Artoberfest in Coral Springs!

October 1st, 2018

Buyers Who Use the Internet to Search For Homes

September 19th, 2018

In 20117 an overall analysis of Buyers who search for homes on the internet was published by the National Association of Realtors.  This graph shows a good outline of the typical Buyer in our nation and what they would be looking for in a home.

Interesting are the reasons for purchasing a home. Obviously everyone’s needs are different, but desire ranks the highest!

Trends were families are moving into together and women are increasing in their buying power.

Where do you fall in the typical of American Buyers?

Let the GreatFloridaHomes Team assist you in narrowing your focus to find the best opportunity for you!

Four Keys to Buying a Vacation Home

September 16th, 2018

Four Keys to Buying a Vacation Home

With the freedom of retirement, travel and vacationing become much easier. With the ability to enjoy longer trips comes a quandary. To buy a vacation home in your chosen area, or to continue renting for extended periods of time?

How to Know if You’re Ready

Invariably, owning a vacation home is going to take more time and money than you anticipate. If you decide to rent the property out when you are not using it, you will have to have it cleaned between guests. There is also the maintenance to consider. Also, it may not be best to buy a home outright. You don’t want to spend all your disposable cash on a home and then have nothing left to enjoy.

It is better to have a mortgage rather than spend all of your cash on a home so you have money to spend on taking advantage of your retirement. You may have to dress the space up, which is another expense. You can save some money by focusing on furniture rather than decor because renters are more concerned with comfort and functionality than artwork and knick-knacks. Consider getting beds with storage units underneath so you don’t have to buy a chest of drawers for every room; a dining table with a removable leaf insert that can be expanded for multiple guests; and a chaise sofa sectional, which works well in any shape of living room, comes in endless styles (and accommodates all kinds of budgets), and can function as both a spacious living room couch and an extra sleeping space for overnight guests.

Still, the nicer the home, the more you can charge for its rental. If you have sizeable savings, and you have more than enough time to thoroughly make use of the vacation home, it can be a great way to spend your travel rather than springing for a hotel or renting a vacation home yourself.

Retirement Home in Florida

Retirement Home in Florida

How to Pick a Location

This largely comes down to what you are looking for. If you will not be renting the property, you are free to pick the location of your choice. Do consider proximity to attractions of interest, and possible friends or family. It’s also wise to look at the surrounding area. If you want to vacation in Yucatan, Mexico, it may be more viable to buy a property just off the beach, but in an area close enough to visit it, like Merida. However, if you plan on renting out the property, there is much to think of. You will want to consider somewhere that has tourism year-round, so you don’t have a vacant property for months on end.

If that is not possible, then figure out when the tourism season takes place, and how much profit you would make. From there, see if that would cover expenses in the slower months.

How to Maintain the Home

This may be your most difficult aspect of owning a vacation home. If it is not within easy driving distance, maintenance will become a chore best managed by someone else. You might hire a property management company to handle the home. They will clean and make repairs as they arise but might be more expensive than you are looking for.

Also, if you are renting the property out, they will handle the distribution of keys, and cleaning between guests. If you’re on friendly terms, you could ask a neighbor to keep an eye out or pay them to check in on the home every couple of weeks. Of course, you could also hire a housekeeper or cleaning company to stop by monthly and tidy up the home. There is also the option of having a local handyman stop by at set intervals to perform touch-ups on your property.

How to Keep Insurance Low

When owning multiple properties, you will want to do everything to save money. Part of that includes keeping home insurance rates low. You can bundle your auto insurance to see some savings, but don’t discount looking at multiple providers to find the best rate. Raising your deductible is a good means of paying less monthly, as is making sure that you are not over-insured. Your insurance company may offer discounts if your home meets certain requirements, including if it’s disaster-resistant or up to date with its smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

If you’re already familiar with the buying process, there is no mystery to making a purchase. There are many options available for maintenance of a long-distance property, so don’t let that worry you. If you have the proper savings and a stable income, this can be a beautiful new chapter of your life just waiting to be explored.

