What to expect when moving to Oviedo

Are you considering a move to Oviedo?

This historic Florida city has a great deal going for it, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that this community will continue to thrive.

What is it that draws families to Oviedo? Perhaps it’s all the awards that the city has won or the unbelievable number of sunny days that its residents enjoy every year. Here’s a closer look at some of the things that you can expect if you move to Oviedo.

Suburban Life

Oviedo may boast about 42,000 residents, but it gives families a genuine suburban lifestyle. This means that you are free to slow down and enjoy the good life without being bothered by the bustle of a big city.

Of course, if you’re craving big-city excitement or are looking for a suburban community with close urban ties, then keep in mind that Orlando is a 30-minute drive away. Accordingly, Oviedo’s residents enjoy the best of both worlds.

Orlando boasts a population of approximately 286,000 people, but there are about two million people in the metropolitan area. Accordingly, Oviedo residents can find every kind of store, service or restaurant somewhere in the region without sacrificing a quiet suburban lifestyle.

Community Feel

Community engagement in Oviedo

Along with that suburban lifestyle, Oviedo gives you the feeling of a close-knit community. Poke around online, and you’ll find that you easily can connect with your neighbors.

Opportunities for community involvement abound beyond the confines of the virtual world. Perhaps you’ll join friends and neighbors for community service at organizations like The Literacy Alliance, Spay ‘n Save and HOPE Helps Inc.

Community Engagement

Are you someone who likes to get out and about for some community fun? If so, then Oviedo is the place for you!

A quick glance at the city’s calendar of events and festivals is enough to tell you that Oviedo is one place where there’s always a lot going on. The fun starts each year in January with annual happenings like the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and continues into February with a Fitness 5K and Outdoor Expo. Throughout the year, you’ll have chances to party at Mardi Gras, attend the Bark and Brew Festival, play in the Relay for Life Golf Tournament or scare your family at Howl-O-Ween.

The fun really kicks into high gear when December arrives. This is the month when your family will want to enjoy the city’s tree lighting ceremony, Breakfast with Santa and the Dueling Pianos and Ugly Sweater Party. Also, don’t forget to put events like the Winter Fest & Holiday Parade, Holiday Bingo and Santa Paws on your calendar.

You’ll also be able to attend monthly events like movies in the park, comedy night and Food Truck Thursday throughout the year.

Oviedo may be a suburban city, but there is never a dull moment here!

great day in the country Oviedo

Getting Pulled over on Lockwood

police and safety in Oviedo

Live in Oviedo for just a few days or weeks, and you’ll probably hear about it. It’s even more likely that it will happen to you.

Getting pulled over on Lockwood is kind of a rite-of-passage for Oviedo residents. This exceptionally busy four-lane road has a speed limit of just 35 miles per hour. Of course, it’s not unusual for drivers to hit the gas a little too hard and too often when traversing its length, so be on the lookout for Oviedo’s finest as you cruise to a friend’s house or the drugstore.

Of course, this safe zone also makes life on Lockwood a lot more peaceful and serene. Perhaps this is where you’ll find your new home!

Oviedo's Quality Schools

Oviedo’s educational options have great reputations. Its schools are a part of the Seminole County Public Schools system. Out of 69 school districts in the state, Seminole County’s ranks fourth best. It’s ranked number three for athletes and is second on the list when it comes to the most diverse school districts in the state.

With a total of nearly 69,000 students, the district boasts a 19 to 1 student to teacher ratio. That translates to plenty of one-on-one and small group instruction. State test scores indicate that 61 percent of students in the district are at least ranked at the proficient level in reading while 64 percent are ranked as at least proficient in math.

What this all means is that parents can have confidence in the education that their kids will receive in Oviedo’s high-ranking schools.

The Weather

Oviedo Florida Weather

If you aren’t a Florida resident yet, then the local weather is bound to both surprise and delight you. Spring and fall are warm, summer is hot and winter is short. If you like plenty of sunshine and brief rain showers that leave the air fresh and sparkling, then Oviedo is an ideal place for you to call home.

Are you concerned about hurricanes? In Oviedo, you don’t have much reason to worry. Oviedo occupies a zone that is considered at very low risk for hurricanes. However, you will have to contend with high humidity in the summer.

The Theme Parks

Perhaps you’ve heard Orlando described as the theme park capital of the world. It definitely deserves this title, and when you make Oviedo your home, you’ll be within an hour’s drive of top-billed attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Fun Spot America Theme Park and many others. You’ll be able to enjoy everything from thrill rides to live entertainment, along with enough delicious, decadent food to last you for a lifetime.

Many locals decide to buy an annual pass to their favorite park so that they can return again and again.

If you love theme parks, you’ll love how close you are to some of the best such attractions in the world. Beware that your friends and family will use your close proximity as their excuse to stay at your house when they want to enjoy Orlando’s theme parks!

Restaurants in Oviedo

Top 10 Restaurants in Oviedo

Oviedo boasts an impressive array of restaurants. You’ll find every type of international cuisine as well as eateries that specialize in down-home cooking. Whether you’re in the mood for fast good or something more upscale, you’ll find it here.

You’ll find diverse collections of restaurants clustered around E. Mitchell Hammock Road as well as on University Boulevard in the vicinity of UCF.  Oviedo on the Park is also home to many nice restaurants.

Seafood, barbecue, Italian, Indian, brew pubs, familiar chains and one-of-a-kind finds, they are all waiting to be discovered in Oviedo.

Check out our blog on the top 10 restaurants in Oviedo.

An Array of Gym Options

If you love to work up a sweat in the gym and you’re worried that Oviedo just won’t have the right gym for you, worry no longer. People in Oviedo love to exercise, and this means that the city boasts an abundance of gyms. Some of the best include TeamFit 45, Orange Theory Oviedo, Eat the Frog, Riverside Fitness and Crossfit Tough as Nails.

Whether you’re looking for high-intensity workouts, personal training, boxing or a something that you’ve never experienced before, you’ll find the perfect gym in Oviedo.

Feel free to read more about gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs in the blog we wrote.

Hiking and Trails

Four Parks you have to visit in Oviedo

Do you love to spend time in nature? Oviedo’s exceptional climate makes it easy for you to make the most of the outdoors. The community is bursting with fantastic trails that are perfect for activities like hiking, biking and running.

Some of the best are the Cross Seminole Trail, which currently is broken into three paved sections, and the Flagler Trail, which occupies a former railroad bed. Eventually, the Cross Seminole Trail will be connected to form a 23-mile circuit.

More rugged terrain is encountered in the Little Big Econ State Forest and the Geneva Wilderness Area. The Lake Jessup Conservation Area is one more place that hikers will love.

 

You can read more about some of the parks in Oviedo in another blog we wrote.

Close Proximity to Shopping

Whatever you need or want to buy in Oviedo, you’ll find it nearby. An abundance of grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores make it easy to pick up the essentials. If you’re looking for even more options, you may want to browse the offerings at the Oviedo Mall, Oviedo Park Crossing or the Lockwood Village Shopping Center. All of the familiar big box stores are represented as well.

A Great County

5 reasons why you should move to Seminole County

Located in the midst of Seminole County, Oviedo definitely benefits from this well-run government. Four SunRail stations are located within the county, making mass transit a breeze. Small businesses thrive here, so whether you want to start a business or just support mom-and-pop operations, you’ll find opportunities in Seminole County.

Because Seminole County is relatively small, it’s able to boast lots of advantages. For instance, crime statistics are low and the schools’ ratings are high. You’ll feel at home in Seminole County.

Of course we wrote a blog on why Seminole County is so great.

45 Minutes to the Beach

Do you want to enjoy the surf and sand? They are just a 45-minute drive from Oviedo. Head to the Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Daytona Beach and others when you’re struck with the mood to play in the waves.

 

Ask Waypointe Realty to help you get to know Oviedo even better. Our expert Realtors love to help people find the perfect home in Oviedo.

