Real Estate Information


Lisa Castanet


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 160

Native Palm Properties June 2018 Small Business of the Month

by Lisa Castanet

Thank you so much to Lakeland Chamber of Commerce for awarding us the Small Business of the Month, June 2018. 

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

Polk County October 2017 Market Trends

by Lisa Castanet

Get all the latest October 2017 data for your market area all over Polk County.  Check out the latest analysis for Lakeland FLMulberry FLAuburndale FLBartow FLWinter Haven FL or Plant City, Haines City and surrounding areas.

You can even look at your specific zip code within each of these cities.  All market data is updated in real time on the 15th of each month for the previous month's reports. The data is from My Florida Regional multiple listing service powered by Real Estate Business Intelligence and provided as a courtesy to by Native Palm Properties.

So check Polk County October 2017 Market Updates and check back each month for your zip code information.

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.






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

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,







Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 160

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