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Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney?

by Maureen Cool

Real Estate AttorneyWhether you are a buyer or seller, a first-timer or seasoned pro in real estate transactions, you may wonder when you should hire a real estate attorney instead of simply working with an agent. After all, an experienced real estate agent can guide a person through many situations to complete the transaction.

Depending on where you are buying or selling, the state may require an attorney to be part of the transaction while other states leave the decision up to the parties. However, there are times when an attorney should be involved even if it isn’t required by law.

For the Buyer

Certain situations make it beneficial to hire an attorney to represent you in your real estate transaction. For instance, you may want to consider finding a good attorney who is local if you are an out-of-town buyer. If you’re buying a short sale or bank-owned property or a property which is part of an estate sale, an attorney can help guide you through the process.

If you’re purchasing a home in a flood zone or one with structural problems, an attorney may provide valuable legal counsel. You will most likely want to consult with an attorney if you’re purchasing a commercial property as well.

For the Seller

In the same way, an attorney may make the process move along more smoothly if you’re the seller. You may want to consider hiring a real estate lawyer if you’re selling a distressed property or if it has a judgment or lien in the past. If you’re the heir to a property where the owner has passed away, you will want an attorney to guide you.

Anytime you sell a property with an owner who doesn’t want to cooperate, you need legal counsel. This is true whether you’re selling a commercial property with a business partner or a home with a spouse you’re divorcing.

If you do decide hiring an attorney is the best option for your situation, make sure you select one with experience in real estate. They will be up to date on the current laws to ensure your interests are protected. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy deovolentil/flickr.com

Elegant October Home Decor

by Maureen Cool

October Home DecorIf you like to decorate for every holiday and want to try something elegant this October, here are a few ideas to prepare your home for Halloween. Whether you’re expecting the neighborhood kids, hosting a grownup party or just want to get in the spirit, these suggestions are fun and easy to do. Plus, they make your home look festive to buyers if you’re selling.

White Pumpkins

Put a modern spin on the traditional pumpkin by painting it white. Regular craft paint or spray paint will work. Paint three or four pumpkins or gourds and arrange them together with pinecones and other fall items. This adds a sophisticated touch to your front porch or entry. You can also go with all black or all gold or mix it up with a pumpkin of each color.

Halloween Tree

Take a tree or just a branch and paint it black. Hang bats, pumpkins and other scary creatures from the branches. This makes a fun welcome by your front door, in an entry or even as the focal point for your living room.

Decorate in Black and White

Instead of the traditional orange and black colors for Halloween, use black and white for a more grownup look. White candles with black votives or white flowers in a black vase add an elegant touch to any table. Serve all black and white foods for your holiday party (or open house). A black and white striped tablecloth will draw attention and continue the theme.

To create an unforgettable centerpiece for your table, spread white spider webbing around candles and across the table. Place a silver tiered tray in the middle with gourds spray-painted black displayed on each tier. To make your design stand out even more, you can add a small touch of orange with a few strategically-placed items.

Halloween doesn’t have to be just for kids. If you love to decorate and change your décor based on the season, these ideas will create a fun yet sophisticated space that both you and your visitors will enjoy. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying or selling process.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy Joe deSousa/flickr.com

Why You Need a Contract for Renovations

by Maureen Cool

You’re researching contractors for home improvement projects. You find one you like or one that was recommended and you want to get started. Before you let your contractor hammer one nail in or take one board out, you need to have a contract in place. Why? Here are a few good reasons.

1. A Contract Says “Professional”

A professional contractor with a reputable business is going to want a contract to protect his interests. He knows the importance of spelling everything out in writing. If he’s willing to take a shortcut and not write up a contract, it should make you wonder what other shortcuts he will take.

2. A Contract Spells Out the Details

You don’t want any misunderstandings about the scope of work to be done or any other issue. A contract should include all relevant information about the project, including what will be done, how payment will be made and when the project will be completed. Make sure you don’t leave anything out. In most cases, if it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t exist.

3. You Can Look for Insurance

In contracts with a contractor, it should list the company’s insurance. If it doesn’t, make sure to have it included. If the contractor doesn’t carry insurance, you don’t want to work with him. If an accident occurs to him, his crew or anyone else, you’ll be the one responsible.

