Video Blogs to help you get "Real Estate Smart"

Here at The Miller Realty Group we like to provide current and future homeowner's the information they need to help them make the right decisions when they are buying, selling or investing in real estate.  This is why we continue to share our expertise via Video Blogs on our website for everyone to see.  We firmly believe that in the real estate market that "Knowledge is Power"!  Let our expertise empower you with your real estate needs.

Always feel free to Contact Us if you need our help!

April 25, 2017

April 2017 Orlando Real Estate Stats


The new stats just came out for the Orlando Regional Realtor Association and it tells us what's been going on for the past month and how it will affect property owners. Currently the inventory of homes in Orlando, FL is extremely low and we are in a strong sellers market.  

With the inventory so low in Orlando, if you are a buyer, it can be hard to find a home depending on the neighborhood and what your budget is for your next house. For budgets below $300,000, there are slimmer options and it is crucial to team up with a Realtor (in particular a Buyer Specialist), which I spoke about in my previous video blog to help you find a home.

Even though the inventory of homes is low in Orlando, sales are up 12% compared to this time last year. With the recent increase of interest rates, many potential buyers are getting off of the fence and making the move. The demand is also strong because the economy is doing doing very well and there is a lot of job growth in Central Florida, which leads to more people buying homes.

Another point that is important to mention is that the median price for single family homes is 11% higher than it was in 2016 and it is 88% higher than July 2011. This is due to high demand, which means higher prices.

If you are thinking about selling your house, this would be the best time to sell, with such a low amount of inventory there will be less competition for you.  You also will have more leverage in the negotiation process on getting your self the best deal.

As always, we are here to help you! Please feel free to Contact Us and I hope that I have helped you get real estate smart.

April 14, 2017

Why Using a Buyers Specialist is Important in a Sellers Market?

Today, the real estate market is a very strong sellers market! The inventory is low and the homes that are for sale are very limited on the market. If you are currently looking at homes without a realtor, you may be making a big mistake. When you use a realtor to buy a home, it does not cost you anything and it is free, because the seller is paying their commission. The benefits of working with a realtor is that it will help you to find a property in today's market, negotiate the contract for you, keep the deal together, etc.

After you have made the decision to use a realtor, you need to find a realtor who is a Buyer Specialist. This is someone that works specifically with buyers and knows the inventory listed on the market very well. After they have an idea of what you are looking for, they will show you the homes that match your interest and budget. This will save you lots of time and money.

You may also want to work with a Buyer Specialist that is part of a team, because if they work with a listing specialist, they will have access to pocket listings. These are listings which are not on MLS yet that the other 12,000 realtors and buyers are not aware of.

If you are in the process of looking to buy a new home, our team specializes in both buyer and listing specialists and we can help you find the home of your dreams within your budget. Our buyer specialists are inventory experts in Central Florida and they can show you properties that did not hit the market yet. If you are seeking help with, please feel free to Contact Us and I hope that I have helped you get real estate smart.

Posted in Buyer Video Blogs
April 12, 2017

When you receive multiple offers on your house, what's the best strategy to get the best price and terms?

As a seller in Orlando Florida, you always want to get the best price for your home.  Right now the real estate market is in a seller’s market, which means that the inventory of homes is low and there is a lot of buyers searching for properties.

When you get multiple offers on your property, you have the leverage to get the best terms and conditions in your contract.  It becomes easier to negotiate the closing date you want, get the type of escrow that works for you and arrange favorable financial terms.  

So when you get multiple offers on your home what are your options?  Your first option is to try to negotiate with the first offer and if you can't come to agreement start to negotiate with your second offer.  From my experience this approach works however from what I have found in the Orlando, FL housing market it's always best to ask for the buyer's to come back with their best and final offers.  The reason that I like to do this is because if you are the buyer and you love this house and you don't know what the other buyers are going to come back with, you are going to put your best foot forward in order to try to get the house.  When the buyers put their best foot forward that means that the seller will always get the best price and terms which they are looking for.

Something else that your REALTOR can do for you is that when they ask for the buyers best and final offers, they can let the buyers know what's important to the sellers such as a high escrow, short inspection period, waive appraisal contingency, etc.  This ensures that when the offers come back it could match what the sellers are wanting in their contract.

