Archive for March 2015

The Most Common Listing Mistakes When Selling your Home

Terry Riffe | March 30, 2015

Common listing mistakes by home sellers

 Sellers: Beware of these common listing mistakes when selling your home.

Selling your home can be an exhausting experience. Inconvenient phone calls, broker previews, endless showings, price adjustments and the possibilities of being stuck with two mortgages are real concerns. If you are not completely prepared, you could end up losing hundreds, even thousands of dollars in profit.

The difference between a smooth, profitable transaction and a break even, unhappy experience is often a fine line. In the majority of cases, it comes down to the subtle know-how of your agent. By utilizing the knowledge of a competent, qualified real estate professional you’ll ensure the quick, profitable sale of your home.

This report is designed to arm you with the knowledge to avoid the most common mistakes that cost sellers serious money.

 Refusing To Make Profit-Inducing Repairs:

~It always costs you more money to sell ‘as is’ than to make repairs that will increase the value of your home.

~Often even minor improvement will yield as much as three to five times the repair cost at the time of sale. Seemingly small fix up jobs can have quite an impact.

~Your agent will be able to point out what repairs will significantly increase the value of your home.

Not Considering Other Financing Terms:

~Cash is not always the most advantageous transaction.

~Income level, tax benefits, and current legislation are all crucial factors when considering purchase terms.

~Professional real estate agents are experts in facilitating your home transaction. A good agent will lead you to the path that will give you the highest yield.

Not Providing Easy Access for Showings:

~Accessibility is a major key to profitability. “Appointment only”showings are the most restrictive while a lock box is the least.

~The more accessible your home the better the odds of your finding a person willing to pay your asking price.

~You never know if the one that couldn’t get a viewing was the one that got away.

~By developing a trusting relationship with your agent, he or she will show the home with your best interests in mind.

Priced Too Low / Priced Too High:

~One critical reason to find the right professional is to make sure the property is priced appropriately for a timely and profitable sale.

~If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop the identity of a problem property.

~If it’s priced too low, it could cost you considerable profits.

~The real estate market has subtle nuances and market changes that should be re-evaluated by your agent every 30-45 days to help youmaximize your return.

Relying Solely On Traditional Methods to Sell Your Home:

~The agent who is innovative & willing to offer new strategies for attracting homebuyers will always outperform the agents who rely on traditional methods.

~Demand around the clock advertising exposure, innovative lead generation methods and lead accountability.

~Make sure that your agent provides an “Aggressive Internet Marketing Campaign”.

Market Timing / Seasonal Selling:

~Just as a broker who continually follows the trends of a stock, your professional real estate agent continually follows trends of your home market.

~They will know if the market cycle is poised to net you the most money. Disregard believing property sales are seasonal, “sells better in spring than winter.”

~Property is always selling!

Refusing To Make Cosmetic Changes:

~The prospective homebuyer’s first impression is the most important.

~An unbelievable amount of home sales have been lost to unkempt lawns, cluttered rooms, bad stains, and unpleasant odors. These are all seemingly little things.

~Imagine you are the homebuyer and clean your place from top to bottom.

Wasting Time with an Unqualified Prospects:

~Your agent’s responsibility is to screen a prospect’s qualifications before valuable time is lost. Be sure to align yourself with the right professional and eliminate negotiating with unqualified prospects.

Don’t Test The Market:

~Never put your property up for sale unless you are serious.

~The right professional will find you buyers.

~If you are harboring indecision, you will blow the sale.

Believing You Are Powerless To Make A Difference:

~Be part of the team! Take an active role with your agent to see what you can do to facilitate your sale.

~Networking with professional peers & personal friends often produced the sale of a home. It’s surprising how many homes are sold this way.

Believing All Realtors Are The Same:

~With all the intricate details & critical decisions to be made concerning your home sale, should you rely on anyone but a top producing professional?

~Many friends and family members have been estranged as a result of failing to meet expectations.

~Your home sale is a time consuming, effort related, difficult task.

~Maximize your profit by utilizing a seasoned professional.

My hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many home sellers go through.

Call us 1-407-800-0888 or email  for more details or with any questions.


Buyers need to know: How Sellers Price Their Homes

Terry Riffe | March 27, 2015

Buyer's Question: how much offer

Buyers Question – How much should I offer?

We’re often asked by buyers, “How much under the listing price should we offer?”  This is an excellent question. The answer is difficult.

The main reason I emphasize the education phase of looking at homes is because that is the best way for you to know value. When you review and study 20-30 (or more) listings, then drive by 10-20 and look at 5-10, you will recognize the “Hot Listings.” You’ll also recognize the “dogs”.

