What Works Best in Florida: Concrete Block or Wooden Frame Homes?

If you are on the lookout for a new home, one of the main concerns that will drive your decision is whether you should select a concrete block house or a wooden frame house. Your best option can be based on a few factors, so we’ve created a list of benefits for both to help you decide.

Benefits of a concrete block home

Concrete block homes are much sturdier in the face of heavy winds and hurricanes. If you consult a Florida home inspector they are most likely to point out that concrete becomes stronger with age. In the event of a fire, a concrete construction is most likely to withstand the flames as opposed to a wooden structure. The general climate of Florida is considered to be the ideal conditions for termites to thrive. A block-built structure will be immune to termite infestations, thus saving a great deal of time and money on termite treatments.

While block-built homes are generally less expensive in comparison to frame-built homes, this is only applicable if the design is simple. If you are going for a high-end and modern design with complicated elements, the costs can be rather steep. Electrical and plumbing repairs and renovations are not always easy as they are secured in cement. Additionally, dampness can become a problem with concrete block homes as moisture can quite easily be trapped within certain areas of the house.

Benefits of a wooden frame home

As for wooden frame homes, these types of homes help with energy efficiency. The wall cavities tend to be deeper and therefore, various types of insulation simply work better with this type of construction. With the materials being much more affordable, money can be spent on other areas of the home. In addition, dampness is a thing of the past thanks to many house wrapping products on the market.

While many potential buyers may be concerned with the high possibility of termite infestations, new termite elimination systems are able to keep the pests at bay while providing significant insurance bonds should a strike occur.

In reality, both types of structures have their advantages and disadvantages that a buyer should weigh before they make a commitment. In the event that you may not know which to choose, the real estate agents of Frankel Realty can help you decide. Call (561) 427-2154 to connect with us today.

The Fine Print of Owning a Waterfront Home

Owning a house by the water is a dream for many. The cool breezes, the extensive space and the beauty of the surroundings have turned Florida into a haven for boating enthusiasts and nature lovers. However, living on a waterfront property is not always all about enjoying the gorgeous breeze and taking your boat for a spin right from your back yard. In reality, there are several important considerations and responsibilities for you to be prepared for.

Maintaining the natural scenery

For starters, mangroves are a very important part of the Florida waterscape. If you live or are planning to purchase a waterfront property, you may have to deal with mangroves and the regulations associated with them. Needless to say, you will need to manicure the area to a certain extent to make sure that it looks presentable and attractive. Mangroves grow on the edge of the water and will need to be trimmed back if you want to enjoy a view of the water. However, there are regulations against just how much you can trim the mangroves. You have to find the perfect balance between a neat lawn and well-preserved mangroves. Generally, they cannot be trimmed lower than 6 feet tall. There are many ways you can trim the mangroves so you can enjoy the view and stay within the limitations.

Common guidelines & regulations

Whether your property has mangroves or not, you will still have to consider various landscaping regulations to maintain your property. If you wish to development any areas along the shoreline, you will need to obtain the necessary permits to proceed. For instance, any development projects taking place adjacent to a slope, bedrock or unstable soil, new structures that may require excavations or importing fill as well as any alterations to the shoreline or wetlands will require you to contact the authorities and to obtain the required permissions. The idea is to make sure that your development work does not impact the environment in a negative way. You will need to pay attention to maintaining healthy conditions, preventing water pollution and preserving the natural beauty of the landscape.

Making the area safe for animals & natural vegetation

Homeowners of waterfront properties will have access to the waterways and therefore, making sure that they are kept safe and free from pollution is a part of their set of responsibilities. While you are allowed to remove invasive aquatic plants, you will need to protect native plants that grow on the shoreline. As mentioned earlier, mangroves and other vegetation have to be pruned and manicured according to the guidelines issued by the relevant authorities. You are also required to establish a maintenance-free zone of 10 feet along your shoreline where you will not irrigate, mow or fertilize. This strip will allow you to provide a habitat for shoreline wildlife and to allow the seawall to absorb various nutrients.

It is extremely important to pay attention to these regulations when you groom your garden in order to preserve the surrounding flora and fauna. While your lawn will remain clean and manicured, the wildlife and plant life will also continue to thrive with the right attention from you.

For more information about regulations please contact the Department of Environmental Protection for your state.


Cycling in Beautiful Florida

Florida is full of undeniable scenic beauty. From sunny beaches and cityscapes, all the way to lush marshes and untamed wilderness, the state of Florida offers a chance for residents to enjoy a range of different experiences depending on where they choose to go. As for bicycling, this is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting some exercise, sunshine as well as to take in the stunning scenery. Here are some of our top picks for scenic cycling trails.

