Should you move to Florida?

Thinking About Moving to the Sunshine State?

Whether you live in Washington or Wisconsin, chances are good that you have visited Florida at least once.

After all, the Sunshine State is not only the theme park capital of the world but also boasts miles and miles of gorgeous coastline and some of the best opportunities for outdoor recreation in the country.

Maybe that’s why so many people are also deciding to move to Florida. They want to feel like they are on vacation for all 365 days of the year.

However, it’s important to realize that in many ways Florida is much like other places. You won’t have to look far to find quiet suburbs, great schools, parks where local families play and wonderful places to work.

While it might not feel like vacation all the time, it certainly does come close. That is just one of the benefits you get from choosing to live in a state that also happens to be a top vacation destination.

What are some of the biggest reasons why you should move to Florida?

Keep reading to find out!

1. Florida Is So Much More Than Theme Parks

Look beyond Orlando’s theme parks, and you’ll discover a state that’s loaded with charming and impressive cities. Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, Destin and many others are all waiting to be explored.

Each Florida city is unique. Some of them are quite small and have a distinctive historical flavor. Others are large and pulsing with life. Whether you are looking for an urban center that’s filled with skyscrapers or somewhere a little more intimate and relaxed, you’ll find it in Florida.

2. The Beach Is Always Close

Who doesn’t love to spend their off hours at the beach? When you live in Florida, then going to the beach can be your main pastime. In fact, you could even choose to live in a single-family home or condominium that’s right on the ocean. Not only will you enjoy coastal views from your windows but also you’ll be able to dip your toes in the sand whenever you like.

Of course, seaside living isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you would rather find a home that is situated on one of Florida’s lakes or streams? Even if living on the water isn’t your destiny, it’s still nice to know that Florida’s beaches are just a short drive away no matter where you are in the state.

3. No State Income Tax

Florida is one of the few states in the union that does not have income tax. This means that you get to take home more of your pay, and that can be extremely attractive to many people.

Of course, Florida does have a sales tax, which currently is set at six percent. There are exceptions to this tax, which means that living in Florida could be financially advantageous for you.

4. A Hot Economy

Florida is fortunate to have a bustling economy that recently reached one trillion dollars. Unemployment rates are down, and new jobs are continuously being added. If you are looking for a new employment opportunity, Florida may be the place to find it.

5. Booming Industries

Florida is a great place to establish a business or join a thriving industry. Some of the top industries in the state include agriculture, international trade, aerospace and aviation, life sciences, financial services and tourism.

All of these industries are traditional highlights for the state, but tech is emerging as a new hot spot. Young professionals who are hoping to enter the tech field would do well to consider relocating to Florida. Startups abound here as do well-established firms.

6. Warm and Sunny Weather

For most of the year, Florida’s weather is exceptionally fine. Think sun and warmth for most days of the year. Summers do tend to be hot and humid, but most indoor places are air conditioned, and the mild winters make up for the sticky summers.

7. Cultural Diversity

If you want to be surrounded by a vibrant world of cultures, then Florida is the place to be. It’s a gathering place for people of all age groups, nationalities and religions. Many of the people who now call Florida home were not born in the state. This means that they all have diverse backgrounds and histories to share. It’s a wonderful place to meet new people and learn about other cultures.

8. Spectacular Outdoor Recreation

With more than 200 sunny days in the average year, outdoor recreation is a huge attraction in Florida. Pretty nearly anything that you can imagine is available from kayaking and canoeing to hiking, cycling and fishing. You can even choose to join upscale golf and tennis clubs or opt for a more rugged experience in the Everglades. Whatever kind of adventure you thirst for, you’ll find it in Florida.

9. Sports Fans Are Everywhere

Are you a fan of college or professional sports? If so, then Florida is the perfect place for you to call home. The people here are intense about their favorite teams. You’ll find them cheering for the Orlando Magic, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and many others. Plus, with the teams at Florida State University and University of Florida to cheer for, there’s also a game to watch or attend.

10. Outstanding Food and Drinks

With its miles of coastline, it’s easy to see why fresh seafood is featured on so many dining tables across the state. However, you won’t just find fish on the menu. Given the state’s cultural diversity, you’ll find food that’s influenced by Cuba, the Caribbean and ports of call around the world. Remember that agriculture is big business in Florida too, so this is an excellent place to sample some of the freshest produce anywhere.

Let Waypointe Realty Be Your Guide

Do you want to learn more about the Florida lifestyle? You just might be surprised by all of the diverse options that are available to you. From a high-rise condominium in the middle of downtown to a quiet and secluded suburban street lined with single-family dwellings, you’ll find it in Florida. Whether you want to live on the golf course or the beach, Waypointe Realty can help your dreams come true.

