Pinecrest, FL Real Estate News

By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
To choose the right bathtub for your bathroom, start with the space. If all you’re doing is replacing an existing alcove tub, your options may be limited, but you can still opt for a deeper bath.If you’re reconfiguring the space or adding a bathroom, you’ll have many options. Here’s what you need to know.Types of Tubs Alcove: This bathtub is the most common style and has only one finished side. It’s made to fit into a typical three-sided alcove that’s about 5 feet wide and 30-36 inches from front to back. Often, it’s part of a tub-shower combination. Cost: $300 to $2,000. Drop-in: Supported on all sides by its rim, this tub might be inserted into a raised platform or installed below floor level. Cost: $800 to $2,000. Freestanding: This type of tub occupies a space all its own, often as ...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
A typical basement ceiling is an unsightly maze of plumbing pipes, wires, ductwork, and structural bracing. But take heart: Hiding all those systems with a finish material will give your basement instant credibility as usable living space.Finishing a basement ceiling often involves some compromises. In places, ductwork orplumbing pipes are lower than the joists, making it impossible to have a nice, smooth, uninterrupted ceiling. We’ll give you some ideas for getting around those problems.Hiding Everything with PaintOne of the fastest and most economical ways to finish a basement ceiling is to painteverything. A monochromatic ceiling disguises all the pipes and ductwork — it’s a technique often used in urban spaces that are converted to coffee houses and shops.A paint sprayer is ideal be...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
If you live in a low-water area, or if you’re just tired of constant lawn maintenance, you’re in good company.More homeowners are saving time, water -- and their backs -- by switching from real grass to artificial turf.Synthetic grass for landscaping and recreation is growing 10% to 15% a year in the U.S.That means more and more homeowners are using fakes for: Lawns Dog runs Play areas Pool surrounds Rooftops Putting greens Decorative borders between patio pavers Faking It is Right for You If: You're tired of watering, weeding, fertilizing, and cutting real grass. Your summer water bills are too high. You don’t want to use chemical fertilizers and herbicides. You believe artificial grass looks as good as real grass -- maybe better. What Exactly is Artificial Grass?Fake grass consists of...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
When I grew up, a lush, green lawn was every suburbanite’s dream, a sign they’d achieved the American dream of homeownership and a weed-free front yard.Today, I still love a lawn. I love the look, feel, and smell of grass. And I’m willing to pay almost $700 a year to the people — mowers, weeders, aerators, chemical treaters -- who keep my turf looking great.But suddenly, grass lawns are public enemy No. 1. Some drought-stricken places are banning new lawns because they are, basically, unquenchable. The anti-turf people say get rid of lawns. Mowers are loud and polluting. Fertilizers contaminate the watershed. Lawns gulp tens of thousands of gallons of water every time you irrigate them. I live in Virginia, where we’ve got enough water — for now. Still, in the heat of summer, I water at ...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
A favorite during the groovy 1960s and '70s, laminate kitchen countertops are enjoying a second wind as an affordable, durable, moisture-proof, and surprisingly attractive replacement for your home’s worn kitchen countertops.Shop around and you’ll find a nearly unlimited selection of richly colored solids, midcentury patterns, and enticing-to-touch textures. They mimic: Earthy stone slabs, such as marble Rusted metal Butcher block and other wood Fabric and leather What is Laminate?Laminates are made with layers of paper, including a decorative layer, and melamine resin. Generally, the thicker the product, the more durable and costly it’ll be. Higher-end laminates offer 10-year warranties. Fancy edge treatments — beveling, ogees, and bullnose — kick up the costs, too.In the past, laminat...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
So many factors play into choosing a kitchen floor: How much do you cook? Is it an open floor plan? What’s the most durable?We’ve taken out the guesswork and chosen four flooring types that make the most sense for kitchens, and we explain why they are ideal.Hardwood Flooring is Ideal When: You don’t want your kitchen to look dated over time. You have an open floor plan. You seek durability. Hardwood flooring, with its unmatched warmth and visual appeal, is a great choice if you want to create a look that never really goes out of style, giving you a good return on investment if you ever sell your home.Also, if you have an open floor plan, hardwood works well in both kitchens and living areas. It creates a warm and unified look.Hardwood is also: Highly durable. It can withstand decades of...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Installing a fence around your swimming pool is a smart security measure that prevents kids from having unsupervised access. In many areas, the law and your insurance company may also require it. But how do you know what kind of fence to pick?Here’s where things get tricky.There Are No Standard RequirementsThe U.S. does not have a federal pool fence law. Instead, pool barriers are regulated at the state and local level.Wait, it gets more complicated.There are exemptions built into these laws. For example, families with children over 6 years old don’t have to install a pool fence in Arizona — unless you live in Scottsdale, Glendale, and several other areas.See what I mean? It’s confusing.Then you have to consider that although your pool might be exempt from fencing laws, your insurance c...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
