Buying New Construction? Why Use A Realtor?

Should You Use A Real Estate Agent To Buy New Construction In Central Florida?

When looking for a home to buy, you must first decide if you want to buy an existing home or buy a new one. If you decide on buying new construction, you can then decide if you want to use a realtor to help you on this venture.

Here in Florida, there is no rule that requires someone to involve a real estate agent when buying a home whether it’s new or resale.

However, If you look at the pros and cons of using a realtor when buying, the pros will ALWAYS outweigh the cons. Developers can be tough negotiators and try bullying tactics on you so it’s nice to have someone in your corner to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Here’s a list of some of the top reasons why using a real estate agent can save you time, money, and a whole lot of aggravation when buying a new construction property.


There’s a common misconception that when you work directly with the developer’s rep, you can save a lot of money. This is absolutely false. Think about it for a minute… Do you think that the builders representative is looking out for your best interest or their employer’s best interest? it’s common sense… the rep is going to try and work the best deal they can to benefit the builder…not the buyer!

Not having representation in any real estate transaction whether it’s new construction or not is just a bad idea all around.

An experienced realtor knows how to ask the right questions. Having a buyer’s agent to buy an existing home is extremely important but having an agent with experience in new construction is absolutely critical…

Here are a few questions you can ask a real estate agent to make sure they are experienced with new construction homes.

  • How many new construction homes have you sold recently?
  • Do have a list of lenders that specialize in new construction loans?
  • Why should I hire YOU to buy a new construction home?

Negotiation Skills

Having an experienced buyer’s agent on your team can help you avoid getting ripped off when buying new construction. Buying any new construction home can get expensive real fast. Builders will typically advertise their “Plain Jane” model with no upgrades so that they can mention their cheapest price on a home.

The nice thing about buying a brand new home is the capability to make it your own. However, the more you customize and upgrade it, the more expensive it becomes. Another good reason to hire a Realtor when buying a new construction home is their ability to negotiate for you. Most of the time builders have a list of prices for changes to the floor plans, upgrades, lot sizes, etc.

Contingencies and Inspections

There are many reasons why it’s important to have an existing home inspected, but it’s also to have a new home inspected…, Yes, even if it’s a brand spanking new!

If your Realtor has experience with new construction, they will know exactly what inspections to recommend to you. Builders are humans and humans make mistakes so you have to make sure that your brand new home was built properly. The only to do that with a new home is to have a thorough inspection[s] performed by a credible home inspector.

Could you imagine moving into your brand new home and immediately starting having problems? It can turn what should be a pleasurable experience into a complete nightmare!… This is just 1 example of a contingency on a real estate contract that a realtor would suggest to you.

Professional Recommendations on Upgrades

Buyers are generally given an allowance for items like cabinetry, floor coverings, countertops, fixtures, etc. Experienced Realtors will be able to guide you on what upgrades will actually increase the value as well as what today’s buyers typically look for in a home and why. The last thing you want to do as a new home buyer spends a lot of money on upgrades that won’t give you a return on your investment, especially when it comes time to sell the home.

Most buyers expect to live in their house forever, but the fact is that eventually you will either move…or die.
Assist In Finding A Lender & Financing Options

Your Buyers agent should be able to provide you with a shortlist of quality lenders that specialize in new construction loans. This type of financing is much different than obtaining a mortgage for an existing home. To start, not all lenders finance new construction. It is recommended that when buying a new home, you should try and use a local institution if possible.

Probably the biggest difference between traditional financing for an existing home and for a new construction build is the payment schedule. The lender makes periodic payments to the developer as the project progresses, also known as “draws”. Upon completion of the new home, the buyer will then get a new mortgage to pay off the construction loan.

As you can see, there are a lot of good reasons for hiring a realtor when buying new construction. Having strong representation when entering into a new home purchase is crucial to ensure that you get the best deal.

Still, have questions about buying a new construction home in Central FL? Visit us here or call 407-902-7750 for immediate assistance.

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Tips On Re-Habbing Homes In Orlando

Buying Homes In Orlando

When you buy an Orlando investment property that you intend to fix and flip, there are three different ways it can go. You either make a nice profit, you break even or you lose money.

