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Hurricane Season- Are You Ready?


Hello Summer break, beach bodies, and hurricane season!

You may not be beach body ready yet but at least we can help you be hurricane season ready.

Hurricane season, in South Florida, begins today and runs until November 30th. Getting prepared ahead of time will save you hours of headache and possibly thousands of dollars. We have a few things that we think you should do to prepare.

According to the Sun Sentinel, 2018 was the third straight busier-than-average hurricane season. 🌀
It was also the third straight season to feature a major hurricane, either skirting or striking the Sunshine State.

Getting prepared ahead of time will save you hours of headache and possibly thousands of dollars.
We have a few things that we think you should do to prepare.

Determine if you live in an evacuation zone and make a plan with your family today. Know your zone and decide who takes care of what and where you will ride out the storm. If you’re in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan of where you will go. Your options include local shelters, hotels, or head to friends or family out-of-state.

Talk it out today! It’s easier to decide “should I stay or should I go” before you’re panicked, along with everyone else. Then take the “10 minute evacuation challenge” to see how prepared your family is!

If you decide to evacuate, there are a few important documents, like the deed/lease to your house and proof of insurance, you should take with you. 

Don’t leave Spot and Fido behind! Check out our tips for evacuating with pets in the FREE Hurricane Prep download.

If you decide to stay, may we suggest purchasing a back up generator? Having a working one could save you on spoiled food, bored kids, or sweaty adults. 💦



Covering windows and buying snacks for your “hurricane party” aren’t the only things you need to do to get hurricane ready! We have a few other important things to take care of.

Seal Windows & Doors 🚪

Adding new weather stripping, using weather resistant outdoor caulk, and adjusting your door threshold for a tighter seal are all ways you can prevent water from entering your home, should the tides rise.

Trim Trees🌴 

Trim any branches hanging over your roof or damaged shrubs or trees that can come crashing down on your roof or through windows.
You won’t be allowed to put loose debris out for pick up once there’s a hurricane watch or warning, so get this done soon!

Install Storm Shutters🔨

If your home came with hurricane shutters, make sure they’re in good condition and you know how to install them correctly.
If you need to buy shutters for your home, Home Advisor has a good list to compare the different types and costs available.

Move outdoor furniture/decor⛱️

All the large patio furniture – bring it in! The sweet little garden gnome? He’s gotta come in too. The big and little things can be costly if they try to come into your home via strong hurricane winds.


Last but certainly not least: GET ALL THE THINGS!

No need to get everything at once! You can add an item to your grocery list each week throughout the year and keep it on hand for hurricane season.
Want the complete Hurricane supply list?

free hurricane download graphic

We all hope that this hurricane season brings blue skies and calm breezes. In the event that it doesn’t, please make sure you and your house are prepared!

Above all, keep the people and things you can’t replace or stock up on safe and close to you – your family, pets, joy, and sanity!


free hurricane download graphic
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MOVING 101

You’re moving THAT’S SO AWESOME.  You’re probably thinking – sure I’m excited about getting into my new digs – but I’d like to push the EASY BUTTON and just be there. We hear you… that’s why we’re providing you with a Moving 101 post.  We want to make this as pain free as possible for you.

Here’s how to get started…

Your countdown to MOVING DAY should begin just about 45 days out – that is unless your deadline is sooner.  Don’t put everything off to the very last minute – just follow this simple step by step project plan and your MOVING DAY is sure to be a success.

You can do this!!! Just eat that elephant 🐘 one bite at a time.

