7 Restaurants That Locals Keep Secret

There are plenty of fantastic places to eat all over Palm Beach. Then, there are the places that are so great that the locals don’t want to share them. Here are our picks for the top 7 Palm Beach restaurants that the locals don’t want to share!

HiWay Burger

Located in downtown Delray Beach, HiWay Burger is the place to go if you are in the mood for a burger and shake at an affordable price. The establishment is a mix between a fast food outlet and a burger shack and offers a simple menu with incredibly low priced options. In fact, nothing on the menu is priced over $5.50.Some of the most popular items include the “Triple Hi Cheeseburger” and the hand-cut fries.

Sheila’s

If you are up for a Bahamian treat, Sheila’s Famous BBQ, Conch & More is the place to visit. Conch is a particular specialty at this establishment and is served in the authentic Bahamian way. Located in Lake Worth, Sheila’s is a fantastic place to enjoy conch and other delightful seafood options at affordable prices. The family run joint is famous in Palm Beach for its authenticity.

Bangkok Jam

Bangkok Jam is a much loved establishment featuring stylish décor and delicious Thai staples such as spring rolls, steamed dumplings and Pad Thai. Located in Royal Palm Beach, the establishment is adored by the locals for the great service and delicious food. Located in a hidden spot, the restaurant features a large menu with reasonable prized offerings. Fun fact – the local Thai monks have been seen at Bangkok Jam.

Taco’s Al Carbon

Once, a food truck, Tac’s Al Carbon is now a late night eating spot located in Lake Worth. Featuring an affordable menu, this is where you should come if you are craving authentic tacos. At about $5.00 for a meal, this is a great place for tortas, tamales, tacos and burritos.

Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill

This aptly named establishment is the place for those who love the Palm Beach lifestyle. Being boat and pet friendly, the Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill is a great spot to grab a drink and to enjoy a delightful meal right from your boat. Some of the favorites include the fried shrimp and the peanut butter pie. You can also enjoy a fresh catch with a gorgeous view.

Seaside Deli

Located in Boynton Beach, Seaside Deli has been a favorite spot for sandwiches for about 20 years. The tiny deli features a selection of over 35 sandwich varieties along with delicious sides and salads. Seaside Deli also offers about 150 varieties of beers, sodas and drinks to suit just about any craving. One of the top sellers at the deli is turkey, roast beef, cheese and bacon sandwich with coleslaw and potato salad.

HotDog-Opolis

HotDog-Opolis is a great place to grab a hot dog that is definitely not boring! The restaurant is located in Boca Raton and features a selection of specialty hotdogs such as Asian mustard, gyro and Korean. The sausage selection is as diverse as the hotdog selection. With wildboar, elk, pheasant, buffalo and duck among the options, you will have plenty to choose from. As with many of Boca Raton’s affordable eateries, HotDog-Opolis is also easy on the pocketbook!

 

Simplify Moving With These Easy Steps

Most people associate relocation with stress, drama and complications. In reality, with a little bit of planning and a lot of consideration to organizing, relocation can be simple and stress-free. Here are some great ideas to simplify your move.

Start planning as early on as possible

A mistake that most people make is waiting until the last moment to plan a move. In reality, there is a lot to be done when you have to move and starting early can save you from a great deal of trouble.

Set up a realistic budget

Before you settle on one mover, obtain quotes from three or more moving companies and then compare them. Don’t settle for the lowest quote as that might not be the best choice. If you are simply setting up the budget, add the highest quote amount to allow plenty of room for changes later on. Be sure to consider the costs of packaging materials, additional services from movers, as well as storage and disposal during the budgeting stage.

Choose a reliable mover

While renting a moving truck and DIY moving is definitely an option, you will have to consider whether you can actually handle all the packing and the heavy lifting. Even with the help of friends and family, you may have trouble with large and bulky items. The best option if you are dealing with large pieces of furniture, small openings and valuable items, is to hire a professional mover. A mover will be able to guide you on the right track and ensure safety of your belongings during transportation.

Sort out your belongings

In reality, you don’t have to take everything to your new home. You may have to give up some of your clothing, personal belongings and even furniture depending on the size and layout of your new home. Be sure to take plenty of time to go through your belongings and to sort out everything that you need, as well as anything that can be sold and anything that can be given away. It is quite normal that you may have things that don’t fit into any of these categories. In this case, you may want to consider responsible disposal or recycling. Remember, the more belongings you take with you, the higher your moving cost will be.

