Treasure Coast Insider

Helping you understand the real estate market, as well as how to best navigate it are our top priority. We'll share tips on every aspect of successful buying, selling, and investing. Learn what's happening on the Treasure Coast. You'll find everything from local real estate market statistics and home values, to community events, restaurants, beaches, golf, and much more. That’s because we care about our communities and want to help you find your place in it. As your Treasure Coast Insider blogger, and local resident for over 30 years, you'll find an abundance of information for all age groups and interests. 

If you want to know where the best local dog-friendly parks are found, or the only-known-to-locals beaches hide, you'll find them here. The best golf courses, marinas, festivals, rodeos, playhouses, senior living activities and dancing are all shared here. If state and local parks interest you, learn what each offers in amenities and uniqueness to our beautiful area. Even restaurant discounts can be found on Treasure Coast Insider.

If you're thinking of selling your home, your first step should be obtaining the current market value of your property. For an instant valuation, complete your address below...

Instant Home Valuation

 

For a free, customized, in-depth, Comparative Market Analysis, call us at 772-530-6131.

Mona Leonard is your Treasure Coast Insider Blogger. 

Jan. 3, 2022

Stuart Area Beaches

Mona Leonard Realtor Reviews Stuart Beach

Stuart Area Beaches

Whether you're interested in riding horseback on a beach, or cooking out with friends, Stuart area beaches have lots to offer. With facilities for parties, volleyball courts, restrooms and free parking, there are plenty to choose from. Some Stuart area beaches are great for large groups and families, while others are little secret getaways!

Stuart Beach 

Stuart Beach offers basketball, volleyball, restrooms, pavilions, a concession stand, picnic tables, grills, and a playground... not to mention great fishing. Stuart Beach is ADA accessible and guarded. With lots of free parking, it's a Treasure Coast favorite. Easy access to this beach makes it a favorite for weddings, picnics and birthdays. It's open 24 hours a day and alcohol is permitted. 

Stuart Beach

Causeway Beach, Stuart

Causeway Beach is a great spot for avid fisherman and folks that love being on the water. With pavilions, grills, and a boat ramp for your toys, Causeway Beach faces the beautiful Indian River Lagoon. It's perfect for kayaking and canoeing. If you don't have a boat, there's large swaths of seawall waiting for you to cast under the bridge. Causeway Beach is home to the Annual Stuart Boat Races. There's fun for the entire family. Restrooms and ADA accessible.

Jensen Beach

The attraction can't be mistaken at Jensen Beach. Amenities include a concession stand and a beautiful, spacious pavilion available for rental. Showers and restrooms are nearby and the boardwalk will get you to the beach pronto! Jensen Beach has volleyball, surfing, fishing and is ADA accessible and guarded. 

Jensen Beach

Bathtub Reef Beach, Stuart

This reef-encircled beach is perfect for young families, especially at low tide. Teach your kids all the wonders of the aquatic life here. If you like snorkeling or diving, you'll love Bathtub Beach. Just minutes away from the House of Refuge and other wonderful beaches to explore.

Bathtub Beach

Frederick Douglass Memorial Park, Ft. Pierce

If you're up for horseback riding, this is the beach for you! It has restrooms, showers, a pavilion, picnic tables and grills. It's ADA compliant and guarded during the summer. Equestrian trails abound in this beautiful Hutchinson Island area. With these amenities, you're sure to enjoy the day!

Beach for Horses

House of Refuge Beach, Stuart

Great beach for snorkeling and swimming. This thinly-sliced south end of Hutchinson Island has a long history. Used as a beacon in storms, the House of Refuge was built in 1876. The Treasure Coast is named for the ships that sunk off our shores carrying heavily-laden treasures of gold, silver, coins, jewels and more.

The shipwreck of the Georges Valentine is only 100 yards off the rocky coastline for your snorkeling or diving enjoyment. The House of Refuge has great onshore rocks make it a hot spot for photo-taking especially when the rocks are blowing!