45 | Days till MOVING DAY

  • RESEARCH 🔎 – Start interviewing Moving Companies.  You really need to request an on-site estimate.  If you’re being transferred make sure you have a full understanding of your company’s moving policy.
  • SUPPLIES 📦 – You will need boxes, dish wrap, bubble wrap, tape, markers, etc.  Sometimes this can be a part of your moving company’s services – in either case, go ahead and get what you will need to you can start packing early.
  • MEASUREMENTS 📏 – This is a great time during a walk thru of your new space to ensure where furniture will be placed and that all of your existing pieces can fit through doorways etc.
  • SPECIAL ITEMS 🖼 – Make a list of any special items that might need insurance during your move, and if they require special boxing etc. (PRO TIP… if its a local move you might want to provide your own ‘white glove service’ and move these items on your own)
  • LOVE IT, LOSE IT, PACK IT 👎 – It’s time to start going room by room and sorting.  First… it’s time to weed out what you can.  Donate/Trash but definitely don’t pay to move items you no longer need!  AND if you don’t use it on a day to day basis – go ahead and pack it now – especially seasonal and special occasion items.  These usually require the best packing – so don’t wait until you’re OVER IT to pack these items!
  • OH YEAH… USE IT 🗑- Start using up extras in the freezer, pantry, and cleaning supplies. TRUST ME – you will be thankful on MOVING DAY.
  • RECORDS 🗂 – Yes, you need a FILE for MOVING DAY, manilla, Evernote, or Dropbox whatever works for you.  This is where you can keep all of your estimates, receipts, inventory what you are/are not moving, etc.  Reminder… many moving expenses can be tax deductible.  This is a great time to visit IRS.gov and grab Forms 8822 and 3903 – change of address and deductions.
  • KIDS 🎫 – Do you have them??? Ok, so if you are changing school districts etc. there will be lots of paperwork – get out in front of this now! That goes for doctors records etc.

30 | Days till MOVING DAY – ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES BECAUSE ITS TIME TO GET TO WORK!

  • MOVER – By now you need to have made your choice.  Get your confirmation of date and quote in writing.
  • DO NOT PACK – at least not in a box.  But you do need to a have a plan to transport your most valuable items such as, jewelry – legal documents and important files – and that MOVING QUOTE – make sure you can get your hands on this to reference on MOVING DAY!
  • LET THE PACKING BEGIN – It’s definitely time to pack away items you don’t use regularly at this point.  Take note of items valued over $100 per pound – make a list and discuss with your movers if you need additional insurance for these – this is your declaration list.
  • LABELING – Clearly mark all boxes! (PRO TIP… label bedroom boxes with a room # 1, 2, 3 etc. then post that number on the corresponding room of your new space – also, use terms like OPEN FIRST, or OPEN LAST, or ALL BED LINENS… this makes that late night on move day much smoother!)

2 | Weeks till MOVING DAY

  • PUT EVERYONE ON NOTICE 📫 – Put in for that ‘change of address’ with the usps.gov (it takes a while to process) also, go ahead and notify banks, financial service providers, your HR department, magazines, newspapers, credit cards etc.
  • WHAT’S UP DOC? 🏥 – If you need a copy of medical records – get these now and if you need referrals for healthcare providers where you are moving to – ask for those as well.
  • RECONFIRM 📞 – Make sure you’re all squared away with your movers.
  • MOVING DAY 🤝 – Ask for a day ‘off ‘ to supervise your move – and get some help… can someone cover your kids and fido while you’ve got your hands full on moving day?
  • HOOK ME UP 💡 – This is the time to process all of your disconnections & connections for utility services and internet/cable.  Doing this in advance will ensure less opportunity for a disruption in your services.

1 | Week till MOVING DAY

  • TAKE CARE OF YOUR PEEPS – Arrange to either pay your movers via credit card or if you need to get a cashiers check go ahead and get this done. (PRO TIP… tips are customary for your movers about 10-15% of the total fee paid in cash to the laborers of the day AND providing refreshments is a great way to say THANK YOU to your team)
  • SELF CARE – getting refills on prescriptions, contacts, etc. will give you some breathing room after your move.
  • DETAILS – Manuals, keys, codes, etc. everything the new occupant of the home your leaving needs – get these gathered up and put in a zip lock to be handed over at walk thru. (PRO TIP… we should all leave things better than how we found them, but this isn’t always the case – go the extra mile for yourself and the pay it forward – schedule professional cleaning services for both the house you are leaving and the one you are going to – this is $$$ well spent!)
  • VACA MODE – Pack suitcases for all of your peeps… this way daily use items will be easy to get to for a few days – and plan on eating out if you can EXCEPT COFFEE – by all means make sure you have a plan for a hot cup of joe on morning #1 (oh… and whatever breakfast routine everyone else needs too!)

