5 Minor Remodeling Projects
Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or just want to make the place you live an oasis, these minor remodeling projects will increase your home value!
Your home’s curb appeal is the first thing visitors see when they get to your home. You can make a strong, positive first impression with some smart landscaping. Consider a variety of plants that reach their peak in each of the four seasons so your yard always looks incredible.
Replace Your Front Door
The front door is one of the first things visitors see. Replacing the door can give your home a more modern, updated, and clean feeling. When choosing your new door, keep the rest of the home’s color and style in mind. Investing in a steel door will provide you with unbeatable durability.
Updated Color Schemes
Paint fades over time and popular color schemes change. Today, neutral tones like beige and grey are popular options throughout the home. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, painting your home is a great way to improve the atmosphere of your home.
Remodel Your Fireplace
Highlighting a home feature as iconic as a fireplace can make a dramatic improvement in your home. Some popular remodeling options are replacing outdated brick with modern, natural stone or expanding it to a floor-to-ceiling statement piece.
Add Crown Moulding
Crown moulding adds a touch of sophistication and class to your home. And, you may be surprised at how simple and affordable adding it can be. In addition to framing the rooms of your home, you can use it to highlight key features in your home such as the fireplace, breakfast nook, or bay windows.
Whether you’re planning to stay in your home for many years or getting ready to make a move, I’m here to help. Feel free to contact me with any real estate questions!
Comet Delivery Services
Comet Delivery Services, a 42 year old delivery and warehousing company with its newest extension in Stuart (conveniently located where I-95 and the Turnpike collide) is reaching new heights, literally! We’ve recently installed a racking system to create even more space for our clients near and far for their short or extended stays in our warehouse.
We specialize in on demand, same day, rush deliveries, but also accommodate appointment deliveries, routed work, and short/long term warehousing. With the seemingly overnight explosion of the E-Commerce industry, we provide the final mile touch to your front door that the typical 18-wheeler can’t. From Envelopes to Elephants, Comet delivers! For more information contact them at:772.600.0660.
Why an Investment Property Should Be Your First Real Estate Purchase
Not ready to buy a home for yourself but want to take advantage of great market conditions? Consider buying an investment property! It's a trend that's taking over real estate, as savvy investors look to put their money in an appreciating asset. Here are five reasons to consider it.
1. Rates are crazy low. Lower rates mean more affordable lending, or more for your money if you choose to reach higher.
2. Because it will appreciate. According to CoreLogic, "The overall home price index (HPI) has increased on a year-over-year basis every month for seven years." The long-term price appreciation of real estate can provide one of the safest investments out there.
3. Because passive income is good. Yes, it's nice to know there will likely be appreciation over time, but the real key to success with investment properties is passive income.
"The best part about rental properties is that they provide a stable income," said Mashvisor. "What would be better than having a check sent to you every month? In order to have positive cash flow, you have to make sure you invest in a profitable rental property."
4. To turn it into a short-term rental. The short-term rental market has opened up a new world of opportunity for investors. By buying in the right location—by the beach, near a ski resort, or in close proximity to a popular annual event like Coachella, you have the potential of making a significant return in a short period of time. Just be sure to check the local laws, as lots of cities have been cracking down on Airbnb and other services.
5. Because it can help you buy the home of your dreams down the line. "Buying an investment property before your first home does not imply that you won't have the funds to purchase your actual home at some point," said Mashvisor. "In fact, investment properties that have been purchased wisely and have grown in value can offer you a sizeable amount of wealth and equity."
Floor Cleaning Tips & Tricks
Regardless of how tidy you are, your floors, rugs, and carpets get dirty. Between the dirt you track in on your shoes, the accidental spills, and the inevitable accumulation of dust, your floors can get quite grimy. Here are a few cleaning tips and tricks for all types of flooring.
Natural Stone Floors
One of the most important rules when it comes to cleaning natural stone, is to steer clear of acidic products like vinegar, ammonia, or bleach, as they can ruin the stone. Your best bet is to use a pH-neutral cleaner that won’t react with the minerals in your stone floor.
Tile is easy to clean. Simply combine ¼ cup of vinegar and one drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Fill the rest with water and mix well. Spritz the mixture onto your tile surface and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or mop. Steaming the tiles and grout will provide a deep cleaning.
