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An open house may prove to be exceedingly important, particularly for a buyer who plans ahead and makes the most of this opportunity. Because if a buyer enters an open house with a plan in hand, he or she can gain the necessary insights to determine whether to set up a home showing or consider other residences.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every buyer needs to know about open houses.

1. Open houses generally take place on weekends.

If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, you may want to keep your weekends open. That way, you can attend as many open houses as possible and boost the likelihood of discovering your ideal residence.

Most open houses are held on Saturdays and Sundays, and these events may begin late in the morning and end late in the afternoon. There is no requirement to attend an open house as soon as it begins. However, it is important to remember that the early bird catches the worm. And the sooner you attend an open house, the sooner you can determine whether a residence is right for you.

2. Each open house is designed to provide a stress-free experience.

During an open house, you can walk around a residence and explore all aspects of a home at your own pace. Meanwhile, a seller's real estate agent is present and can respond to your concerns or questions as well.

Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of questions prior to an open house. This will enable you to receive immediate responses to your queries from a seller's real estate agent.

You also may want to carry a notepad and pencil with you as you walk through an open house. This will allow you to keep track of any notable home features or flaws, and ultimately, weigh the pros and cons of a residence.

3. An open house provides no guarantees.

There is no guarantee that you'll find your dream residence during the first open house you attend. In fact, you may need to attend dozens of open house events before you discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

As a buyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance as you search for your ideal house. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can stay up to date about open house events for residences that correspond to your homebuying criteria.

A real estate agent is a property buying expert and will do everything possible to help you discover your dream house. In addition to keeping you informed about open house events, a real estate agent will set up home showings and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you achieve the best-possible results during the property buying journey.

Hire a local real estate agent today, and you can take the first step to find and buy your dream house.


Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.

In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.

Home equity and market value

As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.

Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.

However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.

How to build equity

The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.

One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.

The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.

What can I use home equity for?

The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.

Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.


Moving is stressful at the best of times. But when you’re moving across the country rather than across town, it adds to the number of preparations you’ll need to make.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to best prepare for your long-distance move, whether it’s across the state, across the country, or to another country altogether.

Packing and moving

One of the biggest concerns you’ll have during a long distance move is the condition of your belongings.

If you’re using a moving company, you’ll want to make sure you trust them to handle your belongings with care. To ensure that they’re responsible movers, read over their reviews online. It’s also a good idea to review their contracts and to make sure you have enough insurance to cover any costly damages or losses. Speaking of moving companies, be sure to shop around to find out which one offers the best prices and delivery windows.

When it comes to packing your items, air on the side of caution and start boxing items well in advance of your move. Not only is it a good idea to label your boxes by room, but you should put your name and contact information on your boxes if they’re being shipped by a large moving company.

Remember that not everything needs to be in boxes. Soft items like clothing and towels can easily be packed in trash bags, suitcases, and duffel bags. You’ll be able to squeeze in more items and they’ll take up less space in the moving truck.

When filling the moving truck, be sure your fragile items aren’t the top box on a stack of boxes. Similarly, you don’t want fragile belongings underneath too many heavy boxes. Your movers likely have their own way of securing boxes, so be sure to indicate to them which boxes are the most fragile with labels.

Downsize your belongings

The month leading up to your move is a good time to sell or donate items you no longer use. It could save you space on the moving truck, and you could earn a few extra dollars before your big move.

Larger items should be your top priority. Bicycles, lawnmowers, and other big items that you’ve been thinking of replacing can be sold now and you can buy new ones at your future home. However, don’t discount the weight and size of things like DVD and book collections. Many people lug around bookcases from house to house and hardly ever touch the books on them. Furthermore, technology like Kindle and Netflix are making owning physical copies of your media less of a necessity.

Before you start packing the rest of your items into moving boxes, make sure you set aside a “survival kit” filled with your daily use items. Things like cell phone chargers, glasses and contacts, and sanitary items should be in your vehicle or carry on, not in the moving truck.

Saving money

Moving is expensive, but there are a number of ways you can squeeze some savings out of the experience. First, take advantage of free boxes from local stores and restaurants. Then, ask for friends and family to help you pack rather than hiring professionals, offer them lunch in exchange for their help.

