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happy place on homes.ocala.com, the most comprehensive real estate source in and around Ocala.

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There is a great selection of homes available, plus you can find an agent, browse open house listings,

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Do you feel it? Do you feel the excitement of wanting to build a new home? I do. Especially since Realtor.com has named eight (8) Florida cities in the top ten markets making a comeback. Of them, Ocala ranked 9th! The inventory of existing homes for sale is down to 2005 levels in many areas and new home construction is slowly starting to ramp up. As inventory levels reach the six (6) month mark across more price ranges, we see far more demand for new homes. With the market competing for your business at an all time high and mortgage rates at an all time low, now is the perfect time to check out the homes that Marion County premier builders have to offer. Never before has your purchasing dollar been able to buy you so much!

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Thinking Green? Your home builder can choose from an ever-expanding array of products and materials to make a house more energy, water, and resource efficient. Many of our builders also participate in programs like ENERGY STAR promoting energy-efficient appliances and WaterSense, promoting water efficiency. Today’s new homes offer more of what you want. There is more storage space, high ceilings, walk-in showers, and outdoor living spaces that take Florida’s outdoor lifestyle to new levels. All of today’s new trends in building are being brought to you at price’s that haven’t been seen in a decade! The 2012 Parade of Homes can offer up fantastic values for the first time home buyer, someone wanting to take advantage of today’s values to upgrade their lifestyle, or someone looking to retire. Not sure what you want or have some ideas of your own? This year we are also offering our “Virtual Entries”. Please enjoy an online virtual tour of this home by utilizing the Internet. It gives you the opportunity to peruse some of their tried and true models or custom homes that have already sold. The advantages of today’s new homes are unparalleled. Breakthrough technology has brought safety and energy efficiency in homes to a new level. For convenience and amenities, it’s hard to beat a new home. Find out why now is a great time to buy a new home. Join in the excitement by visiting the 2012 Parade of Homes and join many others who are already living the American Dream!

Ocala Style Magazine Program Sponsor

Fabian Dinkins Service Solutions, LLC Foundation Sponsor

Belleview Building Materials, Inc. VIP Awards Reception Sponsors

1st Quality Title Habitat For Humanity of Marion County SunTrust Mortgage Centerpiece Sponsor

Jackie Suarez Chairman of the 2012 Parade of Homes Owner, Architectural Artworks & Graphics

Dream Custom Homes of Citrus, Inc.


HOME

1

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Subdivision: N/A 7179 SW HWy 200, Ocala ~ 352-861-6055 www.triplecrownhomes.com

“The Emerald” by Triple crown Homes

Triple Crown Homes is proud to present “The Emerald”! This stunning floor plan provides all the necessities for a perfect lifestyle. Stop by or call today to view our newest gem.

living area: ......................2,499 Garage: ................................534 lanai: ...................................164 Entry: .....................................51 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,248

Base Price

167,400

$

Directions: Hwy 200 west to address on Right License# CRC053151

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

196,500

$

Without Lot

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT BY INSTALLING A WATER CONDITIONING SYSTEM IN YOUR HOME

Hard water causes lime scale to build up throughout your water using appliances and plumbing fixtures. It causes spots and streaks on your dishes, leaves hard water soap scum on sinks, tubs, and showers as well as laundry, shortening the life of your appliances and increasing energy usage. Call Adams Water Conditioning at 369-3416 For Free Water Water Analysis

SQ UA RE FOOT OF CA RPET

FROM $1.50 SQ. FT.

Free!

QUALITY YOU CAN FEEL, A DIFFERENCE YOU CAN TASTE AT A PRICE YOU CAN AFFORD!

301 N.W. 27th Ave • Ocala, FL www.adamswater.com • emailsales@adamswater.com

Scan this code with a QR reader from your mobile app store or visi tigressatales.com.

special® financing* tigressÁ products only

HURRY — SALE ENDS APRIL 15!

Visit tigressatales.com

select hard surface products

2615 SE 58th Ave., Ocala, FL (352) 624-2010 | www.CarpetOneOocala.com HOURS: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm | Sat 10-5 Sun CLOSED

* Subject to credit approval. See store for details. At participating stores only; not all products at all locations. Photos for illustrative purposes only. Not responsible for typographical errors. Offer ends 04/15/12. Offers cannot be combined with other discounts or promotional offers and are not valid on previous purchases. Buy one square foot, get one square foot free offer only applies to select products as indicated, and discount is reflected in the featured sale price. © 2012 Carpet One Floor & Home®.

quality aftsmanship quality, craftsmanship, action, satisfaction, omer satisf customer cust honesty,, caring,, honesty value, value, caring ethical, dedicated, dedicated, able, d gIteAll wle k n oThat Says excellence excellence, attention egrity to detail, work integrity, rated. top rated. dedicated, top dedicated,

The Name

Our ULTRA-PROTECTIVE microfiber technology weaves softness and strength together.

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CARPET AS STAIN-RESISTANT AS IT IS SOFT I rreally eally w wanted anted a ssoft, oft, ccomfortable omfortable carpet, but my husband works outside all day. So I knew I needed one durable enough to weather stains, too.

