2 Ways To Get FREE Money For First Time Home Buyers

June 24th, 2014

2 Ways To Get FREE Money For First Time Home BuyersHere are a 2 ways to get free money for first-time home buyers in Orlando

1.  Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program

You may be eligible for up to $10,000 for down payment assistance for a new or existing home.  In order to qualify, you must meet specific income requirements, not owned a home in the past 3 years, have over a 620 credit score, and must have lived in the Orlando area in the past year.  Click here for more information on this program.

2.  Neighborhood Stabilization Program

You may be eligible in up to $20,000 or buy a home that is completely renovated in this program.  Under the NSP program, you have 2 options:

Option A

Buy a foreclosed home that has been purchased by the county and completely renovated. These homes will be equipped with Energy Star appliances. NSP homebuyer assistance of up to $20,000 including closing cost will be available based on eligibility.


Purchase a foreclosed home in NSP areas with your realtor and qualify for NSP homebuyer assistance. NSP homebuyer assistance of up to $20,000 of down payment including closing costs will be available based on eligibility. Click here to learn more.

The constant theme on these programs is they run out of money quickly. Be there fast, or you may have to wait for the next go-around.  Been thinking about buying your first home?  Contact me at 407-928-2879 or trinhrealty@gmail.com and I can help!

3 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor

May 12th, 2014

3 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor3 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor

Buying and or selling your home will be one of the biggest transactions that most people make in their lifetime.  It’s a huge commitment, both financially and personally.  You want to know that the professional that you’ve picked will help you accomplish what you desire. Picking the wrong person will not only cost you time, but in some cases money.

Here are the 3 most important questions you should ask your realtor.

1.  Do you do this full time?

Yes, we all know that uncle, brother in law, or sister’s high school friend who has a real estate license.  But what else do they do?  Do they only do real estate part time?  Is their other job working at the bowling alley, local zoo, or at the mall?  You want a full-time professional working for you.  Timing is everything in this business.  You don’t want to potentially miss out on your dream home because your realtor is at their other job.

2.  How long have you been a realtor?

Experience is key in today’s market.  Your head will start to spin sideways once you hear terms like short sales, bank owned, or CDD fees. You want an experienced agent to help you guide you through the process and give and explain any potential pitfalls along the way.  Would you allow a dentist with little or no experience pull your tooth?

3.  What are your past results?

At the end of the day, you want to hire a realtor to get you what you want.  Past results are a good indication of what to expect in the future.   Don’t be afraid to ask for past results, recommendations, and or client testimonials.  An experienced realtor should readily have this information on hand.

You deserve to have a full time, experienced and result driven realtor on your side and I can be that for you.  You can reach me at 407 928 2879 or trinhrealty@gmail.com .

5 Myths and 5 Truths of Selling Your House

April 29th, 2014

5 Myths and 5 Truths of Selling Your House

It seems that everyone has advice to offer about the real estate market. Unfortunately, not all the unsolicited information is true.

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your home, you’ll need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction. Real estate agents participating in Zillow’s 2014 Home-Selling Season Survey identified the top five real estate myths; the debunking of them should put you on the fast-track to selling your property.

Myth 1: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.

Truth: While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you won’t get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.

Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.

Curb Appeal Myth 2: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.

“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they have driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent at Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, VA. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered, or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”


Curb Appeal

The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you can put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light.

Myth 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.

Truth: Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

You don’t have to hire a professional stager. But if you don’t, you better be ready to use some of their tactics to get your home ready for sale.

If staging is a trend where you live, an unstaged house will pale when compared to others on the market. And if staging is not yet something buyers in your area are used to seeing, your results will be even more impressive.

granite_398 w valentino st meridian idMyth 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances.Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.

Granite countertops are still highly desirable.

“Most shoppers just want to steer away from anything that looks dated,” says Dru Bloomfield, a real estate agent with the Realty ONE Group in Scottsdale, AZ. “When you a design a space, you need to decide: ‘Am I doing this for myself or for resale?’ If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, you can decorate any way you like. If it’s likely your house will be going on the market within the next couple years, stick to elements that have mass appeal: neutral paint and tile colors, matching appliances or top-of-the-line appliances.
“I recently sold a house where the kitchen had been remodeled 12 years ago and everybody thought it had just been done because the owners had chosen timeless elements: dark maple cabinets, granite counters, and stainless appliances.”

Myth 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.

Truth: Moving is a lot of work and while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property stand out in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000 square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

Thinking about selling? Call me at 407-928-2879 or email me at trinhrealty@gmail.com for a free, no obligation consultation.

47 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster

March 31st, 2014

47 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster47 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster

Gone is the spring or summer where the minute you put your house up for sale and receive multiple offers right off the bat. Today, there are roughly over 10,000 homes in Orlando that are up for sale at any given time. Though, in the new home builders and few hundred for sale by owners, we are quickly heading back into a buyer’s market.  But, how do you make your home stand out?

Here are suggestions and ideas to improve your home’s appearance and help you prepare to sell it faster. You can also call me at 407 928 2879 or email me at trinhrealty@gmail.com, for a free no obligation analysis of your home.

