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Easy Halloween Decorations!

October 4th, 2022 by tisner

Halloween is quickly becoming the most popular holiday in the US.  In 2017, the National Retail Federation projects that Americans will spend a whopping $9.1 billion, with $2.7 billion alone on candy.  You don’t have to break the bank for decorations, though.  There are many ways you can prepare for the fun-filled holiday with inexpensive, everyday items. 

  • Save gallon milk jugs, and wash them out thoroughly.  Use permanent black marker to draw ghostly faces on the sides, then add a few rocks or marbles for stability. Place a string of battery-powered LED lights inside, and place the jugs along your walkway or steps for a ghostly path to your door. 
  • Wrap white crepe streamers around your front door mummy-style. Cut two big eyes from white and black construction paper, and tape them to look like they’re peeking out of the strips.  Instant spooky! 
  • Pumpkins are cheap and plentiful this time of year. Using child-safe carving kits, have the kids get in on the fun of carving a jack-o-lantern.  Pumpkin Lady has over 700 free templates to download and print. 
  • Use black construction paper to cut out basic ghost figures, bats, owls or cats.  Tape them to your windows, and when the lights are on at night, the silhouettes can be seen from outside. 
  • Make it look like specters are watching over your yard.  Keep a few paper towel or toilet paper roll tubes. Carefully using scissors, cut different eye shapes in them.  Tape glow sticks inside the tubes, and hide them in your shrubs and bushes. 
  • Grab a straw wreath, a few bags of faux spider webbing and plastic spiders at your local dollar store. Wrap the wreath with the webbing, and criss-cross a few strands across the middle for a cobweb effect. Hang or hot glue the spiders in different places around the wreath, add a Halloween bow, and hang on your front door. 
  • White tights can be repurposed as spider eggs.  Cut the tops off, leaving the legs open.  Add a baseball or softball to the toe, and glue or hot glue plastic spiders to the “sac.” Hang the eggs from trees (away from walking areas) or light fixtures for a really scary look. 
  • Make some ghostly guests out of unused tomato cages.  Turn them upside down, and push a large styrofoam ball down onto the ground wires.  Add lights around the cage, and drape a piece of white cloth or old sheet over the cage. 
  • Add plastic snakes, spiders and insects purchased from a dollar store to your welcome mat. 

Spooking up your yard for Halloween doesn’t have to cost a great deal.  Whether you want frightening or fun, decorating with household or inexpensive dollar store finds can be a family project.  When the big night arrives, make sure you have plenty of candy, turn on your porch light, play some creepy music, and enjoy the evening. 

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: Better Homes and Gardens

Fall Gardening Tips!

September 27th, 2022 by tisner

Summer is over, and for most gardeners and those who love to work in the yard, it is time to tidy things up to prepare for cooler weather. It’s the best time to prepare for next year, even though the next planting season is months away.  Get to work for a head start on Spring.  

Vegetable Garden 

  • If you still have tomatoes or peppers ripening, either take up the plants and hang in a cool place to let them ripen on the vine, or protect them from frost with burlap or row covering over their stakes. 
  • If you have cool weather plants, make sure they’re getting plenty of water, and leaving them to grow until after frost makes them taste better!  
  • Clean up all dead or dying plant debris, because it can cause diseases and help insects that like to overwinter in the rotting vegetation.  If you don’t have a compost pile, now is a good time to start one with healthy debris. If it looks diseased, discard it or burn it. 
  • Adding lime to the garden soil is best done in the Fall.  Take a soil sample to your local extension office for a free soil test so you’ll know how much you need to add. 
  • Cut back perennial herbs, and freeze or dry them for winter cooking. 
  • Think about adding a cover crop.  Cover crops add nutrients to the soil, and prevent soil erosion.  Find a list for your region at https://www.almanac.com/content/cover-crops-us 
  • Before storing garden tools, remove all dirt and debris, then spray with a 10:1 mix of water and bleach.  After they dry, oil tools that have moving parts, make any repairs that may be needed, and hang them out of traffic areas in your shed or garage. 

