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The Tax Difference in Second Homes

June 15th, 2018 by tisner

A principal residence and a second home have some similar benefits, but they have some key tax differences. A principal residence is the primary home where you live and a second home is used mainly for personal enjoyment while limiting possible rental activity to a maximum of 14 days per year.10213246-250.jpg

Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows a taxpayer to deduct the qualified interest on a principal residence and a second home. The interest is reduced from a maximum of $1,000,000 combined acquisition debt to a maximum of $750,000 combined acquisition debt for both the first and second homes.

Property taxes on first and second homes are deductible but limited to a combined maximum of $10,000 together with other state and local taxes paid.

The gain on a principal residence retained the exclusion of $250,000/$500,000 for single/married taxpayers meeting the requirements. Unchanged by the new tax law, the gains on second homes must be recognized when sold or disposed.

Tax-deferred exchanges are not allowed for property used for personal purposes such as second homes. Gain on second homes owned for more than 12 months is taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate.

This article is intended for informational purposes. Advice from a tax professional for your specific situation should be obtained prior to making a decision that can have tax implications.

By: PatZaby.com

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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Seven Easy Home Repairs in Orlando, FL

June 11th, 2018 by tisner

seven easy home repairs in orlando florida

Most homeowners are doing what they can to pinch pennies, and when something goes wrong, the thoughts of calling a repair service can send us into a tailspin for fear of a hefty bill.  Some fixes are simple enough that anyone can DIY them with a little knowledge and supplies; here are seven of them: 

  • Toilet bowl leaks can really add up on your water bill.  There are two common things that cause them:  a leaky flapper, or the fill valve needs replacing.   For less than $20, you can replace either of them.  To get started, check out this information from Today’s Homeowner to test where your leak is and go from there.  The internet is chock full of videos and how-to articles for either fix. 
  • Your beautiful just-refinished wood floors are squeaking, and unless you’re using the noise as a burglar alarm, you can get rid of it with talcum powder.  First, make certain that the squeaking isn’t because of a loose board.  If that’s the case, replace the nails or floor staples.  Still squeaking?  Sprinkle talcum powder over the seams, and rub it in with your fingers or a thin plastic card. Walk over the area, and listen for the noise, and apply more powder if necessary. 
  • It’s laundry day, and you’ve just thrown a load into the dryer, and the drum suddenly stops turning.  The drum belt is easy and inexpensive to replace, thanks to this guide and video from Sears, and no appliance repair service needs to be called!  
  • Replacing light bulbs is easy, right?  What happens if you accidentally break the bulb off at the socket?  Go to the pantry, grab a potato, and cut it in half.  After turning the electricity off at the breaker box, carefully push the sliced side of the potato onto the bulb socket, and once it has a grip, unscrew and remove the broken piece from the fixture.   
  • Your cabinets look great, but you’re having a hard time keeping them closed.  For a few dollars each, you can purchase magnet catches, and install them in no time. 
  • Every now and then, something bumps into the drywall hard enough to create a hole.  No need for a drywall expert to come in for this job.  Lowe’s shows us how to patch the hole, and spend much less than the cost of a repair bill. 
  • Doorknobs take a lot of abuse and eventually need replacing, or maybe you just want to upgrade your door hardware.  Buildipedia offers this how-to video for this simple project–no locksmith required! 

Chances are you take great pride in your home, and want a professional to take care of some things for you.  Sometimes, though, a simple job can be taken care of on your own, so grab your toolbelt, and get to work!  Your wallet will thank you! 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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Gardening with Fewer Chemicals in Orlando Florida

June 6th, 2018 by tisner

Gardening with fewer chemicals in orlando fl

When it comes to gardening, going organic can be difficult, especially when there are so many manufactured products to keep weeds and insects at bay. It’s not uncommon knowledge that the fewer chemicals we use in our lawns and gardens, the better it is for everyone.  Follow these tried-and-true tips to get you started on a more natural approach to a healthy garden. 

