Florida Architecture

mint and pink coastal home

South Florida doesn’t look like other places: It’s green all the time. the land is flat and the roads are mostly straight. The architecture here also reflects the different climate and temperate of our area. Here are a few architectural details and features that you will often find in South Florida homes:

  • Bright or pastel paint colors. Like the Caribbean islands, our architecture is competing with flowers and year-round greenery, so the exteriors of houses tend to be painted more lively shades than up north.
  • Large windows and sliding glass doors. Windows in Florida homes let the sunshine in, and in the winter, allow cross breezes to keep the house temperate.
  • Concrete building materials. Old Florida homes of early settlers were made from wood. Over the years, residents realized hurricanes, termites and wood rot made wood less desirable. Now homes are almost always made of concrete block, often covered in stucco.
  • Big screened patios. Residents of Florida live much of their lives in the backyard around the pool.
  • Big attached garages. Without an attic or a basement like northern homes, Floridians need a place to put all their stuff!
  • Open layout and tile floors. Most people in Florida have moved here in the past few decades, so housing designs tend to be modern. Open layouts and tile floors also allow homes to stay cooler.
  • Cabana bathrooms. Easy access from the backyard pool is a priority in South Florida.
  • Coat closets and mud rooms are rare. Who needs them!
  • Storm shutters instead of decorative wooden shutters. After the series of storms in 2005 and 2006, accordion storm shutters became considered less of an eyesore and more of a desirable feature on South Florida homes.
  • Tile roofs. South Florida homes are heavily influenced by Mediterranean architecture, which comes from an equally warm climate. Many Florida homes have the S-tile roofs that are common in Italy and Spain.

Summer Energy Saving Tips

ecological concept, symbolizing renewable energy, bio energy
ecological concept, symbolizing renewable energy, bio energy

It is summer in South Florida and your energy bills are rising as fast as the thermometer. Save money and energy by paying attention to the following:

  • Curtains and blinds. Drawing the curtains and closing the blinds is the quickest and easiest way to save on energy in Florida. Block the sun’s rays from getting in your house and you’ve quickly and easily reduced your energy usage. The cost of quality blinds and drapes can pay for themselves with the savings on energy bills. Take note especially of windows facing east in the morning and west in the afternoon.
  • Fans. Ceiling and box fans can be used when you are home as they are designed to move the cooler air and make it feel more comfortable for the people in the house. They don’t actually lower the temperature of the house.
  • Thermostat. When you are not home, bump the thermostat up a couple degrees. If you are not going to work, consider going out and spending time at the library or a movie theater to cool off without spending energy to keep your house cool.
  • Oven. Eat cooler in the hottest months with salads, crockpot meals or grilled food. You save double energy by not using your oven and not adding heat for the air conditioner to combat.
  • Landscaping. This is a long-range solution, yet still one worth working on. Over the years, you can beautify your yard as well as use trees and shrubs to shade your house, lowering your utility usage and bills.

 

5 easy ways to transform home

paint improvementsBored by your abode? Here are 5 easy and inexpensive (some free!) things you can do to energize your castle.

  1. Declutter. Rather than spend money to add new things to your residence, take time to reduce objects instead. Throw out unnecessary papers. Return borrowed items. Donate excess toys, books, knick-knacks and kitchen clutter to charity. Your home and your spirit will feel lighter.
  2. Rearrange. Another no-expense option is to rearrange the furniture and artwork you already own. Don’t let routine get you into a rut. Change the position of the couch and easy chair in the family room. Move book shelves to an opposite wall, and rearrange the books and objects on them. Swap artwork from one room to another. You’ll see beloved objects in a new way and transform your home at the same time.
  3. Freshen up. If you want to spend a little money, your best deal is paint. Consider changing the color of a room or a piece of furniture. A fresh shot of color or even a clean blank slate will make any space feel new again.
  4. Add Spring. April is the wrong time to plant flowers outside in South Florida, so instead purchase a flowering plant for inside your home. This will last longer than cut flowers anyway and bring a feeling of spring to your house.
  5. Focus on foyer. If money and time are limited, focus only on the entrance of your home. Get more effect for your effort by having that fresh paint or decluttered shelves be the first thing you and guests see as you walk in. That transformative feeling will make its impact right away.

