Archive for Month: June 2016

Home Appraisals

Today at the Tolaris sales meeting our guest speaker was Brian Watkins from Accusured Management. His company assigns appraisers to properties and has a wide range of knowledge on the subject of appraisals. Sometimes, the process of getting the appraised value can be a nail biter. Tolaris agents can give a market analysis based on past sales, and appraisers go even further to analyze features, adjustments, trending to come up with their professional assessment of value. 

A few of the points from the presentation either confirmed my methods, or helped me to fine tune my methods of estimation. Sold houses being used as comparables need to have sold within the last 6 months (not 12). Also, the comparable home can be no more than 20% smaller or bigger than the subject property. See the current guidelines below, and let me know if you have any questions.

Accusured Management Appraisal Presentation 6-20-16 pic

Under Contract w/in 1 Week


Last month I was referred to a seller near Historic Sanford. This home had been a rental property for some time, and they were ready to sell it. I listed it on June 10th, and received an outstanding offer yesterday. Building inspections and appraisal to follow. 

Savannah Park




Gateway at Riverwalk

Gateway at Riverwalk

Building Inspection


Through a referral, I was introduced to a family searching for a home in St. Cloud. I have enjoyed getting to know another area of Orlando, and the homes available in St. Cloud are reasonably priced. We learned quickly to avoid communities with a CDD fee, a Community Development District fee. Although the homes in a CDD were seemingly priced low, the monthly/annual fee to the CDD made the homes less desirable.

After spending a few weeks searching in St. Cloud and surrounding areas, the family decided to purchase a home in a quiet subdivision. We completed the the building inspection on their new home today and are moving forward to close. 

Before and After

For the past 18 months my family has been renovating a house built and decorated in 1989. We sought out this home for almost a year, as it seemed to be the project we were looking for. The sellers eventually accepted our offer and we closed in December 2014. The very first week we owned the house we removed the etched glass doors. Not only were they not our style, they closed off the office and dining room from the rest of the house. We lived with the etched window for several months before breaking it and removing it piece by piece. 

After the holidays were over, we got right to work. The floors were Pergo, ceramic tile, and carpet. We quickly ripped up the Pergo and not so quickly chipped out the tile. Eventually we had wood floors installed throughout most of the house.


The large mirror above the fireplace was removed by sliding a wire behind the glass and slicing through the adhesive. Luckily it didn’t break. We ordered tongue and groove wood from a lumber yard, painted it and installed it in a “ship-lap” design. The dated ceiling fan was replaced with a large, 72″ model from Lightstyle and the living room was finished.

Great Room

Oh, that 3/4 wall. That wall had to come down. An open floor plan was the goal, with a large island between the kitchen and living room. Jim Knowles from Kitchen Crafters helped us design the new footprint of the kitchen. The sink had to be moved, which involved cutting through the slab. Electricity was also run through the floor allowing the island to have power for the dishwasher, garbage disposal, and two electrical outlets. The pendant and track lights were replaced with six canned lights for a cleaner look.

Kitchen View

Originally, the dining room and kitchen were connected via a pocket door. The door took precious wall space we needed for our new floor plan. The door was removed and replaced with drywall before the cabinets, granite, and appliances were installed. A brick patterned tile backsplash keeps the kitchen looking fresh and clean.


…And the goal of an open great room was accomplished.


The kitchen featured a cute little bay window area for the kitchen table. After a little face-lift including new valances and lighting, it is now warm and inviting.

Eat in Kitchen Area

Carpet. Dirty carpet. We couldn’t get rid of the carpet in the master bedroom fast enough. Although I initially fought for cozy carpet to be installed in the bedroom, I’m happy with the wood floor and area rug instead. Fresh “greige” paint, new window treatments and a new fan (not pictured) completed the look.

Master Bedroom

The master bathroom was one of the last rooms to be renovated. Cleaning the spots off shower glass is not a favorite task, so we designed a walk in shower without a door or glass. Guillermo Santos, an artist at installing tile, produced exactly what we were looking for. The huge jetted tub was replaced with a sleek soaking tub and the sinks, countertop, and vanity cabinets were replaced with more modern styles.

Master Bathroom



What was likely a formal living room was turned into a home office by day and movie room by night. Dark gray paint, wood floors, additional shelving and four canned lights were all it took.


A barn door made of reclaimed wood was installed to a sturdy track and the room can be closed off from the rest of the house.

Barn door 4

In addition, three bedrooms and two full baths were renovated. All interior doors and hardware were replaced. Dark wood floors with a slightly distressed finish were installed from one side of the house to the other. Rectangular tile was laid in the bathrooms and laundry room in a brick pattern. All of the interior lights and fans were replaced, and 5 1/4″ base trim took the place of the original thin base and door trim.


Rehabbing a house isn’t for everyone, but if it is something that interests you I would be glad to share my experience. The first step is searching for right home with enough room to improve, but not overshoot market value. I can disclose our purchase price, budget, and potential profit in a private consultation. Call 407-221-1772 for more information.

Community Features


I’ve touched on this topic before, but was reminded of it again today. Finding the perfect house is not the only goal home buyers should focus on. The surrounding community, resources, views, and facilities all add to the value of the house. Whether it be a fishing pond, a sport court, a playground, or a walking trail, these are the places friendships are made and relationships are fostered.

Just Listed


SiracusaFoyer2 SiracusaKitchen1






WATER FRONT – You will fall in love with this luxury Terracina at Lake Forest townhome. The home boasts ceramic tile and crown molding in the great room and kitchen. Cooking will be a delight in the open kitchen with 42″ upgraded cabinets with under-mount lighting, granite countertops, built-in wine rack, walk in pantry, and stainless steel appliances. Laundry room is equipped with matching wood cabinetry and a sink hook-up. Main floor master suite includes a large walk in closet and a roomy master bathroom with dual sinks, mirrored vanity, whirlpool tub and separate shower. The living room is open to the upstairs loft, and features large windows allowing lots of natural light to fill the room. Upstairs has a large bonus room including a wood railing with wrought iron balustrades, two oversized secondary bedrooms and a full bath with a granite countertop. The screened patio and private back yard area can be enjoyed year round and the VIEW of the lake makes this property the best current option. All Terracina homes have barrel tile roofs and brick paver driveways. Community is gated with a clubhouse, pool and large fishing pond with a walking path. Convenient to shopping, restaurants, I-4 and 417!

For more information, call Sara Hayes at 407-221-1772 or 407-322-5253.

Just Sold


Grande Oaks at Heathrow

Glory, glory hallelujah. No other words.