Top Gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs

Top Gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs

Working out can feel like a burden if it’s been a while. Many people will wait to make it their new year’s resolution before they set foot in a gym for all of 3 weeks. But really, 80% of people who joined a gym in the beginning of the year quit within 5 months. Why wait for the new year? The best time to start is actually NOW

 
I love working out, if it’s the right workout. So I decided to test out different gyms all around Oviedo and some in Winter Springs and bring you my favorites, the pros and cons and then rate them on cleanliness, class offerings, hours open, customer service, caloric burn (intensity), cost and amenities.
Before I start with my top choices for gyms in Oviedo/Winter Springs, let me begin with a few caveats to keep in mind as you hear my assessment of the gyms I’ve chosen from my experience:
✅ Competitive
I’m competitive by nature and love aggressive, intense workouts with high intensity and training 
✅ Bore Easily
I get bored easily and not a fan of monotony, especially in a workout.
✅ Disciplined
I program my schedule and discipline myself to go to the gym every workday and sometimes Saturday as well
✅ Need Motivation
I have zero motivation in big box gyms and can do a great job staring at weights not knowing what workout to do and then when I do, just sandbag it and walk out with little satisfaction.
✅ Experienced
I’ve tried every workout you can imagine over the last two decades (from hot yoga, to rock climbing, contact boxing to Zumba) so finding something engaging and motivating can be a challenge for me. As a result, I have high expectations in a gym and workout.
✅ Looking for Change
This list is for the Oviedo/Winter Springs resident that is looking for a change, possibly has plateaued or just wants to know what’s out there that’s different from the same ol’ thing.

👉 Now, research has shown that when a gym is more than 15 minutes away, the consistency of attendance declines. Already as it is, consistency in a gym is low among members. To see good results at any of these gyms, please commit to at least 6 months. It takes time to develop strength and burn fat so be patient. That’s why it’s important to find a gym you connect with that motivates you and helps you reach your fitness goals. 

In this list you’ll note that I did not include big box gyms like the Zoo, LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness. Everyone pretty much knows what they offer and the cost, but if you’re like me and need motivation to see results, the gyms below are worthy of your time.  

⭐️Our Top Picks…

 
#1 BioFit Performance 

Price: $129+ (4 packages ranging from $129-499 per month) 

Pros: If I had to sum up my idea of a perfect workout experience, this is it. This is a family owned business that opened up during the COVID pandemic and has been successful due to their innovative science-based fitness model. You start with a Fit 3D assessment and a bio mechanic assessment to see where you are and where you need to be. They provide nutritional guidance, semi-private and private training along with unlimited classes in Conditioning (HITT style/ cardio/strength) and Durability (mobility/yoga). After your workout, you can unwind in the recovery room that offers a cold and hot jacuzzi’s and an infra-red sauna. In a nutshell, their goal is to give accessibility to all the amenities and resources a professional athlete does at the fraction of the price. 

Cons: Price may be a deterrent for most. Distance is a little farther from most Oviedo residents as it is located on the SW part of Oviedo.

Add’l info: High energy workouts as well as mobility classes, Fit 3D assessment and a bio mechanic assessment. Option for customized nutritional plan by a nutritionist, massage therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. There is also a registered nurse on staff as well. Bathrooms have showers, towels and extra amenities. They also offer a wonderful smoothie bar and outdoor seating next to the Cross Seminole Trail. 

Website: https://biofitperformance.com/

BioFit Oviedo
#2 Burn Room Fitness (formally TeamFit45)

Price: $50-200 (based on packages) 

Pros: Wonderfully high-energy intense workout. Heart monitor provided to track your heart rate and monitor your calories burned throughout your workout. Fun atmosphere. Feels like a team even though you can compete against yourself and others in your station. They have filtered water station and showers. The different stations keeps it fresh and a new workout is provided every day. They offer assessments and it’s definitely results driven. Personal training is offered. They have an app with your info and to register for classes. 

Cons: Communication wasn’t always easy. Distance from Oviedo residents.

Add’l info: High energy workout, heart monitor provided to track pulse and calories burned throughout workout. Lots of class times that work for different schedules. 

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: https://burnroomfitness.com/

Burn Room Fitness Winter Springs
#3 Orange Theory Oviedo 

Price:  $159 (Unlimited classes)

Pros: Unlimited assessments throughout the month to track your progress. High energy cardio and strength training. High energy music and coaching that is motivating and keeps you on track where ever you are physically. Showers and filtered water. They offer water bottles for $1. Follow up email with workout results, calorie burn, and tracking your progress. Class times offered. 

Cons: Cost can be a deterrent for many. You better like to row and run on a treadmill.

Add’l info: Unlimited package is $159 per month but they have different plans available. You have to buy a heart monitor but they let you use one if you don’t have it for your first class. This is the longest I have ever been on a treadmill (which I hate) but I stayed motivated and focused. Felt great at the end.

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: https://www.orangetheory.com/  

#4 Eat The Frog Oviedo

Price: $70+ (different package options)  

Pros: Great central Oviedo location (Sprouts shopping center). Franchised gym that offers agility, cardio and strength classes in four-week increments. You also get a fit assessment every 8 weeks to measure where you are and adjust your heart rate monitor accordingly.  They offer a filtered water station and wipes available to clean down your station. Excellent class schedule with various time options. Really fun setup for the classes that gives you a full workout each time.

Cons: Same 3 classes are offered for the whole week. No coached classes in the evening if you need that motivation.

Add’l info: Heart rate monitor is an additional fee, but great for tracking workouts. They have an app that tracks workout, offers “frog points” for discounts and fun challenges throughout the year.

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: Eatthefrog.com

Eat the Frog Oviedo
#5 Riverside Fitness

Price: $45 (unlimited gym use and classes) 

Pros: No contracts or initiation fees. Only $45 per month for unlimited classes and open gym. Class options are Boot Camp, Amrap and yoga. Boot Camp is well organized with a timer and offers a great full body workout. The members are all really nice and welcoming. Trainer goes around to make sure you’re doing the work out correctly. The yoga class was good. Sign-up is easy online and gets you connected with their MindBody app to register for classes. 

Cons: There are not a lot of class times, but the ones that are are convenient for most people’s schedules. Drinking fountain but no filtered water station or towels. Not really easy to connect immediately with staff. Not high energy classes overall, but good workout.

Add’l info: The open floor gym and the classes offered are in different buildings in the same shopping center. Showers are in the main gym facility. Great prices and definitely something to consider if you’re in it you live in the east part of Oviedo. Membership includes one personal training session a week for 30 minutes where you can go over something technical, accountability, or Nutrition. No childcare but was really cool to see two young kids joining their parents through the circuit. They modified workouts but they got to do it with their parents.

Website: riversidefitness419.com

Riverside Fitness Oviedo
RIverside Fitness
#6 Crossfit Tough As Nails

Price: Unlimited options = $100 (Student), $125 (First responders & teachers), $145 (regular option)  

Pros: If your competitive in nature this is a great work out for you. Classes are offered several times throughout the day for the WOD (workout of the day). Trainers care about technique and form. Very encouraging environment and supportive in teamwork. Aggressive workouts but can be tailored to your strength and ability. Showers available. 

Cons: If you don’t pay attention to the trainers, you can get very injured in the workout. The goal at Crossfit is to continue lifting and beating your personal record, so if you don’t want to lift heavy, this may not be the place for you.

Add’l info: This CF box offers MMA and Jiu Jitsu training. They focus on competition if that’s your goal. Every year they encourage the members to sign up for the Crossfit Open which is very encouraging for new and experienced members. If you’re looking to build muscle in a competitive atmosphere this is definitely a great option. They offer teachers and first responders discounts on memberships. 

Website: tlpnails.wpengine.com

#7 Elite Boxing Fitness Center
 

BEST TECHNICAL BOXING GYM 

Price: $99+ (based on different training packages)  

pros: Great atmosphere and family feel. Amazing work out. The most authentic boxing experience you’re going to have in Oviedo hands-down. This is definitely not your boxing class experience that you would get at a big box gym. This is a contact boxing gym so make sure to buy mouthguard and headgear. They’ll teach you the right technique and great training. Offer kids classes.

Cons: No showers. Website is hard to navigate to find any information so it’s best to give him a call to find out the class times. Not a workout for everyone. 

Add’l info: Definitely not for the faint of heart. Very aggressive and intense. Water fountain, but no filtered water. I got punched in the face and left with a bruise. Didn’t like it but loved the intensity. Dorian is the owner and main trainer at this gym and he loves what he does. Definitely a lot of passion and the members love training here.

Website: eliteboxingfitnessstudio.com

Elite Boxing Oviedo
#8 9Round Fitness 

*When I walked in I was a little confused because there’s no exact class time.  

Price: $75+ (based on different packages)  

Pros: You come and go as you please and you jump in and do nine rounds of three minutes each with 30 second break in between with a corporal work out. Different workout every day which makes it fun but definitely kickboxing and boxing is a focus. No class times so it’s good to go with a friend if you’re able and definitely good on flexibility for your schedule.

