Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Window Replacement Costs

After years of home ownership, you’ll probably have to replace a few windows in your home. Although you may take your windows for granted, they remain an integral part in maintaining a comfortable home.

Unfortunately, these invisible barriers are fragile and can be broken with minimal amounts of force. The cost to replace windows will vary upon size, amount of windows needed, style and quality, but despite the many brands and options available, affordable replacements are easy to find if you know what you’re looking for.

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Are your window frames rotting?

Before you estimate replacement costs, it’s important to inspect the existing window frames for damage or rot from insects and moisture. If the window’s frame is soft to the touch, cracking or showing other signs of wear, it will need to be replaced. If it’s still solid, you can opt to simply install new glass, which will save you money.

If you have to replace the wooden frames, expect your final price for installation and material to double.

Window Replacement Costs

Before you construct a window-replacement estimate, it’s important to have a general idea as to where you plan on making a purchase.

Big-box stores may be the best option if you don’t want to get “hands on.” These stores will generally have fair prices for material and great insurance, but the commission and installation costs may be high.

For a complete window installation, find your own qualified contractor and window manufacturer. For a standard-size, double-hung, double-pane (energy efficient), vinyl window, expect to pay between $450 and $600, including installation.

Wood windows are more expensive. The cost of a wood replacement window can range between $800 and $1,000 per installation.

If the entire window and framing has to be removed (down to the studs), be prepared to add at least $50 to $100 per installation. This is referred to as “new construction” windows or “full-frame” replacement windows, and requires more work at an additional cost.

Although the overall cost to replace windows can be very steep, it should be looked at as an investment, and you can reasonably expect your home’s value to increase.

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The Different Types of Windows

Depending on climate or preferences, there are several different types of windows, each of which features its own set of attributes.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows are designed to be opened from the top or bottom, are great for hard-to-reach areas, and are generally the most inexpensive. These traits make double-hung windows the most commonly installed type.

Tilt-Out Windows

Tilt-out windows fold in or out to reveal the glass’s exterior, which allows it to be cleaned from inside your home. These types of windows are great for areas where exterior accessibility is limited, but they are typically more expensive than standard double-hung windows.

Double-Pane Glass

Double-pane glass is widely available with the different encasement types, but it does carry an enhanced cost. Double-pane glass features an airtight space that is filled with inert gas. This method of construction helps with climate control, and paired with a properly sealed home, you can expect to save on utility costs.

High-Performance Glass

Depending on your environment (or your wallet), you might want to explore the performance offered from the different types of specialty glass. You can get triple-pane windows for added savings, impact-resistant windows for areas of extreme conditions, or windows with shades built between the glass for a touch of modern living. These high-performance glass types are the most expensive to procure, but the added benefits may be worth the extra cost.

Source: https://em.angieslist.com/window-replacement-costs/?m=angienewsletter&entry_point_id=33708167&cid=eml_E007&placementtype=Web_EmailLink

Friday, March 15, 2019

St. Patrick's Day parties, ShrimpFest, craft beer, surfing contest top events this weekend

Top o’ the weekend to you.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday this year, so you can find Irish-themed music, food and events across the Treasure Coast throughout the weekend. These picks include the biggest and best ones.

In addition to the St. Paddy’s parties, you also can find a shrimp and beer festival, a surfing competition, country music concerts and an airport heritage day.

Here’s What To Do in 772.

St. Patrick’s Day events

In downtown Stuart, the second annual St. Paddy’s Block Party starts at 5 p.m. Friday and lasts until 2 a.m. inside The Crafted Keg at 555 S. Colorado Ave., in the parking lot and along Southeast Sixth Street with Terra Fermata at 26 S.E. Sixth St.

The block party includes a craft beer tasting of local and national brews, live music throughout the night, food trucks and traditional Irish cuisine from Ellie’s Downtown Deli. Sample beers from Orchid Island Brewery, Hop Life Brewing Company, Side Door Brewing Company, Sailfish Brewing Company, Pierced Ciderworks, Islamorada Beer Company, Funky Buddha Brewery, SaltWater Brewery, Twisted Trunk Brewing Company, Florida Keys Brewing Company, Copperpoint Brewing Company, Barrel of Monks Brewing, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Founders Brewing, Boulevard Brewing Company and Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company.

Admission is $28 with the beer tasting or $12 without it. Proceeds benefit House of Hope, SafeSpace and the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast. For more information, go to www.thecraftedkegstuart.com/block-party.

Shamrock Fest is 3-9 p.m. Saturday at the Riverwalk Stage area behind City Hall at 121 S.W. Flagler Ave. The festival has live Irish music, cold green beer, an Irish whiskey bar, a children’s zone, Irish food, bagpipes and drums, Irish step dancers and a costume contest.

Tickets are $8 in advance, including a free green beer, and $10 at the door. Kids ages 12 and younger get in free. For more information, go to stuartmainstreet.org/event/shamrock-fest.

