Goodwin Realty & Associates Founder, Linda Goodwin-Nichols, named to 2020 Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame

Goodwin Realty & Associates Founder, Linda Goodwin-Nichols, named to 2020 Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame

Goodwin Realty & Associates is proud to announce that our very own Founder and President, Linda Goodwin-Nichols, has been named as an inductee to Junior Achievement’s Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame honors forward-thinking entrepreneurs and accomplished community leaders for their contributions to the region’s economic development and their commitment to business excellence.

Linda founded, has been the owner of Goodwin Realty & Associates, Inc. since 1973., and is an accomplished business owner and leader in the Osceola County community. Linda Goodwin has served as the Mayor of Kissimmee and has also had 2 four-year terms as City Commissioner of the City of Kissimmee.

The 2020 Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame has been re-imagined, amid the coronavirus pandemic, with a bold new vision. The “Almost In-Person” Hall of Fame event will take place on October 29, 2020. We’ll be sure to share more details about the Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame as soon as they become available.

Linda, will be joined in this amazing community honor by Robert Finfrock, Laureate, and Tony Jenkins, Spirit of Achievement. A fourth honoree will be named soon.

The real estate market is buzzing, some buyers buying sight unseen

The real estate market is buzzing, some buyers buying sight unseen

Amid the current pandemic, many real estate buyers are looking to take advantage of low mortgage rates, less competition, and motivated sellers. We’re also seeing a trend for some motivated buyers looking to relocate from dense urban areas to “smaller” less populated communities and homes with more living space and room to potentially work at home if their profession allows for it.

Remote or socially distanced real estate closings are also happening now to keep everyone involved safe. If you think you could be a candidate for buying a house sight unseen, here are some things to consider that will help make your effort successful.

Choose The Correct Agent
To keep transactions moving, tech-savvy agents, like those in  Goodwin Real Estate & Associates, have been pivoting to the new norm brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The right agent is instrumental in helping you with potentially buying a house sight unseen. Look for an agent who’s not afraid of technology and prepared to take advantage of tools such as FaceTime, Facebook Live, and Zoom to communicate effectively and help you explore properties virtually.

Be Proactive in Your Virtual Search
Before asking your agent to start scheduling virtual tours, be sure to do your homework so you’re not wasting your time on listings that aren’t the right match. A little time up front can save you a lot of time later in the process.

Property Photos And Videos
Perusing listing photos and videos that may be provided with a property is extremely helpful obviously. If you see a listing you like and a video is provided, ask if there are more videos. Often times more video was recorded but it wasn’t all included in the final listing video to keep it shorter.

Instead of exploring just the property you’re considering, make sure you check out the curb appeal of the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. You want to get a sense of what the neighborhood is like and how the owners of surrounding homes are caring for their properties. You don’t want to bother exploring properties any further if the overall standards for upkeep and care aren’t aligned with what you’re seeking in your new neighborhood.

The Virtual Onsite Tour
When a property has checked all the boxes and remains a candidate, it’s time to see what your agent can do about walking you through a live virtual tour. It’s possible there may be scheduled live virtual tours which you should check out as well which will be helpful, but your agent can hopefully negotiate an onsite visit on your behalf so you can explore more thoroughly with your agent as they walk through the property.

An experienced agent should know what to look for to understand what kind of shape a property is in. This would normally include things like doors and windows, signs of flooding or roof leaks, and any visible signs of unstable foundations. It would be a good idea to create a list of anything specific you want your agent to look at closely with you while they walk through a property.

Kitchen
Kitchens can be costly to upgrade, so you want to thoroughly explore what’s in the kitchen to make sure you know what you’re getting and what might need upgrading. Ask your agent to show you the sink fixtures, cabinets and appliances closely and look for signs of wear and aging. If you’re not planning on doing a remodel, you want to walk away from the virtual tour with a good idea of what you might need to replace.

Heating & Cooling Systems
Ask your agent to find out about the age and shape of the heating and cooling system in the home. Is it new or approaching end of life? Like the kitchen, this is another area that could be costly. A thorough home inspection should be part of your process which should include an evaluation of these systems to help you understand their condition and any possible expenses they may require.

