Why do some homes sell faster and for more money than others?

As part of our daily routine, our real estate team members meet with sellers on a daily basis to help determine the value of their home.  We run a CMA, which is short for Comparative Market Analysis for their home and neighborhood.

Before we even get to look at the home, we will pull public data such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, features such as pools and spas, determine if the home is lakefront, golf view, or is located on acreage.  Other information that is important is how many cars does the garage hold?  Is there a Homeowner’s Association?  Is the community gated?

Next we pull how much homes have been selling for in the area in the last 6 months.  If 6 month data isn’t available, then we’ll pull 12 months.  Appraisers like the most recent sales and prefer a 6 month window versus the 12 month window.   The appraisers will rely very heavily on what’s sold in the area recently and adjust for items of value that your home features.

We do look at square footage and can generate an average based on square footage alone.  But that’s not always a good indicator of how much your home should sell for.  When we meet with you, we’ll go through your home and notate all of the custom features you have added to the home.   Many upgrades in your home can add value, although not all upgrades add a lot of value.  Our list will not only help us to establish a suggested listing price, we also utilize this list of upgrades when we meet with the appraiser for the appraisal.

Meeting your appraiser in person is an extra step most Realtor(s) don’t pay enough attention to.  In fact, many won’t even show up for your appraisal!   We’ll provide the appraiser with a list of all of the features you’ve added to your home so that they take your hard work into consideration when establishing a value for your property.   We’ll also provide a list of the homes we’ve utilized as comparables when listing your home.   This will not only make the appraiser’s job easier, but will help ensure that they don’t miss anything that would affect your homes current value.   While we can’t sway an appraiser, we can provide to them facts that they can use in their evaluation.

Now, why do some homes sell faster and for more money than other homes?  Many factors play into answering this question.   When a home is not neat and tidy, with clean lines and an easy to manage appearance, the buyer starts making deductions in their head from the list price of all the things they need to do to bring the home up to speed.  By this, we mean bring the home to a comfortable, livable level.  Remember, the buyer is searching for their ideal home!

Some homes already have everything the buyer wants, needs, and desires.  When a home has everything the buyer is looking for, they won’t start their automatic price deductions in their head.  In fact, they often want to offer more for the home because it’s less that they have to do to bring the house to their comfort level.   Some people just prefer a turn key operation and want to simply just move in!

When selling a home, first and foremost make sure that your home is clean and organized.  Get rid of stuff you don’t need or want.  Take a step back and really look at your home.  Does it have clean lines?  Or is it cluttered?  If it’s cluttered, start clearing out items you no longer need.  Consider donating these items to charity or having a yard sale.   The object here is to make your home feel easy to manage.

Take a look at carpets and flooring.   Is it clean?  If not, make sure all flooring is clean and free of debris, spots, and dirt.

Next go through each room and take a step back and really look at your home.  Buyers love the clean lines look.  Put away anything that you really don’t need to have out.  Simple is better here!   Go through closets and toss out stuff you don’t wear or need, or doesn’t even fit any more.   Organize pantry’s, cupboards, the garage, even piles of papers.  Organization is key!

Once you have organized everything, go back through and look at your home.  Are the colors updated?  Or are you still sporting 1980’s colors in your home?   Sometimes you can update things like bedspreads and throw pillows which can add a whole new look to your home.   Other times it just might benefit you to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and see what’s trending in updated paint colors, fixtures and ceiling fans!   Yes, sometimes getting more for your home will involve updating it’s look, which can easily be fixed with new paint on the walls!

Need inspiration?  Luckily, it’s easy to find inspiration for paint colors!  You’ll find samples in Lowe’s and Home Depot with color hues that match.  You can even find more inspiration by visiting model homes in the area.  Look at their decor, the colors, and even the lighting!   You’ll notice all you see in a model home is the clean lines mentioned above.   You may decide to update light fixtures and/or ceiling fans to help update your home’s look.

Also, take a look at your furniture placement.  Step back and look at the flow of your home.  Will your buyer see how your home flows effortlessly?  Or does your home feel like there’s roadblocks everywhere?  Situate your furniture so it’s easy to move about the rooms and open doors.  Again, if you have too much stuff, maybe it’s time to declutter?

Make sure your home is clean and it sparkles!  Kitchens and bathrooms must be clean and shiny.  Be sure to leave the kitchen sink empty, the toilet seats lids down, and polish any mirrors that might have smudges on them.

Hopefully these ideas will help you see your home as your buyer will see it when they walk in.   It helps to take a step back and look at your home in a whole new way.  While it does take a bit of work to net top dollar for your home, you will enjoy putting more money down on your new home, won’t you?

