Palm Beach Real Estate News

You have read all the advice on moving with pets, and you have plans in place to make the transition as easy as possible for your dog and/or cat. We will call them Butch and Fluffy (Butch is the dog). The big moving day has arrived and Butch and/or Fluffy are freaking out. And since our pets are more important than life itself, we can’t have them going bonkers, can we? So, here are some good ideas for making your pet (and you) feel at home after a move.

First, make sure your new place has been thoroughly cleaned, especially if it belonged to another pet. Your animal DOES NOT want to smell anybody else in the new place. If this is impractical, put down puppy pads for both cats and dogs. Your house will look awful, but since you have not yet unpacked, it probably does anyway.

Prior to your move, do not wash animal beds or blankets. The funkier they smell, the better, in your pet’s opinion. By the way, moving the animal stuff is a great moving day task for kids.

Next, supervise. Dogs run and cats hide. A dog can easily get lost in a new, unfamiliar neighborhood. As soon as possible, preferably the day you move, take Butch out for a nice walk. Butch will take cues from you, so the more relaxed and pleasant you are, the more relaxed and pleasant Butch will be. (This is where tranquilizers come in – for both of you.)

For cats, it is a good idea to keep Fluffy in for a few days, and expect lots of hiding. Make sure you know all of the new house’s nooks and crannies and make sure they are safe for your pet to hide in – you do not want Fluffy getting stuck inside a wall or escaping from a crawl space. Make a nice bed (with water and maybe even a litterbox) inside one of the closets. If Fluffy wants to stay in there for several days, let her. If you have a multiple cat household, you may need to temporarily give up more than one closet. Hey, you are too tired to unpack anyway, right? Who and what is more important, Fluffy or your shoe collection?

It goes without saying that you will need to use the same food and water bowls for Butch and Fluffy. Put food and water down as soon as you get into the new place. Do not worry if they do not eat for a day but make sure they stay hydrated. Put them in about the same place that they were in your old place – kitchen to kitchen, laundry to laundry, etc.

Here is a favorite trick, although it has an ewww factor. On moving day, take the sheets off the bed in the old house and then put the very same sheets back on the bed in the new house. Bring your pet to bed with you. Nothing will be as comforting for your pet as being safe and warm with their human and being surrounded by familiar smells.

Keep the same routine – same daily activities at the same time, same leisure activities, at the same time – and soon Fluffy and Butch will have their comfortable routines set, too. And they will be as happy in their new home as you are.

Posted in:petsPosted in:pet safetyPosted in:moving with pets and tagged: petspet safetymoving with pets
Posted by Heather Smith on February 20th, 2020 2:22 PM

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.

But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.

Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:

1. Performing market research


When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.

Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.

All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes research are crucial to pricing your property correctly — and wouldn’t be possible without your agent’s hard work.

2. Gathering relevant information for buyers


A critical part of the home selling process is providing accurate and complete information to potential buyers. But most of the information buyers want isn’t something you, as a seller, will have ready and available.

Your agent gathers all the information a potential buyer might want to know so that if and when they request it, it’s ready to go. Agents research things like the average utility usage of your property for the past 12 months, a breakdown of the home’s floor plan, and a list of all available electricity and gas vendors in the area to make it available to buyers, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.

3. Phone calls and scheduling


As part of their marketing efforts, your agent likely has your property listed on both the MLS and multiple public forums in order to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible. And while the increased exposure is great for driving interest in your home, someone needs to manage all the inquiries, follow up with interested buyers, and schedule viewings.

And that person is your real estate agent.

When your agent calls you to schedule a tour, that’s just a small part of the process. Before they called you, they’ve already answered email inquiries, fielded multiple phone calls, talked to buyer’s agents, and weeded out people who aren’t serious about viewing — and potentially buying — your home.

The call you get to schedule the tour is the last step in a lengthy scheduling process — most of which your agent manages behind-the-scenes.

4. Managing the close (and all the logistics that go with it)


Now, once a qualified buyer makes an offer on your home — and you decide to accept it — your agent’s job goes into high gear. Now, that’s not to say that managing the close happens entirely behind-the-scenes; obviously, your agent is going to work with you to get the job done. There’s plenty of the closing process (from negotiating with the buyers to reviewing contracts) that you’ll get to witness up close and personal.

But there’s a lot more that goes into managing the close of your home then what you actually see from your agent.

They have to make sure the signed contracts are sent to everyone who needs a copy, including the lender, the buyer’s agent, the title company, and any involved attorneys. They have to file a status change with the MLS from “For Sale” to “Pending” and, finally, to “Sold.” They need to schedule the final walkthrough with the buyers and their agent.

