Things To Do This Weekend

November 1st, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate

Clematis By Night – Thursdays
Clematis by Night is the place to be for great live music, a taste of mouth-watering foods and fun people all in the hip ambiance of an energized downtown waterfront. Centennial Square at the end of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.
100 N Clematis St. – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Clematis By Night

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – Now to Sunday
“Yachting Capital of the World” will host the 59th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show now to Sunday. Every year, the show exhibits a vast array of the industry’s latest boats and yachts of all sizes, worldwide debuts, plus a medley of marine products and accessories to enhance the nautical lifestyle. From yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts, this show has something for everyone!
801 Seabreeze Blvd – Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316    Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Friday Night Live – Friday
Ring in the weekend Friday nights at Concerts in the Court. A different band each week from pop to rock, country to jazz–loud, live and FREE. Come join us in Centre Court at Downtown at the Gardens! 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
11701 Lake Victoria Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410  Downtown at The Gardens

Feast of Little Italy – Friday to Sunday
16th Annual Feast of Little Italy. The three-day family Italian street festival will have national entertainment, authentic food, festival rides and games, free wine and cooking demonstrations and lots more.
1200 University Blvd – Jupiter, FL 33458      Feast of Little Italy

West Palm Beach Antique Festival – Friday to Sunday
We are a monthly event showcasing great merchandise for sale that includes all things Vintage, Antiques, Collectible and Retro. Our Dealers come from all over the United States to bring you one of a kind, unique items to add to your collection, resell or decorate your home.
9067 Southern Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33411     Antique Festival

5th Annual Lagoon Fest – Saturday
LagoonFest celebrates one of the most picturesque waterways and estuaries in The Palm Beaches – Lake Worth Lagoon. Come enjoy this FREE event on November 3, 2018, to discover what makes this Lagoon such a fantastic place to visit and a local treasure.  This free event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 3, 2018, along Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach. Bring the entire family and enjoy wildlife presentations. Participate in Kayak Clean-Up Tours, Paddleboard Yoga Demonstrations and the Mural Painting Wall. Stop by exhibitor booths, Kid Zone, Calendar Showcase and more!
West Palm Beach Waterfront/Flagler Drive      Lagoon Fest

West Palm Beach Green Market – Saturdays
The West Palm Beach GreenMarket is the area’s first and premier green market located on the scenic West Palm Beach Waterfront. You can shop more than 80 vendors featuring the freshest and most unique offerings including local produce, plants, exotic flowers, herbs, baked goods, gourmet foods, teas, coffee and much more.  Free parking in the Evernia Garage during Market hours.
Downtown West Palm Beach, Waterfront Commons  Green Market

El Sol Fest 2018 – Sunday
Palm Beach County’s premier cultural event highlighting the folkloric and colorful art of Guatemalan, Mexican, and other Latin American culture in South Florida. The event is free to the public and features not only local artists, but also musical acts, cultural dancers, ethnic food and beverages, El Sol Workers’ Council, and El Sol’s Sunshine Organic Community Garden.
106 Military Trail – Jupiter, FL 33458    El Sol Fest 2018

The Gardens GreenMarket – Sundays
At the Market, you can shop an abundance of just-picked, orchard-grown goods, a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits, fragrant herbs, honey, homemade old-fashioned breads, pies, cheeses, sauces, handmade crafts and much, much more. This event is rain or shine.
10500 N. Military Trail – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410   The Gardens GreenMarket

Stay Safe on Halloween

October 31st, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Nationwide

Trick-or-treating safety tips

1. Provide adult supervision

Trick or treat is safer – not to mention more fun – in groups, and adult supervision is essential. So get together with other adults and make an evening of it. Bring cellphones for quick pictures and emergencies, but leave them in your pockets to avoid getting distracted.

2. Stay on the sidewalks

The thrill of the holiday often factors into accidents as excited kids rush from door to door. Keep children on the sidewalks, and shepherd them carefully when they need to cross the road. In areas without sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road, facing traffic.