State Certified – CBC1258151

Top rated in Angie’s List.com and Kudzu.com


HOME

2

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“The Don Calais” by Dream custom Homes of citrus

Award winning design, stunning Master Suite with luxurious Shower, gorgeous Family Room, unlike any other seen. Great open floor plan to fit todays lifestyles. This home has 3 bed, 2 bath, and a 2.5 car garage.

Subdivision: Kingsland Country Estates 11640 SW 49TH avEnuE, Ocala ~ 352-438-0334 www.dreamcustomhomes.com

living area: ......................2,233 Garage: ................................570 lanai: ...................................266 Entry: .....................................87 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,156

Base Price

Directions: 200 South to SW 103rd Street turn left at the light. Go to SW 49th Avenue and turn right. Go 1/2 mile and the model will be on the right hand side. License# CBC1252582

153,900

$

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

188,000

$

Without Lot

Dream Custom Homes

The Don Valencia w/Cabana

Winner of Over 60 Awards

Starting $ At

214,900

*

Living 3,505 Garage 659 Lanai 495 Entry 78 Total: 4,737

CITRUS MODEL CENTER • 6378 W. Pine Ridge Blvd. Pine Ridge (352) 527-7171 • www.dreamcustomhomes.com License # CBC1252582

*price on your lot


Homeownership Can Bring Big Savings at Tax Time Francine A. Johannesen, CEO of Marion County Building Industry Association As the April federal income tax filing deadline approaches, millions of Americans are sitting down and sorting through dozens of forms to determine how much money they owe Uncle Sam – or, how much of a refund they will get this year. One of those forms, the Mortgage Interest Statement Form 1098, can mean big savings for home owners at tax time. Form 1098, which home owners receive from their lenders, shows the total amount of home mortgage interest paid during the year. Home owners who itemize their federal income tax deductions can deduct 100 percent of their mortgage interest payments on a first or second home for up to $1 million of mortgage debt. They can also deduct the interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity loans. For most home owners, this means they can deduct ALL of the mortgage interest they’ve paid on their home each year. The ability to deduct home mortgage and home equity loan interest isn’t the only tax benefit for home owners. The three most important sources of tax savings for home owners are: • Deductions for mortgage interest • Deductions for real estate taxes • The capital gains exclusion for the sale of a principal residence Home owners are also able to deduct the state and local real estate taxes they pay each year on an owner-occupied home. When it is time to sell a home, in many cases home owners don’t have to pay capital gains tax on the profit from the sale. Under present law, married couples who have owned and

occupied their principal residence for at least two of the past five years do not have to pay any taxes on the first $500,000 in profits from the sale of their home. Single filers earn up to $250,000 tax free. Another deduction home owners may be able to take is for mortgage insurance premiums. Generally, people who purchase a home without putting 20 percent down have to buy mortgage insurance, and those premiums can also be deducted from taxable income. Even home owners who don’t use the home as their principal residence and rent it out may be able enjoy some tax benefits, including interest and depreciation deductions. Buying a home offers tax savings that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over several years. Home owners rely on the mortgage interest deduction each year to help offset the costs of homeownership and prospective buyers take the deduction into consideration when choosing homeownership over renting. But the mortgage interest deduction, which has been included in the tax code for about 100 years, is in danger. A national deficit commission has proposed reducing or eliminating the deduction as part of a restructuring of the tax code. Find out more about the threat to the mortgage interest deduction, and read “The Tax Benefits of Homeownership,” a study from economists at the National Association of Home Builders that provides specific examples of savings for a variety of income levels and ownership situations, at www. SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com.


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“The Princeton Crown” by center State construction, Inc.

You will love this best seller! This gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bath features a fabulous gourmet kitchen complete with granite counters & rich wood cabinetry, crowne molding, tile floors, stone exterior, loads of extras included in the price .. also available in 5 Bedrooms

living area: ..................... 2,500 Garage: ................................527 lanai: ...................................218 Entry: .....................................95 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,340

Base Price

234,900

$

Directions: Hwy 441 South to SE 31st Street turn east (left) model is approx. 4 miles on the left License# CGC1511237

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

234,900

$

Without Lot

HOME

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Subdivision: Deer Path Estates 6307 SE 8TH lanE, Ocala ~ 352-694-4929 www.murphykaufmanbuilders.com

“Tavilla II” by Murphy Kaufman Builders, Inc.

Large and Upgraded Kitchen Plus Master Bath, covered lanai, has summer Kitchen with Built-in Gas Fireplace Entire Home is one level and Handicap accessable.

living area: ......................2,661 Garage: ................................609 lanai: ...................................234 Entry: .....................................89 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,584

Base Price

Directions: SR35/Baseline Rd. To Se 8th State Road (entrance to Deer Path) to SE 63rd Court Rd. turn right (entrance to Deer Path Estates) to SE 8th Lane turn right, model home on your right License# CRC058277