Pay attention to proper packing

A great cause of stress for homeowners is whether their belongings are going to reach their new home safely. The best solution for this problem is to make sure that everything is packed with care. Invest in proper packing materials, such as cardboard boxes, tape, bubble wrap, newsprint and packing peanuts. Your movers will be able to help you with large items and valuables. Make sure that you label everything that you pack yourself so that the movers know how to stack everything to prevent damage during the drive. Moving insurance would also help, especially if you have valuables such as antiques, art and expensive items.

Celebrity Homes in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County is home to many socialites, billionaires and Hollywood stars. The beautiful weather, laid back lifestyle and gorgeous homes are no less attractive to the rich and famous. Here are some famous celebrities and their multi-million dollar properties in beautiful Palm Beach County.

Adam Sandler – $910,000 Condo at Ocean Boulevard

Famous comedy actor Adam Sandler bought a luxurious 8th floor condo for his mother. Located in Highland Beach, the beautiful condo is worth just under a million dollars. The condo offers a gorgeous view of the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as direct beach access.

Bill Gates – $8.7 million house in Wellington

Bill Gates, the Microsoft tycoon and the second richest man in the world, owns a beautiful Mediterranean style equestarian residence at a price of $8.7 million. Located in Wellington, the home is occupied by Bill Gates’ daughter, Jennifer Gates. Spread across over 7,000 square feet and featuring a 20 stall barn as well as a show jumping arena, this is the perfect home for Jennifer who aspires to be a jumping rider.

Ariana Grande – $2 million house in Boca Raton

The lovely Ariana Grande was also a resident in Palm Beach County. Her 7,590 square foot property had five bedrooms along with a music studio, sauna, observatory, swimming pool and an outside gazebo. Located in Les Jardins, a highly sought after gated community in Boca Raton, the property went up for sale in 2013 at a little over $2.3 million.

Celine Dion – $20 million mansion in Jupiter Island

Celine Dion’s $20 million mansion spans across over 9,500 square feet and is built on a 5.7 acre land. Containing an underground garage, eight bedrooms, 460 square foot wardrobe and a gym, the mansion is famous for its water features. The property features a lavish pool system that takes up to 500,000 gallons of water. The pool system includes two swimming pools, a river with a slow current and two water slides. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the property is located in Jupiter Island, one of the wealthiest communities in the country.

Venus and Serena Williams- $2 million home in the Ballen Isles Community

Venus and Serena Williams, both professional tennis players, live in the prestigious Ballen Isles community in West Palm Beach. The home prices in this stylish community range from $275,000 up to $3 million. Located in a plot that is just less than one acre, the Williams’ property includes four bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a swimming pool, spanning across 11,000 square feet. The house was originally purchased for $525,000 in 1998 and then completed in 2000.

Donald Trump – $10 million Mar-A-Lago mansion

The historic Mar-A-Lago mansion, constructed in 1924, was willed to the government as a historic site. The property was then sold to the business mogul at $10 million in 1985. Donald Trump lived in this lavish mansion for a decade before converting it into an exclusive club. Featuring 58 bedrooms, 12 fireplaces, 33 bathrooms and three bomb shelters, the mansion is a luxurious property that is now available for members to spend the holiday season.

 

Things to Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important parts of any house. Therefore, remodeling it could add a great deal of value to your home. However, you do it right! Here are some important considerations to keep in mind before you remodel your kitchen.

Set up a budget first

No matter how big or small your remodeling project may be, you will have to start with a proper budget. The first step should be to make a list of the changes that you need to make. Out-of-date appliances, old wiring and leaky plumbing are very important problems to fix. Be sure to put any cosmetic changes last if you have significant structural issues to fix. If your kitchen is extremely out-of-date, you may want to consult a trusted expert to figure out what needs to be done. Once you know the extent of your project, you can set up a budget.

Opt for quality materials

If you are removing old elements and adding new ones, be extra cautious about the quality of the materials. Cupboards and drawers, in particular, are frequently used. Building them out of a quality material will ensure long term use. Instead of particleboard and stapled-together pieces, look for real wood for better results. As for the interiors of cabinets, you will get better use out of wood veneer in comparison to cheaper alternatives such as laminate, melamine, particleboard or MDF.

Go for an elegant countertop

The countertop matters a great deal when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. By changing this element alone, you can give your kitchen an instant facelift. Look for quality materials such as white marble or stained wood for greater elegance and a sense of warmth. You can also try limestone, slate, soapstone if you are interested in natural materials. If not, even plastic laminate with a wooden edge can work well if you are going for a more modern and sophisticated look.

