Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How To Buy A Brand New House with No Savings or Down Payment in Orlando, Fl

How To Buy A House With No Savings or Down Payment

Outside the immediate city and suburbs of Orlando, Florida, there is a type of financing called USDA, which is zero down.  Most builders still want an earnest money deposit (good faith deposit) of $1,000, but that is credited back at closing.

Areas of Apopka, Haines City, Clermont, Wedgefield, Kissimmee, Groveland, Clermont, St. Cloud, Deltona & Davenport, etc., have new home builders accepting this financing.   Enter address to see if a specific area is eligible.

Additionally, I've been getting closing costs paid and appliance packages included in the transaction for my clients!  (FYI, if you want the best deals buying new construction, always have a Realtor negotiating on your behalf...you'll likely get a much better deal.)

If you don't have 3.5% down for FHA or 3%-5% down payment for Conventional, this is a terrific option.

Take a look at the link below for more information, and if you want to actually talk to a live person about this type of loan, I'd be happy to give you my Orlando contacts.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Is The Death of The Gay Ghetto Imminent?

Long before Stonewall, a few large cities had areas and pockets where gay and lesbians settled, informally, but even then people had to be careful of their actions, movements and associations.  Following Stonewall, the LGBT community discovered their collective power and began to demand equality, not just the right to hang out in a club or bar without being arrested on morals charges, but the right to be seen and live where we wish. In this spirit, the era of the Gayborhood or Gay Ghetto was formed. 

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw this trend spread throughout the country, and soon many places, small and large, had areas where LGBT people settled. Gay men and women flocked to these neighborhoods for safety, opportunity and camaraderie.  These areas were not the gentrified areas of town; far from it, they were usually the forgotten and wayward…dilapidated and run down were the common characteristics.  

The 1990’s and 2000’s found these areas and neighborhoods as transformed, gentrified and sought after. In fact, many of these areas are home to the affluent in their respective cities.

Actually, our history isn’t that different from other minority groups in U.S. history.  Like the others before us, we sought areas to live, out of necessity, community and safety, but after greater acceptance by the majority, the need to stay together began to wane. 

That brings us to today.  Are Gayborhoods still forming, and if so, are they relevant?  Where can LGBT men and women find the ubiquitous Rainbow Flag and HRC symbols? In essence, where do we all live?  

Of course, exceptions are everywhere, particularly in the south and Midwest. If you travel too far from an urban center, it can still be a somewhat unwelcoming, and in some instances, a hostile experience. Fortunately, the wind of change is blowing in our favor, particularly with gay marriage and broader LGBT acceptance and political power.
That said, what’s true for Minneapolis and Orlando might not be the case for Cheyenne or Montgomery or Paducah. The stark reality is this: being openly gay in some parts of this country can still be down right dangerous. 

So, is the Gay Ghetto still relevant?  If you are circumspect or frightened of being who you are within your community, I’d say Yes, it’s still relevant. 

But if you are lucky to live in an area which supports fairness and equality, you might just decide it’s OK to live where ever you wish, without the safety of having LGBT brothers and sisters as neighbors.  Personally, this evolution is a bit sad, but it’s ultimately tremendous progress, isn’t it? 

Time will no doubt tell the story of the Gayborhood and Gay Ghetto, but one thing we do know, they empowered us and saved us from 24/7 misery and discrimination, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Gay Orlando Realestate

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Debunking LGBT Myths About Orlando, FL

Each year, Orlando Gay Day's attracts 170,000+ folks from all over the world, and this year, Orlando Gay Pride hosted 135,000+ during the annual October celebration.

Disney, Universal, I.T., Medical, Hospitality and start ups all thrive in Orlando, and while the community enhances and nurtures creativity, the climate and business environment make living here very comfortable.

The image of "Bubba" or "Good Ole Boy's" riding around our communities bashing LGBT doesn't exist.  That said, I think a two hour drive away from any urban center in the United States is vastly different, in terms of attitudes and beliefs, than what we find living near D.T. USA.  Orlando is no different.

If you are considering purchasing a second home, vacation condo or plan to relocate or retire in a warm climate, I strongly encourage you to consider Orlando.  Politically friendly and safe, affordable real estate prices, no state income tax, fabulous climate and gads of things to do 24/7 365.