Instead of exploring just the property you’re considering, make sure you check out the curb appeal of the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. You want to get a sense of what the neighborhood is like and how the owners of surrounding homes are caring for their properties. You don’t want to bother exploring properties any further if the overall standards for upkeep and care aren’t aligned with what you’re seeking in your new neighborhood.

These are all very useful suggestions, but without the help of an experienced realtor, the process can be daunting. Goodwin Realty & Associates has been assisting buyers and sellers for 47 years.There is simply no substitute for experience, integrity, and knowledge of the market. Call Goodwin Realty at 407.846.2787. today. 

Open House Do’s and Don’ts

Open House Do’s and Don’ts

As a seller you must realize a few basic, but imperative facts before you host your Open House. Remember, some people prefer to spend the majority of their time in the living room, some on the patio or front porch, some in a multi-media room, but one common denominator is that we all eat. That makes the kitchen in the running as the most important room in an open house, if not the most important. You’re going to have to deep-clean, declutter, and touch up whatever you can. Luckily, we’ve put together this pathologically complete checklist to help make sure you forget nothing.

Don’t make it hard on yourself: The night before, don’t fry fish, don’t whip up a new batch of kimchi, and don’t cook bacon the morning of the open house. Go out for dinner! Order takeout! Please?

Clean out the fridge! We all know that buyers will look in your refrigerator. They’re just nosy that way. Give them something to look at—a spotless interior. Then wipe down the outside, too.

Clean those floors! Nothing says turnoff like a trail of crumbs on the kitchen floor. If you have hardwood or tile flooring, vacuum and damp mop, making sure to get in all the dark corners. If you haven’t yet replaced your linoleum, sweep, mop, and wax it.

Make it shine. If you have stainless-steel appliances, take care of them properly. Wipe them down with the proper cleaning supplies. Honestly, one spray and a little elbow grease, and they’ll look brand-new.

Clean those stovetop drip pans—or better yet, replace them! A rusty, crusty drip pan can make your stove look older than it is. If you don’t have time to scrub them clean, spend a few bucks to replace them.

Degrease that hood. Those vents are grease magnets. Clean the filter before the open house. You may need to dig out the user manual to learn how to remove it, soak it, and make it make shine.

Clean the light-switch plates. Those switch plates can get splattered with grease or, worse, show years of fingerprints and dirt. If they can’t be freshened up, replace them—all of them.

Debug your light fixtures. See those dark spots in your overhead light fixture? Those are dead bugs! Clear the carcasses and wipe the glass clean.

Granite should sparkle. Most people wipe their countertops clean with the same dish sponge they use to wash their dishes. Let’s take it a step further. Use granite polish to wipe on a shine that will make buyers think you spent thousands of dollars on new granite just for them.

Countertops should be spotless. Nothing impresses buyers more than endless stretches of pristine countertop. So it’s time to stow the toaster, the Vitamix, the burr grinder, the rice cooker—all those appliances that take up valuable real estate.

Clean the microwave. You’ve already polished the stainless steel, now clean the inside. Few buyers will open the microwave and check inside, but for those who do, let’s not greet them with years of caked-on food splatters.

Clean the cabinets, inside and out. No one really cares if your canned peas are next to your canned tomatoes, but buyers do care about space. Now’s the time to purge: Do you really need that tin of Spanish octopus? A buyer should be able to open the cabinet door and see the back of the cabinet wall. And while you’re at it, get a pail of water and Murphy Oil Soap and wash your cabinets.

Update your knobs. Cabinet knobs installed in the 1980s can make a kitchen look dated. But upgrading them is easy: Just buy new ones, then install them. Presto! Your kitchen is awesome(ish).

Don’t bake cookies! Baking cookies seems like a nice gesture for buyers, but the trend has run its course. Just have a clean kitchen—everyone appreciates that.

No need to set the table. The kitchen is all about space. If you’re lucky enough to have an eat-in kitchen, let it speak for itself. A clutter-free kitchen with clean, expansive surfaces will do way more than a set of fancy dinner plates.

Flowers are always nice. The one exception to the clutter-free countertop rule is a vase of fresh flowers. Who doesn’t love a pleasant smell ?

 

Featured Home of the Month

Featured Home of the Month

5645 NOVA RD., ST.CLOUD, FL 34771

 

 

THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY FOR THE RIGHT BUYER.