Unlike other flooring surfaces, carpets have their own set of rules. For a deep clean, it’s best to steam clean your carpets. For regular cleaning, using a vacuum should suffice.
Wood floors need a lot of attention. Start by determining whether your floor is sealed or not. If it’s unsealed, avoid using water and instead try mineral oil and periodic coats of wax. If the floor is sealed, a simple mix of hot water and soap is a safe bet.
Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor to get rid of dust, hair, and dirt. Then add about six drops of mild detergent or dish soap to a gallon of warm or hot water. Dampen a mop with the mixture and use it to clean the floor in sections. Avoid getting the mop too wet, and make sure to dry the floors with a towel when you’re done. Standing water can damage linoleum.
Why Now is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House
As a homeowner, it’s always tempting to dream about the next big project you’re going to tackle. The possibilities are endless. Should I renovate? Should I refinance? Should I stay? Should I move? The list goes on and on.
In today’s housing market, it’s actually a great time to shift your thoughts toward selling your house and moving up into the home of your dreams. Here’s why:
Inventory is on the rise, but there’s still an overall shortage of houses for sale (less than a 6-month supply found in a more normal market), so homes are going under contract quickly. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtors® Confidence Index Survey reports that right now homes are only staying on the market for an average of 27 days.
The same report also indicates there are more interested buyers than active sellers today, which is one of the big factors driving home prices higher. This power combinations provides an ideal environment for sellers aiming to close a quick sale and earn a big return as we wrap up the summer season.
There's still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it's time to make a change. Let's get together to determine if selling now is the right decision for your family.
5 Ways Buyers Can Make the Winning Bid
In a tough market, it pays to be prepared. Make sure you’re ready to pounce once you find your dream home with these five tips to help you place the winning bid.
There are plenty of low down payment mortgage options that can help you get into the home of your dreams, but saving up a larger down payment gives you leverage to offer more for your home in case you find yourself in a bidding war. Just remember to keep in mind how much home you can realistically afford when you’re considering offering more for a home.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the first steps to buying a home. Not only will it give you a solid idea of what you can afford to pay for your home, it will reduce the seller’s risk when choosing your offer over someone else’s in a multi-offer situation.
Know What You Want
Time is a critical factor when placing an offer in a tight market. While you sleep on your decision to put in an offer, other buyers could be making their move. So, as soon as you’re sure you want the home, take action!
The fewer conditions you add to your offer, the more appealing it will be to the seller. If you love the house, but hate the carpet, consider a renovation loan instead of requesting the seller install new flooring. Pick and choose your contingencies carefully.
Most buyers have a very specific time frame they’re hoping to move during - one that lines up neatly with the end of their current lease or sale of their current home. If you can create some flexibility on when you need to close to better accommodate the sellers, it could give you a serious advantage.
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Commercial Space: Should You Lease or Buy?
The location of your small business is an important factor in whether it succeeds or fails. Accessibility to customers, vendors, and employees, proximity to competitors, and zoning restrictions are just a few of the factors you have likely considered. Once you have determined the best location for your business, the next question is whether to lease or buy your commercial space. Several issues should be weighed before making this important decision.
What makes financial sense for your business?
Buying a commercial property is likely to require a substantial down payment—from 10% to 40% of the value of the property. However, if your business is already successful, and you have enough cash to make the down payment and several months of mortgage payments without depleting your cash on hand, purchasing a commercial space may be a good choice. It enables your business to benefit from the property’s appreciation, particularly if you are in an area where property values are rapidly rising. In addition, if the commercial space is larger than your business needs for its own operations, you can gain additional income by renting out part of the space to another business.
On the other hand, if your business is just starting out, or if you are short of cash, leasing commercial space may be a better option for a few reasons. To start, less of your cash will be tied up in the property. Next, there are usually fewer unexpected maintenance costs and a lower risk of unforeseen expenses (which are often the landlord’s responsibility). Moreover, because rental payments are generally the same from month to month during the lease term (though there is sometimes an escalation clause allowing the landlord to increase the rent at certain intervals by a certain percentage), there is more certainty in budgeting the amount you need to cover the rent each month. This will enable you to channel your cash back into your business, focusing on its growth. The downside is that monthly payments under a lease (which often include insurance, taxes, utilities, and maintenance costs) are likely to be higher than a mortgage payment on the same or similar property, and you will not be able to make additional income by renting excess space to another business owner.