Cons: If there’s no one in the gym it can be a little lonely and not quite as competitive or exciting, but the evening is packed. If it is packed, you have to wait for the end of the round and to jump in. Water is a dollar and there is no water fountain. No showers and no towels. 

Add’l info: Different pricing packages available based on month-to-month, one year year, six week challenge or six month challenge.

Website: 9round.com/oviedo

#9 Title Boxing

Price: $69+ (based on different packages)  

Pros: This place had very friendly staff, good hype-up music, showers, High-intensity cardio workout. Good central location in Oviedo off of Alafaya. They offer a section of free weights to do on your own. 

Cons: Insufficient classes in the early AM. One year contractual commitment and then month-to-month thereafter. Doing boxing and kickboxing over time may become redundant if you want more of a variety. 

Add’l info: This is a boxing/kickboxing gym. Need to buy gloves and wristbands. They have a water fountain but make sure to bring your own water bottle or you may be waiting in line after every round to catch a sip.

Website: titleboxingclub.com/oviedo

Title One Oviedo
#10 Breakthrough Fitness

Price: $100+ (based on different training packages)  

Pros: They offer some classes and you can take it with or without the class trainer. Really great customer service from the staff. Delicious shakes are made on the spot and sold at the gym. Staff really cares about your fitness journey. 

Cons: If you didn’t care for the workouts on the first three days, your motivation for returning to do the same workout later that week may wane. No showers or filtered water. 

Add’l info: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule is the same as Thursday, Friday, Saturday. AMRAP (As many reps as possible) workouts and high interval intensity training is the norm. Drinking fountain is provided. Intensity was not as high in the workouts as I would have liked. 

Website: breakthroughfitnessfl.com

Breakthrough Fitness Oviedo
#11 Row House Oviedo

Price: Starting at $79 introductory rate  

Pros: Good location in Oviedo (Sprouts shopping center off Alafaya Trail). Responsive team and great energy in the class. Coach was very motivating and challenged the entire “row crew” to push further. They teach good posture and proper technique for rowing.

Cons: Very limited class schedule (2 classes a day) for the time being and only 30-45 minute workouts. You really need to love rowing for this to be your main workout because they have classes where all you do is row the whole class, which may be great for some, not for me.

Add’l info: They offer lockers, water fountain, sanitizing of the stations after the workout. 

Website: https://www.therowhouse.com/location/oviedo

Row House Oviedo
Honorable Mention

YMCA Oviedo 

Beautiful facility with pool, childcare area, open gym, and classes. Great for the whole family with affordable prices. But again, if you are looking for results and need guidance and motivation this probably isn’t the best fit. 

Website: YMCA Oviedo

I personally have not seen good results in big box gyms because of my need for motivation, but if you do this could be a really good alternative. 

Let’s Wrap This Up…

 

I’ve broken up these reviews based on my assessment. Some of the things that matter to me may not necessarily matter to you which is why I want to give you all the options. Whichever gym you choose, just make sure you love the style and feel of the gym so that you maintain consistency. 

Remember that beyond 15 minutes from your house you are less likely to commit to a gym and I want to make sure consistency is there. Don’t try a gym for a month and give up. Whichever one you choose make a commitment to be there for at least six months to a year in order to really see a difference. I recommend changing up the gym after a year and a half or when you start plateauing.

I’ve chosen my way to workout and stay in shape, what’s yours? Find a way to stay in shape and feel great this year!

Best Homes to See Christmas Lights in and Around Oviedo

It’s the time of year again and if you’re like us, there’s nothing like Christmas lights to get us even more excited about this time of year! Thanks to our great Oviedo group on Facebook, neighbors have compiled a great list of homes in the Oviedo and surrounding areas to check out this year. Here are some of our favorites:

Oviedo, Winter Springs and Chuluota

OVIEDO

🎄 Neely Street in Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1055 Brielle Ave (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1039 Gore Drive, Oviedo – features a Santa letter box so leave your address and Santa will write back (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1003 McKinnon Drive, Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1046 McKinnon Drive , Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 726 & 749 S Lake Claire Cir, Oviedo

🎄 1009 Cutoff Branch Ct., Oviedo

🎄 1650 Genova Dr. Oviedo – lots of inflatables and lasers and a snow machine!

🎄 94 E. Magnolia Street, Oviedo

🎄 5686 Magnolia Bloom Terrace, Oviedo

🎄 680 Neile Court, Oviedo (Geneva Drive)

🎄 517 Oak Street, Oviedo (tune to 90.1FM for music)

🎄 2816 Ashton Terrace, Oviedo (South of W. Chapman off Aloma)

🎄 Carnaby Drive in Carillon Westhampton (2 houses with programed light show and 2 houses Grinch themed)

🎄 2754 Running Springs Loop, Oviedo (Isles of Little Creek) – Hot chocolate packets and candy canes are available. If you want your child to have a letter sent to them from Santa, deposit the letters in the North Pole mailbox and Santa will return it by Christmas.

🎄 805 Wellington Ave (Bentley Woods – near Oviedo H.S.)

🎄 1018 Corbin Ct, Oviedo (Near Oviedo H.S.)

WINTER SPRINGS

🎄 Bivona Christmas Light Show – 1601 North Wind Ct. Winter Springs – 6-11pm until New Year’s

🎄 1209 Wolverine Trail, Winter Springs

🎄 1212 Andes Dr, Winter Springs, beginning 11/28 hours are 7-10 PM

🎄 681 Oswego Court, Winter Springs – All homemade wood decorations unlike any other home

CHULUOTA

🎄 Kilowatt Christmas Lights – 536 Wax Palm Lane, Chuluota

🎄 274 Clearview Road, Chuluota (Tree Monkeys Christmas lights Spectacular. Christmas Eve – cookies and cocoa with Santa’s elves too!)

🎄 1164 Groveland Drive, Chuluota

 

Christmas lights in Oviedo - Waypointe Realty
Christmas lights in Oviedo - Alafaya Woods

Nearby Oviedo: Casselberry, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs

🎄 Oak Vista Lane in the Garden Lake Estate Subdivision of Winter Springs at the corner of Dodd and Dike Rd. Nearly the whole street is lit up – 6-9 PM

🎄 Fye’s Crazy Christmas House, 407 Eagle Circle, Casselberry (Times are Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm-9pm and Friday- Saturday 5:30pm-10pm – weather permitting)

🎄 Johanessen Lights, 7849 Georgeann Street, Winter Park – featured on Great Christmas Light Fight 2016. December 6- January 2, 6-9pm – NOT LIGHTING UP FOR 2020. BACK IN 2021.

🎄 Lemonwood Court, Altamonte Springs (whole block is decorated)

🎄 Cranes Roost Park, Crane’s Roost Park (decorations around lake and park)

🎄 780 Diane Circle, Casselberry

🎄 337 Kimi Court, Casselberry

🎄11 Winding Ridge Road, Casselberry- Has a light show set to music

Christmas lights in Oviedo
Christmas lights in Chuluota - Tree Monkeys

A Guide to New Home Windows

A Guide To New Home Windows

 

Many homes tend to serve as hot spots for meetings, family gatherings, and play dates, especially with more and more people having to work from home and even do homeschooling. 

Homeowners are noticing more and more all the items in their home that are needing some replacing or TLC. After years of use and activity, your home is bound to require some updates — including the windows. There are numerous benefits that come with new home windows, but what exactly are they? Windows can have an impact on the value of your house, and in some cases can lower heating and cooling costs. The following post will cover the main factors to consider when investing in new windows. 

How Windows Impact Home Value 

As a homeowner, you probably realize that the housing market tends to fluctuate. To keep up, renovations may be necessary from time to time. Even if you don’t plan to sell, performing proper maintenance could help boost your home value. In fact, windows are an often-underrated selling point of a house. While replacing windows isn’t necessarily a cheap DIY project, it almost always boosts value.

On average, it costs about $5,421 to install new windows. To replace all of them in a house, you might spend on average $12,000. However, you could earn roughly $10,000 back in resale value, increasing the likelihood of a larger net profit.

When Should You Update? 

It’s expected that over time your house may experience some wear and tear. As such, it might need to undergo renovations. Here are a few ways to tell if your windows need to be replaced:

You feel drafts coming in around the framesYour energy bills are increasingThere’s noticeably more condensation or frost on the glassThe frames are starting to decay or chipThere’s visible damage caused by wind, rain, freezing temperatures, or extreme sunlight

Aside from replacing non efficient or broken panes, you might consider updating the windows to increase curb appeal. If the rest of your house is in top shape but the windows look outdated, it could throw off the aesthetic of the property. Torn screens or old-fashioned window designs might decrease the market price because they make the rest of the house look unkempt.

