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Important Steps to buying a home in Florida

When buying a home, numerous factors are at play throughout the process, including the mortgage and financing options available. As a local realtor for over 20 years, I have developed a step-by-step system that can help my clients navigate the process. First, I allow my clients to ask me questions, so they are comfortable navigating the rest of the conversation.

I understand this can be complex, and I aim to simplify the process and make it as worry-free as possible. So this guide to buying a house in Florida will walk you through the process of purchasing a home, step by step.

Buying a House in Florida: A Step-by-Step Process
1. Finances and Budget
2. Get a Pre-Approved Mortgage Loan
3. Determine Your Needs in a Home/Neighborhood
4. Finding a Trusted Local Floridan Real Estate Agent
5. Beginning Your Search for Your Dream Home
6. Make an Offer
7. The Home Inspection
8. Appraisal
9. Closing – The Big Day!
Bottom Line

Nine significant steps are involved in buying a house in Florida, from figuring out your finances to closing the deal. Each step is essential and should be completed promptly to ensure you get the best possible deal on your new home.

1. Finances, budget, and monthly payments
2. Get a pre-approved mortgage loan
3. Determine your needs in a home/neighborhood
4. Find a Florida real estate agent
5. Search for your dream home
6. Make an offer
7. Home inspection
8. Appraisal
9. Closing

Florida offers many opportunities for property ownership, including prime coastal areas and sprawling suburban neighborhoods. Investing your money in Floridan real estate will maximize your profits in the long run.

Understanding your finances and establishing a budget is essential to begin your journey to homeownership.

It is also important to know as much as possible about the market and what makes this state attractive for buyers and sellers alike if you want to use your home purchase as an investment tool.

Some buyers need help with downpayment assistance. If you’re one of those buyers, the endless options for assistance you can find with banks and lenders.

Getting the best lender specializing in your needs is crucial for maximizing your options regardless of your financial situation. Getting a loan or a specific product is not one size fits all.

After choosing an agent, selecting a lender is the next most vital step you can make. The biggest lender isn’t always the best option for lending. Customer service, locality, and experience matter as well. Working with a mortgage lender will detail your credit report findings and credit score details.

Once you understand these findings and how they affect your credit standing, interest rates, and approval types, you will be presented with various options for loan products.

The best lenders will explain in detail all the options available to you, whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned investor.

If you’re utilizing an FHA or conventional mortgage, your lender will explain the pros and cons. By receiving your Mortgage Pre-approval Letter from your lender, you will confidently understand the total closing cost, interest rates, property taxes, and the final price of the home you are getting ready to purchase.

Finding the right home starts by researching neighborhoods that interest you based on price range, amenities offered, and schools within a certain distance of the property you’re interested in purchasing.

Once you have a list of potential neighborhoods, you can start looking at properties and contact local agents. Give me a call to advise you on the best way to move forward.

This is where I want to grow my network of agents because some are neighborhood specialists, others need new construction specialists, and others need first-time homebuyers.

Agents are getting more desperate than ever and will work with anyone, even if they know they are not the best fit. I can provide more information about each neighborhood – including recent sales data – before making an appointment to see the properties with you in person or virtually.

Here are a few tips for finding the right home for you and your family:

What is your number one purpose in buying a home?
Are you looking for a short or long-term investment?
Build equity to grow your wealth.
Running away from rent?
Looking for independence and building a future?
What are the most critical must-Haves that you need in your home?
Do you have a specific area you want to live in? If so, why?
Write the top things you would love in your community.
What price range are you comfortable with?

Once you have, it narrowed down what you want and must-haves, community, home style, price? What style of home do you prefer? Do you prefer existing homes or new homes? How are you planning on using the space? How many bedrooms and bathrooms?

Create a checklist with these previous questions in my mind. This is how I will help you slow down and think and prioritize what is most important to you and your family before your big move.

