one of the salespeople, and they will make sure you have everything you need. This also gives you an excuse to watch some HGTV for ideas!

3. UPGRADE YOUR HARDWARE
Change the cabinet hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms, and you could change the whole look of the room. Maybe you don’t love the cabinets you have. This is a great way to update them without the expense of all new cabinetry.

4. PURGE YOUR HOUSE
Now that Christmas has come and gone, I am sure that your house is full – new toys, stocking stuffers, etc. Many charities get lots of donations during the holidays, but they are often short items at other times. You can get rid of some of the toys your children don’t play with anymore, or maybe you got some new clothes for Christmas and need to make room in your closet. Lastly, look at your pantry. Did you overbuy for Christmas dinner or a holiday party you were having?  Donate those extra supplies to your local food pantry before they expire.

5. PAINT

Nothing makes a quicker impact for less money than paint.  You don’t have to point the whole house if you don’t want, but painting the higher traffic areas like the kitchen and entryway can really freshen up your home.  New paint can make your whole home seem brand new and shopping for new colors is always fun.

These quick fixes are all relatively inexpensive and none of them take more than a Saturday to complete, so stop putting off that “To Do” list.  As a Realtor, I can tell you that all of these tasks add value to your home as well.  So if you are planning a move this year, you have double the incentive to make these changes.  For more advice on getting your home ready to sell, check out one of my other posts – Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact.

Happy New Year!