HEATHER MERRILL | St Augustine Beach Real Estate, St Augustine Real Estate, Palm Coast Real Estate


Ready to take your home to the next level? Here are upscale tech upgrades to make your home smarter than a Furby, cooler than drone and safer than Gringott’s. That last one might seem like a stretch but if three kids could break in how locked down was it really? Anyways,  

The Dyson 360 Eye is an upgraded Roomba. It can be scheduled and operated by phone your phone from anywhere. Which means if you have an impromptu dinner party or the In-Laws are planning to stop by you can start cleaning with a quick tap of your finger. Or you can just set a schedule for it to run a few times a week while you’re at work so you come home to a tidy room.

August Smart Lock is a keyless lock for your home. Instead use your phone as a key which, let’s be honest you always have on you. The best part, however, is that you don’t need to replace your lock and you can still use your key at any time. You can double check to make sure your door is locked and closed on those harried days rushing the kids to the car. entry to home and control who enters home

Upgrade to a curved tv. The curve may seem unusual but it allows for better view no matter where you are in the room. When sitting directly in front of the tv you have the illusion of a wider viewing range as it mimics the curve of our natural sight. Create an immersive experience paired up with a surround sound system.

The Thermasol Microtouch brings the “smart” experience to your shower. Program your preferred settings to have the perfect shower every time. With a heat sensor, you can control the steam shower temperature. And of course, the device comes in several styles and finishes to match the existing hardware in your bathroom

The Dyson 360 Eye is pretty cool but what if you could have a smart lawn mower? Well, the team at Worx built the Landroid just for you. Program the cut height, lawn terrain and even to go back “home” when it’s about to rain. No more running to the gas station to fill up a jug, the Landroid runs off of electricity. It also has safety features to turn off if tipped and pin code access only if stolen.


Upgrade your home tech to upgrade your lifestyle. Spend more time with your family and doing the things you love instead of maintaining your home. Ensure your home is secure and locked up tight for those days you don’t even remember the ride to work. And create a luxury view experience for your home family.


Now may be the perfect time to acquire a luxury residence in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay or another Florida city or town. In fact, there are many signs that may help you determine whether now is the ideal time to pursue a Sunshine State luxury house. These signs include:

1. You're looking to upgrade your current residence.

If you find your current residence no longer matches your expectations, there is no need to worry. Dozens of exceptional Florida luxury houses are available, which means you should have no trouble finding a deluxe home in the Sunshine State that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Before you kick off a Florida luxury home search, you may want to consider your preferred cities and towns. For instance, if you have always wanted to own a luxury residence in South Beach, you may want to hone your home search to properties in Miami. On the other hand, if you want to live close to Disney World, you may want to focus on luxury residences in and around Orlando.

2. You want to live in a warm-weather area.

For those who are tired of dealing with snow and cold temperatures, buying a luxury home in Florida may be a great choice. The Sunshine State boasts warm temperatures year-round, and as such, those who want to avoid frigid weather may want to relocate to Florida.

Of course, as you start your Florida luxury home search, you may want to consider the amenities that residences offer to help you deal with warm temperatures. It may be beneficial, for example, to purchase a Sunshine State luxury home with a central air conditioning system. Or, you may want to consider a Florida luxury residence that features a swimming pool.

3. You enjoy all that Florida has to offer.

If you want convenient access to attractions you won't find anywhere else, pursuing a luxury home in Florida may prove to be essential. The Sunshine State offers historic attractions in St. Augustine, water parks in Orlando and much more. Therefore, you likely will find lots to enjoy in Florida, especially if you purchase a Sunshine State luxury house.

As you prepare to launch a Florida luxury home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. By employing a real estate agent who possesses Sunshine State luxury housing market expertise, you can streamline the property buying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the Florida luxury housing market and help you plan accordingly. If you want to pursue a luxury residence in the Jacksonville area, for instance, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to find the right home, at the right price. Conversely, if you want to buy a luxury home in Tallahassee as soon as possible, a real estate agent will help you quickly and effortlessly navigate the Sunshine State luxury real estate market.

Ready to buy a luxury home in Florida? Start your Sunshine State luxury house search today, and you can find your dream residence in the near future.


When it’s time to list your home, you probably have two main questions in mind for your real estate agent. The first is how much can I get for my home? The second is how much commission do you take? Obviously, you want to get the most money in return for your investment. 


Many sellers hire the very first agent they meet and this isn’t necessarily the right process. Selling a home is a huge undertaking. As a seller, you’ll want to dig a bit deeper in order to find the agent who is right for you.


What Experience Do You Have?


It sounds like such an obvious question, but many sellers fail to ask their real estate agents what kind of experience they have. Homes are very expensive business transactions. You want someone who has some experience under their belt to help you get the most bang for your buck in the sale of your home. While there’s no amount of experience that’s “required,” your agent should have some experience selling homes. The ability of an agent to handle deals is very important. 


How Will You Market My Home?


You can’t really sell anything without some kind of marketing efforts. There are many different ways to market a home including direct mailing, online advertising and sending the property to the MLS for wide search availability. It’s important that your real estate agent knows how to market a home. 


How Will We Communicate


This is an important question. You don’t want to hire a real estate agent just to find that they are often unavailable and leaving you wondering what’s happening in the sale of your home. In this age, it’s important to remember how many different ways that we can communicate. There’s e-mail, texting and of course old fashioned phone calling. You want to make sure that the agent you choose to help you sell your home will be open to communicating in the ways that are most convenient for you. 