In downtown Fort Pierce, the St. Patrick’s Day Block Party on Second Street starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and continues until midnight.

The party from 2nd Street Bistro and Sailfish Brewing Company includes live music, special beer releases, a full bar, Irish food, a vendor village, a children’s area and a bagpiper from 8-9 p.m. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/sailfishbrewingcompany.

Sailfish beer releases include Timmy McDaniel’s dry Irish stout; Sheetfaced IPA, a collaboration with Butter & Love Cakery (brewed with two sheet cakes and treated with Vero Beach lemons and Plant City strawberries); Zest-A-Peel sour ale (treated with tangor limes and Vero Beach honeybells); and Irish Cream White Marlin Wit (treated with vanilla, chocolate and coffee).

Earlier that day, St. Paddy’s Day on Marina Way starts at 8 a.m. in the lot next to the future Bottom’s Up Public House at 208 Avenue A.

The morning kicks off with $1 Guinness drafts from 8-10 a.m., followed by live music starting at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/bottomsuppublichouse.


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The next day, the St. Patty’s Day Party at Pierced Ciderworks is 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 411 N. Second St. The party includes green cider, a food truck, drink specials and live music from noon to 9 p.m. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/piercedcider.

In Port St. Lucie, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center is 5-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at 9221 S.E. Civic Center Place.

Enjoy traditional Irish cuisine, beer, live Celtic rock music, Irish dancing, carnival rides, vendors and a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday featuring the first Miss Irish Rose Pageant. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.cityofpsl.com.

The next day, the indoor and outdoor St. Patrick’s Day event at Shindig Irish Restaurant & Pub begins with breakfast at 7 a.m. Sunday at Shindig Irish Restaurant & Pub at 464 S.W. Port St. Lucie Blvd.

The party lasts until midnight and includes five live bands playing Irish music, food, Irish beer on tap and giveaways. Cover charge is $5 from 3-5 p.m. and $10 after 5 p.m. For more information, call 772-785-6202 or go to www.shindigpub.com.

Also, the third annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Port St. Lucie Applebee’s is 2-10 p.m. Sunday at 10501 S. U.S. 1.

The celebration has live music and a vinyl party from Sounds Good Music, as well as two-for-one drinks, raffles and giveaways. Tickets are $10 each. Proceeds benefit BlueBird Educational Foundation. For more information, call 772-337-0408 or go to www.facebook.com/snorkelcorn.

In downtown Vero Beach, the St. Patrick’s Day Alley Party starts at noon in the alley between Kilted Mermaid at 1937 Old Dixie Highway and Southern Social at 1932 14th Ave.

The party includes green beer, Irish whiskey, a special menu, entertainment, live music from 6-9 p.m. and bagpipers at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/eatsouthernsocial.

Photos: Fun and green highlight the 12th annual Jensen Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

Shrimp and beer

The ShrimpFest & Craft Brew Hullabaloo is 3-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Riverview Park at 600 U.S. 1 in Sebastian.

The festival features Florida shrimp prepared in different recipes by local restaurants, as well as non-seafood and kid-friendly food options all for sale. It also has live music, children’s activities and craft beer from across Florida.

A craft beer tasting from 1-5 p.m. Saturday includes unlimited samples of 30 local breweries and homebrewers. Tickets are $25 plus tax before the event and $30 plus tax the day of the event.

Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Sebastian and the Exchange Club of Fellsmere. A trolley to and from additional parking areas runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, go to www.shrimpfestfl.com.

Photos: ShrimpFest & Craft Brew Hullabaloo kicks off in Sebastian

Surfing competition

The 11th annual Single-Fin Showdown starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the south end of Stuart Beach at 825 N.E. Ocean Blvd. It typically attracts more than 150 competitors and 1,500 spectators.

The showdown was created by the Ohana Surf Shop in 2009 with a small group of surfers riding vintage single-fin surfboards for bragging rights and has grown into one of the largest one-day, amateur surf and skim festivals in Florida. The contest has become so popular that more divisions have been added, but the single-fin and longboard divisions are the biggest draws as spectators watch competitors ride vintage boards provided to them at random before each heat.

Proceeds benefit Brooke Thabit, a member of the Ohana family who fractured her neck in 2012 and immediately suffered paralysis. For more information, call 772-287-0041 or go to www.facebook.com/singlefinshowdown.

Also, the 2019 Skim USA Tour kicks off this weekend with the Shore LB. Throwdown, a two-day skimboarding contest, at Stuart Beach. Riders meet at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and hit the water at 9 a.m. Finals are Sunday. For more information, go to skimusa.org.

More: Last year’s Single-Fin Showdown raises $12,000 for Brooke Thabit

County music concerts

On Friday, the Lonestar concert starts at 8 p.m. at the Sunrise Theatre at 117 N. Second St., in Fort Pierce. Tickets are $35, $45, $55 or $65, depending on seating location. To get tickets, call 772-461-4775 or go to www.sunrisetheatre.com.