When making an offer on a property, you need to be prepared with comparable sales figures from other homes that have recently been sold nearby (I will prepare these reports and come up with a strategy to submit the offer), ideal budget numbers based on what similar homes cost within your desired price range, and enough down payment money saved.

You also need to be ready to overcome obstacles, like when you might have problems during an inspection period.

Call me and the network of agents I work with across the state and beyond.

Once we have collectively narrowed down the communities and locations that check off most of your must-have lists, this is where the real fun begins.

My clients start to feel more at ease because the big picture is finally coming together, and they see the home journey more positively. They are educated not just on the community and homes but on current market trends.

My clients rely on me for market data and relationships I have built with local agents. I will review your list of potential homes and offer suggestions, such as viewing a house you might not think of right off the bat because I see its potential for you.

Regarding showings, I am also looking for things you may not think about, like roof year, piping, AC, and water heater, which can all be costly if they need to be replaced.

I am also looking for homes that fit your mortgage pre-approval as well. For example, selecting a house with significant problems and trying to match it with an FHA approval would not be a good fit.

With each subsequent step in this journey, I want you to feel more confident and empowered as you get closer to your goal of owning a Florida property, including those relocating to Florida!

You can see what’s available in the local Orlando real estate market by visiting this website to view available homes!

Making an offer should always be strategically based on the supply and demand of the overall market, community, and collective sales. Understanding market conditions for the area, neighborhood, and general home values differ for each location.

Discussing asking price vs. negotiated price. Sellers Market vs. Buyers market will contribute to crafting the best offer to position you to win.

Take this time to pay close attention, and listen to the inspector and the advice of your trusted agent. Working with a qualified home inspector who inspects all home parts is essential to home buying. The focus items during a home inspection in Florida will be the age and condition of the roof, HVAC, structure, and plumbing are the critical items of focus.

Timing is super important to the inspection period because you have a short time to inspect the home properly. You do not want to rush reviewing your home inspection report. We may need to get things reinspected before closing or negotiate after finding potential issues.

Once you have passed the inspection, you move forward to appraisal. Working with the right lender is critical in this area. You want all team members to fully understand their market, communities, and values.

You want appraisers who specialize in Florida property and neighborhoods. This is something I will assist you with as a buyer agent.

Closing day is an exciting time, and in Florida, we close with title insurance companies; attorneys are not needed unless you have a special request. The closing date will be outlined in the original offer.

Still, a few things need to be covered before signing final mortgage documents, like obtaining a clear title of the home and getting homeowners insurance for your Florida House.

Now it’s time to rush to the title company, and if you cannot make it here in person, that is ok too! Most title companies can close out of state, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. Once all the papers are signed, you immediately become the homeowner!

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The Orlando Real Estate Market: Stats and Trends for 2022

Orlando has seen annual listing prices rise by 20% over the past year, making the metro one of at least 5 areas that saw an annual listing price of 18% or more, according to USA Today.

One of the biggest reasons why the Orlando real estate market here is so hot is inbound migration from high-tax and high cost of living areas like California. People and businesses are looking for less dense areas where the cost of living and doing business is lower and real estate prices are still affordable.

There are several reasons why investors love Orlando too.

Nearly 70 million people visit Orlando each year, drawn by the area’s world class theme parks like Disney World and Universal Orlando, dozens of golf courses, and premium shopping outlets. As the pandemic is brought under control and the economy begins to recover, these iconic resorts are likely to benefit from pent-up demand from visitors around the globe.

While tourism and conventions are big business in Orlando, the city is about a lot more than just fun and games. Orlando is a major industrial and high-tech center with one of the largest research parks in the country.

Economic growth in the region leaves many cities across the U.S. in awe. Other parts of the country watch enviously as people come to Orlando for the seemingly endless opportunities and great quality of life that can only be found in Central Florida.

Read on to learn why Orlando can be a smart investment to consider in 2022 and beyond.