House of Refuge - Gilbert's Bar

Jaycee Park, Vero Beach

There's lots to enjoy at Jaycee Park Beach. It's ADA accessible and has grills, picnic areas, a pavilion, restrooms, a playground and lots more. Food vendors make it easy to quench your thirst or grab a bite to eat. Vero's barrier island is stunning with an abundance of old Florida foliage and trees. I used to ride up and down the streets admiring the majestic oak trees these fortunate residents have in their very own yards. 

Mona Leonard Realtor Reviews Jaycee Park Beach

Chastain Beach, STuart

This beautiful Stuart beach, located next to Bathtub Beach, has restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grills, and fishing. It's also guarded during part of the year. This area of Hutchinson Island is a thin strip of land just north of Sailfish Point on the inlet. It's close to everything and a little quieter than Stuart Beach. 

Tiger Shores Beach, Stuart

Just two miles south of Jensen Beach, this quiet little gem is a locals' secret. Hidden among condos, this public beach is perfect for a quiet walk on the beach, or cooking out with friends. It has showers and is ADA compliant. Locals come to kite and wind surf here, but don't be fooled. It's deserted much of the time if you'd like some space.

South Causeway Island, Ft. Pierce

In Fort Pierce, South Causeway Island Beach has a museum, boat ramps, grills, picnic areas and a playground. This beach is on the Indian River Lagoon. Just to the west of the Atlantic, South Causeway Island Beach has calm, beautiful blue/green water and it's protected from rough seas. 

South Causeway Island Beach

Juno Beach

One of the best beaches in Palm Beach County, Juno Beach has a great pier with a bate shop and snack bar. It also has outdoor showers, restrooms and 300 feet of guarded beach front. The water here is amazing. It's a personal favorite. 

Juno Beach Pier

Hobe Sound Beach

As one of Martin County's most cherished beaches, Hobe Sound Beach is a local favorite. This beach is guarded with a large pavilion, restrooms, showers, and water fountains. Surfers love this beach and can be seen here often. Coming through the Banyan trees before the little draw bridge, it almost feels like you're in a time capsule. This great beach is at the east end of Bridge Rd in Hobe Sound on Jupiter Island. 

Hobe Sound beach

Walton Rocks Beach, Jensen Beach 

This beach has gone to the dogs! This off-leash dog park was established on 24 acres of beach property so canines can romp in the sand and surf. Walton Rocks has pavilions, picnic tables, restrooms, and fishing. Looking to wear Fido out and get some sunshine? This is the spot.

Walton Rocks Beach Dog Park

Blind Creek Beach - Clothing Optional, Ft. Pierce

Located toward the north end of Hutchinson Island, this beach is one of the few "clothing optional" beaches in the area. Although amenities are lacking, it's a great beach for the free spirited and you can walk to local restaurants... where clothing is required.

Blind Creek Beach - Clothing OptionalFor more Stuart area beaches, contact Mona Leonard, your local area Realtor and Blogger for Treasure Coast Insider. For more info, contact her at 772.530.6131

Jan. 3, 2022

Stuart Area Rodeos

 

Mona Leonard Reviews Stuart Area Rodeos

Stuart Area Rodeos

Many people moving to the area might not even think Stuart area rodeos exist. They exist and thrive! With over 18,000 cattle ranches in the state of Florida, we're ranked 12th in the nation for beef production. So much of the Treasure Coast is rural and agricultural. The most popular Stuart area rodeos are in Indiantown and Okeechobee. 

The Okeechobee Cowtown Rodeo

The Okeechobee Cowtown Rodeo held in March each year, brings cowboys from all over the country, in search of prize money and glory. It includes bareback bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping and lots more. It's a well-attended Stuart area rodeo, usually filling the arena with spectators. For the full arena schedule, contact the Okeechobee Cattlemen's Association.

 

In addition to the adult events (roping, riding and busting to name a few), the Mutton Bustin' contest is loved by kids and adults alike. During this event, young cowboys and cowgirls try to hang on... and walk away with great pride after the competition. You've never seen anything cuter. It's serious stuff for these kids and they love it.