Lonestar, which includes Richie McDonald, Michael Britt, Keech Rainwater and Dean Sams, burst onto the country music scene in the mid-1990s with “No News,” “Come Cryin’ to Me,” “Amazed,” “Smile,” “What About Now,” “Tell Her,” “I’m Already There,” “My Front Porch Looking in” and “Mr. Mom.”

On Saturday, the Flat Natural Band with Bruce Hunter performs from 1-4 p.m. at Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery at 4200 Johnston Road, north of Fort Pierce. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit Save The Chimps.

Then, the T.G. Sheppard concert begins at 7 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for opener Tom Jackson from 5:45-6:45 p.m. Tickets still available are $35 or $42, depending on seating.

Both shows have food trucks. For more information, call 772-460-0500 or go to www.summercrushwine.com.

Laurie’s Stories: How to see 7 classic country concerts within 3 months on the Treasure Coast

Homegrown: Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery in Fort Pierce turns native muscadine grapes into wine

Airport history

Airport Heritage Day is noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Vero Beach Regional Airport at 3600 Cherokee Drive.

Activities and displays are designed to celebrate the airport’s 90-year history during the Vero Beach Centennial. The event includes aircraft displays, exhibits and a flight simulator.

Admission is free. C.J. Cannons Restaurant & Lounge opens at 11 a.m. with a special menu for the day. For more information, call 772-978-4930 or go to verobeachairport.org.

More: U.S. Navy Blue Angels announce their return to Vero Beach Air Show


Garden show

The second annual Garden & Antique Show and Sale at McKee Botanical Garden is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 350 U.S. 1 in Vero Beach.

More than 25 antique and art vendors from the Eastern U.S. showcase a range of furniture, paintings, garden benches, fountains, accessories, statuary and estate jewelry on display through the garden.

Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $8 for kids ages 3-12 and free for McKee members and kids younger than 3. For more information, call 772-794-0601 or go to www.mckeegarden.org.

More: View Seward Johnson’s ‘Celebrating the Familiar’ sculptures at McKee Botanical Garden

Manatee run

The 11th annual Manatee Center 5K starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Manatee Observation & Education Center at 480 N. Indian River Drive in Fort Pierce.

It’s followed by refreshments, an awards ceremony and a drawing. First place can celebrate at the downtown St. Patrick Day Block Party with $50 to Sailfish Brewing Company and $50 to 2nd Street Bistro.

Registration is $35 for adults and $15 for kids ages 17 and younger. Proceeds benefit the Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation. For more information, call 772-429-6266 or go to www.manateeeducationcenter.org.

Laurie’s Stories: How to show visitors the best of Fort Pierce in one weekend

Comedy for charity

Comedic Relief Night to raise money for United Against Poverty is 7-10 p.m. Friday at the Sunrise Theatre’s Black Box at 117 S. Second St., in Fort Pierce.

The night includes headliner Grandma Lee, a finalist on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Tickets start at $27. For more information, go to upslc.org/event/comedic-relief-night.

Exotic birds

The 22nd annual Exotic Bird Expo is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Martin County Fairgrounds at 2616 S.E. Dixie Highway in Stuart.

The expo includes a variety of birds, cages, feed, toys, speakers, show, raffles and a silent auction. Admission is $5, but kids younger than 10 get in free. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/tcebc1989.

Laurie K. Blandford is TCPalm’s entertainment reporter and columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Read her weekly column, Laurie’s Stories, on TCPalm.com. Follow her on Twitter at @TCPalmLaurie or Facebook at faceboook.com/TCPalmLaurie.

Source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/entertainment/whattodoin772/2019/03/13/st-patricks-day-parties-shrimpfest-surfing-contest-weekend/3103838002/

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Homeownership Rate Moves to Highest Level Since 2014

More Americans are becoming homeowners. The national homeownership rate increased slightly to the highest level since 2014 in the fourth quarter of 2018, reaching 64.8 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau reported this week. The homeownership rate has been gradually increasing since reaching an all-time low of 62.9 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

Researchers at data analysis firm CoreLogic attribute the housing market’s “healthy path of recovery” to three main factors: An uptick in homeownership that has been persistent “despite the existence of low housing affordability and inventory;” household formation that has been on the strongest streak in more than a decade; and an increase in the rate at which young households—who represent the largest pool of potential buyers—are entering homeownership.

The homeownership rate of young adults ages 34 to 44 rose 1.2 points year over year to reach 61.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the largest gain of any age group.

“American households, especially young households, are becoming confident enough in their financial and familial circumstances to take the plunge into homeownership, despite rocky outcrops of affordability and sparse inventory,” says Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. “This is good news for proponents of homeownership in the United States since young households represent the largest pool of potential homebuyers since their parents, the baby boomers, came of homebuying age over three decades ago. The future of homeownership in this country indeed looks bright.”