Population growth
Orlando’s growth rate is the 2nd fastest of the 30 largest cities in the U.S., with the region welcoming more than 1,000 new residents each week. As reports, new residents aren’t just snowbirds – newcomers are highly educated and flocking to Florida from slow growth states.

Key Population Stats:

The City of Orlando is home to nearly 308,000 people while about 2.4 million residents live in the metropolitan area of Orlando.
Population growth in the Orlando metro area was over 1.4% last year alone.
Since 2010 the population of Orlando has increased by nearly 69,300 people, according to the most recent census.
Four counties make up the Orlando metro area: Orange, Seminole, Lake, and Osceola.
Orlando Economic Partnership estimates the Orlando region will add 1,500 people each week and reach a population of 5.2 million by 2030.

Job market
Forbes ranks Orlando, Florida as the 23rd-best place for business and careers and the 6th-best place in the country for job growth.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average annual salary in Orlando is below the U.S. average due to the high number of low-paying service and hospitality jobs. That’s good news for investors, because these types of jobs help keep the demand for rental property high as the economy begins to recover.

Key Employment Stats:

GDP of Orlando (including the neighboring cities of Kissimmee and Sanford) is more than $144 billion, increasing by more than 53% over the last ten years.
Employment sectors in Orlando showing the fastest signs of growth in 2022 include leisure and hospitality, financial activities, education and health services, and professional and business services, according to the BLS.
Unemployment rate in Orlando is down to just 2.6% (as of April 2022).
The Orlando Business Journal reports that over the three years prior to the pandemic, job growth in Orlando was 11% with nearly 129,000 new jobs added to the economy.

Average employment in Orlando is projected to grow by 19% by 2030, nearly double the rate of the U.S.
In fact, over the next ten years, about 500,000 new jobs are forecast to be created in the Orlando metro area, based on research by the Orlando Economic Partnership.

Metro Orlando is home to the seven-million-square-foot Orange County Convention Center with nearly 480,000 sq. ft. of meeting rooms and more than two million sq. ft. of exhibition space, making it the second-largest convention venue in the U.S.
Fastest-growing employment sectors in the Orlando region over the next ten years include home and healthcare services, manufacturing and construction, engineering and transportation, and computer systems design.

Largest engineering, manufacturing, and aerospace companies in Orlando include Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Siemens, AT&T, and Boeing.
Defense employers in metro Orlando include United States Army Research, National Center for Simulation, Patrick Air Force Base, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, SeaWorld Orlando, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Epcot are a few of the top rated entertainment centers and theme parks in the Orlando-Kissimmee area.
Creative Village Innovation District is a 68-acre mixed-use development on the west side of downtown Orlando providing residents with paths to education and housing while giving businesses a place to expand with a quality workforce.
The 1,027-acre Central Florida Research Park is adjacent to the University of Central Florida and home to more than 100 companies employing thousands of people.

Major colleges and universities in Orlando include University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Valencia College.
89.6% of the residents in Orlando are high school graduates or higher, and 33.2% hold a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree.
Interstate 4 is Orlando’s main Interstate Highway, while SunRail provides commuter train service throughout the four-county Orlando metro area.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the second-busiest in Florida with airlines including Frontier, JetBlue, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic providing service to nearly 50 million national and international passengers each year.

Real estate market
The median price of homes sold in Orlando spiked by over 25% year over year, with homes going under contract less than 25 days after they are listed for sale. As the Orlando Regional Realtor Association reports, there is less than a 1 month supply of available for sale compared to the same time last year (April 2021 vs April 2022), with tight inventory helping median sale prices to rise to $370,000.

Key Market Stats:

Home Value Index is $365,589 for the typical home in Orlando (as of April 2022).
Home values in Orlando rose 30.1% over the last year.
Median listing home price in Orlando is $367,000 based on the most recent report from (April 2022).
Per square foot listing price of a home for sale in Orlando is $225.
Median sold home price in Orlando is $370,000.
Days on market (average) is 24.
Sales-to-list price ratio is 100.59%, meaning that homes are approximately selling for slightly above the asking price.
Of the 98 different neighborhoods in Orlando, Lake Nona Central is the most expensive with a median home listing price of $705,500.
South Semoran is the most affordable neighborhood in Orlando with a median listing price of $167,000.

