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Buying and Selling at the Same Time

keysinhandUnless you are a first time buyer or seller, there are likely two sides to your real estate experience. If you’re selling, you may be looking for something to buy, and if you’re buying you probably have something to sell. Timing is everything! The following tips will help you along your process:

  • Are you in a financial position to purchase a house before selling your current property? If not, talk to your financial institution about a bridge loan. This temporary loan (no more than 6 months) usually provides for interest-only payments.
  • Will you have temporary shelter if you sell the home before you finalize the purchase of another? Investigate options such as renting back from the new owners for a short period of time, renting an apartment, staying at a hotel or staying with friends or with relatives. The best option will depend on the specifics of your transactions and your financial standings. Don’t forget to think about storage and moving options for your belongings.
  • How will the timing of the move or moves interrupt daily activities? Don’t forget to provide your child’s school, your employer or other important relationships with your contact information and your expected length of stay.

Ideally, you’d like both the sale and purchase closing dates to be as close as possible. Contact me at 407-312-2191 to discuss the options to ensure you make the best choices throughout the process.

Three Questions to Ask About Homeowner Associations

homeowners_associationHomeowner associations (HOA) are becoming more and more popular, whether you’re looking for a townhouse, a gated community or even an ordinary neighborhood. When part of an HOA, you pay monthly dues or fees for services that could include trash removal, upkeep of common areas, water and sewage, and even pest control. Make sure you learn everything you can about your particular HOA before you buy. Here are some important questions to ask:

Can you live with their rules?

Most HOAs have a website and list their rules online. If you can’t find the information, I would be happy to help you obtain the information. If the rules are too restrictive or you don’t agree with all of them, it’s time to consider buying elsewhere.

What are the fees?

HOA fees will differ across communities. Find out what the initial fees or dues are and how often they increase. What do these fees cover? You’ll want to know exactly where your money is going.

What happens at the meetings?

It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the minutes or to sit in on an association meeting before you buy. Find out about past and current conflicts and the process for resolving typical problems. This may give you the best sense of the type of association you’ll be dealing with.

I am dedicated to helping you find the home that suits your unique needs. Contact me anytime at 407-312-2191 if you, your family or friends are thinking of buying or selling a home.

Should you get an inspection before selling your home?


Home inspections can make or break a sale for prospective buyers.
Your house could be someone’s dream home, but then the inspection
reveals problems that require pricey repairs. Instead of waiting for the
buyer’s inspection, consider getting a home inspection before selling.
A pre-inspection helps to eliminate surprises and better prepares you
for the selling process to come. Here are a few reasons to perform an
inspection before listing your home.

Plan ahead for repairs

When home inspections reveal red flags, you need to decide between fixing the problem and leaving it for future owners to handle. If you wait for the buyer’s inspection to discover the issue, you may be left with little time to plan your next move. Performing a home inspection before selling can give you ample time to explore your options. If you decide to fix defects based on the home inspection report, you can take your time and ensure the repairs are done correctly.

Save time and money during the selling process

In addition to giving you more time to fix issues, a pre-inspection could lead to a shortened selling process. Since houses with fewer problems tend to sell faster, fixing the problems revealed in the pre-inspection before you list could make your house more desirable on the market. With the issues already taken care of, there may be less of a reason for buyers to negotiate a drastically lower price.

Build trust with prospective buyers

A pre-inspection allows you to assure prospective buyers that the listing price for the house considers its current condition. If issues are found during the pre-inspection, you’ll be able to tell buyers ahead of time so they won’t be surprised during their own inspection. This can garner trust between you and the potential buyers, giving you a leg up on the competition.

Although pre-inspections are an additional cost, they’re a beneficial tool for home sellers. To better prepare yourself for the selling process ahead, consider performing an inspection before listing your home.

Would you like to know your home’s value in today’s market? Click here for a free home valuation.

Spring Home Care Tips

You can keep your home in top shape with simple tasks throughout the year. This month, be sure to:


  • Take a look at your lawn mower and give it a quick tune up
  • Examine the exterior foundation grading/slope and ensure water moves away from your home. If water is collecting near the house, you’ll want to get things fixed right away.
  • Drain approximately 2 gallons from your water heater to eliminate sediment.
  • Examine, repair and replace caulk and grout around your tubs and showers.
  • Service your kitchen disposal by grinding several cups of ice cubes.
  • Vacuum your bathroom vent covers.
  • Test you smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Clean your clothes dryer vent duct.
  • Vacuum your bathroom vent covers
  • Replace or clean your furnace filter.
  • Clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils to keep it operating efficiently.
  • Clean around your air conditioning compressor and make sure that it gets sufficient air flow.

Would you like to know how much your home is worth? Click here for a free home valuation.

As always, I appreciate referrals from my friends and past clients. If you know of anyone who is looking to buy or sell real estate, please send them my way!

How to fill that new empty room your college student left behind

empty_nest_exBecoming an empty nester comes with lots of dramatic changes. From a quieter house to less cooking and laundry, it can be an adjustment. You may miss your college-bound child dearly, but an empty room has so much potential.

Here are some ideas to help you fill the unoccupied space:

Guest room
With most of their belongings gone, you can clean the room and add a few items to create a cozy space for any and all visitors. And chances are good that your son or daughter will need a place to sleep when they come home on holidays and breaks.