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Enter Your Pet in the Favorite Pooch Contest!

Enter your pet in the Favorite Pooch Contest!

It’s easy to enter!

Simply send your favorite photo of your dog, along with your name, your dog’s name, a caption for your photo, as well as your phone number and email address to:

Karen@KarenArlick.com.  Please put in the subject line “Favorite Pooch Contest“.

Your photo will be posted on https://www.facebook.com/MyFloridaLifeStyle along with your caption.  Here’s the link for the Posh Pooch Photo Album.  There will be numerous winners in various categories!

You may ask your friends and family to “like” your dog’s photo to urge them on in the favoritie dog category.  You will be sent an email with the link to your dog’s photo on Facebook.  Photo’s will also be posted on this blog for all to see and enjoy.

Pooch Owners who are notified must pick up their prize in person at Keller Williams at the Lakes, Celebration, FL.  Further instructions will be given when your Posh Pooch wins the contest.

Entries will be judged on cuteness, size, grooming, humor, best caption, best loved, and more.  Owners wishing to be in the photo with their pets are encouraged!

Judging will be conducted by My Florida Lifestyle, owned and operated by Karen D. Arlick, P.A. of Keller Williams at the Lakes.  This contest is for fun, as well as prizes.  Prizes must be picked up within 1 week of winning and redeemed within 11 months.

Have fun with your pictures and be sure to send them in right away!

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“Maison Calcaire” Most distinctive golf course estate home just listed in Celebration, FL

“Maison Calcaire’ is the most distinctive golf course estate in the world renown community of Celebration.  Located in the prestigious ‘Acadias’, this European estate captures the eye, heart, and spirit of the memorable French manor homes of history.This remarkable estate was designed by famed Celebration architect Geoffrey Mouen to be totally unique in style and grace, and a proud testiment to the owners’ highly refined taste and love of life. The Grand Ballroom is without question breathtaking, with it’s twin Austrian Swarovski crystal chandeliers, old world opera styled draperies, alcoves, and colonnades — No expense has been spared. The entire first floor is laid in Italian Breccia Oniciata marble, while the second and third floors are laid in ornately patterned 3/4″ solid rosewood.  The large European styled kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Bosch appliances. The first floor master suite opens onto the classic porch and pool, and has unobstructed views of the Celebration Golf Course 12th hole. The master bath features a sunken Jacuzzi tub, colorful stained glass window, twin scultpted sink alcoves, and an over-sized marble lined shower. The three story-tall spiral rosewood staircase climbs majestically around a thirdSwarovksi crystal chandelier. Featured on the 2nd floor are two ‘Juliet‘ balconies, and game lounge featuring a wet bar, European-styled Brunswick billiard table, and the lounge’s own full bath. This a must-see estate for the discriminating buyer.

Here’s the link to view additional pictures and details of this luxurious European Style Home:  http://www.thebestcentralflhomes.com/listing/mlsid/149/propertyid/S4685702/

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Why are some homes more charming?

Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us?  It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings.    –T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.  

You know it the moment you walk into a home.  Some homes have it and others just don’t.  What is it that some homes have and others don’t?  It’s really quite simple.  It’s charm!

You feel a certain coziness when you walk into a home that oozes that charming hospitality.    The home feels warm and inviting.  The furniture beckons to just sit and chat for a while, or relax and just have some fun.  The flow of a home conjures up harmony, peacefulness, and a calm serenity.  Carefully planned personal touches delight the senses.   All is right with the world when a homes presence draws you into it’s alluring embrace.

While money can buy beautiful things for a home, including well thought out accessories, it cannot portray the charm that resides inside us.  Charm is a quality that simply cannot be purchased!

Everyone wants to possess this charm that exudes a calm serenity, yet where do you find it?  It’s not found in stores or purchased online.  This charm is found within yourself and channeled from your creative guides.  It’s expressed through your personal flair from your authentic self.  Let your creativity soar!

“Beauty doesn’t lie in the expenditure of much money, but in the artistic disposition of little,” says a reassuring article titled “The Charm of the Unexpected” published in the August 1917 issue of The Mother’s Magazine during World War 1, a time when making due with less was a necessity.

The secret to endowing our homes with charm is to realize it’s still “the desire to make the home sweeter and dearer to those who live in it.”

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Water Conservation from Your Real Estate Advisor

Water Conservation is incredibly important now days! I know, it’s not something you really want to think about, but honestly, it’s very important!  

To find out more about why water conservation is important, how to conserve indoors and outside with today’s real estate advisor report.   More

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Are you out of balance?