Landscaping 

  • Plant trees and shrubs in the Fall.  The cooler temps and onset of dormancy gives them the perfect opportunity to establish their root systems. They still need plenty of water, so make sure you keep them hydrated.  
  • Apply fertilizer to your lawn, and aerate it as well. Walking behind the fertilizer spreader in spike-soled shoes is a great way to do these two important things at once.   
  • The last time you mow, keep the level at 1¼”.  This will keep leaves from settling on your lawn, as well prevent disease and insect over-wintering. 
  • Cut back your perennials in the flower beds, mulch them well, and divide tuberous plants like daylilies and irises.  Hostas also benefit from a Fall division.   
  • If you have any young plants or trees, mulch well around them to protect them from freezing once the thermometer drops. 
  • Update container plantings with chrysanthemums, ornamental cabbages, pansies and interesting grasses.  These should take you through the Winter and provide interest and color for the drab days ahead. 
  • Plant flower bulbs for a beautiful, maintenance-free Spring flowerbed.  Daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, and crocuses will provide color for weeks. 

Getting your garden and yard ready for Winter not only makes things look better, but it will certainly help once Spring gets here. The weather can be unpredictable come March and April, so take advantage of the cool, long days of Fall to prepare for next year’s growing season. 

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: Town ‘N Country Garden Center

Orlando State of the Market August 2022

September 22nd, 2022 by tisner

New Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association data shows median home price falls for second consecutive month as homes spend more days on the market

State of the Market

  • The median home price for August 2022 was recorded at $377,750, a slight decrease of 0.8% compared to July’s median home price, $380,900. This is the second month in a row that the median home price has fallen.
  • Inventory rose 3.7% in August, from 6,518 to 6,762. This is the fourth straight month of inventory increases.
  • Homes spent an average of 27 days on the market in August, jumping 28.6% from July when the average was 21 days.
  • Interest rates remained relatively flat – 4% in July vs. 5.3% in August.
  • Overall sales in August also remained flat, with a 0.5% increase for a total of 3,324 sales compared to 3,309 sales in July.
  • Overall sales dropped 16.9% in August 2022 compared to August of last year.
  • New listings decreased by 4.1% from July to August, with 4,550 new homes on the market in August.
  • “With a drop in median home price and another inventory increase, we are seeing the Orlando housing market level out as we continue to move away from a period of volatility and enter a period of stability,” said Tansey Soderstrom, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association President. “This is good for both buyers and sellers, as they can take a slower, more measured approach to buying or selling a home.”

Market Snapshot

  • Interest rates fell slightly as the average interest rate for August was recorded at 5.3%. This is 86.1% higher than August 2021 when interest rates were 2.8%.
  • Pending sales increased by 3.5% from July to August for a total of 4,171 pending sales.
  • 6 distressed homes (bank-owned properties and short sales) accounted for 0.2% of all home sales in August. That represents a 66.7% decrease from July, when 18 distressed homes sold.

Inventory

  • Orlando area inventory increased by 3.7% from July to August from 6,518 homes to 6,762 homes. Inventory in August 2022 was 85.9% higher than in August 2021, when it was recorded at 3,638 homes.
  • The supply of homes increased to 2.03 months in August. This is the first 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 August from July by 4.1% down to 4,550 homes.

 

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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By: www.orlandorealtors.org

How To Take Care of Your Laminate Wood Floors!

September 20th, 2022 by tisner

Choosing laminate wood flooring for a home is a really good decision for a homeowner.  Laminate flooring has come a long way since its beginning a few decades ago, with better quality, ease of installment, and varieties to choose from–you can even get laminate to look like stone! Caring for this manufactured product can be tricky, but with the right cleaning and care, it can look great for years to come.

