Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 91

What Are Closing Costs?

by Lisa Castanet

Are you thinking about buying a home? One of the details in the home buying process is qualifying for a home loan. There are certain costs involved with obtaining a mortgage called closing costs. What are closing costs? 

We have spelled it out below for you.....



















  • Origination Fee - Payment to lender to evaluate your credit, underwrite and process loan.
  • Discount Points - Paid to a lender at closing to reduce interest rate over the life of the mortgage.
  • PMI or Mortgage Insurance - Required if your down payment is less than 20%. Protects the lender if you default on your loan.
  • Appraisal Fee - Paid to appraiser to confirm the home's fair market value.
  • Title Search - Covers the costs to confirm the seller own's the property and it is free from liens.
  • Title Insurance - Protects the lender and you (if you request policy coverage) if a title claim surfaces in the future.
  • Termite Inspection Fee - Inspection is required to certify the home is free of termite damage or infestation.
  • Survey Fee - Charge to verify property boundaries.
  • Flood Certification Fee - Covers the cost to determine if home is in federally designated flood zone. If it is, the lender will require you to purchase flood insurance. Some lenders also charge a separate flood monitoring fee to check for flood map updates.
  • Prepaid Interest - Covers any mortgage interest due between the date of closing and your first mortgage payment.
  • Prorated Property Taxes - Covers property taxes from the date of closing to the end of the year.
  • Homeowner's Insurance - Typically, you will pay the full first year policy cost upfront at closing.
  • Homeowner's Association Transfer Fee - Paid on properties located in a community with a homeowners association to transfer ownership documents to you, as the new owner.
  • Initial Escrow - Lender may require the first two months of next year's homeowner's insurance, flood insurance and property taxes to build up a reserve balance in your escrow account.
  • Closing or Settlement Fee - Paid to the title company, attorney or escrow company that conducts the closing.
  • Recording Fee - Paid to the state or county to record the transfer of property from one owner to another in public records.
  • Transfer Tax - Also known as Documentary Stamps, paid to the state or county based on the amount of the mortgage. This fee is charged when a property changes ownership.

We hope this helps explain and answer your question....What Are Closing Costs?

Our Realtors can help you purchase a home. Call or text us today! Lisa Castanet 863-838-1318, Deane Hart 863-860-4257, Joe Baker 863-409-2293, Ed Phelps 863-640-2320, Andy Hernandez 863-838-6736 or Valerie Castanet 863-640-6103

Buying A Home in Central Florida 101

by Lisa Castanet

Buying A Home in Central Florida 101

Our Realtors can help you purchase your dream home, Call or Text us directly...

Deane Hart, Broker Associate 863-860-4257    Joe Baker, Realtor Associate 863-409-2293

Andy Hernandez, Broker Associate 863-838-6736    Ed Phelps, Realtor Associate 863-640-2320

Lisa Castanet, Broker/Owner 863-838-1318    Valerie Castanet, Realtor Associate 863-640-6103

Search our website for homes here - My Home Search

Protecting Your Identity When Buying a Home

by Lisa Castanet

Protecting your identity when buyer a home. Here are some ideas, courtesy of Florida Realtors.
























Thieves are using ever-more sophisticated scams to steal your identity and, ultimately, your down payment. To help protect yourself, consider theses suggestions:

  • Install malware protection software on your computer to help block online attacks.
  • Create strong passwords for your computer and smart devices and change them regularly.
  • Add lock-out software that blocks access to your computer when you're not using it.
  • Never access or send financial or personal information when connected to a free Wi-Fi hub or charging stations.
  • Seek referrals before choosing a lender. And never send sensitive information without first meeting the lender in person.
  • Never open suspicious emails or attachments, even if they appear to be from your lender or RealtorR. 
  • Use caution if posting information about your purchase on social media, where it can be mined by scammers.
  • Never email sensitive information. Instead, send it by courier, drop off the documents in person or use a secure, encrypted document-sharing platform.
  • Ask your Realtor and lender who will have access to your personal information and how it will be disposed of if it's not needed when your transaction is complete. Will it be shredded or stored in a secure location?
  • Work only with a lender who uses dual controls on sire transfers so no money can be moved until two employees independently approve the transfer.
  • Never wire funds until you have phoned a trusted source to confirm that all the information in the wiring instructions is accurate.
  • Always be on the lookout for scams and impersonators.