Home office
A space dedicated to paying bills, maintaining the budget or working from home can make your life a lot more organized. With only a desk, computer and swivel chair, you can turn any room into a productive zone in no time.

Hobby room
If you’ve always wanted a place where you can get your creative juices flowing, now’s your chance. Add some organizational items like cabinets, counter space and a chair and you’ll have a place to draw, bead, scrapbook and craft. The possibilities can be endless.

Workout room
All you need is a treadmill, elliptical and a couple of free weights for a functional home gym. You won’t even need to leave the house to squeeze in your workout.

For more ideas, or information on homebuying or selling, call Valerie Reece, Realtor at 407-312-2191.

5 must-haves for your seasonal home-maintenance checklist

FallMaintAs the summer heat fades and we transition into fall, it’s a good time to take a check of your home and see what can be improved. Do you have a seasonal home-maintenance checklist? This can be a great way for you to keep your home up to date without letting an important chore slip through the cracks.

When creating your checklist this season, don’t forget to include the following:

Replace the filter(s) on your home heating and cooling system to keep the air in your home clean and freely flowing.

Clean and examine bathroom vent fans to keep them running efficiently and quietly.

When was the last time you cleaned your range hood, filter and fan? Use a citrus-based cleaner to cut through the grease.

Vacuum your refrigerator coils. When the coils get dirty, your fridge runs less efficiently.

Check the driveway and pavement for cracks and make plans to have them resealed before winter.

Don’t be that house on the block with the overgrown yard, peeling paint and home-improvement list a mile long. Creating a checklist can help put your home maintenance on auto-pilot so you won’t forget the details.

What type of return will I see on installing new windows?

Ever heard the suggestion that new windows will increase the value of your home? Of course you have and it’s typically true. Whether you plan to stay in your house for years or you want to sell tomorrow, new windows offer amazing financial benefits.

So how mwindowuch?

The answer depends on the type of windows you install, but according to Energy Star, homeowners who install Energy Star-rated windows save up to $500 a year on their heating and cooling costs. These savings come simply from making the home more energy efficient and require no lifestyle changes at all. It’s also worth noting that you may also benefit from a 10% green energy tax credit if you install Energy Star-rated windows. Additional credits may be available depending on which state you live in and any promotions being offered by your local utility.

That’s great for those who plan to stay in the home, but what if you want to sell? Well, many agree that installing new windows likely adds real value to your home. According to HGTV, homeowners who install new windows can expect to recoup 60-90% of their investment in energy-efficient windows. You’ll be making your home more appealing and perhaps getting some of your money back as well. It’s win-win.

You can learn more about savings and rebates in your area by visiting the Energy Star Rebate Finder website.

The Power of Curb Appeal


When it comes time to sell your home, never doubt the power of curb appeal.

Even in this digital age when there are images of your home all over the Internet, there’s still no substitute for what buyers can see with their own two eyes. And if buyers see a home that looks much more drab in real life than they saw in the pictures, they’ll walk inside with a negative opinion that’s hard to change.

To keep buyers positive from the moment they pull up until they get through the front door and beyond, start by focusing on curb appeal. Cut the grass, trim the bushes and keep the yard in top shape. You don’t want your home to scream “massive project,” after all.

You can also boost your home’s curb appeal with strategically placed flowers, particularly in the southern states, where the warm weather lasts until late fall. The right flowers provide that perfect spot of color and let potential buyers know they should love your house just as much as you do. Here are 6 flowers and plants any home seller should consider planting when trying to improve a home’s curb appeal.

  1. Violets. Purple catches a person’s attention immediately, and no flower does it better than the aptly named violet. Use violets to create a border around any flower bed for an amazing look.
  2. Geraniums. What could be better than colorful blooms on display all summer long? Well, how about the fact that their scent is a natural mosquito repellant, meaning your house will look great and be bug-free at the same time.
  3. Hostas. Okay, these aren’t technically flowers, but they flower just the same. They’re also a durable plant that makes a great addition to any garden bed.
  4. Petunias. If you’re looking to add a splash of color to a hanging basket, petunias are a great choice. Petunias are also available in a wide variety of colors so you can pick the shade that best complements your home.
  5. Vincas. Beds are full and hanging baskets are done. Now for that walkway, don’t look any further than vincas. These durable little flowers are the perfect small statement to complement any walkway and add that little extra splash of color.
  6. Roses. Yes, they have a short blooming period, but this is an iconic flower that anyone will recognize. Hold showings during their peak season and they will certainly make a positive impact.

Autism warning signs – what to look for

While clear indications of autism are often evident to professionals by the age of two, some children may not get a definitive diagnosis until years later.

Knowing the warning signs that a child MAY have Autism Spectrum Disorder will help you determine if you should seek advice from your pediatrician, and/or a specialist. If you have any concerns at all, you should consult your child’s physician. Read the rest of this entry »

Concerned about autism?

autism_graphicEvery child develops differently. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if your child is developing quickly or if he or she is struggling with skills that seem to come easy for children of the same age. It can be especially hard to guess if the child is the first born, or is an only child. Read the rest of this entry »

About The Author
I'm Valerie Reece, Realtor with Century 21 Carioti in Orlando. My husband, Peter is also a Realtor with Century 21 Carioti and we work as a team to service the needs of home buyers and sellers throughout Central Florida and abroad.


Vjordanreece@gmail.com SeminoleOrangeRealty.com