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Contestants Revealed for the Home Makeover Contest! Make Your Vote!

This Contest is sponsored by The Wemert Group, Josh Velazquez with Waterstone Mortgage, DeWine Design, and Insight Magazine.

Thank you to everyone who entered our Home Makeover Contest. It was a pleasure to hear your stories and see the before and after photos. The awe-inspiring struggles that each of you have hurtled through updating your home, in effort to ultimately make your home better for your family, is definitely worth a relaxing vacation to a Marriott of your choice! At The Wemert Group, Waterstone Mortgage and DeWine Designs, we are so thankful to be in a business where we get to share in the joys of our community’s families and the impact their homes have on them.

We have chosen the following five entrants as candidates for voting on our Facebook Page. Here, you will be able to see the full story that each Entrant has written, and all the before and after photos for each Entrant. Voting begins now, so just log into Facebook, and visit our Facebook Page at To make your vote, please LIKE the entry that you feel should win the prize! The entrant with the most LIKES, will be the winner. We will be announcing the winner on February 2nd on our Facebook Page, at 12 noon.


There’s an old saying that “God sometimes takes us into troubled waters, not to drown us, but to cleanse us.”  This has proven to be true over and over again, we just didn’t know that we would be dealing with ACTUAL troubled waters.

Our little family of three knew we had found our “forever home” as soon as we stepped foot on the property with the guidance of Jenny Wemert and Susan Ballou from The Wemert Group.  Yes, the landscaping was insanely overgrown and hadn’t been cared for in many years.  Yes, the home was decorated with antiques and all sorts of Amish nick-knacks.  Yes, EVERY SINGLE wall and ceiling of the home (interior and exterior) was a different shade of green.  Yet, we knew with a few minor tweaks here and there, this would be the home where we would watch our daughter grow from pre-school to high school.  This was the home where we would watch evening sunsets over the EastWood golf course from our rocking chairs on our front porch. This was the home that was just minutes away from my parents’ home in nearby Stoneybrook. This was the home that was only stone’s throw from my favorite Publix supermarket. Everything was going to be perfect in our “forever home”…or so we thought.

Shortly after closing and moving in, the Florida “rainy season” that we are all too familiar with began.  It rained hard and it rained often.  It rained morning and night.  Each and every time it rained, our entire pool deck/patio and yard would flood, and I do not mean a few puddles.  Water would come into the home under sliding glass doors.  Muddy water from the unkempt landscaping would overflow directly into our pool turning it a lovely shade of greenish-black.

This happened so often to the point that our daughter would cry every time it rained that our house was flooding and that she hated our new pool because it could never stay clean enough for her to go swimming.  Hours after hours, weeks after weeks, months after months we spent pulling out bushes, digging self-made drainage ditches, installing sump pumps and gutters, dumping hundreds of dollars of chemicals into the pool, and enhancing the pool deck drain.  After threatening legal action for failure to disclose pre-existing severe flooding/drainage issues, we were able to obtain a small settlement from our sellers to help us have a proper drainage system professionally installed.  On our evenings and weekends with the help of family, we worked to completely revamp all of the landscaping on the property, installed a fence, laid new sod, and had the entire exterior of the home professionally painted.

With the exterior of the property finally in functional-capacity, on the interior of the home we steadily made minor changes; changing paint colors and decorating each room one by one, transforming the home into our own modern, simple style.

Again, with the help of family, we also spent a weekend self-installing a glass mosaic tile backsplash in our kitchen to modernize the home and give it a more contemporary, but classic look.  Things were good; we were loving our home and surely, but steadily making it our own.

Then a flood happened…AGAIN.  Only this time, it was a slab leak in our master bathroom.  How could this be?  We had just spent so much time and so much money correcting the exterior from water damage and issues.  We had always thought that at some point down the road eventually, we would update our master bathroom.  Yet, now our hand was being forced yet again to make instant corrections/updates to keep our home livable and avoid flooding issues.  So much for the minor tweaks we thought the home only needed.  The home that we envisioned spending our lives in was quickly turning into a money pit all because of uncontrollable water, outside and now inside our home!