Article Compliments of Jim McKinley @


Who Pays for Title Insurance?

August 20th, 2018

To say title insurance can be a confusing concept is an understatement, especially for a first time home buyer. Although it is not required, a lack of title insurance can mean a lack of protection from claims against your ownership of the home, and therefore the risk of losing your insurance.

So what is title insurance?


There are two types of title insurance that usually lend itself to the home buying process: the home buyer’s title insurance and mortgage lender’s title insurance. It is customary for the seller to pay the costs of the policy issued to the new home buyer in Broward County. In terms of the lender’s policy, it is customary for it to be paid by the home buyer. As for the closing cost, the home owner’s title insurance policy is added to the seller’s settlement statement is added to the seller’s settlement statement, and the lender’s title insurance policy is covered by the buyer before closing.

In Florida, according to Section 9 of RESPA, sellers can’t require home buyers to use particular title insurance companies. The party paying for the title search and owner’s policy is entitled to select the title company. Title rates are established according to Rule 627.7825 in Florida Statutes. Currently, the title policy premium is: 5.75% for the first $100,000; then, 5% should be added over $100,000 up to $1 million; 2.5% over $1 million up to $5 million; 2.25% over $5 million up to $10 million; and 2% over $10 million coverage. The reissue rate is calculated according to the same Rule 627.7825, as follows: 3.3% for the first $100,000; then, 3% should be added over $100,000 up to $1 million; 2% over $1 million up to $10 million; and 1.5% over $10 million coverage.

Written by Daniela Ortiz and the Great Florida Homes Team

What Are My Closing Costs?

July 9th, 2018

There are a lot of terms and fees that a first time home buyer may not be all too familiar with, and closing costs are no exception. Without guidance, it can be difficult to navigate through your deal and understand what you’re paying for. To break it down, closing costs are the fees associated with home purchases that are paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. Essentially, closing is the point in time when the title of the property is transferred from seller to buyer, and your new ownership takes over.

In terms of the actual cost, these fees may vary by location, type of property, and the type of loan being secured.

Homebuyers will typically pay between 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees. On average, buyers pay roughly $3,700 in closing fees and this typically does not include pre-paids such as 90 days of taxes, insurance or association fees required by the lender or builder. The lender will give you an estimate for your loan detailing all of your costs. At least three business days before closing, you should be given a closing disclosure statement by your lender. Notably, there are limitations on the number of fees that can change prior to closing or the 3 Day clock will have to start over. This minimizes the need for surprises on closing day, if so, you may have the option to walk away. Keep in mind there still could be a risk to your deposit.

Closing costs can be avoided altogether. A no-closing-cost mortgage is offered, meaning you don’t pay any of the closing costs when you close on the mortgage, but an offer like this may mean higher interest rates on the loan for not paying closing costs or even embedding the closing fees into the total mortgage owned, meaning you would end up paying interest on closing costs.

Overall, who pays the fees can be up for discussion, and the seller might agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees as part of the purchase negotiations. This is where a professional Realtor can be a huge asset.

Written by Daniela Ortiz and the Great Florida Homes Team

Best Fireworks in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

June 29th, 2018
2018 4th of July Celebrations

2018 4th of July Celebrations

As summer goes on, while tans are still being perfected, and vacations are just starting to heat up, 4th of July is most definitely on our minds. Besides the barbeques and the family and friend reunions, the most spectacular and arguably most important part of the holiday is, of course, the fireworks. But it can be hard to find the best place to truly enjoy all the quintessential-American spirit, pride, and grandeur that the holiday has to offer, which is why we broke it down for you. Here are the top 10 best places to watch Firework displays and have a great 4th of July celebration in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Fort Lauderdale: Fourth of July Spectacular

  • A1A and Las Olas Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, FL July 4, 2018, 12:30 p.m. Festival begins with music, beach games and more. 9:00 p.m. Fireworks on the Beach. Free admission.