Sellers price their homes differently for 4 basic ways:

1. Ridiculously Overpriced!

~These sellers have listened to a real estate agent that has over-inflated the value of their home in an effort to obtain a listing.

~There is a natural tendency on the part of sellers to list with the real estate agent who gives them the highest promise. There is a tendency by some real estate agents to give the seller a high “value” in an effort to obtain the listing. These homes can be 10-20% overpriced.

~These sellers may need a “dose of reality” for a few months before they begin to realize that their home is way overpriced as compared to others in the area. The longer an overpriced home is for sale, the more likely we can get the seller to face reality and sell at a fair price.

2. A Little Overpriced

These sellers fall into 2 categories:

~Those that feel their homes are worth every penny of their asking price. Those that want to leave a little “negotiating” room.

~These homes can be 4-10% overpriced. Perhaps 75% of all homes for sale are priced in this range.

3. Priced At Fair Market Value

~These sellers have carefully and realistically studied other homes for sale. They have priced their homes very competitively. These homes usually sell within 4 weeks at or very near the listed price.

4. Priced Below Fair Market Value

~These homes are priced below value. Perhaps the seller wants a fast sale. Perhaps the real estate agent recommended too low of a price. These homes usually sell within 7-10 days, at or above the listed price. There are usually competing offers.

Lender’s Appraisal Protection

~Even by carefully studying homes for sale, it’s difficult to establish Fair Market Value.  If you’re obtaining a new home loan, you’ll be protected by the lender’s professional appraisal.

~Home lenders want to make sure that you don’t over-pay for a home. If the home does not meet value in the eyes of the bank appraiser, you’ll be informed.  Your loan amount will be based on the lesser of appraised value or the sales price.

Call us 1-407-800-0888 or email us at with any questions.


Potential Problems to Be Aware of when Buying a Home

Terry Riffe | March 25, 2015

Potential problems when buying a home

Listed below are some potential problems that may occur when buying a home. This signifies the importance of hiring a knowledgeable and experienced Realtor to handle every issue that may occur from contract to closing. Hire the professionals at Orlando Vacation Realty as we are experienced problem solvers!
The Buyer/Borrower:
• Does not tell the truth on the loan application.
• Submits incorrect information to the lender.
• Has recent late payments on credit report.
• Found out about additional debt after loan application.
• Borrower or Co-Borrower loses job.
• Income verification lower than what was stated on loan application.
• Overtime income not allowed by underwriter for qualifying.
• Applicant makes large purchase on credit before closing.
• Illness, injury, divorce or other financial setback during process.
• Lacks motivation.
• Gift donor changes mind.
• Cannot locate divorce decree.
• Cannot locate petition or discharge of bankruptcy.
• Cannot locate tax returns.
• Cannot locate bank statements.
• Difficulty in obtaining verification of rent.
• Interest rate increases and borrower no longer qualifies.
• Loan program changes with higher rates, points and fees.
• Child support not disclosed on application.
• Borrower is a foreign national.
• Bankruptcy within the last 2 years.
• Mortgage payment is double the previous housing payment.
• Borrower/co-borrower does not have steady 2-year employment history.
• Borrower brings in handwritten pay stubs.
• Borrower switches to job requiring probation period just before closing.
• Borrower switches to job from salary to 100% commission income.
• Borrower/co-borrower/seller dies.
• Family members or friends do not like the home that the buyer chooses.
• Buyer is too picky about property in price range they can afford.
• Buyer feels the house is misrepresented.
• Veterans DD214 form (Discharge Papers) not available.
• Buyer has spent money needed for down payment and closing costs and comes up short at closing.
• Buyer does not properly “paper trail” additional money that comes from gifts, loans, etc.
• Does not bring cashier’s check to title company for closing costs and down payment.
The Seller:
• Loses motivation to sell (job transfer does not go through, reconciles marriage, etc.)
• Cannot find a suitable replacement property.
• Will not allow appraiser inside home.
• Will not allow inspectors inside home in a timely manner.
• Removes property from the premises the buyer believed was included.
• Is unable to clear up liens against their property – short on cash to close.
• Did not own 100% of property as previously disclosed.
• Thought getting partners signatures were “no problem,” but they were.
• Leaves town without giving anyone Power of Attorney.
• Delays the projected move-out date.
• Did not complete the repairs agreed to in contract.
• Seller’s home goes into foreclosure during process.
• Misrepresents info about home/neighborhood to the buyer.
• Does not disclose all hidden or unknown defects and they are subsequently discovered.
• Builder miscalculates completion date of new home.
• Builder has too many cost overruns.
• Final inspection on new home does not pass.
• Seller does not appear for closing and won’t sign papers.
The Realtor(s):
• Have no client control over buyers or sellers.
• Delays access to property for inspection and appraisals.
• Unfamiliar with their client’s financial position – do they have enough equity to sell, etc.
• Does not get completed paperwork to the lender in time.
• Inexperienced in this type of property transaction.
• Takes unexpected time off during transaction and can’t be reached.
• Jerks around other parties to the transaction – has huge ego.
• Does not do sufficient homework on their clients or the property and wastes everyone’s time.
The Property:
• County will not approve septic system or well.
• Termite report reveals substantial damage and seller is not willing to fix or repair.
• Home was misrepresented as to size and condition.
• Home is destroyed prior to closing.
• Home not structurally sound.
• Home is uninsurable for homeowners insurance.
• Property incorrectly zoned.
• Portion of home sits on neighbor’s property.
• Unique home and comparable properties for appraisal difficult to find.
The Closing Agent/Title Company:
• Fails to notify lender/agents of unsigned or unreturned documents.
• Fails to obtain information from beneficiaries, lien holders, insurance companies, or lenders in a timely manner.
• Lets principals leave town without getting all necessary signatures.
• Loses or incorrectly prepares paperwork.
• Does not pass on valuable information quickly enough.
• Does not coordinate well, so that many items can be done simultaneously.
• Does not bend the rules on small problems.
• Does not find liens or any title problems until the last minute.
The Appraiser:
• Is not local and misunderstands the market.
• Is too busy to complete the appraisal on schedule.
• No comparable sales are available.
• Is not on the lender’s “approved list.”
• Makes important mistakes on appraisal and brings in value too low.
• Lender requires a second or “review” appraisal.
• Pest inspectors too busy to schedule inspection when needed.
• Pest inspectors too picky about condition of property, hoping to create work for them.
• Home inspectors not available when needed.
• Inspection reports alarm buyer and sale is cancelled.
Call us at 1-4047-800-0888 or email us for assistance or with any questions.