Choose energy-efficient appliances

If you are replacing your appliances, be sure to consider energy-efficient options. These will work wonders for reducing your energy expenses and will make a fantastic selling point if you decide to put your home on the market. Of course, you will need to go for a reliable brand and obtain warranties to make sure that you get the most of these appliances.

Be careful with your measurements

Before you choose appliances, cabinets and other elements, make sure to take accurate measurements first. Any new element that you plan on introducing to your kitchen will have to be carefully measured for maximum convenience, as not to clutter the space. Proper measurements can help you save a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Do Backyard Swimming Pools Add Value to a Home?

If you live in a warm area such as South Florida, you may feel inclined to introduce a backyard swimming pool to your home. Not only does it make the summer months a little bit cooler, it could add value to your home. After all, don’t most multi-million dollar celebrity homes have swimming pools? You may also think that a buyer would love the idea of soaking up the sun in his or her own private pool. However, if your main focus is adding value to your home, then a swimming pool may not be the best option.

The average in-ground swimming pool costs about $25,000. Before you add this amount to your current home value, consider a few important factors. There are situations where buyers actually shy away from buying a home because it has a swimming pool. Of course, in an area such as Florida, a pool is often an asset. However, several other factors come into play if a buyer wants a home with a pool. Regardless of the climate, not everyone is going to be willing to spend the time or money on the upkeep of a swimming pool.

Many real estate experts agree that the addition of a pool is not the best option financially if you’re trying to add value to your property.  There is no guarantee that a pool will fetch great returns for your investment. In the best case scenario, your home value will rise by about 7%. Of course, if you attract the right buyer, a pool can greatly enhance your home’s value as well as its appeal.

For instance, if you live in a high-end neighborhood full of high priced properties and other homes with swimming pools, you may have trouble selling your home without a pool of your own. In this case, you will have to choose a pool that fits in with the rest of the neighborhood to attract buyers. You also should consider the availability of space. You don’t want a pool that takes up the entire yard, leaving little to no room for gardening and other things. Additionally, you have to be willing to take care of the pool until your home is sold.

Overall, backyard swimming pools do add value to a home. While a couple with babies may not consider your home due to safety concerns, an older couple with no children (or grown-up children) may decide to make an offer.

 

Mortgage Application: Rejected

Many people find their mortgage applications rejected and their chances of buying a home limited. Frankel Realty has already discussed some common factors that lead to mortgage application rejection. Here are some more common reasons that mortgages are rejected.

Not having adequate money to close escrow

While getting the seller to pay the closing costs is definitely an option, there is no guarantee that your particular situation will allow it. If you wish to purchase a house, it is generally recommended that you be prepared with the money for the down payment and the closing costs. In some cases, gift money is acceptable. While most loan programs require the gift money to be given by a blood relative, exceptions are sometimes accepted. The gift money has to be sent directly to escrow instead of your main checking account. Since your main account is likely to be used to pay bills and to manage expenses, sending the gift money there will make it appear as though you are spending the down payment. Nowadays, it is customary to set aside at least 3.5% for the down payment and an additional 3% for the closing costs.

Your expenses exceed your earnings

If you are carrying huge debts and living off credit, then this is going to be a substantial roadblock on obtaining a mortgage loan to buy a home. In reality, your debt payments have to be as low as 5% for you to be eligible to obtain a mortgage. Anything bigger than this amount can limit your chances of borrowing the amount you need or borrowing at all. All of your existing debts such as car payments, leases, credit cards and student loans will count when the lenders are assessing your borrowing capabilities. The idea is to make sure that you are able to manage the mortgage payments properly without facing financial trouble. The more debts you have, the less money you will have to pay the mortgage and this makes you a greater risk for the mortgage company.

Unrealistic expectations

This is another common cause for mortgage applications to be rejection. You will need to have an estimate or at least an idea on how big a mortgage you can qualify for. Your level of affordability is calculated by taking various factors into account and it is very important that you comprehend your spending limits before entering the process. While you may think you can afford a larger home with a bigger mortgage, your financial records may state otherwise which can make your lender decide to not approve your application.

Understanding what can ruin your chances of getting a mortgage will help you make sure that everything is in order before you apply for one. Additionally, it will also help speed up the process. Be sure to start the process with research and to prepare your best case for the best results.