    Protecting the Floor

  • Laminate flooring isn’t real wood–it’s an image of wood adhered to fiberboard, with a bottom that is moisture damage-resistant. It is covered with a clear protectant that is hard enough to protect it from scratching and pitting.
  • Although it is made to prevent moisture damage, it still needs to be protected from liquids. Any spills need to be cleaned up as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
  • The top layer of sealant is there to protect the floor, but if the dining room chairs are constantly pulled from the table, put some felt pads on the legs to prevent any scratching.
  • Other pieces of furniture that don’t get moved often still may need something under the legs, and felt pads or newer style plastic casters work perfectly for heavier pieces.
  • High traffic areas are best protected with area rugs and runners. Be sure to use a gripper mat or tape underneath rugs to prevent slipping.
  • Even though laminate is great for homes with pets, they can still get scratched in extreme situations. Keep pet’s toenails trimmed to prevent this. Pet accidents need to be cleaned immediately to prevent moisture damage and stains.
  • Some toys with sharp edges can dent or pit the floor, so they should be used with care, or in places protected with area rugs.
  • Sometimes an area of the floor can get damaged, and the best solution is to call the manufacturer to get their advice. Most even sell repair kits for small DIY jobs.

Keeping It Clean

  • The first defense in keeping any floor clean is a mat on both sides of a door that leads outside. A “no shoes” policy could even be put in place to keep even more dirt out, as well as preventing scuff marks.
  • Removing dirt and small particles is best done on laminate floors with a microfiber cloth or mop. Sweeping with a broom can scratch the surface over time, and usually doesn’t get all of the dirt, anyway.  Many styles of reusable and washable cloth floor cleaners are available and are perfect for laminate.
  • Electric sweepers are also excellent for vacuuming dirt and pet hair. Make sure any vacuum-type sweeper has a gentle brush motion.  Too heavy, and it can scratch.
  • Mopping can create streaks because of too much detergent in the cleaner. The best solution for mopping grime or sticky spills is using two parts warm water, one part white vinegar, a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and a drop or two of lemon essential oil. The essential oil helps keep the vinegar odor down, but that smell fades quickly.  Mix this in a spray bottle, and spray each area as you mop.  The less liquid used, the better for the floor.
  • In case of streaks, use a microfiber cloth or cloth diaper to buff the floor. These are best for a great shine on the floor. Never use dusting spray, as it can cause floors to be slippery.

Laminate flooring can be an asset to a home, without the expense and extra work a hardwood floor can bring. Without a lot of extra cost, the flooring can look new for many years, as long as attention is paid to its care and cleaning.

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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FHFA: U.S. 2Q Prices Up 17.7% – But Over 26% in Fla.

September 15th, 2022 by tisner


Of 100 metros tracked by government-backed mortgages, 8 Fla. cities hold top-11 spots, with Sarasota-Bradenton (up 36.5%) and Cape Coral-Fort Myers (36.0%) at the top.

WASHINGTON – It’s hard to underestimate the strength of Florida’s current home price increases in the second quarter of 2022 based on the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index (FHFA HPI).

Index scores are based on mortgages – more than half of all in the U.S. – backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Of the 100 cities the index tracks, almost all Florida metros anchored the top 10 for year-over-year price increases, including two metros in the first and second spots. Only one Florida city, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, didn’t make the top 10, and it was No. 11.

Overall U.S. house prices rose 17.7% year-to-year in the second quarter (4.0% quarter-to-quarter), but no Florida metro area had an increase less than 26%.

Top 100 rank of Florida metros and year-to-year price increase

1. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton: 36.5%

2. Cape Coral-Fort Myers: 36.0%

4. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: 29.6%

5. Jacksonville: 29.0%

8. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Sunrise: 26.9%

9. West Palm Beach-Boa Raton-Boynton Beach: 26.4%

10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: 26.3%

11. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall: 26.1%

Overall, however, the nation started seeing a slowdown in the rate of home-price increases.

“Housing prices grew quickly through most of the second quarter of 2022, but a deceleration has appeared in the June monthly data” says William Doerner, Ph.D., supervisory economist in FHFA’s Division of Research and Statistics. “The pace of growth has subsided recently, which is consistent with other recent housing data.”

