Condo vs single family home

Often times when prospective buyers first reach out to me its because they have seen something that has caught their eye. It may be because the price is so great or the property is so beautiful. In most cases, they do not purchase the original home that they first contacted me about. So I am often called upon to give guidance in terms of what type of dwelling unit would best suit their needs.

This is where the condo vs single family home discussion always comes up. Since obviously we are based in Central Florida, specifically Celebration, we have lots of part-time and vacation residents as well as full-timer’s. For those who only spend part of their time here, they are often partial to a condominium for the maintenance free ease. Condos are great for being able to be left part of the year. There is no yard to maintain, painting and power washing are taken care of by the association, and your utilities are usually very low.

What people don’t often realize when they first look at the purchase price is that there are other costs associated with owning a condo that factor largely into the monthly carrying costs – the condo fees. These fees vary greatly by community, but most are a large amount of the monthly carrying costs for owning the unit. They also factor greatly into how much you can afford to buy. For example, a recent client of mine was approved to purchase a condo up to $150,000. That condo had a monthly maintenance fee of $375. If he purchased a single family home, which does not have a condo fee, he was approved for up to $220,000. Those fees greatly impact the affordability of a particular property and make up a large portion of your monthly payment.

So when considering a particular property, you have to take into account more than the purchase price. There is insurance, homeowners association fees, monthly condo fees, and various other costs. It is important to get all of this information for your Realtor prior to making a decision of what type of dwelling unit best suits your need.  You will be better equipped to compare properties when you have all of the associated costs.

A nectar professional would be happy to assist you with all of your real estate questions.

Orlando Area Rainy Day Activities

Since today is one of the rainiest days here in a quite a while, I thought it made sense to highlight some of the fun indoor activities here in Orlando. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Disney Quest – This arcade-style attraction features 5 floors of gaming fun and innovation. There are 3-D encounters, virtual reality experiences, and classic video games. Some of the highlights are the Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for Buccaneer Gold, Virtual Jungle Cruise, CyberSpace Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters. So much to do in one place!

2. Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando – This is not your average resort. With a 4.5 acre glass covered atrium, the Gaylord Palms bring Florida’s natural wonders to life. There is a replica of a Spanish fortress to explore, a “Gator Springs” are with live alligators, sting rays, Everglages environment with live game fish, a Key West Lagoon and much more. So much interactive fun along with plenty of cute shops and tasty restaurants.

3. Orlando Science Center – With 4 floors of exciting exhibits, there is so much to do and see. One of their current exhibits features Bob the Builder, which is great for the pre-school aged children. The Science Center offers lots of movies on their giant screen as well at live programming that changes weekly. They are also currently hosting their NASA speaker series where onlookers can hear firsthand from people who worked on space vehicles and shuttles. For the full exhibit schedule, click here.

Don’t let the rain hold up your fun!

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.”

How Much House Can You Afford

With the cost of housing in Central Florida at some of the most affordable levels in the last several years, many prospective buyers are coming back into the market and many first time homebuyers are looking to get their feet wet and take advantage of those favorable market conditions. One question they always have is – What can I afford?

Doing the due diligence to determine an accurate and realistic price range is one of the most conscientious steps you can take in your home buying process. The National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index assumes that with a 20% down payment, you will need 25% of your gross monthly income to go towards your principle and interest payment. Mortgage lenders are usually similar to each other in their guidelines, and the majority say that your housing expenses (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance, should not exceed 38% of your monthly gross income. These numbers should be used as a baseline. You may have a substantial amount of other debt that needs to be taken into account such as multiple car payments, school loans, credit card payments, and etc, so you need to make sure that the monthly payment is something you are comfortable with, not just what the bank says you can qualify for. You need to have some breathing room for unexpected expenses. As a homeowner you are responsible for all the maintenance your property may need, and sometimes people who have rented for a long time or have never owned a property forget to budget for the occasional repair issue.

Getting all of the numbers together at the beginning of your property search can save you a lot of time and headaches, so talk your bank or a mortgage broker before viewing properties. If you need a recommendation for someone to talk to about your budget, please contact us today.