Black Creek Trail

Paralleling the U.S. Highway 17, the Black Creek Trail runs from Orange Park South all the way to Black Creek Park, located just south of Jacksonville. On this trail, cyclists will pass beautiful forests and lush wetlands while also crossing through Fleming Island. The trail passes the 255 acre nature park, Moccasin Slough Park where you can stop by to catch a glimpse of bald eagles, alligators as well as a range of waterfowls.

Amelia Island Trail

The Amelia Island Trail is one of the most popular cycling trails in Florida. Running from Peters Point Beachfront Park all the way to Amelia Island State park, the tree-lined route is ideal for a scenic cycling trip on a warm afternoon. The trail will take you through sandy beaches, maritime forests and salt marshes while also providing easy access to a range of various adventurous activities as well. You can even enjoy a bit of fishing at the north end of the trail.

Historic Jungle Trail

If you need a change from asphalt paved trails, the 8 miles of the Historic Jungle Trail just might be the perfect pick. The sandy trail runs through runs through Florida’s Barrier Island hammock habitat north of Vero Beach. The road was built in the 1920s to allow citrus farmers to transport their produce. Today, the Historic Jungle Trail is preferred by walkers, cyclists as well as runners.

LOST Trail (Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail)

Despite the trail, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is one of the most adored bicycling trails in Florida. Being a designated section of the Florida National Scenic Trail, the LOST Trail is found on top of the Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake. For those with a love for beautiful scenery, the LOST Trail allows an unmatched vantage point where the gorgeous view shows everything from agricultural landscapes all the way to the stunning lake. Additionally, the trail will also allow you to enjoy the sight of egrets, herons and various waterfowl during fall and winter.

Florida is truly a paradise for cycling enthusiasts as they are offered a selection of the country’s best cycling trails. The sunny weather, unique flora and fauna as well as the breathtaking views are certain to keep cyclists coming back for more. Needless to say, cycling is a fantastic way to combine fitness and fresh air with a unique learning experience as well as incredible sightseeing opportunities. So what are you waiting for? Pack up your bicycle and head on to a biking trail to enjoy beautiful Florida in a whole new light.


Market Trends: Foreclosures & Property Value

According to a report released by CoreLogic, the national foreclosure inventory faced a 35% decrease in June 2014 to reach an approximate number of 648,000 homes. Currently, the foreclosure inventory makes up 1.7% of all mortgaged homes. In June 2013, the numbers were at 998,000, making up 2.5% of the total number of homes with mortgages.

The Effect of Foreclosures on a Community

In the past, increasing foreclosure numbers increased the likelihood for a neighborhood to have at least one foreclosure. It is a known fact that high foreclosure rates can weaken home prices and put other sellers in those neighborhoods in a difficult position by reducing the value of homes in the same community. Despite the great condition that foreclosed houses may be in, the decreased prices are a result of the buyers’ negative perception of the specific neighborhood.
In some cases, foreclosures are handled quickly and quietly. However, some foreclosed homes end up plastered with ‘bank owned’ signs while even being boarded up. Additionally, as financial trouble strikes a home owner with a mortgage, the general condition of the houses may also decline. This will result in a steep drop in curb appeal for the foreclosed home as well as the properties around it.

In April 2008, foreclosure inventory saw a peak high of 88%. The current rate is the result of 32 months of steady decline that includes a stretch of 17 months where a decline greater than 20% was achieved. With low foreclosure rates, the possibility of living next to a foreclosed property is rather low. This means that neighborhoods will portray a happy, family friendly environment with well-kept lawns and occupied homes – thus increasing property value. As for prestigious neighborhoods with high priced properties, not having a foreclosure taint the neighborhood’s appeal is always an advantage for those who wish to sell their homes. As mentioned earlier, the more foreclosures a neighborhood or city may have, the less attractive it is to a buyer. With each foreclosed property, the positive appeal of a neighborhood can decline while it will continue to decline for as long as the foreclosure is kept on the market.

What does this mean for home sellers?

As of June, pre-foreclosure filings have also seen a decline of 68% from March, 2009 where a record peak of 229,000 was reported. In comparison, monthly filings were at an average at 21,000 between 2003 and 2005 before the financial crisis started. With all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, reporting foreclosure inventory declined by 25% from last year, home sellers are provided with a great opportunity to take full advantage of the benefits offered by their neighborhoods and to set a lucrative price for their properties.