Florida is a fabulous place to live, but it isn’t always easy to find the best cities and neighborhoods. That’s why it’s important to have the expert local Realtors at Waypointe Realty along with you on the journey.

Call us at 407.801.9914!

3 Pros and Cons of HOA’s

Welcome to iHeart Realty. Hi you guys! Today we will be talking about HOA’s. For those of you who do not know what that means, Jenelle, can you give us a little definition?

HOA stands for homeowners association

This is an organization that belongs to many communities that when you’re a part of it, you have to pay dues. And we’re going to talk a little bit about the pros and cons, because a lot of those dues cover some of the things we’re going to talk about today.

That’s right.

Sometimes when you get involved with purchasing a home it’s an HOA, where you have to pay fees. They can be minimal, or they can be outrageous. We’ve seen those. But let’s get into the pros and cons about that. Sounds good.

Pro 1: Community Beautification

So the first pro would be beautification of the community, consistency within the homes. I think I love that part of HOA. It’s very nice. When you drive in, you think wow this is a great neighborhood, because the HOA is up-keeping the neighborhood.

Pro 2: Neighborhood Standards

The second pro is enforcing the neighborhood standards. So this includes the paint color of your home, when you need a new roof, getting that approved and making sure the roof is consistent to the colors that the community has already approved. This even has to do with enforcing pressure cleaning, making sure that there are no commercial vehicles on the property or parked in the garage or parked outside, and sometimes even boats. So sometimes boats aren’t allowed in communities.

And again, it’s also that it can give the aesthetic consistency across the board with all the homes.

Pro 3: Community Events

Pro number three would be community events. Now, not all communities do this, but some do, which is great. It brings the neighbors together. You get to know one another. Sometimes for the holidays, they’ll have parties, they’ll have potlucks, things like that, just really to get to know your neighbors, which is great. I think sometimes we lose that effect of community feeling. But these associations, I think they like to draw that back through events.

Con 1: Foreclosure

So now look for the three cons. The first con is that this lovely HOA can foreclose on your home, especially if you’re delinquent on your HOA payments and they can put liens on your property. So if you’re not obeying the rules that they have set before you, they can make sure that they enforce it through fines and additional limitations.

Con 2: HOA Fees Fluctuations

Con number two would be increase of your fees. Sometimes you’ll see a small jump or maybe you’ll see a big jump. It’s all depending on your HOA .

With the fees, you do have special assessments sometimes. So, for instance, if they did a budget for a certain thing, like a repair of a pool or new roads, light posts, whatever it may be, and they didn’t fund for those, they’ll add on a special assessment where you have to pay an extra fee and it could be monthly, quarterly annually, and just depends on the HOA. Make sure you read through your covenants, which is usually that big PDF form that you get either by physical copy or online.

Make sure you guys are getting that and reading through it because there is a limited amount of percentage that they can increase year after year. Sometimes they don’t increase at all and sometimes they do increase it significantly. Yeah.

And so before buying a home, you’ll know the HOA can tell you if there will be future special assessments coming out. So just something that to take into consideration.

Con 3: Rules

Now, the third con is the rules. So while there may be good positives that go with the rules that they have, there’s a lot of other limitations that can happen. So if you’re looking to rent out your home, there may be limitations where they may say, nope, we’re already at capacity or how many renters are already in this community, which is a good thing. You don’t want a community full of renters.

But at the same time, if you were looking to turn it into an investment property, that’s a con for you at this point. The other thing is, I love going and looking at the holiday lights. We even did a blog post on that where you can check it out on our website. But they limit sometimes how much Christmas decor, Christmas cheer you put on your house to make sure that it follows their guidelines. So there’s a lot of different things.

If you’re upgrading or updating your house, not only are you pulling city permits, you have to make sure that HOA approves the upgrades that you’re doing because you may get the city to approve it, but if you HOA doesn’t, you have to take it out. Like an example of that would be the type of fence maybe you want to wood fence, but they only allow white fencing. Or the size of a pool, maybe you want a huge pool and they say no because you have to keep it to a certain size; and the pool coverings and the screen enclosures. There’s a lot of different things that that can definitely deter you as far as upgrades on in nature because of the rules.

Did you know that there are over two million HOA’s in the state of Florida, not including condo associations? That’s a lot. And it’s only growing. Yeah, there was 1.7 million last year. Wow.