Sources: Florida Realtors, Federal Trade Commission, National Association of Realtors.






Guide to Securing a Smart Home

by Lisa Castanet

Here is a guide to securing a smart home, courtesy of Florida Realtors.























When a home filled with smart devices changes hands, it can create security risks for sellers and buyers. To help protect yourself, consider the following steps.


  1. Make a list of all smart devices that will stay after the sale, including locks, lighting, thermostats, alarms, streaming video players, modems and Wi-Fi repeaters.
  2. Immediately before closing, reset all devices to factory defaults to wipe away email addresses, credit card numbers and other personal data.
  3. If a device is tied to a personal email, create a free, generic email address (ex. and connect the device to that.
  4. At closing, pass the generic email address and other smart home codes to buyers.


  1. Ask sellers for manuals and manufacturer contact information for all smart devices.
  2. Notify manufacturers of change of ownership and provide new contact information so they can send you updates and security patches.
  3. Update all devices to the latest security software and firmware.
  4. Change passwords and user names of the devices.
  5. Change access codes for door locks, gates and garage door openers.


  1. Include an inventory of smart home devices in the contract to make sure all parties understand what will transfer with the sale.
  2. Make a smart home device reset part of the seller's transaction checklist.

Sources: Online Trust Alliance, National Association of Realtors

18 Tips To Protect Your New Home

by Lisa Castanet

Here are 18 tips to protect your new home courtesy of Florida Realtors.





















Fire Protection

  1. Install smoke/carbon monoxide alarms on every level. Test monthly and replace batteries each year.
  2. Buy an ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher for the kitchen, where half of all fires occur. Check pressure annually.
  3. Plug major appliances into wall outlets, not extension cords, which can overheat.
  4. Create escape plans for all rooms and place escape ladders in upstairs bedrooms.

Burglary Protection

  1. Change locks on exterior doors and confirm that all doors and windows lock securely.
  2. Add security bars to sliding glass doors.
  3. Trim shrubs near home to reduce spots where burglars might hide.
  4. Install motion-detector lighting to illuminate dark areas.
  5. Consider adding a home alarm system.

Flood Protection

  1. Place wireless water alarms under washing machine and sinks.
  2. Install flood-safe hoses on washing machine.
  3. When leaving on trips, turn off water at main valve to prevent floods.
  4. Confirm that homeowner's insurance covers water and mold damage due to leaks and sewer backups. Some policies don't.

Storm Protection

  1. Trim trees and shrubs so weakened branches won't fall on home or be propelled into windows by high winds.
  2. Install downspout extensions to carry heavy rains away from the foundation.
  3. If you evacuate when a dangerous storm hits, turn off utilities to deter flooding and fires. (

Wear and Tear Protection

  1. Inspect inside and outside of home monthly for signs of damage.
  2. Repair/replace broken items before small problems become serious ones.

Sources: Red Cross,, House Logic,







Beautiful 4 bedroom, 2 bath waterfront home Central FL

by Lisa Castanet

Check out this beautiful 4 bedroom, 2 bath waterfront home in Central FL

Call or Text 863-838-1318 for Details!

Just Listed, Click for Details!

Beautiful 4 bedroom, 2 bath waterfront home in gated Fairway Oaks within Imperial Lakes Golf community. This home was built in 2014 and has many upgrades including bamboo flooring, Corian counter tops in kitchen and baths, rain shower head in master shower, 17 X 15 covered lanai, surround sound system, Leviton smart box, decorative iron door, upgraded landscaping, patio with pavers and gutters. You will enjoy relaxing by the lake or watching the birds and other wildlife in the preserve area right out your front door. Come see this one-of-a kind home today! 


Waterfront Home Sites .81 acre each Central FL

by Lisa Castanet

Waterfront Home Sites .81 acre each Central FL Each Lot $129,900 Call or text 863-838-1318

SPECTACULAR VIEWS!! Picture your dream home built for your family on this .81 acre lakefront home site.

