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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.

Mortgage rates again fall lower

U.S. mortgage rates again ticked down this week, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.94 percent for the week ending June 1, down from 3.95 percent the previous week.

Favorable mortgage rates aided U.S. home sales, and the booming refinance market.

“In a short week following Memorial Day, the 10-year Treasury yield fell 4 basis points,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The 30-year mortgage rate remained relatively flat, falling 1 basis point to 3.94 percent and once again hitting a new 2017 low.”

The historic low for 30-year rates was 3.31 percent in November 2012.

Here on the local front, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 7.5 percent in March 2017 in the Orlando metro area compared with March 2016, according to CoreLogic.

4 High-Return Updates for the Home

Exclusive: Construction tees up for $25M Lake Nona golf attraction

It’s official: ’s & Performance District is adding a new golf and entertainment element to the mix.

Franklin, Tenn.-based The Parkes Cos. last week was issued a permit valued at $10 million to begin work on Drive Shack, the new complex at 7675 Lake Nona Blvd., according to city of documents.

The project includes a three-story, 57,000-square-foot driving range entertainment facility that includes a restaurant, lounge, bar, hitting bays and meeting spaces, according to Orange County permitting documents. It will be built on a 15-acre site on the northwest quadrant of State Road 417 and Lake Nona Boulevard, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal. It will be similar to Topgolf, which plans to open an Orlando site on International Drive this fall.

A project manager at The Parkes Cos. wasn’t available for comment and it appears Drive Shack Orlando’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since September, as of the morning of May 22.

However, New York-based Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE: DS) is a new global golf entertainment company as announced last November by New York-based real estate investment trust Newcastle Investment Corp., which is managed by an affiliate of real estate firm Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE: FIG).

The Lake Nona site is the parent company’s first Drive Shack location and another one is in the works, Drive Shack CEO and President Sarah Watterson said during the company’s May 5 first-quarter earnings call. Here’s more on what Watterson had to say about the project during that call:

“On the entertainment golf business, we continue to be very excited and make strides in developing our global network of Drive Shack venues. In Orlando, we’re in the midst of constructing our first venue, with the goal being open in first-quarter 2018. We’re also very excited to announce that our second Drive Shack venue will be developed in Richmond, Va. … Our venues feature multiple stories of hitting suites, whether friends, family, coworkers or complete strangers are able to compete in various technologically-enhanced golf games while using TaylorMade clubs. Consumers who are seeking a good time, but maybe not looking to participate in the game, are able to enjoy food and beverage options from one of our many entertainment, restaurant or lounge areas.”

Each Drive Shack site is expected to cost $15 million-$25 million to build, and would generate about $3 million-$6 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a December 2016 investor presentation showed.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous is the project architect; Walter P. Moore is the structural engineer; ME Engineers is handling mechanical, electrical and plumbing; and Howe Engineers is the code engineer.

Meanwhile, Drive Shack in Lake Nona is the next piece of the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, which boasts the now operating $100 million U.S. Tennis Association National Campus; the soon-to-debut $1.4 million USTA Florida headquarters and U.S. Professional Tennis Association complex; and the $20 million Orlando City Soccer Club training facility.

Elsewhere in Lake Nona, global audit giant KPMG LLP is hosting a May 22 groundbreaking on its new $430 million Lake Nona training center and Lake Nona developer Tavistock Development Co. LLC expects big things for the next $300 million phase of its Lake Nona Town Center.

7 things to know today and housing market nears 2006 price peak

Good morning, Orlando!

We all have been watching the Orlando-area housing market with great interest in the past year, as sales and median prices continue to increase, and inventory shrinks.

Now, a new CoreLogic report sheds some light on exactly how much activity is taking place not only here in Central Florida, but nationwide as well.

U.S. home prices are up 7.1% in March, data from analytics company CoreLogic shows. And home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 7.5%t in March 2017 in the Orlando metro area compared with March 2016.

Nationwide, home prices will increase by 4.9% year-over-year from March 2017 to March 2018, CoreLogic forecast. The property data provider said its Home Price Index is only 2.8% away from its 2006 peak. The index is expected to reach the previous peak during the second half of this year with a forecasted increase of almost 5% over the next 12 months.

Prices in more than half the country already have surpassed their previous peaks, and almost 20%t of metropolitan areas are now at their price peaks, according to CoreLogic.

Strong job gains, household formation, population growth and still-attractive mortgage rates in the face of tight inventories are fueling a continuing surge in home prices across the U.S., said Frank D. Martell, CoreLogic president and CEO..

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.

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.