Indiantown Rodeo

Held in October, the Indiantown Rodeo is a favorite of Stuart area rodeos, for folks of all ages. Cowboys from all over the country come to compete in Indiantown's rodeo. It's set in lush Timer Powers Park on Citrus Blvd and the area has a long tradition for everything Western... appropriate for western Martin County. My mom grew up in this little town in the '50's. It's a great place to raise a family.

With all that nature can offer, Indiantown has it all. If you're considering this area of the Treasure Coast, you'll love the fresh water fishing in Lake Okeechobee near Port Mayaca to the west. My absolute favorite fish to eat is fresh water catfish. There's plenty to do living the country life. Ranches and wildlife areas are abundant. It's "Old Florida" beauty with all its flora and fauna. Cabbage palms, live oak hammocks, Cyprus stands, grasslands, White-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobcats, an occasional gator... and nice people.  

Mona Leonard Reviews Stuart Area Rodeos

Want to look the part? 

Eli's Western Wear is the place to shop if you're in the mood for some western wear. A new cowboy hat, some great boots, shirts, jeans and belts, Eli's Western Wear is the place to shop in Okeechobee. The inventory is huge and if they don't have what you're looking for, they can likely order it for you.

Mona Leonard Reviews the Okeechobee Rodeo

The Adams Ranch

The Adams Ranch includes 65,000 acres just west of Ft. Pierce. I met Bud Adams on several occasions and road shotgun in his old pick-up to view some of the gorgeous landscape and cattle on his ranch. Four generations have raised cattle here (Bud is standing in the photo). Their cattle auctions are second to none and they create a top-notch hoedown for young and old alike.

From raising money for victims of human trafficking, to putting on a great shindig for the Cattleman's Ball to raise money for the Sunrise Theatre, this family owned and operated ranch (ranked in the top 50 seed stock ranches in the country) is part of the heritage of the Treasure Coast. 

 

Mona Leonard Reviews The Adams Ranch

For more information on other terrific Stuart area rodeos, contact Mona Leonard at StuartHousesForSale.com or call 772.530.6131. As blogger for Treasure Coast Insider, feedback is always appreciated.

Dec. 24, 2021

6 Ways Homebuyers Prepare Financially

Home Loans Mona Leonard

 

6 Ways Homebuyers Prepare Financially

Many homebuyers are financially unprepared to purchase a home. According to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, about half of respondents report being “least prepared” to buy a home. It's a clear sign that education is needed, especially for first-time home buyers.

Here's how to prepare finances well in advance of searching for a home. 

1.    Make a Financial Plan – Knowing where to start means conducting a complete review of how your household budget is managed. Comparing income and expenses, reviewing debt, and tracking savings are just a few of the ways to measure readiness for homeownership.

2.    Review Your Credit Report and Score – A mortgage is typically the largest debt a person is likely to carry in their lifetime. Credit history plays a huge part in obtaining a loan, as well as getting a satisfactory interest rate from a lender. A credit report may be obtained without a score for free once every 12 months from each of the three bureaus by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

Review the credit report for discrepancies and dispute any differences. This should be done at least six months in advance of applying for a loan, allowing time for inaccuracies to be corrected.

Along with the free credit report, a score can be purchased for a small fee. This score is critical to mortgage approval and for a competitive interest rate. It's worth taking a look at the score before submitting an application for a loan. Lender guidelines vary, but a FICO score of 760 is typically the threshold for the most favorable interest rates. 

3.    Start Saving – A down payment is typically no less than 20 percent of the purchase price of a home, especially to avoid having to pat private mortgage insurance. Any down payment (with a mortgage) of less than 20% down will require private mortgage insurance (PMI). This alone can disqualify many borrowers. If 20% or more will be paid by the borrower at closing, it will also increase the chance of having more favorable mortgage terms.

4.    Decide the Type of Loan – After you’ve selected a lender, decide whether to take on a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate loan. For those planning to remain in the home for a long time, a fixed-rate mortgage helps add stability by keeping the payment the same for the life of the loan. Those expecting to stay in the home no longer than five to seven years may be better off getting an adjustable rate loan, where typically, they could benefit from lower rates in the short term.