What To Do Throughout Your House

1.  Open the draperies, pull up the shades, and let in the sunlight

2. Create a positive mood.  Turn on all the lights, day or night.

3. Remove clutter from each room to visually enlarge them.

4.  If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating.

5.  Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times

6.  Replace the carpet if it does not clean up well

7.  Have a family “game plan” to get the home in order quickly if necessary

8.  Air out your home for one-half hour before showings, if possible

9.  Lightly spray your house with air fresheners

10.  Put family photos in storage

11.  Improve traffic flow through every room by removing unnecessary furniture

12.  Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorative accents

13.  Putty over and paint any nail holes or other mishaps in the walls

14.  Paint all interior walls a neutral color to brighten the home and make it look bigger

15.  Repair or replace and loose or damaged wallpaper

16.  Clean all light bulbs and light fixtures to brighten the home

17.  Wash all the windows inside and out

18.  Use plants in transitional areas of your house

19.  Make the most of your attic’s potential

20.  Remove and/or hide excess extension cords and exposed wires

21.  Open doors to areas you want potential buyers to see such as walk-in closets, pantries, attics, etc.

22.  Remove all smoke and pet odors

23.  Repair and replace banisters and handrails


24.  Microwave a small dish of vanilla 20 minutes before a showing

25.  Highlight an eat-in area in your kitchen with a table set for dinner

26.  The kitchen and bathrooms should always be spotlessly clean

27.  Expand your counter space by removing small appliances


28.  Create a Master suite effect in your decorating

29.  Depersonalize bedrooms and decorate in a neutral scheme

30.  Make sure that the beds are made and linens are clean

31.  Organize your closets, remove unnecessary items and put them in storage


32.  Do not leave towels around and wipe down the sinks and shower areas after each use

33.  Re-caulk the tub if the caulk is not sparkling white

34.  Repair or replace broken tiles in the shower/tub

35.  Replace Shower curtains and keep them clean

36.  Put out fresh towels and decorative soaps


37.  Keep the yard mowed and raked at all times

38.  Use flowering plants to dress up the yard, walkways and patio

39.  Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture, and trash from the yard

40.  Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios, and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept, and in good conditions

41.  Paint all entrance doors

42.  Make sure the garage door opens easily.  Fix and paint the garage door if necessary

43.  Clean and shine all hardware and accessories indoors and out

44.  Trees and shrubs should be trimmed and pruned

45.  Use a new doormat

46.  Be sure the front doorbell is in good working order

47.  Be sure the front door and screen door works perfectly


3 Numbers You Should Know Before Buying A Home

March 24th, 2014

3 Numbers You Should Know Before Buying A Home3 Numbers You Should Know Before Buying A Home

So you are ready to shop for a new home?  HGTV makes it looks so easy, you have tons of ideas from Pinterest, and Ellen tells you that there is no better time than now to own a home.  Ready…..Set….Hold up a sec now….

This is an important number you should have before you do anything… CALL ME at  407-928-2879. Here’s why, because I ask the right questions to get you into the mindset of being able to buy.

1.  How much can you afford?

Easy enough right?  Your rent was $1200 per month for the last 30 years, so you should shop for a $1200 monthly payment right?  Nope.  The FIRST and most CHALLENGING part of the home buying process is attaining financing.  Getting a loan today is the MOST difficult part in the home buying process.  The banks have loosened their stringent lending guidelines, but it is still tough out there.  You need to contact a lender and get preapproved. This will help you understand what you can spend, your monthly obligations, and the approximate closing cost.   You don’t need to look at $400,000 homes if you can only afford $150,000.

2.  How much money can you put down?

3.5%, 5%, 10%, or 20% down.  These are the most common down payment percentages.  The percentages are based off  your purchase price. With most financing products, most or all, of your down payment can be gifted. Meaning, remember that rich uncle? He can help you with some or all of your down payment. Keep in mind, the more you put down, the lower your mortgage insurance will be.  So, what’s the sweet spot? I’ll tell you. Twenty percent down eliminates the need for mortgage insurance saving you thousands per year.  Don’t have enough at for least 3.5% down?  There are some first time home buying programs and incentives out there.  You can even get free money if you qualify. And, an experienced agent will know what programs exist out there.

3. What is your credit score?

What your lender charges you for interest largely depends on your credit score.  The higher the credit score, the more leverage you have in shopping better interest rates.  Make sure you check with all credit agencies, you don’t want any surprises.

As always, contact a professional realtor.  They can simplify the buying process while saving you time and money.  I can be reached at 407-928-2879 or trinhrealty@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Can I Buy After A Short Sale, Foreclosure, or Bankruptcy?

March 7th, 2014

When Can I Buy Again After A Short Sale, Foreclosure, or Bankruptcy?

