Posts

What to Consider in a Remodel

The kitchen should reflect your lifestyle. It should accommodate your cooking needs, provide the type of space you need for dining and offer plenty of storage. Its décor should complement your home’s architecture and set the tone for gatherings that happen there. A lot of factors play into kitchen design, but the first step before choosing appliances or visiting a cabinet showroom is to set some goals for your space.
Start by reflecting on why you’re remodeling and what you really need to get out of it. A kitchen remodel is not an easy task, so why are you doing it? Download and complete the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire and Kitchen Goals Worksheet. Your answers to these questions will help you create a remodeling checklist and budget.
When Deborah Pierce, principal, Pierce Lamb Architects, West Newton, Mass, works with clients, she works through an organic process that involves addressing each of these key variables:
  • Size of the space
  • Orientation of sunlight
  • Connection of kitchen to adjacent rooms
  • Homeowner’s lifestyle
  • Budget
  • Condition of the building

Kitchen Remodeling Considerations

As you start planning your remodel, consider these factors:
Size (Square Footage). “Every inch of space is important, especially in a small kitchen,” Pierce emphasizes. The size of your kitchen will dictate the layout: Is there room for an island? Does space allow for a prep sink? Where can you squeeze in extra storage?
Will you knock out a wall or extend the kitchen by adding on to your home? How much space can you conceivably add to your kitchen layout? These are questions to consider with a kitchen designer or architect, who can help you devise a solid plan.
Existing Layout. Don’t feel married to your kitchen’s existing footprint. “Windows and doors are seldom in the place you want them,” Pierce says. “They might be on the wrong wall, or in the wrong place entirely.” If you must maintain the windows/doors of your kitchen, you may be locked in to your layout—but there are always ways to modify. For instance, you can add a peninsula to an L-shaped kitchen and create a horseshoe layout that offers more counter space and efficiency. Learn about different kitchen layouts.
As you consider kitchen layout, take time to think about what you like about your current kitchen:
  • How do you move in the space?
  • Does the workflow accommodate your cooking routine?
  • Can you easily move from the range to the sink?
  • How effective is your kitchen when more than one person is cooking?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself as you begin to plan your kitchen remodel. To see a complete list of questions you’ll need to consider, download the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire.
Infrastructure. Depending on the age of your kitchen, you might confront electrical or plumbing concerns as you remodel. Work with an architect-engineer team to ensure that the “guts” of your kitchen can accommodate the technology (appliances, lighting, etc.) you will install.
“In an older house, you may find yourself with sagging floors that need to be addressed or crooked walls that need to be straightened out,” Pierce says, pointing to a couple of budget busters that many homeowners do not plan for. “Keep an open mind at the start of the process,” she continues. “Understand your needs, but recognize the variables that a designer or builder might need to deal with during the process.”
Lifestyle. How will you use the kitchen? What type of cook are you? How do you entertain? Answer the questions in the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire as you prioritize features for your new kitchen. Peterson likes to keep the conversation general when first identifying kitchen likes/dislikes, “identifying problems rather than solutions, and wishes rather than details,” she says. “This is because the design will evolve as all variables are considered, and locking on to a specific feature at the start may solve one problem but preclude a better design that solves five other problems.”
For example, choosing professional appliances that take up 80 percent of the space may not allow enough room for cabinetry storage or area to expand a window to let more light into the kitchen.
Budget. For a more detailed discussion, visit our Budgeting Your Project section. As Roberta Bauer-Kravette, LEED AP, AKBD and director of Nieuw Amsterdam Kitchens in New York, N.Y., says, “The fastest way to go over your budget is to change your mind on materials and finishes.”
Decide where to save and where to splurge. Set a realistic budget, figuring between 6 and 10 percent of your home value for a complete kitchen remodel. Brad Burgin, Burgin Construction Inc. in North Tustin, Calif., says his clients that spend about 10 percent of their overall home value realize a return on their investment at resale. View and download our budget worksheet to help you decide where to spend your budget.

UCF STUDENTS’ SCULPTURE TO BE INSTALLED IN LAKE NONA

June 4, 2017, , — A team of University of Central Florida students who designed a solar-powered art sculpture celebrated this week after the Orlando Utilities Commission and Tavistock Development selected its project to be built in the innovative, Laureate Park master-designed Lake Nona community later this year.

https://youtu.be/XH27K7HmCds

Four teams of senior-level undergraduate students in mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science worked with UCF art students to create four aesthetic solar-powered sculpture designs, the result of a year’s worth of work refining the concepts that began with hundreds of sketches, thumbnails and ideas.

The winning sculpture “Sundial” was praised for its combination of artistry and sound engineering.

“This beautiful combination of functioning solar and thought-provoking art prompts our customers to learn more about the innovative programs we offer. By bringing future engineers and artists together, UCF has done a tremendous job of giving us an opportunity to showcase the next generation of top talent,” said Linda Ferrone, OUC vice president of Strategy, Sustainability & Emerging Technology.

OUC sponsored the projects and competition to create a sculpture that would give the public an opportunity to learn about solar power and its importance as a renewable energy source. They wanted to give residents an engaging, beautiful, interactive community centerpiece sculpture that would contribute to a local power grid.

The winning team wanted to embody the spirit of Lake Nona – traditional and community-oriented, and at the same time modern and new. With built-in sensor plates, the circular sculpture features interactive LED lights and musical sounds. The sculpture also serves as a clock by casting shadows created by the gnomon (the triangular shape that rises from the circular base) and also with LED lights. Measuring 14 feet tall and 22 feet in diameter at full-size, the sculpture will generate the energy it requires with solar panels. It will be installed at OUC’s expense in ’s Village Center.

“It’s surreal to think that we won, after all the challenges we faced every day,” said Dominique Russell, a senior in mechanical engineering who graduates today. “We’d work so hard to refine a feature, but then the next day we’d have to change it. We had to remain flexible.”

Marie-Jo Gordo, a junior in studio art, noted the unique challenges that arise when artists work with engineers. “As artists, we often want to create things that are not physically achievable. We had many great ideas but the engineers kept bringing us back to reality.”

The Sundial teammates are: Gordo, junior, studio art; Daniel Schutt, sophomore, graphic design; Russell, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Peter Warren, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Graham Morgan, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Kevin Weng, graduating senior, mechanical engineering; Julio Rodriguez, senior, mechanical engineering; Jade Sziros, sophomore, computer engineering; and Camille Van Atta, junior, studio art.

Four teams vied for the honor. The students presented their designs to OUC executives in March as part of their UCF coursework. Team members also delivered carefully prepared and rehearsed product pitches and presented small-scale prototype sculptures. Working from OUC’s ongoing feedback, the students refined their designs and showcased their polished prototypes during the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s senior design showcase on April 21. Two finalists were selected to move onto a final round of competition, which placed the finalists before OUC representatives and the design review committee Wednesday night.

“Tavistock Development is proud to partner on this project at the intersection of higher education and public arts,” said Jim Zboril, president of the Tavistock Development Company. “These sculptures are a reflection of what Lake Nona is about – innovation, sustainability, technology and education.”

The projects represent a culmination of work between the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the School of Visual Arts & Design. Classes were held in SVAD’s AdLab. They also served as the engineering and computer science students’ final senior project, a requirement for graduation.

The teams incorporated sound engineering principles into their designs, such as the ability to withstand hurricane-force winds and optimize sun exposure to generate energy to power the sculptures’ electrical features and contribute to the grid. The sculptures use materials and convey art concepts – such as reflections and shadows – that recognize that it will be on display year-round outdoors in the bright sun.

UCF faculty who oversaw the projects include the engineering faculty Robert Hoekstra; Mark Steiner, Lei Wei; and Mark Heinrich; and the SVAD’s Robert Reedy.

Flash Back on Orlando Real Estate Market!

Are you ready for a real estate “flash back” from now to 10 years ago? Here are some interesting facts for you take in and contact Allyn and Pam Maycumber of Keller Williams Realty Advantage III for a detailed FREE market analysis of your home today.
 

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales took off in March 2017 to their highest pace in over 10 years, and severe supply shortages resulted in the typical home coming off the market significantly faster than in February and a year ago. Only the West saw a decline in sales activity in March.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family , townhouses, condominiums and co-ops, ascended 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March from a downward revised 5.47 million in February. March’s sales pace is 5.9 percent above a year ago and surpasses January as the strongest month of sales since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales roared back in March and were led by hefty gains in the Northeast and Midwest. “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” he said. “Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $236,400, up 6.8 percent from March 2016 ($221,400). March’s price increase marks the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.8 percent to 1.83 million existing homes available , but is still 6.6 percent lower than a year ago (1.96 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 22 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.8-month supply at the current sales pace (unchanged from February).

