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

How to recover your home

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

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Find your next home, from the comfort of your current home!⁣

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.

Real Estate and Covid-19

What’s happening in real estate today?

The arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has meant the upheaval of virtually every business, industry and household. The mortgage industry is no exception. Whether you are a homeowner who wants to keep their home, are trying to sell real estate or are hoping to buy a home, then the current state of the mortgage industry is of critical importance.

Here is a look at some of the ways in which COVID-19 is affecting the real estate market in Orlando and beyond.

Mortgage Rates Are Fluctuating

In recent weeks, the Fed brought interest rates down to zero in an effort to stabilize the deteriorating economy. That may make it seem as if mortgage interest rates also should shift downward. Freddie Mac reported that on the week ending March 19, the fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage carried an average interest rate of 3.65 percent. That number represented the largest one-week increase in mortgage rates since November of 2016.

Only two weeks earlier, rates had hit a record low of just 3.29 percent.

Why are rates going up while the Fed ostensibly is slashing interest rates to zero? It’s because mortgage rates tend to follow long-term bond yields more closely than the Fed’s interest rate.

Another factor that’s contributing to the rising rates is that lenders are raising rates to cope with an increased demand for refinancing that was in-progress just before Coronavirus hit in the U.S. Analysts suggest that the rates will fall again once the backlog of refinance applications has been worked through and the markets begin to stabilize. However, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, things likely will remain volatile for weeks to come.

Early April saw rates decline again to the high 3’s (3.9%), but criteria for buyers is a little tighter. Lenders have raised their credit score minimums to mid-to-high 600’s.

Fewer People Are Shopping for Homes

While a backlog of refinance applications currently exists, lenders are seeing a definite drop off in new applications for refinances and purchases. Simply put, potential refinancers and buyers in Orlando are distracted by COVID-19 and all of the changes that it has brought. At a time of great uncertainty, fewer people are looking to become homeowners, at least for the moment.

Home Sales Are Down

As people across Florida and other states are being forced to stay at home, a decrease in home sales has become inevitable. This may be concerning for people who currently have a home on the market, but rest assured that this downturn is likely to be temporary.

Once the stay at home restrictions begin to lift, home buyers are bound to come out in droves. At the same time, we are likely to see a downward trend in mortgage rates, making it easier for buyers to obtain the financing they need.

In spite of this, real estate is still considered ESSENTIAL and we are still selling and helping buyers purchase real estate. There are precautionary measures in place to maintain the legal and safety standards.

Missed Mortgage Payments Are Inevitable for Some

Statistics suggest that some 47 million jobs may be lost in the U.S. during the pandemic, leading to an unemployment rate of 32 percent. Many of these people are homeowners, and the sudden loss of their income will inevitably mean missed mortgage payments.

Many lenders are working hard with their customers to accommodate the need to skip a month or two of payments. However, there is some fear within the mortgage finance system of a general collapse based on the sheer volume of missed payments. Lenders are hoping to negotiate with the Federal Reserve to step in with emergency loans to help mortgage companies maintain liquidity until the crisis passes.

No such relief was included in the recently passed $2 trillion rescue package, but lenders hope that this will be remedied in the next bill.

Have you lost your income and need assistance with your mortgage?

Do you need to apply for a forbearance?

Are you a small business struggling with payroll or expenses?

Don’t know whether or not you can keep your home or if you have to sell?

Need to move but uncertain about the market?

Turn to a Trusted Real Estate Company for Information

Whether you are a homeowner, a buyer or a seller, you can trust us to provide you with the guidance and advice that you require. No matter your needs, we are a reliable resource for everything relating to real estate in Oviedo.

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, contact us at 407.801.9914 or email at [email protected] for the best resource to help you through these uncertain times.