Sellers: Be sure to Evaluate Your Situation

Terry Riffe | March 24, 2015


Sellers, to truly evaluate your current situation, there are many questions that you must answer first:

~Why are you planning to sell your house?
~Do you need the money out of this house to make your move?
~Have you been approved for the mortgage on the new home?
~How fast do you have to be in your new location?
~Are housing costs higher or lower there?
~What is the time schedule for your plan?

Failing to take a hard, serious look at the condition of your home.

Often times as we live in a house we “live with” minor inconveniences that we intend to fix “someday”.  It is not unusual to not notice conditions that are glaringly obvious to a buyer.

~How old is your roof, AC unit, hot water heater?
~Has your septic system been pumped and fully inspected within the last 2 years?
~Have you had any improvements done to the house without permits & inspections?
~Carpets worn, paint faded?

Any of these conditions that are noticed by the buyer or found during the home inspection may make the buyer bypass your house & buy another. A good Realtor® will take a critical inspection of your home & make recommendations.

 Failing to properly ‘Screen’ your Realtor.

~The quality of your home selling experience is dependent upon your skill at selecting the best-qualified agent.
~It’s interesting that in the real estate business someone with many successfully closed transactions usually costs the same as someone who is inexperienced.
~Bringing that experience to bear on your transaction could mean a better price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and reducing the number of hassles.
~Your agent should be a skilled, win-win negotiator!

Failing to get Pre-Approved for the Home Loan on the next home.

~Don’t waste hours searching for a home that is not in your price range!
~Save time and money by pre-approved for a loan.
~This process is simple. A lender will ask you basic questions concerning your income, assets and credit & determine your buying power.
~In today’s market, a pre-approval can be a powerful negotiating tool. Many owners will not accept an offer without a pre-approval.
~If there is more than one offer on the same house, the pre-approved buyer has the advantage.
~You deserve peace of mind & negotiating power by getting an approved loan before you make an offer.

Pricing the Home Incorrectly.

~Whether a house is priced too high or too low, it can cost you thousands of dollars.
~Obviously a house priced too low will net you less cash at closing.
~However, a house priced too high will take longer to sell.
~The house that sells today is the best one on the market in the price range. The sale of a house is a competitive enterprise. Ask your Realtor® to show you what homes you are competing against.
~The saddest sign anyone can put on a sign rider is “Price Reduced.” That means the house was not priced right in the first place. The buyers will ask, “If the price was wrong, what else is wrong?”

Failing to obtain a Home Inspection from a Qualified Inspector.

~A home inspector reports on the structural and mechanical condition of the home. A well-qualified inspector who has adhered to federal licensing standards can spot problems that you might not be able to see.
~Expect problems to be clearly explained, repair expenses closely calculated, maintenance costs estimated, and a written report delivered within a day or two.
~Most-contracts are contingent upon the outcome of several inspections.
~These problems must be corrected or the buyer has every right to cancel the contract.
~Getting an inspection up front can save money by giving you time to shop for the best repair price instead of being under pressure to get repairs done immediately.

