Real Estate Information


Lisa Castanet


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 170

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%


Common Expenses for New Home Buyers

by Lisa Castanet























When considering buying a home, think about these common expenses for new home buyers. Courtesy of Florida Realtors with sources from

  • $635 for bedroom furnishings
  • $575 for washer and dryer
  • $215 for window covers
  • $300 for computer system
  • $724 for sofa
  • $1,704 for other appliances
  • $1,172 for other furnishings
  • $270 for a new fence
  • $687 living room chairs and tables
  • $345 for dining room furniture and kitchen furniture
  • $2,106 for outside addition or alterations
  • $150 for new plumbing fixtures
  • $515 for lawnmowers and yard equipment
  • $1,203 other upgrades and repairs


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 Save for Your First Home

by Lisa Castanet

























Want to buy your first home but need help coming up with the down payment? Consider these tips to set you on the right path. Florida Realtors, sources,, The Motley Fool and resources, have provided ideas on how to save for your first home.

  1. Figure out what you can afford. Be realistic and factor in the monthly costs for repairs, property taxes and more you'll face as a homeowner.
  2. Talk to your Realtor about special financing programs. Many programs for first-timers offer lower down payments and/or provide down-payment assistance.
  3. Based on your research, determine how much you'll need to save. Include closing costs in the figure.
  4. Create a timeline for buying a home and then a budget to get you to your goal.
  5. Pay off credit cards, auto loans and any personal loans. This will make it easier to get a mortgage at a lower rate.
  6. Pay your down-payment fund first. Start a separate home-buying account and set up an automated transfer that moves a portion of each paycheck there as soon as the check is deposited.
  7. Look for creative ways to save faster. Cut back on luxuries and other costs where you can. Put windfalls, such as tax refunds, into your home-buying account. Consider working a part-time job.

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

The Hidden Value of Homeownership

by Lisa Castanet
























Here are some of the hidden values of home ownership for you to consider when deciding if now is the right time to buy a home. This information is provided by both the Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors' Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Owning a home doesn't just help you build wealth. It also impacts your life and your children's lives. Here are some of the specific benefits homeowners may enjoy over renters:

  • Homeowners are healthier and live longer
  • Owning a home reduces the likelihood of divorce
  • Homeowners are less likely to suffer from depression
  • City homeowners are less likely to be victims of crime
  • Children of homeowners often achieve a higher level of education
  • Children of homeowners are likely to earn more over their lifetimes
  • Children of homeowners have significantly lower teen dropout and pregnancy rates
  • Homeowners are more likely to be involved in neighborhood groups
  • Homeowners have a better understanding of politics and are more likely to vote

What to ask when choosing a lender

by Lisa Castanet


























Did you ever wonder what to ask when choosing a lender?  Unless you are paying cash, you will need to obtain a loan (financing) in order to purchase your home. Here are some questions provided by Florida Realtors with sources National Association of Realtors and to consider asking your loan officer.

1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?
2. What fees are included in a loan; and what fees will be due at closing?
3. Are your rates, terms, fees and closing costs negotiable?
4. Do you offer discounts for inspections, home ownership classes or setting up automatic payments?
5. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it costs and how long will it be required?
6. What are your escrow requirements?
7. What bill-pay options do you offer?
8. What would be included in my mortgage payment (homeowners insurance, property taxes, etc.)?
9. Which type of mortgage plan would you recommend for my situation?
10. Who will service this loan - your bank or another company?
11. How long will the rate on this loan be locked-in? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if the market rate drops during the lock-in period?
12. How long will the loan approval process take?
13. How long will it take to close the loan?
14. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying this loan?
15. How much in total will I be paying over the life of this loan?

Secrets For A Stress-Free Home Purchase

by Lisa Castanet

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 170

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