Obviously, no one wants to lose money or break even because breaking even is also a loss when you consider the time and effort you spent on the project that you didn’t get compensated for.

Being an Orlando real estate agent as well as a seasoned investor, I’ve made every mistake you can possibly make by flipping homes in Orlando while learning some very valuable information along the way.  I’ve come up with some guidelines designed to help you decide if rehabbing houses is for you.

Buying The Right Property

It’s crucial that you start by buying the investment property at the right price. If you get this part wrong everything else will go wrong and you will lose money.

1st-time investors are sometimes soo excited about starting a project, that they end up paying too much money for a house or trying to turn a “non-deal” into a deal. I don’t care how much you wish and pray, there’s no arguing with the numbers.

I highly recommend enlisting the help of an experienced Orlando Realtor to help you acquire the right house.

Be Realistic With Yourself

For the do-it-yourselfers… make sure that you have the time, the skills, and the burning desire to get it done ASAP. People get pretty fired up watching these house flipping shows on TV, especially when they make it look soo fast and easy.  The truth is… it’s not that easy, it takes a lot longer than you think, and believing that it’s easy can get you in some serious hot water.

I’ve learned over the years that when you try to cut corners or go too cheap, it always ends up costing more money…ALWAYS!

 Even if you do intend to fix the property on your own, you should still get a few contractor estimates as a backup plan so that you know how much the repair will cost in case you happen to fall short with your own efforts.

 Time Is Money

Many newbie investors fail to calculate how much time a project will take correctly. The old saying “time is money” applies to rehabbing houses more than anything else I can think of. Your goal should be to get that property back on the market ASAP. If not, carrying costs alone will drain your profits dry and you’ll be lucky if you break even.

 Cost Of Repairs Or Materials

If you plan on having a professional contractor do the work, make sure that you meet and get estimates from at least 3 different contractors. Make sure they are licensed and insured [don’t take their word for it, research yourself] and ask them to provide you with references from some of their other clients.

If you’re still hell-bent on doing the work your self then your homework [no pun intended] is to seek out and price the material you will need to complete the project.

Whether you’ve decided on using a GC or doing the work yourself, add 15% to whatever you came up with for unforeseen problems.

Note: There are ALWAYS unforeseen problems!







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Cash Deals Dominate Orlando Real Estate In The First Quarter

An industry report from the last quarter of 2013 found that the state of Florida led the nation in cash sales for the year. Another more recent report released on May 7, shows that six months later too, cash is still king. Well, in the Orlando real estate market at least.

The residential real estate market of Metro Orlando was dominated by cash sales in the first quarter of 2014 – a claim all the top real estate agents in Orlando will confirm.

Over Half Of Orlando, Real Estate Buyers Prefer To Deal In Cash

In the last quarter, the sale of more than half of all the homes sold were cash deals. Standing tall at 56 percent, the percentage marks a significant increase from the number of cash deals struck last year. The percentage of cash-only sales jumped by four percent from the previous quarter and by a whopping 25 percent from the previous year.

Same time last year, cash-only residential real estate sales made up 31 percent of the total sales. Last quarter the percentage was 52 percent. The surge in all-cash sales was accompanied by a decrease in investment-based sales, however.

According to the report, the number of people who bought 10 properties or more, within 12 months, reduced from 8.2 percent in the last quarter to 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The number stood at 8.6 percent at the same time last year.

Osceola County led the four-county neighborhood with 60 percent cash deals on homes. The lowest in the group was Seminole County, with 47 percent cash deals.

Top Orlando Realtors Agree

Realtors in Orlando say the surge of cash deals in housing transactions could indicate strong buying sentiments from international buyers, like the Canadians. Cash buyers from up-North were also attracted by the cold winter this year, some real estate agents say. Such attention is largely unwanted because cash sales make it difficult for first-time buyers, who are typically reliant on mortgages, to compete in the buying market.

Further, the number of underwater homes was recorded to be significantly high in the Metro Orlando area. Underwater homes are those that are priced less than the mortgage owners owe on them. Another industry report has previously ranked Orlando fourth in the nation, in terms of financially underwater homes.

Though not good for the real estate industry, buyers could definitely make the best of the high percentage of underwater homes, which will typically cost them lesser than full valued homes. 