Attractive renters’ market
Orlando was ranked as one of the best places to buy rental property in 2022, based on key investment criteria such as cash flow, affordable property prices, and a growing population and job market. Looking at the recent statistics in the marketplace, it looks like that trend will continue through the year.

To make the market even more attractive, Florida has no state income tax and plenty of warm weather. Those are just two of the many reasons why so many people and businesses are relocating to Orlando from other urban areas with taxes and the cost of living are sky high.

Key Market Stats:

Median rent in Orlando is $2,190 per month for a 3-bedroom home, according to Zumper (as of June 2022).
Rents in metropolitan Orlando increased by 16% over the last year.
55% of the housing units in Orlando are occupied by renters.
Neighborhoods in Orlando with the lowest rents include Carver Shores, Spring Pines, and Rosemont North where rents are less than $1,200 per month.
The most expensive neighborhoods in Orlando for renters are Baldwin Park, Kirkman South, and South Eola with average rents as high as $3,829 per month.

Historic price changes & housing affordability
The Freddie Mac House Price Index (FMHPI) report is used by real estate investors in Orlando to anticipate future changes to home prices.

The most recent FMHPI for the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA reveals:

April 2017 HPI: 179.30
April 2022 HPI: 316.18
5-year change in home prices: 76.3%
One-year change in home prices: 27.0%
Monthly change in home prices: 2.3%
Kiplinger also analyzes the affordability of housing in Orlando and the other top 100 U.S. markets:

Since the last real estate cycle market peak in May 2006, home prices in Orlando have decreased by 13.5%.
Since the last real estate cycle market bottom in March 2012, home prices in Orlando have increased by more than 102.0%.
Orlando has an affordability index of 7 out of 10, meaning the metro area is one of the least affordable places to own a home in the U.S.

Quality of life
When asked 1,800 residents of Orlando how they liked living in the city, an astounding 86% rated Orlando as an “excellent” or “very good” place to live. The truth is, almost everything about Orlando makes it the perfect place for living, doing business, and investing in real estate.

Key Quality of Life Stats:

Education is a priority in Orlando, with about 29,000 new teachers needed by 2030 due to the region’s soaring population growth.
Film, television, gaming, and entertainment industries in Orlando guarantee there’s always something new to see and do.
Some of the top attractions in Orlando include Universal’s Island of Adventure, Universal Studios, and the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Orlando Premium Outlets, The Mall at Millenia, the food and cultural hub East End Market, and the local boutiques along Winter Park Avenue offer some of the best shopping experiences in Orlando.

Get out the map
Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Orlando based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.

DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood
RED: 1 star neighborhood

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Market Activity in Central Florida: September 2022

September 2022 Recap

State of the Market

  • September’s interest rate was recorded at 6.3%, a 19.5% increase from August when the interest rate was 5.3%.
  • Overall sales in September dropped by 18.3% for a total of 2,717 sales compared to 3,324 sales in August.
  • Overall sales dropped 28.3% in September 2022 compared to September of last year.
  • The median home price for September 2022 was recorded at $365,000, a decrease of 3.4% compared to August’s median home price, $377,750. This is the third month in a row that the median home price has fallen.
  • Inventory rose 1.8% in September, from 6,762 to 6,884. This is the fifth straight month of inventory increases.
  • Homes spent an average of 31 days on the market in September, jumping 14.8% from August when the average was 27 days.
  • New listings decreased by 27.1% from August to September, with 3,318 new homes on the market in September.
  • “We are starting to feel the impacts of rising interest rates on the Orlando housing market as they have more than doubled over the past 12 months,” said Tansey Soderstrom, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association President. “Rising interest rates are causing buyers to be more cautious, resulting in fewer Orlando home sales for the month of September. This cooling off in sales does have an upside for buyers, as they now have the luxury of being more patient when looking for a home.”

