About Closing Costs And What It Means To You

At the end of a real estate transaction, closing costs are paid. The ending phase of a real estate transaction is called a closing because the title of the property is transferred to the buyer. Closing costs are either paid by the seller or the buyer, as per the nature of the arrangement.

The cost of buying a home

The most popular method of purchasing a house is through a mortgage. When you obtain a mortgage, you will need to handle the closing costs. In this case, the closing fees will have to be paid to a third party and the lender. In addition to the down payment of a home, and the principal along with the interest of the mortgage, you will be paying the closing costs when the mortgage is closed. In many cases, home buyers handle the closing costs. However, there are certain situations such as VA loans where the seller is required to handle a portion of the closing costs.

A breakdown of fees

Closing costs are actually made up of several different components. These vary greatly according to the type of property that you wish to buy and depend on its location. Closing costs generally include a fee for analyzing the credit report, attorney’s fees, inspection charges, a fee for appraisals and surveys along with title insurance. Other costs include a fee for loan origination (lenders charge for handling the paperwork), fees for title searches and escrow deposits that might cover property taxes for a few months, along with private mortgage insurance. In some cases, closing costs also include fees for pest inspection, recording fees that are paid to the county or city in exchange for new land records, and underwriting fees that are charged for the evaluation of the mortgage application.
The actual amount for closing costs changes for many reasons such as the different components that make up the cost for each house. Typically, the cost comes up to about 2 – 5 percent of the home’s purchase price.

How much will you end up paying?

The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is an estimate that lenders are required to provide to potential buyers. This is an estimation of the closing costs on your home. However this will not be an accurate estimation of the – the actual fee may be about 10 percent higher. Within one day of the closing, the lender is required to provide an HUD-1 settlement statement where the closing costs are outlined. Buyers can compare this with the GFE and discuss each component with the lender. In many cases, buyers can negotiate the fees that make up the closing costs as some are actually unnecessary. Things such as courier costs and administrative costs are unnecessary and can be removed with a bit of persuasion. If the closing costs are exorbitant and the lender is unwilling to adjust them, trying shopping around for a different lender who offers a lower closing cost.

7 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

Buying a vacation home is a great way to ensure a relaxed getaway during the holidays as well as a long term investment and potential earnings from renting out. However, it is never advised to jump into a purchase without doing some research. Frankel Realty is an expert at providing professional real estate advice on buying as well as selling. Here are the top 7 things to consider when buying a vacation home:

Do not make impulse purchases

Buying a home is very different from buying a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes. Even if the property seems undeniably tempting, be sure to thoroughly research and take the time to make your purchase. This way, you will be much less likely to encounter nasty surprises and to regret your decision.

Get to know the house and neighborhood before buying

Many real estate professionals agree that it is always a good idea to take the time to get to know the house and the neighborhood before making a purchase. Spend some time in the house or in the neighborhood to get an idea of how you feel and if you would be comfortable living there for extended periods of time.

Don’t forget about the maintenance

When it comes to buying a holiday home, you will need to think of the amount of time it will take for maintenance in particular. Without proper maintenance, the property will deteriorate and lose its value. Even if you are not living in the house year-round, the maintenance will have to be carried out to keep the house habitable. This is an expense you’ll have to make allowances for.

Have your specifications ready

Do you require privacy? Do you need a property with specific features? Do you require a specific number of rooms? All of these are valid questions that are essential for figuring out your requirements. Be sure to have a list ready and to consult it when you shop around for houses.

Consider the additional costs

Aside from maintenance, you will also need to consider insurance to keep your home safe when it is occupied and when it is not. Areas such as Florida are at risk of hurricanes while various other highly desired areas have their own risks. You will need to consider the proper type of insurance as well as to set aside funds for possible repairs and upkeep. In many cases about 2% of a home’s value is needed for annual repairs and upkeep.

Hire a local real estate agent

Buying a vacation home outside your area can be tricky, as residential real estate is extremely localized. A local agent will know the local market and point you in the right direction. If you are on the lookout for a second home in Florida, be sure to contact Frankel Realty knowledgeable advice and the moist exclusive listings. Call us on (561) 427-2154.

Design Trends Fall 2014 For The Patio

When the weather is nice, no one wants to stay indoors. Reading a book under a shady tree, enjoying the solitude with a glass of iced tea in your garden or having a fun patio party with your friends, are great ways to enjoy great weather. A patio is a luxurious addition to any South Florida home. If you have plans to decorate your patio or to build a new one, these tips and trends for fall 2014 will definitely come in handy.