3251 SE 31ST STREET, Ocala ~ 352-694-5022 www.centerstateconstruction.com

279,900

$

With Lot

as Shown Selling Price

299,000

$

With Lot


HARP 2.0

Facts You Should Know

Late last year the administration announced changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The HARP program is designed to assist homeowners in refinancing their mortgages – even if they owe more than the home’s current value. In other words, HARP allows you to take advantage of current market rates even if you are “underwater”. Nine (9) out of (10) eligible homeowners fail to take advantage of this government program. If you are current on your mortgage, with or without equity, then you could be eligible for this program. The changes were designed to reach a greater number of families that had previously been denied from taking advantage of record low interest rates. Although the government sponsored programs have admittedly impacted fewer families than expected, these changes can help quite a few. More

homeowners in states like Florida that suffered significant declines in value can now benefit from the program. So what did they change? In a nutshell they have removed “loan to value” ratios from the equation. Whereas before your loan could not exceed 125% of the current value of your home, now that ratio is not even calculated. You can owe $300,000 on a $100,000 home and still possibly qualify. Homeowners must be current on their mortgage and have good payment histories to qualify, so this is no bailout. This is the much needed reward for those who have done the right thing and kept their payments current even though their mortgage rates were much higher than current rates. There are certainly other limitations that will prevent this from benefitting as many homeowners

as it should. Your loan must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Also those who have second mortgages on their homes may find it difficult to qualify because those loans will have “resubordinate” or stand down to the new refinanced first mortgage. Historically, and illogically, second mortgage lenders have not been accommodating. Also, many of the details to the program are still in flux. Income and credit standards (besides the ontime payment requirements) are supposed to be relaxed, but individual lenders can apply “overlays” (more stringent guidelines) in order to protect themselves from having to buy back loans that go bad. If you feel this program can help you, contact your current servicer or you can call 888-995-HOPE for the HARP hotline. You can also visit www. harpprogram.org to find out more. ■

10 HARP Eligibility Facts as of November 11, 2011 1. Your loan must have been backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. 2. You must have made mortgage payments on time. for the last 6 months, and at least 11 on time in the last year. 3. There is no loan-to-value restriction for fixed rate 30-year loans. (HARP ARM loans are limited to 105% loan-to-value.) 4. The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio MUST be greater than 80%. 5. No appraisal is required for the HARP. 6. Your HARP loan can include closing costs. 7. Your income will not be verified by the HARP refinance program unless your new principal + interest payment increases by more than 20 percent. 8. You do not have to refinance through your current lender to apply for HARP. 9. You cannot consolidate mortgages through HARP. 10. If your mortgage has LPMI (Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance) you are HARP-ineligible.


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HOME

5

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“Windemere Special Edition” by curington contracting, Inc.

Raised Ceilings, Crown Molding, Coffered Ceilings, Screen-Enclosed Inground Pool, cambria Solid Surface Kitchen countertops, 3/4 acre lot With underground utilities, Gorgeous legendary Trails Subdivision in SE Ocala

Subdivision: LEgENDARY Trails 7830 SE 25TH avE, Ocala ~ 352-401-9707 www. curington.com

living area: ......................2,454 Garage: ................................513 lanai: ...................................309 Entry: .....................................60 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,336

Base Price

Directions: From Ocala - South on 441 to SE 80th Street (Sheriff Substation) turn right to Legendary Trails (1/2 mile on right) to SE 25 Avenue License# CGC014568

241,300

$

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

398,400

$

With Lot

TV Anytime, Anywhere TV Online lets you watch your favorite shows right from your laptop. Schedule a DVR recording from your smartphone with the FREE Mobile Connect App. Plus, enjoy On DEMAnD and over 1,000 HD choices at home.

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Faster Performance Rated “Fastest in the nation” by PCmag.com and now even faster to power all your Internet–connected devices.‡

Unlimited Calling Savings every day with unlimited local and nationwide calling including Canada. Plus your favorite features to manage services at home or on the go.

Call 866.961.1125 or visit cox.com/learn today! ‡Reprinted from www.pcmag.com August 31, 2011 with permission. ©2011 Ziff Davis, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Available to residential customers in Cox areas. Telephone: Telephone modem equipment may be required and will be provided by Cox at no additional cost. Telephone modem uses household electrical power to operate and has battery backup if electricity is interrupted. Telephone service, including access to e911 service, will not be available during an extended power outage or if the modem is moved or inoperable. Cox TV Essential plus a digital receiver and Advanced TV subscription required for On DEMAND. Cox does not charge extra for HD programming from the channels in your Advanced TV subscription. Mobile Connect available for a free download via Android Market or Apple App Store for Android OS 1.5 or higher, iPhone and iPod Touch running iOS 3.X+. Mobile Connect service available to Cox Florida/Georgia Residential customers. Full features of the Mobile Connect app require subscriptions to Cox Advanced TV with DVR service, Cox Telephone, and Cox High Speed Internet with cox.net email address. A data capable wireless device is required and a data plan from your wireless provider is recommended. Wireless charges may apply. TV Online: Available to residential Cox TV customers. Access limited to Cox TV subscription services. Not all content may be available. Additional limitations may apply. ©2012 Cox Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


HOME

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Subdivision: White Oak Village (Cala Hills) 1720 SW 27TH PlacE, Ocala ~ 352-347-1888 www.marcopolobuildersinc.com

“Nile” by Marco Polo Builders, Inc.

Classic Architectural style with impressive craftsmanship is features throughout. This home features European charm in a family friendly design. a few of the home’s “Wow” features are custom built cabinetry, wood beamed ceilings, tray ceilings with extensive crown moldings, a gourment kitchen, a dreamy master suite and warm hardwood floors. Stop by and see many more unique and innovative ideas incorporated in this home! Directions: Heading West on SW 17th Street from Hwy 301, left on SW 19th Avenue Road, left @ SW 21st Circle, Right @ SW 18th Avenue, left @ SW 27th Place. House on Right License# RG25658

living area: ......................2,684 Garage: ................................771 lanai: ...................................262 Entry: .....................................82 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,779

Base Price

299,900

$

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

514,500

$

ThouSAndS of AcreS In Your BAckYArd!

