Your Florida House Hunt: Kitchen Layouts

Considering Kitchen Layouts

The single-guy-who-nukes-his-dinner-every-night crowd probably doesn’t care about a good kitchen. To the rest of us, the kitchen can make or break a real estate deal. To a lot of people a kitchen isn’t just a room in which to prepare meals. It’s a homework area, a place to sit with a neighbor over a cup of coffee, and, in the case of the country kitchen, an area where the family gathers to share the day’s stories. If you’re not that single guy with a microwave, evaluating kitchens will be an important aspect of your house hunt. Read Full Article

Second Homeowners Need Professional Help

With the sale of vacation homes surging, more current and aspiring second homeowners are seeking ways to supply cash flow or recover expenses by placing their properties in a professional management program – a tactic that’s ripe for success, according to industry experts. Purchasing the home is just the beginning, however. Making sure it’s updated and marketable is vital to compete in today’s travel marketplace, and to drive revenue for the homeowner.

Today’s second homeowners have a choice: rent and manage the property themselves, or engage a vacation rental professional. Rather than personally handling reservations, marketing, maintenance and more, many homeowners choose to partner with an area property management company to handle the legwork, even when the home is not rented. This could possibly translate into more rental bookings for a higher investment return.

Here are a few reasons why “going with a pro” could benefit some second homeowners:

 

Income: Vacation rental professionals earn homeowners money when a property would normally sit empty. It’s also common for property managers to earn extra guest loyalty and repeat visits by providing the guest services homeowners can’t when going it alone. They can also advise on local market conditions, travel trends, and how to expect and plan for seasonal occupancy demands.

 

Zoning and Legal Counsel: A professional evaluation is vital to determining whether a property is legally zoned for vacation rental business. Partnering with a manager also ensures the property will be operated under a proper tax ID and business license; and that the property meets ongoing inspection requirements.

 

24/7 Attention: Vacation rental managers service the property, homeowners and guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with quick and professional responses thanks to fully staffed teams nearby. They commonly handle questions or emergencies after-hours, a time when homeowners may not be able to (or want to) respond.

 

Guest Services: Day-to-day guest operations are made easier for homeowners, as the professionals collect and process bookings and check guests in/out. Many companies also offer concierge services, which make a rental more marketable – think exclusive perks like a private chef, in-home spa treatments, free movie and video game rentals, grocery delivery options, discounts on activities, etc.

 

Marketing: Some of the biggest advantages to partnering with a professional are the in-depth programs designed to market their inventory. Companies may invest in high-resolution property video/photos, guest surveys, contests, promotional trade outs, brochures and rack cards, advertising, PR and more to drive additional business.

 

Housekeeping: Trained housekeepers keep managers’ vacation rental homes cleaned to hospitality industry standards. Inspectors are often deployed to each property before and after every guest, ensuring consistency and quality.

 

Property Maintenance: It’s standard for professionals to oversee services like lawn care, pest control, pool care, A/C service, etc. They maintain relationships with reliable vendors, and offer guests plans to cover accidental breakages. “Going with a pro” also assures homeowners that there are “eyes and ears” for their second home, versus a property sitting empty without being checked or maintained.

 

Interior Design: Many companies assist with staging and set-up for travelers, including ongoing support with insights and upgrades, and some even offer in-house interior design and property improvement services. Design pros provide detailed plans to meet market demands and make homes more profitable. For example, they can advise on repurposing spaces into game rooms or movie theaters, together with popular “extras,” designs and amenities vacationers look for.


For some second homeowners, hiring professional help may reap even more return on their investment, especially for time-crunched second homeowners. For more information, visit: www.DiscoverVacationHomes.com.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

 

Question of the Day: Should I buy a vacation home?

Q: Should I buy a vacation home?

A: The second home market has more ebbs and flows than the primary home market. Sales are iffy in a bad economy except, perhaps, on the high-end. That said, there is a growing trend toward the purchase of vacation homes. They are being bought for investment purposes, enjoyment, as well as retirement. In the latter instance, some people are buying with the idea of turning a vacation home into a permanent retirement haven down the road, a move that puts them ahead of the game now.

Some of the tax benefits mirror those for a primary residence. Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible, which helps to offset the cost of the home payment. And if you treat your second home as a rental property, you can fully depreciate it as well. But you are only allowed to occupy it for two weeks a year, or 10 percent of the total rented time, whichever is less.

Before taking the leap, ask yourself if you can afford to carry two mortgages, maintain two households, and pay the extra utilities and maintenance costs. Also, learn about financing requirements and options, which can differ slightly from those on a primary residence.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Florida’s Existing Home, Condo Sales Rising

Real Estate Web ReportNow may be the time for Florida second home or retirement home buyers to get serious. With strong demand and wavering prices, the best units are going under contract quickly.

This trend became evident recently while showing beachfront condos to an out of town couple. Having seen a dozen properties over a three day span, we scheduled second showings of three waterfront units only to find they had all gone under contract. Two were priced at half what they would have sold for five years ago and the third was even less with a dock! All were furnished and updated. The couple returned home disappointed they had  missed out on these properties and unable to purchase a home in time for the winter season.