5.    Get Pre-Approved for a Loan – Applying for a mortgage typically involves a cost and is done by supplying detailed financial documentation to the lender. The lender will use this information in conjunction with information obtained by pulling a credit report to determine the amount and terms available to the borrower. This is not a final approval for a loan but is a significant step toward that outcome.

6.    Lock In the Rate – If you like the interest rate being offered when pre-approved, lock it in by getting the commitment in writing. It can take time to find a home, negotiate a price and secure funding. Locking a rate for a reasonable period helps make room to complete the process without risking a less favorable interest rate.

 

For more information, contact Treasure Coast Insider Blogger, Mona Leonard at 772-530-6131 or mona@stuarthousesforsale.com

 

Posted in Buying Tools
Dec. 24, 2021

How Is A Credit Score Determined?

Credit Score

 

HOW IS A CREDIT SCORE DETERMINED?

Almost anyone knows how important it is to have a good credit score. A good credit score helps borrowers  get access to loans and more favorable interest rates when borrowing money. A good credit score is the beginning of financial health today.

But do you know how a credit score is determined? Understanding what’s used to determine the score is half the battle towards achieving a higher credit score. Here are some of the top factors:

ON-TIME PAYMENT PERCENTAGE

Good creditworthiness means paying bills on time. This is the percentage of payments made on time for the duration of the credit history. It plays a big role in determining creditworthiness. Just a couple of late payments could significantly impact the score… for the worse. The best way to avoid late payments is to set up automatic bill paying. Another helpful way is to place a reminder on the calendar.  

CREDIT CARD AUTHORIZATION

The percent of the total credit card balances divided by the total credit card limits provides creditors with the total available credit used. The lower the credit card utilization, the higher the credit score.

TOTAL ACCOUNTS

More is better… To a point. Consumers that have more “lines of credit” can have higher scores because it shows lenders are willing to give credit. It’s best to have a good mix of different types of credit for good credit health. The caveat… Only apply for credit you need.

 

Credit Cards

HARD INQUIRIES

When applying for a mortgage or auto loan, a “hard” credit inquiry is initiated on the credit report. One inquiry has little impact on a credit score. Multiple inquiries begin to erode the score and can have a bigger impact. A “soft” inquiry occurs when you check the rate to see what you qualify for. If uncertain, check with the potential creditor or lender before applying to see if they’ll be doing a hard or soft pull on your credit.

AVERAGE AGE OF OPEN CREDIT LINES

The longer the line of credit, the stronger the credit rating. Keep older cards open and active. Start applying for credit early in life.

DEROGATORY MARKS

Negative terms on a credit report include collections, tax liens or bankruptcy. Derogatory remarks can remain on your credit report for 7-10 years. It shows a lender mismanagement of credit may have occurred. Start rebuilding healthy credit again. It will improve the credit rating and gradually weigh in your favor.

 

For more information, contact Treasure Coast Insider Blogger, Mona Leonard at 772-530-6131 or mona@stuarthousesforsale.com

Dec. 3, 2021

Stuart Area Festivals And Art Shows

Mona Leonard Realtor Reviews the Downtown Stuart Art Festival

Stuart Area Festivals and Art Shows

Stuart area festivals and art shows are in full swing during "season." All along the Treasure Coast, there's something for every attendee. Whether it's jewelry, paintings, wood-working, sculpture or clothing, the beautiful surroundings and weather make for an extraordinary day. Check out these Stuart area festivals and art shows. 

Downtown Stuart Art Festival 

As a personal favorite, the Annual Downtown Stuart Art Festival offers a large variety of art and attracts artists from all over the country. This February event on East Ocean Blvd typically benefits from beautiful temperatures, with lots of sunshine. With Memorial Park and it's lovely grounds as a backdrop, and free admission, it's a great opportunity to see (and perhaps buy) some amazing art and jewelry. This February event has free admission.