Picture your dream home built for your family on this .81 acre lakefront home site. 2 available for sale. You will love the gorgeous sunset views everyday, majestic oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and all the natural wildlife that surrounds you. Imagine choosing the ideal floor plan for your family lifestyle, building your custom home and then relaxing like your on vacation everyday. This lake allows electric motors and you can fish to your hearts content on this approximately 23 acres lake. Don't miss out on this rare opportunity for lakefront property in Central Florida located in Imperial Lakes Golf community with public 18 hole golf course. Close to shopping, grocery stores and restaurants. Just 35 minutes to Tampa, 45 minutes to attractions and about an hour to the beaches. #LoveLakeland


Tips for Buying in a Tight Housing Market

by Lisa Castanet

Here are some tips for buying in a tight housing market for you.

 When inventory is low, prices go up and homes sell quickly - this is considered a tight housing market. Buying a home in this market can make an already complex process even more overwhelming.

Follow these tips to avoid unneeded stress!

Tip #1 - Identify Home Wants vs. Needs

There are many features to consider when buying a home. Wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later so don't get caught in bidding wars for homes with these features. Focus on homes that meet your needs and you may find more success. Such features include school district, neighbors, lot size, location and floor plan layout.

Tip #2 - Establish And Stick to a Budget

Buyers should get a preapproval as soon as possible to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. From there you can take into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, to determine a final budget that you can afford. Remember, in a tight market bidding wars can drive up prices, so be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses your budget.

Tip #3 - Bid Competitively with a Solid Earnest Money Deposit

While it is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, buyers should put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. In addition, make sure your offer includes a solid earnest money deposit to show you are committed to the sale. (Earnest Money Deposit - the cash provided by the buyer, ranging from 1% up to 5% of the purchase price, which gets held in escrow until the sale closes.)

Tip #4 - Be Flexible

In multiple bidding situations it's not always the highest offer that is the most attractive to a seller. Find out if there are any items that are important to the seller that you can be flexible with, like the move-in date. Allowing a few extra days for the seller to move out can make your offer standout from the others.

Tip #5 - Hire A Professional

Finding your dream home in a tight market is a full-time-job, hire a professional! Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give you the competitive advantage needed in a tight market. (Tight market can also be referred to as a Seller's market because of low inventory or number of homes available for sale)

Source: National Association of Realtors, Courtesy of Real Estate Infographics.



Are you ready to purchase a home or looking to sell your home in Lakeland, Mulberry, Bartow, Auburndale, Winter Haven FL?  Enjoy the experience and work with a Realtor. There is a great deal more involved with the purchase and sell of a home than you may think. That's why its a licensed profession. Why not work with an experienced Realtor during the process of buying or selling real estate? Call or Text our Realtors directly. We have many YEARS of experience and work FULL TIME in our professional careers. 

Deane Hart 863-860-4257, Joe Baker 863-409-2293, Andy Hernandez 863-838-6736, Lisa Castanet 863-838-1318. 

Let us put our hard work, experience and knowledge to work for YOUR best interest. We can blend the best of experience and technology together to work for your needs in real estate.

Oak Landing, gated neighborhood in Imperial Lakes Golf Community

by Lisa Castanet

Call or Text Deane Hart directly 863-860-4257

Make this 4 bedroom house in a gated community your next home! Located within the Oak Landing neighborhood of Imperial Lakes, this home has an open split-floor plan and a huge 50'x10' screened lanai. The kitchen features an island, solid-surface countertops and 42" upper cabinets. The new dishwasher was installed April 1, 2016. The kitchen, breakfast area and bathrooms have ceramic tile flooring. The master bathroom is equipped with a garden tub and separate shower along with an oversized master closet. The home is wired for security and the backyard is fully PVC fenced. This house is ready for you to move in. Oak Landing is a gated subdivision within the golf community of Imperial Lakes. A Publix shopping center is also located within Imperial Lakes and the location offers easy access to State road 60 and I-4. Call today to schedule your showing.















Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 91

Contact Information

Photo of Native Palm Team Real Estate
Native Palm Team
Native Palm Properties
5925 Imperial Pkwy, Suite #111
Mulberry FL 33860
Fax: (863)701-8309