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July 16th, 2018 7:24 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

This is the time of year when sales slow down considerably in real estate.  Snow birds are back up north, families are concentrating on vacations, and the heat of the summer slows down everything.

But for many potential buyers, home prices have just become too expensive.  New construction builds are becoming very enticing due to lower prices and more incentives, with offers of numerous upgrades and home warranties.  This is hurting the resale market, where the ages of homes are now becoming 5 to 20 years, some with little renovations or upgrades to keep up with current trends.  Even though home values have increased greatly since the downturn in 2008, those new market values are forcing many would-be buyers out of affordable housing. 

Homes that were once valued in the mid $100’s, have now peaked at over $200,000 leaving a much smaller market segment who is financially able to purchase them.  Homes listed in the mid to high $200’s are now sitting on the market for a much longer time than homes listed under that price range.  Those listings under $200,000 are being snatched up in just days or weeks, as there are fewer from which to choose.  Buyers seem to be waiting until their earnings or financial situation is better or home prices are better aligned. 

The only way to currently compete with all the new construction is to make sure that a resale home is updated as much as possible before putting it on the market.  To expect top dollar, a home must make a memorable first impression by being immaculate, updated, and staged to perfection.  A realtor can assist with this, giving direction and advice towards even minor improvements. 

Buyers are still out there, but they are looking for affordability or bargains.  Make sure your home is competitive from the start!

Written by Barbara Doeringer

 


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on July 16th, 2018 7:24 AMLeave a Comment

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July 10th, 2018 10:48 AM

SMART SAVINGS

Barbara’s Blog:

With gas, food and utility costs rising, we all look for ways to save money, especially those who are on a fixed income.  The recent AARP magazine had an article on great ways to save, many more than I can list here.  But I chose some of the ones that interested me, and I hope they will help others as well.

  • Don’t pay fees for movie tickets. Some online sellers (or theaters) charge a “convenience” fee per ticket for pre-buying movie tickets. Instead, buy at the box office, or join the “Movie Pass” club where you pay a small monthly fee, but can view numerous movies per month at various theaters.
  • Get free E-books. You can download nearly 60,000 public domain e-books at Gutenberg.org and save $3 to $10 per e-book.
  • Dine out for less. Restaurants.com offers discounted gift certificates to eateries all over the country. You could pay only $10 for a $25 gift certificate.
  • Give your time as a gift. Write out redeemable coupons for babysitting, free drives for someone in need, or home-cooked meals instead of purchasing a gift card.
  • Use cruise control. It can reduce your fuel use by 7% on the highway.
  • Check for promo codes. Online retailers offer discount codes. Check RetailMeNot.com for codes before finalizing a purchase.
  • Use Gas Buddy. The Gas Guru and GasBuddy apps show you prices at all area gas stations, so you can find the cheapest gas in your location.
  • Get a tankless water heater. These units produce hot water on demand. They are up to 30% more efficient than tanks that waste energy keeping water hot all the time.
  • Raise your deductible. Boosting the deductible on a homeowners policy from $500 to $1,000 could save you 25% on your annual insurance premium.
  • Seal your home. Inspect for leaks at windows & doors with a lighted incense stick. Sealing them could cut a $1,000 heating and cooling bill by $200!

These are just some of the many ways to save money, so if on a strict budget, be creative in changing your spending habits.  Every little bit will help.

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:General
Posted by Allen Doeringer on July 10th, 2018 10:48 AMLeave a Comment

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July 3rd, 2018 10:40 AM

THE HIDDEN VALUE OF HOMEOWNERSHIP

Barbara’s Blog:

Monthly rental payments have been steadily increasing over the past couple years, so in some cases it makes more sense to make a mortgage payment over paying rent.  There are so many various mortgage options available now, especially for first-time homebuyers, and owning a home doesn’t just help you build wealth, but it impacts your life for the future as well.