Hobe Sound Art Festival 

When I first moved to Martin County at the age of 20, Hobe Sound was my first choice. It's quieter than Stuart or other cities and towns to the north. It's much less traveled than south of Hobe Sound on the Treasure Coast too.

The first home I built was in the Soundings in Hobe Sound. The "wet side" was not yet completely built out, so I was fortunate to buy a canal-front lot on Hawksbill Way. We built the house in 1987. 

Hobe Sound Art Festival is a top quality show and runs a quarter mile near the tracks on A1A. Beautiful Jupiter Island is just east of the famous Banyan trees on Bridge Rd, a stone's throw from the festival. After the festival, enjoy a relaxing day at Hobe Sound Beach, or a drive along the famous coastline. Home to golfers Tiger Woods and Greg Norman, Jupiter Island's secluded drive along A1A is breathtaking. Blowing Rocks Preserve is toward the south end and is a great place for photos or a walk. It's easy to make a day of it with the festival and a drive. This February event has free admission.

Under The Oaks, Vero Beach

Under the Oaks vero Beach

A personal favorite is Under The Oaks in Vero Beach. World-class artists with amazing, high quality pieces among huge live oak trees in Riverside Park on Vero's barrier island (Orchid Island). This March event is a stage set for success. Advance tickets, $10, $15 at the door. Children under ten enter free.

Sunfest Music Festival, West Palm Beach

Sunfest

Held rain or shine, Sunfest Music Festival along the intracoastal waterway in West Palm Beach, draws 150,000+ people annually. This family-friendly four day event has tickets available beginning at $152 for a single day. Previous performers have included Keith Urban, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Tears For Fears to name a few. The schedule is packed with back-to-back performances for hours... and days! 

Sunfest is typically held in late April. Along Flagler, between Banyan Blvd and Lakeview Ave., you'll enjoy food and wine pairing events, floating bars, the battle of the bands, a 5k event, and plenty of shopping. Fireworks are on the agenda too. 

Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival 

Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival

The Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival has become a local tradition with live entertainment, art and scheduled events. Named for the pineapple plantations that covered the landscape 100 years ago, there's fun for everyone. This 30+ year old November event has concerts, arts, crafts, street performers, bands and a midway. A delegation from the island of Eleuthra, Bahamas brings the heart-pounding sounds of Junkanoo to the festival.

Several other Stuart area festivals and art shows take place in this idyllic location including ArtsFest. Located in Memorial Park, this festival boasts culinary delights, beautiful fine art. This well-attended event began in 1988 and has grown each year.  Art in the Park, a November event is another great fine art show. Admission for either is $10.

Okeechobee Events

Okeechobee Speckled Perch Festival and Parade

Okeechobee Speckled Perch Festival

The Speckled Perch Festival and Parade is one of my favorites. If you Southern cooking, this is a fun and delicious way to spend a day. There's lots to see at this March event, including beautiful beading, leatherworks and more. The speckled perch is outstanding, and you better get there early because they've been known to run out.  

This event dates back to 1965 and is in honor of the fishing industry for the livelihoods they provided. It's in Flagler Park and you can almost feel the history. Check it out... easy day trip from anywhere on the Treasure Coast.

Top of the Lake Art Fest

Top of the Lake Art Fest hosts some amazing artisans. The quality of the works will keep you craning into each booth. This juried event has some real talent. Usually, this is a February art festival. 

To learn more about Stuart area festivals and art shows, contact Mona Leonard, your Treasure Coast Insider blogger. She can be reached at 772.53.6131

Sept. 13, 2021

Prepping For A Virtual Showing

Prepping For A Virtual Tour

Prepping For A Virtual Showing

Prepping for a virtual showing takes a few minutes and can mean a higher selling price for you. The Post-Covid-19 real estate market is a mix of in-person and virtual showings. With people moving here from other states, it's often difficult for those buyers to physically look at houses here. The solution is a virtual showing scheduled by the buyer's Realtor. If you're selling, here are some tips on prepping for a virtual tour.

