Central Florida Real Estate and Community News

July 1, 2022

Best-Foot-Forward Home Preparations

Selling your home is a big deal. Getting it ready to show off to potential buyers is an important step in the process. You don't necessarily need to hire an expensive staging company — with some care and elbow grease, you can make your home attractive for real estate photos and appealing to potential buyers at that all-important open house.


If there was ever a time for a garage sale, it's right before you put your home on the market. Get rid of all the clutter that piles up from years of living in a home — the broken bicycles you keep planning to fix, the chair Aunt Mary gave you that you secretly hate, or the closet full of clothes that no longer fit. Get a yard sale organized and make a bit of money or donate the extra items.


Helping potential buyers picture themselves in your home can go a long way to selling it. Create a blank slate so that your way of doing things doesn't get in the way of how they want to live. That means getting personal family items out of the way. If you don't want to put your precious photos and artifacts in storage, there's a simple solution: Consider attractive wicker or cardboard storage bins with eye-catching labels so storage looks like a design decision rather than an after-thought. As a bonus, doing this will keep your items organized while you get ready for your move. You can make decorative labels using an online label maker that lets you choose a template and then customize it to your taste and decor.

Keep It Neutral

When it comes to paint, experts suggest neutral colors, such as light grays, beige, and whites, on walls and pale furnishings for showing off your home in the best light to open house guests. Perhaps your family really does love that bright purple feature wall that expresses your love of bold colors — paint it so it doesn't provide a talking point for buyers (as in "how many coats to cover that up?"). Lighter neutrals are naturally sophisticated and project a sense of calm. They can even make rooms feel and photograph with more expanse and brightness.

Add Curb Appeal

According to America's favorite domestic scientist, time is well spent on refreshing your front entranceway (with a bold color on the front door, for example), tidying the yard and planting flowers, and redesigning your exterior house number. It's more about taking care of details than spending money. Try to imagine a buyer pulling up to tour your house, and see the front yard and garage area through their eyes. Or consider the photographer tasked with shooting images of your home's front elevation for a real estate brochure or web page.

Open House Ready

To get the best price and have the best experience selling your home, make an effort to spruce up the interior and exterior of your property with an eye on prospective buyers. It will be well worth it.

For more information about open house prep in the Winter Garden, FL area, check out The VIP Home Team blog for valuable tips for making your home for sale inviting and desirable.

Image via Pexels

June 28, 2022

7 Moving Tips for Florida Seniors


Alt-tag: Two seniors sitting on a bench next to a river and drinking wine


Downsizing is becoming an increasingly popular trend, especially among retirees. However, looking for a perfect Florida home in which to spend your golden years is the easier part of the process. Preparing for your relocation, both physically and emotionally, is the part everyone hates. After all, moving can be very challenging regardless of your age. We've prepared seven moving tips for Florida seniors you can explore to make this process easier for you. The key to successful moving is thorough preparation, and we're going to help you do just that.

Simple yet very effective moving tips for Florida seniors

Even though moving after retirement sounds daunting and tiring, try to look at it from a different perspective. You are getting an opportunity to move to the place of your dreams and spend your days doing what you love. Whether you imagined spending your golden years in a waterfront community or a rural setting, now is your chance to do it.


Two seniors sitting and enjoying a scenic view of a vineyard

Caption: Our moving tips for Florida seniors will help you relocate to a place you've always fantasized about and enjoy spending time doing what you like the most.

To make your journey to your new home more manageable and less stressful, we've consulted moving experts and prepared seven tips. Now let's get to work!

#1 Make your moving checklist

When organizing your move, it's essential to start planning as soon as you know your moving date. Making a moving checklist is one of the most effective strategies to stay organized. It will offer you a clear picture of what you need to do and how much time you have to do it.

Here's a moving checklist example to give you an idea of what you should include:

  • Get moving quotes, choose your movers, and start decluttering two months before the move.
  • Make an inventory a month before the move, confirm your moving date, and begin packing.
  • One week before the move, pack your prescription medications, get rid of everything you don't want, and update your address to avoid losing mail.
  • Moving day - do a walkthrough of the house to ensure you're leaving it in good shape before heading off!