Should you pay for a home warranty?

Orlando average price per square footPublished: February 22, 2017

If you’re going to get one, here’s how to use it correctly

If you’re in the process of buying a home, selling a home or will be in the near future, one of the costs you’re likely considering is a home warranty. But, as this is an optional expense, you have to decide if it will really be worth it to you.

“Home warranties [typically] cost between $300 and $700 a year and have a service call fee that ranges from $60 to $100, depending on the company,” Pam Maycumber of Keller Williams Realty Advantage III in Orlando, Florida.

What is a home warranty?

“A home warranty will repair or replace…covered systems and appliances when they break down from normal wear and tear,” Pam said. “Most often, home warranties cover the mechanical components of these appliances.”

Pam pointed out that these warranties are often part of a real estate transaction, but can be purchased by a homeowner at any time. However, consider the expense of that repair item. Whether it comes at the seller cost or the buyer cost having a home warranty is a terrific tool for peace of mind, and a real cost savings. Speaking from personal experience, Allyn and Pam Maycumber, point out hundreds of satisfied customers that have had a wide range of maintenance items covered by a home warranty.

Remember, if you are selling your home you can cover yourself during the listings time period AND it will cover the new home buyer for one year after their closing. Our customer in the Lake Nona area of Orlando, Florida had their home on the market . One of the air conditioning units failed, and then was replaced by the home warranty company. This covered nearly $4,000 in expenses, and when the prospective buyer knew it was a brand new unit it was a tremendous plus and allowed the seller to focus on more cosmetic touch ups to enhance the property. It was a “win WIN” situation.

Is it worth it? that depends…

For a “buyer to renew or for a homeowner to purchase their own warranty is a total waste of money,” Adriana Mollica, a Hello for Teles Properties in Beverly Hills, California, said. However, she added that it depends on the situation, as it may be “a great idea for a seller to purchase [a warranty] for a buyer when selling their property” as an added feature to sell their home.

On the flip side these warranties can be great — and save you money — when they’re used correctly.

“As long as you hold up your end of the home warranty contract by making sure your systems and appliances are clean and taken care of, when they fail from normal wear and tear, a home warranty will cover the repairs and replacements,” said Chelsea of Fidelity Title. “Even if a home warranty doesn’t cover all parts of the system or appliance that needs to be replaced, the out-of-pocket costs that a homeowner pays versus what they would pay out of pocket without a home warranty translates to huge cost savings.”

Pam relayed, for those who purchase a newly built home with new appliances, “getting a home warranty probably doesn’t make much sense as long as they are already covered under a builder warranty. She said that a “home warranty makes the most sense when you have moved into a new home and the systems and appliances have been used previously” or when you’ve had your own items for two or more years.

“Before you buy a home warranty…make sure to read through the contract,” Pam advised. “Home warranties will explain in detail which parts of their systems and appliances they cover and which they don’t within their contract. In order to get value out of a home warranty it’s vital to know and understand what the plan covers and doesn’t cover.”

Deciding what you want the warranty for

According to Allyn Maycumber, a broker associate for Keller Williams Realty Advantage III in Orlando, Florida, it’s all about perspective. If you’re looking to get a warranty that will land you brand new items if yours break, you may be severely disappointed. But if you’re using it as a safety net, you may find comfort in your warranty.

“I look at home warranties as a way to buy insurance [so] that you have time to rebuild your emergency fund after purchasing your home,” Allyn said. “It can give you peace of mind that you will have heat all winter and hot showers for a year. But it is rare that a homeowner hits the jackpot and gets a new furnace from it, although I’ve seen that. If you do get a new furnace, it is going to be similar to the old one in terms of efficiency, so that won’t save you money either.”

Paying for home repairs

Unexpected home repairs can certainly do big damage to your bank account — which is one of the reasons it’s important to regularly feed that emergency fund. If you’re faced with a pressing expense, a balance-transfer credit card, low-interest personal loan or home equity line of credit could help you cover costs (and possibly spare you some interest.

Mortgage rates climb after weeks of declines

U.S. mortgage rates rose after several weeks of declines, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 4.19 percent for the week ending Jan. 26, an increase from 4.09 percent the previous week. A year ago, mortgage rates averaged 3.79 percent.

Favorable mortgage rates have aided U.S. home sales and have driven the refinance market.

