Want a Vacation Home? Good Idea! But don’t overlook these costs!

Planning on Buying a Vacation Property? Consider These Costs First!

Owning a vacation property is a great idea so that you can always have a place to call your own at your favorite holiday destination. When you are not vacationing in your property, you can always rent it out and it would make a great investment. However, there are certain expenses that you must consider when it comes to buying a vacation property. Whether you have plenty of money to spare or not, it is very important to be aware of these costs before you make your decision to buy a vacation property.

Property management costs

Managing a vacation rental is not something that you can’t or shouldn’t do. Unlike residential properties that are jointly maintained by the owners and tenants, vacation properties will have to be handled in a different manner. Unless you live nearby, managing it on your own is highly unrealistic. It is very important to have someone to manage tasks such as cleaning, preparation for renters, being on call for emergencies and repairs as well as handing over the keys. If your property has plenty of outdoor space (eg: waterfront property), you will have to keep a landscaping crew at hand to keep things clean and presentable at all times. This is an expense that you must consider when you think of buying a vacation rental. If your property is not managed properly, its value and the interest that people may have in renting it could go down drastically. And don’t forget about those pesky H.O.A. fees.

Cost of furnishings

The rental will have to be properly furnished with good quality pieces to ensure the comfort of your renter as well as your costs for repairs and maintenance. If there are other rentals nearby, your house will have to compete with them to make sure that renters don’t walk away. Good furniture does not come cheap! You will have to put aside a sizeable amount to outfit your place for renters at the start.

Prime time rentals

If you are renting out your holiday home, then you will need to know that you won’t be able to enjoy it during prime vacation times of the year if you plan on covering your cost with rental payments. Peak travel seasons during the year can have renters clamoring for properties in holiday destinations and if you take your property off the market for a personal vacation, you may lose out on the financial gains.

As mentioned earlier, a vacation property is a great investment. However, to make it work, you need to be prepared.

You’ve Purchased a Home, Now What?

Moving in to your own new home is an exciting experience but it is very important to not let the excitement distract you from the things you need to do right after you have moved into your new home. Here are our tips for the Top Things to Do after You’ve Purchased a New Home.

Get the locks changed

This is something that can be done right after the closing is complete. In reality, the old locks are most likely to have access from the realtors, previous owners and maintenance professionals. You can easily call a locksmith and install a new set of locks to make sure the security of your home and your peace of mind.

Clean up the house

Many seers will definitely leave a clean house for their buyers. Some won’t really bother nor have the time. In any case, it is advisable that you hire a professional cleaning service to clean up the whole house from top to bottom. This can not only make your home look great but it can also make you feel great about the house and get it ready for a fresh new start!

Organize your storage spaces

You will need to take your specific storage requirements into account when it comes to organizing the closets and cupboards. If you need special fittings in your storage units, be sure to get them done as early on as possible. This will help you get unpacked faster and to get settled-in sooner.

Service the mechanical equipment

The heating and cooling systems have to work perfectly at your new home. If the previous owners did not do a full servicing on the systems, you will have to make sure that they are working perfectly and to make any necessary repairs.

Install window treatments

While you won’t be able to handle all the windows in your home, you can try to install window treatments on the most important windows to help make things more comfortable by ensuring privacy. This will take some planning ahead as you will need to note down these windows, measure them and get some curtains or blinds made to suit them.

Visit the local stores

Any neighborhood will have a few stores where you can buy your essentials. Be sure to leave some time free to step out of the house during unpacking and to check out the local stores. If you introduce yourself, the store owners would be happy to help you get accustomed to things faster.

Meet the neighbors

While getting your new home to work well with your requirements is a must, meeting the neighbors is just as important. You will need to make sure that you make a great impression and get to know your neighbors as they will be your new friends and help you get settled into the neighborhood. Don’t forget to take your kids with them as you go out to meet the neighbors so that they can meet the neighborhood kids and make some new friends right away.

Rent a Storage Space and Get Rid of Clutter

De-cluttering is one of the most important parts of staging a home before you sell. For most home owners, cluttering is a huge problem that is not always remedied with an easy solution.