4. Contact Information

A business phone number should also be included in a contract. This allows you to check with the Better Business Bureau and other agencies to see if the guy is a real contractor.

5. Avoid Scams

You may have heard about scams involving con artists who promise to do work for you if you give them a down payment immediately. They claim they can save you thousands of dollars on your project. Once they receive the money, they disappear. A contract with the proper information will tell you if you are dealing with a true professional. The down payment should be a small portion of the entire project with regular payments to be made as work is completed.

If you find a contractor who isn’t willing to sign a contract, walk away. You want to work with a professional, not someone looking to make a quick dollar on shoddy work. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy nickytheblade/flickr.com

Home Gadgets That Make Life Simpler

by Maureen Cool

Smart Home GadgetsEveryone knows about the Roomba, the automated vacuum that cleans your floors for you, but what about using your smartphone to monitor your heat and air, or shut off any running water? When it comes to home improvements, making life easier should be one of the biggest reasons to implement technology around your home.

That said, here are five amazing gadgets that can help you live an easier, and hopefully more productive home life.

Smart Washer

Leave it to LG, Life's Good, to create something to make cleaning your clothes that much easier. With their new Smart Washer, you can monitor loads and give your machine voice commands, all from your smartphone. Amazing, right? Not only that, but you can remotely connect it to an LG Smart TV which will give you pop-up messages right on your screen to tell you when cycles finish.

Nest Thermostat

Heating and cooling often have the biggest impact on your electric and gas bills. The Nest uses a Wi-Fi connection to allow you to control your temperatures remotely from via an iOS or Android device, such as a phone or tablet, which gives you more control over temperatures in your home. We all love saving money, so this is one great investment.

New Technology Power2U AC/USB

That titles a mouthful, but this super plug combines the traditional electrical socket with four, high-powered USB 3.0/2.0 ports. For those of us with tablets, smartphones, and all kinds of other gadgets, this eliminates a lot of clutter by giving you the opportunity to store those bulky power adapters or unsightly brown extension cords. Even better, it's energy efficient!

1limit Faucet

For those cost efficient and planet saving people, comes the 1limit Faucet. How does it work? It fills up the clear, tubular top with exactly 1 liter of water, showing you exactly how much water you consume every time you use your faucet!

Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt

Losing keys is part of having keys; we all do it at some point. But with the Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt, which features Z-Wave wireless protocol, you can unlock your deadlock from a touchpad or a smartphone. It also comes with a built-in alarm system with varying volume levels. The only downside is that it comes with an $8.99 monthly subscription fee.

These are just a few of the many gadgets out there that can help simplify our lives. As a homeowner, not only are gadgets like these convenient, they may impress potential buyers when it comes time to sell. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy of Highways Agency/Flickr.com

Preparing to Sell During the Fall

by Maureen Cool

Fall Home SellingWith summer nearly behind us, you may think you’re stuck with your home until next spring. However, plenty of people put their homes on the market during the fall holiday season. Don’t let Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the other holidays derail your plans to sell.

Motivated Shoppers Mean Faster Sales

The people searching for a home during the holidays are serious buyers. If they find a home they like, they’ll put in an offer right away. Competition is high at this time of the year because inventory is lower. This means you have a chance to sell at your list price with little to no negotiations.

Decorations Add Warmth to a Home

Fall’s arrival means it's time for festive seasonal and holiday decorations. Whether you’re displaying a friendly Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween or a brightly-lit tree for Christmas, the décor beckons buyers to spend some time in your home. These decorations can make a plain house look like a welcoming home.

Take Advantage of an Empty House

If you travel during Autumn, make sure your real estate agent knows you’ll be gone. They can schedule showings at a time that’s convenient for the buyer without worrying about your schedule. You don’t have the hassle of a fast clean-up because you’re not there. If you are the person entertaining, let your agent know that, too. Schedule dates when the house won’t be available for a showing.

Take Advantage of the Open House

Add in inviting scents such as freshly-baked cookies when you host an open house. Certain aromas make a person think of home, family and feeling cozy. Use features that appeal to all five senses to win over buyers. Open window coverings to let in lots of light, and adding a plush blanket on the end of the couch signals images of curling up on long evenings with a good book or movie.

Selling your home doesn’t have to be difficult in the fall and winter seasons. You can find ways to make your home appealing any time of the year. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Let’s Connect!