#2 Downsize your belongings

Seniors should not expect to be able to psychologically or physically prepare for a relocation in only a few weeks because downsizing is a gradual process. It might take you even more time than you anticipated, especially if you move out of a home where you have raised your kids. Homes that have been lived in for 20 years or more will take more time and effort to empty.

It's imperative to start decluttering as soon as you begin organizing your move, as it will help you alleviate the stress. You'll probably find many items you're emotionally attached to, and you'll have difficulty letting go. If you don't have enough room in your new place, consider renting a unit

#3 Don't be scared to ask for help

Downsizing is a complex process, and seniors who need extra help should not be embarrassed to ask for it. Therefore, don't be scared to ask for help and get in touch with your family members or friends. We're sure they'll be happy to give you a hand.

Alt-tag: Two people packing furniture


Caption: Ask your loved ones if they're willing to help you pack and handle other aspects of your move.

Or, if you have the funds, you can always hire professionals to help you with different tasks. For example, you can hire professional organizers to help you with decluttering or expert packers to pack all of your belongings for you. 


#4 Choose and hire the right movers

One of the most important aspects of having a successful home move in Florida is hiring the right movers. Experienced and reputable movers will provide you with all the help you need and ensure you experience a safe and smooth moving process. 


However, keep in mind that moving scams are common nowadays, and most see seniors as their ideal targets. So before hiring movers, make sure to check them out online and read reviews from their customers.


Also, a good idea to recognize a scam is to ask for a free quote as all moving companies are obliged by law to give this to you. If they're hesitant, you'll know it's time to look elsewhere. 


#5 Make packing and unpacking easier

Even though it looks easy, packing and unpacking are probably the most difficult tasks you'll have to do during your move. However, if you have a packing plan and get organized, things can be easier to deal with.


First, you'll need to figure out what packing supplies you'll need and make sure you get them on time. The best thing to do before you start packing is to make a list of everything you own. This will make the later task of unpacking much more manageable. And, of course, make sure to label the boxes the right way!


Also, don't forget to pack a box of things you'll need for the first night in your new home. You do not want to go through many boxes after a long trip to find your sheets or toiletries.

#6 Plan your moving day

It's hard to prepare for how you'll feel when you say goodbye to a home full of happy memories on the big day. However, you can make sure that your move goes smoothly and safely by planning all of its aspects.


Remember: This is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, so don't start it with aches and pains. Be aware of how far you can go during the day, and don't push yourself too hard. It's important to set aside time to take breaks and never lift boxes or items that weigh more than 50 pounds. You should also drink lots of water and have snacks all the time.

#7 Remember - it's ok to be emotional

In these kinds of situations, it's completely normal to feel a little bit sad. If you're moving out of the place where you raised your family, then it will be even harder to say goodbye. After all, you have so many good memories there.

Alt-tag: Grandparents holding their grandchildren and sitting outside


Caption: Whenever you feel sad about your move, remember why you're moving in the first place.

If you're sad, the best thing you can do is not bury your emotions but allow yourself some emotional closure and relief. To say goodbye to your new home, you might want to throw a farewell party


Final thoughts on moving tips for Florida seniors

We hope our seven moving tips for Florida seniors help you organize and have a smooth and stress-free relocation process. But first, make sure to do your research and find that ideal Florida property to spend your retirement in. The best way to go is to get in touch with experienced Florida real estate professionals, and they will make sure to help you find a home that fits your new lifestyle perfectly.



Photos used:






April 18, 2022

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home


Entering the home selling process unprepared is the biggest gamble and mistake. So, don't listen to your gut feeling or rely on your monthly horoscope when making possibly the most significant transaction in your life. Surround yourself with experienced real estate professionals and do your homework. By taking into account the most severe mistakes to avoid when selling your home, you'll be saving more than money. That is, you will if you value limited resources such as time, energy, and peace of mind.