Make it spacious

In South Florida the weather can be enjoyed the majority of the year. A spacious patio can be a fantastic addition. Not only is it a great spot to entertain people, but it’s also a pleasant spot to enjoy a family meal or to grab a cup of tea on a quiet afternoon. If you are building a patio or modifying the one you have, be sure to add plenty of space to make sure that you can add a few essentials to keep the space functional.

Add furniture

Furniture is a must for a patio. Whether you plan on adding a table and a few chairs or a full set of comfortable outdoor loungers, be sure to keep things simple and functional for a timeless look. Choose weatherproof pieces for a longer life and greater convenience. One of the latest trends for patio furniture is to use plush and comfortable chairs, sofas and stylish cushions.

Water elements are great to create ambience

A patio is actually seen more as a landscaping element. Therefore, making it fit in with the rest of the garden is a great way to bring everything together with your design. Water is a highly popular landscaping element and can be used to create a relaxed ambience in your patio. For instance, a fountain, pool or pond built into the deck or nearby can be great for the visual effect as well as the ambiance. The fact that water will cool things down when it’s hot is definitely a bonus point.

Add plenty of shade

Nowadays, patio design is all about comfort. Adding a roof, sun sails or umbrellas would be a great idea to add some shade from the summer sun and to provide a bit of safety from the occasional showers. You can even use large trees surrounding your patio as shade but a roof is a much more reliable option.

Bring the kitchen outdoors

While not necessarily a new addition, adding al-fresco cooking and dining options on your patio are a great way to increase the value of your home as well as to make entertaining a lot more fun. Barbecues, grills and outdoor dining tables make a patio feel more welcome and will make your patio very popular with your family as well as your guests.

Living in South Florida gives you many options for outdoor entertaining. When you’re looking for a new home with more patio space, the Realtors of Frankel Realty can show you luxury listings in the Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. Call us on (561) 427-2154 today.

How to Prevent House Fires

Fires can start anytime, anywhere and in any part of the home. By taking the necessary precautions, they can be prevented.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most fire prone spots in your house. With high temperatures, oil and combustibles such as dish towels, oven mitts and paper towels all in one room, the chances of a fire starting and spreading are very high. One of the most common ways of accidentally starting a fire is leaving the kitchen unattended while cooking. An overheated pan, splattered grease and a nearby combustible is all that it takes to start a fire. Smoke alarms are always a good addition to a kitchen. It’s also a good idea to separate combustibles away from the stove and keep a close watch while cooking.

Electrical Appliances

Various electrical appliances such as irons, heaters and just about anything with frayed or loose cords are a potential fire hazard. The worst thing about appliances is that they are scattered all throughout the house. Be sure to switch the outlets off when the appliances are not in use. It is also important to never overload the outlets with too many plugs or to have the electrical wires run under heavy furniture or rugs. Extension cords have to be used with care as they can also cause of fires.

Candles

Candles can be placed in many parts of a house: the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms. If you are a regular user of scented candles or other types of candles to create ambience, be sure to keep them on a level surface and to light them only when they are secured to a sturdy holder. It is never a good idea to light candles right next to curtains, pets or children or to leave them unattended. Always blow the candles out if you are leaving the room.

Real Christmas Trees

Christmas trees adorned with lights are a beautiful sight, but a very risky one. Be sure to keep the tree well away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, furnace ducts, televisions and radiators. Any decorative lights with damaged cords can cause sparks that may lead to a fire and be sure to keep candles away from the tree. Make sure to place the tree inside a stand that can hold about 3 liters of water.

Smoking

Smoking indoors is hazardous in many ways. If you do smoke, be sure to do it outside and make sure that you put the cigarette out completely before throwing it away. Smoking is considered to be one of the leading causes of house fires. If you are a smoker or have a family member who smokes in the house, be sure to extinguish the cigarette completely by soaking them in water before throwing in the trash. It is also advisable to keep the smoking to one specific part of the house for easy inspections.

