Orlando Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 4, 2019

Normans coming to Sandlake Road


The owners of Norman’s, the elegant restaurant in its final days as a tenant at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, announced Saturday evening that it will relocate to Restaurant Row. The Norman Van Aken headed concept will move into the space formerly occupied by Bravo! Cucina Italiano at the Dellagio Plaza.

The announcement was made at a “Movin’ on Out” dinner at Norman’s that was prepared by visiting and local celebrity chefs. According to an attendee of the dinner, partner Thomas Wood announced the move and said, "It's going to be the most extravagant restaurant in Orlando because we have something to prove.”

Wood said in an email Sunday that the restaurant won't open until "sometime in 2020. We have to do an extensive remodel and that will take some time." VAn Aken, also in an email message Sunday, said, ""We are very much looking forward to the continuation of being in Orlando!"

Norman’s owners announced in May that the restaurant would be closing after 16 years of leasing space at the Ritz-Carlton because the hotel wanted to install its own concept. (Early rumors are that it will be a steakhouse.)

When it opened, Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton was a second location of sorts for Van Aken’s popular restaurant in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. It was there the he won the Best Chef: South award from the James Beard Foundation. Van Aken was also one of a few South Florida chefs striving to create a new cuisine that would be uniquely Florida’s. Their style came to be known as Floribbean or New World Cuisine.

In 2016, Van Aken partnered in a Mount Dora restaurant called 1921 by Norman Van Aken. Though it was critically acclaimed, Van Aken severed ties with the restaurant in November 2018. The restaurant is now called 1921 Mount Dora.

The Ritz-Carlton location will have its last service on Aug. 31.

Posted in Community News
Aug. 1, 2019

Confessions of a REALTOR

Confessions of a REALTOR...


- Get your license.
- Hang it at a brokerage that promises you everything.
- Assume people will just “find you” and give you money.
- Make a fancy website.
- Borrow 5k to pay for it.
- Beg your friends for referrals.
- Borrow another 5k cause you’re not getting enough closings to pay the bills.
- Read a million blog posts that don’t really tell you anything.
- Contemplate getting a day job cause this ain’t working.
- Tell yourself you’ll never give up.
- Work 12 hours a day doing pointless crap everyone else tells you to do.
- Ugly cry cause it ain't workin’
- Hire a marketing company for $1,000 / month.
- Lose $1,000 on that marketing company b/c they have no idea what they’re doing.
- Hire another marketing company b/c "this time it’ll be different." 
- Fire them after 2 months.
- Resort to paying Zillow for leads in your zip code.
- Feel like it’s working and you finally got it.
- Realize their leads aren't great either and they aren't leading to more closings.
- Tell everyone you’re more successful than you are.
- Tell your friends everything is fine and nothing is wrong at all.
- Your appointment book is basically empty.
- Contemplate quitting again, this time for real though… you can’t take it anymore.
- See everyone else being successful because they’re using REAL systems to grow their business.
- Try one more time to make it work because, well, “If they can do it you can do it.”
- 6 months later you’re still stuck.
- Get drunk.
- That’s it, it’s over…
- Have to get a real job.
- Life sucks.
- Get drunk every Friday cause...
- Ruin your future.
- Spouse, Grammy, Gramps, Mom and Dad are all disappointed.

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 1, 2019


Epic. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot in today’s day and age, though not one we use loosely. When we label something as epic, we want that experience to live up to the promise that the word makes. Which is why today we are elated to announce the addition of our fourth theme park, Universal’s Epic Universe, an experience genuinely worthy of its bold moniker.

Universal’s Epic Universe will offer an entirely new level of experiences that will forever redefine theme park entertainment. Guests will venture beyond their wildest imagination, traveling into beloved stories and through vibrant lands on adventures where the journey is as astounding as the destination. The new location will feature a theme park, an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. Ultimately, this expansion will create more space and freedom to let loose and create lasting memories with the people you love.

Here’s a peek at the logo, concept art and proximity map of Universal’s Epic Universe.

Posted in Community News
July 31, 2019

What does the new Prime Minister mean for Brexit and the pound?

With three months to the Brexit deadline, we take a look at the possible impact of any developments

The announcement of Boris Johnson as the new leader of the Conservative Party and, by default, the UK’s new Prime Minister met with a subdued reaction from the currency markets. There was little reaction from the pound on the day, but sterling has been under pressure for some time due to the political uncertainty.

What happened to the pound during the leadership race?

After Theresa May announced her resignation towards the end of May, the pound dipped against the euro. During the televised debates between candidates, the pound dropped slightly as few in the running appeared to rule out a no-deal Brexit. By the time of the debate between the final two candidates – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – Brexit rhetoric had intensified, with both candidates pledging to leave the EU by 31st October regardless of the consequence and the pound took another tumble after the debate aired.