Other 2Q findings

  • U.S. housing market has experienced positive annual appreciation each quarter since the start of 2012.
  • House prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia year-to-year. The five areas with the highest annual appreciation were: Florida 29.8%, Arizona 25.5%, North Carolina 25.2%, Montana 24.9% and Tennessee 24.3%
  • The areas with the lowest annual appreciation were the District of Columbia 5.2%, North Dakota 10.6%, Louisiana 10.8%, Minnesota 11.3% and Maryland 12.0%.
  • House prices rose in all of the top 100 largest metropolitan areas over the last four quarters greatest in North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (up 36.4%) and weakest in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (up 9.1%).

© 2022 Florida Realtors®

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!

Source: https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2022/08/fhfa-us-2q-prices-177-over-26-fla

Make the Walls Talk

September 13th, 2022 by tisner

Make the Walls Talk

Who said every wall in your house had to be a white wall with art or family photos?  Why not add an accent wall to add interest and style, as well as be a focal point in the room?  Here are some wonderful ideas to make your wall go from silent to telling a story: 

  • Stenciling has come a long way from the floral room borders of the 80’s and 90’s.  There are so many stencil designs available, and ambitious DIY’ers can even make their own!  Bob Vila gives us a step-by-step tutorial on stenciling, as well as offering tips and tricks that are good to know before you get started. 
  • Wallpaper doesn’t need to cover every wall of a room.  Add a bold or bright print to one wall, and add style and interest to the room.  Get inspired for a wallpapered feature wall with these ideas from Better Homes and GardensⓇ. 
  • Create an accent wall with paint–this DIY can be done in a day, and make a huge difference in the look of the room for the amount of time it takes.  This article from Real Simple has interior designer advice on choosing a color and even furniture placement after the job’s done, as well as tips for painting. 
  • Plank walls are a popular choice for a focal point as well as an accent wall.  There are many materials choices for this feature:  reclaimed wood, pre-stained wood, peel-and-stick tile, and even vinyl paneling! 
  • Sponge painting is still being used today, but with a more subtle look that adds the appearance of texture to a wall.  There are many techniques, and House Painting Tutorials has several examples and links to their tutorials for each technique. 
  • Creating a board-and-batten from stock materials is a good undertaking if you’re handy with power tools, and this type of wainscoting can really transform a room.  It may take a while to get this one done, but the difference it will make will be worth it. 
  • Embossed tin panels or tiles can be used to create a vintage-look focal point, or add corrugated tin for a more industrial look.   

There are many more ways to change the look of your home with accent walls, and The Handyman website covers several of them–stone, brick veneer, and stamping to name a few.  Once you get started, you may love the style accent walls add to your home, and end up with one in every room!

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: buildbetterschools.info

 

Better Now to Rent or Buy? It’s Complicated

September 8th, 2022 by tisner

Mortgage bankers say a mortgage payment in the second quarter was 1.5 times higher than asking rent – but rents keep rising and buying locks in financial certainty.

NEW YORK – The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that the median monthly mortgage payment was almost 1.5 times as much as the median monthly asking rent in the second quarter – the largest gap since 2009.

Both home prices and rents rose significantly over the last year or so, but the rising cost of buying is now tied to the additional interest buyers must pay when they lock in mortgages at today’s higher rates.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, there was little difference in the cost to buy or rent. Median mortgage payments and asking rents were basically equal at just under $1,200. Since then, rents have risen 10% to $1,314 in June, according to Census Bureau data, while mortgage payments have risen 58% to $1,893, according to the MBA. The ratio between the two stood at 1.44.

The decline in affordability has some potential buyers reconsidering their decisions.

“Clients that I’ve worked with might have been able to afford a more expensive home at the lower interest rates,” says Heather Kruayai, a Redfin real-estate agent in Jacksonville. “Because interest rates have gone up, they’re priced out of the home they wanted.”

