Palm Beach Real Estate News

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

More people than ever are working from home. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 percent of employed people in the US work from home at least part of the time—and that number jumps to 42% of workers with advanced degrees. And as more people make the shift towards working from home, the demand for home offices is on the rise.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, home offices are quickly becoming one of the most requested features for potential buyers. “The importance of home offices has almost begun to rival the attention that buyers give to kitchens,” says Robin Kencel, an associate broker with Compass in Greenwich, Conn., in the NYT article. And as working from home becomes more common, that demand only stands to increase.

The Takeaway:

What does that mean for you? If you telecommute, having a functional workspace in your home is important. Work with your real estate agent to find a property that has a room or separate space you can use as an office so that your home works for you and your career.

Posted in:home officePosted in:home feature and tagged: home officehome feature
Posted by Heather Smith on November 1st, 2019 2:42 PM

For most pet owners, pets are a part of the family. And so, of course, wherever the family moves? The pet moves, too. And while moving might be a stressful process for you, it’s arguably even more stressful for your pet.

Pets respond well to structure and routine—and so the packing, moving, and settling into a new place can make them feel anxious and stressed out. But there are ways to make the process easier on your pet. A recent article on outlined the five mistakes to avoid when moving with your pets, including:

  • Having your pet around on moving day. Moving day can be chaotic, which can stress your pet out. Make sure to board them or have them stay with a friend or family member while you’re managing the big move.
  • Washing your pet’s things before the move. Familiar smells are comforting to pets—so while you might be tempted to wash their bed, toys, or blankets before you move, resist the urge. The familiar smells will help them acclimate to their new home and feel more comfortable.
  • Not supervising them in their new home. When you move into a new home, you’re not totally familiar with the layout—and there could be areas where your pet could escape. As you’re settling in, make sure you keep an extra close eye on your pet.
  • Changing their setup or routine. Again, most pets are creatures of habit—so when you’re moving to a new place, you don’t want to change their setup or routine too much. If they’re used to having their bed in your room, put it in the same place in your new house. If you typically walk your pet at certain times of the day, continue with that schedule. Keeping the same setup and routine will make it easier for your pet to transition to your new home.

Bottom line? Moving can be a stressful experience for everyone—including your pets. So make sure you make the moving process as easy as possible for your four-legged family member.

Posted in:movingPosted in:petsPosted in:new home and tagged: movingpetsnew home
Posted by Heather Smith on October 25th, 2019 1:18 PM

Want to experience higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in your life? The answer could lie in real estate.

According to the 2019 Fall Homebuyer Insights Report from Bank of America, the vast majority of homeowners—a whopping 93 percent—are happier owning their home than they were when renting.

And the benefits of owning a home don’t end there. Homeowners also report higher levels of life satisfaction in all areas, including how much time they spend pursuing hobbies (82 percent of current homeowners vs. 63 percent of prospective buyers), the quality of their social life (78 percent of current homeowners vs. 58 percent of prospective buyers), their financial well-being (77 percent of current homeowners vs. 42 percent of prospective buyers), and their life overall (88 percent of current homeowners vs. 70 percent of prospective buyers).

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? Happiness, fulfillment, and life satisfaction aren’t things you can purchase. But you can purchase a home—and, in many ways, that’s the next best thing.

Posted by Heather Smith on October 22nd, 2019 1:50 PM

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, it makes sense that you’d want to renovate and fix any lingering problems as a way to get top dollar for your home. But if you want your renovations to help your home sale—and not hurt it—you need to ensure you have the necessary permits.

According to a recent article from Redfin, there are a number of home renovation and improvement projects—including fence installations and repairs, window installations, plumbing and electrical work, structural changes, heating maintenance, and additions or remodels—that require a permit from the city government. When you obtain these permits, the changes and improvements you make to your home are inspected by the city to ensure they’re up to code. Once they’re approved, they are put on official record.

Why is this important? When you sell your home, both buyers and lenders will want to know that any changes, improvements, renovations, or modifications made to the home were done safely and comply with all relevant building codes. They’ll ask for the city permits as proof—and if you don’t have them, it can sink the sale.

The Takeaway:

If you’re renovating your home, make sure you have the right permits. Otherwise, when you go to sell, you may have a serious problem on your hands.

Posted by Heather Smith on October 8th, 2019 2:17 PM

Building a new home from scratch can be a dream come true. The idea of designing the perfect property with morning sun in the kitchen and evening breezes on the deck can be exhilarating; the first step to a successful project is finding the right piece of land on which to build. This can present challenges if not approached correctly.

Top Tips When Buying Vacant Land

  • Hire Experience – More than most real estate transactions, it’s critical to hire an agent who specializes in vacant land purchases and can guide you through the steps.
  • Expect to Pay Cash – Finding a lender for vacant land can be very difficult. Those who will finance land typically require a 50% or higher down payment and above average interest rates and terms.
  • Get the Neighborhood Comps – Do not neglect to understand home values in the community so you do not over, or under, build your home.
  • Do Your Due Diligence – It is critical to research the property thoroughly. A few considerations must include:
    • Site Surveys and Environmental Testing
    • Easements and Zoning Restrictions
    • Lot Survey and Boundaries
    • Utilities and Water Rights

Once you’ve completed these preliminary reviews, it’s time to consult with an architect and General Contractor who will then begin to develop concept drawings to consider. Even at this stage, you might find that the home you want is not appropriate for the land you’ve chosen. Staying flexible is a key component to searching for land; remember that by following a few tips, you can ensure you find the right lot for your dream home.

Posted by Heather Smith on September 20th, 2019 12:50 PM

One of the reasons many people continue renting is because they believe it’s the easier option. But according to a recent survey, the vast majority of homeowners would disagree.

According to a recent survey from LendingTree, a whopping 67% of homeowners—more than two-thirds—say owning a home is easier than renting. And the best part? It seems as though the longer you own a home, the more likely it is you’ll find it easier than renting (72% of people who have spent seven to nine years in their homes say it’s easier than renting)—and the less likely you’ll ever want to go back to renting (only 7% of people who have owned their home for a decade or more said they wished they could return to renting).

The Takeaway:

If you’re renting a place because you think it’s the easier option, it might be time to look at the data and buy a home of your own—which, as it turns out, may be the easier option after all.

Posted by Heather Smith on September 12th, 2019 12:54 PM

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