As the date of the announcement grew closer, the pound faced a perfect storm of negative factors on 16th July; ecostats showed that the economy was slowing down, business confidence was waning and the pound was harried by uncertainty over the outcome of the leadership elections and Brexit. While the pound didn’t react to the announcement of the new PM, it was clear that removing some measure of uncertainty wasn’t enough and the pound remained under pressure and hovering not far from its lowest level since April 2017. 

What next for sterling and Brexit?

It appears that at the moment, both the fate of Boris Johnson as PM and the fate of the pound are tied to Brexit. Rumours of positive developments which lead to a new departure deal should prove positive for both; increased likelihood of a no-deal departure from the EU will cause added pressure. Parliament has repeatedly rejected the idea of accepting a no-deal Brexit and many of those objecting come from the Conservative Party.

The election of Jo Swinson as leader of the newly revitalised Liberal Democrats and her determination to oppose Brexit, together with the challenge of The Brexit Party insisting that the UK’s Prime Minister sees the process through, means that Johnson faces challenges from all sides in parliament. His swift action to appoint a new Cabinet – which included a swathe of resignations and departures as well as the return of some controversial figures – suggested a PM with determination and sterling firmed as a result.

However, Johnson may have been in a brief honeymoon period and concrete action will be needed to back his rhetoric and political manoeuvring. After the European Elections saw both the Conservatives and Labour lose seats to pro- and anti-Brexit parties, it’s clear that if another general election is called, there will be further market volatility ahead as the unprecedented circumstances will make the outcome difficult to predict. 

No deal is a big deal for the pound

The most significant influence on the pound at the moment is the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. This is causing the pound to fall against the euro and the US dollar. Some analysts have warned that the pound may reach parity with the US dollar if the UK does opt for a cliff-edge Brexit. Boris Johnson claims this is a last resort, but the new PM’s refusal to rule out such an outcome is causing some nervousness in the market and this is putting a lot of pressure on sterling.

If the current rhetoric continues and is taken into the negotiations, the pound may have some difficult days ahead. The next three months are likely to see significant volatility; it’s likely the market will seize on any positive news regarding the progress of the negotiations, but may have further to fall if the new team meets the same impasse regarding the Irish border.

Posted in Market Updates
July 27, 2019

Minimum Investment Rising to $900K in EB-5 Visa Program

Minimum Investment Rising to $900K in EB-5 Visa Program
Currently, immigrants willing to invest $500,000 in a U.S. business – often a real estate venture – qualify for an EB-5 visa. However, new rules effective on Nov. 21, 2019, boost that amount to $900,000 and update other elements of the EB-5 program.
WASHINGTON, July 23 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will publish a final rule on July 24 that makes a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – the first significant revision of the program’s regulations since 1993. The final rule will become effective on Nov. 21, 2019.
New developments under the final rule include:
  • Raising the minimum investment amounts
  • Revising the standards for certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations
  • Giving the agency responsibility for directly managing TEA designations
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence
  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to retain their priority date under certain circumstances
Under the EB-5 program, individuals are eligible to apply for conditional lawful permanent residence in the United States if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create or, in certain circumstances, preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
“Nearly 30 years ago, Congress created the EB-5 program to benefit U.S. workers, boost the economy, and aid distressed communities by providing an incentive for foreign capital investment in the United States,” says USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. But “since its inception, the EB-5 program has drifted away from Congress’s intent.”
Cuccinelli says the reforms will “increase the investment level to account for inflation over the past three decades and substantially restrict the possibility of gerrymandering to ensure that the reduced investment amount is reserved for rural and high-unemployment areas most in need.”
He says the final rule “strengthens the EB-5 program by returning it to its Congressional intent.”
Major changes to EB-5 in the final rule
Raising minimum investment amounts
On the effective date of the final rule, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million, the first increase since 1990, to account for inflation. The rule also keeps the 50% minimum investment differential between a TEA and a non-TEA, thereby increasing the minimum investment amount in a TEA from $500,000 to $900,000. Also: The minimum investment amounts will automatically adjust for inflation every five years.
Reforming targeted employment area (TEA) designation
The final rule outlines changes to address gerrymandering of high-unemployment areas (i.e., deliberately manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency). Gerrymandering was typically accomplished by combining a series of census tracts to link a prosperous project location to a distressed community to obtain the qualifying average unemployment rate. In the final rule, DHS eliminates a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas; instead, it makes designations directly based on revised requirements in the regulation limiting the composition of census tract-based TEAs. DHS says these revisions will help ensure TEA designations are done fairly and consistently, and more closely adhere to congressional intent for direct investment in areas most in need.
Clearer USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence
The rule revises regulations to make it clear that certain derivative family members who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence. The requirement would not apply to family members included in a principal investor’s petition to remove conditions. The rule improves the adjudication process for removing conditions by providing flexibility in interview locations and to adopt the current USCIS process for issuing Green Cards.
Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date
The final rule also offers greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition. When they need to file a new EB-5 petition, they generally will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.
Posted in Real Estate News
July 19, 2019