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SunRail Fuels Housing Development in Central Florida

More than 3600 housing projects get underway

In the month of May, we saw the $1.3 billion SunRail commuter system run its first lap and if the first couple of days of service is any indication, the new commuter rail system is going to be a Central-Florida favorite! With close to 10,000 commuters onboard each day, in the first few days, the ride exceeded expected traffic (average of 4,300 commuters a day) by epic proportions.

While a lot of it could be all the buzz about the new inauguration or the free rides that SunRail has been providing since Day 1, market watchers believe there is more to the enthusiasm than just the attraction of the new system. Local businesses, jobs, construction activity, and real-estate activity are expected to surge around the 12 stations and their neighborhoods.

Realtors In Orlando Eye Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development, popularly known as TOD is expected to dominate Central Florida and become the key driver of the Orlando real estate and construction industry. Enthusiasm can be seen in the market as Central Florida moves towards being deemed as a “rail city of North America” and Orlando realtors couldn’t be happier. Why?

Because TODs are associated with increased buying and selling activity. Between 2016 to 2018, industry hubs and TOD districts are going to spring up in large numbers but real estate agents will be able to see increased activity much before that, in the form of anticipatory purchases and real estate investments.

Neighborhoods around transit systems are typically good places to live and work. Savvy real estate buyers begin purchasing properties in advance – a decision that makes good financial sense since prices shoot up once the neighborhoods develop into hubs in full swing.

Does it mean it’s a good time for investors and first-time buyers to consider buying a property? According to most industry watchers, it is. Central Florida also has a lot underway for residential and commercial buyers, as well as local businesses and job-seekers.

Orlando home buyers to be served with a host of new opportunities

14 new construction starts, worth a total of $785 million are up and coming within a ten-minute walk from the 12 SunRail stations of the first phase. According to listing agents in Orlando, these include 1,150 residential units that Orlando buyers have already started investigating.

Further work on another 13 projects worth $765 million in total is expected to begin soon, including the construction of 2,680 residential units. Industry insiders suggest interested parties or first-time buyers who have been waiting for an opportunity to invest to begin contacting realtors since the units are expected to get sold fast.

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New Consumer Protection Rule Requires Lenders to Disclose Appraisals and Valuation Data to Mortgage Applicants

January 18th saw the kicking in of new appraisal disclosure regulations – strengthening the sentiment of prospective property buyers and sellers alike. This new consumer protection law may help the Orlando real estate market to bloom further and listing agents in Orlando and other emerging US real estate and property markets are looking forward to witnessing the change.

Under the new rule, prospective buyers have the right to demand and receive a free copy of the appraisals, reviews, and details of computer valuations used for their mortgage applications from their lenders.

And what does this mean for consumers? They can make use of increased information and insight about the processing of their mortgage applications to their advantage. For instance, homebuyers who feel they were unjustly denied an appraisal would now have better proof, more time, and stronger ammunition to challenge the erroneous appraisal.

Key aspects of the new disclosure rules

The new rules currently apply only to first loans. Home equity loans or second mortgages are not covered under the appraisal disclosure rule but reverse mortgages and construction loans fall in its jurisdiction.

Central Florida and Orlando realtors are hopeful the new rule will help buyers contest wrongful processing of mortgage applications and increase their purchase power.

Key features of the new rule include:

* Lenders must inform mortgage applicants that they would promptly receive a copy of any appraisal that is valued for them, within three days of receiving the mortgage application from the consumer.

* Consequently, lenders must provide free copies of such appraisals and valuations.

* They have until three days before the closure of the loan, to provide the free copies of appraisal reports, valuations, and other proceedings. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau however suggests reports to be sent as soon as they are completed, or three days before the loan is due to close, whichever comes earlier.

* This essentially means, home buyers are entitled to receiving their copy of the valuation and appraisal report, even if lenders fail to close their loans.

The Bureau provides lenders the option of asking a consumer to opt-out of the 3-day deadline. A consumer who agrees would thus receive his copy of the report at the time of closing of the mortgage. On the other hand, a customer who does not waive the deadline must be provided with his copy, within the stipulated time.

Orlando real estate agents feel the new law will help Orlando residents review the data used by the appraiser and contest faulty appraisals – increasing their confidence in seeking mortgages to purchase the property.

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