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy roanokecollege/flickr.com

What You Should Know about Becoming a Landlord

by Maureen Cool

Becoming a LandlordIt sounds like the perfect retirement plan: buy a house, rent it out, have the tenant pay off your mortgage and then use the money as income once you retire. While investing in real estate is often a good strategy, there are some things you should know about being a landlord before you take the plunge.

  • Know what you can afford – there may be times when your home is vacant and you still have to pay the mortgage, so make sure you can afford two payments.
  • Do a thorough background check on potential tenants to ensure they will pay on time and will take proper care of your property.
  • Learn the laws about landlords and tenants, and know what you can and can’t do.
  • Have a list of service people to call for HVAC repair, plumbing leaks and other maintenance issues.
  • Find out if renting is allowed in your neighborhood.
  • Create a list of rules for your tenant, and figure out how you will ensure they are being followed.

Consider Financing

As a first-time landlord, you probably won’t be able to count your future rental income in your loan application to purchase the property. Instead, you’ll have to make sure your regular income can cover your current mortgage if you have one and the payments for the rental place.

You’ll also want to have enough in savings to cover both properties for several months of payments. In fact, your lender may require cash reserves since this is a rental property. You’ll also probably need a down payment since the property won’t qualify for many traditional loan programs that require it to be your primary residence.

Make sure your current mortgage allows you to turn your current home into a rental if you’re buying the new home for your residence. FHA loans require you to live in your home for a certain length of time before you can rent it out. Other programs may have similar or even stricter requirements.

Think about how being a landlord will impact your life and your finances before you jump in to the decision. While the added income can be attractive, monitoring someone else isn’t for every person. On the other hand, it could be the prime opportunity you’ve been looking for. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your ideal home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy Park Van Ness / Flickr.com

How Homeowner’s Insurance Protects You

by Maureen Cool

Homeowners InsuranceMost people think about the protection from loss with their homeowner’s insurance policy. In the event of a fire, storm or other catastrophe, the insurance provider will pay for repair or replacement of their home. While this is an important component of your policy, liability coverage may be even more essential. Here are some things to consider about this aspect of your policy.

What Liability Coverage Covers

The liability portion of your homeowner’s insurance protects you from costs incurred if someone is injured on your premises. This includes falls; dog bites; injury from a trampoline, swimming pool or other recreational items; and other incidents that could happen on your property. It also protects you if you, your children or pets cause damage to someone else’s property.

This coverage does not pay for your expenses if you are injured on your own property. It does pay for others’ medical expenses or losses due to the incident at your home.

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

When people buy a homeowner’s policy, it is often because they are getting a mortgage and insurance is required. The focus may be on the cost of the policy rather than the coverage. However, it is important to ensure your liability coverage would cover most reasonable expenses in a claim. Medical expenses can add up quickly and a fall can cause serious damage and even be long-term.

Most experts recommend that you have enough coverage to protect your assets in a lawsuit. Remember that the insurance company is only responsible for the maximum amount of the policy, but you could be responsible for any other expenses. It’s better to increase your coverage to protect your assets than to worry about a few dollars difference in premiums.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

You can also purchase a personal umbrella policy to cover you over what your homeowner’s insurance provides. The added benefit of this type of policy is that it also covers you above your auto insurance and other policies as well. It’s often the best option if you have a large amount of assets.

Know how much coverage you have in your homeowner’s insurance for liability and review it occasionally to make sure it’s enough for your situation. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy Torsten Behrens/flickr.com

Just Listed - 2917 Monza Dr, Sebring, FL $225,000

by Maureen Cool

Custom 3 Bedroom Home in Sun ’n Lake – Manor Hill!

Welcome to 2917 Monza Drive in the Manor Hill section of Sun ‘n Lake of Sebring.  This custom home is offered by the original owner and much thought went into designing the floor plan.  The home features three bedrooms and three bathrooms, freshly painted interior and new carpet throughout.  There is also a much desired three full car garage. 

Enter the home into a large foyer with a transom over the front door.  The living room with cathedral ceilings is to the right of the foyer.  The living room has built  in cabinets and an arched front window.  This room flows nicely to a 13x26 family room with sliders to the lanai.   The kitchen offers lots of cabinetry and a breakfast area with more sliders to the lanai.  Adjoining this space is a large dining room with a built in buffet. 