As for Florida, the foreclosure rate shows an impressive 4.2% point decline in comparison to the 0.6 in New Jersey and New York. It is evident that Florida has seen significant improvements in foreclosure rates and therefore allows sellers to put their properties on the market with greater reassurance of making profitable sales while buyers are assured of value for their money. Frankel Realty can guide you on your journey to find your next home or investment property, call us on (561) 427 2154.

Great Home Safety Ideas

As a homeowner, it is very important to take the necessary steps to ensure the security of your home and the safety of your loved ones. Homes that don’t appear to have taken evident security measures are often the main target for burglars and therefore, it is highly recommended that you look into the many available options to protect your investment.

Home alarm systems

This is one of the best ways to secure your homes. These systems are installed by a security service provider that will constantly monitor your home whether you are in or out. You can either go for a system that monitors specific entry points to your home such as the front door, back doors and French windows or for a perimeter alarm. A perimeter alarm will alert you when an intruder sets foot in your property and is often the preferred option. Some programs can be linked to mobile devices via home security applications so that you are alerted should the alarm be triggered in your home while you are away.

Surveillance cameras

Nowadays, burglars are most likely to abandon a property if they see cameras on the premises. While you can also opt for invisible cameras, you can always view what goes on in and outside your house even when you are away from home. Some surveillance camera installations come with remote viewing apps to allow you to monitor your home from your mobile devices.

Outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting can be a very useful security method especially for those with large properties with plenty of dark corners for an intruder to hide. While you can leave the lights on at all times, the most effective choice would be to opt for motion detecting lights that can give any intruders a rather nasty surprise. Be sure to position them well out of reach such as high up on trees or make sure to keep them concealed and well protected so that criminals cannot damage them. If you tend to be away from home for extended periods of time, you can consider timed indoor lights to create the impression that your home is occupied.

Guard dogs

Certain types of dogs can be a great help to your home’s security while also being excellent companions. The likes of Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers are loyal, highly intelligent, and aggressive towards strangers while being rather intimidating with their large size.

Smoke detectors

So far, we have been discussing the warding off of intruders from your home. However, it is very important to do what you can to protect your home from the inside as well. Smoke detectors are a great way to help protect your family and property in the event of a fire.

Frankel Realty offers experienced realty services with many great tips to share on obtaining luxurious properties in Palm Beach, as well advice as to make sure you and your family are well protected.


Tips for Easier Moving

The process of moving can be one of the most stressful tasks involved in the purchase of a new property. There are several easy things you can do to reduce the stress, minimize the chaos and to keep things organized. What you need to keep in mind is that moving has to be more about the excitement of starting a new life at a new home as opposed to stressing about the move itself.
Lighten the load with professional help

Hiring a professional moving company can help alleviate the process. You can either choose from a company that does the packing for you, or a company that will only move what you have packed. It is highly recommended that you contact a few of the well-known and reputed movers in your areas to obtain quotes and compare the services offered. A full service mover who handles the disassembly of certain items, packing, transfer, as well as unloading, would be a much better choice to minimize your involvement and to guarantee the safety of your belongings. Large and bulky pieces of furniture, anything that needs to be disassembled for the move, as well as fragile and highly valuable items are best left for the professionals to handle.

Tips for an easy move

Once you’ve sorted out the moving professionals, the next step is to do what you can to make their job easier. For starters, pack your belongings, get rid of the clutter and consider storage for anything that you don’t immediately need after the move. It is recommended that you categorize your belongings by their location to make unpacking easier. Items such as clothes are best packed by their owners, while things such as small ornaments, kitchen utensils and toiletries should be packed in labeled boxes.

A mistake most people make is to not think about the first day at the new house when packing. The last thing you want is to dig through a dozen boxes to find toothbrushes, a change of clothes and basic kitchen items. The best option to make things easier for the first couple of days after the move is to pack a box of essentials for the whole family. Some clothing items, toiletries, a few items you will need for simple cooking and whatever else you think you need can be put into a box or two and labeled as ‘open first’. This will save you a great deal of time, energy and frustration that could take away the fun of starting your new life.

Be sure to contact you movers and to discuss proper moving insurance to protect your belongings during the move. If you have particularly valuable items such as fine art, wine collection, antiques and heirlooms, it is best to arrange proper insurance to manage any loss or damage on the way.

Here, at Frankel Realty, we have aided thousands of people to find their perfect home in Florida and to make a smooth and hassle free transition. Contact us today for more information.

What Is it Really like To Own A Yacht In Palm Beach County?

