Wow 32 years ago I became a Realtor

32 Years ago, I became a REALTOR®, joined a local office in my home town and completed their company training. The years have flown by as I traveled the road of life and went back into Real Estate after my husband passed away in 2009. I proudly landed here at Deltona Realty after living almost 25 years here in my adopted home town, beautiful St Augustine Florida. The Real Estate market has seen many changes over the years, keeping up with these changes is both challenging and exciting. foxnlazo
I sure have learned a lot since 1984 and continue to learn, every transaction and every day in itself is a valuable learning experience. Today I ride the super Internet highway and like most of you I live in digital heaven twenty four seven, however I still work in the  land of reality where face to face contact and the, my word is my bond attitude, drives my day .
Real Estate laws, continuing education and contracts are constantly changing but meeting clients, showing property,negotiating offers and having successful closings still remains the same. Another important thing that hasn’t changed is, Word of Mouth Advertising, it’s the best advertising anyone in business can have and I am blessed to have this valuable asset that money just can’t buy. I am humbled with each referral and customer testimonial I receive. I am never to busy for your referrals. If you need a REALTOR® put me to work for you and receive the professionalism you expect and deserve. LogoNDeltonaRealty

CDD Fees

What is a CDD fee?
Community District Development fee

This is the second time I’ve blogged about CDD fees, a cost as a buyer you may run into while searching for a new home.

QuestionMrkCDD fees should not be confused with homeowner association dues. CDD fees are levied in addition to homeowner’s association dues and will be part of your tax bill.

A developer will acquire low-cost financing by issuing tax-exempt bonds, with low interest rates, which is then passed on to the home-owner for a specific term, for example 10, 20 or 30 years. This financing is used for but not limited to the developments infrastructure, sewer, roads and parks. Many communities here in the World Golf Village of St Augustine, Florida have CDD fees, however when this fee is present the Homeowners Association dues are usually very low. Consider the amenities that are provided in these communities and you won’t see CDD fees as a determent when buying property. For example if a CDD fee is $2500 a year we can break that down to $208 per month, where can you have a family fitness center membership with pools, playgrounds, sport fields and more for such a low monthly payment.

Remember working with a REALTOR® is the best way to stay informed with anything real estate related, and not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®.

Contact me for more information on CDD and Homeowner Association fees and put me to work for you, while buying or selling Real Estate.

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Tips for Purchasing a New Computer

With Christmas right around the corner are you ready for a new computer?

In my opinion and I’m not an expert, computers are not made to be repaired they are made to be replaced. With the constant ongoing rapid change in technology and the speed in which a computer can perform a new system may be on your wish list. First let’s consider what we need when purchasing a new computer and what comes to mind is we need more and more memory, more speed, and more hard drive space so we can get at least 3 to 4 years out of this new system before major changes force us back to the market place once again.
I can’t remember how many computers I’ve had in the past, I would really have to sit down with a paper and pen, start thinking and writing things down. Oh heck what am I saying, I don’t need paper and pen, I can use my computer to help me remember the number. My backups go back pretty far too, so far that some are on floppy disks, I guess whatever info is on those floppies is no longer important, perhaps it’s time for them to self-destruct.

shopping computerWhat to look for in a new computer; first decide which type of system is best for your particular situation, you can choose from an Ultrabook, a laptop or desktop. An Ultrabook is a new term for a laptop that’s thin, powerful and sleek with the main focus being portability. By Intel standards these laptops must run via low-powered Intel processors and boast a battery life of at least five hours and interestingly enough they must come on after hibernation in less than eight seconds. Sounds good, however you have to check for ports, there may not be as many as you would like and there may not be a VGA port. If you require heavy graphics or like computer gaming an Ultrabook may not be for you.

Look for processor speed and power and remember the faster the better, this isn’t a place to compromise, so go for the gusto.

Get enough hard drive space especially if you like to store a lot of photos and or videos, Once again more is always better and of course you will get a bigger hard drive in a desktop then a laptop. However if you need portability a desktop may not be a good option and you can always move files to a portable hard drive when needed.

Consider getting the most memory for your money I wouldn’t personally consider anything less than 8GB of Ram, once again the more power the faster everything will work together.
Extra ports come in real handy so look for HMDI, USB and VGA, you might not need it today but you’ll be sorry tomorrow if you don’t have multiple ports.