We were told by the plumbers that we had only two options to repair the slab leak: 1) replumb the entire home since it was found to have polybutylene pipes or 2) tear up our travertine tile floors to make a repair where the pipes burst.  Keep in mind, the tile floors were one of the first things that drew us to the home…they were simply gorgeous and covered the entire home except for the bedrooms.  In my mind, tearing them up was not an option, especially with the risk of further plumbing issues down the road.  As such, within 24 hours, we had baseboards and cabinets removed, huge, noisy drying units in place, and holes in EVERY SINGLE room in our home where the plumbing was being replaced in the entire home.  My daughter’s playroom or bedroom weren’t even immune, as the plumbing had to be run through the walls to the nearby kitchen and bathrooms.

After a week without running water and “camping” indoors, we had beautiful brand new functioning pipes in our home.  We also now had a mess of patched walls all over the home.  As such, the various shades of green that once graced every inch of wall/ceiling were freshly painted in neutral taupes, whites, and blues.  Our “realtors for life” and friends at the Wemert Group once again came through for us, referring us to an outstanding tile installer to focus on the Master Bath.  It had to be completely renovated as to repair the plumbing damage meant that all of the pre-existing 1980s 4-inch white square tiles had to be removed.  The redwood cabinet vanities were now a clean white, along with brand new baseboards.  The bath and shower tiles were completely redone and updated to a simple, yet modern 12×18 matte white tile, a glass mosaic accent, and brushed nickel fixtures throughout.

As with any homeowner, we still have a long list of updates and repairs as we continue to make this our forever home sweet home.  We just hope and pray that the rest of these home improvements come on our own terms and that we can avoid any additional troubled waters along the way.



















Why did you decide to make this renovation?

My wife and I had the privilege of working with The Wemert Group at the sell of our original home and the purchase of our new home. We purchased the property with the understanding that my wife and I would like to grow into the home with a family eventually. The home was in great condition but definitely was in need of upgrades. Our goal is to give the house a modern, warm, country feeling. How are we supposed to fit all that with our different interests in colors? It’s a challenge that we both enjoy.

How has the renovation made your home an even better place to live? 

The fresh paint and even newer wood floors give us a sense of comfort that we have been wanting in a home. It’s rewarding when we can relax on a Sunday morning with the dog (Princess) with a cup of coffee.

Did you live in the house during the renovation?

Yes we did.

Did you do it yourself or use contractors?

The demolition was self performed but being a General Contractor is very helpful when it comes to construction as the installation was by Mostro Remodeling. The guys did an incredible job and was in/out in one day.

Tell us any details you’d like to include in your story that sets you, your family, and your remodel apart. 

The journey of selling our first home to purchasing a new home was far from normal. In December 2013, my wife and I decided that we wanted to down size from our first home of 2,600 SF that was located in Winter Garden. The sell of the home was difficult due to competing with the builder and also due to the property having a high water table which was not allowing the property to drain effectively. We lost a few buyers who were sold on the home until the drainage concern was brought to their attention. Once the news was shared with the buyers, the buyers discontinued any interests in the property. After badgering the HOA, land developer, and home builder, we were able to get a solution for the drainage. The solution was to install additional french drain parrell to the property and divert the water to the main storm sewer system. Being a General Contractor, I have a very good idea on how long something like this takes and the process in getting the activity to occur. Long story short and 3 months after a solution was provided, we had another bite on the property with the exception that the drainage was resolved prior to the buyer moving in on May 22nd 2014. My wife and I agreed to the terms based on a verbal agreement from the land developer who was going to remediate the drainage. As the final week was approaching for the buyers to move in, their agent indicated that the drainage had to be fixed as agreed which I knew at this time was not going to happen. Two days before the proposed closing date we received a call that the couple would close on the home and would move in the home in two days as long as we agreed to additional terms that the drainage will be address as per the new agreed date or we will give the seller $2,500. My wife and I scrambled to load a two story home with two U-Hauls trucks by ourselves. Talk about being aggravated! When I asked the buyers why such short notice, they told me that they were always going to close on the property and did not know their agent was telling us differently. Shortly after the closing, the drainage was repaired.

Once we had confirmation on the closing and had to be out in two days, my wife and I had no where to live and were technically homeless. With the help of Jenny Wemert and her staff, they were able to help us out. We rented a home from one of their clients that was selling their home and was located out of time. We rented the home for 5 months until we found the home that we are in now.