3 SEPARATE HOMES, OVER 1100 FEET NOVA ROAD FRONTAGE,  MAIN HOUSE FEATURES SCREEEND POOL, CONFERENCE ROOM.

For more information on this or to schedule an exclusive showing please contact Linda Goodwin – Nichols 407-908-8718

Spotlight Home

Spotlight Home

This is a stunning 5 bedroom/ 3.5 bathroom 2-story that sits on the conservation area. The exterior features paver driveway, faux wood garage door, upgraded landscaping and stunning stone work that gives this home great curb appeal. 

 

Pending Home Sales Move Forward

Pending Home Sales Move Forward

Pending home sales rose solidly in February to their highest level in seven months and remain higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by a sizeable increase in the Midwest, all major regions except for the Northeast saw an increase in contract activity in February.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 3.5 percent to 109.1 in February from a downwardly revised 105.4 in January and is now 0.7 percent above February 2015 (108.3). Although the index has now increased year-over-year for 18 consecutive months, last month’s annual gain was the smallest.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says pending sales made promising strides in February, rising to the highest index reading since last July (109.8). “After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year1 and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory2,” he said. “Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”

According to Yun, the one silver lining from last month’s noticeable slump in existing-home sales was that price appreciation lessened to 4.4 percent, which is still above wage growth but certainly more favorable than the 8.1 percent annual increase in January.

“Any further moderation in prices would be a welcome development this spring,” adds Yun. “Particularly in the West, where it appears a segment of would-be buyers are becoming wary of high asking prices and stiff competition.”

Existing-homes sales this year are forecast to be around 5.38 million, an increase of 2.4 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent. In 2015, existing-home sales increased 6.3 percent and prices rose 6.8 percent.

The PHSI in the Northeast declined 0.2 percent to 94.0 in February, but is still 12.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index shot up 11.4 percent to 112.6 in February, and is now 2.5 percent above February 2015.

Pending home sales in the South increased 2.1 percent to an index of 122.4 in February but are 0.4 percent lower than last February. The index in the West climbed 0.7 percent in February to 96.4, but is now 6.2 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Check Out This Featured Kissimmee Listing

Check Out This Featured Kissimmee Listing

This is an outstanding time to purchase a home in Kissimmee Florida. With interest rates still at historical lows and prices in a very affordable range, the time is perfect to consider this 5 bedroom, 4 bath home in Kissimmee.

This 3,662 square foot spacious home comes with a pool, gourmet kitchen, downstairs master bedroom and has a gold course view that you simply must see.

Call Carolee Goodwin-Blackmore at 407.908.6042 or email her at cgblackmore@aol.com. Don’t wait, as we expect this to not be available for long!

First Time Home Sellers Need To Know!

First Time Home Sellers Need To Know!

There is a glut of helpful resources and content available for first time home buyers.  The same cannot be said about learning resources and tips for first time home sellers. Just like buying a home for the first time, selling a home for the first time often comes with lots of confusion and questions.  Many first time home sellers have no idea where to start and what they should focus on during the sale of their first home.

A first time home seller who doesn’t know what tips and advice to follow can sometimes end up costing themselves a lot of money.  We’ve included some of the most important tips for first time home sellers should be aware of!

Preparation Is The Deal!
One of the biggest errors that first time home sellers make is not knowing how to prepare their home and themselves for the market.  Not properly preparing a home for sale is a guaranteed way to make the home selling experience a challenge from the start.

Spring is coming in Osceola County, and it’s typically a very busy time in the real estate market. If you’re going to be selling your home, it’s time to get prepared now.

Here are five important suggestions to consider before the selling surge begins again:
• Deep clean carpets and floors
• Paint any rooms that need it
• Consider having the HVAC systems cleaned prior to listing
• Declutter, declutter, declutter
• Clean windows

Hiring An Experienced Real Estate Agent Is Imperative!

Whether selling a home for the first time or you’ve done this all before, hiring an experienced and established real estate agent is important. Many first time home sellers find hiring the right real estate agent to be their very first big challenge to overcome.  First time home sellers need to know  how to properly interview prospective real estate agents.  That’s sounds easy, but there are a lot of agents out there, and they are NOT all the same. As an example, Goodwin Realty is very versed on the central Osceola County real estate market. We know Kissimmee. We know St. Cloud. We know the Harmony Florida community. It’s what we do everyday, so selling a home in Central Florida for us is much different than for someone who just started selling homes in 2015.