Coral Springs Fourth of July Celebration

  • Mullins Park 10150 Ben Geiger Drive Coral Springs, FL July 4, 2018, 6:00 p.m. Food and entertainment. 9:00 p.m. Fireworks Free Parking is $3 and is limited so arrive early.

Davie Annual Fireworks Show

  • Pine Island Park Community Center 3801 S. Pine Island Rd. Davie, FL July 4 9:30 a.m. Watermelon Eating Contest, Water Polo 4:00 p.m. Family activities, Arts & Crafts, Food, etc., Fireworks

Deerfield Beach 4th of July Celebration

  • Main Beach Parking Ocean Way & SE 1st St. Deerfield Beach, Florida July 4, 2018, 12:00 p.m. Watermelon eating contest, food and more. 9:00 p.m. Fireworks from the International Fishing Pier. Free admission

Hollywood Beach Fourth of July Celebration

  • Hollywood Beach 100 Johnson Street Hollywood, FL July 4 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. Events in various locations. 9:00 p.m. Fireworks offshore. Free admission, More Information:

Grand Funk Railroad in Sunrise

  • Kids fun zone, food and drinks. Musical performances by Skotch Bonnet Band and Mr. Nice Guy to open at 4:30 p.m., followed by headliners Grand Funk Railroad at 7:45 p.m. and a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m.  BB&T Center, One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; Free admission and parking.

Freedom Fest in Hallandale

  • 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. live racing, fan grab, DJ, giveaways, cash bar, selfie stations, concessions, face painting, lunch and dinner buffets. Fireworks show at 9:00 p.m. Gulfstream Park 901 S. Federal Highway

Miramar July 4th Celebration

  • 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. DJ, food trucks, food and novelty vendors, and a kids zone. Fireworks to follow. Miramar Regional Park 16801 Miramar Parkway Miramar, FL  33027

Pembroke Pines Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Show

  • 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. featuring music, food, and fireworks. Both admission and parking are free. Pines Recreation Center 7400 Pines Blvd. Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Pompano Beach – 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza

  • Live music from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and fireworks to begin at 9:00 p.m. 222 N. Pompano Beach Blvd. Pompano Beach, FL 33062

*Be sure to check your city’s local ordinance as no more than sparklers are generally allowed

Written by Daniela Ortiz and the Great Florida Homes Team

10 Tips for Creating an Energy Efficient Home

June 19th, 2018

There are countless benefits to creating an energy efficient home from the environmental stipulations to the overall financial benefits. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions for making sure your home is getting the best of both worlds.

  1. Replace your old(er) appliances
    • Switching your refrigerator, washer/dryers, or dishwasher to a more energy efficient model, such as EnergyStar, can help the efficiency of your home overall.

      How to create a happy “green” home

  2. Install a programmable thermostat
    • Smart and strategic temperature choices can help you save money and keep you environmentally friendly.
  3. Keep heat inside
    • This one may escape our thoughts but many areas where air can come and go are an opportunity for heat to escape. Check the weather stripping on your door seals.
  4. Replace old, leaky windows
    • By switching out your older, crooked, beat up windows for newer, low emissivity models, you are reducing the transfer of heat, helping you stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  5. Use energy efficient light bulbs

    Traditional vs. energy efficient light bulbs

    • CFLs and LEDs are great for replacing the incandescent bulbs in your home. Although some people don’t like the look of fluorescent lights, LEDs in a soft/warm tone are a great alternative, and eco-friendly.
  6. Install low-flow showerheads and toilets
    • Improving water-usage in your home will make it much more efficient, saving you money and saving the environment.
  7. Insulate your walls and attic
    • Trapping heat, where you might not notice it escaping, can be a major money saver.
  8. Use fans to cool and circulate the air
    • Ceiling fans and portable fans are much more energy efficient and cost-effective to operate than the air conditioner.
  9. Lower the temperature settings on your water cooler
    • A home water heater really only needs to be between 120 and 140 degrees, anything hotter and it’s really just a waste of money and electricity.
  10. Mount solar panels onto your sunlit roof
    • Solar panels can provide significant energy cost savings because the electricity generated by the panels can be transferred into your home’s usage or back onto the “electricity grid”.