Select the builder of your choice for our spacious 3/4- to 1-acre lots. www.legendarytrailsocala.com • Linda Siemens Realty (352) 427-1501

With Lot


Map

Your Parade of Homes ‘12 Tour ™

SubdiviSioN

co M PA NY N A M E

ModEl NAME

1

Triple Crown Homes, Inc.

The Emerald

North West

2

Dream Custom Homes of Citrus Inc

The Don Calais

South East

3

Center State Construction

The Princeton Crown

South East

4

Murphy Kaufman Builders, Inc.

Tavilla II

Deer Path Estates

South East

5

Curington Contracting

Windemere Special Edition

Legendary Trails

7830 SE 25th Ave

South East

6

Marco Polo Builders, Inc.

Nile

White Oak Village (Cala Hills)

1720 SW 27th Place

South East

7

Bennett Construction Services, Inc.

The Lexington “Casa Del Sol”

Lexington Downs

10532 SW 27th Ave

SEcTioN

ENTRY #

North East

AddRESS

7179 SW Hwy 200 Kingsland Country Estates

11640 SW 49th Ave MINEHEAD 3251 SE 31st WStHWY 3

630741SE 8th Lane

28

RAINBOW LAKE ESTATES

Find your way around the 2012 Parade of Homes™. This year we have 7 homes that are located in Marion County. Our map is designed to help you easily navigate your way to each of these homes. The MAP is an overview of the participating40models in the 2012 Parade of Homes™. It should be used as a guide to RAINBOW FALLS the overall area. For more specific locations and directions please turn to the builder’s individual entry.

Also enjoy an online virtual tour of our virtual entries by utilizing the Internet. Visit the entries marked

VIRTUAL ENTRY

to see what else the 2012 Parade of Homes has to offer. TM

WY

WH

40


MARTIN

500

NE 97 ST RD

NW 95 ST

25

NE 90 ST RD

NW 77 ST

ZUBER

315

326 W HIGHWAY 326EMATHLA

BURBANK

ANTHONY

KENDRICK

27

RD

ITC NW HT ON

441

RD

RD

GE

CO L

464

SW 17 ST 441

SE

500 CAMP ROOSEVELT

35

M

AR

AM

P

3

RD

20 FL

301

475

35

E RD 19 AV SW

Y

RD

SW

P

HW

AM

7

SE 80 ST

IC

200

AR

328

SHADY

35

467 27

475A

SW 16 AVE

SW 49 AVE

SW HWY 484

0 20 Y HW

SE 36 AVE

SW

475

S

AK MARION O

N RIO MA KS L OA

R

EH

WY

475A

SMITH LAKE

25

301 BELLEVIEW HEIGHTS 4

SE HWY 48

SE 135 ST

27

467

475

NO

25

SE 1

441

DANKS CORNER SE HWY 484

SW 145 ST

MA

25A

484

WY

484

SE 110 ST

SH

MARION OAKS

T RD

10 S

BELLEVIEW

2

SW CR 484

SILVER SPRINGS SHORES

M

0

5 S MAGNOLIA AVE

20

SANTOS

SE

SW 27 AVE

SW 66 ST

AVE

1

484

SE CR-314

4

0

SW 60 AVE

SW 80 AVE

SW 17 ST

IC

6

SW

E SILVER SPRINGS BLVD

25

200

SILVER RIVER STATE PARK

SE 58th

SW 140 AVE

NE 14 ST

AVE

LE

200

475A SW 38 ST

314

35

SE 58th

HW

315

40

NE 7 ST

W SILVER SPRINGS BLVD

0 Y4

SILVER SPRINGS

NW 10 ST

OCALA

OCALA INT'L AIRPORT

W

NE 35 ST

OCALA

BL

OCALA RIDGE

40

326

301

NW 60 AVE

NW 80 AVE MARTEL

AV E

NE 35 ST

500

225A

40

70

E NE 58 AV

YORK COTTONPLANT

E AV

E

SE 36 AVE

NW

70

N

200

NE 25 AVE

AVE

225A

NW 110 AVE

NW 11

0

464B

441

NE 70 ST OAK

JACKS ONVIL LE RD /200A

27

FELLOWSHIP

328

326

301

26

NW 44 AVE

WY

NE H

R3

SH

W AN THO NY R D

WS

NU

WY

W HWY 326

SE C R-31 4

NW HWY 225A

NW 100 ST

LAKE WEIR SUMMERFIELD

SE 145 ST

Map Key South east Section South West Section


HOME

7

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The Lexington “Casa Del Sol”

Subdivision: Lexington Downs 10532 SW 27TH avE, Ocala ~ 352-861-2300 www.LoveYourBuilder.com

by Bennett construction Services, Inc.

Imagine a home with no electric bill. In addition to our standard high quality construction and finishes, this model was designed as a “Net Zero” energy efficient “green” home with upgraded insulation, windows, geothermal Hvac and solar panels.

living area: ......................2,635 Garage: ................................871 Patio: ....................................348 Entry: .....................................32 Sq. Ft. Total: ......................3,538

Base Price

Directions: From SR 200 go South on SW 27th Avenue/CR 475A about 6.5 miles. Gated Entrance to Lexington Downs will be on your right. License# CBC060122

194,997

$

Without Lot

as Shown Selling Price

303,894

$

Without Lot

Buying a home? Call April Fontana

((352) 352) 817 817-3574 -3574

“Your Neighborhood Realtor” Sales • Foreclosures • Rentals • Free Home Inspection when you buy a home through me • Expert Negotiating Skills • Find your home in less time • No down payment for qualified buyers

Free MLS home search @ www.fontana4you.com

• Up to 12 month construction period. • Fixed rate options available. • Six Marion County locations for your convenience.

You Can Contact Our Main Switch Board By Dialing

(352) 368-6800

Colette Fortin,

Mortgage Originator


L O V E Y O U R P L A N Selling Tips for Home Buyers LOVEYOURHOME LOVEYOURBUILDER OUR CLIENTS DO!

Francine A. Johannesen, CEO of Marion County Building Industry Association

VISIT OUR

GREEN NET-ZERO DESIGN

MODEL HOME

Understand what Net-Zero Energy means and how this model was designed for optimum energy savings with a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, solar panels & other products and features built into the home. 10532 SW 27th Ave Ocala 34476

Saturday March 17th 2:00 PM

House #7 Parade of Homes 2012 Tour

Photo By: Abbegale Bennett

FREE PRESENTATION

on NET-ZERO ENERGY DESIGN & GREEN CONSTRUCTION Saturday March 17th @ 2pm • Everyone Welcome 10532 SW 27th Avenue in Lexington Downs Hear the Builder, Jim Bennett, the Homeowner, and industry professionals speak about this home and the products and features involved. Construction Lendors will be present for questions regarding today’s lending market.

Presentation Sponsors

✦ Romac Lumber & Supply Inc. ✦ YKK Windows ✦ SunCoast Insulators ✦ Blue Chip Energy

BennettConst.com

LoveYourBuilder.com

Call (352) 861-2300 Call (352) Watch Videos & Client 861-2300 Testimonies Online!

Watch Videos & Client Testimonies Online!

There are incredible opportunities to buy a home in today’s market. Interest rates are near historic lows, prices are more competitive than they’ve been in years, and there is a large selection of homes available for sale to choose from. Whether you would like more space to accommodate a growing family or less to better suit an empty-nester lifestyle, the current buyer’s market makes it an ideal time to make a change.

But what if you have to sell your current home before you buy a new one? While the buyer’s market means when you buy your new house you will be able to get more for your money than a few years ago, it also means you will have to make sure your existing home is presented in its most attractive light in order to attract bids from potential buyers. Here are some tips to help you improve your chances of attracting a buyer: Start with a realistic price. Thoroughly research what homes comparable to yours have sold for in the past year, as well as what the asking price is for the homes that are currently for sale. If you are working with a Realtor, they can do this for you. A price that’s too high may keep your home on the market so long that buyers will assume there are problems. Curb appeal is critical. Some prospective buyers never get out of the car before deciding that a run-down house is not for them. Keep your lawn neatly mowed and seed bare spots, mulch all the garden beds and plant colorful annuals, and paint or touch up fences, trim and the house itself, if it needs it. Fix anything sub-par that’s visible from the street. Clean, clean, clean. From the minute buyers arrive at your front door; make sure that everything they see is super clean. Put out a new welcome mat. Thoroughly clean carpets, floors, baseboards, curtains,

windows, and especially all the surfaces and appliances in your bathrooms and kitchens. Repaint the walls if they are scuffed or stained.

Don’t forget odor. The home should both look and smell clean and welcoming. Open windows in good weather to encourage fresh air to circulate. Use scented cleaners or air fresheners. Some sellers even pop a batch of cookies into the oven or simmer spiced cider on the stove if they know a potential buyer is coming.

Make sure everything works. Fix everything from the merely cosmetic such as burned-out light bulbs, to things that could raise red flags with buyers such as broken sink disposals and leaky faucets. If you don’t fix it, their home inspector will find it. Clutter kills sales. Make sure beds are made, toys are put away, bookshelves are neatly organized, and counters are cleared of personal items. If your house is too full—and that includes attics and basements— prospective buyers will have trouble visualizing their furnishings and possessions fitting in the space. Consider temporarily moving some furniture or boxes to the homes of friends or family, rent a storage facility, or even have a yard sale. Prospective buyers can see that buying a house that’s already attractive and in good working order will make their lives easier—and could help you get into the home of your dreams that much sooner. ■


Celebrity designer celebrates the sights and scents of spring Kelli Ellis is an interior designer for all seasons. But when spring rolls around each year, she is truly in her element. An award-winning celebrity interior designer, textile designer and design psychology expert, Ellis’s work is everywhere, from television (as a featured designer on TLC’s “Clean Sweep,” HGTV’s “Takeover My Makeover,” and Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Orange County” as well as guest spots on NBC, CBS and ABC) and the Web (as eHow.com’s interior design expert) to print media (as the monthly design advice columnist for the Orange County Gazette). Known for her love of flowers and floral design, Ellis also serves as a spokesperson for the Society of American Florists. For Ellis, spring offers endless opportunities to update and refresh interior spaces with touches of color. While she always recommends starting with a neutral foundation that includes walls and major pieces of furniture in shades of white, beige or brown, Ellis loves to add seasonal flourishes by changing up accents and accessories. “With a neutral foundation,” explains Ellis, “you don’t have to invest a lot of time or money to refresh. Once you have the basics -- those pieces of furniture that you absolutely love and will stand the test of time -- the sky’s the limit in terms of changing accents such as valances, pillows, rugs, candle holders -- even the matting on a picture. A neutral foundation opens the door to a new look with minimal changes.” According to Ellis, one of the best -and easiest -- ways to add seasonal color and refresh a living space is with fresh flowers displayed in a variety of containers. Fresh flowers not only enliven a room and bring in the sights

and scents of the outdoors, they are perfect for playing up color and color combinations. “A lot of people are afraid of color in their decor, so a less scary way of introducing color is with flowers and vases,” Ellis notes. “Fresh flowers can go with any type of decor and generally last as long as your mood, so there are endless opportunities to experiment without making a longterm commitment.” Decorating with flowers begins with choosing a container that is in sync with the season and the style of your home, counsels Ellis. “There are so many container options for every type of decor,” Ellis says. “If your home leans toward country, think about using old decanters, tins or even wooden boxes. For contemporary homes, glass vases with clean lines work best. And for traditional homes, go with urns or ornate vases.” The same principal applies to the flowers themselves. Mixed flowers tend to be more traditional; bunches of local flowers lend a homey, just-picked quality to a casual or country home; and monochromatic arrangements ooze modern. The key, notes Ellis, is to pair flowers with both their containers and the indoor environment in which they will be seen. Next comes color. While Ellis leans toward monochromatic arrangements of white flowers -- stargazers, lilies, roses and orchids are among her personal favorites -- she nevertheless appreciates the “pop” of color that can be achieved with bolder blossoms. When choosing flowers for a particular spot or room, Ellis advises looking at complementary colors -- those that are on the opposite side of the color wheel. For example, if the walls are

a warm shade of yellow or gold, a container filled with blue flowers, such as hydrangeas, delphiniums or sapphire orchids, makes a bold statement. And in the green room? Try flowers in shades of purple and violet. “I think the greatest thing in the world is to bring your own vase or container to the florist and ask for something special that works with it,” she reveals.

“Not every florist has a vase that suits your taste or will work in a particular spot, so I take in my containers and say, ‘I want something blue.’ Then I’m both surprised with the result and certain that it will work with the decor.” To learn more about Ellis and her latest projects, visit her online at kelliellis.com


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Finding a Everyone interested in buying a new home wants to find a quality house built by a professional. Professionalism is a concept that is difficult to explain, but “you know it when you see it.� There is no single definition of professionalism, but there are certain principles that a building professional will practice. Building professionals believe homes should be welldesigned, well-constructed and well-located in attractive communities with accessible education, recreation and shopping facilities. They feel a strong responsibility to their customers and their communities. Honesty is their guiding business policy, and they believe in dealing fairly with their customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers. They try to build high standards of health, safety and sanitation into every home. An important indicator of professionalism is whether the contractor belongs to their local building industry association. Becoming a dues-paying member of such groups usually means a builder is an established member of the community. Through the Marion County Building Industry Association and the National Association of Home Builders research is encouraged to develop new materials, building techniques, building equipment and improved methods of home financing so that home buyers receive the greatest possible value for their money. The quality of a new home will, in large part, be determined by the skill of the building professional who constructs it. You should shop for a builder as carefully as you shop for the features of a home. You are not just buying a structure when you buy a new home, you are buying a package of services; the quality of those services will have an important affect on your enjoyment of the home. Do not rush through the process of choosing a building professional. Set a reasonable timetable for your search, and do not make your decision until you feel comfortable about what you are doing. You will be in frequent communication with your builder during the construction process and after you move into the house, so try to choose a builder with whom you will feel comfortable working. For most people, buying a new home will be the largest single purchase they will ever make. So, make sure you buy it from a qualified professional builder.


Qualified Builder Advantages of owning a new home For quality, value, safety and convenience, a new home will be one of the smartest purchases you will ever make. There are many advantages to purchasing a newly constructed home. ■ New home warranties: Options available for new home buyers range from specific warranties by individual builders to thirdparty limited insured warranties against major structural defects. Manufacturers of new products and appliances in a home offer warranties as well. ■ Lower maintenance costs: Buying a new home eases the nagging questions of, “How long before it breaks down?” With a new home, the answer is simple - a substantially longer period when you are the first to use it and are establishing its history of use. ■ Floor plan options: Builders of new homes often have a range of floor plans from which to choose. Builders also offer the ability to upgrade materials, or eliminate or add rooms or walls as may be requested by the buyer. ■ Low financing opportunities: Securing financing is the biggest headache for most home buyers. Typical questions buyers have include: “Am I getting the best rate?” “How much are my closing costs?” “Will I need an inspection before I can get a loan?”“Where do I go?” Most homebuilders have done the legwork for buyers. They’ve worked with a variety of lenders, negotiated the best rates for their types of housing and have convenient service policies. ■ Choice of interior and exterior finishing: A new home makes it possible for buyers to be the decorators before moving in without the cost of searching for and replacing the finishes as they would in a resale home. With a new home, it may be possible to make selections for things such as carpet style and color, wall coverings, appliance colors, lighting fixtures and exterior paint colors.

Francine A. Johannesen, CEO of Marion County Building Industry Association

■ Favorable pricing: Competition among home builders to provide the very best value makes new homes less likely to be overpriced. Buyers can compare features, benefits and options with other new homes on the market to determine the ultimate value of a new home.

■ Home site selection: Being able to select a home site is an important as selecting the type of home that suites a buyer’s needs. Homebuilders often have a selection of home sites that may be on a corner, near a lake, culde-sac, green belt and many other locations.

■ Value appreciation Homes: Like any purchased product, have a life expectancy. Statistics say the typical home will need remodeling after 25 to 30 years. Since new homes have a longer life, appraisals are generally higher than on a comparable existing homes, making conditions favorable at the time of resale.

■ Energy efficiency: A home built today must, by law, adhere to stricter energy codes than homes built in years past, when such codes either did not exist or were more lenient. This translates into a direct savings to home buyers.

■ Modern appliances: Appliance manufacturers introduce new models every year, and home builders are able to offer the latest, state-of-the-art equipment at the time of completing a new home. Because home builders pay for entire inventories of homes, they can purchase appliances at a lower cost and then pass those savings on to home buyers. An added benefit is that new appliances come with full-term warranties.

■ Latest in building materials: Low maintenance is one of the most important features to today’s home buyer. Buyers don’t want to worry about painting every three to five years. New technology in building materials has made it possible for homes in the 1990s and beyond to require less maintenance, especially on the exterior of the home. If you are looking for a qualified professional builder, call the Marion County Building Industry Association at 352-694-4133 or visit them at www.MCBIA.org ■


Opportunity Knocks for Home Buyers Homeownership is an important part of the American way of life, and there may never be a better time to buy than today.

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[ FRESH ] Home Exterior Colors The thing to do before painting the exterior of your house is to choose a color that you like and that makes your house stands out in the neighborhood. The task of selecting an exterior paint color is no easy task and often involves a lot of things to consider as you definitely want to do it right the first time. The following will show you how to do it right the first time and what to consider when choosing exterior paint colors for your home. Look Around Houses in the Neighborhood Drive around the neighborhood and check on houses with paint colors that catch your sights. You don’t have to copy the exact exterior paint colors, but you might want to make sure your colors don’t clash with them. Besides, pay attention to any geographical background for your house. If your house has a background of lush greenery or a mountain, you might want to take into consideration of this feature when choosing the right exterior paint colors. Also it’s recommended to look into the surroundings of your house such as if there is any gravel in your driveway or vegetation around. The color at the paint store will always look excellent but it’s not always the case when it’s painted in your house. For example, brown color may look heavenly at the store but it may clash with the color of the soil or vegetation. Take Season into Consideration You definitely need to take season into consideration when picking the exterior paint colors for your house. It’s especially necessary for houses in places with seasons. The rule of thumb is to select a paint color that will blend well with the longest season of the year. For instance, think about how the landscape will look if

you live in areas with a lot of snow. You might want to go with exterior paint colors that will look brighter and stand out in the event of a snowing season. Don’t Skim the Cost Consider the exterior paint colors for your house a long term investment. Never go cheap or select low quality paints. Most people will think that they can just paint it over again if they don’t like the color. Imagine the work involved and the money wasted. This might be able to be applied to interior of your house. The exterior areas of the house require high grade paint and sometimes scaffolding might even be used before painting starts. Pick a high grade and quality paint for the exterior of your home. Never rush into making decision. Take your time and choose a color that you will be able to live with and love for years to come. Consider the Bigger Picture Before starting the painting, think of how your house will look when taking the entire area into consideration. Consider everything in the surrounding such as the background, your neighbor houses, the trees, gardens, the landscape and the porch. The reason of doing this is to make sure the color of your choice for the exterior of your house will not have an overwhelming effect after it’s painted. A lot of people have overlooked this issue. Even the most neutral shade can be overwhelming when done on masses. Use More Than One Color You might want to use a few paint colors for the exterior of your house such as one color for the trim, another for the shutters and a different color for the door. A single

neutral color might make your house looks dull and similar to everyone else in the block. A rule of thumb is to paint your front door a color that is entirely different from the rest of your house. Use bright color to create contrasting effect. Besides, try to bring in color in the landscaping and flowers. Words of Advice Be there before the entire exterior of the house is painted. Observe if the painted color is within your expectation. Make you see the house before the entire area is painted. Things might look different when it’s painted even though you have chosen the perfect color. This is to ensure that it’s not too late to change the color if it’s not what you want. You could still come up with a plan of action before the entire house is painted with color that you don’t like. ■

Top 10 Dream Home Features If you were given a chance to design a dream home, what features would you choose first? 1 Curb appeal. Home exterior, driveway, and landscaping must attract admiring attention. 2 Concrete and natural stone, rather than wood framing and brick. These homes are not only beautiful, they are stonger, more sound resistant, and far more energy efficient than wood frames and brick.