Gay Orlando Realestate

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#1 LGBT Realtor in Orlando, FL: Introduction to College Park

This neighborhood is one of Orlando's most popular and consistently sought after areas, and the prices tend to reflect the reality.  When you walk along Edgewater Drive near Princeton St., you'll find numerous restaurants, shops and services all within walking or biking distance for College Park property owners.

Gentrifying, but not in a stuffy or pretentious way, a College Park home search will show varied prices with the more expensive properties overlooking lakes or closer to Edgewater, Princeton and Smith Streets, which is the main commercial area.  

General map of College Park, Orlando, FL, loosely defines the area boundary as Colonial Ave. (s), Orange Blossom Trail (w), I-4 (e) and Minnesota Ave. to the north.  Depending on which side of College Park you live, one can easily bike to D.T. Orlando or head over to Lake Eola Heights and Thornton Park, which are two other popular neighborhoods with gads of rainbow flag/ HRC stickers.

Please feel free to share your list of popular LGBT neighborhoods, communities and subdivisions in the Orlando area!

Gay Orlando Realestate

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Creativity Goes A Long Way With Orlando REO'S & Short Sale Homes

Cash is low and your kitchen needs work...now what?

My partner and I bought this house in 2009, which was an approved short sale, and as you can see the kitchen was an after thought, at best.  Builder basic everything...
We didn't have the funds to spend vast amounts of money on this room since every space in the house needed updating.
Full disclosure: I loathe Honey Oak finishes.  It's ubiquitous where I grew up, in the upper Midwest, and I am sick of seeing it.
Since the cabinets are cheap, I couldn't physically sand them.  I found a carpenter who used a chemical sanding process to lift the finish then he sprayed with dye instead of stain.  The process went like this: chemical sanding, sand paper smoothing, dye, lacquer, sanding, lacquer and that is it. 
I didn't like the "boxy" look of the island, so I ordered large, decorative legs online and had the carpenter install them, which made the island 11 feet rather than 10.  He also built the cabinet above the fridge and built the doors for the island...he also installed the hardware, which we purchased at IKEA for $12 dollars a pair. That refinishing and construction portion of the project cost $1,700.  The granite slab, counters and back splash added another $3,300...we have $5,000 into this facelift + $2,500 for the new appliances, which are Jenn Air scratch and dent.

If you don't like the dark finish, which is what we like, you can actually find any color...we could've done the island one color and the wall cabinets something else, which is what we had done with a house we once owned.
Don’t be afraid of creativity!  Transforming the ugly into something lovely is one of the ways to build equity in real estate.  These improvements add real value.  One year after purchasing this house in 2009 we took advantage of low interest rates and refinanced.  Because of this kitchen, we went from 3.5% equity to 21%, which removed our mortgage insurance and substantially cut our house payment.
Call me if you ever want to find something like this for your own personal project.

Gay Orlando Realestate

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Property Ownership for LGBT Couples in Orlando, FL

How Should My Partner and I Title Our New Home?

Every LGBT couple I have worked with since 2001 asks the same question, and since I am not an attorney, I can only share what has worked for my family.

Since marriage is still not an option for gay couples in Florida, my partner and I purchase real estate as Joint Tenants in Common with Right of Survivorship, which allows for survivorship rights.  This is not 100%, however, so it's very important to get your legal house in order, pun intended, to avoid a legal nightmare.

In Orlando, we have wonderful LGBT Community Leaders, and one of them, Mary Meeks,  is a well known attorney who's been fighting for Marriage Equality in Florida for years.  http://www.marymeekslaw.com 

We've used Mary on several occasions, the most recent was updating our Living Wills, Wills and Medical Directives.  

When in doubt about LGBT legal issues, call an LGBT attorney.

Buyer, Seller Real Estate Information & Tips In Orlando, Fl

Buyer, Seller Real Estate Information & Tips In Orlando, Fl

Gay Orlando Realestate

Medical Building Proposed Near East Park: Lake Nona Area

Medical Building Proposed Near East Park: Lake Nona Area

Is Storey Park the next Lake Nona?

Is Storey Park the next Lake Nona?