The Benefits of an Appraisal

May 14th, 2015
Beth Hobart from Beth Sells Florida discuss the benefits of getting a professional appraisal before you list your home for sale.

Pre-Approval for First-time Home Buyers

May 8th, 2015

Beth explains the important first step in the home buying process.

Staging- your questions answered

April 23rd, 2015


When I list a home, usually one of the first things I suggest for a client to do is have a professional Stager come assess the home. They will go room by room with you and explain how to set up your home to look more like a model home, and in turn, more marketable. Suzanne Walker with Before and After Home Staging and Home Redesignwas kind enough to answer some of the most common questions we hear from clients about staging.

1. What is staging, exactly?

Staging is the presentation of a home for sale by enabling it to look more like a model home so buyers can see the potential. It helps the home appeal emotionally to buyers. Sellers can use what they have and add a few inexpensive decorative accessories. It creates a feeling of living but could be anyone’s life.

2. Why should I stage my home before putting it on the market?

Most buyers do an internet search first and put together their “Must See” list. If the rooms and space in the home don’t show well, it will not make the cut and will limit showings. Also when buyers come for a showing, they can get turned off by the way a home is set up and not even consider putting in an offer.

3. Should I hire a professional stager? Why? 

Yes! Here are 10 reasons why:

1. Sell Faster at a higher price

2 Look better on the Internet, a buyer’s first place to look for a home

3. Be on a Buyer’s “Must See” List

4. Look better than competing properties

5. More foot traffic

6. Viewed by buyers as having more square footage

7. Shows buyers how they can live in the home and helps them to envision themselves there

8. Perceived as well-maintained

9. Can have positive impact during the appraisal process

10. Perceived as more “move-in ready”

4. Is staging really worth the investment?

Staging can cost under $200.00 in some cases. A price reduction while a house is on the market can cost a few thousand dollars. Staging has a good return on investment.

5. If there isn’t any furniture in the house, can a stager help?

Yes, there are a couple of options: 1) Hiring a Home Management Company to bring in furniture, and have their person live in the house. This can be valuable if the home is higher-end. 2) A seller can also use display boards for key rooms and stage warm vignettes in the kitchen and baths.

Have more staging questions? You can reach Suzanne Walker of Before & After Home Staging and Home Redesign by emailing her at or calling her at 407-690-0455.

BEFORE STAGING                                         AFTER STAGING

before staging                after staging

Orlando Housing Market Snapshot March 2015

April 23rd, 2015




Click on the image to get some fast stats on Orlando’s Housing Market for March 2015.


5 things you need to know about appraisals

April 23rd, 2015


We get a lot of questions regarding appraisals from both buyers and sellers. We asked Kelly Kellogg with Appraisal Experts to weigh in and give us her professional opinion on your appraisal questions.

1. What’s the difference between an appraisal and the tax appraiser’s value?

A tax appraiser’s value is computer generated. It does not take into account the condition of the property or any upgrades to the interior of the home. The tax appraiser’s value also doesn’t take into consideration the view from your home- Does it back to a busy road? Does it have a beautiful lake view? These are all things that a home appraiser will adjust to give you the true value of your home. Secondly, tax appraisers do not always have the correct square footage on record. If a tax appraiser cannot walk around an entire house to measure due to a locked gate, they will give it their best guess.

2. What kind of upgrades give you the best return on investment in a home?

Kitchens tend give the best return on investment. But it is important to remember not to over-improve your kitchen for your neighborhood. When we appraise houses, we look at similar homes in your neighborhood. If you have the best kitchen on the block, you may not get the entire return on your investment.

3. Should I get an appraisal before I list my home for sale?

Absolutely! Why? In this more balanced market, a seller needs to be more proactive when listing their home for sale. You don’t want to leave money on the table by pricing it too low. You also don’t want to sit on the market because you priced it too high. Having an appraisal before you list your home will give you peace of mind when you go to the negotiating table. An appraisal fee is a small investment in making sure your home sells for what it is worth.

4. As a buyer, why should I get an appraisal during the buying process?

An appraisal can protect you from making a poor investment. During the purchasing process, you want to make sure you are paying a fair value for the home you have fallen in love with. An appraisal will give everyone an unbiased opinion on the value of the home.

5. What is the best method to price a home correctly?

The method most sellers use to price their home is price per square foot. While that will give you a great ball park price, an appraisal gets very specific. An appraiser finds houses that are similar in size to yours, then will make adjustments for upgrades, location, interior condition, the view, etc. Every house is different, and not every neighborhood has homes with similar floor plans, so it is important to know that you are pricing your home correctly.