Oviedo Neighborhoods and Communities

  1. Aloma Woods – Partially gated community located off S.R. 426 south of Oviedo. 200+ homes range from $160,000 to $425,000 in the estates section.
  2. Black Hammock Community – this rural community without an association is made up of hundreds of homes and vacant land ranging from 1-20+ acres. Properties average around 5 acres each depending on the age of the home and the location within the Hammock. Homes can range from mobile homes to cabin and large custom homes and prices are just as varied. When there are homes available, they can range from $150,000 to $800,000. 
  3. Bentley Woods – Centex-built subdivision located on the north side of Oviedo, just south of SR 434. 200+ homes ranging from $175,000 to $275,000.
  4. Brighton Park – Located in Oviedo, just north of the University of Central Florida, Brighton Park is the most upscale subdivision in the Carillon development. There are around 300 custom built homes ranging from $250,000-$400,000.
  5. Cardinal Glen – Located off McCulloch Road south of Aloma Ave. in Oviedo, Cardinal Glen is a gated 40 lot subdivision with custom homes ranging from $350,000 to $500,000.
  6. Carillon – Just north of UCF, Carillon has just over 800 homes ranging in price from $175,000 to $450,000.
  7. Chapman Groves – Located off Chapman Road in Oviedo, just east of Alafaya Trail (434). Chapman Groves has 108 homes with large lots ranging from $200,000 to $350,000.
  8. Chapman Lakes – Located off Chapman Road in Oviedo between Alafaya Trail and Aloma Ave. (426), Chapman Lakes is a gated subdivision homes priced from $250,000 to $425,000.
  9. Ellington Estates – Located off State Road 434 in Oviedo, Ellington Estates is a 30 lot custom home gated community with homes priced from $400,000 to $800,000.
  10. Huntington – Located off Chapman Road in Oviedo, Huntington is a wooded 173 lot subdivision with homes ranging from $275,000 to $700,000.
  11. Kingsbridge – Located off Mitchell Hammock Road in Oviedo, Kingsbridge is a 435 lot subdivision divided into east and west sections. Prices range from $175,000 to $425,000, with homes on Long Lake topping the $800,000 mark.
  12. Lafayette Forest – Located off Citrus Ave., just north of Red Bug Lake Road in Oviedo, Lafayette Forest is a 92 lot custom home subdivision with homes ranging from $225,000 to $325,000.
  13. Little Creek – Located on both sides of Lockwood Road in Oviedo, Little Creek is a 442 home subdivision divided up into several smaller neighborhoods. Prices range from $175,000-$325,000.

14 Live Oak Reserve – Located off S.R. 419, across the Econlockhatchee River from Oviedo, Live Oak Reserve is a planned community of over 700 homes from $225,000 to $550,000.

15 MacKinley’s Mill – Located off SR 434 just east of the Greeneway (417) in Oviedo, MacKinley’s Mill is a 106 home subdivision with custom homes ranging from $250,000 to $400,000.

16 Mayfair Oaks – Located off Chapman Road in Oviedo, Mayfair Oaks is a 41 lot custom home subdivision with homes ranging from $275,000 to $400,000.

17 Oviedo Forest – Oviedo Forest is a 238 lot partially gated community located off Lockwood Road near the intersection with 426 (Geneva Dr.) with homes ranging from $300,000-$500,000.

18 Preserve at Black Hammock – Preserve at Black Hammock is a 70 home gated community located just north of SR 434 in Oviedo with homes ranging from $350,000 to $550,000.

19 Remington Park – Located off Alafaya Trail S.R. 434 on the south side of Oviedo, Remington Park is a 230 home subdivision with homes ranging in price from $225,000 to $350,000.

20 River Walk – Located off McCullough Road in Oviedo, west of SR 434 (Alafaya Trail), River Walk is an upscale gated community of 124 custom homes ranging from $300,000 to $600,000.

21 Seminole Woods – Seminole Woods is 1,550 acre guard gated community of 262 wooded five acre lots with custom homes ranging in value from $350,000 to over a million dollars.

22 Stonehurst – Located off Tuscawilla Road, just north of Red Bug Lake Road in Oviedo, Stonehurst is a gated custom home community with 67 lots. Homes range from $450,000 to over $700,000.

23 The Sanctuary – Located off S.R. 419, across the Econlockhatchee River from Oviedo, The Sanctuary is a planned community of over 700 homes from $160,000 to $500,000.

24 Tuska Ridge – Located off Red Bug Lake Road west of SR 426, Tuska Ridge is a 390 home subdivision with prices ranging from $220,000 to $350,000.

25 Twin Rivers – Located off Lockwood Blvd. in Oviedo, Twin Rivers is a large subdivision with over 1,000 homes ranging in price from $150,000 to $400,000.

26 Wentworth Estates – Located off S.R. 426 (Aloma) in Oviedo, Wentworth Estates is a gated community with 60 homes ranging in price from $300,000 to $450,000.

Types of Houses

Choosing a home involves several critical decisions. You’ll think about square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and whether or not you want a multi-story home.

However, one of the most fundamental considerations is the architectural style of home that you prefer. If you’re not familiar with the most common architectural styles, then this will provide you with a convenient overview.

Custom Home

What does it mean when a builder says that they specialize in “custom” homes? Typically, they are drawing a distinction between their services and those of a “production” builder.

When you work with a production builder, the home is located in a subdivision where the customers choose from a library of floor-plans. Each one has a limited number of personalization options.

These can be wonderful, but sometimes people want more design input. They have specific requirements that just don’t fit in the floor plan library. Accordingly, a custom home is a one-of-a-kind project.

Designing a custom home puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. They can hire someone to draw up a floor plan and do it themselves. Throughout the project, they’ll have to make numerous decisions.

A custom home is attractive because it can take on any size, elevation or architectural style.