Market Snapshot

  • Interest rates increased as the average interest rate for September was recorded at 6.3%. This is 120.9% higher than September 2021 when interest rates were 2.9%.
  • Pending sales decreased by 8% from August to September for a total of 3,838 pending sales.
  • 12 distressed homes (bank-owned properties and short sales) accounted for 0.4% of all home sales in September. That represents a 100% increase from August, when 6 distressed homes sold.


 Mortgage Rates


  • Orlando area inventory increased by 1.8% from August to September from 6,762 homes to 6,884 homes. Inventory in September 2022 was 87.9% higher than in September 2021, when it was recorded at 3,664 homes.
  • The supply of homes increased to 2.53 months in September. This is the second month since June 2020 with over two months of supply. A balanced market is six months of supply.
  • The number of new listings decreased in September from August by 27.1% down to 3,318 homes.



Year over Year Changes


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12 TOP Gated Communities in Orlando

Are you looking to relocate to a beautiful and thriving neighborhood in Orlando, Florida? Gated communities offer something for everyone. Some have golf courses, tennis courts, community pools, and conservation areas that preserve the Orlando gated communities’ natural beauty.

Looking for the perfect community is easy when you know exactly what lifestyle you want to live. This article will explore 12 top-rated gated communities in this sought-after city.


Orlando is a great place to live. Located in Central Florida, Orlando is a large city with a thriving economy, stunning nature, growing communities, and the most exciting theme parks in the world. Not to mention, Orlando is home to some of the most sought-after gated communities in all of Florida.

Lastly, Orlando has a large diversity of boroughs with their unique charm.


There are many benefits to living in a gated community in Florida. Some of the reasons why Orlando gated communities are preferred are security, exclusivity, lower traffic, and privacy. Gated communities are located across the entire state of Florida, from Orlando to Miami to Tampa. There are many different types of gated communities, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.

So if you are debating whether living in a gated community is worth it for you or not, take a look at this article and discover the best-gated communities in Orlando, Florida.


We already mentioned some of why people choose to live in a gated community. Here are both pros and cons.


There are several pros to living in a gated community. Gated communities also typically have more security features than traditional neighborhoods, such as cameras, security guards, and patrols. This can give you extra peace of mind when away from home.

Another significant benefit to living in a gated community is that they often have more amenities than traditional neighborhoods. This can include a clubhouse, large pool, golf course, and more. This can be a great perk if you’re looking for somewhere to socialize and meet new people.


Although there are many benefits to living in a gated community, some downsides may be a deal-breaker for some people. For example, living in a gated community can be expensive since homeowners must pay additional management fees to the Home Owners Association (HOA). And some gated communities also charge for their exclusive Country Clubs.

Furthermore, gated communities have many rules that may be annoying for some people to follow. Some standard rules to follow are; registering guests before they come and keeping noise levels down.


Gated communities can be the perfect place for families looking for a fun environment for their children to play or for people looking to access resort-style amenities on site.

So if you are now looking to explore Orlando’s best-gated communities, here are the top-rated neighborhoods to consider.


The Orlando area has many neighborhoods to choose from. As far as gated communities, if you’re looking for an amenity-rich community to call home, then be sure to check out our top-rated gated communities in Orlando, Florida.


Stoneybrook is a lovely community with diverse amenities, including a golf course, clubhouse, security gate, lake access, and bike/walking trails. In addition, residents can enjoy a large community pool, basketball courts, and a spectacular lake view. Stoneybrook is also located in the charming town of Winter Garden. This quaint neighborhood has beautiful parks, yummy restaurants, a local farmers market, and a beautiful downtown area to explore.


This upscale and luxurious neighborhood is located among 600 acres and is recognized as one of the world’s most reputable and prestigious private communities. Isleworth offers a Mediterranean-style Clubhouse with a fitness center, spa, several restaurants, and meeting and event spaces. In addition, residents can enjoy a game of tennis and golf in one of their world-class facilities.