When the recession tanked housing, private mortgage insurers turned away from the mortgage market. FHA stayed and continued to insure loans so homeowners could get mortgages to purchase and refinance their homes.FHA went from insuring 3.77% of mortgages in FY 2006 to insuring 19.13% of all mortgages in FY 2010. FHA’s market share rose not because it offers a better deal than the private sector, but because the private sector wasn’t making loans available.Without FHA, there would have been even fewer loans and therefore fewer people to buy homes during the downturn. And the housing market is a huge driver of the U.S. economy.FHA benefits existing homeowners, too. Those who use FHA to refinance save an average of $220 per month.Did You Know? Before FHA was created in 1934, there was no 30...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Unless our trees have problems, we don’t fuss about them. So long as they’re green, leafy, flowery, and fruity, we let them be.But when trees fail to leaf out in spring or drop the leaves they have; when foliage turns brown before autumn; when trees lean precariously or branches die; then suddenly our trees become the center of attention. What’s wrong? The likely culprit is human error. Trees often get sick because they haven’t been planted and cared for properly.The good news: It’s pretty easy to give your trees the care they need to stay healthy and fight off diseases. Here are the most common errors and how to avoid them:Improper PruningImproper pruning can destabilize a tree, encourage the spread of disease, and even make it fall over.Signs of bad pruning include: Tree is leaning mo...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Is your mortgage rate above today’s rates? Is your house worth less than your current mortgage amount? Are you unable to refinance into a lower-rate mortgage or convert your adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage? Then the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is an option you should explore. HARP is one of two components of the federal Making Home Affordable Program for struggling homeowners. Its counterpart, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), offers loan modifications if you’re behind on your payments or need help exiting gracefully if you can no longer afford your home.  HARP, on the other hand, helps you refinance your home with a brand new mortgage. What Are the Benefits of HARP? Your savings from refinancing using HARP could be substantial. The ...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
If you’re behind on mortgage payments (or about to be), which is putting you at risk of foreclosure, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) could be your lifeline.Making Home Affordable, the federal program aimed at aiding struggling home owners, offers two options: refinancing (known as HARP) and loan modification, which this article explains.Unlike refinancing, HAMP pays your current lender to rework your existing loan terms to lower your monthly payments.But don’t expect to breeze through the qualifying process. You’ll need a lot of documentation and patience.Qualifications for HAMP Your home must be your primary residence. You must owe $729,750 or less on a first mortgage that was originated on or before Jan. 1, 2009. You must also demonstrate financial hardship — such as a...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
We know that insulating your home isn’t the sexiest home project. But if you’re planning a remodel that includes opening up walls, ceilings, and floors, it’s a great time to upgrade your insulation to get energy savings of up to $300 per year.However, it you’re not remodeling, think long and hard about replacing or adding wall insulation. Retrofitting wall insulation has a long payback period that should make you think twice before committing to it.But adding on? Finishing your basement? Redoing your kitchen? Or your attic insulation needs an upgrade? Read on to learn about the different insulation types, costs, uses, and whether you should DIY it or hire a pro.Batts and BlanketsThis is the most common type of insulation. It comes in convenient rolls that are easy to transport and carry...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Hardwood floors have two big advantages over other types of flooring:1. They’re a timeless mix of beauty and durability that pair with any design.2. If your hardwood floors get worn and scuffed, chances are good you won’t have to replace them; you can simply refinish them.We say “simply” with a word of caution, though. For a pro, the process is straightforward, although there are a lot of steps that must be completed carefully.DIYers, however, should think twice. Experience definitely counts when it comes to a good floor refinishing job. Mistakes show up big time on wood flooring, and you may end up devaluing your home’s appearance rather than improving it.What Will a Pro Do?A professional wood floor refinisher takes 2 to 5 days to complete a simple job, and up to two weeks for a comple...