Avalon Park couple gets ‘love letters,’ cruise invite before selling home to cash buyer in 2 days

New York buyer never saw home in person

Within just two days, Avalon Park couple Jenny Berger and Richard Ortega sold their home, not knowing how far buyers would go to seal the deal.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Within just two days, Avalon Park couple Jenny Berger and Richard Ortega sold their home, not knowing how far buyers would go to seal the deal.

Within those two days, the couple held two open houses, which included 80 showings, 25 offers, 15 so-called “love letters,” personalized TikTok videos and even an offer for a five-day cruise.

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“We sold for more than what we wanted for, we sold super fast,” Ortega said. “There are people just you know over-bidding by 10, 20, 30, 40 grand.”

Ortega, who is a real estate photographer, noticed how hot the market was for seller’s right now as demand for housing is an at all-time high. According to the Orlando Realtor’s Association, the number of houses on the market from May 2020 until May 2021 dropped 61% with only about 2,800 homes up for sale.

That drop in supply causes demand to sky rocket and drives up the median price of a home in the Orlando real estate market to more than $300,000.

“One offer even came with a cruise,” Berger said. “A decent offer.”

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home was listed at $389,000 and went for offers as high as $475,000, the couple said. They ultimately went with an all-cash offer from a buyer in New York who didn’t even see the house in person.

“We listed it at $398,000 and we got an offer at $430,000, no contingency,” Ortega said.

“The person who bought it, bought it through FaceTime. They haven’t even seen the house,” added Berger.

It’s not surprising to Tansey Sodersterom, the incoming president of the Orlando Realtor’s Association.

“The housing market has been strong, but not anything like we have seen now,” Sodersterom said. “A lot of homeowners are coming from different states, they sold that home and had cash and they are coming down here with that. They are coming from California, Texas, New Jersey, all over and this is their new home.”

Meaning it’s the buyers who are losing out, especially those first-time homeowners or those with VA loans, as she said cash is king right now.

For those buyers out there, Sodersterom advises to be patient, be ready to put offers on a lot of homes and be prepared with all of your documents and a realtor who is ready to act fast in this Boomtown market.

“I don’t think prices are going to go down, I don’t think we are in a bubble,” she added. “But I do believe this frenzy will subside. It’s starting to get to some kind of normal. I think by the last quarter it will be better.”

For an upcoming episode of Solutionaries, we want to highlight the people or organizations who are fighting for change and working to solve the housing issues in the Orlando area.

To find those people, we’re asking for your help.

Fill out the short survey below, or click here if you can’t see it, to let us know who in the community is at the forefront of this issue. We also want to hear your take on the situation, how it’s affected you and what you think needs to change.