Lastly, Isle Worth is also a short drive to Walt Disney World resort and other famous theme parks.


Keenes Pointe is known for its spectacular golf club, Golden Bear Club. This 18-hole golf course offers a superb golfing experience for people of all levels and competitive golfing tournaments and fundraisers. Similar to Isle Worth, Keenes Pointe is also near theme parks. Although Windermere is close to countless attractions, it is also surrounded by nature.


Providence is another stunning golf community in Orlando, Florida. This gated neighborhood is expanding quickly and hosts several amenities, including a tennis course, a children’s playground, enormous pools with a water slide, a clubhouse with dining, and a secure gate. This community is near Walk Disney World theme parks and is close to major highways.


Ocoee is a spectacular community surrounded by pristine nature and lakes. Arden Park’s gated community embraces the beautiful nature within its amenities. Some of which include a swimming pool, hiking trails, children’s playground, natural parks, clubhouse, RV parking, and a secure entrance.


Waterbrooke is a newly developed gated community in the beautiful rolling hills of Clermont, Florida. These new homes are tucked away yet accessible through major roads and highways. Waterbrooke also embraces pristine nature and offers walking trails, a playground, parks, a fitness center, a pool, a yoga lawn, walking paths, and even a splash pad for kids to play on.


Bella Collina is a beautifully designed luxury community that highlights nature through its design. They use natural brick and materials for an organic look, including state-of-the-art amenities and a golf course. First off, the compound is built alongside Lake Apopka. In addition, as part of the community, you can access the spa, restaurant, golf course with classes, swimming pool, fitness center, and more. If you are not part of this community, you can still access some of these amenities for a fee.


VillageWalk houses a beautiful landscape of resort-style homes and a unique neighborhood design. In addition, bridges and canals merge into lighted walking trails, pools, natural parks, and sports courts within the communities Town Center. The amenities available are; a fitness center, library, access to the ballroom for events, lap pool, heated pool, tennis courts, playground, basketball courts, and miles of paths for running, walking, or biking. Located in Lake Nona, this borough offers plenty of a modern environment with plenty of activities.


The Alaqua community was developed with particular attention to preservation and conservation. This quiet neighborhood offers peaceful roads perfect for walking, biking, blading, and jogging. You can also access their resort-style pool or tennis courts at the community park or go sightseeing in the nature preserves and meticulously manicured golf course.


This luxurious community is available for homeowners and visitors as a vacation destination. Since it is close to the Walt Disney World theme parks, visitors and homeowners can enjoy everything Disney offers and all of the amenities available within the compound. This beautiful gated community offers fine dining, a fitness center, patio seating, a pro shop, parks, and more. Located next to Reunion Resort, both districts offer extensive activities, including three golf courses, seven restaurants and bars, a 5-acre water park, seven community pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, pickleball courts, and transportation to Walt Disney World.


Like Reunion Resort, Calabay Parc is also a place for visitors and homeowners to enjoy. Calaby Parc is only fifteen minutes from Disney, twenty-five minutes from Universal Studios, and thirty-five minutes from the Orlando International Airport. Lastly, they offer easy access to popular theme parks by providing transportation, car rentals, ticket boxes, and concierge services.


Sand Lakes Sound is located in one of the most luxurious boroughs in Orlando. This gated community is just a short distance from restaurant row and is nestled among Orlando’s three most popular theme parks.


Orlando is a fantastic city to live in, thanks to its lush environment, diverse boroughs, fun activities, and the most popular theme parks in the world. This city is surrounded by nature and accessible through its international airport and the major highways that run through Orange County.

If you want to relocate or invest in this growing city, Nicole Mickle is here to help you. Relocation Specialist Nicole has over 20 years in the real estate market and a keen understanding of business economics and market trends. Feel free to contact her for more details on the best Orlando gated communities.