Spring cleaning Florida style

Green Cleaning SuppliesWe all like to joke that Florida has no spring season, just a month of slight winter before jumping right back into a long summer. However, that doesn’t mean spring cleaning is something to skip. Folks up north use spring cleaning to air out their houses and get ready for summer. Here in South Florida, we prepare our houses to be sealed up against the heat and rain of our lengthiest season.

Luckily this year summer is starting later than usual. Get these chores done soon to enjoy your home all summer long:

  • Clean your AC. Schedule some seriously needed AC maintenance. Change out your filter (which hopefully you’ve been doing monthly). Your AC is about to start its busiest season; make sure it is up to the task!
  • Clean out your refrigerator. Perhaps you have had an influx of winter guests from up north. Now is the time to clear out old leftovers and expired items from your kitchen. Wipe down all the shelves and drawers and freshen up the old ice box to hold the fruits and drinks that will keep you refreshed all summer.
  • Tidy up the yard. Summer rains will bring phenomenal growth to the plants in your yard. Use a cooler weekend to weed out dying annual flowers and trim back the bushes and trees.
  • Put away winter clothes. Clean and stow away those sweaters and long-sleeve shirts you’ve been enjoying lately. Put them in a labeled box on a high shelf until next December. Now you have more room for the sundresses and shorts that make up a standard Florida uniform!
  • Wash the windows. Wash the outsides of windows that you can safely reach. Then you will have a clear view of the sunny days ahead!

 

 

 

When should I refinance my home?

looking for money, jobYou should refinance when it makes sense for you economically. Ask yourself these questions:

What is my goal?

The variety of reasons to re-finance a mortgage boils down to two different goals: to save money or to take money out of the principle of your house’s value.

If you are looking to lower your monthly mortgage payment or to pay off your mortgage faster, then refinance when mortgage rates are lower than your current mortgage. With a lower interest rate, you can either reduce your overall monthly payment or make the same payment with more of it going to principle and therefore paying off your home faster.

If your goal is to tap your home’s equity, a lower rate is still a good idea. But now your primary criteria is to have enough principal to withdraw. In other words, your home should be worth more than you owe. You will end up with a bigger mortgage but if it is also at a lower rate, your monthly payment may not change too much.

Call Team Scherer to get an idea of the current value of your home to see if refinancing is right for you.

Can I afford the closing costs of a refinance?

Find out the closing costs before you refinance. Examine whether with closing costs if you will be saving money with the lower interest rate. Sometimes it takes a couple years to recoup the costs of refinancing.

How is my credit score?

Refinance is easier when your credit is in good shape. Your credit score needs to be healthy enough for a bank to be willing to take a new gamble on a mortgage with you. If a bank turns you down for refinancing, ask what you can do to improve your score. Try paying bills on time and lowering debt on credit cards for half a year or so to improve your score.

What does refinancing involve?

Refinancing your home mortgage is not something to take lightly. When you refinance, you pay off your existing mortgage (or mortgages) and start a new mortgage. You are essentially buying your house again!

St. Patrick’s Day in Palm Beach County

beautiful-happy-st-patricks-day-background_X19gTM_LCelebrate St. Patrick’s Day…Palm Beach County style!  Trim yourself, from head-to-toe, in all things green and hit the town for some of the surrounding annual Irish celebrations that are sure to bring out the leprechaun in almost anyone.

