If you remember… last year for our “Red Day Community Outreach Event” we collect over 2,711 pounds of food which provided 1,807 meals to families in need in our community. This year we will be doing another FOOD DRIVE  for less fortunate students in Orange County. On Thursday May 10th we will be driving around collecting brown bags of food around Cypress Springs  that are outside. If you want to help or participate then send us an email to or call us at  407-429-2040 and we will be sure to send you more details.



Low-ball offers are not working anymore

What a great article I read today… It is 100% the truth!

When the number of home sellers grossly outpaces the number of buyers, no offer can be ignored, even if it’s 25 percent or more off the asking price. But in today’s rebounding market, those low-ball offers are not working! Many times, the potential buyer finds that they don’t even get a counter-offer. And, in many cases, another more realistic buyer gets the home.

A low-ball offer – generally 25% or more off the asking price – allows buyers to see if they can land a great deal, even if they’re willing to pay more. In a survey last year conducted by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), one in 10 respondents cited low-ball offers as a concern. According to real estate columnist Kenneth Harney, a NAR survey conducted in March and not yet released found that almost no one complained about low offers.

When the number of listings outpaced the number of buyers, many potential homeowners submitted a shockingly low offer on the theory that they had nothing to lose. If the seller balked, most would still counter with something below their asking price. Today, however, offers close to the asking price – or even beating it – will probably come in fairly quickly from someone else if a home is priced correctly in the first place.

Even buyers who still want to low-ball an offer on a home many times switch tactics after they lose a property or two to a more aggressive buyer. We are seeing this happen over and over.

A local Florida Realtor said that she told Harney that fewer buyers want to low-ball an offer in her area, but they still come in – mainly from out-of-state or out-of-the-country people who have read about the state’s foreclosures and short sales. That news, however, is old – it has not kept up with reality in many areas.  She continued to say that some people still insist on making a low-ball offer, but that she doesn’t mind. “You can’t blame a buyer for trying to get a good deal,” she says.

In some cases, a seller isn’t offended by a low-ball offer, but their counter-offer shaves only a little bit off their original asking price. An Olympia, Wash., real estate agent had a $150,000 offer for a $250,000 listing, according to Harney. But after the dust settled and the seller shook off his irritation, he and the buyer agreed to $230,000.

ImageHarney closed his column with this advice: “Rolling low-balls at sellers may have been an effective approach between 2008 and early 2011. But in 2012’s environment – at least in rebounding markets – it could be counterproductive if you truly want to buy.”

Source: Ken Harney. Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Tony Galarza, Realtor®

Real Estate Professional/Listing Specialist/CEO

KG Realtor® Group of Keller Williams Advantage II Realty

12301 Lake Underhill Road, Suite 111, Orlando, FL 32828

Direct: 407.429.2040


eFax: 1.877.655.3123


Team Executive Assistant – Cristel Anderson

Direct: 407.429.2040



Immediate Info

Direct: 407.850.8542


Green Up Home Cleanup

When advising sellers on how to prep their home for sale, let the four C’s of staging be your guide. Here’s the green way to make the listing clean, clutter-free, colorful, and creative.

CLEAN. Using natural cleaners to get the house ready is better for people with allergies and creates less harmful chemical waste, says Barb Schwarz, CEO of Brands such as Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation provide a wide array of “green” household cleaners. A simple, at-home solution for removing hard water stains and cleaning windows is a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.

CLUTTER-FREE. Box up personal items such as photos and collectibles and instead show off the architectural features of the house. Then help sellers find a way to donate items they no longer want rather than consigning them to the Dumpster.

COLORFUL. Freshen up the look of a room with paints with minimal or no volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde. These low-VOC paints have little odor when applied and don’t create hazardous waste when disarded.

CREATIVE. Stage using salvaged and repurposed items, such as wine barrels and barrels and old pottery for plants, or light fixtures made from recycled glass.

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5 Low-Cost Kitchen Redos Buyers Will Love

Kitchen remodeling sales were up 36% in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the same time a year earlier, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. It’s no wonder: The kitchen is the focal point in many homes. And it’s one of the features buyers compare most closely when they’re shopping for a home. Here are cost estimates for some of the low-cost kitchen upgrades that listing agents often recommend to sellers:

  1.  Hardware. Replacing cabinet hardware, such as handles, knobs, and hinges is a quick, DIY way to enhance kitchen space. According to, an average kitchen is 200 square feet with 30 linear feet of cabinetry, which equates to about 40 handles and knobs. Averaging between $2 and $20 per knob or pull, a home owner can expect to spend between $80 and $800 for this enhancement.
  2. Faucet. There are myriad options today in terms of height, spouts, pullout hoses, and folding necks, with quality faucets starting around $200.
  3. Lighting. Adding an LED undercabinet light can have a dramatic effect for about $40.
  4. Organization. Buyers today choose functionality over elaborate decoration, says Jamie Goldberg, a National Kitchen & Bath Association- certified designer. Practical storage in the kitchen will go a long way. Over-the-door hooks, baskets in the pantry, drawer organizers, wall hooks for pots and pans, and stackable shelves for cabinets will add appeal; typically for less than $100.
  5. Countertops. Laminate can mimic that contemporary look of granite at a significant discount. The cost for an average kitchen with 30 linear feet of laminate countertop is roughly $1,575; the same space in granite would be about $2,400.
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FHA to cut seller’s closing cost contributions this quarter

The seller contribution cutbacks are coming from FHA.  This will impact us here in Florida where closing costs are relatively high.  FHA has been generous in allowing home sellers, including builders marketing new construction, to pay up to 6% of sales prices towards closing costs and prepaid taxes/insurance for buyers . Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by comparison, cap seller contributions at 3% for low down payment loans. VA’s ceiling is 4% for seller contributions. USDA is currently 6% for seller contributions.

Under newly proposed rules, the FHA cap on seller’s paid closing costs would drop to the greater of 3% of the home price or $6,000. In sales involving houses priced at $100,000 or below, this wouldn’t change anything ($6,000 equals 6% of $100,000). But on all sales above this threshold, FHA will cap the contribution at 3% of sales price. On a $175000 home today, the seller may currently pay up to 6% of the sales price or $10,500 towards closing costs and prepaids.  Under the new proposed 3% cap, the seller on a $175,000 house would only be allowed to pay $5250 towards closing costs and prepaids.

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8 Reasons Why You SHould Work With a Realtor!

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here’s why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.

1. Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

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Garage Sale Tips & Tricks!


How to Price & Sell?

–         Price about 10% of the original value of the item (unless new, then you can double it)

–         Be careful when using masking tape or labels for prices on cloths and plastics. The sun can melt the adhesive right on your stuff (and that’s hard to get off).

–         You can use a large poster to list prices of your items placed near the cashier area.

–         Put a lot of thought into what your minimum price will be because most will want to bargain! Watch out for that familiar phrase “Will you take $ for this and this?”

–         Be sure to have a few tables set up with similar items together.

–         First-timers must be careful when pricing hand-me-downs that might have a high value! Older items are targeted by collectors that know what they are doing!

–         DO NOT KEEP A CASH BOX IN FULL SIGHT. A good alternative is a fanny pack with the following items:

  • Calculator
  • Change ($50 in ones, fives & quarters!)
  • Small pad & pen to keep track of price quotes.

–         Put all large bills (twenties and above) in a secured area in your home.

How to Organize Your Sale…

–         Divide men/women/children/family/infant/etc… into their own areas.

–         Cloths sell at the best prices when washed & hung or folded neatly.

–         Keep good toys and electronics close to the check out table and off the ground.

–         Keep a good inventory of your hats, shoes, purses etc…

–         Collect as many plastic grocery bags as you can and give every buyer their items in it. This will help you identify if someone is walking out with something they did not purchase.

–         Keep in mind what your ultimate goal is… if you are going to donate the remaining items to Goodwill after the sale then make sure to do a HUGE price drop by noon or 1pm. This will attract a lot of buyers to buy in bulk. You can also group things together for one low price.

Remember… Be Honest!

–         Don’t sell any compromised items without disclosing their conditions to the buyer:

  • Booby-trapped
  • Damaged
  • Broken beyond repair
  • Rotten
  • Contaminated, etc…

–         Be honest with yourself. If things are not selling then something must be wrong with them or they may be priced to high. Feel free to change prices regularly, or things will go back into your garage!

Some last minute Tips…

–         Never talk about how much you have made until the end of the sale.

–         Never lie about something… if you don’t know then just say so.

–         Take few breaks to stay sane! Empty out you large bills at this point in your home.

–         Make a sign for the last hour of the sale that says “You Price it, I will sell it!” This will help sell your remaining items that were not selling so you don’t have to take them to Goodwill or store them!

–         Play pleasant music

–         Keep your driveway clean

–         Stay alert

–         Watch the weather!

–         Hang cloths from your garage door.

–         Don’t forget to say “THANK YOU”!

Unfortunately there are many buyers out there that we call “Dealers in Disguise”! You would hope that everyone was honest, but in reality they might be part of the no so honest “Garage Sale Scammers Club”. Their trick is to keep you engaged with questions while others steal what is so righteously yours! Another scam is to try and confuse you with the “You gave me the wrong change” trick. You can stop that buy keeping their money in one hand while you give them back their change in another.

We wish you the best of luck and prosperity at your Community Garage Sale!

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