1. Make sure your front entrance is clean, tidy and eye-catching. This is the very first impression buyers will have. Pressure wash the driveway, walls and walkways, if it's needed. In the Florida humidity, this is a must. Be sure your windows are clean inside and out. This alone can increase your sale price by 10%. Well worth the effort. Touch up the paint where needed.

2. Clutter can prevent a buyer from actually viewing the property as a potential purchase. Some people are unable to see beyond clutter so remove it. Emphasize the great features in the house, not piles of paperwork, knickknacks or toys. Having a spotless house will allow buyers to view it as their own. 

3. To help buyers view the home as theirs (a prerequisite to making an offer), remove your favorite family photos, and memorabilia. It's difficult for buyers to picture living in the house if they see you everywhere. 

4. Make the atmosphere light and bright by turning on lights and opening doors. By doing this, the Realtor can video or livestream the showing without touching many surfaces. It also makes a much better virtual showing because the agent can slowly move through the rooms without video interruptions looking for light switches and unlocking doors.

5. Let the sunshine in! Open blinds, draperies, awnings and shades. Letting as much light into the house as possible gives the camera the ability to focus on all the beautiful details of each room. Let it shine!

6. Remove all signs of your pet. In the same way that you depersonalize the house, remove pet bowls, beds and toys. Not all people are pet people. You want to appeal to the largest audience possible.

7. Keep your yard mowed and your trees and bushes trimmed. 

8. If a buyer's Realtor is going to show the house virtually, tell them any unique details and personal stories they can relay that information to the buyer in the video or livestream. 

9. Safety and flow are important so plan a clear route around your home for the video. Show off each room and make sure the route is clear of any trip hazards.

Here's an example of a recent video I took for a client in New York. Real estate isn't just about the house, condo or town house. It's about the neighborhood and what makes it a great place to live. By sharing the neighborhood and other amenities, buyers get a complete feel and understanding for the area. We made three videos in this case, one of the house, one of the neighborhood and one of the day dock the community enjoys. By taking three separate videos, our customers were able to see the entire area and amenities and make a decision. Virtual showings are uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, and other social media venues so it's easy for potential buyers to see your property.

Prepping for a virtual showing may take a little time and are worth the effort when selling. Get the best possible value for your property by prepping for virtual showings. For more information, contact Treasure Coast Insider Blogger, Mona Leonard at 772-530-6131  mona@stuarthousesforsale.com

 

Posted in Selling Tips
Sept. 11, 2021

Stuart FL Area Schools

Jensen Beach High School Stuart FL Area Schools

Stuart FL Area Schools

For the 2021 school year, Stuart Fl area schools include 38 public schools serving 18,971 students in Martin County, FL. Martin County has one of the highest concentrations of top ranked public schools in Florida. Stuart Fl area schools  proudly hold a high rating academically.

Martin County’s rich tradition of academic excellence continues, as the Martin County School District has been named an Academically High-Performing School District by the Florida Department of Education for the third consecutive year. The District is one of just 16 school districts - and the only district on the Treasure Coast - to earn the prestigious award.

The top ranked public schools in Martin County, FL are Bessey Creek Elementary, Clark Advanced Learning Center, Hidden Oaks Middle School and Palm City Elementary School. Overall testing rank is based on a school's combined math and reading proficiency test score ranking.

Martin County, FL schools have an average math proficiency score of 66% (versus the Florida public school average of 59%), and reading proficiency score of 58% (versus the 56% statewide average). Schools in Martin County have an average ranking of 8/10, which is in the top 20% of Florida public schools.

With A ratings, Stuart FL area schools are some of the best on the Treasure Coast. There are great private and public schools to choose from. For several years, overall, the Martin County School District has proudly held , in 2018-2019, it was ranked 12th of 67 counties, according to a school district news release. Eleven of the 21 public schools are A-rated as of school year ending 2019. 

For many years, the Martin County School District has had a reputation of being in the top 10 school districts in the state.  In fact, in most categories, the district ranks among the top 7 districts in the state in all categories. Here's a breakdown of the educational rankings of Stuart FL area schools. Here are the Martin County School ratings. 