Not knowing your Rights and Obligations.

~The contract for sale and purchase is a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can cause the sale to fall through or cost you thousands of dollars for repairs, inspections, and remedies for title defects.
~Some real estate companies require a “Seller’s Disclosure” form to be filled out when the property is listed.
~It is your Realtors job to know the laws governing real estate transactions. They are involved in an on-going training program to keep up to date with these laws.
~You deserve to have an agent who is not only knowledgeable about the transaction but is also willing to educate you throughout the process so you will feel more comfortable.

Not knowing how much their credit history can affect their ability to buy a home.

~Before you buy a home, many of the problems on your credit history can be cleared up or even eliminated. Your mortgage professional can help you review and prepare your credit file in advance.

Basing their asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value.

~Many times, people make their pricing decisions based on how much they paid or invested into their home. This can be an expensive mistake.
~Overpriced homes take longer to sell and eventually net the seller less money.
~Consult with a professional real estate agent. They can assist you in pricing your home correctly from the beginning.

 Failing to “showcase” their home.

~First impressions are the most important.
~Experience shows that for every $100 in repairs that your home needs, a buyer will deduct $300-$500 from their offer.
~Thoroughly clean and prepare your home before you put it on the market if you want top dollar.

Signing a listing contract with no way out.

~Most traditional real estate agents want you to sign a listing contract with no way out.
~When you list you home with Orlando Vacation Realty, if you are not happy with our service, you can cancel the listing agreement.

Choosing the wrong agent or choosing them for the wrong reasons.

~Many homeowners list their home with the agent who works for the biggest company.
~You need to choose the agent with the best marketing plan and track record to sell your home.

Not knowing all of their legal rights and obligations.

*Real estate law is complex. The contract that you will sign when selling your home is legally binding.
*Small items that are neglected in a contract can wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
*You need to consult a knowledgeable, professional who understands the ins and outs of a real estate transaction.

Using a real estate agent instead of a Realtor®.

~When you’re looking for help buying or selling property, it’s important to remember that the terms “real estate agent” and Realtor®” are not synonymous.
~Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which is a non-profit trade organization that promotes real estate information, education and professional standards.
~The NAR also has earned a strong reputation for actively championing private property rights and working to make homeownership affordable and accessible.
~NAR members adhere to a strict code of ethics founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service to all consumers.

Complacent marketing when selling a home.

~When selling your home there are no guarantees that the ultimate buyer of your home will have simply walked through the front door.
~Effective marketing will help ensure that your property receives maximum exposure to attract a ready, willing and able buyer in the shortest period of time.
~Ask your Realtor® to list for you all of the ways he/she intends to market your home and on what time-line.
~Make sure your agent has an Aggressive Internet Marketing Campaign.

Taking for granted the “curb appeal” of your home.

~When you’re preparing your house for sale, remember the importance of first impressions. A buyer’s first impression can make or break whether they even want to go inside for a look.
~It is estimated that more than half of all houses are sold before the buyers even get out of their cars. With that in mind, be sure to stand outside of your home and take a realistic “fresh look” and then ask yourself what can be done to make the “curb appeal” improve.
~Also ask your Realtor’s opinion as to how to improve the curb appeal. It could make a huge difference in your final sales price.

 Forgetting about health and safety issues.

~Be upfront and disclose to your Realtor® any problems with the property. The problems are going to be discovered anyway.
~A decade ago, health and safety issues were rarely a part of the typical real estate transaction. Today, however, it’s common for inspections relating to health, safety, and even environmental concerns to be a part of most sales contracts.
~In many states, the seller must disclose to the buyer any knowledge of existing property problems.

 Not thinking like a prospective Buyer.

~Remember that although people can be different in personality, they tend to be the same when it comes to expectations at someone else’s expense.
~In other words, a prospective buyer would probably like to see a perfect home from top to bottom, inside and out, when it comes to your home.

Try to do as many of the following items as possible to improve the likelihood of an expedient home sale:

On the Inside:

1) The kitchen and bathroom should shine.

2) Quick once-over with the vacuum; carpets should be clean.

3) Place fresh flowers in the main rooms.

4) Put dishes away, unless setting a formal display for decoration.

5) Make all beds and put all clothes away.

6) Open drapes and turn on lights for a brighter feel.

7) Straighten closets.

8) Put toys away.

9) Turn off television.

10) Play soft music on the radio/stereo.

11) Keep pets out of the way and pet areas clean and odor-free.

12) Secure jewelry, cash, prescription medication and other valuables.