  • Make sure your garden soil is enriched with natural compost, and one way to do that is with grass clippings!  According to Mother Earth News, a mulch of 1”-2” of cut grass can feed your garden for the season.   
  • Another way to get free compost is saving vegetable scraps from your kitchen. When you’re prepping for dinner, keep the parts you would normally throw away in a small bucket or jar with a lid nearby, and throw it in your compost pile or worm bed. 
  • Speaking of earthworms:  vermicomposting is one very beneficial thing you can do to improve your soil.  Learn how to have your own worm beds from gardeningknowhow.com.  Kids love this project! 
  • The little tags in the cell packs of plants aren’t there for nothing.  They have important and necessary planting information on them.  Put your plants in the right place, in the right amount of sun, and it will reward you with good growth. 
  • When and how you water your garden plays an important part in keeping diseases and pests at bay.  A morning shower with a water hose can rid your plants of nasty aphids.  Watering your plants in the evenings can cause fungi and mildew to grow, and neither is easy to get rid of once they set in. 
  • Learn the difference between detrimental and beneficial insects.  We don’t want to be bitten, but many stinging insects are taking care of the bad ones that are eating up our vegetables.  The Sod God offers some excellent information as well as infographics to help you distinguish between the good and the bad. 
  • Row covers are a great and chemical-free way to keep not only insects away, but veggie-loving birds as well.  As long as they cover your plants completely as they grow, they will provide a barrier between your plants and the bad guys. 
  • If your plants are being taken over by soft-bodied insects like aphids and whiteflies, make your own insecticidal soap–it’s easy with these instructions from Horticulture magazine. 

Whether you’re interested in going completely organic in your gardening, or just trying to cut back on man-made chemical use, it takes knowledge and a little extra work.  Growing a Greener World is an excellent television source for all things natural, and there are many books and magazines on the subject.  Look for sources that have been certified as an organic entity or is written or produced by someone who has been gardening the natural way and has lots of experience.  Reap the rewards of not only a great vegetable harvest, but the rewards of keeping chemicals out of the ground, and our water sources. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: Mother Earth News

Get a Jump Start on Hurricane Season Prep!

May 30th, 2018 by tisner

Hurricane Season Prep

June 1 marks the official beginning of hurricane season, and everyone, especially homeowners, should be prepared in every way.  Once you’re ready, it’s less stressful when a watch or warning is issued, leaving you time to get a few big jobs done without having to concern yourself with the smaller details. 

  • Check with your insurance agent and ask any questions about your homeowner’s insurance policy so you’ll know what’s covered, and what isn’t.  If you need more coverage, add it to your policy now. 
  • Make sure you have flood insurance, or that your coverage is up-to-date. It takes thirty days for a new policy’s coverage to begin, so don’t wait until a storm is bearing down on you before you purchase. 
  • Plan your evacuation route in case of a mandatory event from your local government.  This is especially important if you live in a new area. Print route maps and keep them handy, or store them in your smartphone’s maps app. 
  • Have a plastic storage tote with lid that contains tarps, light blankets, flashlights, brand new batteries, bottled water, canned food, manual can opener, and a battery-operated radio. Print a list of necessary phone numbers and emergency contacts and place it inside the tote as well, in case you’re unable to keep your cell phone charged.  
  • In case of power outages, inexpensive portable USB chargers can be used to keep your cell phones charged.  Solar chargers are available as well but cost more. 
  • If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one now.  
  • Take a look around your home and make sure gutters are clear, shingles are sturdy, shutters are tight, as well as making sure outdoor additions and buildings are secure.  Make upgrades or repairs if necessary. 
  • Check any trees on your property for hanging or dead limbs, and overhanging limbs that could cause damage.  Have a tree service remove them. 
  • Look out for elderly neighbors and family members.  Ask if they need help getting the big things ready or ask them if they’d like to be included in your family hurricane plan.  They may want to remain independent, but it may be a relief to them knowing they’ll have some assistance a phone call away in time of an emergency. 
  • Don’t allow your vehicle’s gas tank to get below a half tank.  Keep it as full as possible in case of shortages when the time to evacuate comes. 

The Red Cross offers many other tips about being prepared for emergencies, including what to do about your pets and contacting your distant family afterwards.  Waiting until the last minute can create added stress on you and your family.  Don’t get caught in the worst of the storm to realize you forgot flashlight batteries or bottled water.  Take an afternoon to prepare now, and, like a home fire drill, make sure the whole family knows their role in case of an emergency.