Bessey Creek Elementary 

Top 5%  #1 in math and reading for the district. With a student/teacher ratio of 14, attention and detail makes this school a top pick. 

Clark Advanced Learning Center 

Top 10%

Hidden Oaks Middle School

Top 10% 

Citrus Grove Elementary

Top 20%

Seawind Elementary

Top 30%

Jensen Beach High School

Top 30%

Stuart Middle School 

Top 30%

Crystal Lake Elementary

Top 30%

Felix A. Williams Elementary

Top 30%

Jensen Beach Elementary

Top 30%

Seawind Elementary

Top 50%

Martin County High School

Top 50%

Murray Middle School 

Top 50%

Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School 

Top 50%

Southfork High School

Top 50%

 

Private Schools 

In the 2021 school year, there are 10 private schools operating in Martin County. 80% of private schools are religiously affiliated. Community Christian Academy, Hobe Sound Christian Academy, and Redeemer Lutheran School are among the state's top 20% of private schools. 

Other private schools include First Baptist Christian School, The Pine School, St. Joseph Catholic School, Bridges Montessori and St. Michael's Independent School. 

Schools in the Stuart FL area have excellent reputations and the curriculum keeps them ranked highly among all Florida schools. For more information on Stuart FL area schools, contact the Treasure Coast Insider Blogger Mona Leonard at 772-530-6131 or email her at mona@stuarthousesforsale.com. 

 

 

Aug. 30, 2021

Home Safety Tips

Home Safety Tips

Home Safety Tips

These home safety tips can make a big difference. Sometimes it's the little things that matter, especially when it comes to safety. With many Americans spending more time at home, these home safety tips may save a life. At minimum, they'll save you time and money. 

Kitchen - Increase the life of your dishwasher by cleaning its filter. Make sure the smoke detector works and change batteries when needed. Check for leaks under the sink. These are more common than you think. Replace old pipes or tubing when needed, 

Bathroom - Manually check for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time. Receive alerts on a smart phone app. If anyone in the home is elderly or disabled, grab bars in the bath are a must. 

Bedroom/Home Office - With more time being spent in home offices, consider replacing hot, energy-sucking bulbs with LED. Did you know they use 80% less energy? Plus, they're much cooler than incandescent bulbs, saving you on monthly cooling costs.

Laundry Room - Free your laundry sink of any clogging. Inspect the washer and dryer for cracked or brittle hoses and be sure to clean the dryer vent and keep the filter free of lint. If you have very small children, placing cleaning supplies overhead keeps them safe from harm. 

Yard/Exterior - Drainage away from your home prevents all sorts of issues. Clear and repair any drains removing water from your home. Flush them out with a hose. Keep the gutters clean and properly draining. Make sure the yard is free of poisonous plants like poison oak and poison ivy. Remove any dangerous debris, broken equipment, dilapidated sheds and other unsafe items. Ben Franklin said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

A/C - Change or clean A/C filters once a month during the summer. Routine maintenance for A/C units is a must. Without proper care, an A/C can cause water damage and destroy walls, floors and ceilings. Maintain pans and drains to prevent water damage and expensive repairs. Water damage also invites mold and in Florida, this can be difficult to eradicate without proper maintenance and remediation. Proper maintenance also increases the life expectancy of these expensive necessities. 

Home Safety Tips Air Conditioning

Windows - Maintaining windows can extend their life for many years. Neglect them and this expensive necessity can mean thousands of dollars in replacement costs. Keeping windows caulked and repaired also increases energy efficiency saving you money. 

Pool - Keep the filter clean, and chemicals and salt at proper levels. Brush the surface of the pool to loosen algae and debris. Keep the deck area clean and algae/mold free to prevent falls. Algae is slippery!

For more home safety tips, call Mona Leonard, Treasure Coast Insider Blogger at 772-530-6131 Mona@StuartHousesForSale.com

 

Posted in Selling Tips
Aug. 25, 2021

Choosing The Best Lender

Choosing The Best Lender

Choosing The Best Lender When Buying A Home

Spending a little time up front will payoff when choosing the best lender. Loan terms, rates and products can vary significantly from one lender to another. Doing your homework ahead of shopping for a property is a wise decision. Here's a list of important questions to ask that will help you when choosing the best lender. 