3. Carefully check candy

Check candy for choking hazards like gum and hard candies. Throw away any candy that is not sealed with a wrapper and avoid homemade treats received from strangers.

Costume safety tips

4. Choose bright, visible costumes

When selecting a costume, opt for the bright-colored outfits and add a touch of reflective tape to the material. Stick some reflective tape on their trick-or-treat bags as well so they can be easily spotted by motorists. Lastly, don’t forget to make sure they’re equipped with a flashlight or glow stick – must-have accessories for any costume.

5. Make sure costumes are well-fitted and safe

Being visible isn’t the only safety consideration for a costume. The right fit is just as important. Here’s some advice on keeping your child’s ensemble safe and secure:

  • Prevent accidental tripping or entanglement by making sure costumes aren’t too big or long
  • Avoid masks that block vision, but if your child wears one – it should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. You can also op for makeup or face paint as an alternative
  • Costumes, wigs and accessories should contain a label indicating they are flame resistant
  • Make sure accessories such as swords, canes, or sticks are not sharp or too long

6. Makeup safety

If makeup is a part of your child’s Halloween costume plans, make sure it is non-toxic and test it on a small area first. Before your child goes to bed, make sure to remove all makeup.

Home Safety Tips

7. Jack-o-lantern safety

Young children can paint or color their pumpkins instead of carving. Or have them draw a face with markers and an adult can do the carving. Use colorful glow sticks inside your Jack-o-lanterns instead of candles to prevent burns.

8. Home decoration safety

If you’re turning your home into a haunted house, keep safety in mind: make sure steps, sidewalks, porches and paths are well-lit and free of decorations and holiday props. Keep decorations away from fireplaces and candles.

9. Take precaution against pranks and vandalism

Unfortunately, vandalism often increases during Halloween. That’s why taking these precautions is a good idea:

  • If you’re going away during Halloween, make it seem like you’re still home by turning down the volume of your answering machine and phone, covering your garage windows, and leaving your curtains in normal positions with valuables out of sight.
  • Install outdoor lighting (activated by a photocell or movement) to illuminate the area around your home during Halloween.
  • Consider purchasing a security system that directly alerts police to intruders.
  • Trim shrubs and large trees before Halloween so trespassers have fewer hiding spots.
  • Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date.

Car and driving safety tips

10. Use extra caution while driving

Drivers need to take particular care on this chaotic night. Keep your car parked if you can, but if you have to drive through a neighborhood, take it much slower than normal. Watch for kids who may dart between cars and into the road without looking. Read our Halloween Driving Safety Guide for more useful tips.

11. Protect your car

Cars are another common target of vandalism on Halloween. Here are some ways you can help secure your car:

  • Park inside if you can on Halloween. Your garage is your best bet. If you do not have a garage you may want to consider investing in some outdoor lighting for your driveway and yard.
  • Make sure your car is locked on Halloween. Oftentimes, vandals complete their missions with ease when doors are unlocked and windows are down/cracked.
  • Consider a car alarm.
  • Hide your valuables on Halloween. Don’t give thieves any extra incentive to break into your car.

How Long Does the Seller Have to Accept or Decline?

October 30th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Buy

Know what happens after you submit an offer on a house.

You finally found the perfect house and have decided to make an offer. With the help of your real estate agent, you determine the amount and terms of your offer, put it in writing, and give your agent the go-ahead to submit it. Now what? Unfortunately, now you wait. While you do, you’re probably wondering, “How long does a seller have to accept an offer, anyway?”

How long does a seller have to accept an offer?

It depends—but it’s usually around 48 to 72 hours after the offer is submitted. A standard real estate purchase contract specifies how much time a seller is given to consider and act on an offer. But the timeframe can be much longer if a bank is selling the property, such as in the case of a foreclosure or short sale.