West Palm Beach: Antique Row

The famous West Palm Beach Antique Row is one of the most popular shopping districts in the area. Featuring more than 40 shops with an exciting selection of antiques from the 17th – 20th century, the Antique Row is a great place to spend a day if you are in West Palm Beach. The Antique Row is considered Florida’s Antique Design Center and has been ranked 34th for the best shopping destination in the U.S by Conde Nast Traveler.

Running north-south from Belvedere Road to Forest Hill Boulevard, the Antique Row strip is about 8 blocks and features great antique stores. It is the epicenter for those who wish to explore American Victorian antiques. Even if you are not looking to buy, these shops are like a step back into the old Victorian age. The Antique Row strip has seen some considerable change during the past few decades. In addition to the fascinating antique stores, the strip now features a selection of cool bars, coffee shops and plenty of fantastic restaurants. Whether you are a resident or an antique-loving traveller, the Antique Row is fully equipped to make sure that you are presented with all the right amenities to enjoy a full day of shopping and relaxation in the area.

If you are on the lookout for great places to find valuable, unique and beautiful pieces for decorating an interior, then the Antique Row is the right place to look. In fact, some of the world’s most renowned interior designers have been shopping at the Antique Row for more than three decades. If you are on the lookout for beautiful, museum quality pieces of furniture for just about any part of your home, art, light fixtures, lamps, fabric, rugs and tiles, Antique Row is fully equipped to fill your needs. A few hours’ strolling in the area will present you with a diverse selection of eclectic pieces that range from previous century relics all the way to art deco items. Of course, if you are looking for bargains and great deals, schedule your visit from May to November during the off-season period.

In reality, Antique Row is often seen as a place for wealthy shoppers due to the famous, exclusive stores. However, there are plenty of great vintage and thrift stores scattered throughout the strip. Regal Vintage is one particular store that comes highly recommended by shoppers and visitors for costumes and other vintage clothes. As for thrift stores, the ARC thrift store is a great choice featuring great finds for those who are on a budget.

The things you can browse and buy at Antique Row come in a diverse range. From clothing and home décor all the way to eclectic ornaments, lighting and even masks, the selection is wide and varied enough to appease anyone. If you are up for an exciting day and a different shopping experience, be sure to head on to Antique Row and you will not be disappointed.

 

Low Cost Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is one of the most important things when it comes to buying or selling a house. Even if you are not planning on putting your home on the market anytime soon, making an effort to maintain curb appeal can help you get the house ready easily when the time comes. Here are some easy and affordable ways of enhancing curb appeal.

Apply fresh coat of paint

Paint doesn’t cost much and painting your exterior elements such as the front door, shutters and trim can instantly create a brand new look that can do wonders for your curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint can definitely make a dramatic change in the exterior of your home and even make it appear all new. Be sure to stick to your current color scheme or to choose a color that matches the rest of the house for better results.

Install new house numbers

If your house features it’s address number on an old, faded plaque or sign, then you may be able to make a noticeable change by upgrading the numbers. Look for modern designs that are made to last. Brass, stainless steel and aluminum are great choices for a more contemporary look. For an even greater effect, add your house numbers in the same material as your exterior light fixtures.

Plant some trees

This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add curb appeal to any home. Plants make a great long term investment by providing privacy, beauty, fruits and shade. In an area such as South Florida, the weather is ideal for growing a variety of different plants. However, be sure to consider the size of the tree and the location before you plant it. A large tree would be ideal when planted in such a way as to frame your house while small bushes would look great lining the garden or even the driveway. While planting a tree doesn’t take long, it will definitely fetch long term benefits.

Clean, repair or replace exterior light fixtures

Exterior light fixtures are another important element that directly affects your curb appeal. Exterior lights can be effectively used to make your house safer, highlight interesting gardening elements and to line your driveway. Making sure that your existing fixtures are clean, functioning or replaced at the right time will make a noticeable change in the appearance of your home.

Consider outdoor seating

Outdoor seating is a great option to help  you and your guests enjoy your garden to the fullest. In warmer climates, these are a welcome addition to any home so that residents can enjoy the weather and to take advantage of the outdoor space. While additions such as a gazebo may be a bit pricy, think of adding some affordable garden seats and an umbrella for shade. To make your investment last longer, be sure to choose weatherproof furniture.

Common Closing Problems & How to Avoid Them

Many home buyers and sellers breathe a sigh of relief when they reach the closing stage of a real estate deal. However, there are some things that can still go wrong.