To properly interview prospective real estate agents, a first time home seller needs to know what the  most important interview questions for Osceola County real estate agents are.  Some of the most important questions include;

Are you a full-time or part-time agent?

  • What percentage of homes yearly do you represent the seller?
  • How do you plan on marketing my home?
  • Are you prepared to show me what social media tools  you use right now?
  • Do you use video in your marketing?
  • What methods do you utilize to determine a homes value?

There are literally dozens of questions that first time home sellers should consider asking prospective real estate agents.  The above questions are just some of the most important!

Pricing It Right Is Vital!

The important of pricing in real estate cannot be stressed enough.  First time home sellers need to understand that it’s vital to price a home right from the beginning, otherwise, it will not sell.

The main takeaway for first time home sellers when discussing the importance of pricing a home right is to understand that todays home buyers are well educated.  Since buyers are able to shop online for homes, they are savvy and often have a strong understanding whether a home is overpriced or not. There are lots of buyers who will choose not to look at a home they believe is overpriced!

Know What Is Next!

Another mistake that first time home sellers make is they do not know think about what their next move is enough.  Selling a home takes lots of preparation and sometimes can be stressful.  The last thing a first time home seller needs is to increase their stress levels because they don’t know what their next move is.

Are they relocating to a new area?
Are they going to be renting?

Are they going to be buying and selling a home at the same time?
Are they able to buy a home without selling their current home?

These are just a handful of the most important questions a first time home seller needs to ask themselves before listing their home.  Having a well thought out game plan before listing a home for sale can decrease the stress level for a first time home seller significantly.

Understand What Closing Expenses!
One of the biggest misunderstandings that first time home sellers frequently have it regarding the closing expenses.  A first time home seller needs to have a strong understanding of the closing expenses they will be responsible for, again, prior to selling their home.

It can be quite a shock for a seller who doesn’t know that generally in most cases, they are responsible for paying any brokerage fees.  Some of the most common closing expenses that are incurred by a seller include;

  • Instrument survey
  • State transfer taxes
  • Abstract re-date
  • Seller concessions, if applicable
  • Owner warranty, if applicable

An experienced real estate agent will make sure they educate their sellers on the potential closing expenses they will be responsible for, before listing their home.

Final Thoughts

Selling a home can be stressful and a bit tricky without the correct guidance of an experienced realtor at your side… even for a home seller who has sold a number of homes.  First time home sellers who understand what tips and advice to follow when selling their first home greatly increase the odds they have an enjoyable experience… and sell their home at a higher price.

At Goodwin Realty we believe experience, integrity and work ethic plays a large role in the success of the seller. Our strength is in communication, professionalism, experience and willingness. We hope you’ll consider contacting us at one of our two locations. Call our Kissimmee Real Estate office at (407)846-2787  or call our St. Cloud Real Estate office at 407-556-3909 . We’d love to make your Osceola County home selling experience a positive one.

 

Let’s Look Back At The 2015 Florida Real Estate Market

Let’s Look Back At The 2015 Florida Real Estate Market

In 2015, Florida’s real estate market faced changes big and small, good and not so good. Here are the most influential Florida real estate stories of 2015:

The market? It’s back
As a state famous for investment homes and international sales, Florida tends to be hit hard by recessions and blessed by economic booms. In 2015, it was the latter. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index ­– a measurement of state and local markets’ strength – Florida’s real estate rebound led the nation, with Orlando the top U.S. rebound city. In the October 2015 housing report released by Florida Realtors, single-family home prices rose 12.4% year-to-year.

Time to buy – but what?
Homebuyer demand continues to rise from millennials to baby boomers, but there’s a problem: Buyers can’t find enough homes for sale. Overall, Florida’s tight inventory of for-sale homes last year (5.4-month supply in Oct. 2014) was below the six-month supply economists generally consider a balanced market – and it grew even tighter this year (4.4-month supply in Oct. 2015). Why? Some underwater owners still can’t sell; some boomers are staying put; and some investors scooped homes in the lower-price categories, leaving today’s first-time buyers struggling.

