July 17, 2014

Orlando Real Estate: Something has got to give; right?

CNN just named Orlando the fourth most desirable city in America to reside. With our beautiful weather,  professional sports, booming hospitality, health and technology industries, world recognized colleges and universities and of course our domination of the theme park universe, it’s hard to argue with them. You then add the new SunRail systems, Arts and Entertainment facility and continued growth of downtown residential projects and things are looking good for the Orlando area.
The Orlando Regional Realtors Association (ORRA) just came out with their numbers for June and though the numbers are still positive, there are some areas that should be watched in my opinion. 
Year to Year comparisons from June of 2013 shows us that conventional sales are up 11.31%, Short Sales are down 57.20% and Foreclosures are up 54.66%. The overall median sales price for #OrlandoRealEstate is $165,100 and the median sales price for conventional sales only is $194,003 for just under a 10% increase. The total active listings are up 51.23% however, new contracts are down 15.36%.
A county by county breakdown of sales in June vs. May shows the following:
Lake:  sales up 4.14%
Orange: sales down 5.06%
Osceola: sales up 14.16%
Seminole: sales up 6.47%
Active listings are still at a three year high though down 5.59% from May. However, withdrawn and expired listings have risen and new contracts for sale and purchase have continued to decline. These are the numbers that are worth watching for a couple of reasons. 
Institutional Investors are winding down their purchase cycle. These large cash investors were major players in Central Florida’s #bankowned and #shortsale markets. Their cash purchases, sometimes sight-unseen, at market value and sometimes higher, did somewhat stabilize an unstable market but also caused, in my opinion, slightly inflated home prices. You add their exit from the market with strict lender qualifications and sellers with a false sense of home value and you may create a buyers vacuum where many potential buyers are simply forced to watch from the sidelines. Thus, you have the potential for the continued pattern of more expired and withdrawn listings and less executed contracts for sale and purchase.
A separate phenomena but related and still very important to the health and continued recovery of the Orlando real estate market is the lost art of negotiation. Is it due to the “take it or leave it” pricing of bank owned properties or the “wait and pray” process of many short sales through our last seven years of recovery? Maybe it is just simply the lack of training and/or experience for many real estate agents? Regardless, there seems to be a large void of real estate professionals who truly know that buying and selling a home is not just a simple “yes” or “no”. You have to understand your client, the market, the neighborhood, the home, the personalities and circumstances involved to bring two parties to an agreement. So make sure you properly interview candidates before selecting the right professional for you.
Before I get off on a tangent, my point is, buying and selling real estate is no longer: “give me your highest and best”. It is becoming more and more dynamic and requires a professional who understand the information that I provided above and understands how to educate you and use the information and their experience to your advantage.
Central Florida is an amazing place to live and a great place to buy and sell real estate. Especially when you have someone who knows how to put the numbers in your favor.
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June 5, 2014

WOW! New Residential Community: Baldwin Cove

Baldwin Park feel without the Baldwin Park Price tag!

Looking for a beautiful Lake Baldwin area residential community? Look no further. Baldwin Cove is offering beautiful, new construction Bungalow and Estate style homes starting at $236,00! Yes, I said $236,000!!! Enjoy luxurious master suites, 10' high 1st floor ceilings, granite countertops and spacious kitchens. Just minutes from downtown Baldwin Park and located in the much desired Winter Park school zone, this community has it all. If you're looking for that Baldwin Park feel but not the price, this community has what you're looking for. What's the catch, there's only 42 total lots and they won't last long! Contact us for details! Pictures coming soon!


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May 20, 2014

SunRail still has some bugs! Here's the Flyswatter!

SunRail Still Has A Lot of Bugs; Here's the Flyswatter!

OK, I'm pro-SunRail (there, I said it). I think it will keep more cars off the road and it also moves us one step closer to new jobs and new growth and opportunities, especially in the Orlando Real Estate market, but I'm a little biased. :) There are some annoyances with the system but that should be expected. How quickly SunRail corrects these issues will ultimately determine public opinion and public use. Until then, the Bungalower offers some workarounds to make your SunRail use (and eventually mine) more enjoyable.