Will You Be Representing Both Sides Of The Transaction?


Agents have the ability to represent both the buyer and the seller if the buyer doesn’t have their own agent to represent them. This is normal and expected especially in special cases. Dual agency is possible and it is legal. However, sometimes you may want someone who is purely “on your side.” If an agent is getting commission from both transactions, you may think it’s hard for them to be working for both the buyer and the seller without trying too hard to make a deal. You don’t want your best interest to be compromised when you’re selling a home.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or someone who has previously owned a home at some point in their life, you most likely know how expensive buying a house can be.

Fortunately, there are many organizations who would agree and who seek to help qualified buyers. There are a number of programs available at the state, local, and federal level designed to help certain buyers purchase a home.

There are also a number of myths around these programs, such as what the term “first-time homebuyer” really means.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the programs you can look into to get help paying for a home.

Who Qualifies as a First-Time homebuyer?

Contrary to what it sounds like, you can still qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you’ve owned a home in the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been helping people achieve their goal of homeownership since the 1930s. The FHA connects first-time homebuyers with lenders if the buyer meets certain criteria. Those criteria are:

  • Someone who hasn’t owned a home in the time previous three years. This includes spouses.

  • A single parent who previously owned a home with a former spouse, or a “displaced homemaker” who has only owned a home a former spouse.

  • People who have only owned homes that didn’t meet building code or a residence not fixed to a foundation.

The way the FHA helps buyers secure an affordable home loan is by insuring the mortgage. This makes it safer for lenders to approve you for a better rate for your home loan.

Veteran, Rural, and Native American Loan Programs

Aside from FHA loans, you might also qualify for a VA loan, a USDA program, or the Section 184 Indian Home Loan program.

VA loans from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs help veterans secure low-interest loans with affordable down payments. They will also help repeat veteran home buyers who have had financial difficulties in the past such as foreclosure and bankruptcy.

The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program works similarly to an FHA loan in that the federal government insures the loan so that the buyer can receive a better rate and lower down payment.

This program is designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families. However, not every state is eligible for the loan.

The United States Department of Agriculture is another federal department that offers mortgage assistance. You don’t need to be a farmer or have agricultural aspirations to be approved for a USDA loan. Rather, these loans are designed to help develop rural areas by offering loans with no down payments.

State, Local, and Private Programs

Each state in the United States offers various buyer’s assistance and incentive programs. Be on the lookout for programs specific to your area to find low-interest rates and affordable down payments.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other companies work with lenders to create affordable lending programs throughout the country. Remember to shop carefully when dealing with private lenders and look out for hidden costs.


New windows can work wonders for a house. Depending on how old your windows are, replacements can make your home less drafty, and much quieter, but they can also spruce up a room that’s starting to look dated.

When you replace your windows you also might see a drop in your heating bill. However, the cost of replacing windows is steeper than you’re ever likely to save on heat. So, if you’re thinking of replacing your windows just to save cash, in the long run there might be better ways of doing so.

In this article, we’re going to talk about choosing replacement windows for your home. We’ll walk you through the different types of windows so you can find the type that fits your needs. Read on for our replacement windows buyer’s guide.

Choosing the right window style

There are endless types of windows that you could find in a given home. However, four main styles are what we normally think of when talking about replacement windows.

Single vs double-hung windows

First, there are single and double-hung windows. In double-hung windows, both the top and bottom sash are operable, or able to be opened. Being able to utilize both sashes is beneficial for airflow. Opening the top sash will allow the warm air escape, opening the bottom sash will allow cool air to enter.

In single-hung windows, only the lower sash is able to be opened and closed. But otherwise, they are very similar to double-hung windows.

Both of these types of windows come in variants that allow you to pivot the sashes inward to clean the exterior glass. However, if you buy single-hung windows you’ll only be able to wash the lower sash. Keep that in mind if you’re buying windows for a second floor or attic window.

Sliding windows

Sliding windows are those which move horizontally on their tracks. They produce good ventilation and are easy to use. However, just like single-hung and double hung windows, they do slightly obstruct your view at the midpoint when closed. The rectangular shape of sliding windows, however, means you won’t likely be able to install an air conditioner.

Casement style windows

The last main type of window we’ll talk about are casement style windows. This type of window operates on a hinge like a door would. When they’re fully opened, they produce good ventilation. When they’re fully closed, they don’t obstruct the view at all.

However, just like with sliding windows, you won’t be able to install an AC unit. Furthermore, this type of window is more prone to malfunction due to the crank and hinge system, and cranking it open and closed all the time could be a minor annoyance for some homeowners.

Frame materials

Window frames come in four main materials--vinyl, wood, clad-wood, and aluminum.

  • Vinyl is the most common. They look clean and modern, and they also resist heat and condensation making them easy to maintain.

  • Wood frames are regaining popularity. Since they often come unfinished, you can easily customize them to your home.

  • Clad-wood frames are wood on the interior and aluminum on the exterior, making them rugged and resistant to weathering and rot.

  • Aluminum windows are economical, lightweight, and easy to maintain.


Now that you know a bit more about windows, you’ll be better equipped to decide what type of replacements to purchase for your home.




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