While less desirable properties still languish, the market for well-maintained homes in good locations appears to be heating up. Buyers in this niche are now less inclined to move onto another property if all their demands are not met, thwarting more discerning buyers’ attempts to find a dream home at a bargain basement price.  Read Market Report

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Villa in the Meadows, Palm City, FL

Pristine extended Capri with wide water views from the recently installed screened lanai complete with covered porch, fans, and custom lighting.

 

This unit is spotless, bright and airy with vaulted ceilings and built-in Divosta wall unit in the living area. The home is configured in a split plan boasting two master suites, open kitchen area, huge breakfast bar, and newer appliances. Other features include a large laundry room, two-car garage with built-in storage and work bench, newer AC system, and storm shutters generic levitra uk.

 

The Meadows is one of the area’s most desirable gated and patrolled subdivisions with wide sidewalks, lighted streets in a park-like setting. Enjoy easy access to major highways, shopping, beaches, golf and entertainment as well as “A” rated Martin County schools.

 

 

Renting Your Vacation or Second Home

RentalsRenting your property can be a great way to offset some of the ongoing expenses of owning a vacation or second home. If you are an out of town owner you will need to consider how you will manage the property long distance. Hiring a property management company or a real estate professional are two options that can ease the stress of going it alone.

A property management company will charge an ongoing fee, usually 10% of the monthly rent for their services (in addition to their fee for procuring a tenant) while a Realtor may offer some services as part of his listing agreement. The latter can save you an ongoing management fee but will require some “hands-on” participation from you.

As a Realtor who handles rentals as well as home sales, I provide many of the services offered by a property manager as a courtesy to my clients. This primarily consists of getting your home “rent ready” with the assistance of service professionals who provide various maintenance services directly to my clients for a fee while I help manage the process.

Some owners rely on a neighbor or nearby relative to perform these functions only to find the job does not get done or is done poorly. In the end you wind up with an unhappy tenant you need to deal with from miles away. Regardless of which approach you take, your home must be spotless and equipped to handle the demands of tenants seeking a stress free vacation rental and who may become repeat renters for years to come.


Preparing Your Unit to Rent

It may seem obvious but having a bright and clean rental will result in a quicker sale and a better tenant! For seasonal rentals I recommend a thorough cleaning before we begin showing the unit. You should also plan on another cleaning before your tenant arrives, especially if it has been vacant for a while. Bathrooms need to be spotless and free of mold and grime. Carpets may also need shampooing. You may want to consider a cleaning service for scheduled visits – local cleaning companies charge about $100.00 for a typical 2/2 condo or villa (basic service).

Clutter and personal items should be removed or stored in a secure area. You should also try to address any maintenance needs before showings begin.

If upholstered furniture or bedding is showing its age, consider having it cleaned or replaced. Likewise, threadbare linens, pillows and sheets should be replaced as needed.

Also, consider a fresh paint job if the walls are dingy or showing wear and tear. This is very important for vacation rentals to help move them quickly.

You should provide your tenants a list of contact numbers (including yours) for service emergencies. Include information about anything that pertains to your unit, complex or community.


This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.



Listing Your Rental: Frequently Asked Questions

RentalsQ: We are flexible in terms of short or long term rentals and would like to know your opinion on each market for the area and our property.


A: Right now there is a strong demand for annual unfurnished residential properties. I also get calls for short term rentals, which often are corporate relocations such as FPL and Martin Memorial Hospital employees, but demand is unpredictable.


Q: I am interested in finding out your fees for services. Also, we do not live in Florida at this time and would like to know your availability for seasonal rental in case this is the option we decide on. We are looking for services that can take care of the turn around for new tenants.


A: Here’s what we do when we list your rental:


Marketing

-Evaluate the rental potential of your property

-Create a Web page featuring the rental

-Exposure on multiple Web sites including CraigsList, Facebook, and TCPalm (the Stuart News’ Treasure Coast Web site).

-MLS and Realtor.com


Finding a Tenant

-Comprehensive tenant screening including credit and background check

-Collect advance deposits

-Lease preparation

-No fee until we rent your property


Fee Schedule:

10% commission for annual rentals

15% commission for rentals less than six months

Note: we share our fee with cooperating brokers who help procure a tenant.


Sales Tax

We collect sales tax on all rentals less than six months from the tenant. This fee is disbursed to you with other advance deposits. You must file and pay the tax to the state of Florida.


Property management:

We do not offer property management but I can recommend service people for repairs and maintenance. You would pay for these services directly but as an out of town landlord I can assist you with coordinating maintenance schedules in terms of getting the house “rent ready”.


Rent Collection

We collect advance rent, which is typically first, last and security. These funds are disbursed to you less our fee. The tenant then pays the ongoing monthly rent to you directly from the second month on. Seasonal rentals under four months are paid in full in advance. Note: Florida law requires you to keep the tenant’s security on deposit in a Florida bank.


This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.