Closing on your home? It’s kind of a logistical nightmare.

But luckily for you, when you work with a real estate agent, they take care of all the (many) details and logistics that need to be managed throughout the closing process, saving you immeasurable time, money, and frustration.

When you work with a real estate agent, it’s easy to see the value that they bring to the table during the process of selling your home. But what you see is just the beginning. The hours you see your agent putting in — the home tours, the open houses, the phone calls — are just a tiny fraction of the work they’re actually doing. Your agent is working around the clock to get your home sold… and the majority of that work takes place behind-the-scenes.

Posted by Heather Smith on February 6th, 2020 8:22 PM

Whether you’re preparing to move or planning to stay put for the foreseeable future, any time is the right time to get your home in order. Streamlining your spaces not only saves you time, but it can also make you feel happier and more relaxed in your environment.

That said, organizing and decluttering can seem overwhelming initially. Rather than give up before you’ve even begun, consider breaking it down room by room to help you maintain your momentum. While each space presents a different set of challenges, there are some common strategies you can employ as you approach these areas.

For example, in each room you’ll likely find items that you want to keep, donate, or toss. With that in mind, before you start, have clearly-marked bags or boxes at the ready so you aren’t tempted to leave the room (and not return to the task at hand). Separate your things by category and keep only what you truly need or want.

The following is a room-by-room guide that’ll help you get your house in order.

The Bedroom

If you face a daily struggle with finding your belt or that one shoe that always goes missing, straightening up your bedroom (including that cluttered closet and those overflowing drawers) can help you save precious minutes in the morning and look your best at the same time.

Start by going through your clothing and accessories and decide what you want to keep, donate, or ditch. This is easier than it sounds. Keep it simple and straight-forward—get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past year or two. If you haven’t worn it in that long, what’s the chances you’re going to in the next year or two?

If you have your heart set on saving something you haven’t worn in a while, make sure it still fits. Once you’ve thinned out your wardrobe, buying new hangers in one solid color and style diminishes the visual clutter and presents a pleasing, tidy look.

Next, put things in order… Arrange your clothing from light to dark colors, so it’s easy to find that white blouse without having to dig through the contents of your closet.

Then, get things like your purses, hats, tote bags, and belts off the floor by installing hooks, which also makes it easy to find what you need at first glance.

The Bathroom

If you have an under-the-sink vanity or medicine cabinet, these are great places to begin. Take everything out and you’ll be able to quickly determine which items you still use and which are well-beyond their expiration dates. If you have old medications, dispose of them properly. Discard old cosmetics and skincare products you no longer use.

Next, take stock of the shower and tub. It’s not uncommon for people, especially kids, to leave empty shampoo bottles lining the rim of the tub. But, don’t just get rid of the empty bottles—try and keep only the products used on a daily (or at least regular basis) in the tub or shower.

If you have kids, and it looks more like a playroom than a bathroom, gather the toys into a storage basket that offers proper drainage, and try and find some room in a linen closet to stow it away.

The Kitchen

Keeping the kitchen organized is a high priority since it’s probably the busiest room in your home. If you’re short on space, you may want to remove items like breakfast and granola bars from their cardboard boxes and stack them or place them in clear tubs where hungry snackers on the go can find them in a hurry. You’ll be amazed at how much space boxes were taking up. (This also eliminates the issue of people putting empty boxes back in the cupboard.)

While you’re going through your pantry, this is another great opportunity to check expiration dates, and remove items that are outdated or have gone stale, or simply never get eaten by anyone.

If you have space, install a turntable that grants easy access to an array of items in a single spin. A spice rack can also help you save space and make cooking a bit more efficient.

Take a look at the pots and pans you have. Are there any that you never use? How about all of the cooking utensils crammed in the hard-to-open drawer? There’s bound to be some things in the drawers and cabinets that you can get rid of if you just take a little inventory.

The kitchen, particularly an island or countertop, is a notorious depository for junk mail. Keep a recycling bin nearby so you can eliminate all that paper immediately, rather than just keeping an ever-growing pile of it out in the open. Just doing this will make your kitchen look tidier!

The Living Room

Whether you’re entertaining or hanging out alone, you still want this room to look its best. Baskets are a great way to “hide” the clutter in plain sight. From storing magazines and books, to kids’ toys and games, baskets come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, making them as decorative as they are functional. And, they make the stuff you have just laying around look like it should be there.