Click Here for workaround: SunRail Workaround

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May 15, 2014

Orlando Home Sales Numbers Strong for April


The Orlando Regional Realtors Association (ORRA) has released the April performance numbers for Central Florida and the numbers are promising.

Total inventory of homes for sale increased slightly from March totaling out at 10,647. 4,401 new properties hit the Orlando area real estate market for April. 

The average mortgage rate dropped from 4.43% in March to 4.39% in April. The median and average sold home prices stayed about that same at $163,000 and $204,000 respectively.

The average days on market also remained steady at 77 days.  

The most impressive number for me was the days to close average which was 46 days. This is the average time it takes a property to close once it goes under contract. Why do I feel this is so important? Because it is an indicator of a shifting market from a pre-foreclosure market (aka: short sales) to a more conventional market. Cash buyers are still major players in the market but even cash deals are subject to long delays when dealing with short sales. This shortened time frame, almost 20 days shorter than the same time last year and the lowest in the last three years, shows signs of a recovering market in my opinion. This with the addition to the increasing inventory of new homes for sale in the Orlando market also shows me that sellers are finding the market more palatable in terms of what fair market value is for their homes.

A recovering market means recovering communities, conventional sales bring back the days of well kept, move in ready homes, home warranties and negotiations no longer on “As Is” contracts. Its a win for the seller, the buyer and the community at large. The next big hurdle, as I see it, is having the banks relax their credit restrictions a bit so that financed buyers can get back in the game. Cash buyers won’t last forever and if we want to continue our positive strides back to a healthy Orlando real estate market, financed buyers must be allowed back in to the game.

-Rob Sassos


*for more information on the orlando real estate market or assistance with financing, please e-mail Rob: Rob@SimplicityRE.com


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May 12, 2014

WTF?! Where's TheFinancing?!


(Where's The Financing?!): Is the Current Real Estate Market Recovery Sustainable?

Many industry experts believe it is. Initially thought to be an anomaly, the current housing market recovery seems to be sustainable. In a recent article in DSNews, analysts for Capital Economics feel the current uptick in the housing market will remain sustainable for the foreseeable future. Though this rapid recovery took many analysts by surprise,there are several major indicators that suggest the current recovery is more than a flash in the pan.
Sustained rises in demand, home prices and homebuilding activity along with new and existing home sales demonstrate lasting recovery. These same analysts are also predicting a price growth of 5% for 2014. According to CoreLogic, the Orlando residential real estate market saw a residential median price increase of 10% in the last twelve months. The biggest threats to this continued growth, according to analysts, is the country falling in to another recession or the release of the current shadow inventory (currently estimated at 3.8 million properties, 1.5 times larger than the current number of active properties for sale) both of which seem unlikely. Concerning the shadow inventory, it would not be beneficial to the banks owning them. A flood of properties on the market and a dramatic drop in property values would not benefit anyone.
Though these major threats do not seem likely, there are larger issues to consider. The current real estate market is being sustained primarily by investors and cash buyers. According to the Florida Association of Realtors, more than half the homes purchased in Florida were cash deals. The concern here, especially with the large investors, is when property values increase, so do the deep discount opportunities that investors look for. ROI is the name of the game and when those deep gains evaporate, so does investor interest. Florida does benefit in being the most popular state for foreign investors which almost always pay cash. Financed buyers, on the other hand,have been a very small player in the national market and in the Orlando real estate market as well. Increased financed transactions and loosened credit restrictions go hand in hand. To allow the financed buyer back in the market, relaxed credit restrictions must inevitably occur.
My own personal experience for the last four years, both the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets, leads me to believe that property values and market recovery will be slow but positive. I initially was in agreement that this was just an positive hiccup in the market and when the large investors began to slow their buying pace, the market will slow as well. However, I have not seen this. What I have seen is increased buyer activity, receiving multiple offers at asking price or higher on many of my listings and an increased interest in new construction. Don’t get me wrong, there are still deals to be had out there, especially for cash buyers but they are significantly more scarce than they were two years ago.
All in all, I agree with the analysts that the market is recovering and will continue to recover. I don’t see any dramatic rise in property values in the near future but rather a more slow and steady rise to recovery.
What are your thoughts on the analysts forecast?