Rent a Storage Space

For instance, if you have a lot of books, children’s toys, sports equipment, personal belongings and various other items that don’t get used all the time, there is a chance that you have piled them on random places in the house. It is rather normal for many people to have belongings that outnumber the available storage space. Of course, when you are selling, you cannot have your belongings scattered about, covering up your home’s best-selling points. Once you have arranged some items into your storage spaces and tossed some of them but still have some left over, the best option is to look into storage.

Put Non Essential Items in Storage

Rented storage is a great choice to handle clutter when you are short of time. In fact, you can take all of your belongings that need to be kept out-of-the-way until you move, in a storage unit. However, it is very important to decide what to store. Start by sorting items into piles and then selecting the storage pile for a second sorting. Things that you think you may need might not actually be useful at all. If you see anything that are not particularly valuable such as, old books, old clothes and old shoes, these may become useful to someone else and may be sold off in a garage sale or donated. When you consider paid storage, consider the items that you will actually need and are valuable as opposed to anything that simply takes up too much space.

Find Storage Close to Home

Hiring the right storage is the next step. If you have decided on a new neighborhood for you to live, it makes sense to choose a storage unit close by to help you retrieve the items conveniently. If not, you can choose a place close to your home so that you can arrange for the items to be picked up on the way during the move or later. If you are dealing with valuables be sure to pay special attention to how secure the storage space is. Narrow down a few options in your desired location and visit them for a good assessment of their security features. When it comes to storing your valuables, privacy and security are two very important requirements that must be fulfilled.

Climate Controlled Storage

Needless to say, proper packing is very important to guarantee the safety of your belongings when it is placed in storage. Whether you are storing the items for a long time or a short time, you will have to pack and stack the items carefully to make sure that they don’t get damaged or have their value decreased in any other way. For instance, if you are storing a vinyl collection, art or something particularly sensitive to climate changes, be sure to request a climate controlled storage space and to pack them appropriately. Don’t forget to check up on the items now and then if you are storing them for a long period.

 

How to Stage a House to Sell

Many sellers consider home staging as a great way to display your home in its best possible light during open houses. While you can definitely hire a professional for the best results, you can always attempt the task on your own as well. Frankel Realty has been in the business of selling homes for several decades and has some great home staging tips for hopeful home-sellers trying to get the best possible price for their property.

Get rid of clutter

Clutter may make a home seem lived-in but it can also distract potential buyers frome sm noticing the best features in your home while also highlighting the lack of storage space. In reality, the best way to start staging a home is to get rid of all the clutter as the first step. Needless to say, you may need to take a bit of time to decide what to take and what to toss as well as what can be put in storage. You can’t stuff everything in a cupboard as people will open and check each storage unit in the house and finding knickknacks stowed away may not make a good impression.

Make your rooms seem more defined

It is very important that your potential buyers are able to view the purpose of each room clearly. If you have rooms that double up for different purposes, you can easily define that with the décor and furniture. Your buyers need to be given a good idea of the available space in your home so that they can visualize what they can do with it. If you have any spaces that can be upgraded, be sure to consider it as an attic office or a basement entertainment center can be an attractive option for potential buyers.

Go neutral with the colors

This is one of the most important parts of a home staging project. If you are a fan of bright bold colors and have painted large sections of your home with them, it is highly recommended that you paint your home in a more neutral palette to appeal to a wider audience. A neutral color palette not only works with paint colors but also with the furniture.

Choose the right furniture and the right layout

During an open house, people will be moving all through your home. If you have not defined clear paths for them by properly arranging your furniture, this can be difficult and may count as a negative point among buyers. Choose furniture that doesn’t clutter a space by sticking to appropriate sizes and designs. As for the layout, arrange your furniture in the best possible way to enhance the available space as well as to clearly define the room’s purpose.

Remove personal elements

If your walls are full of family photographs and memories, this may discourage buyers from making an offer. Instead, remove all personal elements and leave only a few select items to create the ‘lived-in but available for sale’ look that attracts buyers’ attention. The idea is to let buyers picture themselves in your home while not getting distracted by your own memories.

Home Improvement Repair Scams

When it comes to improving your home, or fixing something that’s broken in your house, the success of the project depends on the contractor that you choose. There are also scam contractors who never finish the work on time, keep increasing their prices, or end up doing an overall sloppy job.