A decline in global growth and low housing inventory contributed to a 36% drop in foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate over the past year, reveals the National Association of REALTORS'® 2019Profile of International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate.

“A confluence of many factors – slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a low inventory of homes for sale – contributed to the pullback of foreign buyers,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “However, the magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.”

Following historical trends, Florida was at the epicenter of foreign investment. The state attracted 20% of foreign buyers in 2018 while California and Texas garnered 12% and 10%, respectively.

Learn about the Global Real Estate Council of Orlando

Florida was the favorite destination for buyers from Canada, the India, and the United Kingdom in 2018. In fact, 42% of all Canadians who purchased property in the U.S. in 2018 opted for a home in Florida. “Many Canadians and other foreigners find Florida so enticing because of its lenient tax laws,” explains Yun.

Thirty-five percent of buyers from the United Kingdom opted to buy a home in Florida, followed by 14% of buyers from India, 6% from Mexico, and 4% from China.

Dollar Volume Details

Foreign buyers purchased $77.9 billion worth of U.S. existing homes from the 2019 survey reference period, a 36% decline from the level reached in the previous 12 months ($121 billion). Non-resident foreign buyers accounted for $33.2 billion of U.S. existing-home sales, a 37% decline from the prior level of $53 billion. Resident foreign buyers – that is, recent immigrants – purchased $44.7 billion of residential property, a 34% drop from the prior level ($67.9 billion).

The dollar volume of purchases saw a decline as the number of purchases, as well as the average price, decreased from the previous year, as foreign buyers purchased in comparison to the levels during the previous 12 months. Foreign buyers were able to buy 183,100 properties (266,800 in the previous period) at an average price of $426,100.

Top Foreign Buyers

For the seventh consecutive year, China exceeded all other countries in terms of dollar volume of purchases, buying an estimated $13.4 billion worth of residential property, a 56% decline from the previous 12 months. The Chinese economy is growing at a slower pace compared to past years, slowing to 6.3% in 2019 compared to 6.9% in 2017. The Chinese government has also tightened the monitoring of dollar outflows since 2016 to manage its foreign exchange reserves.

Following China, the next top foreign buyer for 2019 was Canada at $8.0 billion. While Chinese investors and Canadian investors tied concerning the number of purchases, on average, Chinese buyers bought properties at a higher price point. Therefore, China ranked ahead of Canada in terms of dollar volume.

The third top international buyer was India at $6.9 billion, the United Kingdom was fourth at $3.8 billion and in fifth was Mexico at $2.3 billion. Each of the top five buyers experienced a decline in the dollar volume of purchases.

Price Points

Forty-four percent of foreign buyers purchased in a suburban area, while 76% purchased single detached family homes and townhomes. The median purchase price for foreign buyers was $280,600, slightly higher than the $259,600 average for all U.S. existing homes sold. According to Yun, the price difference is a reflection of the choice of location and the kinds of properties desired by foreign buyers.

Eight percent of international buyers paid $1 million or more for their property, compared to just 3% of all U.S. existing homebuyers.
Resident foreign buyers – those living in the United States either as recent immigrants or those holding visas for professional, educational or other purposes – typically purchased properties at a slightly higher price point ($282,500) compared to non-resident foreign purchasers ($277,700).

The survey also showed that international buyers are more likely to purchase their homes in cash than all existing homebuyers. Forty-one percent of the reported transactions were all-cash sales, in comparison to 21% for all existing-home purchases during the 2019 assessment reference period.

Non-resident foreign buyers are more likely to pay in cash than resident foreign buyers, who are more likely to acquire mortgage financing from U.S. sources. Sixty-three percent of non-resident foreign buyers had an all-cash purchase transaction, compared to 25% among resident foreign buyers.

Canadian buyers, who primarily live abroad, were the most likely to pay all cash (75%). The majority of Asian Indian buyers, most of whom resided in the U.S. as recent immigrants or visa holders, obtained a U.S. mortgage. Almost half of Chinese buyers made an all-cash purchase.


Posted in Buying a Home
July 31, 2017

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates