Ben Simanton, MBA ABR GRI, owner agent of RE/MAX Optima, has seen his share of ups and downs in the real-estate market during his tenure as a Seminole County Realtor. At present, a booming seller’s market has taken hold, and Ben advises would-be home buyers to understand the challenges the present marketplace creates.
“I can’t stress how important it is for buyers to work with an agent right now, especially first-time home buyers,” says Ben. “Most homes that become available will have multiple offers. You have to know the process of bidding wars. Being a buyer in the market today means you are in a bidding war.”
Ben says, with the right agent, bidding wars can be won by simply making the offer attractive.
“All the little things help,” he says. “A clean, tight contract, the type of financing, or a high escrow deposit.”
Ben also emphasizes the significance of having a respected lender and inspector at the ready before making an offer. Ben’s in-house Simanton Group relies on Linda Dana at 1st Residential Funding in Oviedo and inspector Brian Bentley of Pillar to Post Home Inspectors.
“It takes a team to get a transaction done,” says Ben. “We are only as strong as our weakest link.”
Ben lives in Longwood with his wife Inelisa and their two children – daughter Isabel (attending Lyman High School) and son Lucas (at Rock Lake Middle School). Ben is well-versed in the local housing scene, having arrived in the Orlando area in 1989. He specializes in the 434 corridor, serving Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo, and Altamonte Springs, from his centrally located office on Red Bug Lake Road in Oviedo.
Ben says the inventory of homes during the current seller’s market has been down every month for the past 18 months, and prices continue to rise. That’s why buyers need to remain diligent.
“I know it is difficult to buy right now, and it is hard to get financing,” Ben says. “But if you wait, you will pay the price. Stay in the game.”
As prospective buyers work toward finding that perfect home, Ben says a bit of caveat emptor – buyer beware – advice is in order if the home has been remodeled.
“What’s under the lipstick?” he asks. “The quality of remodeling has gone way down. Buyers need to be cautious of the pretty picture.”
Paint overspray, mismatched light fixtures, and uneven baseboards are all warning signs.
“An experienced agent can pick up on those things,” says Ben.