According to an article in the National Association of Realtor’s Magazine, there are specific benefits that homeowners may enjoy over renters:

  • Homeowners are healthier and live longer.
  • Owning a home reduces the likelihood of divorce.
  • Homeowners are less likely to suffer from depression.
  • City homeowners are less likely to be victims of crime.
  • Children of homeowners often achieve a higher level of education.
  • Children of homeowners are likely to earn more income over their lifetimes.
  • Children of homeowners have significantly lower teen dropout and pregnancy rates.
  • Homeowners are more likely to be involved in neighborhood groups.
  • Homeowners have a better understanding of politics and are more likely to vote.
  • Homeowners take greater pride in maintaining their property.

Not everyone has the means to purchase a home, but to have that as a short or long-term goal, the benefits certainly outweigh renting.  Look for ways to make it happen.  We can help you!

Written by Barbara Doeringer

 


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on July 3rd, 2018 10:40 AMLeave a Comment

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June 26th, 2018 6:38 PM

Barbara’s Blog:

There are two senior communities within the subdivisions of Ridgewood Lakes, so we are fortunate to have access to many medical facilities located just a couple miles away.  A local hospital within one mile of Ridgewood Lakes is the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.  There have been both negative and positive comments concerning the care at this facility, but having experienced it first hand last week, with surgery for a total hip replacement, I wanted to share my very positive experience!

From the time my surgery was scheduled with a highly skilled local orthopedic surgeon, to when I was discharged, everything was very organized: appointments to pre-operative classes, pre-operative instruction booklets and a list of frequently asked questions, with someone always available by phone to answer them.  So many details must be taken care of even before the surgery is done, and the orthopedic staff, both at the surgeon’s office and the hospital were extremely helpful and friendly. 

During my hospital stay of only one night on the 4th floor, which is the orthopedic wing, my private room (which all orthopedic patients have) was filled with valuable information on what to expect post-surgery, and a visit to a group therapy session on the same floor.  All of the nurses were very attentive round the clock and they were happy to assist in any way, even bringing my husband coffee and goodies to eat.  They went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable at all times.

Since my discharge last week, I have been enrolled in weekly individual, customized therapy sessions at the hospital’s rehabilitation center, which is located behind the hospital and has physical therapy equipment to use in various stages of need.   The staff there is wonderful and works to help each patient succeed to full recovery as soon as possible.  They are in close contact with the surgeon or doctor to make sure no changes are needed to the recommended therapy and they hold you accountable for your own progress.

Overall, I cannot say enough about how well I was treated at this hospital, and continue to be treated through my therapy sessions.  I would not hesitate to go there again, although I do hope there will not be a need to do so!

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:Local
Posted by Allen Doeringer on June 26th, 2018 6:38 PMLeave a Comment

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June 19th, 2018 9:54 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

The wave of future technology is already here, with TV shows streaming to cell phones, self-parking cars, and internet on airplanes, just to name a few, and many changes are happening at an accelerating rate. 

A recent article in AARP magazine listed some dazzling predictions that will make our homes, cars and communities more intelligent and accommodating, making life easier and better for people over 50, all within the next 10 years.

The following are just 5 future creations:

  1. YOUR HOME WILL GUARD ITSELF WHILE YOU ARE AWAY. The security system will disarm the garage door when you are ready to leave, letting you exit. Then the garage door will open automatically as soon as you get in the car, and close the same way while you drive away. No more forgetting if you set the alarm system or shut the garage door.
  2. YOUR BED WILL BE SMARTER. Your bed will automatically adjust its position and the room lighting to help you settle in for a bit of reading before you go to sleep. After a night of adjusting for comfort, support, temperature, lighting and ambient noise, the bed uses biometric data to know when to wake you up.
  3. A SMART KITCHEN WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO COOK. Today Google has a group of people figuring out how people like to cook, so it can deliver recipes over voice. Some people like to cook having all ingredients prepped and organized before cooking. So, in the future, throughout the cooking process, your appliances can set timers, preheat ovens and help with the steps. They will also measure the meal’s calorie content so it can be sent automatically to your food-tracking app.
  4. WE WILL BE ROOMING WITH ROBOTS. Robots that help with chores will work to maintain a home both inside and out. They will continue to clean floors, will maintain the yard and help with other daily tasks. With new technology, robots will be able to pay special attention to more dirty areas, such as under the kitchen table or laundry room. A home security robot will patrol the home when you are gone, giving peace of mind with whole house monitoring.
  5. HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS WILL MULTITASK. Household objects will help inform in many ways. The sound of your alarm clock will be informed by your calendar. The alarm’s tempo will tell you whether it’s a busy day or not. Lights in the kitchen will show the weather for the day. If it is to be rainy, the lights will be blue; if sunny, the lights will be yellow. A screen on the wall will show even greater details.