Once you get your house under contract you can still continue to use this leverage you have throughout the closing process.  If something pops up in the inspection report that the buyers want fixed as you negotiate through it you can lean on the fact that you have other buyers wanting to purchase your house as well.  This leverage gives you better positioning during the negotiation process.

For more information on this or if you need trusted realtors to represent you, feel free to Contact Us  and we would be more than happy to assist you. "Get Real Estate Smart" with The Millers!

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
March 27, 2017

Real Estate Myth #1 - I should price my house high to give room to negotiate

A common question that I often get asked is, "Should I price my house higher than market value, so that I have room to negotiate?" The answer is No you should not! 

In order to understand why, you have to understand how Orlando MLS works.  When Buyer Specialists are working with buyers they put them on an automated e-mail notification system via the Orlando MLS which will send them an e-mail when a house comes onto the market which matches their requirement.  So when you first put your house on the market, hundreds and hundreds of e-mails are set up to potential buyers who want a house just like yours, in your area of town, in this price range.  With that being said it is so important that you have your house priced right from the very beginning because if you don't you will be missing out on a lot of potential buyers.  You see if your house is just $1 over the criteria which was set by the potential buyer, they will NOT see your house pop up.  So with that being said your house will not be visible to all the buyers who are looking for a house just like yours.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 90% of buyers work with REALTORS to help them find a house to purchase.  Whenever a buyer finds a house they want to buy, before they make an offer, the agent will allows do a market analysis of the property to let them know if the house is priced right, if it's under priced or if it's over priced.  If your house is over priced it will not get any offers!  You see if you were a buyer and your REALTOR was telling you that the house you wanted to purchase was overpriced and there where other homes to look at, you wouldn't want to waste your time trying to convince the sellers that their home is overpriced. 

Now this doesn't mean that you have to give your house away however you do need to price it right in order to drive the traffic through the front door. The more demand you have on your house the higher it will sell for, and I'm sure that it what you want!  Studies show that overpriced homes take twice as long to sell and sell for 6% less!  So price your house right from the beginning so you can get it sold for top dollar!

If you need more advice on this, please feel free to Contact Us and we would be glad to help.

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
March 27, 2017

Could renting out rooms of your house via AirBnB cost you your homestead exemption?

If you are an AirBnb host and you currently have a renter, you may risk the possibility of voiding your homestead on your home. For those of you who are unfamiliar with AirBnb, it is a website where you can find people all over the world who will rent out a room in their house or they may rent out their entire house for a person to stay. This has become the new alternative instead of staying in a hotel for many travelers.

A homestead exemption is where you can claim your primary residence as your homestead to get an exemption. This gives you a credit of $50,000 off of your assessed value, which means that your property taxes would be higher without it.

Recently a new property appraiser for the city of Miami informed the public that if you are a person who rents out your home on AirBnB, you could be creating homestead fraud. Under the homestead act, you can not rent out your house for more than 30 days for 2 years and if you are doing it for more than 30 days, you should not be declaring homestead exemption. The penalties if you are caught doing this would result in you possibly loosing your homestead exemption, plus a 50% penalty and 50% interest. 

Since AirBNB is still fairly new, the government agencies haven't officially made a stance on this concern.  There are folks within the government who would like to allow this however require the tenants to pay a lodging tax just like they would if they stayed in a hotel.  Then there are those that don't want to allow it because they feel that it would be disturbing to the neighborhood.  It is important that you know the laws and rules in your area to avoid complications that could result in severe penalties.  

As always, we are more than happy to answer questions. Please feel free to Contact Us for additional information.

Posted in Miscelaneous
March 21, 2017

Why you shouldn't use Zillow to get your home value?

For many people the biggest asset they have is their home. As a home owner there may be many reasons why you may want to know the value of your home.  You may want know how much equity in the house so you can pull some money out so you can build a pool.  You may want to know if you are still underwater and owe more than your house is worth or you may just be curious and want to know the value of your home.   Whatever the reason is, for most people it is important that they get the most accurate value for their house.

Since it provides a lot of information about the history of the house and the neighborhood, using Zillow has become very popular over the last few years. However, when it comes to providing you an accurate value, Zillow may not be the best resource. Zillow is a computer based application that takes raw data and just crunches numbers!  At times it may be accurate however a lot of the times it's way off.  