3 Maximum energy efficient throughout from top to bottom.

7 A sunroom, a front porch, and a backyard finished patio.

4 Solar panels in the roof to generate a personal energy source.

8 Vessel sinks, or freestanding bowls above the bathroom countertop, accompanied by wall-mounted faucets.

5 A large, designer kitchen with natural stone countertops and futuristic appliances, cabinetry and waterworks. 6 Natural hardwood flooring like Brazilian cherry and sustainable bamboo.

9 Bedroom walk out or balcony. 10 Designer bathtubs and walk-in shower with marble tile, a seating bench and rainfall showerhead.


The Value of Homeownership Homeownership is An Enduring Goal Since our nation’s first days as a newlyfledged republic, homeownership has been a cherished ideal. Reasons as diverse as our population have impelled generations of Americans to work hard and make the sacrifices necessary to own a home. That’s because the benefits of homeownership are many. Perhaps most important is that owning a home provides an unparalleled sense of well-being, security and achievement. Moreover, homeownership has always been – and continues to be – the single best long-term investment for most Americans. It is a primary source of wealth and financial security for many households, helping to provide for education, retirement and more. Even in the wake of the Great Recession with its severe housing market crisis, Americans continue to value homeownership. Almost all (95%) of the people polled in a survey* conducted earlier this year for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) by a nationally-known polling firm said they are happy with their decision to own a home. That sentiment held true even among people whose homes are “under water.” Eighty-three percent of those who owe more on their mortgage than their home’s current value said they are happy with their decision to own a home. The nationwide survey of 2,000 people who are likely to vote in the 2012 elections also found that a significant majority – 75 percent – think owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make and is worth the ups and downs of the housing market. Among people who don’t currently own a home, 73 percent hope to own a home in the future, the poll found. Homeownership Generates Jobs and Strengthens the Economy Just as homeownership provides many benefits to individual families, it also

benefits the nation. Whenever new homes are built, new jobs are created and a permanent source of ongoing revenue for local, state and federal government springs to life. Just consider: building 100 average single-family homes creates 305 jobs and generates more than $23 million in wage and business income as well as $8.9 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments. The employment impacts are broad based, extending far beyond the construction workers employed directly to build the homes. Jobs are generated in the industries that manufacture and supply the many products that go into building the home. They are also created when real estate agents, lawyers and brokers provide services to home builders and home buyers. And the benefits don’t stop there. When 100 families move into new homes, they spend $740,000 more than usual on appliances, furnishings, and property alterations, creating a further economic stimulus. In normal economic times, fully 17 percent of the nation’s economy relies on housing. Equally important, new homes are “Made in America.” Most of the products used in construction are manufactured right here at home in the U.S. by our countrymen. Attacks on a Principle that Americans Hold Dear Despite the many benefits that homeownership provides for families, its potential to create millions of jobs and its value to the nation’s economy, it is under attack. Policymakers are pushing for sweeping tax code changes that could prevent millions of families from ever setting foot on the homeownership ladder. Some of the proposals under consideration include eliminating or reducing the mortgage interest deduction and the

deductions for property taxes and the interest on home equity loans. This would hurt those who have played by the rules and sacrificed to get to where they are today, and it would send shockwaves through the economy. Although detractors claim that the mortgage interest deduction primarily benefits the wealthy, younger households and middle income home owners are actually the biggest beneficiaries. Abolishing or limiting the mortgage interest deduction would also inflict serious damage on millions of middle-class home owners and the struggling housing market by further depressing home values. Ultimately, it would force more current home owners under water and increase the number of foreclosures while preventing potential home owners from getting a toehold in the market. Indirect But Equally Damaging Some of the other threats to homeownership may be less visible, but certainly are no less damaging. A number of members of Congress support abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ending the federal backstop to housing. This would immediately drive up the cost of long-term financing and destabilize the housing market. A reliable supply of affordable 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage financing is essential to a vibrant housing market, and Congress should ensure that the federal government plays an appropriate role in keeping mortgages readily available and affordable for America’s working families. Another little known threat comes at the hands of federal regulatory agencies charged with defining a“qualified residential mortgage” for secondary market purposes. The proposed minimum 20 percent downpayment would quickly become the nationwide standard and would put homeownership far beyond the reach of most first-time home buyers and middle-

class households. NAHB estimates that it would take 12 years for the typical family to save enough money for a 20 percent downpayment on a median-priced singlefamily home; other research indicates that it could take even longer. Low-downpayment mortgages have been originated safely for decades and are not what drove the housing market crisis. Irresponsible lending and subprime, no documentation and other alternative mortgage products were largely to blame. Prudent underwriting standards that ensure that buyers can afford their mortgage – not draconian downpayment requirements – are what the market needs. The Administration and regulators must acknowledge this fact and offer a plan that ensures a safe and healthy mortgage market and keeps low-downpayment options readily available. The Bottom Line Despite the housing market crisis and economic uncertainties, Americans continue to value homeownership. That’s a lesson that elected officials would do well to remember. The NAHB poll also showed that 73 percent of all respondents – both owners and renters – believe the federal government should provide tax incentives to promote homeownership. And across the political spectrum, more than half – 57 percent – said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. As the debate over housing policy unfolds, it is crucial to ensure that homeownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent and affordable housing remains a national priority. * Note: This national survey of 2,000 likely 2012 voters was conducted May 3-9, 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C. It has a margin of error of +2.19%.


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Parade of Homes 2012