Palm Beach County, with its sparkling sea views, cool sea breezes and bright sunny days, is the perfect location to enjoy the boating lifestyle. With beautiful waterfront residencies, world class yachting communities and the perfect weather all through the year, Palm Beach County is the boating enthusiast’s heaven.
A World of Activities

For starters, there is a wide range of boating activities that you can enjoy in Palm Beach County. One of the most popular activities for boating enthusiasts is to simply take their boat on a cruise through the Intracoastal Waterways. Fishing is a favorite way for the boating enthusiast to spend a day with friends or when a bit of solitude is needed. For those with a love of water sports, sightseeing or even photography, Palm Beach County offers easy access to the beautiful Florida Keys where fishing, wildlife watching and relaxing opportunities are abundant. But that’s not all, if you wish to enjoy a delicious meal, you can always take your boat to one of the many restaurants and bars with boat access within the Palm Beach County and surrounding areas.

Storage & Upkeep

Even in the year-round sunny climate in Palm Beach County, proper yacht storage will ensure a longer lifetime for your vessel. Proper storage is especially important in the hurricane season. You can opt for indoor or outdoor storage based on your requirements and the time of year. However, the costs, the levels of safety and the distance may vary with each option. Of course, DIY storage is definitely an option for waterfront property residents but for others, Palm Beach County offers a range of storage options as well as a massive range of boat maintenance services to suit your requirements thanks to its highly developed boating culture.

Benefits of Yacht & Boating Clubs

Needless to say, the boating life of Palm Beach County is not something that only the experts and yacht owners can enjoy. There are plenty of opportunities for the novice boat owner or even for those without their own boat to enjoy the beautiful waters. In addition, Palm Beach County is also home to quite a few world class yacht and boating clubs for boat owners to enjoy the lifestyle with none of the complications that come with it. For instance, joining a boat club will allow members to obtain a club-owned boat and to enjoy fishing and cruising without having to deal with cleaning, maintenance, insurance and taxes. Boat clubs are highly recommended for those who are starting out with the lifestyle as they offer everything that a boat enthusiast would need along with training and professional guidance.

What many yacht owners and boating enthusiasts say about their lifestyle is that it is quite liberating and relaxing. Sailing out into the sea is a great way to enjoy some family time or to revel in the beauty of nature. Needless to say, a waterfront property ties up perfectly with the boating lifestyle and if you are on the lookout for the perfect pick for you, be sure to give Frankel Realty a call on (561) 427-2154.

Painting DIY Tips & Tricks

While you can hire professional painters to paint a room, making an attempt to paint it yourself adds a personal touch while saving you a great deal. Of course, choosing the right color is not the only decision you have to make when it comes to painting a room yourself. You will also have to pay attention to selecting the right type of paint to ensure a long-lasting finish.

Types of Paint

Flat Paint – For rooms that don’t get much traffic (formal dining areas and living rooms), flat paint is a great option. This type of paint is used for covering up small imperfections on the walls and ceilings but is quite hard to clean.

Eggshell Paint – This is also great for covering up bumps and bruises but it is slightly easier to clean in comparison to flat paint. However the paint comes with a subtle gloss so choose your walls wisely.

Satin Paint – This type of paint is great for heavy traffic areas such as hallways, kids’ rooms or doors. This paint is glossier than eggshell paint and therefore is able to handle light scrubbing to get rid of stains.

Semi-gloss paint – This is the type of paint you ought to pick for kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets, woodwork and basically anywhere that gets a lot of traffic in your house. The paint dries to leave a slick and hard finish that is very much resistant to stains and daily wear. However, you will need to make sure that the surface you are painting is properly prepared before you paint, as it tends to highlight any imperfections.

High gloss paint – This is the most durable type of paint that is washable and resistant to stains. Once again, high gloss paint will highlight any damage on the surface. In addition, it is highly recommend that you reserve this paint type for furniture and woodwork.

Preparing for Painting

Now that you are aware of the types of paint that are available, the next step is to prepare the surface for painting. It is important that you patch up any cracks, holes or other imperfections before you start. Then, you will have to protect the floor from any dripping by laying down plastic sheets, old towels or sheets. In order to protect electrical switches and door frames, be sure to tape over them.
Basic painting is very easy; simply apply some paint to your brush or roller, squeeze off the excess and start spreading them on the wall. Be sure to paint evenly and to avoid leaving too much paint. It is important that you stick to vertical strokes to keep the final finish even.

Aside from basic painting, you can also try advanced methods to create unique looks. For instance, crackle painting can be used on woodwork and furniture as well as windows and doors to create a stylishly aged look. Another technique that results in a beautiful effect is the Strié painting method. This is a popular faux painting method that makes walls appear as though they are covered with thin, woven fabric sheets. Strié painting is ideal for creating accent walls and bright pops of color with interesting textures. Whether you’re redecorating you’re home for a sale, or for your own enjoyment, consult an interior designer for advice and guidance.