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: South Florida News Service

Warm Weather Water Savers for Orlando, FL

April 30th, 2018 by tisner

warm weather water saving tips

Days of lounging by the pool or in a hammock with a good book while the children play in the sprinkler are on the horizon, and you can’t wait to wash the pollen off the car, not to mention the grime from Winter on the car tires.  Spring and Summer is probably when we use more water than other times of the year, and there are ways we can conserve and avoid a high water bill for the next few months. 

  • We shower more in the Summer, so conserve by shortening your shower time by just two minutes, and save 150 gallons of water per month! 
  • Keeping our landscaping green uses a great deal of water, and if you have a sprinkler system, make sure the timer is set for morning or evening, and that the showers aren’t falling on the driveway.  Pay close attention to the weather, and turn off the timer whenever a good chance of rain is predicted. 
  • Keep a pitcher filled with water inside the fridge for a thirst quencher instead of running the water from the faucet and waiting for it to get cold. 
  • Cut your grass on a higher setting, because the longer blades help shade the turf, and in turn, holds water better, so you’ll have to water it less. 
  • For the garden, landscaping and lawn, use a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers or hand-watering with the hose.  Water is directed to the roots, where it needs to be. 
  • When the car needs cleaning, take the bucket and sponge to a car wash instead of washing it at home, and save about one hundred gallons of water!  
  • Purchase and set up rain barrels under gutter spouts or areas of the house where water runs off the roof.  You can get some very sophisticated barrels with faucet attachments for gravity-watering with the hose, and covers to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. 
  • Placing a cover on your pool not only helps keep it clean, but it can save the pool water from evaporating.  The Spruce lists several swimming pool water-saving tips. 
  • Instead of washing fresh vegetables from your garden under running water, fill a large bowl with water, and give them a bath.  Once they’re clean, use the leftover water for houseplants or potted plants outside. 
  • Growing native plants will help cut down on water usage, as they are adapted to your local climate.  Contact your local cooperative extension agent to find out how to plant a native plant garden. 
  • Place a five-gallon bucket with small holes in the bottom near plants or a tree that need a drink, and fill it with water.  The holes will allow the water to trickle out at a slow pace, and soak the soil, where the water should be, instead of the leaves. 

Water conservation isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment. If you’re interested in learning more about using less water year round, check out the Water Calculator website to calculate your water footprint, and what you can do to use water more efficiently. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: plumbinghelptoday.com

Getting Ready For Outdoor Time in Orlando, FL

April 16th, 2018 by tisner

Getting Outside Ready for Summer Orlando FL

Warmer days are on the way, and when the weather cooperates, home owners are outside preparing their yards, gardens and pools for the coming Summer. But is your patio looking a little sad?  Do you want to utilize your front porch more this season?  Your outdoor spaces only need a little TLC and elbow grease! 

  • Sweep patios to remove loose debris.  Use a pressure washer on concrete, or a long-handled stiff brush and warm water mixed with bleach–a 10:1 mixture is strong enough to clean the area well.   
  • For porches, sweep the flooring, as well as ceilings and posts, and a shower of water from the garden hose should remove the dust and cobwebs.  If something needs more attention, use a soft bristled brush or flat mop dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild dish detergent. 
  • Wood decks may only need a simple sweeping and washing down with a hose and soft scrub brush. If you’re thinking about staining or painting the woodwork, a pressure washer would be the best tool to prep it for its makeover.  
  • Screening should be checked for holes and rips that can be eventually be big problems, and is easy to replace for little cost. 
  • Check for any cracks in cement patios.  Fill them with caulking or even quick-drying concrete.  Many easy and affordable repair kits are in local home stores. If the problem goes deeper than just a crack, call a contractor to come and make sure the problem isn’t structural. 
  • Bricks and pavers can become loose over time, and filling the spaces between them with sand is one way to sturdy them.  According to Neave Masonry, after filling in between the pavers with sand, use a broom to distribute it evenly, wet the pavers, and once it’s settled, add more sand and repeat.  Continue to add sand until the spaces are filled with sand. 
  • Keeping outdoor furniture covered when not in use is great, but it still would be a good idea to give it a good cleaning since you’ll be using it soon.  Today’s Homeowner Danny Lipford has great tips for cleaning your pieces, from wrought iron to plastic. 
  • Get your planters ready for flowers by removing soil from them and clean with a spray from the water hose.  Soak them in a mixture of 9 parts water to one-part household bleach to get rid of any bacteria that could’ve grown in the Winter, and rinse well. 
  • Outdoor pillows can take a beating, so if yours are looking grim, you can purchase new covers more inexpensively than completely replacing the pillows.  If they have been in outdoor storage, wash them, hang them outside to air dry, and add the new covers. 
  • Spruce up the seating area with fragrant plants, an outdoor area rug, hang pretty sheets or shower curtains on tension rods to add some drama, and some DIY lighting–check out these ideas from BuzzFeed.   