Most of the new computers unless you choose an Apple product will be running Windows 8, this is a whole tech tip in itself and perhaps next time we can discuss more about Windows 8. If you’re use to XP then Windows 7 may be a good choice for you since the start menu is there and the familiarity will be more comfortable. Windows 8 will have a learning curve since its app based and many people feel there is too much emphasis on the touch screen interface. This version of Windows hides important commands behind invisible controls tucked into corners called charms and hot corners, but once you begin using them it will become second nature and you might learn love it. Startup and shutdown is much faster with Windows 8 and virus protection is built into the operating system so you don’t’ have to purchase an anti-virus suite, plus a multiple monitor feature is supported without the need to purchase extra software. File backup tools are better so if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty you might just end up liking Windows 8 since you can use more than one app at the same time. windows8blue
(Windows 8 Photo compliments of PC World.com.)

Now of course Windows 10 is already in Beta and in case you’re wondering they skipped the number 9 entirely. Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference next April will most likely announce the release date of Windows 10. I know it’s not easy keeping up, but that’s the fun of technology it’s always changing keeping us on our toes after all exercising the mind and learning is the key to good health and happiness. So live long and compute my friend!

Protecting Yourself on the Internet

EyeComputerBig Brother is watching you and more importantly so are the Internet Hackers. If the big boys like Bank of America, Target and Home Depot, just to name a few can have their financial information stolen in mass quantities then what about you and me? How can we protect ourselves from cyber-attack?

Well I’m glad you asked! Think of it as a war, it’s the hackers against you and the strategy that you employ can make or break this destructive battle. There are several ways you can protect your information and privacy on-line. First and foremost be aware of what you’re putting out there for everyone to see.

Let’s start with your email, you should have at least two email accounts, one for your banking, billing and credit card sites and one for miscellaneous info like newsletters, social media and the like.

Never ever give anyone your password, and remember legitimate banking sites will never ask for your password and if you get an informational or alerting email, never log into the site using the clickable link provided in your email. Open your browser and go to the site as you normally would which is much safer! Once on the site you can check your messages and alerts.

Guard your username and change your passwords often. For example if a hacker can get into your email they will have a clear pathway towards your banking accounts by simply pressing forgot password and answering a few questions that you’ve most likely already provided the answers to.

Are you wondering how you provided those answers? Wonder no more my friend and just take a look at your online profiles; for example are you on Facebook, do you have your maiden name and high school listed, perhaps your hometown, your kids name, etc. Yes indeed these simple profiles that make it easy for old and new friends and colleagues to connect also make it easy for hackers to answer your internet security questions.
The same goes for all the other social media sites like LinkedIn, Google and many others. There is one way to combat this that can baffle any hacker and that’s to answer those security questions on your billing and banking sites with answers that have nothing what-so-ever to do with the question.
For example:
Question: what is the name of the high school you attended
Answer: pizzapie
Question: what city were you born in
Answer: pizzapie
Question: what is the name of your first pet
Answer: pizzapie
Are you following me? Make your answers something only you will know and that make no sense at all to anyone else. Remember you can always change the answer to your security questions at any time. In fact this is a good time!

Another tip would be to never use the same password for everything, don’t make it easy for hackers to get your information.
For Example if you go to http://www.realtor.com you can use part of the site as your password: hugmerealtor9295lover
http://www.worldgolfvillagehomesearch.com
password: hugmevillagesearch9295lover
Simply changing the four digit number every two months or so will make it harder for hackers and hopefully they will consider you too much trouble to bother with and go on to the next victim.

Always remember you are never alone in the dark with your keyboard, there are peering eyes over your shoulder alone in the dark with their own dang keyboard looking to score your hard earned money.

Most of us can’t beat hackers at their own game, however you can outsmart them every step of the way by minimizing the information you put out there for the public to see and keeping passwords and user names secure.
Good luck and safe surfing on the World Wide Web!

Time to Get Organized

Are you still telling yourself that one of these days “I’m going to get organized?” I know just what you mean with so much going on, seller appointments, showings to schedule, customers to call, contracts to negotiate there’s never enough time in the day.

I am here to help you organize the one thing that is in your hand all day long, and that’s your IPhone, lets clean it up!

Is your phone cluttered with icon’s on page after page, is your background picture so busy you can hardly see the names of all your apps? A cleaned up phone can save you valuable time and keep you from searching for that app you need.

Let’s start at the beginning, always a good place to start with, and that would be your background picture. It should be a solid color, I found that I didn’tIPhone like the colors in the ready-made backgrounds provided so one day I pointed my IPhone at the ocean and now my background is subtle and my icons are more prominent, using a clear blue sky works well also.

Notice the first page of my IPhone you can clearly see everything, including the folders I have created.

You can see that on the task bar I keep my favorite icons, I only have three there because I leave a space for when I decide to move an icon, it’s a lot easier to move an icon to that line then to try and move it to another page. If you do this moving icons and creating folders will be quick and easy.