But, just as you did with your other spaces, sort through your items before you stash them in a basket or end table drawer. There’s no sense in holding on to pieces that you don’t use or need. Is anyone really going to read the magazines that’ve been piling up on the end table for months (or years!)?

Unless you’re Marie Kondo, decluttering may not “spark joy” at first. But even if this isn’t your favorite way to spend a day, once everything is in order, you’ll be glad you did it.

Posted by Heather Smith on January 23rd, 2020 2:18 PM

A lack of inventory has made it extremely challenging for would-be buyers to find the right property. But it looks like a wave of new construction may finally be on the way—and, judging by the permits, that wave is going to be a significant one.

According to a recent article in REALTOR Magazine, housing permits (which act as a predictor for future construction) increased 5 percent in October. That’s the fastest rate of permit authorization since 2007—just before the Great Recession.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, this increase in housing permits is “tremendously good news for the housing sector.”

“At 1.46 million units on an annualized basis, housing permits are nearly to the level needed for the country over the long haul,” Yun said in the article. “Since new-home construction kicks off the chain reaction of people trading up and trading down by buying new and selling their existing homes, more housing inventory will surely show up in the market next year.”

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’ve been trying to buy a home but have struggled with a lack of inventory, this increase in housing permits should be the jumping off point for new construction—and once that new construction hits the market, it should make it easier for buyers to find the right home.

Posted in:homebuyerPosted in:buying a homePosted in:home buyer and tagged: homebuyerbuying a homehome buyer
Posted by Heather Smith on January 10th, 2020 2:57 PM

2020 Pantone Color of the Year – Classic Blue

Drum roll please – Pantone has chosen Classic Blue as their color of the year. Over the past couple years, bold colors on walls has become common place in designer magazines and new model homes. Bucking the old guidance of using bland, light hues to make rooms look larger, deep greens, rich reds and even soft blacks are used in even the smallest spaces. This year, Pantone has chosen a fresh Classic Blue to inspire homeowners and designers in 2020.

Classic Blue is just want it sounds like – as classic. Think of your favorite sneaker or school binder and you’ll be right on track. Described as a calming, familiar azure, Classic Blue is an uncomplicated, straightforward tone intended to provide a “neutral” backdrop for modern color palates and urban chic styling.

Modern interior design has been trending towards more unassuming color schemes for furniture, flooring and accents. Kitchens sport sleek white cabinets and subway tile counters and backsplashes. Tone on tone design with urban elements of steel and soft wood tones lend themselves to this fresh blue hue. Pantone suggests that the simple color palate of blue and white is a comforting return to more traditional styling and expects that Classic Blue is the perfect wall color to compliment the Mid-Century and 60s décor that have emerged with a modern twist.

A great weekend project for a room or rooms, Classic Blue would add a fresh look to any space.

Posted by Heather Smith on January 3rd, 2020 4:02 PM

Technology has made a variety of real estate transactions significantly more convenient; instead of filling out paperwork in person, digital contracts allow you to conduct virtually all of your real estate business online from wherever you are. But there’s one transaction the majority of people still prefer managing in person—and that’s closing on a house.

According to a recent survey from Solidifi, a network management solutions provider in the residential lending industry, 81 percent of consumers prefer to close on their home or refinance in person. One of the main reasons? Consumers still value having a qualified closing agent on hand to help them navigate the process; according to the survey, more than two-thirds of consumers said their experience working with their closing agent would make them more likely to work with their lender in the future.

What does this mean for you? If you’re purchasing a home and the thought of a digital closing doesn’t sit well with you, you’re not alone. Working in person with a qualified closing agent can help you better navigate the closing process, get all of your questions answered, and ensure that the purchase or refinancing of your home goes smoothly.

Posted by Heather Smith on December 20th, 2019 3:17 PM

Humans love their dogs. This, the purest kind of love, makes complete sense.

Dogs are loyal, sweet, and the best companion anyone could ask for. They’ve been living paw-in-hand with us for thousands of years. They’re part of the family and they stick with us through whatever’s going on in our lives, so we wish we could have them in our lives forever!

But our best friends are not invincible. One of the worst things that can possibly happen is when they get into something they shouldn’t and it makes them ill—or worse.

Now, you probably already know about a few things like chocolate and grapes that are harmful for pups….

But you might not know about all of these.

Check out these Common Home Improvement Items That Are Dangerous For Dogs so you can puppy-proof your pad for good:


Batteries – You need to keep these on hand for everything from the remote control to your smoke alarms, but you’ve got to keep them away from Lulu. When ingested, batteries can cause a whole host of issues including ulcers. Keep them in the garage where little paws can’t dig them out.