Blarney Bash in Boynton Beach

This year marks the third annual Blarney Bash!  Entrance to this green themed family-fun celebration is free.  Live music by Celtic Mayhem and Clockwork Knotwork will set the tone, and festivities like balloon artist, bounce houses, a visit from a leprechaun and face painters are sure to keep the kids entertained and happy!  Aranmore Academy of Irish Dance will also be performing their Irish Folk Dance.  For the adults, there will be ample food and craft beer.  The event is located on Ocean Avenue between First Street and Seacrest at the Ocean Avenue Amphitheatre at 129 E. Ocean Avenue.  The celebration begins at 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.  For more information, visit http://catchboynton.com/whats-happening/blarney-bash.

Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

This annual tradition dates all the way back to 1968 when a local pub owner strolled down Atlantic Avenue with a green pig and declared it a parade.  The festival begins March 10th from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the parade is March 11th at noon.  There is also a Fun Run before the parade at 11:00 a.m.   Plan to arrive early for the parade.  Typically, spectators begin lining the streets by 10:00 a.m.  For more detailed information, go to http://stpatrickmarch.com/general-information/.

West Palm Beach St. Patrick’s Day on Clematis Street

On March 17th, adults only can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a block party on Celmatis Street beginning at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 a.m.!  Food trucks and traditional Irish foods will be offered, and of course plenty of beer!  For more information, visit http://westpalmbeach.com/calendarofevents/.

Roxy’s St. Patrick’s Day Block Party

Another adult only party, Roxy’s Rooftop St. Patrick’s Day Party is one of the best if you’re in the mood to unwind and celebrate.  Delicious beverages, great food, and a relaxed environment will do the trick.  For more information, visit Roxy’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roxys.rooftop/.

No matter how or where you decide to celebrate St. Patrick’s, we wish you the luck of the Irish!  And, as always, we are here to help you with any of your real estate needs.  Contact the Scherer Team at 888-300-4431.

Best Places to See a Movie

Bucket of Popcorn With Movie Tickets“Going to the movies” has come a long way in recent history!  Movie goers of all ages have come to expect much more from their movie experience than their not-so-distant ancestors.  In Palm Beach County alone, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of great places and unique venues to see a movie, and here’s just a few….

IMAX Theatre in West Palm Beach

Ah, yes!  This is the perfect way to spend an afternoon!  No matter what movie you’re seeing, the thunderous sound combined with the rumbling vibration is simply thrilling.  If you have yet to visit an IMAX theatre, you won’t be disappointed.  The picture is amazingly detailed.  For more information, take a look at http://www.imax.com/theatres/muvico-parisian-imax.

Florida Cinépolis Jupiter

Located at The Shoppes at Jupiter, The first of Cinépolis’s hybrid theatres offer two unique concepts.  For an extravagant movie experience, the luxury cinema offers luxurious seats fit for a king along with dining and full bar service options.  The Cinépolis auditorium offers comfortable seating and access to their gourmet menu and bar located in the lobby.  For information and movie times, see http://www.cinepolisusa.com/jupiter.aspx.

iPic Theatres at Mizner Park

iPic has been busy making a name for itself, and this movie going experience will not disappoint!  You can choose and reserve your seat online, and once you arrive you’ll be escorted to your seat and catered to like none other!  If you enjoy frozen foods that are heated in a microwave, this is not the place for you!  The fresh gourmet entrees and appetizers here will have your inner food critic raving. For information on iPic Theatres, see https://www.ipictheaters.com/#/faq.

Lake Worth Drive-In

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a little nostalgia (or maybe you’re just feeling like a hermit).  Either way, when you find yourself in one of these moods, a visit to Lake Worth Drive-In is in order.  Evening showings at 8:00 and 10:00 will have you enjoying movie night from the comfort of your own car.  No need to get dressed up!  Don your favorite sweats and t-shirt and be done with it….For information, see http://www.floridaswapshop.com. Yes!  There’s also a swap meet at this location!  See their website for all of the details.

Should I Upgrade My House Before Selling?