Lawrence Yun also noted, “Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in March, which is down significantly from 45 days in February and 47 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 90 days in March, while foreclosures sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 32 days (shortest since NAR began tracking in May 2011). Forty-eight percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

“Last month’s swift price gains and the remarkably short time a home was on the market are directly the result of the home building industry’s struggle to meet the dire need for more new homes,” said Yun. “A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose for the fifth straight month in March to 4.20 percent from 4.17 percent in February. The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

First-time buyers were 32 percent of sales in March, which is unchanged from February and up from 30 percent a year ago. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2016 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in March, down from 27 percent in February and 25 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in March, down from 17 percent in February but up from 14 percent a year ago. Sixty-three percent of investors paid in cash in March.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 6 percent of sales in March, down from 7 percent in February and 8 percent a year ago. Five percent of March sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16 percent below market value in March (18 percent in February), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (17 percent in February).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in March from 4.87 million in February, and are now 6.1 percent above the 4.79 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $237,800 in March, up 6.6 percent from March 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in March, and are now 5.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing condo price was $224,700 in March, which is 8.0 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

March existing-home sales in the Northeast surged 10.1 percent to an annual rate of 760,000, and are now 4.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $260,800, which is 2.8 percent above March 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.31 million in March, and are now 3.1 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $183,000, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in March rose 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.42 million, and are now 8.5 percent above March 2016. The median price in the South was $210,600, up 8.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West decreased 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.22 million in March, but are still 5.2 percent above a year ago. The median price in the West was $347,500, up 8.0 percent from March 2016.

Once again, if you would like a detailed analysis of your specific neighborhood then contact us www.WeKnowNona.com and www.WeKnowOrlando.com – call at 407-251-1314. Whether you are buying or selling it is imperative to have all the facts at your disposal to make an informed decision. Our homes are typically one of our greatest assets in our portfolio.

Home Sales Spiked in March…and Sold Fast

Inside the Release, by on April 21, 2017

An abnormally warm winter, strong consumer confidence and robust underlying demand ended up being the perfect formula to push existing-home sales in March to their highest pace in over 10 years.

More notably, despite the fact that supply is extremely tight and buying a home has gotten more expensive, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions.

In addition to the 4.4 percent leap in sales last month, equally impressive was the fact that typically sold 11 days faster than in February and 13 days quicker than a year ago. There’s no question that buyers are struggling to find an affordable home to buy, and when they do, they have to act very fast just to have a chance.

To reiterate what NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said during this morning’s press conference: “sales will go as far as inventory does.”

EHS1

EHS2

EHS3

EHS4

EHS5

Home prices rise as listings disappear

Scant listings of houses for sale in the core Orlando home prices rise by 2.6 percent during the one-month period of February, according to a new report by Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

The midpoint sale price in February for an area that includes mostly Orange and Seminole counties was $205,000, which was up about 11 percent from a year earlier.

Despite limited options for buyers, rising prices and interest rates edging up, association members closed 2,423 sales in February. Sales were up 10 percent from a month earlier and basically flat from a year ago.

“We are headed into peak home-buying season with high demand but significantly fewer on the market compared to last year,” said Orlando association President Bruce Elliott, an with Regal R.E. Professionals LLC.

Central Florida’s job and population growth has been depleting the available listings, even as the appetite for rentals has grown in recent years.

One Orlando-area real estate agent said he listed a three-bedroom, one-bath house without central heat/air in the west Winter Park area for $219,000. Immediately, he said, seven investors offered cash with the hope of tearing it down to make way for new townhomes.

During February, Osceola had the greatest increase in sales among Central counties with 10 percent growth from a year ago. Orange County also had an increase in sales during the 12-month period while Lake and Seminole counties both experienced declines.

Orlando’s housing market wades further into 2017 with markedly fewer houses listed . Listings in February were down 21 percent from a year earlier and the area had a 3.5-month supply — about a month less than February 2015.

Overall for the area in February, houses sold within 69 days of hitting the market — almost two weeks faster than sales a year ago.