If I see it, I eat it! Gotta problem with that?

Detergent – Yes, dogs eat TidePods, too, and it’s just as bad for them as it is for the dumb humans who started the trend. Actually, both laundry and dish detergents are bad for our constant companions. Detergent can cause damage to the mouth and intestines, so keep the Dawn and the Tide out of Skipper’s reach.

I’m not dumb enough to eat a TidePod (but you should hide it anyway).

Indoor Plants – Some plants are fine for Fluffy, but others spell big trouble. Plants like Diffenbachia, Amaryllis, or Cyclamen can cause everything from swelling of the mouth and throat to respiratory distress to cardiac problems and death. Houseplants are cool and all, but your doggo is way cooler, so do your research on what’s safe and what isn’t.

C’mon, I’m colorblind. All plants look the same to me!

Pest Poisons – It stands to reason that if it can kill a rat, it can also kill a rat terrier. Actually, this stuff can kill dogs of all sizes. Keep this stuff locked up tight far away from Sargeant—or better yet, look for a product that repels rats and mice electronically instead.

I’m not a rat terrier, but I play one on TV.

Foam Wall Insulation – Dogs will chew on just about anything. Any dog owner who’s come home to find a door or table leg shredded to bits can attest to that. What happens if they chew into a wall, though? Well, if you’ve got foam insulation, they run a very good risk of choking. If your dog is a chewer, keep him busy with his toys instead.

Baby, I was born to chew!


Cocoa Mulch – This popular bedding material smells good to our puppy pals, but the results can be disastrous. Cocoa mulch contains theobromine which is the same poisonous-to-pups ingredient in chocolate. It can be downright deadly if ingested. Think of Chester and stick to pecan mulch instead.

Mulch may make a good bed…but it’s not a great snack.

De-icing Salts – If you live in a cold climate, you probably don’t think twice about throwing down de-icing salt in winter. After all, the whole world’s a slip ‘n’ slide without it. Even though it’s kind of a necessity, use caution with this stuff when it comes to your pupperoo. Prolonged exposure to walking on the salts hurts their paws and, like everything else on this list, they’re poisonous if consumed.

I know I said I wanted a walk, but I changed my mind.

Fertilizers – You probably have a bag of this stuff laying around in your garage or garden. Be careful with it! Dogs love to dig in because of the stinky scent, but beware. Both commercial and organic fertilizers are dangerous for dogs; they can cause all sorts of digestive issues, seizures, and more. Switch to manure for a temporarily stinkier, but safer experience.

If you put down fertilizer, I WILL roll in it. Just sayin’.

Antifreeze – This stuff is great for your car, but terrible for your pets. It can cause fainting, seizures, weakness, and more. Even worse, it has a sweet taste to it, so if your dog takes a sample lick, chances are good he’ll lap it all up. While your dog might not have access to your vehicle’s innards, antifreeze is also used in some HVAC systems, some toilet cleaners, and even solar water heating systems. Check your for leaks on the regular to keep Rowdy safe.

Give this little snickerdoodle a safe house.

Sago Palms – Sago Palms are extremely toxic for the hungry hounds who dare to snack on them. If you have one at your place, consider replacing it with a dog safe tree variety, instead.

I’m not saying I would eat a tree, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t, either.

Flowering Bulbs – Daffodils, Tulips, and Autumn Crocus all bring a cheery burst of color to any exterior, but what they do to the unlucky pups who eat them is less than cheery. These plants can all cause serious symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and organ damage, so keep Fido OUT of the flower beds.

This little guy loves to stop and smell the flowers. Just make sure they’re safe ones!

Oleander – This popular plant is highly toxic to dogs and humans alike. All parts of this plant are toxic, and they cause effects ranging from nausea and vomiting to seizures and death. Ditch the oleander and pick a non-toxic alternative like magnolia bushes instead.

C’mon. Pick a new plant. I’m worth it.

Keep me safe, human!

Keep your best furry friend happy and safe by eliminating access to any of the items on this list, and always do your research when adding new home improvements.

If your doggo gets into any of these items, head to your local vet ASAP or call the ASPCA’s Poison Control Hotline to get help.

Posted in:pet safety and tagged: pet safety
Posted by Heather Smith on December 12th, 2019 3:57 PM

When you’re shopping for a home, you’ll find yourself quickly acquainted with an array of architectural styles. From Colonials and Cape Cods to split-levels, Victorians and beyond, each distinct design has its pros and cons. But there’s one type of home that garners the most interest, at least as far as Google searches go… and it may surprise you.