Young adults are increasing their stake in the housing market, but it’s not happening everywhere. Millennials are buying homes at the highest rates in more affordable areas, and they’re buying homes at the lowest rates in the priciest pockets, such as coastal California and Florida. Millennials comprise the largest share of purchase mortgage applicants in Pittsburgh (57 percent); Provo, Utah (56 percent); and Rochester, N.Y. (55 percent). However, they make up the lowest share of mortgage applicants in Sarasota, Fla. (24 percent); Cape Coral, Fla. (30 percent); and Ventura, Calif. (32 percent), according to CoreLogic research.

Overall, the Census Bureau data shows that in the fourth quarter of last year, owner-occupied households rose by more than a million, to 1.7 million new owner households. Also, the number of new renter households is decreasing, which suggests that some households are switching from renting to owning, according to CoreLogic.


Source: https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/03/01/homeownership-rate-moves-to-highest-level-since-2014

Friday, March 8, 2019

Prepare for a packed weekend on the Treasure Coast.

The best events and things to do include a country concert at the last local county fair of the year, a festival for the first national wildlife refuge, an arts and crafts show under oak trees, a cornhole tournament to fight child abuse, a reptile show, a pit bull party and a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Here’s What To Do in 772.

County fair

The Indian River County Firefighters’ Fair kicks off this weekend at the Indian River County Fairgrounds at 7955 58th Ave., north of Vero Beach. The fair lasts through March 17.

A highlight of this year’s fair is a concert with country music singer Clay Walker at 7 p.m. Sunday. The Tom Jackson Band is the opening act at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are required to get into the concert area of the fair, and different seating options are available.

  • General admission bleacher seating or standing is $10, plus a $2.50 service fee. Fair admission, which must be bought separately, is $8 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6-12, adults ages 55 and older, veterans and first responders.

  • VIP silver tickets are $40 each, plus a $5 service fee. VIP gold tickets are $100 each, plus a $9 service fee. Both silver and gold include seating, early access to the seating area and a private bar. Neither include fair admission.

  • VIP platinum tickets are $250 each, plus a $13 service fee. Platinum includes fair admission, elevated seating, a meet and greet, early access to the seating area, a private bar and private restrooms.

Other new fair highlights include pig races, a “Farmily Feud” agricultural game show, Indian River County Fire Rescue vehicle extrication demonstrations and the traveling 100-year photographic timeline on display in the exhibition hall through March 14.

Proceeds benefit Indian River County’s Burn Fund, and a check will be presented to a burn victim before the concert. To buy concert tickets or for more information, go to www.firefightersfair.org.

More: Clay Walker to bring country music back to Indian River County Firefighters’ Fair

Laurie’s Stories: How to see 7 classic country concerts within 3 months on the Treasure Coast

Wildlife festival

The 27th annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Riverview Park at 600 U.S. 1 at the corner of C.R. 512/Sebastian Boulevard.

Activities include live wildlife shows, a rehabilitated pelican release if available, environmental exhibitors, arts and crafts, native plants for sale, children’s activities and games, food vendors, educational presentations, historical reenactments, an amateur photography contest, raffles, silent auctions and boat tours to Pelican Island.

Admission is free. The festival celebrates the anniversary of the establishment of the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903. The late president is brought to life by Roosevelt interpreter, Joe Wiegand. For more information, go to www.firstrefuge.org/pelican-island-wildlife-festival.

Laurie’s Stories: Explore Pelican Island afar for free or up close for a cost

Arts and crafts

The 68th annual Under the Oaks Fine Arts & Crafts Show is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Riverside Park at 3001 Riverside Park Drive in Vero Beach.

More than 200 artists from across the nation exhibit their work throughout the park, and vendors have local food for sale. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit the Vero Beach Art Club. No pets allowed. For more information, go to www.undertheoaksartshow.com.

Photos: Last year’s Under the Oaks Fine Arts & Crafts Show in Vero Beach

Cornhole tournament

The Exchange Club of Indian River’s third annual Toss Out Child Abuse Charity Cornhole Tournament starts at noon Saturday at Walking Tree Brewery at 3209 Dodger Road in Vero Beach. Registration and practice begin at 11 a.m.

It’s a double-elimination tournament. Each team of two plays a minimum of three games. Teams are divided into two ability levels determined by qualifying rounds. Payouts are $400, $300, $200 and $100.

The cost is $40 per team in advance and $50 at the door. Proceeds benefit local projects for the prevention of child abuse. To register, go to www.exchangeclubofindianriver.org/cornhole.

Photos: Last year’s ‘Toss Out Child Abuse’ charity cornhole tournament

Reptile show

ReptiDay is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Port St. Lucie Community Center at 2195 S.E. Airoso Blvd.

Those who attend the reptile show can see live animals from across the world, buy pets and pet products directly from experts and learn about reptiles and exotic animals at seminars and demonstrations. Pets for sale include reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, spiders and small exotic animals. Many vendors allow people to interact with the animals.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 5-12 and free for kids younger than 5. For more information, go to repticon.com/15656-2.