For your next energy efficient home, call the Great Florida Homes Team at (954) 695-SOLD

Written by Daniela Ortiz and the Great Florida Homes Team

I Have An Accepted Offer-What’s Next?

June 19th, 2018

Your offer on your dream home has just been accepted and you’re getting ready to pop the champagne, but is it too soon to celebrate? Even though your offer has been accepted, the home buying process has just begun.

Inspections are a big part of home buying. Home inspections and other types of revisions may come up. Your lender will order an appraisal and start processing your purchase application by checking your income, credit history, and employment. Keeping this in mind, all of these extra procedures could lead to readjustments in the transaction, and in some cases a potential canceling of the sale altogether.

It is at this point in time that you truly realize the benefits of having a licensed real estate agent. Unforeseen challenges that pop up along the way are your agent’s area of expertise that you may not even realize they are handling for you behind the scenes. But it is also up to you to also be a facilitator in this ongoing process. For example, it’s best not to alter your financial situation. This includes making any major financial decisions such as buying a car, making any major purchases, adding any additional credit card debt, and of course, not quitting your job. Personal situations may also heavily factor into the process so it is important to notify your agent and mortgage lender if you are planning on going on vacation, getting married, or leaving the country, at least within the next 30 to 45 business days before your closing.

Heeding your lender and Realtor’s advice can help you avoid common pitfalls.

  • A professional home inspector could be the turning point between going through with the offer and canceling it altogether. Sellers are not always required to make any repairs needed that are uncovered by the inspection, especially if the home is being sold in an “as-is” condition.
  • Finances are not always set in stone; although you may have obtained a pre-approval letter at the time of making the offer, that does not ensure that you are qualified to buy the home, as rates could change, or your financial circumstances could change.

But who’s to say you’re celebrating is premature? The right agent with the right skills and experience will work tirelessly for you,  to guarantee that bottle of champagne will be opened at the right time.

For your best real estate experience call the Great Florida Homes Team at (954) 695-SOLD
Written by Daniela Ortiz and the Great Florida Homes Team

Smart Driver AARP Course in Coral Springs

June 10th, 2018

AARP Senior Drivers

It is possible to become a Smarter Driver! I took this course when I was 55. Honestly thought I would be bored out of my mind with all of the miles I logged every year as a Realtor. Much to my surprise I did learn to become a better driver and was very surprised that I did learn things I didn’t already know. – JC

The City of Coral Springs and AARP are proud to offer the Smart Driver Course for seniors. Participants who successfully complete the course are provided with a certificate for their auto insurance agency.

  • Participants must register in advance
  • AARP members pay $15
  • Non-AARP members pay $20
  • This class is open to all adults
  • Must bring bag lunch drinks and snacks

Insurance Discount: Participants who successfully complete the course will be provided with a certificate for their auto insurance agency. Please contact your insurance provider to see if completing this course would qualify you for a discount. To register, contact 954-346-1393 or click below:

Mary Boast Honored in Coral Springs

June 3rd, 2018


Mary Boast, Volunteer Extraordinaire!

Mary Boast, Volunteer Extraordinaire!

It’s the giver of their heart that is the soul of success in the growth of others. Mary Boast is that giver. A long time member of Kiwanis & known as, “Miss Mary”, to her 4-6 year old charges at Safety Town where she has instructed over the last 24 years, on how to remain safe at home and in school.

The Broward County Historic Preservation Board during their 44th Annual Pioneer Day honors consummate volunteers in the counties 31 cities.

Mary Boast, a long time Coral Springs resident has inspired children and families for over 30 years. As her city prepares to celebrate its 55th Anniversary, it is important to recognize volunteers like Ms. Mary who continue to make Coral Springs a great place to live, work & raise a family.

Congratulations to Mary, a respected Pioneer and Volunteer!