Fun Halloween Events and Activities In Florida

Halloween is right on the horizon and with it comes a selection of fun nighttime activities that the whole family can enjoy. This year, we decided to feature some of the most exciting Halloween events at Theme Parks that just about everyone can enjoy.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween

On Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween, the magical kingdom of Disneyland will be transformed into a spooky party where everybody from any age group is welcome. The event is held for 26 days in the months of September and October and there are plenty of fun activities and attractions to keep the whole family entertained. With beautiful Halloween fireworks, a chance to meet characters of famous Disney movies and a special themed parade, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween is a great chance to have endless fun. Don’t forget to wear a costume!

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular

The Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld is held on every weekend in October and gives a chance for the whole family to enjoy silly and spooky fun. This is a perfect opportunity for kids under 12 to enjoy the company of spooky and friendly animals, take pictures with beautiful mermaids or experience the best trick-or-treat experience they can ask for. The specially themed show Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure is guaranteed to be a hit with the young crowd, while the Sesame Street themed show will give them a chance to say hello to some of their favorite Sesame Street characters.

Zoo Boo Bash

The Zoo Boo Bash is the annual Halloween event hosted by the Central Florida Zoo. This is a fun filled Halloween event with just the right amount of spookiness for the kids. The zoo welcomes family friendly costumes and presents a chance to try out treat stations and Halloween crafts along with various fun activities. Face painting, building sand creations in the sandbox and a chance to learn about mysterious animals make this a great educational opportunity along with plenty of fun.

LEGOLAND Florida’s Brick-or-Treat

LEGOLAND Florida’s Brick-or-Treat is considered to be a Halloween “block” party with unique activities and fun attractions. This is an event where hundreds of kids come together to enjoy amazing LEGO related activities. From a spooky scavenger hunt that the entire family can join in and a chance to build Halloween themed LEGO models, all the way to taking a picture with the largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern in the world. This is a fantastic Halloween event that is sure to leave you with unforgettable moments. If you or your kids are LEGO enthusiasts or are on the lookout for a unique and fun filled Halloween event, be sure to head on to LEGOLAND Florida on weekends in October.

How to Redecorate a Windowless Room

A room with no windows is a nightmare for any homeowner. However, many designers have come up with great ways to redecorate and take the ‘cold prison cell’ feel out of any windowless room and to turn it into a bright and cheery space full of light and life. Here are some of our favorite tips.

Start with the paint

When it comes to choosing the right paint color for a room with no windows, always look for bright and sunny shades. Shades of white, yellow, pink, pale greens and peach will make excellent choices to brighten up the space and to add a dash of good cheer. Dark colors such as blues and grays should be avoided.

Make use of mirrors

Mirrors are excellent at reflecting light and to even appear as windows. Mirrors will bounce the light around the space and make it appear brighter and larger when compared with the right lighting and color scheme.

Consider faux windows

If you really like the appearance of windows, you can always choose faux windows and install them. These are ideal when even constructing a window is not an option and they come complete with scenery as well as curtains for the full effect.

Choose the right furniture

While dark and heavy pieces of furniture may appear grand when placed in large rooms, they are not the best choice for windowless spaces. Large couches, oversized desks and heavy leather chairs will simply make the space appear cluttered and even darker with their looming shadows. Instead, look for simple, light colored and small pieces to reflect more light and to create a more minimalistic look. Only include what you need and be sure to go with smaller sizes to save space and to avoid clutter.

Pick the houseplants carefully

Just because the room doesn’t get natural light, it doesn’t have to discourage you from placing a few plants to make the space feel livelier. Go for plants that don’t require much light such as Chinese evergreen, pothos houseplants, philodendron and spider plant. Plants will instantly create the appearance of brightness and habitability even when there is little or no natural light.

It’s all about the lighting

A windowless room can be completely transformed with the proper lighting. Look for recessed lighting options for evenly scattered light across the ceiling. You can also try track lighting to illuminate specific parts of the room as you need. When it comes to choosing task lighting, look for simple and light colored lamps to avoid cluttering. You can also use full-spectrum light bulbs that look almost exactly like natural daylight to simulate the effect.

Mortgage Refinancing – When and When Not To

Mortgage refinancing is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit in the real estate industry. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, mortgage refinancing refers to paying off the existing housing loan by obtaining a new one and then paying the new one in place of the mortgage. There are various reasons why a homeowner would choose mortgage refinancing. Some people opt for it to get a better interest rate while others may do it as an attempt to reduce their monthly payments. There are also those who opt for mortgage refinancing to draw out built-up equity, to change the type of mortgage or to adjust the length of the mortgage. Regardless of the motivation, mortgage refinancing provides homeowners with a range of financial benefits.