13) Enhance the spaciousness of each room.

On the Outside:

1) Sweep front walkway.

2) Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.

3) Park extra cars away from the property.

4) Trim back the shrubs.

5) Apply fresh, clean paint throughout.

6) Clean windows and window coverings throughout.

7) Keep plumbing and all appliances in working order.

8) Maintain all sealant (window, tub, shower, sink, etc.) in good condition.

9) Make sure roof and gutters are clean and in good condition.

10) Mow the lawn frequently and plant flowers.

11) Keep pet areas clean.

Being Home when a Buyer Tours the Property.

~You will be better served if you allow your Realtor® to do their job without you there.
~Most potential buyers usually feel more comfortable if they can speak freely to the real estate professional without the owners being present.
~If people unaccompanied by an agent request to see your property, you should refer them to your real estate professional for an appointment.

Not knowing how to price your home to sell.

~Perhaps the most challenging aspect of selling a home is listing it at the correct price.
~Listing the home too high can be as bad as too low. If the listing price is too high, you’ll miss out on a % of buyers looking in the price range where your home should be.
~It is a flaw in thinking that you’ll always have the opportunity to accept a lower offer.
~Chances are the offers won’t even come in, because the buyers who would be most interested in your home have been scared off by the price and aren’t even taking the time to look.

 Not planning your move early enough.

~Many sellers simply don’t plan their move early enough and then feel totally overwhelmed at the time of moving out of the house.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ~If you are able to move at any time of the year, don’t wait until summer, the peak-moving season. Consider also that the 1st & last few days of the month are extra busy.                                                                                                                                                       ~Keep a record of all expenses related to the move, some of which may be tax deductible. Fill out the Personal Household Inventory for each room.

The following list includes items that might fall into this category:

Art Collections
China Collections
Computer Equipment
Oriental Rugs
Stones or Gems
TVs or Stereos

Unless you have been given a binding moving estimate where a firm cost is established in advance, the exact cost of a move cannot be determined until after the shipment has been loaded on the van & weighed. The weight on which charges are based is calculated by weighing the van before & after loading. The total cost of the move will include transportation charges, any charges for declared valuation, plus charges for any extra services performed at your request.

Using a “Convenient” Realtor® rather than using an “Experienced” Realtor®.

~It’s critical that you have full confidence in that agent’s experience and education.
~A skilled, knowledgeable agent should be able to explain to you exactly why your home needs to be priced at a certain level.
~Experienced agents also know exactly what the current pool of buyers is looking for in relation to particular styles and price ranges of properties.
~A skilled agent can recommend changes that will enhance the salability of your home, thus increasing the price – and/or decreasing the length of time before a sale.

Not Preparing Your Home to Look Attractive To Buyers.

~Your home is competing with many more homes in the area.
~Buyers buy on emotion, not logic. The best marketing program in the world can only bring lots of buyers into your home – it can’t make them like the home.

Signing a Long-Term Listing without a Written, Specific Performance Guarantee and Easy-Exit Clause.

~Don’t rely on verbal promises. Make sure that you receive a written promise stating that you can cancel without charge if the performance is other than what was promised.

 Not Obtaining Written Pre-Approval for a New Home Loan for Your New Home.

~Nothing is more heartbreaking than to sell your home and find your new dream home, only to find that you can’t obtain financing for the dream home.

Call us 1-407-800-0888 or email  for more details or with any questions.


How to Beat other Buyers to New Hot Properties

Terry Riffe | March 23, 2015

beat other buyers


How to Beat Other Buyers to New Hot Properties

*Are you missing the “HOT” listings?

*How do you know that you’re not missing out on the perfect house?

*How do you know that you’re being shown everything you want to see?

*Why are the good homes sold before you find out about them?

If you’re looking for a home, you may have been calling real estate companies and attending open houses. You may even have some agents sending you information on some homes. If you’re calling on ads and visiting open houses, you probably will miss out on the perfect home. Nice homes, priced fairly (called “Hot Listings”) usually sell quickly, often within a week.

Do you have computers working for you?

*With our FREE Automated Buyer Search, our computers match homes that meet your exact specifications & automatically email them to you.

*You’ll know about new listings as they are entered into the Multiple Listing Service (often 4 to 7 days before other buyers know about these homes – and a week or more before these homes are advertised or held open).

No matter what budget or style of home you want, we’ll find it for you!

You tell us what homes you like and we will make private showing arrangements, at your convenience, for any home, anywhere, listed by any Real Estate company.

We specialize in helping buyers find the best homes at the lowest prices! Call us 1-407-800-0888 or email us  and put us to work right now!