Some potential buyers have gone back to renting, but affordability could increase, with MBA reporting that the median mortgage payment fell to $1,844 in July. Further, the median mortgage cost for buyers in the 25th percentile, a proxy for first-time buyers who typically purchase cheaper homes, is still below the median asking rent despite rising along with the rest of the market.

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!

Source: Wall Street Journal (09/02/22) Eisen, Ben; Friedman, Nicole

© Copyright 2022 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Tips for Buying a House in a Hurry!

September 6th, 2022 by tisner


Sometimes your circumstances change, and you find yourself needing to buy a home ASAP!  In the past, you’ve looked at houses for a month online before you start actively looking, taking your time to find an agent.  Now, however, your new job needs you as soon as you can get there, but how quickly can you buy a new house?  Faster than you think if you follow these tips!
 

  • Find a buyers agent that has a reputation for handling sales efficiently.  You want someone who understands your need to buy quickly, but who will also make sure you’re not making huge mistakes in the process. 
  • Make sure your credit score is in good standing, and gather all paperwork necessary for the lender:  tax returns from past years, current pay stubs, bank statements, documentation for rent payments if you’re a renter, gift letter if someone is gifting part of the down payment, and proof of any assets you may have. 
  • Don’t just get pre-qualified for a mortgage–get pre-approved.  This way, you’ll know exactly what you can afford, and when you make an offer, the seller will be certain you are serious about buying the house. 
  • You might have to forgo the perfect house dreams, but don’t sacrifice your must-haves.  That said, not being extremely picky with what you want in a house will see your success a few steps closer.   
  • When you talk to your agent, ask them to look for homes that have been on the market for a while.  This may give you some leeway in the offer process because the seller is likely somewhat anxious to sell. 
  • If you have any equity in the home you will be moving from, and you don’t want to lease or rent it, selling as quickly as you are able will give you a head start on the purchase of a new home.   
  • Be prepared to put your belongings in storage if you do sell before you buy, and talk to friends or relatives about staying with them temporarily. 
  • You’ll want a transaction without a lot of contingencies so there isn’t a lot of time-consuming negotiating, but be careful about what you are willing to let go to buy the property.   
  • Don’t go AWOL during the process–sure you’ll be busy getting packed up and prepping for a move, but you need to be available to your agent so no time is wasted.   

The best tip is to get started as soon as you know you have to move–the more time you have to take care of buying a new home, the better the outcome will be, saving you time, money, and future headaches.   

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: realtor.com

‘Tool Time’ Tax Holiday Starts Saturday

September 1st, 2022 by tisner

Do-it-yourselfers and remodelers now have their own sales-tax free Fla. holiday. From Sept. 2 to Sept. 9, there’s no state sales tax on tools, work gloves, etc.

Florida’s first “tool time” sales-tax holiday on tools and other home-repair and construction items will kick off during the Labor Day weekend.

The seven-day holiday, part of a wide-ranging tax bill passed this year, will allow shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes on numerous home-repair and construction items from Saturday through Sept. 9.

“I think it’s just to give a boost to our skilled workers,” Florida Retail Federation President Scott Shalley said. “The Legislature and the governor had a lot of insight to say, ‘Let’s give them a break around Labor Day here.’ I think it’s a great time, particularly with the inflationary pressures we are seeing right now.”

The name of the holiday loosely comes from a home-improvement show within the 1990s sitcom “Home Improvement.” The idea of the discounts is to recognize the efforts of workers, lawmakers said.

“If you think about a year-and-a-half or two years ago, the first time we started hearing the word COVID, one of the things you started hearing after that is who’s … essential workers,” Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, said as he argued for the tax holiday March 2 on the House floor. “We heard a lot about our first responders and our health-care workers. But we also learned really quickly how essential the people that pick up a tool bag and drive a work truck every day are.”

The tax package (HB 7071), which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May, also included tax holidays for purchasing disaster-preparation items before hurricane season, back-to-school items before children went back to classes and entertainment and recreation items around Independence Day. Lawmakers and DeSantis also approved a period when people could buy children’s books without paying sales taxes and gave year-long tax exemptions on items such as baby diapers and Energy Star appliances. Also, the state gasoline tax will be suspended for a month in October.