When it comes to getting to your new home, don’t rule out flying as being the most expensive option. Hotels, gas, and eating out add up quickly if you’re making a road trip out of your move.

Finally, see if your move is tax-deductible. If you’re relocating for work, there’s a chance some of your moving expenses will be. If so, be sure to keep all of your receipts along the way.


If you recently sold your house, you may have only a short amount of time to sell some of your large, heavy belongings before moving day. Among these items likely are the couches, chairs and other furniture that you have collected over the years.

Ultimately, selling furniture prior to your move can be quick and simple – here are three tips to help you find furniture buyers and maximize the value of your furniture.

1. Establish a Competitive Price

A competitive price for a dining room table, bed or other home furniture can make a world of difference. If you establish an aggressive price from the get-go, you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your furniture from many potential buyers.

Consider the age and condition of your furniture before you set a price for it. If your furniture is only a few years old and remains in great shape, you may be able to fetch a lofty sum for it. Comparatively, if your furniture shows signs of wear and tear, you may need to lower your pricing expectations.

It often helps to be flexible with the price of your furniture as well. And if a furniture buyer makes an offer that falls below your initial asking price, you may want to consider all of your options closely to determine whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.

2. List Your Furniture Online

Craigslist and other online marketplaces make it simple to list your furniture on the web in just seconds. Then, you can sit back and await responses from potential furniture buyers.

If you decide to list your furniture online, be sure to include high-resolution photos. If your online posting includes photos that show off the quality of your furniture, you can increase the likelihood of a quick, profitable sale.

Furthermore, incorporate plenty of details about your furniture into your web posting. With an informative and engaging furniture description, you can make it easy for a potential buyer to determine whether your chair, ottoman or other furniture is the right choice.

3. Host a Yard Sale

A yard sale offers a valuable opportunity to sell furniture, as well as a variety of other big and small items. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to plan ahead for a yard sale, you can improve your chances of optimizing your profits.

You also may want to post flyers to highlight your furniture to neighbors. These flyers can help you showcase your furniture to individuals who won't have to travel too far to pick it up.

Don't forget to share information about your furniture with family members and friends too. These loved ones may even be able to share details about your furniture – along with other items that you plan to sell – with their friends on social media.

Lastly, when it comes to selling furniture, it usually helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. In addition to helping you sell your home, a real estate agent can provide expert recommendations to help you get rid of furniture prior to moving day.


The right time to purchase a home varies from person to person. Meanwhile, buying a house is one of the biggest decisions an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, it is important to weigh your options closely to determine if now if the right time to buy a house.

There are several things you can do to get ready to pursue and buy your dream home. These include:

1. Make a Plan

Think about the steps you'll need to take to go from homebuyer to homeowner. Then, you can craft a plan to put these steps into action.

Also, it often helps to create a list of homebuying criteria. This list will help you narrow your home search and speed up the process of finding your ideal residence.

You should stay flexible as you conduct your home search too. The housing market fluctuates constantly, and if you maintain flexibility, you'll be ready to adjust your homebuying strategy as needed.

2. Get Home Financing

It usually is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you have a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a home.

Banks and credit unions are available to teach you about all of your mortgage options. Thus, meeting with these financial institutions will enable you to learn about different types of home financing and make an informed mortgage selection.

Of course, you should not hesitate to ask home financing questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries. Therefore, if you are unsure about which mortgage option is right for you, these mortgage specialists can help you evaluate all of your options.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent offers expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will help you find your dream home and submit a competitive offer to purchase it. Plus, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, help you prepare for a home closing and much more.

In addition, a real estate agent can provide plenty of support during your house search. He or she first will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy and search for properties that meet your criteria. Next, a real estate agent will set up house showings and keep you informed about open house events in your preferred cities and towns. And if a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her home, a real estate agent will help you set up a property inspection and finalize your house purchase.

For those who are ready to purchase a home, it helps to be prepared. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can enter the real estate market as an informed property buyer. As a result, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to enjoy a quick, successful property buying experience.