Now that we are finally moved in and have recovered from all the brain damage, it makes me very happy to know that we had The Wemert Group behind us 110% and literally opened their doors to us when we needed it.








And so begins my story……

married …divorced …remarried to the same person..oh! 3 children…16,15,12 .. 2 dogs….and a very BUSY schedule

We had been looking for a house for a year. We owned a home in Eastwood that my husband bought after we were divorced. It was perfect for them but after I moved back in and the kids got bigger it got smaller. One kid driving with a two car garage that really is one with all the stuff we have, and another kid a few months away from getting a car we really needed a bigger house and a house that we could call home as a family… a new fresh start for all of us.

After looking and looking and almost giving up we found on the same day, 2 houses we liked.

COMPROMISE… I wanted the house in Waterford with the big kitchen fully done, they wanted the house in Eastwood because everyone wanted to stay in this neighborhood.

Soooooo I gave in . One thing, first and for most, this house needed a kitchen! And that’s what got remodeled!!!

We rented out our other house so we had a month from the time we bought this and the time the renters were to move in. WELL guess what that month was… December, the busiest month of the year. I knew I wanted the kitchen done before we moved in. I had no idea where to start so I called a friend… whom I knew had cabinets painted years ago. “DeDe Asprey,” she says “Use her, she is amazing!” And she wasn’t kidding. Dede’s talent in painting and building my dream kitchen was about to unfold…

As the house was set to start, my daughter who does some modeling got sent out of town for 4 days the week of starting. It became very hectic and I was very stressed. With 2 kids at home, me gone and husband working, no one was around. Let’s just say if weren’t for DeWine Design and the amazing people working I don’t know how we would have made it.

Don’t forget it’s Christmas time. No tree… No lights… No gifts for kids… No house… lot’s of tears.

In the end, I can’t tell you how happy I am and how much this remodel means to me. This is our house from the heart, a place to call home, to live and grow in. We turned this house into our own.  This remodel changed our lives for all the right reasons. Family dinners, big breakfasts on the weekends, and a great place to gather with friends and family.

It’s what I call.. HAPPINESS: meaning~ good fortune, pleasure, contentment, JOY. (to say the least)

The secret to happiness, it turns out , may not be wealth or power… it may be a NEW KITCHEN!!!





Finally!  After all the stress, hard work, and dedication…our home is now “home sweet home”.

More than just a dream house… for our family this is a new beginning in so many ways.  They say moving is one of the most stressful things in life… try selling a home, moving in to a temporary apartment, purchasing a new house, and to put the cherry on top… remodel and makeover too!  Thank goodness our project is complete.

Talk about a budget! Our budget was very tight… and with some unforseen situations… even tighter. We found our bank owned house that needed much love to make it right.  New paint, new countertops, new light fixtures, new appliances, and the list goes on! We could not afford to contract anything out… so we took a week vacation and starting making things happen all on our own.

I will never paint a house this big again!  It took us at least 5 days to paint but boy was it worth it!  The house started to look amazing already with the new paint and color scheme. The kitchen cabinets were not the greatest but there was definitely no money to replace those, so we chose to paint the kitchen a dark tone to help the cabinets look better… once we changed the countertops… bingo… the kitchen was a success! New appliances were a must, so we searched specials and gathered coupons to get all new stainless steel appliances for less than $2,000.00.

Our awesome friends and family chipped in a few ways to help. Some helped with fixing up the house, some helped with cleaning, and some helped with giving us furniture that we needed to fill up all the extra space we now have!

Overall we are so thrilled to have this beautiful new home…it’s more than perfect!  We owe a huge thank you to the wonderful Wemert Group for helping us every step of the way… from selling our first home, to helping us find a new home that had the extra space we needed… so much… to finally closing the deal and making us proud owner’s of our dream house in a great location with good schools for our kids.

Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!










Back in March of 2014 we decided to sell our home in SW Florida and move to the Orlando area.  We came across the Wemert Group in our search for Realtors and selected them based upon their ranking in the market.  From there we were fortunate enough to link up with Susan Ballou when we contacted the office.