Modern renovations, such as swapping single pane windows with energy efficient units, can add value to your home and make a positive visual impression. You might be surprised how much more welcoming your residence looks when the outside is well-maintained.

Determining Insurance Coverage 

Most homeowners insurance can cover a variety of repairs. Regardless of the provider and reasons for replacing the windows, it’s helpful to know the coverage options and under what terms you can update your property. For example, most plans cover natural damage, such as from a fire, flood, or storm. Peril policies will usually help if the event occurred outside of the home, while all-risk policies can cover more circumstances.

Wear and tear, negligence, and common maintenance aren’t typically covered in most insurance plans, though supplementary damage might be included. Review your policy for the specifics.

How Windows Impact Your Electrical Costs 

Most older windows are single-pane, which means more hot and cool air can escape as the seasons change. The more panes you have, the more energy efficient. Consider replacing single panes with windows that are more environmentally friendly to help the planet and your wallet. You could save an estimated $126 to $465 per year, depending on where you live and how many units need to be replaced.

Additionally, heating and cooling costs comprise roughly 40% of yearly energy expenses. If your windows aren’t working efficiently, it might cause air leaks and wasted energy. When they work properly, however, you could spend less on your furnace and air conditioning systems.

When thinking of ways to increase home value, your thoughts probably go to the kitchen or bathroom first. However, don’t underestimate the power of new windows. With a little research and some investment, you could boost the home’s value and your family’s comfort.

Written for Waypointe Realty courtesy of Jaclyn Crawford, a staff writer with ImproveNet in 2016, who enjoys chronicling the latest trends and ways you can make your home the loveliest it can be.

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Top Bathroom Trends In 2020

Top Bathroom Trends in 2020

 

Wondering what’s hot in bathrooms this year? Whether you are building a new home or ready to remodel, it always pays to learn what’s trending.

Keeping bathrooms fresh and vibrant is a great way to add enjoyment and value to a home. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most popular and prevalent bathroom trends of 2020.

1. Bold and Shiny Bathroom Tiles

If deep, dark, moody hues are your go-to decorating favorites, you will love one of the top tile trends of 2020. Glossy bold tiles are back in style.

Especially in vogue are jewel-toned tiles such as royal blues and greens.

Make a strong statement in the bathroom with these shades.

2. Raw and Natural Bathroom Tiles

On the flip side of bold and flashy are tiles that return to a more earthy look. Natural textured tiles can work on walls or floors.

If you use them for the floor, though, invest in rugs that will be comfortable to step on each day, as this kind of texture can be hard on the feet. One especially fashionable choice for floors is travertine, with its warm hue that flouts the long-held standard of bright and white in the bathroom.  

3. Tiles in Unique Shapes

Squares and rectangles are only two of the many possibilities for bathroom tiles. 

Everything from hexagons to scallops is making waves these days. When you’re creating a stylish bathroom, think outside the box with shape and size. 

4. Showstopping Bathtubs

The love of luxury is here to stay in bathroom design. Recent luxurious developments include interesting tub shapes and eye-catching freestanding designs. 

Not only are classic oval and rectangle options available, but you can also select a round tub to create a unique aesthetic. Deep-soaking tubs are still beloved, as they give homeowners a place to relax and unwind with maximum comfort. 

An increasing number of black tubs can be found in current home showcases as well. These add a note of opulence to their surroundings. 

5. The Color Black

Speaking of black tubs, this is a color that’s truly on-trend in today’s bathrooms. Forget the more muted gray and go with bold black instead! 

Look for it in light fixtures, vanities, mirrors, and more to distinguish your bathroom from the traditional design.  

6. Raw Stone Sinks

There’s nothing like the natural beauty of a raw stone stink. Add one to any bathroom to up the wow factor. 

If you are considering installing one in a bathroom with heavy usage, however, keep in mind natural stone can be hard to clean. 

7. Brushed Brass Finishes 

The elegance of brushed brass is trending in bathroom designs, especially when homeowners want to create a luxurious, spa-like space, such as in the master suite. 

Favored for its sophistication and glamour, brass has many applications for the bathroom. This finish is effective on faucets, mirrors, vanity hardware, and light fixtures. 

8. Smart Upgrades

As technology continues to evolve, so do bathrooms. Trending today are high-tech toilets, seat warmers, automatic lid openers, smart showers, automatic sinks, and the ever-popular built-in Bluetooth speaker system. 

If you love a little tech boost at home, also consider voice-activated lighting and mirrors that talk to you!​ 

When you want to stay on the cutting edge of modern bathroom design, exploring trends is key. 

The eight ideas above are a great place to start for your bathroom. Pick the in-style ideas that are most appealing and work them into the design, knowing you are in good company. 

Written for Waypointe Realty courtesy of Erica Garland, Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom with 15-plus years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. 

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Red Flags Before Hiring a Home Contractor

The success of major home improvement projects largely depends on the contractor you hire. Yet not all working contractors are qualified to do the job. Some may have a friendly demeanor over the phone and offer you a great deal, but then cut corners on the job site, leaving you in the dark about their progress.

With money and time on the line, it’s imperative to find a highly qualified, competent professional you can trust with your unique job. Here are nine red flags you shouldn’t ignore when searching for a contractor for your home renovation.

1. Lacks Contact Information

At a minimum, a reputable contractor should be able to provide you with a working phone number and an address that can be verified with the Better Business Bureau. No physical address is a common sign of an unlicensed contractor. 

Many unlicensed pros can’t afford an official office and often move from area to area in order to stay in business. Beware the contractor who has a PO box or temporary address.

2. Demands Unreasonable Payment Up Front

Most contractors ask for money up front to secure your place on their calendar or begin buying materials. But a contractor who requests more than 15% or the entire sum before starting should set off alarm bells. Chances are, you may be hiring a swindler who will take your money and never return to start or complete the job.

Similarly, some fraudsters will ask to be paid in cash. Without a check or credit card statement to back you, it becomes your word versus the contractor’s in any payment dispute. 

To avoid getting scammed, be sure to determine a payment schedule before the work begins. A typical arrangement used by professional contractors is one-third paid in advance, one-third halfway through the job, and the final third upon completion of the project. Before the last payment, make sure that all permits have been closed and all final inspections have been completed.

3. Solicits Your Home

As a general rule of thumb, contractors who make cold calls or go door-to-door do not represent legitimate businesses. Often these are phony contractors who are passing through the area in hopes of making a quick buck. These contractors may use high-pressure sales tactics, such as pushing a temporary low rate.

Another common tactic used by these contractors is claiming to have materials left over from a previous job that they wish to use on your home for a reduced cost. While this may sound like a great way to save money, you are not likely to see any of those materials or the contractor after you make a down payment on the job. 

4. Lacks Permits 

After accepting your project, the contractor is responsible for securing the necessary permits. If the contractor asks you to obtain the permits, it may be because he or she is not licensed or registered with the proper state agencies. 

Some fraudsters may even waive permits as an unnecessary expense. However, completing a job without the proper permits can result in unsafe construction and expensive future repairs. Building officials can also shut down an unpermitted job. 

5. Can’t Present Proof of Insurance

Workplace accidents can happen at any time during the renovation, and even the best construction crew can make mistakes. For this reason, it’s essential that the contractor holds adequate liability and workers’ compensation insurance to keep the project protected financially. 

Trustworthy contractors take care to invest in their reputation. Therefore, a contractor should have no problem showing you proof of his or her license and insurance. If a builder can’t present any documentation, move on to the next candidate. 

6. Refuses to Sign a Contract

Pass on the pro who is unwilling to sign a written contract. Verbal contracts allow shifty builders to wiggle on price, job quality and completion dates. Also, verbal agreements make legal action difficult in the event of fraud or unfinished work. 

Licensed and reputable professionals are willing to sign a contract and may even help you write it in some cases. Be sure to get all of the project details in writing, including the scope of the work, types of materials to be used, detailed timeframes, the contractor’s license number, warranties, guarantees, and final costs. Ensure that verbal commitments are written into the contract. 

7. Has Outdated or Missing References

Desirable contractors should have a constantly revolving list of new and satisfied customers. Checking with previous customers is one of the best ways to learn about the quality of work and level of professionalism you can expect to receive. 

Be sure to verify at least three references. If a contractor can’t provide current references from jobs similar to yours, avoid moving forward with that prospect.