My Florida Lifestyle

We all have them.  You know, those days when it seems like everything goes wrong.  Then, before you know it, one thing after another happens and then your day has gone down the drain.

It might start with running late, or not being able to eat a good breakfast.  Maybe the car didn’t start, or the outfit you planned to wear didn’t fit right, or you forgot something you needed during your day.  Balance can be thrown off by so many things.  It could be that you did not have enough sleep, take time to exercise, eat healthy, attend church, or your normal schedule is simply out of whack.  When life is off kilter and things aren’t going right, before you know it, everything seems out of balance.

So, how do you achieve balance?  This answer will vary for everyone.  To achieve a life of complete symetry, your life has to flow.  Not only do you need to…

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Pennies for Pets ~ May 5th 2012 in Dr. Phillips area, Orlando

Come on out to Pennies for Pets  on May 5th at  Dr. Phillips Marketplace from 11am to 3pm! Call it Cinco de Mayo, call it a birthday party, call it an awesome rescue event, it will be fun!! It will be hosted by the many marketplace store owners and we would love to see everyone come out with their four-legged friends to participate in the activities and enjoy the music!  This event is  being held to thank our customers for a great year, as well as give back to the community (money raised during/through the event is being donated to Pet Rescue by Judy)! Complete with vendors, Pet Rescue by Judy, television news coverage and more!! Stay tuned to our facebook page for updates! (www.facebook.com/woofgangbakerydp)!

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Posh Pooch 2012 In Celebration, FL


Get ready for a howling good time with the return of Posh Pooch to Celebration! Join us in Downtown Celebration for a whole day of barking good fun. This classic event is being brought back better than ever with a fresh lineup of vendors, activities, demonstrations, food, performances and fun to enjoy with the entire family (especially four-legged friends).

Don’t have a dog? Looking for a friend for your dog? No worries! There will be several canine rescue groups in attendance that will have dogs in need of a loving home.

Several new activities and contests have been added to this year’s event schedule. Don’t miss out on a special Bark of Life walk to benefit the American Cancer Society at 9 a.m. Be prepared for a paw-sitively great time!

This event is sponsored in part by Woof Gang Bakery and the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Posh Pooch Event runs from  10am-4pm.

Pictures of your Pooch!  For those who want to participate, Posh Pooch Pictures will be taken and displayed for all to see on this blog.

* due to construction at Lakeside Park, the 2012 event will occur downtown in Celebration Town Center

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Things To Do When You Turn Off the TV

I stopped watching TV.  Seriously, who wants to sit there mindlessly for hours watching someone else’s life?  Not me!  Not only has it freed up my time, but it’s really allowed me to balance my life in a much more productive way.

When I tell people that I don’t watch TV, they ask:

What do you do with your time?

Don’t you get bored?

Don’t you want to keep up with what is going on?

Here are some of the answers to these questions:

I’ve saved $1850 in cable and electricity

Spend more time at the gym.

Allow more quality time with family.

Read a good book.

Cook an amazing meal.


Prepare for the next day.

Learn something you’ve always wanted to learn.

Take a Walk.

Fix something that needs fixed.

Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while.

Update your resume.

Write a book.

Gardening and landscaping.

Visit the library.

Play tourist in your own town.

Plan your vacation.

Learn about other cultures.

Bake something for work tomorrow.

Write a note.

Catch up on sleep and get up early.

Enjoy a rainy day.

Pay off debt.

Create a financial plan.

Start a business.

Learn Salsa Dancing

Talk to your neighbors.

Visit a museum.

Volunteer Your Time.

Join Toastmasters.

Go for aimless walks.

Date yourself.

Babysit for a friend.

Get a pet.

Take a bike ride.

Play a sport.

Try out a new restaurant.

Sample a new wine.

Practice random acts of kindsness.

Make Friends.

Listen to music.

Improve an area of your life that needs work.

Conquer a fear.

Become a leader by taking on a leadership role in an organization.

Start a business.

Get a part time job.

Write down your bucket list.

Make love passionately for hours.

Go to the spa every month.

Shop for a new outfit.

Drop off/Pick up at the Dry Cleaners.

Engage in your own life instead of watching others.

Get Coupons Reduce Your Budget at GadgetTown.com

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Are you out of balance?

We all have them.  You know, those days when it seems like everything goes wrong.  Then, before you know it, one thing after another happens and then your day has gone down the drain.

It might start with running late, or not being able to eat a good breakfast.  Maybe the car didn’t start, or the outfit you planned to wear didn’t fit right, or you forgot something you needed during your day.  Balance can be thrown off by so many things.  It could be that you did not have enough sleep, take time to exercise, eat healthy, attend church, or your normal schedule is simply out of whack.  When life is off kilter and things aren’t going right, before you know it, everything seems out of balance.