If you are seeking a company to complete your renovation or some sort of repair job, you might come across companies that will offer to arrange home improvement loans or to try to persuade you into doing larger scale repairs than intended; you might be dealing with a scammer. Scammers, or con artists of this sort tend to target elderly homeowners and end up doing incomplete, sub-standard work. Something that professional contracts advise is to never pay any contractor for materials or work upfront unless it is a reasonable deposit amount.

Chimney Sweep Scams

Chimney scams are among the most common home improvement scams where a chimney sweep informs you that they need to replace the entire chimney by highlighting the many dangers of cracks. Scare tactics are highly popular among these scammers as that is the easiest way to get homeowners to commit to large-scale renovations. To avoid this type of scam, look for chimney sweep contractors who are fully certified. A good chimney sweep will use video scans and other modern techniques to find the problem and recommend a reasonable solution. Depending on your location, a certified chimney sweep will charge about $100 – $200 for an inspection and cleaning assignment. The National Chimney Sweep Guild is a great source to find certified sweeps for any state.

Radon Gas Scams

Several years ago, Radon became a highly publicized real estate scare. The invisible radioactive gas is a by-product of decaying uranium that is present in various types of soil and rock. The gas is linked to cancer and homeowners clamored to get their homes tested for the gas. Most homeowners easily fell prey to radon mitigators who employed false claims and scare tactics to get homeowners to pay for radon tests. While a home radon test kit costs less than $20, these scammers will charge you massive amounts. If you suspect radon is present in your home, take your time and look for a licensed company to fix the problem.

Termite Extermination Scams

Termite infestations are bothersome problem that is not only a huge hassle, but may significantly decrease your home’s value. While mostly prominent in warmer climates, termites may cause trouble in just about any part of the country. If you hired an exterminator who presents proof in the form of termite wings or droppings after an inspection, be sure to ask them whether they are able to tell the difference between ants and termites, and if they determine whether the infestation is old or new. A qualified specialist will know the difference between winged ants and termites. Any termite exterminator, who promises to ‘control’ the infestation rather than exterminating, will aim to make money with regular inspections. A termite infestation should be eliminated with a special process but never controlled as it will only increase the damage the longer it stays ‘controlled’. A reputed company will give you a reasonable extermination quotation after the inspection is complete.

 

Go Green Buy Produce at Farmer’s Markets

Florida is a great place for those who live a healthy lifestyle. With many green markets that run from October through May and the opportunity to take part in many outdoor activities allow residents to enjoy an active lifestyle. Today, our focus is on the many farmers’ markets in the Palm Beach region.
Delray Beach Green Market

The Delray Beach Green Market is a popular destination on Saturday mornings. The open market is held at the Old Square Park on Delray Beach. The market started in 1996 and as of today, features over 65 vendors as well as live entertainment every week. The market features fresh picked fruits, antibiotic and hormone free poultry and meat, fresh-cut flowers and freshly baked artisan goods with plenty of options for vegans and gluten free diets.

The Riverwalk Green & Artisan Market

The Riverwalk Green & Artisan Market is held along the Intracoastal Waterway under the shade of the Indianatown Rd. Bridge. The market features a selection of vendors featuring fresh produce, dairy, meat, poultry, baked goods and flowers. The market also offers vendors that offer jewelry, arts and crafts as well as drinks and snacks. The Riverwalk Green & Artisan Market is held on Sundays from 10am to 2pm and offers a great opportunity for families to enjoy a great time while shopping.

Lake Worth Farmers Market

The Lake Worth Farmers Market is on the west side of A1A and Lake Avenue, in Lake Worth, FL. Held from 9am to 1am regardless of weather, the Lake Worth Farmers Market is a great place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and beautiful fresh-cut flowers in a wide array of colors. Aside from a delightful choice of food items, the market also features vintage and artisanal goods by some of the most popular local dealers in the Palm Beach County.

Wellington Green Market

Wellington Green Market opened on the 18th of October 2014 at Forest Hill Boulevard and is one of the most popular weekly event that features a diverse range of vendors. From fresh produce by local vendors all the way to delicious homemade food options, the market is a great place to spend a few hours while shopping for the week.

West Palm Beach Green Market

The West Palm Beach Green Market is held on the waterfront and is a popular choice among the residents of Palm Beach County. Featuring sellers that offer meat, poultry and dairy items as well as fresh local produce and delicious sweets and snacks, the market is a great place to enjoy some time with the family on the waterfront. Held at South Flagler Drive, the market also features great home décor and gourmet foods.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach is famous all around the world for sunny palm tree-lined paths, beautiful weather all through the year and of course, the lovely beaches. Enjoying the great outdoors is never a problem for visitors and residents of Palm Beach County as the options are simply endless. Here are some of our top picks.