After visiting several homes, Susan brought us to a listing at 1931 Winding Oaks Drive in Rio Pinar Preserves. We loved the location and the property and were able to agree upon a selling price with the owners. When we had the home inspected we were informed that there was a severe mold issue in the kitchen island, moisture issues along the outside walls due to poor drainage, and other less severe issues. As a result we essentially ended up making over much of the house.

The kitchen island had to be disassembled and removed and rebuilt as part of the mold remediation.  All of the work was performed by people that Susan recommended.  There was a remediation company, a granite company, a person that rebuilt the cabinets, restored the plumbing, etc.  As you can see from the attached pictures it was a very big job.  When all was complete the state was brought in to inspect and approve the work.  Knowing that the mold had been completely remediated gave Nancy and me peace of mind that the house was safe from any health risks that are associated with mold infestation.

The moisture in the foundation required that the foundation was dried and sealed.  This was another big job because of the area that had to be dug up.  In addition we decided to install gutters, downspouts and drainage so that water wouldn’t pool against the house during heavy rains.

Other work that was performed was having the interior of the house painted.  Again Susan recommended a painting company that did a fine job. Some of the rooms required a second and third coat of paint to cover the colors that were on the walls.

As you will see, we also redid the bathroom from the original built in cabinets to vanities with a granite countertop.  We also replaced all of the carpet in the house, had the floor and grout steam cleaned, replaced the fixtures in all of the bathrooms, had the deck around the pool repaired and painted,  had the garage floor sealed and painted, had the duct work and HVAC cleaned, and more.

What I haven’t mentioned is that our primary residence is in the Philadelphia area and we were there (out of state) while all of this work was being arranged and coordinated by Susan and The Wemert Team. We would have never been able to get it done without their help. And their level of professionalism and commitment is such that we never had to worry or wonder about the work or workmanship.

So now we are the proud owners of a beautiful home in a wonderful area in Rio Pinar.






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5 Star Review

My wife and I have done well listening to the advice of Dave Ramsey. We accessed his Realtor ELP (Endorsed Local Provider) webpage and entered our information and plan to sell our home. The Wemert Group was one of the realtors who called and wanted to sell our home. Reading reviews from previous clients, the Wemert Group stood out. It was an easy and quick decision to move forward with them. The entire staff was professional and courteous making all interaction comfortable. The transparency and communication kept us well informed and confident in our decisions. Their insight and knowledge of prepping the home for sale helped for a quick listing and sale. Listed 12/15/14, closed 1/22/15 (and that’s with two major holidays in between). Thank you Jenny, Dave, Danielle, and Suzanne! Best wishes on future business. Dana and I will certainly recommend your services.

-tjlumpkin, Trulia

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Price Improvements on 3 Properties

Have you had your eye on one of these properties? Well, here’s your chance to view them in person. We just made price improvements on these properties. 

Traditional Sale

A gorgeous 5 bed/2.5 bath two-story home, with a peaceful water view, and beautiful screened-in pool. Click on the photo below to find pricing and location info.



This is a great property for the buyer who wants to start with a blank canvas and start from scratch. Although, this property is certainly not a fixer upper, it is a home that you could upgrade and update with your own personal taste. Click on the photo below to see pricing and location info.


Traditional Sale

A fixer upper, find some inspiration in this quant home, that you can renovate, rebuild and remodel. For pricing and location info click on the photo below.

Learn more about these properties! Call us at 407-412-8488 or email us at



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Mortgage Rates are at a LOW! The Time to Buy or Refinance is NOW!

Have you been thinking about the right time to buy? Or maybe you already own a home, and have been tossing around the idea of refinancing… either way, the answer is NOW!

With mortgage rates at a whopping 3.8 percent, now is the time to take advantage of it. That is down from 4.5 percent as recently as last spring, the lowest since May 2013, and far below the 5 percent-plus rates that prevailed in 2011.

This means more Americans will refinance, leaving more money in their pockets as their mortgage goes down. Homeowners who secured their current mortgage in 2011, 2013 or 2014, may want to do some calculating to see if the savings are worthwhile.

The New York Times says, “When considering whether to refinance, you are exploiting the fact that you can fully repay a home mortgage whenever you want and take out a new one. If rates rise, you can stick with your old one as long as you continue to own your home; if they fall, you can pay off the old mortgage and get a new one. Heads you win, tails your lender loses. Seldom in life does this dynamic apply, so it is worth exploiting whenever the opportunity arises.Everyone’s details are different, but if the current rate is half a percentage point below the rate on your mortgage, a refinance is potentially compelling. If it is closer to a gap of a full percentage point, it may be a slam dunk unless you expect to move soon.”