8. Lacks a Website, Portfolio, or Reviews 

Always do your due diligence before hiring a general contractor to work on your home. Professionals should have an online presence, portfolios, and reviews that you can use to vet them. Be suspicious of portfolios with too few projects, no before and after photos, and grainy images. 

9. Communicates Poorly 

You’ll want to work with someone who keeps you in the loop during the entire project, so looking for a contractor with great communication skills is key. A good contractor should be willing to tell you about the job’s progress and respond to your calls within a reasonable period. 

You’ve found a great contractor when he or she arrives on time and the project is running according to — or ahead of — schedule. If communication is vague, difficult to understand, or delivered with ill temper, the contractor is not doing an essential part of the job, and it may be time to find a new hire. 

Ultimately, it comes down to hiring someone you feel good about, both personally and professionally. You want a trustworthy professional whose workmanship will create a beautiful residence to be proud of for years to come.

For more red flags you shouldn’t ignore when hiring a home contractor, see the accompanying infographic. 

Author bio: Tim McKenna is an account manager at CraftJack, which connects contractors with homeowners who are looking for assistance with home projects. McKenna works with contractors to find the best lead generation solutions for their businesses and offers helpful advice when needed.

Graphic created by CraftJack, a provider of remodeling contractor leads.

How To Recover Your Home After A Hurricane

Steps to take After a Hurricane

 

In Florida, it pays to stay on your toes during hurricane season. This may help you minimize the property losses that you might otherwise sustain while also keeping you and your family safer.

Recovering from a hurricane is not quick. Months of hard work may be required before you feel like you’re back on your feet.

However, knowing what to expect and the steps that are necessary for recovering your home after a hurricane can give you more certainty at a time when that commodity is in short supply.

Be sure that you’ve got a hurricane insurance policy well before the season starts, and then use these tips to get back on your feet.

 

Knowing When It’s Safe To Go Back Home

It’s natural for people to want to return home with all possible speed after a hurricane. Unfortunately, recovering your home after a storm requires a vast amount of patience, and that is especially true with this step.

Returning home before the authorities have advised you that it is safe to do so is never a good idea. Instead, wait until they have lifted all restrictions. Remember that your life and well-being are far more important than your investment in your home. A lack of potable water, electricity and sanitation can make returning to your home too early just as dangerous as trying to ride out the storm in your living room.

When authorities do say that returning is authorized, watch out for hazards such as loose power lines, gas leaks and potentially dangerous wildlife. Proceed with caution, and don’t be in too much of a hurry to move back in. Maintain an alternative shelter until your home is ready to be occupied again.

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Basic home insurance policies frequently don’t have coverage for hurricane damage. However, because you live in a place where hurricanes are a relatively common hazard, it’s likely that your insurance agent either persuaded you to purchase separate hurricane insurance or wrote a home insurance policy that included hurricane coverage.

Most hurricanes bring two significant hazards with them. These are wind and water. This may mean that you need two separate insurance policies for windstorms and flood damage.

Windstorm insurance policies kick in when your home suffers damage thanks to high winds. Flood insurance protects you when a surge of water or a flood causes damage to your property.

The best way to obtain flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. If your insurance agent offers flood insurance, it probably is done in accordance with the NFIP.

When floods strike, your insurance pays for the direct physical loss of the covered structure and your belongings. NFIP policies feature two types of coverage. One of these is building coverage, which applies to plumbing and electrical systems, water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators, stoves, built-in appliances, foundations, staircases, well water tanks and other features of your home.

The second type of coverage is for the contents of your home. This protects your furniture, washer and dryer, clothing, electronic equipment and more.

Essentially, if any of these items is damaged in a flood, then it is eligible for coverage under your flood insurance.

Understanding Your Deductible

Most people are familiar with insurance deductibles. That’s the amount that you typically must pay out of pocket before your insurance protection kicks in. However, the deductible on a hurricane insurance policy is a little different when compared with other policies.

People are accustomed to choosing a dollar amount for the deductible on their car insurance policy, but in certain U.S. states, like Florida, hurricane insurance carries a deductible that is a percentage of the insured home’s value.

This deductible typically ranges between one and five percent. Accordingly, if the insured value of your home is $500,000 and the deductible on your hurricane insurance policy is five percent, then the insurance company will make a $25,000 deduction from payment that they make on your claim.

In Florida, insurers generally offer hurricane insurance deductibles of $500, two percent, five percent and 10 percent. Some insurers may offer deductibles in excess of 10 percent. Work with your insurance agent to determine a coverage amount and a deductible that are appropriate for you. Ideally, your coverage will be enough to completely rebuild your house if it is required.

Taking the Proper Steps

Filing a Claim

Filing a hurricane insurance claim is a complex process, and technicalities, errors and omissions only exacerbate the difficulties. Accordingly, it is wise to locate and review your hurricane insurance policy as soon as possible in the aftermath of a storm.

This will help to refresh your understanding of what your policy covers, and it also may yield important instructions regarding how to file your claim. Even more critically, your policy likely will tell you how much time you have to file your claim. It is not unusual that steps like notifying your insurer of the loss and filing a claim must be completed in a relatively short period of time.

Accordingly, it makes sense to contact your insurance agent or the claims department of your insurance company as soon as possible after the hurricane passes. Typically, you will be assigned a claim number on this first phone call, and your information will be given to an adjuster who will review and assess the damage to your property.

Make a List of Valuables

It may take some time for the adjuster to visit your property. In the meantime, you can facilitate the process by taking pictures and making video recordings of the property. This step is critical, as it enables you to prove your claim. These photographs and video recordings also preserve the state of the property as it existed immediately after the flood. The insurance adjuster may rely on these to help document your claim.

In addition to photographic and video evidence, maintain a written list of all of the damage that your property sustained in the hurricane. Write down the value of each item, and if you can locate the original receipt, include it with your list. The more organized you are, the easier the adjuster’s job is and the less likely it is that something will be overlooked.

Create a Paper Trail

Try to keep written records of all of your interactions with your insurance company. Use email and letters as often as possible to create a paper trail, and make notes on all telephone conversations. If things go wrong down the road and you believe that your insurer has acted in bad faith, this documentation will be valuable.

Give Yourself Time to Heal

Recovering from a hurricane is no easy task. Remember that a natural disaster exacts a mental, physical and emotional toll in addition to all of the property damage. Just as your house cannot be restored overnight, neither can your equilibrium.

A series of advances and setbacks is inherent in the recovery from any disaster. You’ll have bad days and good days, but you’ll probably also see that overall you’re traveling in the right direction.

Celebrate the small victories, and don’t let the setbacks get you too low. Remember that Waypointe Realty is here to help you prepare for a storm or to recover from all of life’s hurricanes.

 

5 Must-Do Moving Tips for Parents

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5 Must-Do Moving Tips for Parents

 

So, the old house is sold and the new one has been purchased. Or maybe you are still in the process of doing one or the other but have solidified your decision to move homes. Either way, CONGRATULATIONS! Both of these instances are a major victory for any household and a big step toward the next chapter in your lives. 

However, the journey is not yet complete until you make the move to your new home. If you have children, this part can be particularly challenging. That’s why we’ve listed these five practical moving tips for parents.

1. Have the conversation

The first thing you want to do is tell your children that you are moving. If you have gone through the process of getting a new home, they may already know. But if not, tell them what’s going on as soon as possible so that they will feel included. 

Give them an opportunity to ask questions, and give them as many details as necessary for their age. Also, you may need to walk them through the emotions they are feeling and ensure them that everything will be okay even though you’re going through such a big change. 

2. Consider movers

Early in the moving process, think about whether to hire movers. Yes, it adds to the costs, but it can also take a lot of stress out of an already stressful situation. Do online research, read reviews of various moving companies, and try to meet several movers in person to discuss their processes. 

How much you can expect to pay depends on whether it’s a local or long-distance move, the total weight of the items being moved, and even the day of the week you move, among other things.

3. Create an open house checklist 

If your home is on the market (or you’re planning to put it on the market), one thing that will help the selling process go more smoothly is to write out a checklist for any tasks that need to be completed before showing your home to potential buyers. That way, you and your kids will know exactly what to do on short notice. Boosting the lighting, putting away valuables, neutralizing odors, and getting the pets out of the house are a few tasks you might consider for your list. 

4. Make a plan for moving week 

The last week before your move should be as stress-free as possible, and the only way to achieve that is to make a plan with your kids. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what you’re eating, when and how you’re packing, how you’ll keep the home clean, and how each person will be traveling to the new home. 