Laurie’s Stories: Take a Treasure Coast hike at these beautiful, historic parks and preserves

Pit bull party

The St. Pittie’s Day Party is 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Pet Supplies Plus at 3215 S.W. Port St. Lucie Blvd., Unit A.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and pit bulls with doggie beer, Irish food for dogs and humans and goodie bags. Plus, the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast will have pit bulls available for adoption. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/humanesocietytc.

Boat blessing

The second annual Blessing of the Fleet in Fort Pierce starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in the turning basin and travels east toward the Fort Pierce Inlet.

Powerboats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are blessed at they pass the U.S. Coast Guard vessel, marking the beginning of a safe boating season.

Then, a free community barbecue with marine safety booths, Coast Guard demonstrations and live music starts at noon at South Causeway Park at 414 Seaway Drive. For more information, go to www.lovefortpierce.com/about-1.

Laurie’s Stories: How to show visitors the best of Fort Pierce in one weekend

Surfing contest

The final Gnarly Charley Surf Series Winter Contest for groms ages 15 and younger starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at Pepper Park Beach at 3302 N. State Road A1A, north of Fort Pierce. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

Here are the divisions: ages 6 and younger push in; ages 10 and younger push in; ages 10 and younger longboard; ages 15 and younger longboard; and exceptional/autistic.

The entry fee is $25. Each additional division is $15. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/gnarlycharleygromseries.

Irish party

The Pre-Paddy Pardy is 1-5 p.m. Sunday at Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery at 4200 Johnston Road, north of Fort Pierce.

The party includes two live bands playing Irish pub songs, traditional tunes, Irish folk song and contemporary music. Plus, there will be food, including Irish dishes, for sale. For more information, call 772-460-0500 or go to www.summercrushwine.com.

Homegrown: Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery in Fort Pierce turns native muscadine grapes into wine

Laurie’s Stories: Cigar Box Guitar Festival puts Treasure Coast on the musical map

Historical reenactment

The 19th annual “Raid on Fort Pierce” Civil War living history and reenactment is this weekend at the Savannas Recreation Area at 1400 E. Midway Road in Fort Pierce. Battles begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days.

Admission is $5 each and free for kids younger than 5. For more information, call 772-318-8258 or go to www.facebook.com/ftpierceraid.

Irish parade

The 12th annual Jensen Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday along Jensen Beach Boulevard. The parade begins at 2 p.m.

The pet parade and the bagpipers kick off the main parade. The festival includes street vendors, Irish food for sale, arts and crafts, games and a kazoo band.

Admission is free. For more information, call 772-334-3444 or go to www.jbstpatricksparade.com.

Photos: Last year’s Jensen Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Laurie’s Stories: Free tours full of history at The Mansion at Tuckahoe, Capt. Sewall’s Home in Jensen Beach

Art competition

The sixth annual Plein Air Festival Quick Draw painting contest is 9-11 a.m. Sunday at Flagler Park at 201 S.W. Flagler Ave., in Stuart. Artist registration begins at 8 a.m.

The contest is open to all artists, who have two hours to paint a local landscape. The art is judged, and awards are given at noon. Then, the art is for sale from noon to 2 p.m. Unsold paintings will be displayed in the Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery in Tequesta.

Registration is $30-$40 for each artist. En plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. To register, go to www.pleinairlac.org.

Laurie’s Stories: Guanabanas owners opening waterfront restaurant in Stuart with unique view

Polo matches

The ninth annual Polo Classic for Molly’s House is noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Port Mayaca Polo Club at 12499 S.W. Conners Highway, west on Indiantown, on Lake Okeechobee. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets start at $50 for a carload and tailgating spot. For tickets, go to www.mollyshouse.org/all-event-list/polo-classic-2019. For more information, call 772-223-6659.

More: Molly’s House Polo Classic returns March 9 to Port Mayaca Polo Club

Laurie’s Stories: Tailgate at polo matches in Vero Beach for your next Sunday fun day

Laurie K. Blandford is TCPalm’s entertainment reporter and columnist dedicated to finding the best things to do on the Treasure Coast. Read her weekly column, Laurie’s Stories, on TCPalm.com. Follow her on Twitter at @TCPalmLaurie or Facebook at faceboook.com/TCPalmLaurie.


Source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/entertainment/whattodoin772/2019/03/06/firefighters-fair-wildlife-festival-under-oaks-top-weekend/3020313002/

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Benefits of improving your credit score

Your mortgage rate depends heavily on your credit score. And because a mortgage is usually your largest debt, improving your credit score could save you more than you think. In fact, a consumer with good credit could save enough while paying their mortgage to buy a car with cash.

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans have been hovering around 4.75. But actual mortgage quotes depend on your down payment or home equity, and your FICO score. The chart below shows a sample rate and payment comparison at each level for a $300,000 mortgage.  The savings add up the better your credit score is.