Looking ahead, families may be in trouble as orlando home prices rise because association members reported 5,849 pending sales. That is an increase of 8 percent from a year ago and 14 percent from a month ago. Orlando’s pipeline of pending sales in February had about 400 more houses and condos than it did last February.

Elliott said current market conditions make it particularly conducive to sell for owners who have been contemplating getting into the market. And for buyers, he added, getting professional help structuring offers is especially key leading into the most active sales season of the year.

Here’s the salary needed to afford a median-priced home in Orlando

Despite the fact that the median value of a home sold in the fourth quarter of 2016 was lower in 21 of the 27 markets analyzed by HSH.com, the decline in cost wasn’t enough to offset the increase in 30-year fixed mortgage rates, so the salary needed to purchase that median home rose yet again in all but five markets.

The top three most affordable markets and the salary needed there to buy a median-priced house house included Pittsburgh, $$32,373.50; Cleveland, $33,779.45; and Cincinnati, $36,520.35. The three least affordable markets included San Francisco, $160,589.84; San Diego, $113,530.43; and Los Angeles, $98,315.22.

And in case you wondered, if homebuyers in the Orlando metro area put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $50,871.95 to $58,734.31.

Orlando ranks No. 2 in Forbes’ fastest-growing cities list

PHOTO VIA JOE SHLABOTNIK ON FLICKR.

  • Photo via Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr.

The results are in: Orlando is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country.
According to Forbes, Orlando is No. 2 in the country, just behind Cape Coral, in its ranking of the country’s fastest-growing metropolitan cities.

 Every year, Forbes compiles a list of America’s fastest-growing cities in an effort to give a “holistic picture” of places on the upswing.
 The magazine uses data provided by Moody’s Analytics to compare the country’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas in measures such as population, employment, wages, economic output and home values, coming up with a ranking of the top 25.

cities dominate the list with nine out of 25, more than any other state. Six of those cities are included in the list’s top 10.
The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area took the top spot, with a population increase of 3.39 percent and a projected growth rate of 3.61 percent for 2017.
The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area ranks No. 2 on the list, but was No. 1 in job growth for 2016 at 4.57 percent. That growth is expected to decrease a bit this year however, with a projected rate of 3.54 percent.
The Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach area, Jacksonville, the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area also made the top 10.

Orlando’s housing market: Median prices up in Dec. 2016

Central ’s housing market saw an increase in sales and median sales price in December,

Local sales of existing single-family totaled 2,822 last month, up 2.4 percent from December 2015. Statewide, sales of single-family homes totaled 22,332 last month, up 0.8 percent from December 2015.

Stateside, the housing market reported higher median prices and fewer all-cash sales in December, according to the Florida Realtors. “The trend of tight housing supply continued to have an impact on Florida’s housing market in December,” said 2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells, in a prepared statement. “Last month, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties rose year-over-year for 61 months in row. While that’s good news for sellers, it’s continuing to put pressure on inventory for first-time homebuyers and those who may be looking for their next ‘move-up’ home.”

The median sales price for a single-family home in Central Florida was $230,000 last month, up 8.5 percent from the year-ago period, and higher than the statewide median of $226,000, which was up 9.2 percent from the previous year. For townhomes anSold house sign in Midwest suburban setting. Focus on sign.d condos, the local median sales price was $137,000 in December, up 14.2 percent from the year-ago period, and lower than the statewide median of $166,900, which was up 7.7 percent from the prior year. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

There were 719 townhomes and condos sold last month in Central Florida, down 2.8 percent from the year-ago period; and 8,673 townhomes and condos sold statewide in December, down 5.2 percent when compared to December 2015.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in November 2016 was $236,500, up 6.8 percent from the prior year; and the national median existing condo price was $222,600, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Closed sales data for Florida showed fewer short sales and cash-only sales last month: Short sales for townhouse-condo properties fell 45 percent, while short sales for single-family homes declined by 39.2 percent. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

NAR: Foreign buyers see Lake Nona as profitable investment

Lake Nona Medical City draws many International Buyers– January 2, 2017 – International home sales in the U.S. declined in the past year, but are at their second highest level in recent years and over six percent of total existing-home sales in value. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2017 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, interest in U.S. properties continues to grow, signaling that America continues to be regarded by international buyers as a great place to own property.