So, how do you achieve balance?  This answer will vary for everyone.  To achieve a life of complete symetry, your life has to flow.  Not only do you need to manage your time, but also the “things” around you.  It should come as no surprise that total balance can not achieved in one day.  Some people don’t achieve harmony and balance in their life for a year or more.  While balance is a process, taking action now to create balance will also create an extremely positive energy in your life.  Before you know it, things will start to feel right again in your life and you’ll be sailing through with a positive outlook again.  But first, we need to talk about purging any and all negative energy in your life!

Balance is achieved by determining that which makes you feel balanced and in complete control of your life and eliminating the things, environments, people, and habits that make you feel out of alignment.  To be on top of your game you need to be able to sail through your day with complete ease.  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  How does one sail through their day and fly with ease?   This is the secret to total balance in your life.  In order to be able to fly you need to rid yourself of things that are weighing you down or that don’t make you feel good about yourself or your surroundings.

First, let’s address excessive behaviour.   Any excessive behaviour can prevent you from living your life in total joy.  For some people, this could be the use of drugs or alchohol.  Others may shop too much, or collect too much stuff.  When you have too much stuff to manage, it starts to weigh you down and slow you down.  Some people work till excess and don’t know when to stop working.  Still others eat too much, or give too much of themselves without putting on their own oxygen mask first.  Some people are addicted to TV or other not so great for you habits.  Before you know it, your energy zapped and you feel completely drained and out of sorts.  Then you start to feel like life is “no fun” any more and you start to wonder what life is all for.  When you are out of balance, things start to spiral out of control when you don’t have control over the energy around you.

Still others deal with other people who exhibit excessive behavior.  Other people’s  excessive behavior also has a negative impact on you.   While I’m not suggesting abandoning people when you can have a positive impact on them, I am suggesting that you know when to back away from negative, excessive behavior and concentrate on creating more energy in your life.   You need to know when to simply “Stop” and turn in another direction.

To create more energy in your life, you need to think about things around you that create energy, as well as things around you that impact your energy level.  This could be as simple as cleaning out your closet or a pantry.  You’d be amazed at how your energy level rises when you get rid of anything in your life that doesn’t make you feel good.  Get rid of any dead wood in your life.  Have a picture on the wall that doesn’t make  you feel good?  Get rid of it!!!  Have clothes in your closet that don’t look good on you or even reminds you of a time you’d prefer to forget?  Eliminate it from your life!

Do you live in an area that isn’t your ideal lifestyle?  Do you live somewhere that makes you feel unhappy?  Have you outgrown your current lifestyle and possibly need to make a change in your living arrangements?   Maybe you’d like to live at the beach, or on a golf course.  It might be that having a soothing water view is incredibly important to you.  Take a step back and think about your life being filled with energy.  What does that look like? If you are looking to change your lifestyle, the right Realtor will help you locate the right home, townhome or condo that suits the energy style you’d like to live with.  It could be as simple as changing your furniture and or redecorating your current residence.  You might need to knock out a wall, or add Feng Shui elements that sooth your soul.  We’ll talk more about this in future blog posts.

Anything in your home or office space that doesn’t make you feel good is what you should start with first.  Make a list of what needs to get done to make you feel less stress.  Get those taxes done and get that monkey off your back.  Balance the checkbook or create a budget, organize the coupons, clean out the garage, clear out the medicine cabinet, go through that pile of mail, work on the yard.  Fix anything that you feel is weighing you down.  Get those projects done….just tackle them!  Clean up and clean out anything in your life that you feel is clutter.  Clutter could be anything that doesn’t give you energy or satisfaction and makes you feel negative thoughts.  By removing anything that you don’t need in your life, you create new and positive energy and make room for the things you do want and need in your life!

You may need to avoid people who drain your energy.  Sometimes its best not to deal with people who have a less than positive impact on your life.  Again, even with people, it’s a good idea to get rid of the dead wood in your life and spend time with the people who help you to grow and make you a better person just by being around them.   Take time to evaluate each and every person in your life.  Don’t discount anyone who brings value, or people that you can bring to.  It would be a safe bet to eliminate anyone who doesn’t bring joy and meaning to your life.  It’s ok to raise your standards and think on a positive, energy attracting level.

The most important thing you can do right now is to take action.  Evaluate the things around you in how they make you feel.   Keep things that bring you joy and pleasure and eliminate stuff that doesn’t.   Make a list and work on each room, closet, or drawer as you have time to do so.  Tackle the biggest projects first and reward yourself when you are done.   This is a process, but it’s a process that will help you soar in the long run.


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