One of the main reasons that Zillow is not able to provide the most accurate analysis to your home is because they don't have the capability to really make the appropriate amount of adjustments when comparing the comparable properties to the subject property.  Since Zillow only crunches numbers it's not going to know what updates an house has compared to another and without these adjustments their price could be $100,000 off of what the true value may be.

If you are looking for a more accurate way of understanding the value of your house you could have a professional REALTOR stop by to help you out.  They could come by the house and get a feel for the condition of the property as well as the upgrades which will then allow them to make the appropriate adjustment on how your house compares to the other comparable properties.  This will provide you a more accurate value of your property then what you would receive from Zillow.

The most important thing you can do is when you have a REALTOR come by to assess the value for you is to make sure that you have a REALTOR who has the experience and expertise to do a proper assessment for you.  If the agent just shows you what properties have sold nearby and then throws out a number to you with no supporting documentation, we suggest that you get another REALTOR.

If we can be of any help to you, feel free to Contact Us

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
March 2, 2017

"Real Estate Smart" - What is an estoppel Fee?


This video blog is to get you "Real Estate Smart" where I will be talking about a closing cost that not a lot of people are familiar with called the estoppel fee. An estoppel fee is the fee charged to the title company by the home owners association for them to determine the status of your account.  They will determine if you are current, behind or if there are any special assessments which are due by the seller.  This information has to be known prior to closing so it can be taken care during the closing.

In the past estoppel fees used to appear on the closing statement as a separate line item however over the past 3 years this has changed.  This has changed because a lot of home owners associations has increased the price of their estoppel fee from $ 100 all the way up to $ 650.  They also are starting to charge additional fees for an expedited request or if it has to be done again if it expires.  Since the cost has gone up and the title company would still be responsible for these fees if it doesn't close the title companies are now getting the seller's credit card information in advance and having them pay for it when it is requested from the HOA.   

Since the HOA's have turned this into a stream of revenue for them there is currently a bill which is being drafted for the state of Florida which would place some restrictions on them.  First of all, the most they could charge would be $ 100 and if an expedite is needed it would only be an additional $ 50.  The estoppel letter would also be good for 30 days rather than expiring on the expected close date.  So if a closing is pushed back the seller would not have to pay another estoppel fee.

Knowing what you are going to walk away at the closing table is typically one of the most important things to sellers.  So before you list your house with a REALTOR make sure that they provide you what's called a "net sheet".  This sheet will provide the estimated amount of closing cost you would occur at a certain price point.

If you need our help in helping you sell your house feel free to Contact Us

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
Feb. 1, 2017

Why you should sell your house before the peak of the market


I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “Buy Low, Sell High”.  This phrase is typically used in the stock market however it also can be used in the real estate market.  Like anybody, if you were buying a house you would want to buy it when the prices are low and if you wanted to sell your house you would want to sell it when the market is at it’s peak.  However, I will tell you that waiting for the market to peak is not the best strategy!

In real estate, like any other industry, the market is controlled by supply and demand.  The supply represents the number of homes which are currently for sale within a given market, and the demand represents the number of buyers who are in the market to purchase a home.   As a seller, you are always wanting to sell your house when the inventory of homes is low and when the number of buyers is high.  The best time to find this scenario is right before the peak of the market.  The reason this is the best time is because when the inventory of homes is low, it typically means that it’s a sellers market.  So as a buyer you have less homes to choose from and as a seller that gives you more leverage in the negotiation process.

You also find that right before the peak the numbers of buyer who are in the market is fairly high because everyone is trying to buy a home before the pricing of homes goes any higher.  With lots of buyers you can typically sell your house for more money than you would if there were less buyers searching for a home.

If you wait till the peak you typically find out after the peak was already met and the market has already shifted.  Inventory typically starts to swell, which means that the buyers have more homes to look at and can reduce your leverage as a seller.  This is also when the market typically flips from a sellers market to a buyers market.  The other thing which happens after the peak of the market is that the number of buyers goes down.  This is usually a result of buyers not wanting to buy a house as the prices are falling.

So as you can see, the best time to sell your house is typically right before the peak of the market.  This will give you the best opportunity to get your house sold for top dollar and within a short period of time.

If we can be of any assistance in helping you get your home sold please contact us.