Seller: How to Get Top Dollar for your Home

Terry Riffe | March 19, 2015

Sellers: How to get Top Dollar for your Home


For the Seller: How to Get the TOP Dollar for your Home

The best chance for selling your property is within the first seven weeks. Studies show that the longer a property stays on the market, the less the seller will net.

Listed below are the 5 main factors to accomplishing this goal:

1. Pricing Factor

~It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value right when you list it.

~The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell.

~It’s interesting, but your first offer is usually your best offer.

Here are reasons for pricing your property at the market value right from the start in order to net you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time…

An Overpriced Home:

* Minimizes offers,

* Lowers showings,

* Lowers agent response,

* Limits financing,

* Limits qualified buyers,

* Nets less for the seller.

~80% of the marketing is done when we decide on what price to list your home.

~If you are unwilling to list at current market value, you would be better off not putting it on the market at this time.

2. Cleanliness Factor

~Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanness or odor when buying a home. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they do not adequately clean.

~If your house is squeaky clean, you will be able to sell your home faster and net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more.

~If you are planning on moving, why not get rid of that old junk now so that your house will appear larger? Make more space & remove clutter from counter-tops.

~Odors must be eliminated especially if you have dogs, cats, or young children in diapers or if you are a smoker. You may not notice the smell, but the buyers do!

~Most agents have a difficult time communicating to their sellers about odor. If you employ an agent to get the most amount of money for you, please don’t take offense if he must confront you about odor problems.

3. Access Factor

~Top selling agents will not show your home if both the key & access are not readily available.  Lockboxes are the best way to accomplish accessibility.

~They do not have time to run around town all day picking up and dropping off keys.

~They want to sell homes! The greatest way to show a house is to have a key!

When your home is being shown, please do the following:

* Keep all lights on,

* Keep all drapes and shutters open,

* Keep all doors unlocked,

* Leave soft music playing,

* Take a short walk with your children and pets,

* Let the buyer be at ease and let the agents do their job.

4. Paint & Carpet Factor

~Paint is your best improvement investment for getting a greater return on your money. Paint makes the whole house smell clean and neat.

~If your house has chipped paint, exposed wood, or the paint looks faded, it is time to paint.

~If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color, you may need to seriously consider replacing it. Many houses do not sell because of this problem.

~Don’t think that buyers have more money than you have to replace carpet. They don’t. They will simply buy elsewhere.

5. Curb Appeal Factor

~Your front yard immediately reflects the inside condition of your house to the buyer.

~People enjoy their yards. Make certain that the trees are trimmed so the house can be seen from the street. Have the grass mowed, trimmed and edged.

~Walkways should be swept. Clean away debris. Remove parked cars. This all adds to curb appeal. If a buyer doesn’t like the outside, they may not stop to see the inside.

Call us 1(407)800-0888 or email for more details or with any questions.


Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Terry Riffe | March 16, 2015

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyer Tips:

Buying a home can seem like a frightening prospect, especially for first time home buyers. Since this is your first home purchase, you may feel overwhelmed as so much is at stake — your savings, your credit rating, your financial freedom.

You need to prepare a game plan for your real estate venture, how to research effectively, choose wisely, finance appropriately and survive the whole procedure with your smile intact.

7 Steps for Success:

1. Establish your needs and wants – your Property requirements.

*Begin your search for a perfect home by making a careful assessment of the kind of a home you need and want. I recommend that you take the time to do this in writing. Take time, right now, to be as specific as you can about your particular requirements.

2. Determine how much you can afford.

*Set up a budget for yourself. Decide how much you can really afford to invest monthly for your house payment. Be realistic here. Most Lenders want your payment to be no more than 28% of your total monthly income.

3. Get ”Pre-approved” by a Lender.

*You can save yourself a lot of time and heartache by meeting with a Lender before you start your search for a home.

*A Lender will let you know what specific loan programs would be best for you, based on your income, debts, assets & credit history.

*Apply for a loan to obtain a “Pre-Approval”.  This means that your loan is approved up to a certain dollar amount.  You will be provided with an estimated monthly mortgage payment and anticipated closing costs based on this loan amount.

*The next step is finding a home that also qualifies for the loan.

4. Find a good REALTOR to help you.

*You can learn a lot about an agent by just letting them discuss with you how they help buyers. Within a few minutes, you will probably be able to determine if their style is compatible with yours.

*REALTORS are members of the National, State & Local Board of Realtors, which is a trade organization whose members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Professionalism.  Keep in mind that not all licensed agents are REALTORS!

Questions to ask agents:

*Are you knowledgeable about the location & price range that we are interested in? (Some agents specialize in only one area or one price range)

*Do you have the time to work with us? (This is especially important if you’re on a tight deadline or you feel that the agent is too busy)

*What procedure will the agent follow in working with you? How often will they update you with new property listings?