What’s the seller doing while I wait?

Once you have submitted an offer, the seller has several options. They can of course immediately accept your offer. They can also come back with a counter-offer, which may time some time for them to decide upon. If they do counter-offer, the clock starts all over again and it is now up to you to decide how to proceed and if you want to negotiate. The seller can also do nothing, at least for a while. Often, they’re waiting to see if they get any other offers.

What if the seller has multiple offers?

Multiple offers happen a lot in a seller’s market. In this situation, the seller can be choosy about what they do next. They can simply accept the highest offer. Or they can counter one or more offers, trying to see how high they can get each buyer to go. They can also put all but one offer on hold while they counter or negotiate with that particular buyer.

Sometimes the price itself isn’t the most important factor to a seller. They may be more interested in other things, such as a contingency for a quick closing, which might be important if they are selling and buying a house at the same time. Or they may want their home to go to a family instead of a developer. If the home is new construction, the price and terms will likely be the most important factors.

How can I increase my odds of success?

Aside from submitting your highest possible offer, you can put as few conditions on the offer as possible, proposing a quick closing and including other seller-friendly terms. If the seller has a strong sentimental connection, having your real estate agent pass along a note about why you love the property might sway the seller. Employing a variety of tactics to help position yourself as a dream buyer will help lessen your odds of facing the disappointment of losing out on a house you really wanted.

What happens if the seller misses the deadline?

If the seller doesn’t take any action before the deadline, the offer will expire. Once that expiration date passes, the buyer is no longer obligated to honor it, and any money they have submitted as a deposit can be returned to them.

This is where a good real estate agent will be a huge help. They can ensure that the contract clearly spells out the deadline to act on the offer, and can advise you one the best timeframe. Your real estate agent can also help “nudge” the seller’s agent if the deadline is approaching and they haven’t taken any action yet.

Read more:

Home-Buying Checklist: Your Needs and Wants

October 29th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Buy

Looking for a new home can often seem overwhelming, but we can help sort the details.

There are so many things to consider when buying a home that you can quickly get caught up in a million tiny details and lose track of what’s most important.

Remember key differences between wants and needs.

As with many situations in life, it’s important to separate your needs and your wants when looking for a home. Sure, it would be wonderful to find an amazing home that checks all of the boxes in both categories, but that is unrealistic. Even if you fall head over heels in love with a certain property, there will likely be at least a few things (even if they are minor) that you would change about the place if you could wave a magic wand and make it happen.

To help focus your search, it may be helpful to actually create a chart where you list your main Needs and Wants. By contrasting the two categories, you can identify the top priorities so you know where you can make compromises—and what items are non-negotiable.

Ideally, the perfect home for you would meet most or all of your Needs, along with many of your Wants. It’s even better if the items the property lacks are things that would be relatively easy to change or add.

Some of the basic features you will want to contemplate when evaluating homes:

Location:

Everyone knows the old adage when it comes to real estate—it’s all about “location, location, location.” But there is no one perfect location that will be great for everyone. This is an individual decision. You may want a certain location because it is in your desired school district, or because it is close to your workplace. If you absolutely must focus on (or avoid) specific areas for important reasons, this would fall under your “needs” list. Finding the perfect neighborhood isn’t easy, but worth it!

Size:

At the very least, you probably have an idea of how many bedrooms you will need to accommodate all of your household members. The bare minimum—both in total square footage and number of bedrooms or other spaces—your family would need in order to live comfortably would be your “needs.” Extras that would be nice to have to provide additional entertaining space or potential for expansion later would likely be considered “wants.” Don’t forget: the larger the home, the more expensive it will likely be to maintain.

Safety concerns:

You may decide that living near a busy street is too risky with young children in the household. Family members with mobility issues or physical challenge might make a first-floor bedroom a must. Anything related to safety usually falls under the “needs” category.