5. Include your kids 

Most children deal with relocating much better when they feel included in the process. Assign your kids age-appropriate cleaning tasks, even if it takes you a little longer to do things. Allow your kids to choose which items to keep when you’re decluttering, as well as what to pack away and what to take with them on the road. And ask their opinions on certain decisions to let them know that they have a say in the matter. 

Moving can be difficult for anyone, but it’s notoriously challenging for parents. Remember to talk to your kids about the move as soon as you can, and think about hiring a moving service to relieve you of some of the burdens. Come up with a checklist of tasks to tackle before an open house, and detail a plan for moving week. Finally, make sure your kids feel included throughout the entire process, and things will go much more smoothly!

If you have any questions about moving into a new home or for advice on moving, contact us today! We are your Central Florida real estate experts! 

Written for Waypointe Realty courtesy of Alexis Hall of singleparent.info

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How to Improve Your Credit Score

On this webisode of our series, Real Answers to Real Questions in Real Estate by Experts, we have invited Rayce Robinson, with Mid-Florida Mortgage to discuss how to improve your credit score. 

Your credit score is one of the main factors in purchasing a home. Without a strong credit score, you may not be able to qualify for a loan.

The three main areas that count in determining a credit score:

  1. Payment history (makes up 35% of credit score)
  2. Credit utilization 
  3. Length of credit history

In this segment we address the following questions to help potential home owners get ready to purchase a home and get those credit scores where they need to be in order to get the best deal and on their mortgage loan:

  • As people are looking to purchase a home, they start realizing what an important role credit plays in getting pre-approved. When people have low credit scores, what is one way they can start getting their score up?
  • How long does it typically take to raise a credit score 50 points? 
  • Is there a science to doing it?
  • What is a good credit score to aim for?
  • If someone has a credit score below 600, how long will it take to get it where it needs to be in order to buy a home?
  • If someone has a low credit score but has the funds to purchase, can they qualify or is it best to wait?
  • Does credit score have any effect on the interest rate a buyer can secure?
  • How important do you think it is to get pre-approved right up front?
  • If someone has filed for bankruptcy or has undergone a foreclosure or short sale, when can they qualify for a loan to purchase a home?

If you have any additional questions on credit score or getting ready to make your move, contact us today! We are your Central Florida real estate experts! 

Transcription of Video:

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:00:02] Hey everybody, this is Jenelle with Waypointe Realty and I have a very special guest today that you may recognize from past videos. I have Rayce Robinson from Mid-Florida Mortgages with me. So hey, Rayce. Thanks so much for joining.

Rayce Robinson: [00:00:15] My pleasure.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:00:16] So on this webisode of our series, “Real Answers to Real Questions in Real Estate by Experts,” we’re going to be discussing how to improve your credit score.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:00:30] So, your credit score is one of the main factors for purchasing a home. I can’t tell you how many requests I’ve had recently for people interested in purchasing, but they have a credit score below 600. So, how do we get this credit score up? We’re going to be doing a few questions that we’ve been asked and presenting this over to Rayce, who is a mortgage expert, to make sure that we can get the right answers to your questions. So Rayce, when people are looking to purchase a home, they start realizing what an important role credit plays in getting pre-approved. So, when they do have low credit scores, what is one way they can start getting those scores up? Because we know that not all of them will qualify below a 600 credit score. So, what are things that you recommend to start them on the path and trajectory towards getting that credit score up?

Rayce Robinson: [00:01:21] So, that’s obviously the most asked question. And usually, as you know, people often wait to the last minute. They see a house they love, then they’re like, ‘hey, let’s go get pre-approved for a mortgage.’ So unfortunately, with credit it takes time. You know, there are some things we’re going to talk about in this video that are quicker than others, but really it does take time. If you look at the way that credit breaks down, the way that credit bureaus look for credit, they look at payment history, that’s 35 percent of your credit score. Really, that is not anything that you can do except have the payment history over time. So, that’s one, but it’s a big chunk.

Rayce Robinson: [00:01:59] Credit utilization, which is the one that we’ll talk about where we do manipulate, especially often during the loan process and stuff like that, and that’s their available credit. And those kinds of things, length of credit history, meaning if someone’s 18 years old, they’re not going to probably have the same credit as someone that’s 50, and there’s little things like new credit and credit mix.

Rayce Robinson: [00:02:19] So, credit utilization and not being maxed out are probably the big ones that I see that people can manipulate. A lot of times when referred to me or an agent sends me someone, I’m looking at their credit. Usually the first thing I’m looking at is overall credit utilization. And are they maxed out, meaning on any given card, if they owe more than 50% of the available balance, they’re starting to get a negative rating, because if you’re maxed out on the card, they roll that interest on top of that payment. So if you have a $5000 balance now, it’s $5,050. Right? And you’re paying that $50. So paying credit cards down is probably the easiest and the best way to get someone’s score up if they have a lot of time to do that.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:03:15] So you mentioned something that I heard recommended as well from our buyers: ‘I have to wait to pay off my car’ or ‘I have to wait, I’m going to try and sell my car so I can pay it off.’ It’s interesting that you’re talking about your revolving credit and capping out on your credit score, because that actually also affects the mortgage or the debt-to-income ratio. So, they kind of work hand-in-hand, right?

Rayce Robinson: [00:03:38] Yeah. And it is a dance with most people because they have a limited amount of money. Most people are normal people and they’re working with X amount of cash. So I’m trying to figure out how to leave them enough cash to buy a house and then pay the credit card down. And then, of course, the debt ratio or sometimes they may have to pay something off, which is different than maybe the credit report. But it’s all part of that pre-approval process. So, yes, it’s all one giant conversation on what someone needs to do.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:04:06] Absolutely. So I know that you’ve worked wonders because typically we tell people 640 is a safer place to be because of FHA and all of those other loans that qualify, at least for a 640. But you’ve closed as low as a 580 credit score.

Rayce Robinson: [00:04:22] 560, really. So it’s possible. What I tell people with lending is think of it as a box. So, there’s a box that most banks lend in and it doesn’t really matter whether you’re talking to me or any other bank. You know, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, they’ve all got their guidelines of what they’re looking for.

Rayce Robinson: [00:04:43] You get outside of that box, meaning lower credit score, or maybe they haven’t been self-employed long enough, or things that aren’t normal. But in this case, let’s talk about score. Then there’s going to be other factors that are going to come into play. Meaning if you have a 570 credit score, it’s going to be difficult to do. Now you need a lot of reserves or now you can’t be getting gift funds, a lot of the things that you can do on a normal transaction. Those are gonna be wiped out. So, I say that we do, and I see people advertising it online. I would say it’s more of a loss, because 1 out of 30 or 40 people meet those guidelines where they can do a really low score like that. So I really try to get people 620 and higher. To me, that’s kind of a target.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:05:31] So, I mean, that’s a great point because really if you have a low credit score because something happened in your life, but you have the funds to be able to purchase a home, you can still potentially get a loan. So, that’s when I think the 580 is 560 credit score is more appropriate. Is that right? They have to have at least the money to be able to put down.

Rayce Robinson: [00:05:46] Yeah. And they’re really looking at the last 12 or 24 months. So, you know, people went through a bad time economically, which happens, like right now. But if you straighten up your credit for 12 or 24 months. So this particular person that I’m thinking of, how to score closer to 560ish. But the last 24 months, they had no late payments. And so we could kind of hang our hat on: here’s what happened here, because we’re really building a story for someone with lower credit on, ‘Why is this person with lower credit financeable? They got assets and all these things that we’re looking at.’

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:06:25] It’s interesting you say that because really your credit score actually paints a picture of who you are or the decisions you’ve made or responsibility, etc. And even things that have happened in your life truly affect your credit score story, so to speak, because you guys basically can paint a picture of the type of buyer. The reason why the credit score is so important is because it really shows how risky this buyer potentially is. Is that right?

Rayce Robinson: [00:06:52] Yeah. I mean, think about it. Credit, down payment, debt ratios are the big three. And then credit being the big one determining so many of those factors. How high of a debt ratio will the lender go? What kind of rate are you going to get with those kinds of ratios? It’s the big one of the three, for sure.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:07:08] Absolutely. So bankruptcy, short sale, foreclosure, if people have experienced these, which has happened in the past, how long before a bankruptcy comes off? I know it’s seven years or even 50, depending on the bankruptcy filed before it comes off. But how is that going to affect their credit to be able to purchase a home? And how long would they have to wait after a short sale or bankruptcy or foreclosure?