Incomplete paperwork

This is a rather common mistake made by buyers and sellers. It is very important to work together with the realtor to complete the paperwork and to review everything before the closing date. Supporting documents such as identification, bank statements, and mortgage approvals all need to be in order before the closing date to prevent any further delays.

Unclear title issues

If there are shady areas on the title, it could mean many long term problems and expenses for you in the long run. Failing to hire a title company to conduct a title inspection during the escrow process can delay your closing process. Be sure to obtain a title insurance policy to protect yourself from any claims to the property in the future. If any claims on the property do arise, you will have to wait until they are completely resolved before the transaction can go any further.

Problems discovered in the final walkthrough

A final walkthrough is a must! It will have to be done within 24 hours of closing so that you can be assured that nothing has changed since the home inspection or if the seller has done any requested repairs and has left the home in a ready-to-move-in condition. Be sure that the seller has not left any personal belongings unless they are a part of the contract and that all appliances work properly. If any problems are discovered during the final walkthrough, they will lead to a delayed closing.  Make sure that you alert your real estate agent immediately if any problems are present.

The buyer doesn’t have enough money to close

The amount of money needed to complete the closing has to be disclosed before the date so that the party who is paying it will have time for any necessary arrangements. Since the buyer is responsible for the closing costs in most cases, it is very important that the buyer is made aware of the costs with plenty of time left. It is quite normal for this payment to be made via a cashier’s check. Therefore, be sure to set the closing date without interfering with banking hours as a precaution.

Last minute changes

It is possible for the seller to back out or for the buyer to rethink their decision at the last minute. The contract will have justifiable reasons where the buyer or seller can back out without having to pay penalty charges. However, there are cases in which the buyer has found a better house or the seller has timing issues to vacate the premises, in which case there will be penalties for the affected parties.

Rent to Own: How the Process Works

For many hopeful homeowners, rent-to-own is one of the best options. Also known as a lease-to-own house, the process is comparable to a car lease. The renters agree to pay a specific amount each month to live in the house and at the end of a set period of time, they can buy the house. The rent paid each month is broken down into the seller’s income and the down payment to buy the house. Rent-to-own is a great option for people who are not yet financially prepared to buy a home. This type of arrangement allows them some time to prepare their finances and to save money for a down payment while still living in the home that they like.

Rent-to-own contracts are different from one another.

In fact, no two contracts are considered to be alike in a rent-to-own situation. While some may think that the process is as simple as paying rent for a few years and then buying the house, there are certain terms and conditions to be met. For starters, the buyer pays the seller a one-time, non-refundable fee known as the option money that allows them the option to buy the house later on. In some contracts, the buyer is given the right but not the obligation to buy the house after the expiration of the lease. This means that the buyers can actually choose to not buy the house after the lease period in this case. It is very important that the contract is carefully clarified and vetted by a real estate attorney.

The rent-to-own contract will have to specify the time and the method of determining the house’s value.

In some situations, the buyer and seller agree on the price (a higher price than the current market value) at the time when the contract is signed. There are other cases where the buyer and seller make arrangements at the time of lease expiration. What most buyers try to do is to lock in the purchase price as early on as possible if the home values appear to be rising. The lease term usually lasts from one to three years with the rent paid each month. A percentage of the rent payment goes toward the purchase price. Buyers have to be confident in their ability to be ready to buy the house when the lease term reaches its end. If not, they will be at a loss. If the chances of getting a mortgage are still slim at the end of the lease period, they ought to consider renting with a regular lease to build credit and to save for the down payment.

The potential buyer is often responsible for the property’s maintenance and any repairs depending on the contract terms. Additionally, they will also have to pay property taxes, insurance and HOA fees. Even in situations where the seller bears these costs, the buyer should be equipped with a renter’s insurance policy to provide liability coverage and personal property losses.

While this is a great way for a buyer lacking the financial capacity to buy their dream home to actually make plans to own it, there are certain risks to consider. For instance, a buyer can lose their money if they are unable to buy the property at the end of the lease term. Therefore, it is a must that a buyer is aware of each and every part of the contract.

Frankel Realty Group follows the letter and spirit of the Equal Housing Act, and is a member of the Northern Palm Beach County Board of Realtors, the Florida Multiple Listing Service, and National Board of Realtors.  Thomas Frankel is Broker of Record.   Frankel Realty Group and all of its affiliated agents are licensed as either brokers or salespersons by the Florida Real Estate Commission.  Copyright © 2013 Frankel Realty Group, All Rights Reserved. The name Frankel Realty Group and its logo and design are trademarks of Frankel Enterprises or its affiliates.

 

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