Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 64

Budget Breakdown For Your Kitchen Remodel

by Lisa Castanet
























Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Here's how the pros say you're likely to earmark your money. According to Florida Realtors and sources from National Kitchen and Bath Association.

  • Cabinetry & Hardware - 29%
  • Installation - 17%
  • Appliances & Ventilation - 14%
  • Countertops - 10%
  • Flooring - 7%
  • Lighting - 5%
  • Walls & Ceiling - 5%
  • Design - 4%
  • Doors & Windows - 4%
  • Faucets & Plumbing - 4%
  • Other - 1%


Exterior Projects That Net You Cash

by Lisa Castanet
























Thinking about improving your yard? Here are the projects that provide the greatest return when you sell your home. Courtesy of Florida Realtors and sources National Association of Realtors and 2018 Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features.

  1. Landscape Maintenance. Job cost: $3,000. Cost recovered: $3,000. Equals 100%
  2. Overall Landscape Upgrade. Job cost: $6,000. Cost recovered: $5,000. Equals 83%
  3. Tree Care. Job cost: $2,000. Resale value: $2,000. Equals $100%
  4. New Wood Deck. Job cost: $10,000. Cost recovered: $8,000. Equals 80%
  5. New Patio. Job costs: $7,200. Cost recovered: $5,000. Equals 69%
  6. Landscape Lighting. Job costs: $5,000. Cost recovered: $2,500. Equals 50%
  7. Fire Feature. Job cost: $6,000. Cost recovered: $4,000. Equals 67%
  8. Irrigation System. Job cost: $3,500. Cost recovered: $3,000. Equals 86%
  9. Outdoor Kitchen. Job cost: $14,000. Cost recovered: $10,000. Equals 86%
  10. New Pool. Job costs: $57,500. Cost recovered: $25,000. Equals 43%


How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

by Lisa Castanet
























Do you want a buyer's home inspections on your home for sale to go well? Here is some ideas on how to prepare for a home inspection. This information is courtesy of Florida Realtors and sources from Pillar to Post,,

  • If home is empty, leave utilities on and pilot lights lit.
  • Make sure electrical sockets, light fixtures, switches and fans work.
  • Confirm smoke and carbon monoxide detectors operate.
  • Check that faucets and toilets run properly and don't leak.
  • Clean stove and oven so they won't smoke and set off alarm when tested.
  • Verify doors and windows open and close and all hardware works.
  • Clear obstructions around furnace, water heaters and attic access.
  • Leave keys for outbuildings and exterior electrical boxes.
  • Remove brush and debris from exterior inspection points.
  • Gather documentation for renovations or repairs that have been made.
  • Provide sketch showing location of septic tank and well.
  • Remove or crate pets.
  • Plan to be away for three hours minimum.
  • Consider having home pre-inspected so you can fix problems before the official inspection.

Preparing for a Photo Shoot

by Lisa Castanet

























Here are some ideas on preparing for a photo shoot. We predominately us professional photography in our real estate marketing. These ideas, provided by Florida Realtors and sources from Real Estate Staging Association, National Association of Realtors and Better Homes and Gardens blog offer sage advice for home sellers.

  • Freshen and Clean. Re-paint surfaces that show stains, scuffs or damage. Thoroughly clean house, top to bottom.
  • De-personalize. Put away magazines, toys, newspapers and family photographs. Hide evidence of pets. Remove calendars, bulletin boards and anything that could date the photos (ex. seasonal decorations). Clear photos and magnets from refrigerator door.
  • Accessorize. Add pop to each room with fresh flowers, attractive vases, colorful afghans, new towels, etc. On broad counter tops, display one small, attractive object (ex. unique espresso maker) to provide scale. Outside, replace dead plants and add bright-colored flowers in pots or planted in the ground.
  • De-clutter inside. To make home look spacious, decrease amount of furniture in each room and carefully group what's left.
  • De-clutter outside. Hide empty planters, hoses, trash cans, games, balls, pet houses, etc. Close garage doors and remove cars from driveway and in front of home.
  • Brighten. Before the photo shoot starts, create as much light as possible. Turn on all interior lights, open drapes and blinds and light candles to create warm ambiance.

Safeguarding Your Home During Open Houses

by Lisa Castanet
























Here are some ideas on safeguarding your home during open houses. These ideas are provided by Florida Realtors and some sources from Trulia Inman Realty Times.