Condition:

You cannot change the location of a home, and even adjusting the size may be difficult or nearly impossible, depending on the layout of the home and the limitations of the property. But you can change the condition. The question of course is how much money, time, and effort are you willing to invest to accomplish that? A key factor will be determining whether the condition issues are cosmetic or structural. Things like undesirable paint colors or dull floors are easy to address, but a faulty electrical system isn’t quite such a simple fix. If you have skills in certain home repair or maintenance areas, you may be more comfortable buying a home that needs attention in those areas as opposed to other issues that would require you to hire a professional.

Know how to calculate when to move.

If your current home doesn’t meet enough of your needs and wants—or used to, but is no longer a good fit for your family’s present structure or demands—you may be considering making a change to a different home.

There’s no simple formula for determining when it might be too soon to sell your home. Ideally, you want to have at least some equity built up with your current home, but that will depend on a number of factors such as how much of the principal you still owe on the home and any changes to the local market that may impact the value of the home.

A good place to start is by evaluating your current loan and figuring out your remaining principal, and then comparing that with what you may realistically be able to get by selling your home. Your real estate agent will be able to help with that. Don’t forget to factor in the costs associated with selling a home and relocating to a new one.

You also should consult with your accountant or financial advisor about the tax implications of selling your home at a given point in time, particularly with regards to capital gains taxes.

Making a move to fix a bad choice is sometimes smart.

If you regret buying your current home, don’t be too quick to decide to move. Consider whether there are changes you can make to this home to make it more agreeable or comfortable. If there are deal-killers such as the location or the fact that it isn’t affordable within your budget, moving may be the smartest option. But avoid repeating your mistake—take care creating your Needs vs. Wants chart, and pay special attention to the things you ignored or overlooked when picking the home you are in now.

One major task that should come early in the home-buying journey is finding a good real estate agent, one whom you trust to guide your through the entire process. A real estate agent who gets to know your family’s goals and dreams for your new home can also help you narrow down your checklist and think about the things that are truly important to you.

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DIY or Hire a Pro? Here’s How to Decide

October 26th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Own

Some home projects are easy to DIY. Others? Not so much.

Inviting contractors into your home for renovations can be a costly endeavor and can also involve its share of inconveniences. Most homeowners dread the thought of having to navigate around work crews for weeks or months at a stretch. So it’s not surprising that many property owners decide to tackle renovation projects on their own. But is that a smart thing for your home value? Here’s how to know if and when you should DIY or hire a pro.

Be honest about your DIY skills.

First, make an honest assessment of your skills and abilities related to home improvement and maintenance tasks. Your home is often your largest financial asset. If you don’t have the talent or training to improve it responsibly, it’s not worth the risk. Trying to tackle challenging projects that are way beyond your skill set may result in wasting time and money—and may end up costing you more in the long run if a contractor must later undo some of the work you did incorrectly.

Also be sure to consider your available time. Home renovation and improvement projects are notorious for requiring more time than you anticipate. That’s time you won’t be able to spend with your family, and this may also involve taking time off from work. Once you run the numbers, you may realize that you could be better off financially spending that time at work and hiring a contractor to do the work.

Evaluate the safety risks.

When deciding whether to DIY or hire a pro, consider how risky the project may be. Some projects have a low safety risk. You (probably) won’t end up in the hospital installing a new floating shelf. But installing a new light fixture is a different story. Anything related to electricity, plumbing, your roof, your HVAC system, or any hazardous materials like mold, asbestos, or lead paint should be left to the pros. Not only are they financially costly, but they could be risk your health as well.

Determine your budget.

DIY projects are an appealing option for those on a limited budget or those who want to stretch their available funds as much as possible. Many homeowners opt to use a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to help finance repair or home improvement projects. If you don’t have access to funds, but really need a project completed, DIY might be the best choice—especially if you own a fixer-upper that will require ongoing projects. To be sure though, cost out the entire DIY project from beginning to end, from any training you might need to all the tools and materials. You may find that doing it yourself will save a bundle—or you may realize calling a pro is actually the better deal.