Looking at the chart, you can see your potential savings. For instance, if your current FICO score is in the 660 – 679 range, you could expect a mortgage taken today to cost you $13,094 more than it would if your score was 760 or higher. If you raised your FICO by a single point to 680, your extra cost drops to $8,470 — saving you $4,624 over ten years.

Improving your credit score — from poor to fair

If you have bad or poor credit, you probably know it. “Poor credit” usually means having a FICO score under 620 — the level at which many mortgage lenders set their minimum acceptable score. And many creditors consider 620 to 679 FICO scores to be “fair.”

According to FICO, the creator of the widely-used FICO credit score, four of the top five reasons for low credit scores relate to delinquency. That means missing payments, paying late or having debts going into collection. The fifth reason is having balances that are too high.

So, you should be able to raise your score over time by simply doing the one thing most people do — pay your bills on time. The fifth factor will go away if you stop using your credit cards and just pay the balance down — preferably making more than the minimum payment.

Need professional help? Mortgage Masters Group can assist.  We work with reputable, non-profit consumer credit agencies, whose counselors can help you budget and get your bills paid by putting you into a debt management plan (DMP). You pay them once a month, and they distribute the payment among your creditors. You may even get late charges waived and interest rate reductions if you qualify

Improving your credit score — from fair to good

If your credit is “fair,” ranging between 620 and 679, it’s still below average in the US. So, if you want even average interest rates and opportunities, you need to improve a little more.

Fortunately, that might not be too difficult. Not all fair credit scores happen because of bad debt management. Your credit history could be minimal. This is called a “thin file” in credit underwriting. Your account history might be ‘too recent,” FICO says, or with “too few accounts.”

Your fair credit score may also be caused by the opposite problem — too many accounts, too many accounts with balances, or your number of accounts with balances is too high. If you don’t have actual derogatory history, you can raise your score quickly by paying down your balances.

Be careful about closing accounts, however. You’ll probably want to pay off but keep the ones with the longest history or the biggest credit limits. That way, your utilization (your limits versus the amount used) and average age of accounts won’t be damaged.

Improving your credit score — from good to great

The average FICO score in this country is about 700, which means it’s in the “good” range. Creditors generally define “good” credit scores like 680 to 739. Anything over that is considered “excellent” in most cases.

So if you have a good credit score, you probably have some good debt habits — paying your bills on time, establishing a long credit history (it takes about 11 years on average to become a credit “superstar”), a good mix of credit — a handful of credit cards, an installment loan (like auto financing) or two, a mortgage….but super-scorers don’t carry credit card debt from month to month. They pay it off.

Credit utilization is also a huge factor. Consumers with good credit scores don’t run up more than 30 percent of their available credit. But to make the jump to “excellent,” you need to keep that down to 10 percent. If you have a $10,000 total credit limit, don’t touch $9,000 of it. Just like the old joke says, banks only want to lend to people who don’t need it. Use your cards for convenience or rewards, not for actual borrowing.

Quick and dirty tricks to raise your score fast

If you’re trying to raise your credit score before applying for a mortgage, there are a few ways to increase it quickly. Note that FICO does not guarantee that these will always work, but anecdotal evidence and a few studies suggest that they do.

*Authorized user*

If you don’t have enough credit history, a too short credit history, or no recent good credit history, you can add some positive history as an authorized user. This means finding friends or relatives willing to trust you to be on their credit card accounts. As an authorized user, you are not responsible for the payment.

You don’t charge anything on the account. In fact, you don’t even need to know the number. But the cardholder’s positive account payment history will appear on your credit report and probably also influence your FICO score. It depends on the version of the scoring system your creditor uses.

*Fix errors*

If you have any doubts about your credit report or history, pull a report for free using the government’s site, www.annualcreditreport.com. You can get your history from all three bureaus once a year for free (more often if denied credit or victimized by fraud) and purchase your “educational” FICO scores cheaply.

If there are inaccurate late or missing payments, or your balances are showing up higher than they are, contact the creditor and all three bureaus and ask them to correct the record. Be prepared to prove your claim.

Even if the entries are correct, if you have an otherwise good relationship with your creditor, try contacting them and begging to have the late payment removed from your record. If you currently owe past-due amounts, some creditors will be willing to remove the negative history if you agree to pay some portion of the balance now and set up a plan for the rest. Or pay off the balance in exchange for clearing your name.

Remember to get any special agreements like these in writing and signed.

*Rapid re-score*

Rapid re-scoring is the ability to fix errors on your credit report within a day or two. You have to be able to prove that there is an error. But the service isn’t something that you, a consumer, has access to. Only a mortgage lender.

So, if you know that there is a recent payment inaccurately reported as late, get your proof together and ask Mortgage Masters Group to help. One recent late payment can drop your FICO by over 100 points if your credit is otherwise great. So, there’s a lot at stake.

Each incorrect item costs $30 to $50 to remove but can save you weeks of dealing with credit bureaus and thousands on your mortgage costs.