State economists have projected the tool-time holiday will reduce state revenue by $9.6 million and local revenue by $2.8 million.

Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of the non-profit Florida TaxWatch, said the holiday also will help “everyday homeowners.”

Here are some of the purchases exempt from sales taxes during the tool-time holiday:

  • Work gloves that cost $25 or less.
  • Hand tools, LED flashlights, safety glasses, protective coveralls and duffle bags that cost $50 or less.
  • Tool boxes that cost $75 or less.
  • Shop lights, tool belts and electrical-voltage and related testing equipment that cost $100 or less.
  • Handheld pipe cutters, drain opening tools and plumbing-inspection equipment that cost $150 or less.
  • Work boots that cost $175 or less.
  • Power tools and tool boxes for vehicles that cost $300 or less.

Source: https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2022/08/tool-time-tax-holiday-starts-saturday

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!

Smart Switches 101

August 30th, 2022 by tisner


As smart homes become more common, some homeowners are going beyond basics like smart bulbs and assistant hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo. This can take a number of forms, from the addition of smart electronics and security systems to sensors throughout the house that can recognize when people walk into rooms and adjust the lighting and other resources accordingly. One increasingly popular option is the installation of smart switches in lieu of simply relying on individual smart bulbs to control lighting.

So what are smart switches, anyway? How do they work? Can you install them anywhere, or are there specific things that your home needs? If you’re curious about smart switches and whether they would be a good addition to your home, here are some of the basics that you should consider.

How Smart Switches Work

At their core, smart switches operate like most standard light switches and can turn lights or other connected devices on and off. Given that the switches are smart devices, though, they can do significantly more than that. Smart switches allow you to control the lights remotely using either an app or voice control through a digital assistant or a third-party hub. Depending on the bulbs that you use with your smart switch, you may also be able to control the brightness of the lights (similar to a dimmer switch) or function as a three-way switch. It’s worth noting that unless the bulbs are designed for it, smart switches can’t give you the ability to control the light’s color the way that standard smart bulbs can.

Perhaps the greater benefit of smart switches is that they allow you to tie your lighting into a larger smart ecosystem without having to pair each individual light bulb to the network. This gives you greater control of your home as a whole and allows you to incorporate lighting into smart home routines without having to program a bunch of individual components. You can also pair your smart switches with remote controls, giving you a portable switch that lets you control your lighting even without accessing your overall smart home controls.

Smart Switch Requirements

There are two major things that you’re going to need to use smart switches in your home. Perhaps the most important is grounded wiring, as all smart switches require grounding to operate. If you’re upgrading light switches that weren’t grounded, you’ll have to ensure that a ground wire is available, or your new switches simply won’t work.

Once you’ve got your switches grounded, you’re also going to need access to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network. While this is a standard Wi-Fi frequency, 5Ghz Wi-Fi is also increasingly common, but is not compatible with most smart devices (including modern smart switches). Almost all modern routers and wireless access points are capable of broadcasting on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, so if you don’t have a 2.4Ghz band currently at your home then it shouldn’t be too difficult to add one.

Installing Smart Switches

There are two aspects to installing smart switches: installing the physical switch, and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. Installing the switch is similar to any other grounded light switch installation, so it’s certainly doable as a DIY project if you feel confident in your wiring abilities, but check with your code office to make sure you’re allowed to do this kind of work. Once installed, the switch can then be connected to your Wi-Fi network using the manufacturer’s smartphone app on a phone or other mobile device that’s connected to the same network that the switch will eventually use.

Since wiring a smart switch involves dealing with electricity, if you aren’t confident in your ability to install the switch, if your local code office requires an electrician for that kind of work, or if you need a wiring upgrade, then you should call in a professional. Fortunately, HomeKeepr is here to help. Create a free account and connect with local electricians and other pros who can get your smart home wired and connected just the way you want. Sign up today and get started.

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By: Homekeepr, Rob Morelli

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