Know which projects are DIY-able.

Even the most experienced DIYer hires out for some projects. But others are relatively easy tasks to do yourself. Here are a few common DIY projects:

  • Demolition before major contract work
  • Painting, sanding, and staining
  • Kitchen backsplash installation
  • Hanging shelves, pegboards, and other decor
  • Installing hardware, like cupboard and drawer pulls, bathroom towel rods, shower curtain rods, and toilet paper holders
  • Faucet installation

Read more:

Things To Do This Weekend

October 25th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate

Clematis By Night – Thursdays
Clematis by Night is the place to be for great live music, a taste of mouth-watering foods and fun people all in the hip ambiance of an energized downtown waterfront. Centennial Square at the end of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.
100 N Clematis St. – West Palm Beach, FL 33401  Clematis By Night

Fright Nights – Thursday to Saturday
Fright Nights is the premier haunted house attraction in South Florida and 2018 is going to be chock full of scares! With 4 full haunts, carnival rides, live music, food, and entertainment, Fright Nights should be your number one Halloween event destination in 2018! The reason Fright Nights has the best haunted houses in South Florida is simple.
9067 Southern Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33411  Fright Nights

Ghost Tours: An Evening In The Dark – Friday
GHOST TOURS are gearing up in Yesteryear Village. Join us for another eerie season filled with illusory and bizarre happenings!  
9067 Southern Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33411  Ghost Tours

Friday Night Live – Friday
Ring in the weekend Friday nights at Concerts in the Court. A different band each week from pop to rock, country to jazz–loud, live and FREE. Come join us in Centre Court at Downtown at the Gardens! 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
11701 Lake Victoria Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410  Downtown at The Gardens

Boo at the Zoo – Friday to Sunday
Now in its 20th year, Palm Beach Zoo’s not-so-scary Halloween tradition returns. Join us for a SPOOKTACULAR ‘Boo at the Zoo’ with over 125,000 pieces of candy sponsored by FPL SolarNow. It’s a safe and fun trick-or-treat environment for children of all ages! Enjoy animal encounters, character meet and greets, costume contests with WILD prizes, kids DJ/dance parties, and more!
1301 Summit Blvd – West Palm Beach, FL 33405  Boo at the Zoo

West Palm Beach Green Market – Saturdays
The West Palm Beach GreenMarket is the area’s first and premier green market located on the scenic West Palm Beach Waterfront. You can shop more than 80 vendors featuring the freshest and most unique offerings including local produce, plants, exotic flowers, herbs, baked goods, gourmet foods, teas, coffee and much more.  Free parking in the Evernia Garage during Market hours.
Downtown West Palm Beach, Waterfront Commons  Green Market

Moonfest – Saturday
South Florida’s largest Halloween event, Moonfest, will return to the streets of Downtown West Palm Beach for its 26th year on Saturday, October 27. Tickets to the inimitable Halloween street party are now available for purchase for revelers ages 21 and older only.
Clematis Street – Downtown West Palm Beach   Moonfest

Spooky Safari Halloween – Saturday
Join us for a Spooky Safari Halloween! On October 27th from 11:00am to 4:00pm in Safari World, enjoy treat stations, fun activities, a DJ, mysterious mermaid meet-and-greet, VIP experiences (additional fee – limited space), and Halloween-themed show (Animal Theater – 2:30pm). Admission is required.
2003 Lion Country Safari Road – Loxahatchee, FL 33470   Spooky Safari Halloween

Adult Trick or Treat at Downtown Abacoa – Saturday
This ain’t no kiddie party. The bars of Downtown Abacoa are hosting an Adult Trick or Treat event, handing out free themed specialty drinks from 8pm to 10pm Saturday. Oct. 27 (while supplies last). Whether you’re going as Eleven from Stranger Things, T’Challa from Black Panther, Kai from American Horror Story, or grabbing your Riverdale crew, our bars will transform into their own nightmares with something special in store for each of you…
1200 Town Center Drive – Jupiter, Fl 33458     Adult Trick or Treat