MOVING DAY | YOU MADE IT… DO YOUR HAPPY DANCE!

  • SURVIVAL KIT – TP, paper towels, snacks, drinks, whatever!!! Make sure you’ve got it on hand.
  • LAST ONE TO LEAVE – Make sure you do a once over before the movers leave – making sure everything got on the truck – except maybe the kids.
  • FIRST ONE TO STAY – Sign off on your move at the end making sure everything lined up with your expectations.

MOVING DAY CHECKLIST

1 | WEEK AFTER MOVING DAY

  • MORE PAPERWORK – Yes, there’s more.  Update your driver’s license, voter registration, tax forms, bank forms, etc.
  • DON’T FORGET FIDO – Make sure if you need any pet licenses get these taken care of.
  • PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES – Just kidding – actually its batteries, keys and fire extinguishers.  Make sure if you want to change your locks you do so, new batteries are in all smoke detectors, etc, and you’ve got a fire extinguisher on hand. DON’T FREAK OUT you’re just being responsible.

OK… YOU CAN DO THIS!  EASY button right!  Well, you will break a sweat at some point but we’re hoping we’ve made it just a little bit easier on you.  It will be worth it!

As always we hope you found this helpful. We’re always aiming to help you make a S.M.A.R.T. real estate decision.

Chris Dyer, Broker

Eb Stone Realty

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Get Your House Ready for Spring

It’s March 1st and in 19 days we will usher in the first day of Spring. 🌺

For most of our Northern friends, Bambi-like scenery flashes through their minds when they hear the word S P R I N G.  
However, for us in South Florida, Spring can feel like an extension of the rest of the year – sweaty and hot.
Don’t let the lack of blooming flowers dancing in your head stop you from getting your house Spring-ready!
We’ve got your guide to what you need to get ready before Spring breaks.



Start outside in the sunshine. Grab a ladder, some sunscreen, and let’s go!

Spring Clean Your Gutters

If you’d like to take the DIY approach, start with a good pair of gloves, sturdy extendable ladder, and a small shovel or scoop. If you’d rather skip the chore and hire someone to get the job done, we highly recommend Josh Draughon over at Eco Kleen. We’ve used his services on our own home we trust he’ll get your gutters squeaky clean. You can get his contact info here.

Service Your Air Conditioner

April showers don’t always bring May flowers, they bring humidity. Don’t get caught roasting in the lovely Spring heat. You should get your air conditioner serviced twice a year by a professional. Louis Mollo A/C is our go to guy. You can reach him direct at 561-531-1811 and be sure to change your filter once a month to ensure optimal performance.

If you’re feeling exceptionally ambitious, you can check out doityourself.com for a step-by-step guide on how to service your own AC on your own. Or download your own guide below.



Check Your Foundation

Check your driveway and home foundation for signs of cracks or movement. If you find a few cracks, fill them with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.

Check Your Roof

Time to climb! Make like Santa Claus and get up on your roof. No need to slide down the chimney, just be sure to check for loose, cracked or buckled shingles. If you find any, they need to be replaced- preferably before Dec 25th. Santa doesn’t carry insurance after all.

Put Some Pressure On It

If you have a pressure washer, start blasting away at your siding and sidewalks. This will get dirt, grime, and mildew off, eliminating odors, unsightly mold, and rotting.

Of course, you can also hire a professional pressure washing company if you are tired of living that DIY life.


Now that the great outdoors looks great, you might as well spruce up inside.
Here are two tips to get you started indoors:

Check Smoke Detectors

Replace batteries and test your smoke detectors. Press the button and wait for the horrible piercing sound. Replace your batteries if the sound is quiet or never happens.