Understanding the Refinancing Process

The timing is crucial to make sure that you do get the financial benefits that you are looking for. There are many situations when mortgage refinancing can be a bad decision to your financial health. For starters, it is not a good idea to refinance when you have had your mortgage for a long time. If you choose to refinance late in your mortgage, you will be restarting the amortization process and the majority of your monthly payments will be credited to making interest payments, as opposed to building equity. If your current mortgage has been issued with a prepayment penalty, refinancing is not a very good idea. A prepayment penalty is a fee that is imposed on homeowners to discourage them from paying off their loans early and this penalty charge applies for refinancing as well. If you are employing the same lender for refinancing, be sure to check if there is a possibility of waiving the prepayment penalty. Additionally, if you have plans to move to a new home within a few years, it is best to not go for refinancing. The main purpose is to enjoy a financial benefit such as saved money or a reduction in the mortgage length – by picking the wrong time you just might end up losing money.

Do you qualify for refinancing?

Ensuring your eligibility to refinance is an important part of the process. The process is similar to what you experienced with your first mortgage – where your income, credit score, existing debts and assets were assessed by your lender. Factors such as the amount that you wish to borrow and the current property value will also be taken into consideration. If your credit score is lower than what it was when you obtained your current mortgage, you will be required to pay a higher interest rate for the new loan. The value of your home will be determined by an appraisal and lenders will only issue an approval if the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio falls within their lending guidelines. In some cases, if the LTV does not fit lending guidelines, they may offer you a loan with terms that aren’t as favorable as you would like. In the case of reduced housing prices, your home might not be valued at the same price as what you owe on your original mortgage.

Despite the benefits, mortgage refinancing needs to be addressed with care to avoid getting into financial trouble. Be sure to consult a quality advisor before you proceed, as the wrong choices can lead you to greater debt.

Weekend Getaways Close to Home

Sometimes, a weekend away is just what you need. How great would it be if you didn’t have to go too far to enjoy that perfect holiday atmosphere for a couple of days? Luckily, Florida offers a fantastic selection of great weekend getaways for its residents. This means that you can reach your holiday destination with a short drive and enjoy a few days away and come back home fully relaxed.

Naples

Naples sits on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida and is highly popular as a high-end holiday destination. Famous for its shopping, sophisticated culture and extravagant dining, Naples is often sought out by those who are willing to splurge. However, if you are on a budget, Naples also offers a range of affordable accommodation options with great attractions and plenty of activities for the whole family. Third Street South and Fifth Avenue in historic downtown Naples is one of the most popular spots for shopping, art galleries, home décor shops and clothing boutiques. A meal with a view of the Gulf is a perfect end to a day in Naples and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Clearwater

If you are looking for the perfect beach getaway, Clearwater is the ideal pick. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, Clearwater is all about relaxation and beach-side fun. You can enjoy a fishing trip, lay down on the beach with a great book, get pampered at one of the many spas or enjoy the white beaches while enjoying a stunning view. With accommodation options ranging from world-class luxury establishments all the way to affordable inns, there is something for everyone at Clearwater.

Key West

If you plan on getting away from it all, be sure to consider the beautiful island city of Key West. From heart-pumping activities such as sailing, snorkeling and diving to watching a beautiful sunset while strolling down a quiet street, Key West is the perfect holiday destination for a quick getaway. Duval Street in particular stands out as a popular tourist spot in Key West with its many cafes, bars and local shops. The island also offers unique architectural attractions, a chance to peek in to the life of Ernest Hemingway and a selection of humorous headstones at the Key West City Cemetery.

St. Augustine

Considered to be the oldest city in the Nation, St. Augustine is a fantastic holiday destination with much to offer. Aside from the many beach activities, the city of St. Augustine offers exciting helicopter rides, wild animal reserves, living museums and plenty of historic attractions to enjoy. The city boasts over 400 years of history and was founded back in 1565. Whether you are a history buff or not, the city offers a chance to get lost in the narrow lanes, marvel at the historic artifacts in the many museums and to revel in the glory of land marks such as the “Fountain of Youth” or Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States.

The beautiful cities of Florida make it an amazing place to live year round or visit for half of the year. If you’re hearing the beaches and warm weather call you, Frankel Realty can assist you find the perfect home. Call us on (561) 427-2154 and our realtors will be happy to show you exclusive listings.