You can learn more about Kelly Kellogg and her team at or by calling 407-644-8885.

5 things you need to know about home inspections

April 23rd, 2015
When working with buyers, I always recommend that they conduct a home inspection and termite inspection on the home they are purchasing. I usually get the same question, “Why do I need an inspection?”. To help explain what a home inspection is and why you need one, Beth Sells Florida interviewed Paul Magrone from Home Inspections by Paul J. Magrone, Inc. Here are five things you should know about home inspections.

1. Why do I need a home inspection?

“For someone that has never owned a property, an inspection can help shed light on so many areas that may otherwise be overwhelming. The first reason to have a Home Inspection done when purchasing a property is for the educational value and your protection. A good inspector may uncover some problems that on the surface appear challenging. A good inspector can manage expectations by effectively communicating with you, the customer. If I have an understanding of your needs, concerns, and budget I can very often advise you on the best path forward. A game plan is essential when first getting into a home. And equally important is an inspector that can help you determine if the home is the right home for your situation.”

2. What exactly are you looking for during an inspection?

“There are so many things a Home Inspector has to look for. Some things are safety concerns, things that could harm you and your family. Other things are defective materials or substandard work. In so many cases we find people have hired contractors who are not qualified. In homes we are always looking for substandard electrical, plumbing, roof, and other repairs or modifications that have been done in a substandard fashion. The most important things to look for are things that could really cause harm to the building or occupants. Obsolete plumbing materials, electrical equipment, or even structural concerns are all in a good home inspector’s mind when inspecting a property. The most important concern is anything that may cause you to take on a financial burden like a roof that is near the end of its life expectancy. To answer the question in a complete way, we are looking out for you to make sure there are no real big surprises. We are human and cannot pretend to know it all, but if we do our best we can really be a valuable asset in the home buying process.”

3. What is WDO?

“WDO stands for Wood Destroying Organism. In the state of Florida that could mean Termites, Powder Post Beetles, or Wood Decay Fungi. In our industry there are Home Inspectors that rent licenses and perform WDO Inspections but may not necessarily be legitimate in the eyes of Florida Law. The WDO Inspection is usually very affordable but can provide peace of mind if performed by a state licensed WDO Professional. Even in a concrete block home there are wood trusses and interior wood wall studs, wall trim, doorjambs, etc. All homes would benefit from a WDO Inspection conducted by a state certified professional. ”

4. Are home inspections fool proof?

“A Home Inspection is a non-invasive visual inspection that is not technically exhausting but designed to provide the customer with a much clearer understanding of the condition of a property. So, no we are not perfect but a good Home Inspector with experience can actually tell you more about a home than most General Contractors because we are in the business of defect recognition. It takes experience through years of repetition to know what to look for and where to look for problems. That does not make any Home Inspector perfect but does place an emphasis and value on experience as a Home Inspector. The company you choose should be one with inspectors who have a lot of experience in the field.”

5. What is the strangest thing you’ve seen during a home inspection?

“Some of the things that homeowners have done on their own absolutely amaze us in the field sometimes. One example is a homeowner had built an addition in the backyard. After a while they noticed that the flooring was wet and the addition had a strange sulfur odor. They called me out there and asked for my help. I asked a lot of questions which is a part of what I do to try to understand the customer’s needs. I did a public records search and inspected the property and found their addition was installed over the septic system. They had the home inspected prior to purchase and were told they were on city sewer. They did not pull a permit for the addition with Orange County. They were very upset with the results of my inspection but also with their previous Home Inspector. That was a very strange one because as I was uncovering the problem, part of me was so unsure like, “this cannot be happening!” Now here I am, 10 years later and over 5000 Home Inspections under my belt. I have seen a lot.”

“I think most inspections are routine and do not usually uncover major problems but rather help people understand the next five years of their new home purchase. But there are times when we find major problems that could cause someone to walk away from a property.”

“I have always said that I have the best job in the world. Helping people find the right home is very rewarding. I love working with truly professional Realtors that have their client’s best interest at heart. I enjoy teaching first time home buyers how to navigate through the maze of home ownership.”

You can learn more about Paul and his team at his website or by calling 407-816-8209.

Orlando Housing Market Report – March 2015

April 23rd, 2015

In March, Orlando home sales surged once again, as buyers continued to take advantage of record low interest rates and the increased inventory of homes available for sale.