The spacious master suite has double doors opening to the family room and two large walk in closets.  The master bathroom has a walk in shower, soak tub, dual sink vanity, double linen closet and compartment toilet for privacy.  The split floor plan has two secondary bedrooms.  The second bedroom has a walk in closet and private entrance into the hall bathroom.  The third bedroom offers a bathroom across the hall.  The bathroom also serves as the pool bath with a large shower. 

The pool is caged and the pool area has a spacious covered lanai for entertaining.  The home has storm shutters on all window.  The pool cage was recently rescreened.  There is buyer peace of mind as the roof is three years old and the AC unit is 1 ½ years old.  The home is energy efficient with extra insulation in the attic.  Sun ‘n Lake of Sebring is a golfing community with two championship golf courses, tennis, clubhouse, restaurant, community center and community pool.

Contact Maureen Cool of A Cool Realtor for more information or to schedule a showing.  Visit www.ACoolRealtor.com or email Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

Disaster Preparedness

by Maureen Cool

Watching the struggles of those impacted by the recent Louisiana Flood wasn't easy - especially if you've been through a similar experience. But, it does serve as a good reminder to put together a disaster preparedness kit if you don't have one. Better safe than sorry, and it's not that complicated or expensive to be prepared.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a suggested plan for putting a disaster kit together. Among the elements in the kit, they recommend the following:

• Assume you’re not going to have clean drinking water. Set aside three gallons of water everyone in the household, including pets. You may also want to keep a container of plain household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to make disinfectant or purify water.

• No electricity means you won’t have refrigeration, so have a three-day supply of non-perishable food. A manual can opener is probably obvious. Put aside extra pet food as well.

• A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and weather radio.

• A flashlight. More than one won’t hurt .

• Wrenches and pliers to turn off utilities, such as water or gas.

• A whistle to signal for help.

• A dust mask.

• Plastic sheeting and duct tape to help rig an emergency shelter if necessary. If you enjoy camping, you may already have a tent you can use in an emergency.

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

• Local maps and a compass.

• Emergency chargers for cell phones. Solar chargers, inverters or emergency battery chargers may be the only way for you to reach loved ones or help.

• Batteries. Extra, lots and of the right sizes to power your emergency devices.

• Baby formula and diapers.

• Travelers' checks.

• Matches in a waterproof container.

• Prescription medicines and glasses.

If you or someone you know is planning to buy or sell a home in Highlands County, Florida, contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to help you find your dream home, or help you determine the value of your home.

Maureen Cool, CRS
RE/MAX Realty Plus

www.TheCoolTeam.com
Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Maureen Cool is your ultimate real estate resource for Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr.com

Just Listed - 3017 Manor Dr, Sebring, FL $225,000

by Maureen Cool

Beautiful 3 Bedroom Home in Sun 'n Lake - Manor Hill

Welcome to 3017 Manor Drive in the Manor Hill section of Sun n Lake of Sebring.  This home is situated on a large corner lot.  The three bedrooms, two bath home has a spacious two car garage with room for a golf cart.  A nicely landscaped walkway leads you to the double front doors.  Step into the foyer to the open concept living area with the dining room to the left and living room straight ahead.  Multiple sliding pocketed glass doors open to the lanai to extend the living space.  The kitchen offers lots of storage, plant shelves, all appliances.  A breakfast bar separates the breakfast nook. 

The master suite has a generous sized bedroom, two walk in closets and a large bathroom with two vanities and a private compartment for the toilet and step in shower.  The secondary bedrooms in the split floor plan have a pocket door opening to the hallway.  A guest/hall bathroom has an updated vanity with granite.  The third bedroom is perfect for guest or third bedroom. 

Updates include a new air compressor and hot water heater in 2014, new irrigation pump in 2015 and new irrigation well in 2016.  It also has built in shelving, bay window and can serve as a den or office.  Sun n Lake has two championship golf courses, tennis, clubhouse, restaurant, community center and pool.

Contact Maureen Cool of A Cool Realtor for more information or to schedule a showing.  Visit www.ACoolRealtor.com or email Maureen@ACoolRealtor.com

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Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897

 
           


 

Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.


Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.
 

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 

 

 

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