Don’t wait until it gets steaming hot or two hours before your cookout guests arrive to get your yard and outdoor seating area in order.  Doing it now will encourage you and yours to spend more time in the outdoors to dine al fresco, relax with a good book, or spend time winding down after a long day at work.

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: Pinterest

Beautiful and Easy Landscape Plants for Orlando, FL

April 4th, 2018 by tisner

Beautiful and Easy Landscape Plants for Orlando, FL

Walk through your local garden center and finding what’s right for your landscape and gardening skill level can be overwhelming.  Not everyone wants to spend the warm months of the year taking care of needy plants, and there are many available that will offer color all summer and don’t need a lot of attention! 

  • Daylilies come in hundreds of varieties and colors and are almost plant and forget.  Plant different cultivars in a sunny spot about twelve inches apart, keep them watered well for the first few weeks, and you’ll be rewarded with pops of color all Summer. 
  • Everyone loves sunflowers, and they are easy to plant from seed. There are even varieties available that are only a few feet tall that would work in containers.  If you plant seeds, try planting each set every two weeks for six weeks, and once they bloom, they’ll bloom until Fall. 
  • Who wouldn’t like grass that doesn’t need mowing?  Ornamental grasses such as zebra grass, purple fountain grass, blue fescue, and Japanese blood grass grow to be different heights and can add interest as well as color with little maintenance.  
  • If you have a shady spot, impatiens are non-stop blooms if you keep them cool.  Some call them “cowboy flowers,” as they can look almost dead, and give them a drink of water, and they come back to life! They’re great in containers and hanging baskets and can brighten any dark spot in the yard. 
  • Attract butterflies to your yard with a butterfly weed plant.  Since it is a native wildflower, it is practically carefree, and butterflies love the nectar.  Planting from seed can make flowering take a year or two, so look for an older plant already in flower in your garden center. 
  • Zinnias put on a show all Summer, and come in many colors and bloom varieties, and all it takes is a scattering of seeds.  Like sunflowers, if you plant them every two weeks for about six weeks, they’ll bloom successively for many weeks. 
  • Portulaca is a succulent plant that grows low to the ground and blooms in bright pink, orange, red, white and yellow.  When everything else is drooping in the heat of Summer, because of their heat tolerance, will be shining bright. Another plant for those shady places is fern.  There are many cultivars, and ferns thrive in shade, and you get a bonus because they come back every year. 
  • Trumpet vine is so easy to grow, it is commonplace along country roadsides, climbing power poles, blooming with bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers.  Plant this with some support, and besides looking pretty, hummingbirds enjoy it! 
  • Look for easy care hybrid roses.  Not only are the modern cultivations easy to keep, they bloom all season. 

Check with your local cooperative extension service if you need advice on what is good to plant for your local climate, or find your region in this article from Better Homes & Gardens™ for more ideas.  Gardening can be as time-consuming or as carefree as we want–we just have to pick the right things to grow. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

April 2nd, 2018 by tisner

Overlooked Spring Cleaning Jobs

Spring cleaning is a time-honored, worldwide tradition of sorts.  For centuries, humans have been opening their windows and doors when the warm weather returns, allowing the long daylight hours inside, and cleaning everything in sight.  Thankfully, we don’t have to wipe through a Winter’s worth of soot-covered furniture and windows, but for many, deep cleaning is a must this time of year.  Some cleaning jobs are obvious, but there may be a few things to add to your list. 