It was not that long ago, that we were watching the cartoon series “The Jetson’s” and laughing at the outlandish futuristic way of living.  But we are now closer than ever to making technology our future way of life in every aspect.  There is no way around it, no matter what our age.

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on June 19th, 2018 9:54 AMLeave a Comment

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June 12th, 2018 11:08 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

We all know how exciting and fun the four Disney World parks are, especially this year with many new attractions about to open over the summer.  But not everyone knows how exceptional the Disney Cruise Line is, compared to others.  Truly, nobody does it better!

Currently, with four ships to choose from (Disney Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy) there are various itineraries and lengths of cruises that will fit anyone’s budget and desire.  It is amazing that each detail of the cruise, from beginning to end, is perfectly planned, organized and executed so that every single guest on board can experience the “magic.”

Many adults think they would not enjoy a cruise line that caters mainly to children, but with adult only areas both on the ship and on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, there are plenty of places for “serenity.” So many activities are planned for children, they are kept busy and happy, in addition to Disney characters appearing all over the ship.  Special shows and events, such as “Pirate Night” (on the Disney Dream) followed by fireworks at sea, just add to the excitement.  Each day is filled with the kind of fun that only Disney can create. 

We have cruised on many different ships and enjoyed them all, but Disney Cruise Line is spectacular in every way.  They go above and beyond any normal expectations and make sure you leave with a desire to return as soon as possible! 

This is one cruise line to add to your bucket list, whether or not you take any children.  You certainly will not be disappointed!

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:Local
Posted by Allen Doeringer on June 12th, 2018 11:08 AMLeave a Comment

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June 5th, 2018 7:10 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

Many people have searched for “the good life” wanting simplicity, freedom from anxiety and an opportunity to be useful in some way.  In our technological world of today, we often think we really are living the good life, having all the latest gadgets, living in extravagant homes, traveling the world, living in an affluent society.  But perhaps the true secret to the “good life” is revealed in Helen Nearing’s simple abundant suggestions for living less stressfully, taken from her memoir called Loving and Leaving the Good Life:

  • Do the best you can, whatever arises.
  • Be at peace with yourself.
  • Find a job you really enjoy.
  • Live in simple conditions and get rid of clutter.
  • Contact nature every day; feel the earth under your feet.
  • Take physical exercise through hard work; through gardening or walking.
  • Don’t worry; live one day at a time.
  • Share something every day with someone else; if you live alone, write someone; give something away; help someone else.
  • Take time to wonder at life and the world; see some humor in life where you can and laugh.
  • Be kind to creatures.

I was compelled to write this after attending yet another memorial service for a dear neighbor.  We tend to take life in general for granted, and fail to really see the blessings we enjoy.  If we lived these suggestions every day, we would realize that the “good life” is truly here and now!  Don’t waste a day of it!

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:Personal
Posted by Allen Doeringer on June 5th, 2018 7:10 AMLeave a Comment

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May 29th, 2018 6:20 AM

FEATURED LISTING

Barbara’s Blog:

Sometimes we feel one of our listings deserves special attention and we want to expand on some of the exceptional features it offers.  The owner has just reduced the price to be very competitive and is motivated to consider any offers. 

This home was built in 2002 in a 55+ senior community, on a fabulous premium lot with golf course views from the rear and lake views from the front.  The mature, exceptional landscaping adds to the curb appeal and invites you into the spacious, open foyer through a double door entry.  A lovely brick paver driveway and walkway adorns the front of the house, which has not only a two-car garage, but an extra golf cart garage, all with screens.  Do you need more storage space?  The garage has drop down stairs and AC storage in the attic!