*Borrow more*

But only to solve specific problems. For example, taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit card balances can skyrocket your FICO if the biggest knock they have on you is that your revolving balance or credit utilization is too high.

Because a personal loan counts as an installment loan (in which you make regular fixed payments until your account is zero), while credit cards are revolving loans (in which you can pay them and then charge them back up over and over). So, if you have $9,000 in credit card debt and $10,000 total limit, you’re at 90 percent utilization. But pay them off with a $9,000 personal loan (which may have a lower interest rate), and your utilization drops to zero.

Other ways to reduce your utilization include contacting the creditors with whom you have good, longstanding relationships, and request a higher credit limit. Then don’t go near that limit. More available credit — UNUSED — means lower utilization ratio. So, if you owe $5,000 and have a total limit of $10,000, your ratio is 50 percent. But add another $5,000 in available credit, and your ratio drops to a more respectable 33 percent.

*Rent reporters and “second chance’ cards*

Often the best way to get lenders and scoring models to ignore your sordid past is to get some recent positive payment history into your report. If you’re a renter, you may be able to sign up for a service that reports your good payment history and gets it incorporated into your credit score.

And for those with no trade lines or poor credit history, a secured credit card can help put some good payment history on your report a score. Make sure that the card offers reasonable fees and that it reports your monthly payments to all three major credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

*Re-aging your accounts*

“Re-aging” means bringing a past-due account current. Your creditor would have to agree to roll your past-due amounts into your account balance. If you have been trying to get current and sending in money but can’t come up with enough to completely catch up, ask your creditor about re-aging.

You have a better chance of success if you make a couple of on-time payments first, or if you have a non-profit credit counselor contact your creditor. Re-aging can instantly improve your score.

Shop for lenders that use the “right” credit score

A single point on your credit score can make the difference between a “good” mortgage pricing tier and a “fair” one. And as the example above shows, that one point can cost you many thousands over the life of your loan.

Understand that the “educational” score you can purchase when you pull your free credit reports is not the same score that mortgage lenders will see. In fact, there are about 50 different FICO scores geared to various industries, and versions of them updated periodically. So, ten different mortgage lenders may get ten difference scores for you.

You’ll likely only know their model is not the best when you get a mortgage quote that’s not as good. The good thing as that multiple mortgage lenders pulling your credit during a short time won’t kill your score (inquiries do affect your FICO but a bunch of mortgage inquiries in a short time will be treated as a single inquiry). So, you can safely shop with many competing mortgage lenders, like Mortgage Master Group (www.mortgagemastersgroup.com) to get the best deal available to you.


Need A Mortgage? Visit us at: www.mortgagemastersgroup.com

* This letter is for information purposes only and is not an advertisement to extend customer credit as defined by Section 12 CFR 1026.2 Regulation Z. Programs available to qualified borrowers and rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice.  All products are subject to credit, income and property approval. Other Underwriting terms, conditions and some restrictions may apply.  Rate shown is for informational and comparison purposes only and does not represent a guaranteed or quoted rate.  Mortgage license status may be checked at www.Nmlsconsumeraccess.org.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Top 6 items an appraiser takes pictures of.

Curious about what items an appraiser takes pictures of?

As a result of the recession that occurred around 2007, and the impact on the real estate market, appraisal requirements have increased significantly. One of these requirements is an increase in the documentation appraisers are required to include in their appraisal reports.

Photographs are an important part of that documentation and a requirement that the lender has expanded over the years. It use to be that appraisers would only need to include pictures of the front and back of the property as well as street scenes, but now this has expanded to include much more. A comment on a previous post I wrote about why appraisers take pictures of every room in the house prompted me to explain a little further about what items an appraiser takes pictures of.

Today we’re going to discuss what photos the appraiser includes in the report, either as a requirement of the lender’s underwriting guidelines or as supporting documentation and support for the appraiser’s final opinion of value.

So what exactly does the appraiser take pictures of?

Any item that adds to or takes away from the value of your home is fair game to have its picture taken. The items an appraiser takes pictures of can vary from things within the house and outside of the house to things that are located next to your house. Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about.

Description of improvements

Appraisers take pictures of the various rooms in a house as a way to describe the property being appraised. Pictures can give the readers of the appraisal report, such as loan underwriters, a better understanding of what the various rooms in the house look like including their condition. Pictures, in conjunction with the floor plan sketch, helps to provide a more complete description of the improvements and provide support for the final opinion of value.

Special Features

If a home has special features such as a built in entertainment center or detailed crown moldings this can add value. Including pictures of these special features is the best way to document them and support conclusions that you arrive at within the report. Pictures can also help add support for quality adjustments between the subject and sales and can add credibility to the appraisal report.

Deferred Maintenance

Most appraisals are made with the property in “as is” condition and including pictures of items that require repair will paint a better picture of the property. Appraisers reconcile the final value of the home after making adjustments to the sales used in the report. The final value typically lies within this range and including pictures of where the home may need repairs can add support to the part of the value range that was reconciled. The more complete an appraisal is with written documentation and photographs the stronger it is.