Home EquityMaking the decision to sell your home can be a difficult one.  On top of this, you may be pondering whether it is a good idea to upgrade your house before listing it.  The answer to this question isn’t necessarily cut and dry.  So, to help you answer the question, we’ve come up with a list of determining factors that you may want to consider when coming up with your plan of attack.  Furthermore, if you do choose to upgrade, we’ve comprised a list of upgrades which are most likely to pay off in the end.

Your real estate agent can help you with research to determine the following questions:

  • How do other homes in your area compare to yours?

It’s important to be competitive, and the best way to do this is to make sure your home is up to par.  If most of the comparable homes on the market have hardwood floors, and yours still has worn or stained carpet, it may be a good idea to consider upgrading the flooring.

  • What is the current market?

Are homes selling quickly, and are they selling at or near the listing price? If the market is hot, sometimes it is easier to adjust the price a bit rather than completing a renovation.  Your agent will be able to help you decide.

  • What would an upgrade do for your listing price?

If a home is considered to be a “fixer-upper,” buyers will be expecting a bargain.  Certain upgrades can be worth the additional price you will get in the end.

  • How quickly do you need to sell?

Needing to sell quickly may give you the incentive to do everything you can to get the highest price possible in the least amount of time on the market.  Move-in-ready homes, typically, go quickly in a hot market.

Once you’ve done the research necessary and decided to upgrade, some improvements are worth more to buyers.  It’s important to spend your resources wisely.  So, let’s take a look at what may be the most desirable enhancements for your home.

  • The Kitchen

The kitchen is known to be the heart of the home, and it is, without a doubt, one of the best improvements you can make.  Creating a kitchen in which buyers can imagine themselves cooking an entertaining can go a long way!  Instead of doing a complete remodel, you’ll want to target items that need it most.  Appliances, countertops, or flooring are the issues to look at when doing a kitchen upgrade.

  • The Master Suite

Most buyers care more about the master bed and bath than secondary bedrooms and bathrooms.  Creating a room fit for a king could have buyers taking a second look.  New tile and spa-like features in the ensuite can, usually, be easily recouped.

  • Flooring

Worn and dated flooring is one of the first things that most buyers notice upon entering your home.  They immediately start deducting money from their would-be offer.  Most people see flooring as a big hassle and a large out-of-pocket expense.  This is one investment to consider if your flooring is less than attractive.

  • Curb Appeal

You may not think much of how the exterior of your home appears.  Little details can make a big difference here.  Upgrading landscaping and a fresh coat of trim paint are fairly easy and inexpensive.  This upgrade is one that will pay-off quickly.  The more inviting your home is from the outside, the more buyers will want to go inside and keep looking.

Going through with renovations and improvements is a big decision.  Taking the time to research the market in your neighborhood will help a great deal.  With help in making the best decisions in your real estate journey, contact the Scherer Team at 888-300-4431.

Understanding Real Estate Market Shifts from a Seller’s Perspective

Real Estate and Conctruction Market Going Up. Bright Sunny Real Estate and Economy Concept 3D Illustration.

Everyone seems to be creating a buzz around the possible market shift in real estate.  Article after article about the coming change in the market forewarns sellers and buyers of possible good fortune or impending doom.  But what does this really mean for the average consumer?  Would we recognize a shift when it begins, and what signs should we all expect?  Below is a list of a few certainties that may help us decipher the next market shift.

Listings

A change in listings will be the first tell-tale sign.  The number of listings on the market in any given area will gradually grow as the number of sales begins to decline.  This domino effect will create lower listing prices.  For this reason, keeping close tabs on the current market is a must.

Market Split

At the beginning of a market shift, you may first see a split by price point.  Typically, entry level homes will continue to stay in the seller’s market while higher end or luxury homes begin to shift.

Lenders

As the market shifts, wage growth becomes almost stagnant, leaving buyers struggling to afford the higher priced listings.  Lenders are then forced to become more aggressive with creative financing to keep buyers in the game.

What Can You Do?

For sellers, when the market shifts out of a seller’s market into a buyer’s market, adjustments will need to be made.  There are two easy steps…..