Celebration FL Homes: Garage Apartments

Celebration FL offers a variety of Garage Apartment living options; from a 500sf studio apartment over a 2 car garage to a 1200sf 2-bedroom apartment over a 4 car garage!

celebration fl homes, garage apartments

Many people fall into the trap of assuming that others have all of the same knowledge that they do, but that often is not the case.  I am guilty of this time and time again.  As someone who works and lives in Celebration, FL, I obviously know an inordinate amount about the area and homes here, and often times I assume that my clients do as well.

Celebration FL Homes have some rather unique features, and I realized that most people are unaware of one of the most popular: Garage Apartments.  Some of the homes are built with full apartments over the garage.  By full apartment, I mean they have a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.  They are equipped as a separate dwelling unit.  This was something I have only ever seen in a couple of other areas, and it offers the home owner several interesting options.

celebration fl real estate

Garage apartments range in size as the garages themselves vary.  You can see anything from a 500 square foot studio apartment over a 2 car garage to a 1200 square foot 2 bedroom apartment over a 4 car garage.  Many people initially are not sure what to do with these spaces, but there are a variety of great ways to utilize them to the homeowner’s advantage.

celebration luxury homes, luxury kitchen

  • First and foremost, the homeowner can use them as a rental property.  Garage apartments are in high demand, and the homeowner can expect to get anywhere from $700-­‐$1400 per month depending on the size and the utilities included.  This can be a significant amount of the monthly mortgage on the property.
  • Secondly, people use them for extended family. Whether they are guest or live with the homeowners full time, the garage apartment allows each party to have privacy and a space of their own.

celebration fl real estate

  • A new trend that I have noticed amongst some of my clients, is to use the garage apartment as a vacation home and rent out the main house.  This may seem strange at first, but many people have been buying their retirement homes now even if they don’t plan to make the move for a few years.  If they rent the main house until they move permanently, they can cover the monthly carrying costs of the home in most cases.

celebration fl homes

A great home with a garage apartment is 1115 Rush Street.  This home features a wonderful floor plan with a first floor master suite; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a loft upstairs, an office, a fenced backyard, and lastly a garage apartment with its own entrance. This is a studio apartment that would rent for approximately $700-­‐800 per month.  The homes is listed at a great price of $515,000 or $151 per square foot.

If you would like to know more about Celebration FL real estate, garage apartments in Celebration, or this Celebration home in particular, feel free to contact me any time.

Jana Renner

O: 321.697.8230
F: 866.670.9913
C: 321.697.8230

Where Will All the Baby Boomers Go?

Why Central Florida would be a great retirement option for the nearly 78 million baby boomers.

As the majority of people know, Baby Boomers are Americans born between 1946 and 1964, and they currently make up 26.1% of the population according the U.S Census Bureau.  That is approximately 78 millions people!  Many of them will be ready to enjoy their hard-­‐earned retirement soon, and where is the best place for them to do that?

Retire to Celebration or Orlando Florida with the help of Nectar Real EstateFlorida, of course!  I know it seems cliche that everyone retires in Florida, but there are so many reasons why the Central Florida area is a great place to call to home.  As a Realtor, I help a lot of people relocate every year, and the predominant reason is still the weather.

Just last week, the northeast was pummeled with over 2 feet of snow in the New York Metro area.  With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Florida is the perfect place to sustain an active lifestyle and enjoy all of the leisure activities that you have been putting off while working and raising your children.

The Greater Orlando area is only 50 miles away from the coast, so day trips to the beach are always a possibility.  We also have all of the theme parks for visiting guests. As a resident of Celebration Florida, I know that if you live near ‘The Mouse’, they will come!  We also have the more golf courses than any other state, and lots of freshwater lakes and state parks to enjoy boating and water sports.

Central Florida is the best place to retire if you love golf.This may sound like a tourist brochure, so now I will tell you the best reason to retire or semi-­retire in Florida – AFFORDABILITY.  Orlando Florida Homes comes in all sizes and prices, but you can purchase a golf front home with 4 bedrooms for as little as $199,000.

You would be close to shopping, restaurants, theme parks, and the cost of living in Florida is lower than up north.  Many people think that the real estate market is a risky place right now, but in all honesty, this is the time to purchase for the future.  I have had many clients purchase their retirement homes now even if they don’t plan to retire for few year simply because homes are so affordable right now.

The real estate market is ripe with opportunity right now.  Don’t miss it!  Contact Nectar Real Estate to help you find the perfect Florida retirement home!