In the Kitchen 

  • Refrigerator coils can gather lots of dust and pet hair, along with spills from the fridge.  Getting the coils cleaned as much as possible can make a difference in how well your refrigerator motor runs.  Check with your appliance’s manufacturer website for the best way to perform this task. 
  • The dishwasher doesn’t get dirty, because it’s a washer, right? While they clean, dishwashers can have greasy build up. With vinegar, baking soda, and a bit of elbow grease, Wikihow shows us how to get the dishwasher itself to help us get it sparkling clean and smelling sweet. 
  • Herbs and spices are often overlooked while cleaning pantry shelves.  McCormickⓇ reports that whole spices last 3-4 years, 2-3 years for ground spices, and herbs have a shorter life of 1-3 years.  Check the freshness date on the container, and if it’s within that time frame, keep it.  If not, throw it away and restock your spice rack. 
  • Don’t neglect the freezer compartment when you’re wiping down the fridge.  A mixture of equal parts of hot water and white vinegar to wipe down the door, seal and inside will take care of the grime, and help with any lingering food odors.  Before you refill the freezer with food, go through it and toss anything that looks freezer burnt. 

The Bathroom 

  • Give your toothbrushes a good clean.  Pour about an inch of antibacterial mouthwash into a cup and soak the bristles in the mouthwash for about five minutes, and rinse. If you use a toothbrush holder, wash it in warm soapy water and allow to air dry before returning the toothbrushes. 
  • Bathroom exhaust fans can collect dust like ceiling fans, and the buildup affects how well it exhausts the humidity warm showers cause.  Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner has step-by-step instructions for getting your fan clean and running efficiently. 
  • Many of us don’t think of cleaning hair and makeup brushes.  Remove loose hair from hairbrushes and combs, allow them to soak in warm water with some shampoo mixed in, and use an old toothbrush to scrub hairspray build up and body oils and rinse.  Makeup brushes should be soaked, given a lather, then rinsed in cool water.  Air-dry everything on a hand towel. 

The Rest of the House 

  • Light fixtures get grimy and dusty, so covers should be removed after turning off the circuit breaker and washed in warm soapy water then air dried on a thick towel.   
  • Remove mattresses, vacuuming both sides, and if possible, prop them in the sunlight for a few hours.  The sun’s rays freshen and can kill some germs. When you replace them on the beds, make sure the mattress is flipped and rotated from its original position.   
  • HVAC registers should be vacuumed, using the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.   
  • Curtains and blinds collect a lot of dust, but are usually washable, so check the manufacturer’s information before you toss them in the washer or clean them.   
  • Once your deep clean is complete, take care to wash or clean brooms, mop heads and dusters, as this simple move will help your home stay fresher as you do your regular cleaning.

Hopefully, the season of Earth coming back to life will encourage you to get everything in your home spic and span.  Spread it out over a few days or weekends, making lists to stay organized and on task, so the job won’t overwhelm you.  Don’t forget to get the family involved!  Once everything is gleaming, you can enjoy the coming months more, knowing your home is clean, and the job is done for another year. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: 180066ducts.com

Protecting Household Surfaces While Cleaning for Orlando, FL

February 28th, 2018 by tisner

protecting household surfaces

Your new home has gleaming hardwood floors and a gorgeous kitchen countertop. How you maintain those surfaces protect the investment in your home, because proper cleaning keeps them looking good as new.  Some of these materials require special care to stay looking their best. 

Flooring 

  • Whether you have old hardwood floors that have been brought back to life with sanding and new sealing, or brand-new flooring, take care of it when you clean. Sweep often and use a vacuum on bare floor setting once a week. Don’t use chemical products for mopping; a mop dampened with warm water and mild soap are best, going over it after mopping with clean warm water afterwards to rinse any residue. 
  • Tile is such a practical material, it’s a popular flooring choice.  Cleaning them is much like hardwood, using a damp mop (no sponge mops!), and mild soap and water.  Buff with a microfiber cloth as it’s drying for a beautiful shine.  The grout is best cleaned with baking soda and water and soft brush.  Sealing the grout will help keep it from having to be deep cleaned so often. 
  • Concrete is a new trend for indoor flooring, because it is polished, stained or painted, and sealed, and looks fantastic. Castile soap mixed in warm water is perfect for getting the floor clean, going back over them with clean water to rinse. Chemicals can damage the sealant, causing them to become stained. Concrete may need resealing every few years to keep them stain-resistant. 
  • Vinyl is a common flooring choice, and is easy to clean, especially the most recent types, as they are sealed.  A half cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm water will clean vinyl just as well as commercial cleaners.  (The odor will vanish after it dries, or you can add some lemon essential oil to combat the smell.) Stubborn scuff marks can be removed by rubbing the streak with a tennis ball, melamine sponge (“magic” eraser), or a clean pencil eraser. 
  • For less common types of floors, Real Simple has great tips for cleaning bamboo, cork and natural stone flooring. 