The survey, which asked Realtors to report their international activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2013, showed that total international sales were $68.2 billion, down approximately $14 billion from the previous year. The decline is attributed to a number of temporary factors, including economic slowdowns in a number of major foreign economies, tighter U.S. credit standards and unfavorable exchange rates.

Of total international transactions, $34.8 billion (51 percent) were attributed to foreign buyers with permanent residences outside the U.S. and $33.4 billion (49 percent) were attributed to buyers who are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the U.S.

“Foreign buyers are experiencing hurdles not only abroad, but also here in the U.S. when it comes to purchasing property,” says NAR President Gary Thomas. “Difficult economic conditions, particularly in Europe, have impacted foreign buyers, but several factors in the U.S. have also affected their purchasing power here. Tight credit standards have made financing challenging for immigrants, and low housing inventories have made finding a house difficult. However, none of these factors appear to be permanent.”

Foreign buyers continue to have a substantial interest in U.S. properties. Over a five year timeframe more than 70 percent of Realtors reported a constant or increasing level in the number of international clients contacting them.

Twenty-seven percent of Realtors said they worked with international clients this year. The most important factors influencing their purchases were the U.S.’s desirable location and the investment potential of the real estate market.

Realtors reported purchases from 68 countries, but five have historically accounted for the bulk of purchases: Canada (23 percent), China (12 percent), Mexico (8 percent), India (5 percent) and the United Kingdom (5 percent). These five countries accounted for approximately 53 percent of transactions, with Canada and China the fastest growing sources over the years.

Canadian buyers were reported to purchase properties with a median price of $183,000, with the majority purchased in , Arizona and California. Chinese buyers tended to purchase property in the upper price ranges with a median price of $425,000 and typically in California. Sixty-two percent of Mexican buyers purchased property in California and Texas, with a median price of $156,250.

“Many factors influence foreign buyers’ decisions on where to purchase in the U.S., but the most important are proximity to home country, presence of relatives and friends, availability of job and education opportunities, and the climate,” says Thomas. “International buyers also differ on the type of desired property. Some are looking for trophy properties while others are interested in modest vacation .”

Five states made up 61 percent of reported purchases: Florida (23 percent), California (17 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Texas (9 percent) and New York (3 percent).

About half of foreign buyers preferred to purchase in a suburban area, while a quarter preferred a more central city/urban area. A majority purchased a detached single-family home and 63 percent used all-cash.

Based on the reported international transactions, the mean and median prices of purchases were higher when compared to purchase prices of domestic buyers. For the 12 months ending March 2013 the median international home price was $275,862, and for domestic buyers it was $179,867.

The types of homes purchased by international buyers frequently tended to be different from the types of homes purchased by domestic U.S. buyers. International buyers are more likely to be substantially wealthier and looking for a property in a specialized niche.

 

Pending homes sales fall 2.5 percent as Trump bump misses housing

Stock-market investors have profited smartly from a post election rally, but home buyers have fared worse after the surprise election of Donald Trump. The reason: higher mortgage rates.

An index that measures pending home sales in the U.S. fell 2.5% in November to the lowest level in nearly a year. The index dropped to 107.3 from 110 in the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Interest rates have risen on the expectation that a Trump administration will goose the economy with tax cuts and fresh spending, causing inflation to rise.

The cost of a 30-year fixed mortgage has surged from 3.59% before the Nov. 8 election to 4.36%

The result has been a similarly sizable jump in mortgage rates at a time when there’s already a shortage of properties available for sale.

The cost of a 30-year fixed mortgage has surged from 3.59% before the election to 4.36%. Rates are now almost a full percentage point higher compared to just six months ago.

“The budget of many prospective buyers last month was dealt an abrupt hit by the quick ascension of rates immediately after the election,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the trade group. “Already faced with climbing home prices and minimal listings in the affordable price range, fewer home shoppers in most of the country were successfully able to sign a contract.”

Pending home sales fell the steepest in the West, with demand also declining in the South and Midwest. Only the Northeast saw an increase in pending sales.

Some relief for prospective home buyers could come in 2017, however.

Builders have stepped up construction and companies expect a business friendly Trump administration to keep the economy chugging along. Steady growth and a slew of new hiring over the last five years has given many families the means and confidence to buy a home.

Despite fewer pending sales in November, more are expected to be sold in 2016 than any year since 2006.