Mortgage process scrambled
Realtors knew the mortgage process inside and out until Oct. 3. On that day, almost everything changed as U.S. regulators rolled out a new set of borrower disclosures and rules. While the onus of the change fell on title companies and lenders that had to gut and redo software systems, Realtors had to understand the new disclosures and wrestle with locked-in-stone timelines that threatened closing dates. When the dust settled, however, the industry had adapted with only a little collateral damage.

Easy money. Well, easier anyway
Lenders’ purse strings loosened a bit in 2015 and more homebuyers discovered that they qualify. Mortgage-backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac introduced a number of buyer-friendly changes, such as mortgage downpayments as low as 3%. In addition, FHA lowered its mortgage insurance fees. To top it off, a number of banks eased their credit score requirements a bit, allowing more marginal borrowers to consider making the move to homeownership.

No trouble here
In the shadow of the recent real estate recession, a few local observers think that today’s rising home prices and limited inventory suggest that another real estate bubble could be forming. But experts shoot down the bubble theory, saying homes in only a few selected cities might be overvalued, and there’s no reason to panic. This time around, most loans are fixed rate, first-time buyer programs have increased the quality of purchasers, the economy is strengthening, and much of the recent rise in prices can be attributed to the construction industry’s inability to keep up with demand.

Condo can-do
For most of 2015, there was a disconnect between the home preferred by many first-time buyers – a condominium – and their ability to qualify for the most popular first-time buyers’ mortgage product: a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. Since FHA first looks at the operation of a condo complex and its board, a rejection at that level means an automatic mortgage rejection for any unit in the complex. In November, however, FHA said it would relax its board rules, which should give buyers a new assortment of affordable options. Florida – with its range and diversity of condo projects – has the most to gain.

Let the 2016 games begin
In early 2015, Zillow completed its merger with Trulia, creating an online real estate advertising behemoth – and mega-provider News Corp took over Move Inc., the oversight company for realtor.com. But the story doesn’t end there. Consolidation is the watchword, and the battle heading into 2016 is “Who can offer the most real estate services in a one-stop shop?” The big players are rolling out transaction management programs, commercial real estate options, marketing programs and new technology that everyone needs – even if they don’t know it yet.

Make it simple
NAR and its wholly owned subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource (RPR), announced a new system for brokers’ data entry that could potentially simplify the business of selling real estate in 2016. Project Upstream/AMP (Advanced Multi-list Platform) is a behind-the-scenes tool to simplify listing data entry and distribution. Currently, a single listing may be keyed in several times for different purposes – for entry in the local MLS, other MLSs, the broker’s own website and one or more advertising websites, for example. Under Upstream/AMP, brokers will enter data only once. After that, MLSs and vendors that use the data will download the information from Upstream. NAR’s 2015 president calls it “an initiative that truly can be thought of as ‘game changing.'”

Drones on and on and on
For most of this year, only Realtors with a pilot’s license and FAA approval could legally fly a drone. However, that changed in December when the FAA issued a rule that opened up drone use to everyone – with limitations. Some existing rules still apply, such as no flights higher than 400 feet or within five miles of an airport, but a new one requires every drone operator to register with the FAA – name, address, email, etc. – and every drone to be marked with that operator’s unique registration number. Experts believe up to 700,000 drones will be given as gifts this year, leading the FAA to make its long-awaited announcement right before the holidays.

Mortgage rates on the rise
As 2014 came to a close, most experts predicted that mortgage rates would rise in 2015. And they did the same thing a year earlier in 2014. And they’re doing so again this year. But one thing changed that increases the chances of higher mortgage rates next year: On Dec. 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve boosted its key rate 0.25 basis points for the first time in seven years. That increase has an indirect impact on long-term mortgage rates and a more direct, albeit small, impact on adjustable mortgage rates. Few experts predict a series of further rate increases in 2016, however. Some say the next one won’t come until June, while others expect a small boost every other time the Fed meets.

THE NEW YEAR

2016 real estate forecast
Florida’s 2015 real estate rebound “outperformed the nation as a whole,” according to Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. While the state ended the year “catching its breath after a very hectic late summer and early fall,” Tuccillo predicts that 2016 will continue to “settle down” as sales and home values rise – but at a less hectic pace.

“Against the backdrop of an expanding state economy with growing employment, home sales should increase by 8-10 percent over 2015 (numbers) and home prices (measured as actual value) should rise by about 5 percent,” Tuccillo says.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Font Resize

Pin It on Pinterest