Why people make home selling mistakes

They're overconfident. But while high self-esteem is a valuable trait, unless you're a skillful real estate agent with years of experience in the locale, it doesn't count much in an endeavor such as a home sale. Nobody knows everything, but people can learn a lot - if not how to conduct the home selling process alone - then what errors to avoid.

 After all, each one of these blunders is common, shared by numerous homeowners. It only tells you that no matter the fact that we live in an age where reliable real estate professionals are easy to find, reach, and hire, people still believe they will save more, close the deal faster, work less and get higher ROI. Yes, you can guess now what the most common mistakes to avoid when selling your home are. 

  1. Homeowners dismiss the value of working with a real estate agent.
  2. They sell the home as-is, discounting its fantastic potential.
  3. Sellers commonly tend to overprice their property.
  4. Overlook current market trends in the area.
  5. They ignore the right selling season.
  6. Sell to unqualified buyers.

 Here come six true stories. Let's tell you what happened next.

#1 I can do it alone.

There is an excellent reason why real estate agents specialize in a specific area and count their sales. They know what sells best and when. The number of deals and the sales value will tell you how successful they are. Want to join the club of sellers who sold their homes fast and above the asking price? Or do you want to compress years of learning and experience in a week between taking photos and listing your home for sale? A good real estate agent in a home selling process is what a good doctor is when you get ill. Who would you rather call when the stakes get high?

#2 Inspecting? Fixing? Staging? I'm the one leaving, remember?

We, humans, are visual creatures. But don't let the fact fool you. When someone plans to invest thousands of dollars of hard-earned money into something, they want to make sure the money is well invested. Not conducting a home inspection for your information is the first rock in an avalanche of home selling mistakes. You risk getting caught with termites in your walls during an open house, water-damaged ceiling, and dated fixtures. On top of that, sellers often disregard the power of decluttered, clean, open space, staged to sell. In the end, you'll get a choice: either to invest in the necessary fixes in your Florida home or accept a much lower offer. Getting prepared for price negotiations means that, when the time comes for moving to your new home, you can have a seamless process that won't burden your budget.

#3 I know my home's worth. Priceless!

It is perfectly normal to get emotionally attached to your home. But that was before your property became an asset. At this point, you should be treating it as such, a real estate you want to sell for top dollar and pronto. However, one of the mistakes to avoid when selling your home is pricing it high above its market value. It isn't easy to be realistic and price your home right when years of memories are involved. That is why a clever seller relies on an impartial real estate professional and their judgment. They've seen too many sellers overprice their homes and then end in a downward spiral of discounts the buyers can't wait for.

#4 Market trends? What market trends?

Real estate market trends vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, let alone in different cities or nationwide. What you might think you know in general may not apply to the area where you plan to sell. Get familiar with the most recent local market reports or ask an expert for a piece of advice. It will help you set the right price and invest in the right home renovation projects that boost ROI.

 #5 Selling season is a thing?

So is buying season, moving season, and many others. There are always periods of higher and lower demand. Just as buyers wait for the best opportunity to snatch a lovely home at a great price, so do the sellers need to time their sale right. If you're confident that your home is a trophy material, a quick sale is guaranteed. But what if your property can earn you more than expected simply if you choose the listing date in the near future? Consider your circumstances, consult the pros, and make a choice: is it worth the wait?

#6 I love this buyer! He's fun.

But does he have a pre-approval letter from a lender or proof of funds? One of the mistakes to avoid when selling your home is disregarding buying power of an interested buyer. True, once you sign a contract, you will get your money sooner or later. But what if later isn't good enough for you? What if you need to move out soon and close the deal on your new home? If the buyer depends on their home sale to pay you, your future plans depend on their home sale. So, if you wish to sell on short notice and stress-free, accept only the offers from buyers that have the money to buy your home prepared. Otherwise, you're letting too many variables interfere with your closing date.

Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/signages-for-real-property-selling-8292794/

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 30, 2022

5 Home Remodeling Projects

The ViP Home Team is here to serve you with Central Florida market knowledge, professional service, commitment, and dedication when buying your new home, second home, or investment property. Let’s team up today! 407-744-1681

5 Home Remodeling Projects

Source: Unsplash

5 Home Remodeling Projects to Impress Buyers

by: Penny Martin

Selling your home can take longer than you might expect. And if you’ve got to move out by a certain deadline, you’re dealing with serious pressure to find the right buyer in a short timeframe. So, before you list your home for sale, you should take a few steps to spruce up your space. It’s time to go beyond basic staging tips and invest in renovations that will increase your property value and catch the eyes of prospective buyers.

The ViP Home Team shares some home remodeling projects to help you get your home off the market quickly.

Fenced-In Yard

Having a fenced-in yard can make your home much more attractive for families with children and pets. Yes, it’s possible to install a wood fence on your own, but if you want it to be sturdy and safe, this is a job for the pros. The cost of installing a wood fence can fluctuate based on the size of your yard and the type of wood you choose. Make sure to budget appropriately for these expenses.


Want to boost your home’s curb appeal? Sure, you could step up your game with maintenance and mowing the lawn, but going above and beyond can help you make that sale faster.

When it comes to landscaping, think about how you can give your front yard a lush, natural appearance while keeping it low maintenance. Place planters in front of your home, and consider planting some hardy foliage that doesn’t require much water. If time or ability are obstacles, connect with a landscaper to turn your lawn and garden into an alluring oasis for buyers. Use local listings to find highly rated experts with stellar reviews.

Cabinets and Countertops

When potential buyers stop in for an open house, they will be looking closely at your kitchen, especially if they plan to entertain frequently. Want to make it look more modern without going through with a full kitchen renovation? It’s time to paint your cabinets and install new countertops. You’ll have plenty of options for countertop materials, so choose one that suits your budget and style - just keep durability in mind, too. Consumer Reports suggests quartz, which comes in a variety of eye-catching patterns.

Bathroom Renovations

Remodeling your bathroom can definitely bump up your property value, and buyers generally pay special attention to the bathrooms when they view your home. This is one room that you may want to remodel completely. Transform your shower, add wall cubbies and floating shelves for storage, install a new sink, retile your floors — the possibilities are endless! Consider going with a fresh color scheme to suit your new fixtures.

So much can go wrong with bathroom projects, and it’s important that all the pieces fit together perfectly. If you decide to do a huge bathroom renovation, you’ll need to work with a remodeling specialist.

Finished Basement

Perhaps you’ve left your basement unfinished for years, telling yourself that you would get around to fixing it up. Finishing your basement will entice families and empty nesters — basements can be great for kids to hang out and play, or for adults to host fun gatherings or set up a home office.

Think about what you can do with an open floor plan and your desired layout. A basement remodel can involve electrical work, demolishing walls, and adding insulation, and you’ll typically need to budget for at least $20,000 (and often much more) for the job, notes Forbes. Instead of adding mold-prone carpeting, you can paint an existing concrete floor or add epoxy. Make your basement cozy with comfortable couches, plush chairs, throw pillows, and blankets. Hang some creative wall art to give the space a little extra flair!

The Payoff

Once you connect with your real estate agent, you want to be confident of the value of your home. So take the time to use a home value estimator before and after your remodeling efforts to determine a value increase. While an estimator won’t replace an appraisal, the documentation (as well as any receipts and before and after photos) will support your claim.

Yes, remodeling certain rooms of your house can result in some hefty bills. However, this investment will ultimately pay for itself when you get a great offer well before you expected it. When moving day rolls around, the new homeowners will definitely appreciate all of the time and effort you put into renovating your home.

Sept. 27, 2021

14 Ideas to Simplify a Senior Downsize

Are you looking to sell your home? Then you need experts like The ViP Home Team by your side. Our dedicated real estate advisors can help you every step of the way. Reach out today to get started! 407-744-1681

14 Ideas to Simplify a Senior Downsize
By Penny Martin

Downsizing can sound like a daunting task, especially when the next step is to pack up and move households. There are ways to make things easier, though. The ViP Home Team offers these resources to help you get a head start on downsizing.