 This home has 3 bedrooms PLUS a den/office and 2 full baths; there is both a living and family room, as well as a beautiful covered Florida room with finished floor, windows and screens, overlooking the golf course.  Upgrades include: Corian countertops, 42” white kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, new roof in 2015, ¾” bamboo flooring, interior & exterior paint in 2017, ceiling fans and much more!  Lots of living space in this 2,009 sq. ft. home!

Please view all details on our website:  www.RidgewoodLakesResales.com, and look for 14 High Vista Drive for additional information on this home.  Contact us soon for a private viewing!

Written by Barbara Doeringer

 


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on May 29th, 2018 6:20 AMLeave a Comment

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May 22nd, 2018 7:57 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

Every business in the service industry prides themselves on customer service and states that it is their number one priority.  But after the sale is made and an initial problem arises, there seems to be quite a lack of it. 

Have you ever called for help and gotten just a menu with none of the options pertaining to the issue?  Have you ever called and left a message never to be acknowledged?  Have you actually contacted a real person, only to be transferred several times to different departments, and then be cut off?  Have you experienced a customer service representative who really didn’t try to solve your problem?

We live in such a world of technology that the personal touch in most situations is very rare.  Computers, phone answering machines with menus, self-checkout lines in stores, and self-service at gas stations are just a few samples of what used to be great customer service.  I am old enough to remember someone pumping my gas for me in my car and washing my windshield while I waited.  I remember being able to actually talk to a “person” with any kind of problem, whether from a store or other company.  I remember being trained in all of my various sales positions that we did not go home until all calls were returned to our customers that day. 

The world has definitely changed, but the good news is that there is still great customer service in real estate, if you work with the right realtors!  With 18 years of experience, we have learned that a sale does not end at the closing table. It is just the beginning of a good relationship, and any problems that arise from that point on are taken care of in a timely manner.  We always answer our phone calls when possible and return our messages promptly, definitely the same day they are received.  We know the frustration in building a new home or buying a resale, as we have personally done both.

  We have made great friends with many of our home buyers and sellers and continue to enjoy their company socially.  So, let us offer you great customer service and become your friends in the process!

Written by Barbara Doeringer

 


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on May 22nd, 2018 7:57 AMLeave a Comment

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May 15th, 2018 9:14 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

There are always both advantages and disadvantages to listing and selling a resale home, especially when dated properties are surrounded by new construction options.  The properties in the brand-new community reflect the latest styles in flooring, lighting, countertops and other items.  So, if buyers look online at your listing and see dated cabinets and flooring, bathrooms and kitchens, they will expect a lower selling price. 

Small upgrades, such as adding fresh paint, changing kitchen and door hardware or other aesthetic details can give listings a newer feel, but big-ticket items, such as newer appliances, solid surface countertops and bathroom remodels, may be the most important upgrades sellers can make, because most buyers cannot afford them on top of the purchase.

Advantages of a Resale vs. New:

 Investment in the curb appeal and yard.  Many sellers have added amenities, such as pools, decks, or patios and worked with professional landscapers, painters and contractors to make the exterior of the home more upscale.  A brand-new home will have the bare minimum of builder landscaping, and very few young trees, to control costs.

Window treatments and blinds are almost always included in a resale; this can be a very large expense for buyers of a new build.

Older properties usually have some character and charm in an existing, established neighborhood, with mature trees and larger lots. 

An older home is more substantial because previous owners have cared for it and tended to any issues; construction shortcuts sometimes result in flaws that come to light after the buyers move in. 

Disadvantages of a Resale vs. New:

Buyers may have to compromise more on a resale home, because major details, such as floor plan, lot size, and interior finishes cannot be changed.  Customizing on a new build may add some costs, but it will not be as expensive as doing a major remodel on an existing property. 

Many resales have stale or outdated designs.    Some sellers won’t remove dated carpeting or add new ceiling fixtures, kitchen backsplash, countertops or bathtub glazing – anything to add value and more stylish trends to compete with new. 

Resale homes do have more advantages than new build, as long as the sellers are willing to update or upgrade where necessary to keep up with current marketing trends.  Otherwise, price will be the only factor competing with the new.

Written by Barbara Doeringer


Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on May 15th, 2018 9:14 AMLeave a Comment

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