Jupiter Beachtoberfest – Saturday and Sunday
Two day fall festival featuring BBQ & German Food, Live Music, Vendors, Costume Contests, Cornhole Tournament and Family Entertainment.
400 Florida A1A – Jupiter, FL 33477   Jupiter Beachtoberfest

The Gardens GreenMarket – Sundays
At the Market, you can shop an abundance of just-picked, orchard-grown goods, a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits, fragrant herbs, honey, homemade old-fashioned breads, pies, cheeses, sauces, handmade crafts and much, much more. This event is rain or shine.
10500 N. Military Trail – Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410   The Gardens GreenMarket

Palm Beach County Local Market Update – September 2018

October 24th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Florida Realtors®

Finding a Neighborhood If You’re Starting a Family

October 23rd, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Buy

Moving with kids in tow? Learn what to look for when you’ve got a young family, or are planning to start one soon.

You still love that darling little home for sale in Alexandria, VA, you were so lucky to snag, the one that sits right in the middle of all the action. But now it’s feeling a little… cramped. Or maybe you live in a fourth-floor walk-up that just won’t do now that you’re a parent. Having children in tow means your priorities often shift. Proximity to the bars, restaurants, and nightlife you used to love becomes less important than school districts, crime rates, and a sense of community. Here’s what to look for to find great amenities for families in your next neighborhood.

School Districts

Where your kids will go to school is one of the biggest decisions for many parents when making a move. You’ll get an A-plus for research when you use Trulia Maps to learn more about each school district. Choose your city and use the schools layer to find ratings. Once you spot an area you like, visit the neighborhoods that feed into that school. School ratings are a good starting point but aren’t the only factor families use to determine the right district for them.

Visit the school in person as well if you can. “In some areas, the most popular and high-performing schools are oversubscribed and overcrowded,” says Alina Adams, author of Getting Into NYC Kindergarten. “Don’t just ask if the schools are good; ask if they usually have room for all the students who want in.”

Crime Rates

From the moment you become a parent, your job is to keep your child safe. You babyproof the home, maintain regular doctor visits, and keep your child out of harm’s way. Searching for a neighborhood with a low crime rate ranks right up there. You might assume that a rural area is safer than the suburbs, which is safer than the city. But that isn’t always the case.

You can check out the crime risk of any neighborhood by using the crime layer in Trulia Maps. Here, you can explore the safety of an area, down to the street level. Joan Kagan, a real estate sales manager in New York, NY, used the crime layer to find neighborhoods with her family in mind. “You want to feel safe in your neighborhood, especially when you have children,” says Kagan, who raised three boys on the city’s Upper West Side. “In addition, once your children are teenagers, it is great for them to be able to explore the city. You want to feel safe with them leaving your apartment on their own.”

Strong Community Network

Of course you’ll keep your childless friends, but let’s face it: Your interests as a parent are sometimes a bit different. While you want to discuss how to get your kid to sleep through the night, they want to is stay out all night (and sleep in the next morning!). So you’ll likely want to build another network for yourself and for your children.

If this tops your list of priorities, look for evidence of other families while you’re on the house hunt. Are children playing on the sidewalks? Bikes or wagons in the front yard? Families out together for a walk? All of these signs point to a thriving neighborhood for families—and lots of potential friends for you and your kids.

Streets Drivers Use as Shortcuts

Pay attention to the kinds of streets in each neighborhood. If an area has lots of long streets that drivers can use as shortcuts during rush hour, your peaceful neighborhood could resemble a NASCAR track twice a day. To avoid that, look for streets that are horseshoe-shaped or are cul-de-sacs. “Kids love to play outside in the street with other kids. They can’t do that if cars are barreling through the neighborhood at high speed,” says Brent Shedd, who recently moved to a family-friendly neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. “Finding a neighborhood that’s off a high-traffic route, especially one with curves that will slow cars down, is always going to be a better option for kids.”