Sometimes as early as the next day! See this graph showing you how long you need to wait in order to buy again.


short sale pic


3 Reasons You Should Use a Realtor When Buying New Construction

February 26th, 2014

3 Reasons You Should Use a Realtor When Buying New Construction3 Reasons You Should Use a Realtor When Buying New Construction

Buying or selling real estate is serious business even in new  construction.  In Orlando, we have seen a meteoric rise of new home communities sprouting up everywhere we look.  But remember, the friendly sales person who works in the nicely decorated model home doesn’t work for you.  They work for the builders. In working for multiple builders, KB Homes and Pulte, in multiple years, I’ve seen how they operate. They want you to buy their product and pay top dollar for it. Here are 3 reason you should use a realtor when shopping for a new home.

1.  It’s Free

Yep, you heard me, zip…..zilch….nada.  When you buy real estate, the cost of using a realtor is paid by the seller.  In new construction, this tabbed is picked up by the builder.  Builders incorporate the realtor commission in the original sales price.  So, you are already paying for the service of a realtor whether you use one or not.  It’s like going to the Melting Pot for Valentine’s dinner;  It doesn’t matter if you eat the desert or not,  it’s included in your meal and you’re paying the same price.  The sales rep that works in the community represents the builder’s best interest.  Shouldn’t you have someone on your side too?

2.  Professional Negotiator

Builders use lengthy sales contracts when you buy from them sometimes they can be as many as 100 pages.  Often times, there are miscellaneous fees that are incorporated as part of the sale, i.e., a Builder Fee, Impact Fees and even homeowner association capital contribution adding up to thousands of dollars.  An experienced agent can spot these fees and negotiate them down or eliminate them all together.  An experienced agent can also negotiate additional closing costs, additional design studio incentives, appliances like a refrigerator, washer, and dryer, or reduced lot premiums.  Don’t you want to get the most bang for your buck?

3.  Keeping their ‘Preferred Lender’ in check

Builders entice buyers to use their in-house lenders or preferred lenders by offering additional incentives to do so.  Sometimes these lenders will gouge buyers on services they provide.  Be on the look-out for origination fees, higher-than-usual appraisal and survey fees, and higher interest rates.  You may also want to save thousands by shopping lenders. Wouldn’t you want to know all of options to make an informed decision?

Would you go to court without any representation?  Of course not.  Use a realtor.  Our service is free and we can save you thousands.

3 Things To Keep An Eye On When Buying an Older Home In Orlando

February 10th, 2014

3 Things To Keep An Eye On When Buying an Older Home In Orlando3 Things To Keep An Eye On When Buying an Older Home In Orlando

So you want to buy something with character?  Something historic?  Maybe a bungalow along a brick-paved and tree lined street?  Well, you are in luck.  We are fortunate enough to live in Orlando and to come across such a dream quite frequently.  Quaint and popular neighborhoods like Thornton Park, College Park, Delaney Park, and Winter Park will do the trick for those looking for a home with character.  But there are some things to look out for when buying homes that go back to the early 1900s.

1.  Outdated Electrical

Most older homes built ‘back in the day’ don’t have a “ground.”  Meaning that items plugged into them during an electrical surge are more susceptible to damage.  A couple ways to get around it, is A) Rewire your whole home.  Typically is $8 to $12 per square feet for a whole rewire depending on

  • A) Rewire your whole home.  Typically is $8 to $12 per square feet for a whole rewire depending on the electrical contractor.
  • B)  Replace all outlets with GFI, or Ground Fault Interrupter.

But, all in all, an electrician should be consulted for both options. Recently, the insurance carriers have been on an electrical panel kick. Look out for electrical panels made by “Federal Pacific.”  Some insurance carriers will require you to update the panel.  Consult your insurance carriers to see their take on Federal Pacific panels.

2. Insulation

Older homes were not built with today’s energy efficiency in mind.   The majority of your power bill is due to heating and cooling your home. Most power companies will offer you rebates in making your home more insulated.  Blown-in insulation is a great way to insulate your attic. Updating windows and door will also help.

3.  Lead Based Paint

Thinking about painting?  You may first want to check with a certified lead-based painter.  If your home has lead-based paint, it has to be properly removed.  There are stiff fines for those who improperly dispose of lead-based paints.  This will add a significant cost in your painting bill.

A good home inspector and or experienced realtor should help you through the process. But, should you have any questions, call us today to help with all of your real estate needs.


What Were The Hottest Orlando Neighborhoods in 2013?

January 21st, 2014

What Were The Hottest Orlando Neighborhoods in 2013?What Were The Hottest Orlando Neighborhoods in 2013?

Now, everyone has their favorites, but per Zillow, here are the hottest spots in Orlando. See which Orlando neighborhoods are expected to have the biggest increases in average home value this year, based on data from Zillow.com.

  • Dover Shores West
  • College Park
  • Baldwin Park
  • Lake Como
  • Park Central
  • Mariners Village
  • Colonial town North/South
  • Lake Eola
  • LaVina
  • East Park
  • Vista East
  • Conway
  • Lawsona/Ferncreek
  • Lake Underhill

And, these are just to name a few.  Did your neighborhood make the list? If not, call me today so we can look at some properties in the up-and-coming areas of Orlando.