Clean and Organize Your Closets

We recommend that you do your laundry first so you know what you actually have in there. You don’t have to go full-blown Marie Kondo if you don’t want to but a good closet cleansing is good for everyone! Spread some joy and donate the things that didn’t make the cut.

Now that you know what to do to get Spring-ready, why use Angie’s List? Let Eb Stone hook you up with personally vetted companies for all your Spring-time home needs! 

 Just email us and we’ll send you our list.

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram  for more tips throughout the year.

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Why vote YES to Amendment #2

As a local real estate professional, it’s my responsibility to equip you with important information that can impact your pocket book – with regard to real estate.  While it can be very confusing to determine how we should vote when it comes to Amendments (many contain multiple updates) this one is quite simple.

Amendment #2, simply put, keeps the status quo!

Currently, our property tax rate is capped.  Voting YES to Amendment #2 will keep this cap in place.

If Amendment #2 does not get passed – Rental Rates could skyrocket in both the residential and commercial sectors, NOT GOOD!

Here’s a simple video explaining Amendment #2

https://youtu.be/tLTKAa0Y_Fo

AND you can get even more great info here.

I hope you find this informative… and remember vote YES to Amendment #2

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Traps…

Here’s a quick overview of the TRAPS to avoid when on your homeownership journey.

You do not want to make this ‘TOP TEN’ list.

We want to help you avoid some of these ‘traps’ that we’ve seen others make when in the process of buying a home.  It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘property’ part of the process without realizing that the ‘financing’ has such a significant role.

Here are 10 things you want to avoid until after you’ve signed on the dotted line and the keys to that home are yours.

  1. Don’t change jobs… don’t quit your job, don’t take a new job, and definitely don’t become your own boss!

  2. Don’t co-sign on a loan for anyone, not your family, not your friends, no one!

  3. Don’t have your credit report run.  Your mortgage company will run your credit for your loan – this is not the time to test all those clever ‘credit report’ sites advertised on TV.

  4. Don’t change who you bank with – keep the status quo on all your accounts.

  5. Don’t make large deposits – as counter intuitive as it seems – large deposits can throw up ‘red flags’ when reviewed by financial institutions –  just stuff your mattress.

  6. Don’t buy furniture on credit.  Buy it after you close on your home or else that new couch may be the only thing new you get!

  7. Don’t hide.  That loan application you complete should list everything… you don’t want to get denied along the way because you ‘did not recall’ that you had some other financial obligations.

  8. Don’t spend that big hunk of dough that you have set aside for your home purchase!

  9. Don’t go on a spending spree!  Racking up lots on new balances on your credit accounts or even worse missing payments can put a serious wrench in your homeownership plans.

  10. If its got an engine – just say NO.  Don’t got out an finance a new car, motorcycle, boat, whatever.  You can get those new wheels after closing.

Hope these TIPS on what NOT to do when buying a home were helpful.  This is the advantage of working with a professional – someone who can show you the way and where to avoid the common TRAPS.  Give us a call we’d love to work with you.

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SEPTEMBER MARKET UPDATE

As a Realtor and Broker everywhere I go people ask me… “how’s the market?” Chris Dyer, Broker/Owner Eb Stone Realty

Check out this short video where I share my answer to this question.

Here are some additional nuggets that show the market is healthy in our neck of the woods.

  • July 2018 became the 79th month in a row that saw the Florida median sales prices for condo-townhouse properties and single-family homes rise year-over-year.

This shows our market continues to grow.

  • The median sales price for single-family homes in Florida was found to be $255,000, which is up 6.3% from 2017.

This shows our market is growing at a healthy rate.

  • Condos and townhomes were found to have a median sales price of $180,000, which is up 5.3% on last year.

This shows our market is growing from the bottom up.

  • As of Sept 12, 2018 the avg conforming interest rate is 4.78% compared to August 2017 of 3.86%

This shows our market is steady and stable – less than 5% interest rate is still historically extremely low!