Posted in Seller Video Blogs
Jan. 11, 2017

The similarities between preparing for a wedding and buying a home

Believe it or not, planning a wedding and buying a house are two major events in your life which are very similar in nature. Since weddings have a lot of moving parts and depending on the parents can quite be expensive, it's always a good idea to meet with a wedding planner prior to you actually planning the event. If you don't, it can become very overwhelming and you may find that you don't have the appropriate resources to put it all together. When your're buying a house, it's no different!

Since buying a house is typically one of the biggest investments that a person will ever make in their life, its very important that before you start your home search that you partner with a knowledgeable Buyer Specialist. Just like a wedding planner, a good Buyer Specialist will find out what's important to you about buying your home and then put the proper resources in place to make it happen. They will also update you on the local real estate market, educate you on the local buying process and have a list of trusted vendors which could be used during the closing process (home inspector, termite, home insurance, etc.)

A Realtors passive approach to finding a home 

Unfortunately in the real estate market, some agents don't take time to really sit down with their buyers prior to helping them with their home search? They typically will just find out your criteria, put you on an email notification system on the web and tell you to call them when you find something that you like and they show you the house because they have the magic key to get you in.

A Realtors aggressive approach to finding a home  

When you actually partner with a good buyer specialist, at the initial consultation they will actually ask you the right questions to find out what's important to you about buying you next home. They will then find out the details of what type of home you are looking for and why those details are important to you. The Buyer Specialist will then start searching for that perfect house for you by setting up a search on the local MLS. Rather than have all of the new listings come to you, they look through them first to make sure they match your criteria then they will send it along. They will also talk to other agents about your requirements to try and find new properties which are not on the market yet if there is a particular neighborhood that you are interested in and there is nothing for sale which matches your criteria, they will call the home owners in the neighborhood to try to find someone who may have been thinking about selling their house. 

The difference is clear, under the passive approach you as the buyer are doing most of the work during the home search process while with the aggressive approach the Realtor is actually doing the work in finding you your next home. Ultimately the aggressive approach will save you both time and money in the long run plus a much better home buying experience! 


Posted in Buyer Video Blogs
Nov. 29, 2016

The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal

Why is curb appeal so important? 

Since first impressions are everything in real estate, it is vitally important to spend the time and money to ensure your home has the best curb appeal. This is very important for two reasons. First of all, when potential buyers are looking at houses on the internet the picture they will see first is the one of your exterior of the home. Within a few seconds buyers will be making decisions about your home based on that one picture. Even though your home may have a beautiful interior, if the exterior doesn't show well, the buyers won't even look at the additional pictures and will just move onto the net property.

Secondly, according to the National Association of Realtors, over 63% of potential buyers will do a drive by a property prior to scheduling a showing with their agent. The exterior of the house will serve as a snapshot to potential buyers of what's inside of the property; so you want to make sure that you have great curb appeal that will entice them to want to come inside. 

Here are thee Top 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Curb Appeal: 

1. Wash the exterior of the house: Soap, water or even a pressure washer can easily clean the outside of your home. Also, if the exterior paint is old and faded a fresh paint job may cost you a couple of thousand dollars but could add $10,000-$15,000 more to the sales price for some homes. 

2. Maintain a well manicured lawn: Cut back trees and bushes so that the exterior of the house is ca be seen. Add fresh flowers to the flower beds, make sure the yard is always cut, and plant some flowers to add color to the house.You could even add a flower pot by the front door.

3. Clean the roof shingles or tiles on the roof so they show well: Since replacing a roof can be very costly, it is important to have the roof look as good as possible so they don't cross off your home of their list, thinking your home is in need of a new roof.

4. Clean the driveway & walkway: If needed pressure wash the driveway, sidewalk, and walk way to the front door. 

5. Highlight your front door: One of the most important things you can do is make sure that the front door to your home shows well. The font door is the first thing that a potential buyer will see, and touch prior to entering the house. How it looks and feels will resonate with them as they go through the house. If the door handle is tarnished, or old upgrade it. If the front door needs some fresh paint, paint it. You want their first impression of the house to be positive and not one of what else they need to do prior to moving into the house. 

Lastly and most importantly, it is always a good idea to partner yourself up with an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor who can recommend you things that you would need to do to improve home's curb appeal. If you don't, it could ultimately cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

If we can help in any way, please feel free to Contact Us.

Posted in Seller Video Blogs