Sidewalks

Don’t discount the unassuming sidewalk, an important family-friendly neighborhood feature. “When we first started our family in Chicago, the sidewalk saved my sanity,” says Ali Wenzke, moving expert and blogger at The Art of Happy Moving. “The ability to stroll the baby around the neighborhood at a moment’s notice can’t be overstated. As the kids grew up, we used the sidewalk for learning how to ride a bike or showing off our artistic talents with sidewalk chalk.”

Parks or Playgrounds

When you’re looking for a family-friendly neighborhood, you want to actually see families out and about. If there aren’t any neighborhood parks or playgrounds, that might be challenging. “When you are starting a family, parks provide the perfect place to get to know other families in the area,” says Wenzke. “Park playdates need not be scheduled, as you’ll inevitably run into someone you know at the neighborhood park.” And when the kids get older, they’re the perfect venue for burning energy and socializing.

These aren’t the only features to look for to find a family-friendly neighborhood, but they’re a great place to start.

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What Does Contingent Mean?

October 22nd, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Buy

Anyone thinking of purchasing a home has likely heard of contingencies. Here’s how can they make or break a sale.

For any big purchase in life, working without a safety net can be a risky move, especially when thousands of dollars are on the line. When making an offer to purchase a home, you have the opportunity to protect yourself from the unexpected in a home transaction, and to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. This guide will define what exactly a contingency is, how a home’s status changes once a contingent offer is accepted, and recommend a few important contingencies to consider as part of your offer.

What Does Contingent Mean?

Contingencies are clauses in a real estate contract that stipulate conditions for the buyer and the seller to agree upon for a sale to go through. For buyers, contingencies are important because they help protect the party if they’re unable to complete the sale. However, in hot markets where several people may be interested in buying a particular home, many buyers may be tempted to do without contingencies to make their offer look more appealing in a potential bidding war.

What Does Active Contingent Mean?

A home’s status changes to active contingent when a home seller has received an offer from a buyer, but the buyer needs to meet certain conditions before the sale can be finalized. These conditions may include a home inspection or getting approval on a mortgage loan.

Types of Contingencies for Buyers to Consider

Mortgage Financing Contingency
This contingency gives the buyer a way to back out of the contract if an application for financing is denied, or if financing is granted for a lesser amount (say, if the home appraises for less than expected).

General Inspection Clause
This allows buyers to bring in a professional home inspector to inspect the property—and to cancel or renegotiate the deal. If the inspection turns up a less than satisfactory result, such as significant structural flaws or major costly repairs, buyers have the right to ask the seller to lower the sale price, offer buyer credits, or ask for necessary fixes to be completed before the close of sale.

Contingencies for Additional Specialists and Tests
If the initial inspection turns up issues, additional inspections by specialists or other tests may be required. This contingency allows buyers to have the home checked for things like mold and other toxic substances, as well as wood-destroying pests like termites. It also allows for other specialists like chimney inspectors and foundation experts to come look at the property before the sale is complete. If any problems are found, the buyer should have the opportunity to renegotiate the deal, or cancel it completely.

Attorney Review Contingency
This clause can give the buyer and the seller a specific amount of time, as specified in the contract, to have their legal team inspect the signed contract. The lawyer will review the legality of the contract and check for important safeguards for their client before the deal is done.

Buyer’s Home Sale Contingency
This clause allows the buyer to cancel the contract without penalty if they’re unable to sell their current home in a specified amount of time. This way, if the buyer is under contract to sell their residence and the deal falls through, they won’t be obligated to purchase the new property.