Price

Make sure your listing price is comparable and competitive.  A market shift tends to amplify an overpriced listing. Let your experienced agent guide you.  Most agents have successfully maneuvered through previous market shifts and will be able to help you do the same. You’ll want to make only one price adjustment, so you want to get it right the first time.

Condition

Make sure your property is in tip-top shape!  Buyers will be picky like never before.  Be proactive to eliminate concerns.  Have your home show ready at all times.  You’ll need to be on your toes to stay ahead of the competition.

If and when the market shift happens, it could bring with it a large number of expired or cancelled listings.  If you find yourself in this position and you need a fresh approach to listing your property, please reach out to us.  As always, if you will be buying or selling in the near future we would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.  Contact the Scherer Team at 888-300-4431.

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Resolutions Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

This is the year!  The year that you’re finally going to do it!  Get organized, lose weight, get out of debt, the list goes on and on.  But you’re not the only one with a list of goals to check off.  Your home has its own resolutions for the New Year, and you’re just the one to fulfill them.  In fact, you can get in shape together!  Here are 7 ways you can get started….

Organize Your Home…..Let’s face it – it’s time to declutter!  The best way to tackle this task is to create ample space for storage.  This is where you can put your creativity to use!  Now, more than ever, there are storage solutions to every problem space.  Everything from covert furniture, high shelves, and under staircase areas can be used to store your “must keep” belongings.  Of course, if you don’t absolutely need it you must donate or sell it.  You and your home will look and feel better once this step is complete!

Create A Budget…..Not only is budgeting a necessity for a well-run life, it’s also crucial for a well-run home!  An annual budget for maintenance as well as upgrades will prevent financial surprises when major replacements or repairs sneak up.  Think large kitchen appliances, HVAC, roofing, or even new flooring.  These expenses can add up, but you’ll be ready later in the year if you’re proactive from the beginning.

Lose That Extra Baggage…..While you’re busy shedding those extra pounds from the previous year, it’s also a good time to trim down the extra costs your home may be scarfing down.  Trimming energy use will have you feeling more energized, and it’s easier than you may think!  Whether you can do-it-yourself or you need to call in a professional, it will be well worth the time and money to check the HVAC systems and ductwork.  Maintenance of these areas by sealing and insulating them can improve the operation and effectiveness by about 20%.  On an annual basis, this really adds up!

Stop Smoking……Improve the quality of your air, that is!  Poor quality of air is an environmental hazard which negatively affects your overall health.  Get started on this one as quickly as possible, as the issue is even more problematic during the winter months when doors and windows are locked down tight.  Contaminants like pollen, mold spores, dust and even viruses can almost shut down your system.

Improve Family Time….A family that works together, stays together!  But make sure the work is actually fun.  To encourage a win-win relationship between work and fun (and checking off your “to do” list, you may want to think about engaging the whole family in some light hearted chores such as planting a garden.  Too much?  At least consider planting some shrubs or a tree.  Make sure everyone gets involved from the beginning though.  Part of the fun is picking out your new addition, naming it, planting it and, of course, caring for it.

Get Your Drinking Under Control…..Yes, it’s true, your home may be thirsty, but enough is enough!  With around 400 gallons of water a day for the average household, there’s plenty of room for improvement!  Simply installing items such as low-flow showerheads can result in better showering experiences as well as savings.  Low-flow toilets will also prevent unnecessary water from being flushed away!

Exercise!…..There’s benefits in store for both you and your house with this one.  Combining calorie burning with your DIY projects will have you and your home in shape in no time.  After all, doing it yourself can burn more calories than going to the gym!  For instance, painting walls inside your home burns about 135 calories an hour.  Planting shrubs with the family? That will burn about 240 calories per hour!  Cleaning gutters – a whopping 270 calories per hour….again, the list goes on and on!

Again, we, here at The Scherer Team, wish you a Happy New Year! We look forward to working with you in 2017!  Call 888-300-4431 to schedule your complimentary consultation, today.