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Although the old-fashioned incandescent bulb is on its way out, you have more lighting choices than ever before. And that means making decisions about price and energy efficiency. But don’t forget aesthetics.If you wind up with lighting that’s harsh, flat, or unpleasant — like when you’re trying on bathing suits in a retail dressing room — it won’t matter that you got that LED on sale or that it lasts forever. You’ll wish it didn’t.For most home lighting, your choice boils down to three options, from most to least expensive: LEDs Fluorescents (including CFLs) Energy-efficient (halogen) incandescents, which meet the government’s new energy efficiency standards and aren’t being phased out. So how do you choose?Learn the New Light Bulb LanguageSince January 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commi...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Americans have favored buying over renting, even during the recent Great Recession, and this year is no different. The 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey, by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, found Americans overwhelmingly believe owning a home is a good financial decision, and a majority of renters say homeownership is one of their highest priorities for the future.During the recession, much media coverage of homeownership focused on the idea that lots of people thought renting was much smarter than buying. But that wasn’t necessarily the case as a look back shows.The decline in home prices and turmoil in the housing markets did influence consumers’ perception of housing as a sound investment -- but not by nearly as much as the media made it appear.From 2007 to 2011, based on earl...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
You’ve asked friends to recommend great contractors, picked your favorite, checked references -- and maybe even conducted an online background check on his business. So you know you’ve found a top-notch guy for your home improvement project.But remember that his bottom line is getting you to sign a contract, and he’s not going to mention anything that might get in the way. Before you make a commitment, here’s what you need to know in order to protect your own bottom line.1. He’s Not the Only Game in TownEven if you believe you found the best contractor in the area, don’t hire him unless you’re sure he’s right for your project.Homeowners should solicit at least three bids from three different contractors before awarding a home improvement project. This way you can make an educated hiring...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Having trouble figuring out what all that legal lingo in your homeowners insurance policy means? This glossary of insurance terms will help you understand what's covered, what's not covered, and what your insurance company is really saying in its policy. A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  ZAA.M. Best A company that rates the financial condition of insurance companies. Your insurance company’s rating helps you determine if they can afford to pay claims.Accident An unexpected or involuntary event that causes harm, injury, damage, or loss.Act of GodSomething that is beyond human control that damages or destroys your home or possessions – such as a hurricane or tornado.Actual Cash Value (ACV)For property insurance, the market value of your home before...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
If you’re trying to convince your partner to save energy, you may be facing an uphill battle.That’s because debating it is about as much fun as watching your electric meter spin. In addition, your other half probably thinks adding energy-saving features costs too much and isn't worth the effort.So how do you make a dent in that ironclad reluctance?Step #1: Do Your Homework“The best way to minimize disagreements is with research and proof,” says Sandy Arons. She should know. As a financial counselor, it’s her job to assess the nuances of everyday costs, including home maintenance and repair.Knowing her spouse wasn’t keen on spending for energy upgrades on their relatively new 17-year-old house, Arons gathered data to prove they could save money.The heart and soul of her data crunch was a...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
Do you wish you could tap your home equity without having to make loan payments every month? If you’re 62 and own a house that’s paid for, or at least nearly paid for, then your genie in a bottle just might be a reverse mortgage.A reverse mortgage pays you via a lump sum, monthly distributions, a credit line, or as some combination of the three.The exact amount you can get depends on:Your age (the older, the better).How much home equity you have (the more the better).Current interest rates (the lower the better).The best part: You don’t have to repay the loan during your lifetime as long as you occupy the house and remain current on taxes, insurance, and repairs.However, the amount you borrow is a loan, so you owe interest on it right away. While you don’t have to pay back the loan unti...
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By Maggie Dokic /Indialantic | 321-252-8696, Selling the beach in Florida's space coast
(Magdalena Dokic)
If you’re like most homeowners, rising home prices mean you can finally let out the breath you’ve been holding since the start of the economic downturn — especially if you’re hoping to sell.Would you mind terribly if I added a little cloud to your silver lining?Rising home prices might mean higher bills for you in the coming year because:  Your property taxes will rise unless your tax rate falls. You’ll need higher limits on your homeowners insurance coverage to compensate for your higher home value. Fortunately, you can do a few things now to reduce your tax bite, keep your insurance costs as low as possible, and continue your exhale of relief.Property Tax AppealsYou pay your property taxes based on a formula that generally uses your home's assessed value multiplied by the tax rate. Wh...
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