Rayce Robinson: [00:07:32] That’s a great question. It does get complicated. I did a video on that once because FHA has a different guideline than V.A. and Fannie Mae.

Rayce Robinson: [00:07:39] And so what in general, most people are going to be waiting about four years to do some kind of conventional loan, on average, if they do a bankruptcy. And then on FHA, it’s going to be two or three years, probably usually three before they can look at it now.

Rayce Robinson: [00:07:56] Well, you bring up as a great point. Sometimes people get past, say, the three years where they could maybe go FHA again, but they haven’t done enough to bump their score up. In the meantime, even though we get past that three years, you really have to work hard after something like that happens in the past to get your score up, because that’s automatically bringing your score much, much lower. I don’t know the exact number, but my guess is if you don’t do anything, you’re in the 500s when you get right off bankruptcy or foreclosure or something like that, so you really are starting from there trying to get up. And I’ve seen people with a B.K. with scores back over 700 by doing some of the right things.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:08:37] So what does the credit score number start? So, you end up in 500 after bankruptcy. Does it start at five hundred?

Rayce Robinson: [00:08:44] No, in fact, it’s down to I think the actual numbers are 350 to 850. Really most people, though I would say 95 percent of people, are going to fall between 500 and like 770. So I mean the people you know, I haven’t seen too many people below 500 get over 800. We’ve seen a couple but they are overachievers or something.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:09:13] So, what is a good credit score to aim for realistically? If people are under 600, what’s something good that you’re like ‘all right. Once you’re at this point, this is going to be much smoother sailing. But you know, under 600 this is going to be really rocky territory.’

Rayce Robinson: [00:09:28] I mean, 600 is a good number and 620 is like for a Fannie Mae loan or conventional loan, which is what a lot of people do, you have to be 620 or higher to even consider a conventional loan. Truthfully, if your credit score is 620 you’re probably going FHA anyways because Fannie Mae has a big, big overlay on interest rates where FHA doesn’t. This is the really cool part. You know, when you can take them with a 620 score and give them a fairly competitive rate where they’re going conventional and they’re looking at the rate going ‘wow.’ And that’s because Fannie Mae overlays their pricing to any bank that we work with and really bumps up that score or bumps up that rate with a low credit score.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:10:11] Ok. Good to know, so 620 now. Now this is going to be our next session where we’re going to talk about real estate myths that are happening right now. But is it true that they are going to be raising the minimum score to 675? Do you know anything about that?

Rayce Robinson: [00:10:28] Yeah, so lenders and if people follow the news that are calling the mortgage crisis, which I think is more of a headline grabber. But there are some liquidity issues in the backend of these markets, meaning when you pay your mortgage payment off and you’re paying that to a servicer and that servicers paying to the people that own the asset. Well, even though all these people are on record forbearance or not paying anymore legally the government’s basically said as part of their CARES Act, that they’ll still have to pay creating liquidity in the market. So I would say, no, you can still do a low credit score, but it is taking more time upfront to really have somebody look at your situation and make sure they really have a good picture of where you’re at and put you with the right lender, because not every lenders are going to chase this analogy. They’re only doing 700 scores and higher. So, there are some banks that are doing that.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:11:24] So, how long would it take to increase a credit score just 50 points if they listen to the basic things of paying off your credit card, not maxing out on your credit debt? How long would it take to just increase maybe 50 points on average?

Rayce Robinson: [00:11:41] So, it’s always a time versus what you can accomplish ratio. So, you know, a lot of times, unfortunately, when I get someone, it’s pretty quick. Meaning they’ve talked to you and they’re like, ‘hey, we want to buy a house.’ Of course we want to get them now while our rates are good and before prices move up. So, normally we’re looking at paying down debt and things like that. That can happen really quick. We can even do rapid rescores where I can literally have someone pay their debt down today and do a rapid rescore tomorrow and within three to four days have an updated credit score. And that could easily be in some cases, 50 points.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:12:20] Wow, OK.

Rayce Robinson: [00:12:21] Now, ideally, what you’re saying is correct. You really would want to reach out earlier because if you have more time, there’s more things that you can do that are going to maybe have a bigger impact. But probably most of the time when I’m dealing with just because of the time frame is paying debt off, you know, typically what we’re doing now.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:12:40] This is actually really good news for people who do have lower credit scores, but want to try to get their credit score up and buy now while the interest rates are really, really good because we know that the interest rates are going to go up. It just is one of those things that keeps being talked about and mentioned in the news consistently. And so we try to tell people, you buy a $250,000 house now, add a 3.5 – 4 percent interest rate. You’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck than if you try to buy a house for $250,000 at a 5 percent rate. You know, based on your interest rate. So, question, does your credit score have any effect on the interest rate a buyer can secure?

Rayce Robinson: [00:13:30] Yeah, it has a big effect. I would say so. Again, FHA has the least effect. Fannie Mae and conventional loans has a huge effect. So, even if you know about people putting 30 percent down, which is a pretty big down payment and still getting a rate .5 to 1 percent above the market because of the overlays, Fannie Mae basically has about eight tiers all the way from 620 to 740. So, depending on where you fall in that tier as a broker, I work with lots of different banks. The banks all across the board have to take those same overlays to be able to to get the pricing.

Rayce Robinson: [00:14:06] So, for most people, it’s going to impact their rate that they’re good and that’s going to impact how high they qualify up to, how much buying power that they have.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:14:16] Absolutely. And that is a great point. I know some of the questions that I’ve seen in the past are, you know, as agents talk to me because the buyer wasn’t pre-approved prior to now. We don’t have that issue because when we list our properties, any offer that comes in, we vet through the lender that they’ve selected. And we do the reverse as well. We won’t work with any buyers until they get pre-approved for two reasons. We don’t want to waste their time and we don’t want them to get excited about a property that they can’t afford. And if they’re not ready or willing to put in an offer, there’s no reason in looking at homes because it’s not going to be available by the time they are ready. So, we want to make sure that people are successful in their home search upfront. So, when people have a low credit score and we send them over to you. When we get that response, how soon can you get a pre-approval back?

Rayce Robinson: [00:15:11] It’s going to depend on their situation. And that’s where having good communication because, you know, a question I was thinking of for you when you were talking is, do you have people that actually have pre-approval letters that seem like they’re ready to go, where you find out they weren’t pre-approved or they weren’t really ready to go or they really just didn’t know what they should know to be out there looking for a house? Do you run into that with buyer?

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:15:37] Not necessarily. Well, when we work with buyers, remember, in our process, in our consultation, we make sure that they have a pre-approved letter before we go. We don’t take pre-qualification. We want to get approvals because if they look, we want to make sure that we can move on it right away without any hindrance. Now, I’ll tell you on the listing side, when we’ve listed houses and have multiple offers, we call every lender and we make sure that we are vetting the lender and we’re asking specific questions without, you know, going into information or questions we’re not legally allowed to ask. But we do ask them, how qualified are they? How sure do they think this is going to close? And we’ve got information that literally has swayed us from one buyer to another, because of your lender and gotten the deal closed and the seller is happy as all get out because we’ve vetted them. We make sure that they will qualify, because the last thing we want is to have done that and not gone the route of vetting them, accept this offer, and then all of a sudden now they can’t get financing because it was a few points off or they made a purchase that threw all of their numbers and now they can’t qualify for a house. So, we do. But talk about some of those things, because it’s happened only once in nine years to me and won’t happen again. At least not as much as I can help it. Look, people making a purchase before closing that skews their numbers just enough, or now their credit score and their debt to income ratio is just off enough that they can’t qualify for a loan. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Rayce Robinson: [00:17:14] Yeah, I mean, most people understand they’re going through a loan process and try not to do certain things. But over the 18 years, I have seen a guy buy a car in the middle of the transaction, which, you know, I was really nice to him. But I’m like, ‘hope you like sleeping in the car, because that’s that’s really messed for debt ratio.’ So, I think people I’ve seen people put their name on a website and get like a 100 credit pulled all of a sudden that, you know, because they basically offered their information online. And there’s even banks out there that are doing photo online pre-approval letters and I’m not going to mention who they are. But if you think about it, you know how much time we spend with people to make sure they’re ready to go. And if you could just type your name, a number, and they could pull your credit automated and give you a pre-approval letter, it’s not doing that client a service either, because, you know, if it doesn’t work out, it’s usually the client that loses things for money on an appraisal, that’s the main amount inspection and escrow deposit put up. And so, you know, they really want someone to take that time and to be honest with them. you know, you’ve had this conversation, someone that is super excited to buy a house and they’re ready to put an offer in tomorrow and I look at them and like it’s going to be 30 or 60 days because we need to do these things to make sure you’re successful as a buyer.