-Rob Sassos is the Broker/President of Simplicity: A Real Estate Brokerage Company. Simplicity specializes in residential real estate and property management in the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets.

Florida Association of Realtors
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May 7, 2014

Is the SunRail system good for Orlando?

Is the SunRail system a positive or negative influence on property values in Orlando?


As the new SunRail system opens, participation numbers are much larger than anticipated. How will this impact homeowners, residents and real estate investors in Central Florida?

If you have interests in Meadow Woods and you are pro-SunRail, good news is coming your way! Meadow Woods is one of the most popular communities in Orlando according to Zillow search numbers. It is also one of the best values in terms of community, location and property value in my opinion. I also feel that with the addition of the SunRail station, this community's property value will only go up. The article link is below for more information.

click here for article

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April 15, 2014

Central Florida Property Values On The Rise

March Numbers show positive signs for Orlando Real Estate in 2014

The Orlando Regional Realtors Association recently released its numbers for March 2014 and the numbers look promising for real estate in the year to come. The average sale price for homes in Orlando was $209,800. An 8% increase from the previous month and 10% increase from the same time last year. The number of pending contracts is up as well with an 11% increase from February’s numbers. Probably the most promising numbers in terms of a strengthening Orlando area real estate market is the increase in the homes for sale inventory and the dramatic decline in the average days-contract to close. These two reports signal a couple of things to me: 
  1. The increase in active listings in the market demonstrates seller confidence and a feeling that now is the time to sell. Whether based on the large numbers of active buyers in the market, the increase in property values or just an opinion that the economy is slowly improving, more sellers are ready to list their homes on the open market.
  2. The dramatic drop in the number of days to close once a home has gone under contract for sale and purchase. Last month homes sales averaged 45 days from contract to close. This was a 30% drop from the same time last year. This tells me that we are moving toward a more “conventional” market. What I mean by this is we are most likely seeing more non-distressed sales and less short sales and to some extent, bank owned properties under contract as well. 
It has been my experience that if given a choice and most things being equal, people prefer a straight-forward negotiation process and the move in ready nature of a conventional sale vs. the complex and unpredictable nature of the short sale process or the competitive environment, cash dominant buyers and rehabilitation challenges that many bank-owned properties can bring. I believe that though these trends are promising indicators of recovery. I also believe this recovery will be a slow and somewhat steady one. The days of dramatic property value increases are long behind us and it would appear the lean days of real estate crash is starting to wane as well.
Now more than ever, I believe that opportunities for both buyers and sellers are available in the Orlando real estate market if you have the right team of professionals on your side. A knowledgable and experienced real estate professional who has been active in the market through all its fluctuations  along with a savvy and knowledgeable mortgage broker can provide you a significant advantage in today’s market whether buying or listing Orlando real estate.
My Town Realty is a full service real estate company focusing on residential real estate and property management in the Greater Orlando market. My Town Realty offers its clients, both buyers and sellers, a tremendous competitive advantage through state of the art technology and real life experience. For more information on how My Town Realty can assist you with your real estate needs, please visit www.MyTownRealty.com or call Rob Sassos at 407.920.6020.
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April 15, 2014



This is important information for those who have sold or plan to buy or sell short sales this year. The extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act is critical for many Americans. I have been involved in hundreds of short sale transactions. If you have questions, please contact me. ?#‎orlando? ?#‎realestate? ?#‎ShortSale?

Click Link Below for more information:



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March 22, 2014

Inventory and Pricing Show Signs of Stabilizing in Florida Real Estate Market

10% Increase in single family home value from same time last year in florida. A 5.7 month inventory of single family homes and a diminishing short sale market are good signs that the Florida real estate market is beginning to stabilize. This is great news for people both buying and selling homes in the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets.

Click on the link below for more information:


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March 19, 2014

Waiting for mortgage rates to drop? Think again

If you are waiting to see if mortgage rates will drop before you purchase a home, you may want to reconsider and soon. The Fed continues its cutbacks which will in turn, most likely cause mortgage rates to rise. Click on the link below for more information.


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