So so you’re bound to end up in one, and you should know the pros and cons. So we hope you enjoyed this segment of iHeart Realty.

What to expect when moving to Florida

Are you thinking about moving to Florida? If so, then there are some essentials that you need to know about.

That’s because Florida is unlike any other state, and while there are theme parks aplenty, this state is about so much more.

If you are new to Florida or are considering a move here, then keep reading. You’ll gain some valuable insights that will help you make a smooth transition into being a Floridian.

Always Assume There's a Gator

Florida is home to lots of alligators. In fact, there are so many of these crocodilians that it’s always wise to assume that there’s a gator lurking in every freshwater lake, river, marsh, pond and canal. That applies equally to natural and manmade water features.

Despite the large number of alligators, deaths by alligator are rare. Since 1973, there have been just 23 such fatalities. Some of these have come about because people think that it might be fun to feed their picnic lunch to an alligator. Because alligators have a superb sense of smell, it’s wise to never swim or sunbathe in close proximity to bodies of water, and it’s never a good idea to feed alligators.

Sinkholes

sinkhole in Florida

Chances are good that if you’ve been thinking about moving to Florida, then you’ve encountered news stories about sinkholes. While these phenomena do happen, they’re not as frequent as you might fear.

Sinkholes are depressions that form as a result of a collapse at the surface level of the planet. Some sinkholes are small while others are large enough to swallow whole buildings or neighborhoods.

The western side of Florida is more prone to sinkholes than the eastern side. Accordingly, if sinkholes frighten you, it might be wise to live on the eastern side.

Even if you decide to live in Florida’s Sinkhole Alley in Hillsborough, Hernando and Pasco Counties, you don’t have too much reason to worry. Most sinkholes are not catastrophic.

Hurricanes Happen, but There's Time to Plan

Hurricanes in Florida

Anyone who’s new to Florida is bound to be hyper-aware of hurricanes. While hurricanes are relatively common, they don’t sneak up on residents. Usually, there are at least a few days’ warning before a storm strikes. This means that there’s time to prepare yourself and your home or to evacuate.

Plus, it’s wise to ensure that your home is equipped with heavy-duty storm windows and that you’re carrying insurance coverage that protects against hurricane damage.

If your property has been hit by a hurricane, here are ways to recover. 

Homeowner’s Insurance May Be Different than You're Used To

Florida Homeowner's Insurance

If you’re already a homeowner, then you’re familiar with the insurance that goes along with owning a home. However, you’ll need additional coverage in Florida that you may not have now.

This additional coverage protects your home against things like hurricanes and floods. Insurance companies that offer hurricane policies are required to offer deductibles of $500 or two percent, five percent or 10 percent of the dwelling or structure limits. This deductible only needs to be paid once per hurricane season, and some insurers allow customers to finance this deductible.

If you want to protect yourself in the event of a flood, then you’ll need an insurance policy that may be purchased from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. This will cover any water damage.

The Beach Is Close By

You don’t have to live on the coast to be close to the beach. Even in Central Florida, a drive of one hour is enough to get you to some of the most famous beaches in the country.

This means that you have access to outdoor recreation like swimming, surfing, snorkeling and more. Anglers love it here since they can explore freshwater springs and deep-water fishing in the ocean.

All you have to decide is whether you want to visit the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Visit the Gulf for white-sand beaches and gentler waves that are welcoming to young swimmers. The waves on the Atlantic tend to be bigger and rougher, and the beaches are covered with golden-brown sand.

If you decide to live on or at least close to the beach, then be prepared to pay more in insurance. Premiums are higher the closer you get to the coast.

You'll Probably Have an HOA

Homeowner's Association

A Homeowner’s Association, or HOA, is the rule rather than the exception in Florida. In neighborhoods where there is an HOA, the association owns the land and everything else that is outside your home.

HOA’s are intended to make life more convenient and harmonious for residents by imposing certain regulations. The community agrees on these regulations, and it is the responsibility of all members to abide by these rules.

The HOA effectively governs the exterior of your property, which means that the association must approve any changes you want to make. HOAs also may have regulations for the height and materials of fencing as well as the breeds of pets that are allowed.

People who live within the HOA pay dues to help with community maintenance. It is not possible for people to opt out of an HOA when one is already in existence. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to be OK with the HOA regulations in the neighborhood before you buy a house.

Florida's Weather

You might have an idea that the weather in Florida is almost always warm and sunny. We do enjoy a lot of that type of days here, but that’s not the whole story.