Break Up With the Junk

Letting go of unneeded belongings can free you up to enjoy life more — and spend less while moving. Here’s how to break up with the junk in your life (while keeping the important items close).

      Recognize emotional connections to objects and work on loosening that bond.

      Gift family heirlooms or other special items now rather than leaving them in a will.

      Find out what your local charities need and pass along gently used items as appropriate.

      Digitize photographs, artwork, and anything else you want to keep but don’t have room for.

Know Your Property Needs

Before you start boxing up (or donating) your belongings, think about what you need from your new home — and the current one. From floorplans to finances, get ahead of your move with these tips.

      Determine what your new home needs are, including square footage.

      Use an appraisal calculator to determine the true value of a house and any acreage.

      Visit neighborhoods to get a feel for the local ambiance and amenities.

      If you’re looking to buy, an easy fixer-upper can be a great way to save money. And sites like Home Life Daily offer a wealth of home improvement tips to help you get started.

      Remember that senior-friendly features and universal design amenities at the top of your priority list.

      If you plan to rent, there are a variety of options in Orlando and the surrounding areas. Central Florida, in particular, boasts at least 1,397 rental homes,

Take a Load Off

Outsourcing your moving (or even packing) tasks can help make downsizing easier. Plus, offloading some of your stuff before moving day helps cut down on transport costs.

      Host a yard sale to offload some of your stuff before you start organizing a move.

      Locate charities that offer pickup services for donations.

      Enlist the help of a moving company that can even help you pack.

      Consider selling your home as-is, furniture included, if you don’t want to take it with you.

Prepping for a move is never fun, but by downsizing before you lock the door for a final time, you’ll be ahead of the game. Then, you can enjoy your retirement in your new home, without a ton of stuff lingering in never-unpacked boxes.

Photo via Unsplash


Aug. 4, 2021

Rightsizing in Retirement: How to Find the Perfect Home for Homesteading and Entertaining

Rightsizing in Retirement

Image via Pexels


Rightsizing in Retirement: How to Find the Perfect Home for Homesteading and Entertaining

By Bob Shannon


Downsizing gets a lot of attention and for very good reason. Paring down your belongings and responsibilities later in life can be a boon for older adults looking to save money, travel, or have fewer obligations. However, other housing trends are also on the rise amongst seniors, such as aging in place, urbanization, and rightsizing.

By following the rightsizing trend, for instance, you’ll focus on finding a home that meets your specific wants and needs in retirement, giving you the opportunity to pursue new hobbies and passions in your golden years. And for many seniors, a homesteading hobby can be a great way to stay active, bring in some extra cash, and become more self-sufficient in retirement.

Check out these tips (presented by The ViP Home Team) to learn how to find the right home for your post-retirement hobbies and passions — including homesteading, gardening, entertaining, and anything else you’d like to pursue in your golden years.

List Your Home Must-Haves

If you’re looking to upsize (or rightsize) in retirement, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before beginning your search for a new home. These include: 

      Location. Are there local groups, community centers, and ministries you’d like to stay in contact with as you age? Now that urban homesteading is becoming more popular, you don’t necessarily need to move to a rural area with lots of outdoor space to pursue a homesteading hobby.

      Goals. What kinds of hobbies and activities would you like to pursue in retirement? Do you need adequate outdoor space for raising chickens and planting a vegetable garden? Are you going to make your own soaps, herbal remedies, and clothing? To find the right home for your golden years, you’ll need to identify your goals and the different activities you’d like to pursue.

      Size. Do you have kids, grandkids, friends, and other loved ones you’d like to entertain in your new home? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you and your guests need? Will you need outdoor space for building a pole barn, shed, porch, or guest house?

      Business. Do you plan to monetize your homesteading hobby? If so, you’ll need to keep things in mind like zoning and whether to form an entity. This ZenBusiness article offers some pretty helpful advice on what it takes to establish an LLC.

      Budget. Of course, the right home for your senior years will depend largely on your budget. We’ll talk more about setting a home buying budget in the next section.