Appraisal Contingency
This clause permits the buyer to have the home appraised—a must for many buyers financing their purchase—and to only follow through with the sale if the appraisal matches or exceeds the home’s price. If you’re using a lender, it’s smart to check to see if they require this contingency as part of your purchase contract.

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Is New Construction Right for You?

October 19th, 2018

Steve Hollander – Hollander Real Estate
Trulia Guides\Buy

Not sure what type of home is right for you? Here are some key benefits to buying a brand new home.

If you’re shopping for a home, choosing between new construction and pre-owned homes can be an overwhelming decision. For many prospective buyers, new construction is an opportunity to see their dream home come to life while possibly saving money on the costs involved with buying an existing home.=

Existing or older homes have the advantage of architectural charm and sizable lots, and are generally located in more established neighborhoods. However, older homes, and especially ones that were not meticulously maintained, might need a little TLC at move-in time, but can be slightly less expensive than a newly built home.

Depending on what’s important to you, new construction homes might have the advantages that outweigh the pluses of their older, more established counterparts.

Benefits of Buying a Newly Built Home

1. Modern floor plans designed for the way we live today.

One of the biggest advantages of buying a new construction home is that they are designed and built for today’s lifestyle. They come with flowing open floor plans and features that meet modern-day demands, including open, eat-in kitchens, walk-in closets, large master baths, more access to outdoor entertaining areas, and even additional storage. Many older existing homes built between the 1920s and the 1990s often lack one or more of those features as part of their original home design.

2. More customization and more choices.

Today, more than ever, home builders are offering buyers the ability to customize their homes with a vast number of options. Lighting, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, wall coverings, paint colors, and even landscaping can often be selected from a wide variety of choices. Some of the choices are considered upgrades and will add to your base price, but now builders are adding options that are still considered part of the original price package. You’ll be moving into a home that’s customized for your needs.

3. New homes are energy efficient.

Utilizing new construction materials, just-built homes are usually more energy efficient — and that means potentially lower utility bills. Not only are these newly built homes rated higher for insulation, but many new homes also are incorporating renewable sources of clean energy like solar. All of this new home tech could save you thousands over the course of the years you live in the home.

4. New homes are smarter, too.

New construction homes are often equipped with the latest technology built right in. Think cable, alarm systems, speaker systems, high-speed wired Internet, digital thermostats and detectors — when they’re just the flip of a switch or a voice-command away, you save lots of time and money, not to mention holes in the walls.

5. Fewer maintenance and repair bills.

With new construction or pre-construction purchases, the work is already done for you. You don’t have to do a darn thing. You don’t have to lift a finger (or a hammer). A big financial benefit to a new home is that you won’t have much maintenance to do for quite a while. With modern, new appliances, plumbing, heating, and air, you should be able to live repair-free for a few years.

6. You’ll save money in repairs.

When you buy new from a reputable and established builder, you are able to include your selected upgrades in the original purchase price and mortgage amount, financing them. When you purchase an older home, you will have to secure a mortgage, buy the home, and then begin renovations on a separate line of funds. That means the money for renovations will have to come directly out of your pocket.

This can be especially tough for homebuyers who are low on cash after plunking down a big down payment. New construction, however, allows you to make your choices of upgrades and additions and have those costs incorporated into the overall purchase price of the home. That way, you are able to finance these upgrades rather than pay for them in full, out-of-pocket.

7. New trumps retrofit.

New homes are built with the latest building plans, designs, and materials. Their systems (electrical, plumbing, sewage lines, central heating, and air) already meet today’s codes and standards. It is always much more efficient and practical to have these systems built into a new home, rather than have to upgrade and retrofit existing older systems, which can sometimes mean ripping into the walls, floors, and ceilings to gain access to the key home systems.

8. You’ll have free weekends.

When you buy new, you get more time relaxing at home. You won’t be spending all your weekends at home renovation stores as you try to tackle that “honey-do” list of home improvements each week. Buying a new construction home allows you to enjoy your weekends at home almost as soon as you are unpacked.

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