Things you need to know or consider when buying a home. 

How to Make the Most of Your Small Space

People are looking to buy a new home, but with home prices scooting higher and higher, being forced to buy a smaller home than anticipated is a real possibility. Don't let that get in the way, though, because we've got a few tips to help you make the most of your small spaces whether you embrace the space and create a cozy environment, or want to create the illusion of more square footage. Take a look at the tips below. 

1. Paint

Any blog you read will tell you about the importance of paint colors. Color can transition any space into almost anything you want. If you are looking to enlarge the space, choose lighter colors like white, tan, and gray. This creates a clean slate and expands the area. Go a…

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Is a Free Vacation Hiding in Your Escrow Account?

Written by Chapman Insurance Group

"How would you like you next year's worth of vacations to be free?"

A very common activity on any given day is adding mortgage company information to policies for new home buyers heading to the closing table. It's convenient to roll your taxes and insurance all into one tidy monthly payment; I cut one check and pay three bills. Every year the bank sends me the letter giving me the breakdown of my mortgage payment and, like many, I talk a look at the monthly payment amount and I'm done. But a recent client whose insurance I reviewed, demonstrated just how much that convenience can actually cost. 

This client owns a nice $400,000 home. It is well built, in a…

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4 False Truths About Realtors You Should Know Before Buying/Selling Your Home

People often go into buying or selling real estate with misconceptions about realtors and the role that the agent actually plays. What do realtors actually do? Do they take all the commission? Do I even need one?

Here are a few myths about working with real estate agents. 

1. Agents get 6% commissions.

What a lot of people forget is that there are two sides to a transaction. In most cases, this means there are four mouths to feed (both agents, and both brokerages). Sure, it would be nice to get the full 6%, but it's just not the case. What you should know, is that the seller pays the commissions (in any normal case). If you are a buyer, you don't pay anything to…

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Cheap Insurance That Could Cost You Big

by Guest writer from Chapman Insurance Group

A couple times a year I go to my mailbox and bundled in with my bills and credit card offers, I find an offer for lower priced home or auto insurance (I'm lucky enough to get both). You may have seen these and been tempted to wonder just how much you could save. I can't blame you; I wondered the same thing.

When I'm shopping for things, especially something as critical as insurance for my most valuable possessions, I want to make sure I'm getting the best price, but I also want to know that the guy selling them to me really has my best interests in mind. Especially in areas that I know I'm not an expert, I need to be able to trust that the person I'm…

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What To Do When You Want to Buy a House But Have No Savings for a Down Payment

It's time to get creative. When all else fails, you have to think outside the box a little bit, and that's exactly what we're seeing people do. Millennials are turning to some nonconventional ways in order to get that down payment.

Crowdfunding. Recent research shows that many couples are now asking their wedding guests to contribute to their "down payment fund" instead of a traditional registration. Why? Many of those getting married have tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and have trouble saving enough money to put down for a home. Another reason is they likely already live with their partner, meaning they don't have as much of a need for the normal…

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How to Buy a Home

If you're thinking about buying a home, you'll want to carefully choose the real estate professional you work with during the process.

You should commit yourself to working with one sales associate who can learn your likes and dislikes in homes to make your home-buying process easier. Choose a professional who specializes in residential real estate and who has specific knowledge of the local real estate and mortgage markets. 

The person you choose should listen to you and be interested enough in you to find our about your housing needs and preferences. Service first should be the motto of the professional you choose with services going above and beyond what you expect and need. Doing some preliminary planning before you…

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How To Prepare For Rainy Season 

Rainy season hits Florida hard. If you aren't ready for it, it can end up causing some pretty costly damages. That's why it's important to take these steps to assure you are prepared for what Mother Nature might throw at you.

1. Make Sure Your Gutters are Good To Go.

Clean your gutters out so that there is no backup that can end up causing roof damages, and double check for any holes in them that may cause water to get straight to your foundation.  This is an easy step to take in order to avoid havoc later on. 

2. Make Sure To Have Flood Insurance.

Many homeowners think they are in the clear by not being in a "flood zone". However, there are many times that flood zones still get flooded, especially in…

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Do You Even Need Flood Insurance? 

By Cara Csotty

"I won't flood", "I can't flood", and as Luke Bryan sang, "rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey", so rain is a good thing, right? Well, the big deal is that in the last 5 years, all 50 states have had a flash flood or flooding event. Based on Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Florida has 6 of the country's 10 most at-risk cities to be affected by storm surge. The west coast of Florida is home to four: Tampa, Bradenton, Fort Myers, and Naples.

We commonly hear "flood insurance will cost too much to purchase", but this could not be further from reality. There are currently two ways to buy flood insurance. One is through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the other is through a new…

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Tips on Buying a Home 

by Stefanie Gruber, Sale Manager for Tampa office 

If you're thinking about buying a home, you'll want to carefully choose the real estate professional you work with during the process. 

You should commit yourself to working with one sales associate who can learn your likes and dislikes in homes to make your home-buying process easier. Choose a professional who specializes in residential real estate and who has specific knowledge of the local real estate and mortgage markets. 

The person you choose should listen to you and be interested enough in you to find out about your housing needs and preferences. Service first should be the motto of the professional you choose with services going above and beyond what you…

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How Realtors Actually Save You Money

There's a few misconceptions out there revolving around paying realtors and we're here to educate and excite you about the savings they can actually bring! Many people (mistakingly) think that they shouldn't pay a realtor for something they can just do themselves. They gripe about the realtor's small commission thinking it's a waste of money, but the reality is, when you hire a qualified realtor, the savings you'll gain are far more than any commission you'll pay. The fact of the matter is, buying or selling your home is stressful, time consuming, and can get very expensive if you don't have the right help. Here's some enlightenment into how realtors save you money in the end:

1. They have a team ready to…

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