*Can you represent me as my Buyer’s Broker?

*Ask as many questions as you can upfront. By finding a good Realtor, you will save yourself huge amounts of time and effort.

5. Find a home that meets your needs.

*Keep an organized record of all your research data. Write down comments about the homes that you see. Keep track of your likes and dislikes.

*Make sure your agent is aware of your time schedule and expectations. Do you like to look at one or two homes in a session? Four? Eight? Discuss this with your agent.

*Express your likes and dislikes to your agent after you tour each home. Honest communication is essential. Many buyers are shy and afraid to tell an agent what they really think of a house. They think the agent might take it personally. Remember, the homes don’t belong to the agent! You must be straightforward about your likes and dislikes in order for the agent to do the best job possible for you.

6. Make an offer to buy a home.

*Your Realtor can prepare your offer to buy the home that you want. Typically, agents are “Transaction Brokers” which means that they can represent both parties in the transaction.  Ethically, they cannot represent either party exclusively to the detriment of the other party.  For example, if they already represent a Seller, they would inform the Buyer to make their best offer and present it to the Seller.  If you did not represent the Seller, the agent could represent the Buyer exclusively as a “Buyer’s Broker”.

7. Save as much as you can on the Purchase.

There are 2 numbers that are important when buying a home. These are the Initial Investment (which includes down payment and closing costs) and the Monthly Payment (which includes Principal, Interest, Property Taxes and Insurance).

Here are 5 ways to save on your Initial Investment:

*Choose a low down payment loan. You do not necessarily have to put 20% or even 10% down. You can pay 5% or even 3% down on FHA loans. Qualified US Veterans can obtain zero down payment VA loans.

*Have someone give you money (Gift funds) to pay closing costs. A blood relative, church or nonprofit organization can give you money for closing costs.

*Ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs as part of your offer. Sellers are usually allowed to contribute to a Buyer’s closing costs.

*Shop around for your home insurance. A little shopping can save you money.

*You can deduct money paid for discount points from your gross income before computing your income taxes. See a CPA for more information.

Here are 4 ways to keep you monthly payments low:

*Get a loan that doesn’t have monthly mortgage insurance premiums. You may be able to reduce or eliminate them by paying a larger down payment. By putting 20% or more down, you can eliminate them entirely.

*Buy down the interest rate by paying more discount points (which is Prepaid Interest) upfront as part of your closing costs. It’s the principle of “Pay me now or Pay me later”.  The more that you pay upfront (Discount Points), the lower your Monthly Mortgage payment.

*Remember that interest payments and property taxes on a primary residential mortgage are fully deductible in most circumstances. The US tax code certainly favors homeowners over renters.

*Choose an adjustable rate mortgage (or ARM), which can be up to 3% lower than fixed rates.

Now that you have finished this report, it’s time to go out and find the home of your dreams! Call us 1-407-800-0888 or email us at  for assistance or with any questions.

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home

Terry Riffe | March 9, 2015

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home

7 Important Reasons to Own Your Own Home

You’ve probably seen lots of financial arguments about why you should own your own home rather than rent. This includes budgeting (no rent increases) and the tax savings you’ll most likely have. Now I’m going to give you some reasons you probably haven’t heard.

1. Freedom to pursue other goals in life once the major goal of home ownership is achieved.

*Strange as it sounds, many of our first-time buyers have told us that once they bought the house, other things in their life started to fall into place. It’s as if not owning took so much of their mental energy that other goals were not worked on until that big goal was reached.

*So buy a home and get on with your life!

2. A greater sense of belonging to the community.

*Once you own a home, you feel more attached to the city in which you live. You’re more interested in what happens in town, to the roads, schools, and shopping areas.

*Some people even become involved in local politics.

3. A commitment to something, a sense of stability.

*Home ownership is an anchor, something that cannot be pulled out from under you.

*You’ll never get a notice that you have to move.

*Your kids will never have to change schools.

*It gives you freedom to plan years ahead.

4. You can change things, a feeling of being in control.

*It’s your home. You can add to it, remodel it, and redo the landscaping…do whatever projects you want.

*You have a feeling of being in control of something in your life. At work we don’t always have control of what happens, but your home is your castle and you have dominion over it.

*You can see what you’re building take shape before your eyes.

5. More control over the children than in an apartment complex.

*In a neighborhood, kids usually play in the yards or go to friend’s houses a few doors away.

*Our clients have told us that in an apartment complex they never knew where the kids were. They could be in any of hundreds of apartments, doing who knows what.

*In a home you get to know the neighbors and watch out for each other’s kids.

6. Children do better in school and feel more secure.

*This one surprised us, but buyers have reported to us that their kids calmed down in school after they bought a house. We don’t know why, but it seems to work that way.