Important Questions To Screen Potential Lenders

1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?

2. Are your rates, terms, fees and closing costs negotiable?

3. Do you offer discounts for automatic payments, home ownership classes or inspections. 

4. Do I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost and how long will it be required?

5. What escrow requirements do you have?

6. What kind of bill-pay options do you offer?

7. Are remote closings available?

Choosing The Best Lender 2

Loan-Specific Questions To Ask Before You Sign

1. What would be included in my mortgage payment (homeowner's insurance, property taxes, etc.)?

2. Which type of mortgage plan would you recommend for my situation?

3. Who will service this loan, your bank or another company?

4. How long will the rate on this loan be locked-in? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if the market rate drops during the lock-in period?

5. How long will the loan approval process take?

6. How long will it take to close the loan?

7. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying this loan?

8. What's the total payout from me over the life of the loan?

 

Be sure to ask your Realtor who they recommend when choosing the best lender. They'll often know which lenders have the best loan programs, experience and customer service. There can be many hidden fees that you may not be aware of until closing. Your Realtor has attended many closings and will know which lenders deliver on their promises. 

Some Realtors have in-house lenders they work with that offer discounts to buyers when you apply for a mortgage through their affiliate mortgage representatives. Most Realtors will give you the names of three lenders that customers have recommended to them. Be sure to ask your Realtor for advice on lenders. 

 

For more info, on choosing the best lender, contact Treasure Coast Insider Blogger, Mona Leonard at 772-530-6131 Mona@StuartHousesForSale.com.

 

Posted in Buying Tools
Aug. 12, 2021

Remodeling Projects That Hold Value

Deck Stuart Houses For Sale

Remodeling projects that hold value have the greatest return yield through improved living for you now, and when you sell, you'll get cash back for you trouble. Below are the estimated returns on investment (ROI) for home improvements. As the numbers decrease, so does the resale pay-off. Remember, there are many different reasons for remodeling. Your sheer enjoyment is valuable. If you'll be happier by remodeling, that's priceless! Steer clear of expensive improvements showing no promise of a decent return and take on the remodeling projects that hold value. 

If you're thinking of selling soon, these remodeling projects with the greatest return can guide you in deciding whether or not you want to invest the time and money, or sell without making changes. Selling a home for more may mean some updating. Here is the return you'll get on your investment if you decide on home improvement before selling.

Manufactured Stone Veneer 94%

Garage Door Replacement 93.8%

Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) 80.5%

Deck Addition (wood) 77%

Kitchen Remodel (minor) 76.3%

Siding Replacement (vinyl) 76%

Window Replacement (vinyl) 73.2%

Window Replacement (wood) 68.2%

Entry Door Replacement (steel) 67%

Deck Addition (composite) 66.6%

Roofing Replacement (asphalt shingle) 60.7%

Bath Remodel (midrange)60.1%

Kitchen Remodel (midrange) 58.7%

Roofing Replacement (metal) 56.1%

Bath Remodel (upscale) 54.8%

Master Suite Addition (midrange) 54.7%

Major Kitchen Remodel (upscale) 53.9%

Bathroom Addition (midrange) 53.1%

Bathroom Addition (upscale) 52.8%

Master Suite Addition (upscale) 47.7%

Once you're clear on whether or not your dream kitchen (or other remodel) is worth the investment, you'll be free to make an intelligent decision. Remember, home improvement is emotionally expensive too. When factoring expenses, design, materials and more, be sure to include how much it will cost if you don't make the improvements. Your happiness and peace of mind are also valuable commodities, and in many cases, it's difficult to put a price on that. 

Holding to remodeling projects that hold value make you a more savvy real estate investor. and a smarter seller. That will pay off in dollars and cents down the road when it's time to put the property on the market.

For additional information on remodeling projects that hold value, Contact Us or visit our website at www.StuartHousesForSale.com

Posted in Selling Tips