What degree of flexibility do you need?
If your business is growing or declining, a lease may provide you with the flexibility to move to a different size commercial space after the lease term ends without having to sell a property. Including a clause allowing you to sublet or assign your lease provides even greater flexibility if your business ever needs to move or if you need to sell your company prior to the lease expiration. In addition, it may be easier to qualify for a lease than for a mortgage on commercial space, which may expand the scope of available commercial spaces from which you can choose. In fact, if you lease a property, you may be able to afford a space in a desirable location which would have been too expensive to purchase.
However, if you anticipate that your business will remain in the same location for at least seven to ten years, have equipment that is difficult to move, or will be making substantial renovations to the leased property, buying may be more advantageous. Under these circumstances, if you cannot afford to buy a commercial property, you could negotiate a lease with a longer term to enable you to recoup the amounts you plan to invest in the property.
How much control over the property do you want?
When you are leasing a property, you must negotiate with the landlord if you want to renovate or reconfigure the commercial space. In addition, when the lease expires, the landlord is free to increase the rent. Also, depending upon the lease terms, you may have to continue to make payments even if your company goes out of business (unless there is an early termination clause).
If you own the property, you are free to change it in any way that will benefit your business—as long as the changes comply with local regulations. Also, you will not have to worry about increases in rent at the end of the lease term or being required to move if you do not have an option to renew the lease, and the landlord decides against renewing it.
Note: A lease agreement with an option to purchase may be a great choice for some business owners. This type of agreement provides a lessee with the option to buy the leased property at the end of a specific term, with a portion of the monthly rent credited toward the eventual purchase price. It enables a business owner who currently does not have the cash needed to purchase a desirable property to have additional time to save up to buy it or to improve the business’s credit rating. Depending upon the terms of the agreement, there could be some tax implications accompanying an option to purchase that we should discuss, however.
We Can Help
The decision about whether to lease or purchase a commercial space for your small business will depend upon your unique circumstances. We can provide guidance about the pros and cons of each option, as well as ensure that your lease or purchase agreement includes all of the terms needed to protect your business. Please call our office today to set up a meeting.
10 Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Home
When buying a home, buyers may not realize what they should or shouldn’t be doing, and most times may not know how to go about the process. Even those who have purchased a home before, the market changes, the laws change, things just change, so this list is good for anyone looking to purchase a home.
1. Not having your own Buyer’s Agent or representation – This is the most important mistake made by so many buyers. Buyers believe that calling the listing agent directly will be better or save them money. Most times that is not the case. Having your own representation is vital as in the state of Florida (and many other states) you can not represent both parties and give them full disclosure. Meaning we can represent both the buyer and seller yet we have to remain neutral so that we are not disclosing to either party something we may know, such as the seller will take less for the house or the buyer will pay more for the home. But when you have your own representation, the agent can give full disclosure to the buyer with any information they know about the seller and the home.
2. Looking at homes PRIOR to being pre-approved – There are many reasons why you shouldn’t do this, but I will just name a couple here for you. First and foremost, you wouldn’t want to go shopping for a home, find the one you love, only to find out it’s over your price range and you can’t afford it. That would put you in a negative mindset right off the bat and end up not making your supposed to be “fun” experience, potentially a sour one. Second, most sellers in today’s market won’t even consider your offer without your pre-approval, so looking at homes beforehand is a waste of everyone’s energy and time.
3. Not disclosing ALL information to your lender – You must share everything and anything you know about your financial background so that the lender knows everything up front. Without all of that information you leave yourself vulnerable during the home purchase and in a position where the entire deal may fall apart as whatever you may be hiding, or forgetting, will come up whether you want it to or not. Financial institutions have tightened up since the “crash” in the mid-2000s and guidelines are much stricter, so you need to disclose everything you can think of to your lender.
4. Using an agent who can’t properly represent you – If you’re agent doesn’t communicate with you in a timely manner, that’s a huge red flag. They should have knowledge of the area or know how to properly fill out a contract. Be sure to use an agent with experience and skills to represent you the best. I’ve seen agents who don’t represent their clients properly and those clients end up loosing thousands of dollars in the end.