*We remember a single mom watching her son play in the yard, making steps in the slope and building things. She didn’t have to tell him to leave everything alone, like she did at the apartment complex.

*I guess kids feel the same need for control we adults do.

7. Time and money saved by not going to the laundromat.

*A small point, but if you have kids, you know the value of this one. You gain a whole evening a week when you buy a house!

*The wash gets done in between other things, or while you’re at work.

*What would you do with the extra evening you’ll have? How about going out for dessert with your spouse with all those quarters?

Call us 1-407-800-0888, 1-863-424-3580 or email us at  for more details or with any questions.


Emerald Island Vacation Home for Sale

Terry Riffe | March 5, 2015

Beautiful, executive Emerald Island vacation home for sale!Emerald Island Executive Vacation Home

Don’t miss out on this beautiful, executive, professionally decorated Emerald Island vacation home that comes with a full calendar of high end bookings if the buyer would like to stay with management, bookings can be moved if needed. This gorgeous 7bedroom/6 bath home is the perfect vacation or investment home in the upscale resort community Emerald Island. Pool and spa is southeast facing for your tanning pleasure. Games room includes pool table. Emerald Island is a resort community which features clubhouse with pool, spa with hot tub, sauna, steam room and gym. The beautifully landscaped grounds also has a children’s play area adjacent to the Clubhouse and a trail for walking, jogging or biking winds through the communities natural woodland setting. This home is perfectly located and has the privacy in the back as it overlooks conservation and water. Gorgeously decorated by interior decorator. Fully furnished and ready to go!

For more information on this home, or other vacation homes in the Disney area, contact me at (407) 800-0888 or email .

5 Powerful Home Buying Strategies

Terry Riffe | March 4, 2015


Here are 5 powerful home buying strategies that you should consider before purchasing you new house…

1. Don’t Get “Prequalified”, Get “Pre-Approved”

*Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or a quicker closing date are critical to a seller.

*The way to make a strong offer today is to get “PRE-APPROVED”. This happens AFTER all information has been checked and verified. You are actually approved for the loan and the only loose end is the appraisal on the property.

*The “Pre-Approval: is very powerful and a weapon I recommend all of my clients have in their negotiating arsenal.

2. Sell first, Then Buy

*If you have a house to sell, sell it before selecting a house to buy! If you don’t sell first, the seller may figure that’s a  risky deal, since he might pass up a buyer who doesn’t have to sell a house while he’s waiting for you. So he says, OK, he’ll do the contingency, buy it has to be a full price offer! So you see, you paid more for the house than you could have because of the contingency.

*Now you have to sell your existing house, and in a hurry! Otherwise, you lose the dream house! so, to sell quickly you might take an offer that’s lower than if you had more time.

*The bottom line is that buying before selling might cost you tens of thousands of dollars. I always recommend that you sell first, then buy.

3. Play the Game of Nines

*Before house hunting, make a list of nine things you want in the new place. Then make a list of the nine things you don’t want. I call this “nine of this and none of that”.

*You can use this list as a scorecard to rate each property that you see. the one with the biggest score wins! this helps avoid confusion and keeps things in perspective when you’re comparing dozens of homes.

*When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between “skin and bones”. The bones are the things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, noise in the area, school district, and floor plan. the skin represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wall paper, color, and window coverings. buy the house with good bones, because the skin can always be changed to match your taste.

*I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house as if it were vacant. Consider each house on it’s underlying merits, not the seller’s decorating skills.

4. Don’t Be Pushed Into any House

*Your agent should show you everything available that meets your requirements. Don’t make a decision on a house until you feel that you’ve seen enough to pick the best one. Review the MLS printout with your agent to make sure that you are getting a complete list.

*In the early 2000’s, homes were selling quickly, usually a few days after listing. In that kind of market, agents advised their clients to make an offer ‘on the spot’ if they liked the house. That was good advice at the time.

*Today there isn’t always this urgency, unless a home is drastically underpriced, and you’ll know if it is. Don’t forget to check into the school districts of the area you’re considering. Information is available on every school; such as class sizes, percent of students that go on to college, SAT scores, etc. You can get this information from your agent or directly from the school.

5. Stop Calling Ads!

*A word of caution – some agents create ads solely to make the phone ring. Many of the homes have some drawback that’s not mentioned in the as, such as traffic noise, power lines, or litigation in the community. What’s not mentioned in the ad is usually more important than what is.

*Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you. The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about.

*So whether you decide to work with us or not, pick an agent you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer’s broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you are no longer just a shopper.

For more information, or to speak with me personally, please call 1 (407) 800-0888, at the office 1 (863) 424-3580 or email me at .