Ranch Style

The ranch-style house became popular after World War II. Inspired by Spanish colonial homes, these structures have low rooflines and wide eaves. Frequently, they are single-story buildings though there are subtypes like split-level ranches that have more than one story.

The defining characteristics of the ranch style include sliding glass doors, large windows, attached garages, back patios, a cross-gabled or hip roof and a mix of exterior materials.

It’s not unusual to find an open living area that combines a kitchen, dining area and family room. Three bedrooms are common as are full basements.

Colonial

This architectural style is influenced by 17th century European buildings. Colonists who settled in America brought the style with them. The earliest homes featured two stories, with each floor having one large room. Eventually, this evolved into two-story layouts with four rooms on each floor known as four-over-four.

Colonial homes are symmetrical with a centrally placed front door. Two windows are placed on either side of the door, and the upper story features five windows across. A medium-pitched roof, paired chimneys and a stairway directly behind the entry door are common characteristics.

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes may have their roots in mobile homes, but the best examples are virtually indistinguishable from traditional houses. They are built in one, two or three sections with each section having wheels underneath. Federal standards require the use of steel beams.

Manufactured homes are built in a factory. They can be placed on metal piers or blocks with skirting. It’s even possible to place these homes over a basement.

Farmhouse

The term “farmhouse” refers more to the location and purpose of a structure rather than its looks. Lumber, brick or quarried stone may be used in their construction, but the farmhouse is always comfortable and unpretentious.

Typically, they are found in rural locations, feature functional porches and combine formal and informal spaces.

Townhouse

These homes have more than one story and share at least one or two walls with other townhouses. These frequently are built in a small neighborhood with a homeowners’ association.

Because of the smaller footprint and shared walls, townhouses tend to be more affordable. Yards are small, making this an ideal choice for people who aren’t interested in gardening.

Log Cabin

With their tapered logs, oversized windows and rustic touches, log cabins are cozy with just the right amount of elegance. Modern log cabins may be tiny or massive, but they nearly always have at least one stone fireplace. Single-story floor plans are preferred, but more people are incorporating lofts or second stories. Handcrafted touches and unique architectural elements make each cabin distinctive.

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

  1. 🎄 Bivona Christmas Light Show – 1601 North Wind Ct. Winter Springs – 6-11pm until New Year’s
  2. 🎄 1209 Wolverine Trail, Winter Springs
  3. 🎄 1212 Andes Dr, Winter Springs, beginning 11/28 hours are 7-10 PM
  4. 🎄 1018 Corbin Ct, Oviedo
  5. 🎄 Neely Street in Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)
  6. 🎄 726 & 749 S Lake Claire Cir, Oviedo
  7. 🎄 1039 Gore Drive, Oviedo – features a Santa letter box so leave your address and Santa will write back
  8. 🎄 1009 Cutoff Branch Ct., Oviedo
  9. 🎄 1650 Genova Dr. Oviedo – lots of inflatables and lasers and a snow machine!
  10. 🎄 94 E. Magnolia Street, Oviedo
  11. 🎄 5686 Magnolia Bloom Terrace, Oviedo
  12. 🎄 680 Neile Court, Oviedo
  13. 🎄 517 Oak Street, Oviedo (tune to 90.1FM for music)
  14. 🎄 1003 McKinnon Drive, Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)
  15. 🎄 2754 Running Springs Loop, Oviedo (Isles of Little Creek)
  16. 🎄 Kilowatt Christmas Lights – 536 Wax Palm Lane, Chuluota
  17. 🎄 274 Clearview Road, Chuluota (Tree Monkeys Christmas lights Spectacular. Christmas Eve – cookies and cocoa with Santa’s elves too!)
  18. 🎄 1164 Groveland Drive, Chuluota

Nearby Oviedo: Casselberry, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs

  1. 🎄 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
  2. 🎄 Fye’s Crazy Christmas House, 407 Eagle Circle, Casselberry (Times are Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm-9pm and Friday- Saturday 5:30pm-10pm – weather permitting)
  3. 🎄 Garden Grove Circle and Tangerine Avenue (off Howell Branch Road) – do not miss this one! The whole block is lit up. One of the best! Winter Park
  4. 🎄 Johanessen Lights, 7849 Georgeann Street, Winter Park – featured on Great Christmas Light Fight 2016. December 6- January 2, 6-9pm
  5. 🎄 Lemonwood Court, Altamonte Springs (whole block is decorated)
  6. 🎄 Cranes Roost Park, Crane’s Roost Park (decorations around lake and park)
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Courtesy of Michelle Burrows

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Courtesy of Kilowatt Christmas Facebook Page

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Courtesy of Fye’s Crazy Christmas House Facebook Page

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Courtesy of Johanessen Lights Facebook Page