  • Never picture anything of value in listing photos
  • Hide TV, computer and wifi passwords
  • Hide bills and other documents that might have your contact information, social security numbers of bank account numbers
  • Lock up prescription medicines
  • Remove checkbook and bank deposit slips
  • Take videos or photos to record what was in each room before the open house occurred
  • Lock up or remove jewelry and antiques
  • Make sure your Realtor has everyone sign in before touring the home
  • Hide extra house keys, car keys and garage door openers
  • After each open house, ask your Realtor to make sure all windows and doors are locked
  • Don't hide anything in your top dresser drawer, a place thieves are likely to look
  • Hide photos that show your family's faces
  • Hide smartphones, tablets and laptops
  • If you'll be away after the open house, ask a neighbor to check that all the doors are locked
  • Shut off desktop computers and lock them with a passcode

Stage Your Home to Sell

by Lisa Castanet

Wondering how to stage your home to sell in today's market? Hers are some ideas, courtesy of Florida Realtors
























To earn top dollar and sell your home more quickly, you need to make it stand out from the competition. And one of the best ways to do that is through staging.

4 Reasons to Stage

  1. Your home will shine online. Buyers first found 92% of the homes they visited on the internet. Good staging can make your home stand out before buyers see it in person.
  2. It shows off the potential. 77% of agents say staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home.
  3. It spurs walk-throughs. Customers are more willing to walk through a home that's been staged, according to 40% of agents.
  4. Your home will sell faster. Nearly two-thirds of agents say staging decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market.

Simple fixes Agents Recommend

  • Declutter - 93%
  • Full home cleaning - 89%
  • Carpet cleaning - 81%
  • Remove pets before showings - 80%
  • Make minor repairs - 75%
  • Depersonalize the home - 72%
  • Paint walls - 68%

The 6 Most Important Rooms to Stage

  • Living room
  • Master bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Outdoor space
  • Dining room
  • Bathroom

Cost of Professional Staging

  • Most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial consultation, then $500 to $600 per room per month. ("Local markets may vary" - Lisa Castanet)

​​Realtors' Estimate of Impact of Home Staging on Selling Price

  • About 1/3 of buyer's agents say staging increases selling price by 1% to 5%
  • 13% of agents say staging increases selling prices by 6% to 10%
  • 5% of agents say staging adds 11% to 20% to selling price

Sources: NAR 2017 Profile of Home Staging,,, Barb Schwarz - CA realtor and chairwoman of the international association of home staging professionals.


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

Your Polk County FL Home Value - CMA or BPO

by Lisa Castanet

Your Polk County FL Home Value - CMA or BPO

For information on selling your home or the current market value of your home, please call or text one of our experienced Realtors today.

Deane Hart, Broker Associate 863-860-4257, Joe Baker, Realtor 863-409-2293, Andy Hernandez, Broker Associate 863-838-6736 or Lisa Castanet, Broker/Owner 863-838-1318


Polk County Real Estate Market Trends September 2017

by Lisa Castanet

Let's review the latest Polk County real estate market trends as of September 2017.  If you live in Lakeland, Mulberry, Bartow, Auburndale or Winter Haven then you can check out the latest data every month by simply visiting our website and clicking on the linked page with charts and graphs showing detailed sales activity, average sale price, the average days on market and many more facts. 

Keep track every month as this data is updated automatically from our My Florida Regional MLS system's Smart Charts. Typically this data is updated around the 15th of each month for the previous month. You can track monthly data, year over year and see the statistical trend versus the 5 year average. 

If you live in Polk County, Florida then you won't want to miss the latest Polk County real estate market trends for 2017! Just click the links below and follow the link to each zip code.

Lakeland market trends - click Here  

Mulberry market trends - click Here

Bartow market trends - click Here

Auburndale market trends - click Here

Winter Haven market trends - click Here

Your Home Value - Automated Technology

by Lisa Castanet

Your Home Value - Automated Technology

Find out what your home value is......

My Imperial Lakes Golf Community Home Value

My Lakeland Area Home Value

My Christina Area Home Value

My Deerbrooke Area Home Value

My Sundance Community Area Home Value

My Polk Co Rental Home Value

Native Palm Properties 863-647-1679 Call Today. You can also call or text one of our agents.

Lisa Castanet 863-838-1318, Deane Hart 863-860-4257

Joe Baker 863-409-2293, Andy Hernandez 863-838-6736

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 64

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