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Start Planning Now for an Epic 2017 Halloween Celebration

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In the midst of deciding how to celebrate Halloween? Look no further. Listed below are some of Miami’s hottest Halloween Events – with a little something for everyone. To avoid the disappointment of a sell-out, buying your tickets early is highly recommended.

The Little Lighthouse Foundation’s - Nightmare on the Beach

The 8th Annual Nightmare on the Beach, known this year as Dark CarnEvil Halloween, is on Friday, October 27th, 2017 from 9PM to 2AM. Expect 1,200 attendees, live entertainment, cocktails, and decadent catering. All proceeds raised are in support of The Little Lighthouse Foundation – a non-profit corporation assisting children in South Florida with educational, financial, and medical hardships.

Halloween Yacht Party

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, climb aboard the South Beach Lady, a 125’ luxury yacht, for an adult only Halloween Party. Departing 12:30AM and returning at 4AM, this 4-level yacht will feature VIP areas, flat screen TVs, a DJ booth and much more. Included with admission is a light buffet with cash bars available for drinks. As this event sells out every year, be sure to get your ticket now.

31st Annual Sundowner Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

The Sundowner is one of Miami’s most notable Halloween parties with proceeds supporting the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Spend an evening with DJ A-Train and hosted by NBC 6’s Roxy Vargas. Dance the night away with three stages of live music to choose from. Best to get your tickets now. This year’s celebration, falling on Saturday, October 28th, 2017, from 8PM to midnight.

Zoo Boo at the Miami Zoo

Included in the price of regular admission, families and kids under 12 can trick-or-treat in the Miami Zoo. Occurring between 10AM and 4PM, on October 28th and 29th. Expect music, games, and costume contests too. Buy your tickets online to save some time.

The Monster Ball

Situated in Little Havana, the Ball & Chain is a Bar & Lounge is known for the liveliest entertainment. This Friday, October 27th, Ball & Chain presents two showings (8PM and 9PM) of Monster Ball. Performers will dress in their spookiest attire to bring a modern Miami version of Monster Mash. Spend the rest of the evening dancing the night away to live music on one stage or DJ’d music on the other.

House of Horror Haunted Carnival

For those looking to start early with their Halloween celebrations, starting October 5th through to November 4th, Miami International Mall will host the House of Horror Haunted Carnival. Included with admission are regular attractions and rides. Attractions specific to the House of Horror include 1455 Asylum, where late into the evening visitor might dare to walk the halls of the old asylum; Gates of Phobia – a 3D experience that puts you up close and personal with all of your biggest fears; Circus Freak Show – a stage performance of the circus’ most bizarre talents; and Freak Emporium – a gallery of the most haunted artifacts.

Have kids? Looking for somewhere fun to trick or treat? If you want a sense of great neighborhoods for trick-or-treating, connect with me and I’ll gladly offer a few suggestions.

 
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Renovations - How to Ensure the Best Return on Investment

Friday, September 22, 2017

When considering a home renovation, it’s worthwhile to consider the potential return on your investment. After all, not all renovation decisions result in an increase in home value or appreciation by a future homeowner. Careful planning can help you maximize your improvement decisions and increase the likelihood of seeing a return on your investment.

Here are a few ways to get the best return on a renovation investment.

Set a Reasonable Budget

Determining the best amount to invest in renovations is no exact science. Some suggest choosing a reasonable amount to invest and working from there, while others suggest various percentages of home value depending on the room in the house. Setting a budget not only keeps your finances under control, but it will also help guide decisions while making challenging choices more clear-cut.

In conjunction with your budget, a wish-list will be helpful. Writing down everything you hope to include in your renovation in the order of priority so that in the event a contractor’s quotation exceeds your initial budget, you’re able to ax the lower priority items. Alternatively, if you’re set on including everything on your wish list, you might include lower cost options rather than higher cost options enabling you to be comprehensive.

Note: Renovations can easily get carried away. The best way to prevent an out-of-control renovation is to allow your budget to dictate your decisions. As there are almost always overages, it is not recommended to work towards your maximum budget, as the end cost will inevitably be more. Consider working towards a lower budget with the assumption that additional costs will occur.

Put Focus on Areas with the Biggest Impact

When looking to increase a home’s overall value, both the kitchen and bathrooms are the best places to start. Changing countertops with more modern colors or more luxurious finishing (think granite, concrete, quartz, and marble) is one way to make a big impact. For bigger renovations, re-facing or replacing cabinetry and including soft close hinges and new hardware also makes a dramatic statement. Also, replacing fixtures like faucets, door and drawer handles, towel bars have minimal costs while quickly modernizing any space.

Another consideration for kitchen improvements includes upgrading the appliances. As appliances range greatly in price, it’s best to choose reliable, modern, appliances, and ignore anything extravagant. As an example, a $10,000 sub-zero fridge is unlikely to return the same amount of increased home value – depending on the property of course. Unless a future buyer is a chef who happens to appreciate your choice, your money - for this purchase - will be lost.

Keep in Mind Not Everyone Likes the Things You Do

Personal touches can certainly make any space feel even more like home, but these personal touches can also be the very same choices that put off a future buyer. When choosing colors, consider more neutral tones for paint, flooring, and cabinetry. For whatever reason, neutral tones are less likely to offend, where bright, bold colors might turn a potential buyer away for good.

By working with a reasonable budget, putting your focus on high-impact areas, and trying to keep bold personal statement out of the renovations – you’ll be more likely to see a return on your renovation investment.

As I have the pulse on what Miami home buyers are looking for when viewing a home, give me a call, and I can gladly offer some guidance for your renovation decisions. You might also find our property search function helpful to browse the choices made by other homeowners. Additionally, if you’d like to know your home’s current value, we can schedule an appointment.