Ranch Style Houses

While in years past consumers were seeking sprawling McMansions, the most popular style searched between April 2018 and April 2019, according to Google, was ranch style houses as reported on

As their name implies, these single-story dwellings have their roots in the old West. Both homey and practical, ranches were designed by San Diego, CA-based architect Cliff May in the early 1930s. Their reign continued well into the post-World War II 1950s thanks to their affordability and lack of pretension. Google isn’t the only site seeing an uptick in interest in this style. According to a 2016 Trulia study, the ranch is the most popular pick in 34 states in the U.S.

Why are ranches experiencing a resurgence in this era?

Also, who are the homebuyers most interested in getting in on this ground floor living situation? The answer: baby boomers and millennials.

Again, it’s easy to understand the appeal for each group. Despite the disparity in their ages, both seniors and first-time homebuyers would prefer not to spend a fortune on larger, splashy estates. Additionally, for individuals who are at the beginning of their careers or just starting a family, these homes are more attractively priced for those on a budget. The same holds true for baby boomers on a fixed income who may wish to downsize and take advantage of the lower cost associated with this home style.

At the time of the Trulia study, ranch homes for sale in Atlanta, GA had a median listing price of $92 per square foot, which was almost half of the citywide median listing price of $180 per square foot. Heading west, this trend seemed to continue in other metro areas, including Portland, OR, where the median listing price of ranch homes, also the Beaver state’s most popular home style, is $186 per square foot, which represents just three-quarters of the city’s median listing price of $248 per square.

Another reason this style is so desirable is because it lacks staircases that can be difficult for seniors and young families to navigate. One-level living is easier on the knees and back for older folks, while new parents needn’t worry about their crawling and cruising curious toddlers taking a tumble down a steep flight. Maintaining the home feels more manageable as well, making it ideal as a starter home or a retirement home.

Though they lack other levels, ranches often boast the open layout today’s homebuyer adores. Some have a master bedroom on one side of the home, offering a private, secluded space. For those looking for a retro or rustic aesthetic, ranches often tick those boxes as well. As families grow, there’s always the potential to build up, if that plan aligns with local zoning ordinances.

When you consider all these attractive features, it’s no wonder ranches have become a coveted home style.

Posted in:home style and tagged: home style
Posted by Heather Smith on December 5th, 2019 5:04 PM

For most first-time buyers, purchasing a home is the biggest purchase of their lives—but according to a recent survey, the majority of them don’t exactly feel prepared.

A recent article from REALTOR Magazine outlined a survey from first-time homebuyer survey from real estate resource Framework, which found that the majority of first-time homebuyers feel unprepared to buy. According to the survey, only 41 percent of first-time homebuyers felt prepared for the homebuying process, while 44 percent said they feared making a costly mistake. And more than half of all first-time buyers—both prospective (58 percent) and recent (53%)—said the homebuying process was more difficult than it needed to be.

What does this mean for you? If you’re buying a home for the first time, you want to feel as prepared as possible—and that means working with a qualified real estate agent. The right agent will help you feel prepared for every step of the homebuying journey—and make the entire process of buying a home feel less complicated and difficult.

Posted by Heather Smith on November 21st, 2019 3:07 PM

Is the Investment to Make your Home a "Smart Home" Worth it for Resale?

Over the past few years, smart technology has really blossomed into a huge market. With more-and-more devices offering connectivity and lower prices, almost all households have some kind of smart device in their home. While some smart devices are simply “nice to have,” many can actually increase the value of the home; if you are considering a move in the future, learning which smart upgrades will increase your home’s value is important.

Here are a few of the best smart home upgrades:

· Smart Thermostats – Energy saving smart thermostats can sense when the home is occupied and vacant to control the temperature while saving energy costs.
· Smart Smoke Detectors and Security Systems – Life saving smart security can alert you and the authorities automatically if there is a problem in the home.
· Smart Door Locks – Either as part of the security system or stand alone, smart door locks allow you to control access to your home. Using Wi-Fi to unlock doors remotely and program unique codes for family, guests, housekeepers etc., you will always know by whom and when your home is accessed.
· Smart Moisture Sensor – Mold has become a huge problem. Smart moisture sensors detect water leaks, humidity and temperature changes to protect your home from moisture damage.

 These are just a few of the great smart home products available to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Most starting under $250, these smart choices will not only protect your home, but add value when listing for sale.

Posted in:smart homePosted in:resalePosted in:resale value and tagged: smart homeresaleresale value
Posted by Heather Smith on November 7th, 2019 2:09 PM

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