Set Your Budget

Depending on your desired location, homesteading goals, and the size of the home you’re looking to buy, the cost of upsizing could easily exceed what you’re able to afford in retirement. As such, it’s important to set your home buying budget early on and compare several mortgage options if you’ll be financing the purchase of your new homestead. You’ll also want to work closely with an experienced mortgage lender and real estate agent, specifically one with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation.

When setting your home buying budget, it’s also important to factor in the cost of repairs and improvements that your new home may need. Common home repairs include water damage, mold removal, electrical issues, and roof replacements.

To reduce your risk of injury on moving day, you’ll also want to budget for professional moving expenses. HuffPost offers some tips on finding the best moving company for you.

Is Rightsizing the Right Move for You?

Downsizing can be a great solution for some retirees, but it isn’t ideal if you’re looking to entertain loved ones, pursue a homesteading hobby, and stay active in your golden years. By following the rightsizing trend in retirement, you can find a home that has everything you want and need for better health and happiness in your golden years.

If you’re searching for a new home in Central Florida, look no further than The ViP Home Team. Get in touch with us by calling 407-744-1681.

Posted in Retirement
July 20, 2021

Retiring Up: How a Big House Can Make for a Happy Retirement

Image: Pexels

Retiring Up: How A Big House Can Make For A Happy Retirement

By Bob Shannon 

While many seniors opt to downsize in retirement, others decide to embark on a new phase of life by upscaling instead. This might involve buying a larger residence, potentially with land, to accommodate large family gatherings, facilitate entertaining and drop-in guests, and even provide room for a post-retirement business or hobby farm. The VIP Home Team realtors can help you find the ideal location for launching your post-retirement life.

What Can You Afford?

Before you start looking at trading up in the housing department, you’ll want to do some research and make a determination about what you can afford to buy. A professional real estate agent can help you assess the value of your current property; a qualified lender can help examine your income, assets, and your debt, as well as give you a price range to work within. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your credit and your debt-to-income ratio will also be evaluated, so consider checking your credit score in advance and contest any errors on your report before talking with a lender. You may need to pay down some debt and/or sell your existing property to put yourself in a better qualifying position.

How Will You Use The Home?

The type of home you buy will depend on the specific uses you have in mind. For example, if you'd love to host a large extended family on a regular basis, square footage and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms might be a priority. If you're interested in entertaining grandkids, a rec room and opportunities for outside fun might be key. Think about how you will use the property, including any interest you have in starting a post-retirement hobby, launching a business or even homesteading. You may decide you need land, outbuildings, or workshop space for these purposes. Don’t forget about upkeep - you want to buy a home that you’ll be able to maintain and be comfortable in for the foreseeable future.

Finding The Right Place

You can start your home search online, or utilize a real estate professional to help you narrow your choices. When you tour properties, give consideration to the accessibility of the area, the quality of local amenities, and the proximity to major services and transportation hubs. According to Hobby Farms, if you want to build out, start a farm, or have animals, you’ll want to ensure you’re familiar with zoning regulations, and that you have adequate space for your needs. A pre-offer inspection can help you assess the property’s age and condition, and give you an idea of what you’ll need if repairs or upgrades are necessary.

Pre-Move-In Services

If you decide to buy an older property, you may need to have some work done before it's move-in ready. For example, you may choose to install new carpet, replace countertops, or perhaps most important, be sure your windows are in good condition. If you need your windows repaired, it's wise to do it before you move in. This can help you save on energy costs, as well as make your place more comfortable. The average cost for repairs is about $290 per window, but the price will ultimately depend on the type of windows and the repairs necessary. Search “home window repair companies near me,” read reviews online, ask for referrals from satisfied customers, and get estimates in writing. You’ll want to choose a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured.

Moving into a larger house as a retiree can create opportunities for family bonding, launching a new business, or expanding a hobby. Take time to find the property that's right for you and is a good fit for your post-retirement life.


The VIP Home Team serves Orlando, Fla., and surrounding areas. Learn more about your home’s value, what you qualify for, and browse available properties by visiting the site. 

Posted in Buying a Home