And if you need a heavy hitter to convince you, here’s what Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida Realtors Chief Economist has to say…

We are continuing to see signs that the low-inventory situation impacting the single-family home market has finally stopped getting worse, though it remains constrained…

Remember, it was the Tortoise not the Hare that won the race – constrained is a good thing.  Slow and steady will ensure a healthy cycle in our market.

Hey… if you found this helpful let me know.  And if you’ve got other questions I can answer – please comment and let me know as well.  Always a pleasure to bring you a piece of “what’s up” in the real estate world.  Chris Dyer, Eb Stone Realty

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TRIM NOTICES…What you need to know.

As your Realtor, and local expert, it’s my job to present you with URGENT … NEED TO KNOW real estate information.  And TRIM Notices are one of those topics.  In our video update we cover the following…

  1. What is a TRIM Notice

  2. Why is it important AND

  3. What do you need to do

I hope you take a few minutes to review this information as it could save you hundreds of dollars this year – and thousands over the lifetime of owning your home.  I can think of many different ways to allocate those dollars… and so can my wife I am quite sure!   And remember – you can always pick up the phone and call me with your questions.  It’s my job to advise you and your family, so that you can make great decisions.

Call of Txt me at 301-343-9279 or email direct at Chris@EbStoneRealty.com

Like I said in the video, this was a quick overview of TRIM Notices and what they mean to you.  I promised you some additional resources… which you can find below.  More details on…

  • How to read your TRIM Notice

  • Details on the petition process AND

  • Some links to the Property Appraisers Office and to file your petition

Again, call, txt, or email me with questions.  And let me know if you found this information helpful so I know how to best serve you with updates in the future.

Here is a detailed video of your TRIM (Truth in Millage) Notice provide by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office.

Detailed information on “How To File A Petition” here.  Or you can download the BROCHURE ON PETITIONING TO THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD

  • Additional rules and information on this process are available here.

  • And, if you think your ready to file your petition you can do so here.

Again, please let me know if you found this information helpful by leaving a comment below.   All the Best, Chris Dyer

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Don’t let this be you…

The last two years here in South Florida we’ve had some action to say the least.  Our family has stayed through one year and evacuated the next.  But in both cases – we secured our home and had hurricane survival supplies on hand.

Don’t let this be you… take the necessary precautions now to plan for a hurricane.

Because we’re in this with you – and we’ve helped too many friends with last minute window boarding and shutter installation, we’re providing you with this great resource from @PalmBeachCountyFL.

HURRICANE SURVIVAL GUIDE

Melissa Dyer, EB STONE REALTY

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7 Reasons why you should own a home

Owning a Home is an essential part of the American Dream. Now is the the best time ever to fulfill that dream and begin to build equity.

Here are the top seven reasons to own a home.

1. Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.

2. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

Comment below, to share why would you like to become a home owner, or what benefit to you enjoy as a homeowner.

Source: Realtor Mag

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SO HOW’S THE MARKET?

Whether we’re at a social gathering making small talk or in a conversation with friends inevitably we always get this question…so, how’s the market?  Everyone wants to know “how’s the market?”  My typical response is… “it’s great!”

Because the truth is… the market is always great for someone. 

Now, depending on what real estate milestone you are trying to reach will have an impact on whether market conditions are ideal for you.  But that doesn’t make the “market” bad… it makes market conditions less ideal for what you are trying to achieve.

The great news is that our current “market” conditions are just about at what we would call NEUTRAL.  You might think HOT would be a better environment but frankly it’s not.  Actually, NEUTRAL  is a healthy and more stable environment to reach more milestones for both sides – BUYERS and SELLERS.  You can download current market statistics below.

MARKET REPORTS BY COUNTY

Hopefully, you find this to be encouraging news.  We’d love the chance to help you achieve your real estate milestone. Contact Us here.

 

Melissa Dyer, EB STONE REALTY