5. Failure to verify permitting or potential code violations – Unfortunately the agent can not verify this information for you. Mostly because if they speak to someone who gives them incorrect information and then relays that information to you, you can blame the agent for giving false information. So, as a buyer, you always want to verify your own information and permitting, and code violations are one of them. Now, most times the title company will do that work for you, but you want to confirm it is being taken care of.
6. Not getting a home inspection done – BIG Mistake! A home inspection can reveal things not seen by the naked eye, such as plumbing issues, a roof leak, electrical issues and so much more. There are other inspections your agent should recommend depending on the home and what is needed, but a home inspection is a must. Even if you are in an “As Is” contract where the seller won’t fix, repair or replace anything, this at least gives you the opportunity to know whether to move forward or, at the very least, have a punch-list for when you move into the home and the repairs you can make yourself.
7. Trusting the Seller and not getting a Seller’s Disclosure – Even though it is not mandatory nor required (in the State of Florida), it’s good to have and see what may be wrong with the home prior to going under contract or doing inspections, as if there is something you are not alright with, you can discuss that upfront with your agent or the seller and see if it is something the seller would be willing to repair or replace if needed.
8. Making major purchases before you close on the home, which could hurt your credit and debt-to-income can increase, in turn hurting your chances to buy the home. When you have your initial conversation with your lender or financial institution, they should give you information on what NOT to do when you are buying a home. Purchasing anything, such as a new car, or even appliances for the home, could hurt your chances to end up closing on that home. So, ask the lender what NOT to do, if they don’t share that with you themselves.
9. Verify utilities, such as on public water or sewer, or on well water or septic. Also check assessments with the city if recently switched over from well or septic to city water or sewer. If it is on septic, you would want to get that inspected. Also, if there are assessments for being recently switched over to city water or sewer, you want to know that as many times the seller will ask the buyer to pay off the balance as you are now the one going to be using it. It is more common than not for a seller to ask that, yet this is still something you want to know going into the purchase of the home, so you are prepared.
10. Not knowing the different programs available for buyers in your area – Most buyers, even ones who have purchased a home before, may not know what is being offered in the state or even county they are purchasing a home in. Ask your agent, ask your lender and do some research to see if there may be something out there to help you either with closing costs, your down payment or a type of loan you can qualify for.
Now you know what mistakes NOT to make as a buyer when purchasing a home. If you want proper representation, have questions, or are ready to make a move to buy a home, contact us today, The Von Ohlen Team. We are here to help you and have the experience and knowledge to do it right the first time.
Benefits to Moving to the Treasure Coast
Many people are seeing the benefits of moving to the Treasure Coast. There is something different for everyone to enjoy and plenty of things to keep you busy. For those that want to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches, parks and outdoor activities the Treasure Coast is a great choice. Many waterfront properties for sale throughout the Treasure Coast bring Florida living into beautiful reality. You can choose to live on the beach in a condo, townhouse or mansion. Or you can buy a large single family home on the St Lucie River which affords homeowners boat dockage and unlimited fun in the sun.
Treasure Coast Lifestyle
If you are visiting the Treasure Coast for the first time you may be overwhelmed by the number of outdoor activities are available. However, there's so much to do indoors as well. Many folks want to be near shopping, 5-star dining and more. We have some amazing Golf and Country Club communities where you can eat, be social, play outdoors, workout and even eat out all within the security of guard gated access. Places like Evergreen Club in Palm City offer 1 acre home sites and very unique homes. They are built around a world-class golf course that resident members have unlimited access to. If you are on a budget, but still want an amazing value in Martin County then Emerald Lakes in Stuart is a great choice. Here you will find townhouses and single family residences that are a bargain. The community is run by a healthy HOA and the fees are really low (under $250 per month)
Then for those who enjoy being out on the water, our many Yacht Clubs on the Treasure Coast offer amazing memberships. You can even choose to buy a home within a Yacht Club and have year-round access to the water.
Treasure Coast Homes For Sale
There are many Treasure Coast homes for sale to fit any budget and style. Buyers can choose from secure guard gated neighborhoods that are family friendly. Plus homes, condos, and townhouses inside HOA communities. There are also well-known 55 plus communities that you can buy a home within and also keep a busy social schedule.
1. Getting pre-qualified (though our mortgage broker referral)
2. Search the areas you wish to live for homes that match your criteria
3. Set up showings of any homes you like
4. Submit contracts and documents needed for the sale.
5. Connect you with any other helpful people or things that will make your home buying experience better.