Tips For Moving Into Your New Home With Pets

Moving itself is quite a stressful task. If you have pets, there is no doubt that they too will share some of the stress and have various adverse reactions as a result. When it comes to moving with pets, you have to pay special attention to making sure that they are completely safe from physical harm while also doing everything you can to prevent mental strain. Frankel Realty, a pioneer in the Florida real estate scene has put together step-by-step guide to moving with pets.

Step 1 – Research the regulations and obtain a health certificate

Whether you have cats, dogs, birds or exotic animals, the very first step would be to make sure that they are in perfect health for the move. In the case of small kittens, puppies and other newborn pets, it is always advised that you wait until they are old enough to move. As for regulations, these are especially important if you are moving with an exotic pet such as reptiles, amphibians and various types of birds. If you are moving long distance or between states finding out the regulations is very important to avoid various problems.

Step 2 – Prepare your pets for moving

For dogs and cats, you will need to obtain kennels or carriers. These are readily available for purchase and for rent. You can always ask your movers if they can recommend a place or if they actually provide them to make the task easier. Be sure to ensure that the carriers have plenty of ventilation and enough space for your animal to stand or sit in comfort. You can always take a friendly dog or a well-behaved cat on a ride in your car but if they are especially fussy, the carriers are an absolute necessity. As for birds, amphibians and reptiles, you can use their cages for the purpose.

Step 3 – Keep your pets away from stress

On the day of your move, there will be a great deal of energy and in most cases, chaos and loud noises in your house. This can be especially stressful for cats, dogs, birds and most other animals. You will need to keep them separated so that they can be relaxed for the move. This is extremely important as stress can cause your pets to become agitated and difficult to handle. Birds, cats and some reptiles may even get violent if they are exposed to a stressful environment. Place them in a quiet room and make plans to keep the move as quiet and stress free as possible. It is very important to understand that high levels of stress can cause mental strain and in extreme cases, permanent distress in animals.

Step 4 – Transfer your pet into their natural habitat immediately

While dogs, birds and some cats might enjoy a ride in your car, other animals may not like the sudden change of environment. In the case of amphibians and reptiles, it is best to get to your destination as fast as possible and to transfer them into their habitats immediately. Of course, you will need to make arrangements to have their new home set up when you arrive.

Kitchen Trends: Ideas for Redecorating

Whether you plan to sell your home, if you have bought a new home or if you simply want a new look for your kitchen, the latest trends are the best source of inspiration. If you’ve got plans to redecorate and upgrade your kitchen, be sure to give some thoughts to these new trends to help create a modern look.

Shelves instead of cabinets

The open kitchen concept has caught fire over the past few years and the latest addition to the trend is to have fewer upper cabinets. Shelves are a great idea to open up a space and to keep the contents visible as well as easily accessible. This is a great idea for smaller spaces as cupboards tend to fill up a space and make it appear cramped.

Sconce lighting

Drawing inspiration from age-old lighting, sconce lighting is one of the latest trends for this year as well as the next year. Sconce lighting fixtures are often adjustable and allow users to direct the light wherever they need. They come in a variety of different metals, colors and finishes to fit in with a range

Stylish backsplashes

With more opened up walls (thanks to the absence of wall cupboards), there is plenty of room to make the backsplashes a little more stylish. Gone are the days of boring old tiles. Natural materials such as limestone, marble and even stone are in the spotlight to create beautiful backsplashes that can even be styled up to create a bold statement.

Anything but chrome

The stainless-steel and chrome look is no longer in style. With rustic designs and vintage inspirations, aged gold, brass and simple black hardware have taken the center stage. If you are thinking of upgrading the hood, faucets and other fixtures, stay away from high gloss chrome and look for aged metals and solid blacks for a more up-to-date look. These work wonders with a range of different classic styles as well as many of the new trends.

Built in cabinets

If you are not a big fan of shelves, you can always opt for built-in cabinets for a beautiful, versatile and up-to-date design. These cabinets are built to sit on the counters as opposed to the ‘floating in the air’ look that was the standard for so many years. With added height, you will have extra storage space and can even add a few decorative elements.

Go for natural materials and finishes

Something we have seen in most interior design trends for the whole house is a greater prominence for natural materials and natural finishes. As for kitchens, exposed beams, wooden planks and stone counters are quite popular nowadays. In addition, recycled items and re-purposed elements are also highly recommended by many top-tier interior designers. The DIY look is very much in and adds a homely touch.

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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