But, keep in mind, taking out a new mortgage comes with costs, such as origination and appraisal fees. So, the question to ask yourself is whether or not you will reap the benefits of lower rates long enough to cover that upfront cost.

Contact one of our top agents now to get the best knowledge and resources in Orlando home buying!, 407-412-8488

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Featured Luxury Condo Home: Knights Run Ave

Unbelievable opportunity awaits just one fortunate new owner at the iconic Plaza, Harbour Island’s most sought after address.

Nearly two long years have passed since a luxury casita has presented itself in this price point, and this may very well likely be the last time we’ll see it. With Plaza’s sale prices reaching close to $2,000,000 in 2014, and with the vision of Jeff Vinik and Bill Gate’s new downtown Tampa becoming a reality, this stunning condominium presents itself as a truly once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Plaza Harbour Island has distinguished itself as one of the finest developments in Tampa Bay history, and is evident from the moment you pull into the valet. Once greeted by the driver and ushered into the South Beach style lobby, you simply must take in the lavish amenities like the roof top infinity pool, country club community rooms, state of the art fitness center, and more. As a resident of the Plaza, your most difficult decisions are how to spend your weekend.

Wake up to a fresh cup of coffee on the large veranda looking over the village boulevard and down to the Garrison Channel. Stroll down the block for a fresh pastry or some lunch on the island. Soak up the sun or bask in the shade of the cabanas by the luxurious pool and spa. Lace up your running shoes for a jog down Bayshore Boulevard. Prefer some excitement? Walk a couple short blocks to Amalie Arena to take in a Lightning game or concert. Take in one of the vast array of restaurants, eateries, and pubs all within walking distance. When it’s time to relax, choose between the lavish club rooms or the comfort of your own living room overlooking the tropical foliage of Tampa’s most elite neighborhood. This is an extraordinary opportunity that may never present itself again. This is your chance….take it NOW.

For all the photos visit:


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5 Star Review- Christine & Danielle

We strongly recommend The Wemert Group! They made our home-buying experience as quick and easy as possible! Our realtor, Christine, was extremely experienced and knowledgeable and acted as an advocate on our behalf whenever necessary. Danielle, who processed all of our paperwork, kept us in the loop and had very quick turnaround times.

-alissaolivo, Zillow

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List, Stage, Sell: Trentonian Court

This gorgeous one-story home, is a sprawl of beauty, with a fireplace, french doors and a pool, this home offers a ton of upgrades, and practical perks. Check out the property listing here.

The below photos are staged with furniture only.



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Home Makeover Contest!

Have you remodeled your home lately? We want to hear from you and give you a chance to win $500 to a Marriott getaway, and a feature story of your family and your remodel in Insight Magazine!

Entries Start NOW through January 25th! This contest open to anyone in the Orlando area. 

Here’s How To Enter:

1.) Send at least 3 photos of your makeover and at least one “before” photo

2.) Tell us the story behind your home makeover:

Why did you decide to make this renovation?

How is your renovation purposeful for you and/or your family?

How has the renovation made your home an even better place to live?

Did you live in the house during the renovation?

Did you do it yourself or use contractors?

Tell us any details you’d like to include in your story that sets you, your family, and your remodel apart. We want to hear YOUR story! **And if we sold you your home, TELL US in your story!**

Email your entry to

See more details in flyer below.

Read the Official Rules click HERE. By entering the contest, you are acknowledging that you have read and understand the Official Rules.

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2014 Orlando housing market ends with 10 percent rise in annual median price, 1 percent drop in sales

Orlando’s 2014 annual median home price finished a healthy 9.61 percent higher than the 2013 annual median price, thanks to a full 12 months of price increases. Sales for 2014 ended 1.40 percent below the cumulative total sales for 2013, the result of monthly sales comparisons that see-sawed dramatically between positive and negative.


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Featured Home: Huntcliff Park Way

**Beautiful Water View Home in Gated Community!**

This home boasts neutral paint throughout, crown molding and more, with great community amenities!

For Pricing and Location Info Visit:

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