Living in Charlotte County Florida

Find the perfect home in sunny southwest, Florida

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Rent vs Own

Sooner or later, it hits almost every renter: the pain of dealing with a landlord, or seeing your monthly payments vanish, or realizing you don’t have control over your living space. Sound familiar? It might be time to start thinking about buying a home of your own. The idea of finding, financing and purchasing a new home can be intimidating, but you’re not in it alone, a Realtor can help you every step of the way.

Do you remember why you rented in the first place? Did you think your rent payment would be less than your mortgage payment? Did you want to call your landlord to fix things when they broke? Were you unsure where you wanted to live? Did you make less money than you do now? Is all this still true? If not, maybe you’re ready to buy.
Things change. People change. Life changes.

Now’s a great time to buy, and you might be a lot closer to home ownership than you think. A Realtor can help you figure out if you should still rent or if it’s your time to buy. Do you realize that renting prepares you for buying?
It helps you figure out what you want. With every move, you discover things: the neighborhoods you like, the sorts of kitchens you prefer, and the fact that popcorn ceilings drive you crazy. You’re in a great position to buy. You know what you want, what you don’t want, and what you’d love to have.

Renting ties you down until your lease expires and you’re free to move. But moving can be a hassle – a huge hassle – and that’s one reason why renters often become buyers. Do you really want to live in a place where you may be forced to move because your landlord wants to move in? It could happen; just ask your friends.

When you buy, you buy more than a house. You buy a lifestyle. Backyards. Pets. Great neighbors. Block parties. Community. A sense of belonging. The list goes on and on. It’s simple: living on a street with other homeowners is different – and often better – than moving again and again. It’s more lasting. More solid. More secure. Where do you want to live? In a place you own, or in a place owned by someone else?

Do you want to save on taxes? Buy a house! Here’s something a tax professional would tell you about owning a home: You’ll be able to deduct financing costs and interest in the year you buy. After that, you’ll be able to deduct the interest and property taxes you pay. No one likes to pay taxes, but buying a home makes it a little less taxing. Literally. The IRS has a great guide – Publication 530 – called “Tax Information for Homeowners.”

Once you’re ready to move from renting to owning, you have a big decision to make: When do you tell your landlord?
Frankly, honesty is always the best policy. Once you start getting serious about shopping for a home, it’s important to be open with your landlord, especially if you’re still under a lease. By being open and honest, you won’t have to fret about your landlord finding out that you’re looking to buy. One suggestion: Offer a positive review or serve as a testimonial on the management company’s website if you’ve had a good experience – good word of mouth will help them out and let you leave in good graces.

If you’re ready to make the jump, contact a Realtor to get started today.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Re/Max Palm Realty, Port Charlotte, FL –

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Fire safety for everyone

Each year, fires kill more Americans than any other natural disaster. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 80% of fire deaths occur in residences. While no home can ever be completely fireproof, there are many steps you can take to greatly reduce the risk of fire for your family and your home:

•Smoke detectors are the most important part of your home fire safety! Make sure your home has smoke detectors at least in every bedroom, and test them frequently.
•Use appliances wisely. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that an appliance needs to be shut off and either repaired or replaced. Unplug appliances when not in use.
•Never overload circuits or extension cords. Don’t place cords or wires under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas.
•Portable heaters need at least three feet of space from any combustible materials.

•Fireplaces should be used with fire screens, and chimneys should have annual cleanings.
•Have at least two fire extinguishers in your home, with one in a designated place in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of both home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S.
•Extinguish candles before going to bed or when leaving a room.
•If smoking indoors, always use an ashtray and exercise caution. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S.
•Properly inspect and maintain your home’s heating system. Poorly maintained heating systems cause many fires.
•Consider the installation of a home sprinkler system. Such systems are now much more affordable and greatly diminish the risk of fire injuries.

These are just a few ways that you can make your home a safer place from fire. More information can be found on the U.S. Fire Administration’s website,, or by contacting your local fire department. If you want more tips for homeowners, visit my website. I’d also be happy to answer any home owning or real estate questions your may have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Re/Max Palm Realty

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Getting your home ready for the marketplace

Often the first step in selling your home is making sure it’s ready for the market in the first place. Some sellers rush a home onto the market without properly preparing it for the public. By considering early on improvements that you may need to make, you can save yourself future headaches.

The amount and kind of work that you should do depends largely on the price you intend to ask, the time you have to sell, and the current condition of the house. If your house is in good condition and you’re pressed for time, do the small things that can make a big cosmetic difference. New paint, re-grouted tile in the bathroom and kitchen, new carpet in the major traffic areas-these are the kinds of things that can be relatively inexpensive for you yet important to potential buyers.

As far as major projects are concerned, avoid making improvements that may come down to a matter of taste. For instance, most buyers will appreciate newly tiled bathroom floors or brand new professional roofing, but not all buyers will be swayed by an expensive swimming pool in the back yard. Make sure that the investment in time and money you make for any project will be recouped in the sale of your house.

I’d be more than happy to help you with any questions you have as you move towards the sale of your home. Please also visit my website, it is a great information resource for real estate. When you are ready to put your property on the market, I can see to it that it is marketed effectively. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any of your real estate needs.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Re/Max Palm Realty

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Why use a real estate agent?

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New HouseIf you are currently in the market to purchase a home, you may be curious as to how a real estate agent can help you. You are about to be making an important decision for your future, a great investment of both money and time. A real estate agent can help buyers like you make sound, informed decisions.
Here are some ways that you can benefit from the help of a real estate professional:

Agents can help establish a plan for a home that fits your needs. Style, size, amenities, and other preferences will help determine what kind of home is best suited for you.

They will help you to determine realistic spending limits. They can often explain alternative financing options or introduce you to a mortgage counselor. Agents can arrange to have you “pre-approved”, which can help improve your positioning in negotiations.

Their access to all home listings within the multi-listing system enables them to evaluate based on your affordability and the qualities you desire.

They have access to information on taxes, real estate values, utility costs, and municipal services, all of which can aid you in your decision to buy.

They provide direct service by working with you, helping to negotiate the best terms and price for you.

They can make you comfortable with the closing process and they will obtain closing figures in advance for your review.

They can recommend home inspectors, pest inspectors, and surveyors, and can help arrange inspections.

These are just a few ways that a quality real estate agent can help you in your journey towards buying a home. To search for properties in the Sarasota and Charlotte County Florida area go to the following web site:

Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Re/Max Palm Realty, Port Charlotte, FL