“The 10-year Treasury yield increased more than 10 basis points this week,” said Allyn Maycumber, at Keller Williams Realty. “The 30-year mortgage rate moved up as well to 4.19 percent, a 10 basis point jump. This week marks the first increase in the mortgage rate since December 29. The 2.8 percent decline in existing home sales in December is a reminder of the lack of . According to the National Association of Realtors, supply is at its lowest level since 1999, a factor that should support higher house prices regardless of the oscillations of the mortgage rate.”

The historic low for 30-year rates was 3.31 percent in November 2012.

Hemisphere Restaurant Now Open at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

A new defining dining experience offers unparalleled views and seasonal chef’s recommended culinary flights

, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following a successful $3 million re-design and soft opening, the newly re-imagined Hemisphere restaurant is open daily for breakfast and dinner, serving up neo-contemporary world cuisine alongside unmatched views from the ninth floor of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The recently re-designed 3,000 square-foot restaurant seats 164 guests and playfully combines the adventure of flight with international flavors.

“Hemisphere was created for travelers and locals in search of an unforgettable dining experience offering fascinating runway views, thoughtful service, and an elevated level of cuisine and cocktails,” said Bruce McDonald, general manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. “We have embraced our unique location, with unrivaled, panoramic views of one of the most active international airports as the focal point of Hemisphere. Guests satisfy their inner curiosity with air and space travel among an upscale dining atmosphere.”

Hemisphere guests are transported into a world of travel-rich sights, sounds and tastes. The restaurant’s new design features floor-to-ceiling glass walls facing airport runways, inviting guests to gaze at planes etching through the starlit sky and rockets launching into space, McDonald continued.

Food & Beverage

Led by Executive Chef Jeffery Powell, Hemisphere’s culinary team has designed a menu that infuses robust international flavors and seasonal local ingredients. Dinner highlights include Chef Powell’s signature pork belly with slow pickled blueberries, candied jalapeños and savory sunchoke purée.

Additionally, guests will enjoy a seasonal Chef’s Recommended Flight, a menu of signature dishes that will change with every new season. Avocado toast, kalbi short rib sliders, grilled fennel and apple and pork tamales are available now as part of the featured Chef’s Recommended Flight on the restaurant’s new dinner menu.

“We designed the Hemisphere menu with dishes that are designed for sharing among friends and brought out to the table on a flow throughout the meal,” said Executive Chef Powell. “This way, diners can experience more dishes, rather than sticking to an individual starter and main course.”

The Hemisphere beverage menu complements the world kitchen concept with a carefully curated collection of wines and cocktails from each hemisphere, like the Very Long Layover featuring Lillet rosé, mineral water, lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, and lavender simple syrup. Wine cuvees are filled with 16 wine varietals from different regions around the globe. Wine Flights rotate daily and guests may simply select a direction to travel: Up North and Down South.

Restaurant guests enjoy an easy and grand sense of arrival to Hemisphere with direct access into the Orlando International Airport and the Hyatt Regency hotel valet, followed by a brief elevator ride to the ninth floor and entry into Hemisphere. Complimentary valet parking is available for all Hemisphere guests.

Hemisphere offers flexible seating to accommodate groups, as well as, small parties and single diners in its signature setting. Custom wine cuvees and lounge-style seating highlight the center of the restaurant and large custom aviation-inspired murals adorn the walls. The Upper Deck presents a unique setting for private dining and receptions with an eagle-eye view.

Paper Planes: A Local Art Installation

Following a local artist search, Damon Dewitt was hand-selected to craft the signature entryway art installation at the re-designed Hemisphere restaurant. Dewitt’s work, Paper Planes, is physically and metaphorically light and reflective evoking a nostalgic flight experience and embracing the sense of wonder and travel from the early years of commercial aviation. The art installation is showcased in the new entry of Hemisphere and follows the curvature of the signature spiral staircase to the Upper Deck. The handcrafted “paper” airplanes float on 15 rows of vertical, stainless steel wiring for a sleek yet simple display.

Hemisphere is open daily for breakfast from 5:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. (12:00 p.m. on weekends) and for dinner Monday – Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. For more information and reservations, visit www.HemisphereRestaurant.com or call (407) 825-1234. Stay social on Instagram: @HemisphereRestaurant and Facebook: /Hemisphere Restaurant COM

 

About Hemisphere

With an active, upbeat environment, Hemisphere restaurant engages guests’ senses with seasonal menus featuring hand-crafted dishes that infuse local ingredients with modern world flavors. The restaurant is open for breakfast daily and dinner Monday – Saturday, with private event space available daily. It is located on the ninth floor of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport with convenient access to downtown Orlando, the Interstate 4 business and tourism corridor, as well as the neighboring community. For more information, visit www.HemisphereRestaurant.com.