Go on a hike!

If you are a fan of nature trails, biking and hiking, Palm Beach County is one of the most fascinating locations to enjoy your sport. Home to miles and miles of untamed trails, visitors and residents alike can enjoy a range of different environments while getting some exercise in the sun. From sea grass by the shore, to pine scrub interiors, take a closer look at the wildlife and botany of south Florida. You can also catch a glimpse of American alligators, manatees and bald eagles on a guided tour, a solitary walk or a bike ride with the family.

Spend a day on the golf course

Palm Beach is home to some of the most excellent golf courses in the country and offers plenty of great opportunities for seasoned professionals, amateurs and those who are practicing their craft. The Palm Beach golf courses offer all the right amenities for you to enjoy a great game of golf as well as to relax after the game. The beautiful weather compliments the expert designed golf courses to offer you a taste of nature while enjoying the game.

Enjoy the seaside activities

If you are a fan of swimming, snorkeling, boating and diving, Palm Beach is full of opportunities to enjoy the sports in many of its famous beaches. These activities are ideal for some alone time or to bond with the family while enjoying the great weather. For boat owners,head out to the ocean to catch some fish and perhaps to explore a nearby island. With plenty of coastal restaurants that offer boat access, grabbing a relaxing drink and a bite to eat at the end of the day won’t be a problem!

Visit the nature parks

The wonders of nature are present in many forms in Palm Beach. With many beautiful nature parks that offer excellent activities for anyone at any age, there is no limit to all the fun you can have. From exploring the wild and untamed nature trails all the way to catching a glimpse of the exciting wildlife, there is a lot that you can enjoy in nature parks. For instance, the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach offers a well-preserved sub coastal ecosystem along with a range of seaside activities. Additionally, the park also features a playground for children, nature trails, fully facilitated picnic spots and a gift center, creating all the necessary amenities for a perfect day amid the wonders of nature.

 

How to Sell a House on a Busy Street

You may have bought the perfect house on a busy street or close to a busy street and loved your life. However, when the time comes to sell it, things might not go as smoothly as you would like. Even if the busy street near your home is a recent addition, buyers may make objections to buy your house for many reasons and cause the value to go down.

If you have bought your house when the busy street was already present, you may have spent some time weighing the pros and cons of owning the property. You can always revisit your reasons and then work on highlighting the advantages. It is a well-known fact that most buyers have to make some sort of a compromise when they purchase a house. For buyers with inadequate funds to make their dream home a reality, this is much more apparent. If your home would sell great in the perfect location, a buyer who fell in love with the house as you did when you bought it, would definitely make a compromise on the location and make an offer. It is very important that you discuss the issue with a reputed real estate agent to set the right price and highlight all the positive features. The chances are, a buyer just might notice the positive traits that you noticed when you first bought the house.

Invest in Property Improvements

You can always make an investment to improve your property. You can reduce the impact from the street by investing in some landscaping. Planting some trees or shrubs along the property line or adding a wooden fence or stone wall will act as a visual barrier for the road. The noise from the traffic is a major concern for many hopeful homebuyers. Adding water features can help reduce at least a portion of the traffic noise. If you can, try sprucing up the back yard or a part of the yard with an outdoor seating area so that buyers can spend some time outdoors. As for the interior, you can consider noise-reducing windows to further minimize traffic sound. The most important thing to keep in mind about improvements is to make sure that you don’t face loss when you sell.

Highlight Positive House Features

A good real estate agent will prove to be of excellent value in this situation. They will be able to come up with a strategy to highlight the good features of your property and downplaying anything negative. You can point out anything that you love about the house and they can market it to potential buyers as they are what drew you into buying the house in the first place. A busy street doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative trait as you can highlight the convenience of reaching amenities and a closer commute.

Setting a realistic price is a must! A buyer will quickly back away from the property and start seeing the negatives if you don’t add a proper price. Your agent will compare the other properties in the area and help you make improvements to create the right price. It is possible that you may not sell the property right away. Stay positive and stay focused on highlighting the positives. The right buyer will eventually come along.