Market Trends: Real Estate value

South Florida Home Prices Up 13% From Last May

The price of existing single-family homes in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties saw a rise of 13.2 percent in May 2014 in comparison to the prices of May, 2013. The statistics were reported in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, released in the end of June. In addition to this considerable rise from last year, the index also reported a rise of 1.2 percent from April to May, 2014.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index measures 20 regions on a national basis and discovered that price increases have seen a significant reduction in speed. In reality, the aforementioned rise in price was a result of one of the slowest paced increments since February, 2013.

Demand in Florida is High

According to many real estate experts, a rise in housing prices is mainly a result of a limited number of houses in the market. This is indeed a seller’s market where those who have put their properties on the market have greater control of the price. South Florida is generally a highly sought after residential destination with many beautiful properties to offer. From expansive waterfront homes all the way to luxurious condos, South Florida combines summer weather with exquisite properties in exclusive neighborhoods. With fewer properties in the market, motivated buyers are much more likely to offer higher prices and in some cases take part in bidding wars to get their hands on the house they want. This of course, drives the prices up.

Within the past few months, the housing market displayed mixed economic numbers. While the prices of existing homes have climbed up, construction and the sales statistics of new houses are still in the low zone. If we are to look at the prices from a national point of view, the prices of houses have gone up 9.3 percent from May 2013.

The Mortgage Myth

It is a common belief that house prices have a relationship to mortgage interest rates. Many buyers believe that with low supply, the mortgage rates will rise and as a result, the prices of the homes will eventually come down to prevent them from being unaffordable. In reality, there is little truth to this belief. While house prices do have an indirect relation to mortgage rates, there is no strong relationship to speak of. If the mortgage rates do go up (which they sometimes do) it is mainly as a result of the well performing economy where incomes are higher along with the amounts that people are able to afford. In other words, housing price fluctuations have more to do with the larger scale economy than the affordability of mortgage rates.

According to the Case-Schiller index, the home prices of South Florida are almost at the same levels they showed in August 2004. However, the highest peak for South Florida home prices was recorded in December, 2006. As per the current statistics, the latest prices are still 34 percent below the peak prices and it’s still a great time to buy a home. If you are looking for advice regarding your next real estate investment, consult the professionals at Frankel Realty before you buy. Call us on (561) 427-2154 today.

Buying a Foreclosure

Buying a house signifies the largest expense that most people make in their lifetime. Despite the high cost, the payoff is substantial as you have a home of your own, an inheritance for your children as well as a great long term investment. Foreclosed homes are a great way to ensure that you get the most for your money. As a result of the recession that started in 2007, the housing market is flooded with plenty of foreclosed properties and most of these are offered at discounted prices.

The first step is to find an agent who can assist you to get the best deal for a foreclosed home. With decades of experience in the Florida real estate market, Frankel Realty has helped many buyers find foreclosed homes that fetch the best value for their price. In some cases, foreclosed homes are auctioned off, while some people choose to buy them directly from the lenders.

In-Person assessment

The process of purchasing a foreclosure starts off the same way as it does with any other type of property. Of course, you will have to see the house and take a tour of the facilities and all the offerings. The majority of the properties will be vacant at the time you are granted a visit. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you will be able to meet the previous owner of the house. Real estate experts recommend that you take a seasoned realtor or home refurbishment specialist with you to help figure out if improvements are needed. As with any other property, you will need to carry out a home inspection and to consult the results before entering into any agreements.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the house may not be in its best maintained condition due to the owner being behind in payments and the lack of funding, possibly interfering with the house’s upkeep. In some cases, the properties might need significant improvements to meet your standards and therefore, it’s essential to consider whether the lower price tag is worth it. Since the houses are sold in their exact condition, you won’t be able to get the previous owners to make improvements. Nevertheless, a home inspection will tell you about the current condition of the house and allow you to determine the additional cost of restoration.

Sealing the deal

Buying a foreclosure has many benefits. For instance, you will be able to get your hands on a beautiful property that will be worth a lot more once it has been properly restored. However, there is a certain amount of risk involve. Be sure to consult your real estate agent to discuss every aspect of the property, including the current real estate market, as well as future projections. Once everything has been taken into careful consideration and a decision to proceed is made, the rest of the procedure is pretty much the same as buying a regular house. Read our guide to Negotiating 101 to learn the basics of purchasing a home.

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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