Attic and crawlspace

Appraisers who perform FHA appraisals are required to perform at a minimum a head and shoulders inspection of both the attic and crawlspace. To prove this was done the appraisal must contain pictures of the attic and crawlspace. These pictures can show potential problems like prior fire damage in the attic or settlement cracks in the basement.

External Factors

External factors include things outside of the boundaries of the subject property. An example of this would be a property located adjacent to a factory that produced noxious odors that would have a negative effect on the marketability of the property. Including pictures of the factory helps to inform and educate readers of the report so they understand why the appraiser came up with the value they did.

Updates, renovations, or remodeling

Have you spent thousands of dollars on updates, renovations, or remodeling? If you want credit for it then you’ll probably be gung ho for the appraiser to take as many pictures as they want to add support to their final opinion of value in the appraisal report. Maybe the appraiser needs to make a larger than normal adjustment for an awesome renovated kitchen. Adding pictures can help the reader of the report understand why this was done.


When the appraiser takes pictures of your house it is because they are collecting evidence to support the final opinion of value they arrive at for the bank, or to support a value to set a list price as is done with a pre-listing appraisal. Don’t think of it as an intrusion of privacy since no one except for the lender and/or owner see the report. The more value related features your home has, either in a positive or negative way, the more pictures will probably be taken.

Source: https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/top-6-items-appraiser-takes-pictures/

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


When homeowners think about the biggest investment of their life, top of most minds is how safe an area would be to live in, as well as raise a family.  The same is also said for affordability and cost of living.  An analysis from Realtor.com® and 55place.com® has helped to compile the data, and all indicators point to Port St. Lucie, the Treasure Coast and surrounding areas as being the prefect place to live as well as retire.

Realtor.com® analyzed the 150 largest metro areas to determine which cities have the lowest crime rates. All the areas on realtor.com®’s list were also listed as affordable, with home prices below the $300,000 national median.  Port St. Lucie ranked #3 in the 7 safest, most affordable cities in America, with a medium home list price of $285,100 and a total crime rate of 19.16%.  Pittsburg, PA & Grand Rapids, MI topped the list.

Violent crime, such as homicides, assaults, and robberies, have plunged 49 percent nationwide from 1993 to 2017, according to FBI data.  The aging population is more active than ever and communities for retirees are thriving. But where are the most affordable cities in the US for retirement?

The analysis by 55places.com considered several factors including median home prices, cost of living, state tax laws, local health care options, availability of 55+ communities, and public transit; to compile a ranking of the 20 most affordable US cities for retirement.  9 Florida cities and areas ranked in the top 20, proving that Florida is the affordable living and retirement destination.

55place.com®’s research found that 77% of active adults need their next home to be affordable.  A home within a certain price point is only half of the equation and the surrounding area, whether or not an active adult community is of interest, plays an integral role in quality of life, and nearby attractions and available establishments greatly enhance that.

When looking for a primary residence, a 2nd home or Investment property for future retirement, Port St. Lucie and the Treasure Coast should be top on your list for both safety and affordability, and Mortgage Master Group you first stop for all of your mortgage financing needs.  Check out the full Realtor.com® and 55place.com® lists below.

***7 safest, most affordable cities in America***

  1. Grand Rapids, Mich.  –  * Median home list price: $280,000 * Total crime rate: 18.38%

  2. Pittsburgh – * Median home list price: $173,000 * Total crime rate: 18.44%

  3. Port St. Lucie, Fla. – * Median home list price: $285,100 * Total crime rate: 19.16%

  4. El Paso, Texas – * Median home list price: $175,800 * Total crime rate: 20.48%

  5. Syracuse, N.Y. – * Median home list price: $160,000 * Total crime rate: 21.4%

  6. Hartford, Conn. – * Median home list price: $260,000 * Total crime rate: 21.97%

  7. Fayetteville, Ark. – * Median home list price: $272,600 * Total crime rate: 23.21%


Source: “America’s Safest Affordable Cities … That Won’t Put You to Sleep,” realtor.com® (Jan. 14, 2019)

***The most affordable places to retire in 2019***

  1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  2. Ocala, Florida

  3. Lakeland, Florida

  4. Jacksonville, Florida

  5. Daytona Beach, Florida

  6. Gainesville, Florida

  7. New Castle County, Delaware

  8. South Bend, Indiana

  9. Tampa, Florida

  10. Waco, Texas

  11. Birmingham, Alabama

  12. Memphis, Tennessee

  13. San Antonio, Texas

  14. Ft. Myers-Cape Coral, Florida

  15. Phoenix, Arizona

  16. Melbourne, Florida

  17. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  18. Orlando, Florida

  19. Wichita Falls, Texas

  20. Indianapolis, Indiana


Source: 55place.com (by Steve Randall 28 Jan 2019)

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