This is the last and most important step towards cleaning up that phone. Create folders so that everything is easily accessible and yes organized. For example if you use social media on your phone you have several apps that you can put in one place.

folderIphone Let’s Begin: hold down your Facebook icon till all your icons begin to shake and have an X showing in the left hand corners.

If your Facebook icon and your LinkedIn icon for example are not on the same page then put your Facebook icon on the bottom taskbar, go to the page where your LinkedIn icon is and place the Facebook icon directly on top of your LinkedIn icon and a folder will automatically create, this is also your opportunity to name this folder, I named mine Social. Now that your folder is created you can drag more icons in there. When you open a folder you can see its contents, no more looking for an app. Look how nice and neat that looks! To close a folder just hit your home button.

As you collect more social media apps you can put them in this folder, there is no limit since you can have many pages in one folder.

You just continue this process to create folders reducing the number of pages on your phone and find everything in a flash. This photo shows another folder I created I named utilities with more than one page of icons as indicated by the two dots at the bottom of the folder, this shows this particular folder has two pages. Notice how nice and neat it looks with a clean background. Remember neatness counts! I also have folders for news, county info, documents, etc. You can be creative and neat at the same time.

I hope this tech tip helps you get a smooth operating IPhone since you’ll be using this each and every day. If you’re wondering how I took pictures of what’s showing on my phone at any given time, I’ll tell ya.

Simultaneously (at the same time) hold down both the end button and the hiphonebuttonome button, release and you have taken a screen shot. Go to your Photo’s and it will be there ready to text and or email as a photo.

This is also useful if you want to take photos of a short conversation in message or even a game level. Anything you can see on your IPhone you can save as a photo.

Be organized and carry on.

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Quit Claim Deed

I Quit, I give you all my interest in this property and maybe just maybe a few problems, so lets make a deal!

Quitclaim Deed, is just that, it’s a deed a seller gives a buyer when the seller is quitting his interest in the property and giving it to the buyer in the form of a deed, a quitclaim deed. To name a few examples these types of deeds are most often used in a tax sale, to pass property between family members or from one spouse to another in a divorce settlement? The Seller says Uncle, I give up, I Quit, and it’s yours now!

Now the buyer has any and all of the seller’s interest in the property at the time of the transfer. Well let’s hope this seller really owned the property, even that’s not guaranteed in this type of deed. In fact nothing is guaranteed or warrantied.

So the seller deeds the buyer his interest in the property, does anyone else have an interest in the property, are there any liens or judgments against this property, and is there a spouse or sibling who has a legal claim out there somewhere?

It’s like doing business on a handshake, that’s all and good if a future problem doesn’t appear on your doorstep. As a buyer are you willing to take that kind of a gamble on a real estate purchase?

Do your homework and most importantly hire a real estate lawyer and obtain title insurance before you sign a quitclaim deed; remember in the end it’s up to you to protect your interest in the property you’re buying.

We live in a very uncertain world, however if we follow the obvious steps required for a smooth transaction we can avoid Murphy’s Law, “whatever can happen will happen.”

Oh and for those of you who have been wondering if the Quitclaim Deed is also referred to, in error, as a Quick Claim Deed, the answer is yes!

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To Inspect or Not To Inspect

By all means inspect my friend inspect!

Now that your offer to purchase real estate is a contract, you’re probably thinking about how much all this is going to cost. I know you’ve sacrificed and saved for the last few years just waiting for this day to come, and now the time has come for you to start signing all those checks. First it’s the deposit money, and then it’s all those upfront mortgage company fees. The real kicker will be that truth in lending statement which gives you a good faith estimate towards all of your closing costs. MC900056234

It’s all coming together and time is of the essence, it doesn’t matter what kind of contract you signed whether it’s for a short sale, foreclosure or seller owned property, even an “as is contract” gives you the opportunity to have a home inspection within a certain number of days. My advice is to take advantage of this opportunity, especially if it’s an existing home; a home inspection is well worth the money you’re going to spend. For a reasonable fee you can have everything inspected, the roof, attic, plumbing, electric, mold issues and all appliances. In the long run this important step in purchasing real estate can save you thousands of dollars.

Now is not the time to save a few dollars, it’s time to spend wisely and  know exactly what you’re buying so you won’t be unhappily surprised in a  month or two after closing. If your inspector finds something majorly wrong with house you can renegotiate the contract purchase price, back out of the contract all together or even just decide to deal with the problem yourself after the closing. As you can see the options are very advantageous to you since you are now a savvy informed buyer.

A good home inspection company will be able to provide the WDO (Wood Destroying Organism also known as a termite inspection) report during the same time as your home inspection.

A home purchase is a big investment, know what you are buying and believe me you will be glad you spent the money on that all important home inspection.

Happy House Hunting

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