 
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Selling Your Home - 6 Expert Secrets for Expediting a Sale

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A quick sale and top selling price are common goals of most homeowners. The six tips below will help facilitate your home sale.

Hire an Experienced Realtor

Before listing a home, a Realtor can help with tips on preparing a home for sale. When maintenance is needed, a Realtor can provide quick references to trusted professionals like plumbers, yard care services, cleaning services, etc. Also, Realtors have their hands on the pulse of the real estate market in conjunction with trends in lending and buying patterns. And, their networks are extensive concerning marketing reach and professional connections. As the service of Realtors vary widely, finding a true professional offering personalized service is crucial when selling your home.

Defer to Research to Determine a Reasonable Listing Price

Many homeowners struggle to emotionally detach from their home to objectively determine a suitable listing price. Choosing the best price for a home is often achieved by pairing market research with real estate expertise.A professional Realtor can explore recent home sales in your neighborhood as these can offer insight into the potential sale price of your home. Also, it is important to investigate properties currently on the market as these act as competition and may be considered by prospective buyers considering your home. By evaluating recent sales with homes currently on the market, a Realtor can suggest the most appropriate listing price.

Be Show-Ready Always

Although ample notice is best for any potential showing, prospective buyers may request a viewing appointment with limited notice. As a home-for-sale should present in its best state, keeping your home tidy at all times prevents rushed preparation and missed opportunities. In the event a buyer requests an appointment with limited notice, you’ll take comfort knowing your home is ready to show.

Staging

Staging services are highly diverse but mostly include preparing and optimizing your home for sale.It is believed that staging can increase the likely amount received for a home sale. Stagers will maximize best features throughout your home and minimize weaknesses. In some cases, staging professionals will offer their first impressions which might include suggestions for decluttering, reorganizing furniture, and/or maintenance required. More elaborate staging services might include renting additional furnishings to modernize the look of a home or demonstrating the versatility of a given room.

Declutter

Before listing a home for sale, removing excess ‘stuff’ is helpful in expediting a sale. Clearing stored items from closets and garages can help convey storage potential to a future buyer. Removing clutter from surfaces like countertops will subtly convey a sense of cleanliness and spaciousness. Consider renting a storage locker for excess ‘stuff’ to present a clutter-free home.

Depersonalize

Depersonalizing can also be thought of as neutralizing a home. It is important that potential buyers can picture themselves living in the home during their appointment. The fastest way to depersonalize a home is by removing personal photos and family portraits. Additionally, any awards or certificates on display should be removed.

In conclusion, proper preparation can increase the potential selling price and expedite a sale. Be sure to engage a Realtor, defer to a professional when selecting a price, keep your home ready for a potential viewing appointment, consider staging, declutter and finally depersonalize.

 
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Hurricane Safety

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hurricanes are typically referred to as tropical cyclones, however, when they form above the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, the term hurricane is used instead. Hurricanes configure over warm waters and typically manifest themselves around the equator. They are the fiercest weather phenomenon known to mankind and carve a merciless path through our oceans, flooding lands as they go. There are 5 categories pertaining to these gigantic storms, and the 5th category is by far the worst, as its winds can exceed 157 mph.

Hurricane season begins in June and ends in November, leaving plenty of time for disasters to strike. While immediate evacuations are key to survival, evacuating an entire city is close to impossible, causing some civilians to have to seek refuge on their own. Knowing how to properly shelter yourself during this uncontrollable storm is essential, as failing to do so can be detrimental.

How to Get Prepared for a Hurricane

Hurricanes can be spotted from space, via satellite, leaving governments plenty of time to warn the countries that are predicted to be affected by these intense storms. Once a state or country has been alerted, civilians should prepare their homes by doing the following.

-Board Up Your Windows

If no government establishment has been deemed as a safe shelter, and evacuation is not a possibility, staying in your home is recommended. Due to extreme winds and rogue objects, windows can shatter in the matter of seconds, and so boarding up your windows and doors can prevent these shards of glass from entering your home.

-Stock Up on Supplies

Once a hurricane in announced, stocking up on needed supplies becomes an urgency. This is because hurricanes can last for days — and their aftermaths even longer — causing homeowners to need a generous supply of fresh water and non-perishable foods. Putting together a first aid kit is also a critical matter, as it can ensure that any injured persons can receive the best care possible to them at the time.

What to do During a Hurricane

When the anticipated hurricane hits your community, it is important to take action immediately by seeking proper refuge. The sounds emanating from the passing hurricane may just be the loudest thing you ever hear, and the most eminent danger you ever face. To ensure your safety, do the following:

-Find a Closed Shelter Within Your Home

Many people believe the top floor of their home to be the safest place to hide during a hurricane, however, this can be the most endangering area. A hurricane’s winds are so powerful that it can rip off a rooftop, which is why avoiding the highest level is necessary. Instead, individuals should find refuge on the ground floor, in an interior room that doesn’t have any windows. Most commonly, closets, cellars, and bathrooms are chosen as shelter spaces.

-Turn off the Electricity

If the hurricane is predicted to hit your surrounding area, turning off the electricity from the main breaker and steering clear of electronics is advised. Doing this can reduce the risks of being electrocuted via flood water. In addition, wearing rubber shoes can also be a worthwhile precaution when trying to avoid traveling electrical currents.

-Don’t Go Outside Until Instructed by Authorities

When the eye of the storm in overhead, it can fool you into thinking that the storm has passed when actually — you are in the middle of it. For this reason, waiting for officials to give the “all clear” is essential when waiting out a hurricane, as the eye wall and rain bands can be minutes away from hitting your residence.

Stay safe everyone!

 
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