Stainless Surfaces 

  • Regular wiping with plain warm water is your first defense in cleaning any stainless surface, followed by a microfiber cloth or paper towel drying. 
  • Glass cleaner or a mixture of dish soap, water and a bit of household ammonia will wash away fingerprints and grease spots. 
  • For scratches and scrapes, a clean cloth with a few drops of mineral oil–or even olive oil–will do the trick.  Wipe in the direction of the grain, and minor scratches will disappear.   

Countertops/Sinks 

  • Laminate countertops are best cleaned with a cloth dampened with warm soapy water.  Bleach can discolor the laminate, so for stains, make a paste from baking soda and vinegar, and apply to the stain.  Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and wipe away with a scratch less sponge. 
  • Many choose granite for its antibacterial qualities, thanks to its seal. Warm water and mild soap is great for general cleaning, as well as keeping germs at bay. Don’t use bleach, ammonia or even acidic vinegar.  Rubbing alcohol mixed with water in a spray bottle is a good solution if you need to disinfect. Having it resealed on a yearly basis helps protect it, as well as maintaining the germ barrier. 
  • Quartz is becoming increasingly popular for kitchen and bath, and although it’s a tough surface, treat it gently.  Wiping warm soapy water is best, and since it’s a manufactured product, using anything to scour away an errant stain will scratch the surface.  This Old House offers a ton of information about quartz, so see if it’s the right surface for your needs. 
  • Stone is a softer hard surface, so don’t use anything abrasive while cleaning soapstone, slate, or even concrete.  A mild bleach solution is safe to use for disinfecting after a swipe with soapy water. Use a soft bristled brush with the bleach solution for stubborn stains. 
  • Cutting boards and countertop areas made with butcher block are best kept sanitized with hot soapy water, and even a water-vinegar mixture.  If a scrubbing is necessary, sprinkle the surface with salt, and use a half lemon as a scrubbing pad.  The acid in the lemon combined with the abrasiveness of the salt will keep your wood surface clean. 

We are bombarded by advertising with messages that we need a certain product to keep our homes cleaned and sanitized.  Natural cleaners, and mild detergents clean just as well, if not better, all while protecting the surface.  If you have a big mess that you can’t take care of, call a pro for advice or to do the job. You chose your appliances, countertops or floors for a reason, and keeping them in top condition will help them hold their value. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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Photo credit: Merry Maids

Lower Your Expenses without PMI

February 2nd, 2018 by tisner

Mortgage loans for more than 80% loan-to-value typically require private mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance reimburses the lender if a borrower defaults on a loan. PMI is expensive, and homeowners should be aware of how to remove it when certain conditions have been met.31001236-250.jpg

A borrower can request in writing for the lender to cancel the PMI when the mortgage balance has reached 80% of the home’s original appraised value. However, they are required to eliminate it when the balance reaches 78%. It is a good idea to monitor this, especially if additional principal contributions are being made to pay off the loan early.

Other methods to eliminate PMI sooner than through normal amortization include the following:

  • If the value of the home has increased, the owner may consider refinancing with a loan that does not require PMI. There will be refinancing charges involved but you can determine how long it will take to recapture those costs from the monthly savings.
  • Some lenders will consider using a new appraisal to verify that the home’s mortgage is below the 80% requirement. Find out in advance from your lender if they will accept this procedure and get the names of approved appraisers they will recognize. The cost of an appraisal could range between $450 to $600.
  • Another strategy is to make additional principal contributions on a regular basis to reduce your mortgage balance to 78-80% level that would allow the lender to eliminate the PMI.

Mortgage insurance is not required on VA loans regardless of the loan-to-value. FHA mortgages made after June 3, 2013 are required to have Mortgage Insurance Premium for the life of the loan. For FHA loans made prior to that date, the MIP should automatically cancel when the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78% and has been in effect for a minimum of five years.

To obtain additional information specific to cancelling your mortgage insurance, contact info can usually be found on the annual statement provided by your mortgage servicer.

By: PatZaby.com

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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