 

Protect Yourself Against Home Equity Fraud

We, at Frankel Realty, always care about our clients and want them to be safe from all types of real estate scams. We discussed foreclosure scams and this time, our attention is on home equity frauds, an equally dangerous type of scam with many consequences for the victim.

Home Equity Fraud

Home buyers need to be especially careful about the possibility of being a victim of home equity fraud. Equity flipping and equity stripping are two of the most common forms of predatory lending and quite a few people fall prey to these scams. The good news is, there are warning signs and if you stay alert from the beginning, you will be able to save yourself before you put your signature on the dotted line.

Equity Stripping

In reality, banks and various other types of lenders are in this business with the intention of making profits from the money that you borrow from them to purchase your home. While buying your own property is a dream, come true for many, for banks and lenders, it is just another business opportunity. While most banks and reputed lenders will work to give you a decent deal, some unscrupulous lenders may try and make you agree to leverage beyond your financial ability. Equity stripping, also known as collateral stripping or home equity liquidation is all about taking away all that equity that you worked hard to build. If you are already facing financial problems with your monthly mortgage payments, applying to get more credit on your home must be avoided at all costs.

According to real estate experts, if your lender is attempting to exaggerate your income and push you toward a bigger loan or asking you about various falsifying details, it might be a good idea to consider changing your lender. The most commonly used equity stripping methods include Home Equity Lines of Credit. Taking money out of your home is often done with good reasons such as children’s education, starting a new business or home repairs. However, it is very important to know how much you can actually afford and to recognize the signs of a pressuring lender.

Equity Flipping

Equity flipping is about lenders encouraging their clients to ‘flip’ the current loan that they have on their homes in favor of a shorter loan period. Even though a homeowner’s current loan rate may be favorable, the lenders push them to refinance the loan over and over to take advantage of the fees and points. Over time, this can lead to the homeowner getting higher loan amounts and higher interest rates. If your lender is using phrases such as ‘get your home to work for you’, then they may be on to trapping you in a home flipping scam. These deals are geared to make money for the lender, not the homeowner!

Keep an eye on these frauds and if the signs are clear, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorney General’s office in your state or the banking regulatory agency in your state before things get out of hand.

 

Tips for Organized House Hunting

When it comes to house hunting, it is possible to lose focus and to become overwhelmed with choice. After walking into house after house, the details will start to blue together and leave you feeling tired and less enthusiastic about the prospect of buying a new house. In order to make the most of the house hunting process, it is important to stay focused and organized with all the details of each house to help make a more informed decision.

Start by setting your priorities

Before you call your real estate agent, the first thing you need to do is to make a list of all the elements that you seek in a house. Anything that you like, anything that you would like incorporated into your lifestyle and any particular requirements will go on this list. Your list should also include the total square footage of the house, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that you need, the size of the yard and the specific style of your home as well as the greatest amount you are willing to spend. You can also include any special features such as the number of stories, features such as walk-in closets, hot tubs and pools as well as any other requirements.

Don’t forget to consider travel time

While you may take your daily commute into consideration, you might overlook the other travel needs that you may have. For instance, if you go to the gym a few times a week, taking the kids to school, visiting the park and going to the store on a regular basis, you need to buy a home that allows you with convenient travel time to get all this done. If you are moving into a whole new city or neighborhood, be sure to look into the facilities you need and to figure in the travel time to make a better decision.

Take notes on each home you visit

Once you have made your lists, the next step is to create a checklist with a notes section to help you get more information when you visit each house. You can also create spreadsheets if you would like a more analytical approach but the idea is to find the house that fulfills the most of your requirements to help you make the right choice. You can also include photos and notes.

Record everything

As mentioned before, taking notes on your desires and requirements is important. If you take things to the next level, you will need to also record your emotional response and anything special in the house. Be sure to note down any areas that need repairs so that you can ask the right questions from the seller. Take note to trust your instinct and to settle for a home that only looks and feels good on paper. Instead, if you feel at home and comfortable once you walk in through the front door, it is a significant emotional response that needs to be noted down.

Review the notes

The next step is to review the notes and to compare. You can always seek the help of your real estate agent at this stage to make sure that you are getting the best deal. While you may not get exactly what you want, the systematic note taking will allow you to put down all the important facts on the table and to compare and compromise.

 

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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