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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2015 7 years ago

Christina Rordam: Television and house hunting

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Home shows are all the rage these days.
by: Christina Rordam

Home shows are all the rage these days. From international home purchasing to flipping properties and remodeling your backyard, the world is watching. Often viewers can pick up great ideas for upgrading kitchens, yards and bedrooms and even learn how to install and complete some of these home renovations themselves.

There is however an effect on the viewer over time, wherein the tightly produced and casted shows can be confused with reality.

While these shows are often both informative as well as entertaining, they don’t necessarily translate directly into Real Estate Reality. Rest assured, the buyers likely have visited more than three homes before finding the perfect one and whichever one they decided to buy wasn’t purchased in the time span of a commercial break!

Home values in Central Florida continue to be on the rise and even though there are more homes available for purchase than last year it’s still a seller’s market. Every homebuyer and seller figures it out eventually; real life real estate is a bit different than TV. The most important thing to keep in mind is that Florida is and always will be a desirable place to live. Nearly 2,400 homes were sold in February in Central Florida and the median sales price is up 4 percent from this time last year. So houses aren’t on a buy one-get-one-free special! Even distressed homes aren’t so distressed anymore. Prices for foreclosures are up more than 18 percent year-to-year! The banks are no longer desperate to move their inventory, they get appraisals and brokers price opinions prior to listing and selling their homes so they do know how much they are worth.

In my experience the “HGTV Effect” is this; so many beautifully redone homes flash on our TV screens each week, we get used to seeing a top-of-the-line finished product and streamlined super-smooth process. Also, sometimes the shows are filmed in markets where the real estate isn’t selling as fast or for as much as in Central Florida. The process can often be smooth and quick. This occurs however when the buyer or seller is familiar with the reality of their local real estate market and what homes are going for in terms of price and condition.

If you are buying a home now or in the next year, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional as well as check for what is selling online. Buyers, be realistic. Oftentimes the driving force behind demand in a neighborhood or zip code is a highly rated school or a fabulous location with proximity to commerce and entertainment. Don’t expect the same bang for you buck in the city as you do in an up-and-coming area on the outskirts of town. Both have value but an established location will generate more demand and higher prices.

For sellers overall the news is good. Even with inventory going up prices are rising too and buyers recognize that these super low interest rates won’t last forever. Homes are selling quickly when priced and marketed right. Multiple offers are still around and if your place doesn’t require much fixing up the better for you when you sell. Buyers increasingly look for turnkey homes in today’s busy world. Not everyone has the time nor the desire to renovate a property prior to moving in.

HGTV and all the similar networks are fantastic. I’ve spent a few happy hours on my couch on a Saturday enjoying “House Hunters International” myself! The important thing to remember is that the market is recovering. So if you’re buying, be prepared to see a few less-than-television-ready homes and prepare yourself for real world pricing. Sellers would do well to remember they may need to show their homes more than three times before finding a buyer and that it’s common to have some back and forth during the negotiation process. Ultimately with prices rising and rates low, Central Florida real estate is continuing its recovery. With the right knowledge and awareness you too can find the right home to be the star of your family’s show.

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