Rayce Robinson: [00:18:33] The last thing I want you to do is go out there, spend all this money, and you do not become a successful homeowner. So, some of it is just being honest with people and letting them know exactly where they’re at. Have a very clear plan on what they need to do, whether it’s paying off debt or whatever the situation is, and then communicating, you know, with the agents so that they’re also having everyone on the same page makes it really, really well when you’re out there putting offers and you know exactly where that buyer’s at as far to help closing costs or close this particular buyer. Things that you need to know.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:19:10] I mean, all great points, there’s just so many so many little things that people can do to help improve their credit, especially starting to get out of debt. I think getting them connected to a lender right away, I mean, that’s something that you do, is that we say, ‘listen, we need you to contact Rayce immediately so that we can get you on a game plan. Because if we can’t get you in time for this lease, we don’t want to get you a property before you have to renew your lease next year.’ And we are okay with putting people on hold in order to get their credit score up because it’s going to save them more money. We want to make sure that we have a good plan of action for them and that they feel comfortable and ready and know exactly what to do with their credit score and with their debt. Is there any other advice that you have for people as we’re wrapping this up? What other tips would you have for people that are ready to buy a house, but their credit score is between 550 and 580? What would you recommend?

Rayce Robinson: [00:20:06] So, two things come to my one. Be careful of the mortgage mess out there. I mean, we’re in the YouTube generation. I do videos. I know you do, too. But there is a lot of bad information out there. And so I see people doing things that are really old school; disputing trade lines, adding authorized user account, and there are certain things that may pull your score up, but lenders are aware of what you’re doing. And we have to undo a lot of that and actually delay. So, now I will say, you know, if you have really bad credit, meaning, you know that you’ve got late payments and all these things, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and hire a credit repair company because lenders are not credit repair. They may know a lot about credit from looking at it, but there are some sophisticated things that somebody that works with credit all the time can do. You know, they can dispute things and then remove those disputes and they know what they have, where to start and where to end up. And so I do sometimes look at a client and say, ‘look, I don’t have the skill set. I’m not a credit repair, but I can help you become a home buyer.’ And, you know, just like you have lender contacts, I have people that I trust that I might say, ‘hey, you know, here is someone you could contact that could at least talk to you about that, where you could hire an expert to do that.’. So one, I would say be careful of the myths out there. People do these quick fixes and then they end up hurting themselves.

Rayce Robinson: [00:21:31] And then the second thing is you can get a free credit report. Remember, my score is going to be different. And that’s the most frustrating thing. Different industries have different models. So really, if you’re going to get a mortgage, have a mortgage company for your credit and that’s who you want guiding you through the process of what to do and not do regarding your credit.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:21:58] Great, great point. I mean, everything you just said there is really important when. I mean, I think my best plan of attack is to send them over to you and you can let them know what the next steps are and whether or not they do. You need a credit repair company because not every credit repair company is going to be a good one. Some of them do like what you said, basically slap a Band-Aid on there and a lender is going to pick that up and say, ‘oh, I’m so sorry. This is not gonna work. You know, we’re seeing that this is, you know, either fraudulent or put a Band-Aid on there just to kind of wipe it away. But we see it clear as day. And so you’re not gonna be able to pull that wool over our eyes’ kind of thing. So, I think that that’s usually the best thing. I mean, I personally, as a real estate professional, would say we need to contact a lender right now. We need to see where your credit score is with the soft pull and see what we can do. And if we need to take an in-depth look, then go from there. And then those next steps will determine whether or not we’re going to be able to start shopping. You know, we can’t shop for a home if we don’t know what number.

Rayce Robinson: [00:22:59] And don’t wait. You know, I think you and I both would agree with this, that if you’re six months out, go ahead, call now. Look, we would rather talk to someone upfront even if they have a higher credit score. Sometimes it’s good for me just to look when your credit has no effect. You only have one reason to have a credit report and that’s for somebody to pull it in 18 years. I’ve never pulled someone’s credit, had any negative effect on them getting a loan. So whether you have an 800 credit score or 500 credit score the sooner out you look, because there are discrepancies that do show up on a credit report or things that are fixable, but only with time. So, my thought is the second you start thinking, ‘hey, we’re going to buy a house this summer, next summer,’ then you should look because I don’t mind, like you, working with someone eight months out.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:23:47] Absolutely, and I love that point. I’m going to emphasize that again, you pulling their credit score is not going to drain their credit that it’s not going to hurt them. You’re literally just looking at what they have. How long does that stay open when you do a credit pull? 

Rayce Robinson: [00:24:05] It’s usually 120 days. And there’s a bunch of weird rules like you can actually have other lenders pull it and it won’t count as an inquiry. A lot of lenders will try to scare you and say, ‘now that I pulled your credit. Don’t let anyone else pull it. I mean, we have no lender fees. We don’t charge application fees. We try to earn your business every step of the way. We never called you that.’ You know, lenders should do that. So don’t be scared. You have an 800 credit score and you’ve talked to a bank and you want to talk to me or someone else, there is no issue with you getting your score pulled responsibly. That is the only reason you actually have a credit score is to go out and get credit.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:24:47] That’s the only reason you need. So, thank you so much, Rayce. This was wonderful. I know that we’re almost at twenty five minutes. But I mean, this is a conversation that is very important. And I can not emphasize how much we’re talking about this right now. We have a lot of buyers that unfortunately their credit scores are just not where it needs to be. But at this point, just talking to you can get them on a really good plan to get them to even purchase in a few months or even by the end of this year. So, thank you so much for your time. Guys, if you guys have any questions, you can feel free to contact us directly on Facebook. You can find Rayce — We’re going to have their information here tagged as well. You can reach Rayce directly through his website.

Rayce Robinson: [00:25:28] You know, just go to RayceRobinson.com. And I have everything on there.

Jenelle Ferrer: [00:25:37] All right. You guys can visit us at WaypointeRealty.com. We have a great page that you’re going to be able to find on our homepage that is frequently asked questions for home buyers. And we have 24-25 questions that are the top questions asked by first-time homebuyers. But it’s great for anybody and some of these credit questions are answered there as well. So, thank you guys so much for tuning in. And we hope that you guys have learned something. Take care.

Virtual Home Shopping

NOW More Than EVER Having a “TECH SAVVY” Realtor is a MUST!

Why is this?

The world as we know it has changed! The way of doing business has changed drastically -the same goes for the real estate industry! Nowadays people are relying heavily on the internet to shop for anything from groceries to houses!

The real estate industry is now virtually DIGITAL (no pun intended).

For many real estate agents, this has stopped their business dead in its tracks because they don’t know the first thing about DIGITAL MARKETING! The “old-school” approach to real estate has gone out the window, and only the innovative and creative agents will survive!

Digital Sales & Marketing is nothing new to Waypointe Realty!

WHAT WE DO, TO NAME A FEW…

 

FaceTime/Skype/DUO Showings

Facebook LIVE Stream Videos & Grand Opening

STRICTLY Pre-Qualify BUYERS BEFORE Showing

Neighborhood/Community Virtual Tours

Professional Photography (+ Aerial & Drone)

ZOOM Virtual Listing Appointments

Staging (Both physical and virtual)

Virtual Showings in Lieu of In-Person Showings

YouTube Property Channel 

Targeted Online Advertising & Social Media Advertising

Online Property Syndication on thousands of websites globally 

 

Here’s how it works:

⁣1. GAME PLAN: Send us a message so we can set up a virtual consultation to go over a game plan⁣

2. HOME SEARCH: We will send you listings that match your criteria and set you up to receive emails as soon as a listing that matches your criteria hits the market⁣

3. VIRTUAL TOUR: See a home you like? Let us take you on a virtual tour!⁣

4. OFFERS & SIGNING: This can all be done electronically, and usually is!⁣

5. ESCROW DEPOSIT: Can be done via wiring directly from your banking institution

6. INSPECTIONS: An inspector you hire will send you the inspection report so you know all ins and outs of the property⁣

7. CLOSING: A mobile notary will bring the closing to YOU! ⁣

8. KEY TIME! We will deliver your keys to you and you can move into your new home sweet home!⁣

If you’re thinking about buying, this is a great time! Interest rates are still low and we have great financing programs available to help you get into your dream home. Just contact us here or at 407.801.9914.