Summers are long, relatively hot and very humid. Thunderstorms can occur on almost a daily basis, but they tend to move through pretty quickly. Winter generally is mild across the state, with cool or cold weather invading only infrequently.

This may be starkly different from what you’re used to.

No State Income Tax + Florida Homestead Exemption

No State Income Tax

Florida offers some attractive tax advantages to residents. In addition to there being no state income tax, Florida has no estate or inheritance tax. Tax exemptions also may apply to you, such as:

  • Military/veterans exemptions
  • Limited income senior exemption
  • Disability exemption
  • Widow/widower exemption
  • Homestead exemption

As long as you spend six months and one day out of every year in Florida, you may be eligible for numerous tax advantages.

On top of that, Florida offers homeowners a Homestead Exemption. This is a tax incentive available to you every year that you maintain a primary residence in Florida. The discount comes from the assessed property value starting at a minimum discount of $25,000. 

You can find out more and how to apply here.  

Be Ready for Tolls

Are you used to toll roads where you live? If you move to Florida, they’ll soon become familiar to you. In total, Florida boasts nearly 750 miles of toll roads. Among these roads are the Florida Turnpike and numerous state roads. Most of these have signs displaying a special toll shield.

Programs such as E-Pass from the Central Florida Expressway Authority make payment of tolls easier and more affordable.

55+ Communities Abound

With sunny weather, beaches and plenty of tax advantages, there’s no shortage of seniors moving to Florida. To accommodate them, developers have built dozens of communities across the state that are reserved exclusively for residents who are 55 or better.

In fact, Florida is home to The Villages, the largest community for 55 or over residents in the world. The Villages and other communities offer amenities like swimming pools, golf courses, recreation centers, gyms and theaters. With a variety of clubs and hosted activities, these communities are just like upscale resorts.

Homeschooling Communities

Lots of Florida families choose to homeschool their kids. If you’d like to find resources to start or continue homeschooling, look to the many support groups that are found in virtually every Florida county. Homeschooling your children has never been easier. 

Here is a great resource for finding groups, coops, lesson plans and more.

Living in Flood Zones and Wetlands

Florida wetlands

Surrounded by the Gulf and the Atlantic while also boasting numerous lakes and streams, Florida is inundated by water. Accordingly, you may be considering buying a house that’s in a flood zone or that is at least partially categorized as wetland.

Buying a wetland property requires a lot of hard work, and there may be restrictions with regard to what you can do on the land. It is possible to mitigate the wetland with pumping, but this is a constant and expensive fight.

If you are considering a property that’s located in a flood zone, which you probably will if you’re buying a home in Florida, then you’ll want to know the rating of the flood zone so that you’ll understand how it will affect your insurance rates.

Contact Waypointe Realty

If you’re considering buying a home in Florida, then contact Waypointe Realty. Our expert Realtors are dedicated to finding the perfect home for you in the Sunshine State and answering all your questions as you make this transition. 

We are relocation experts and have helped families move from all over the country to Central Florida. Let us help you make your move to sunny Florida! 

Call 407-801-9914 to get started! 

What to expect when moving to Oviedo

Are you considering a move to Oviedo?

This historic Florida city has a great deal going for it, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that this community will continue to thrive.

What is it that draws families to Oviedo? Perhaps it’s all the awards that the city has won or the unbelievable number of sunny days that its residents enjoy every year. Here’s a closer look at some of the things that you can expect if you move to Oviedo.

Suburban Life

Oviedo may boast about 42,000 residents, but it gives families a genuine suburban lifestyle. This means that you are free to slow down and enjoy the good life without being bothered by the bustle of a big city.

Of course, if you’re craving big-city excitement or are looking for a suburban community with close urban ties, then keep in mind that Orlando is a 30-minute drive away. Accordingly, Oviedo’s residents enjoy the best of both worlds.

Orlando boasts a population of approximately 286,000 people, but there are about two million people in the metropolitan area. Accordingly, Oviedo residents can find every kind of store, service or restaurant somewhere in the region without sacrificing a quiet suburban lifestyle.

Community Feel

Community engagement in Oviedo

Along with that suburban lifestyle, Oviedo gives you the feeling of a close-knit community. Poke around online, and you’ll find that you easily can connect with your neighbors.

Opportunities for community involvement abound beyond the confines of the virtual world. Perhaps you’ll join friends and neighbors for community service at organizations like The Literacy Alliance, Spay ‘n Save and HOPE Helps Inc.

Community Engagement

Are you someone who likes to get out and about for some community fun? If so, then Oviedo is the place for you!

A quick glance at the city’s calendar of events and festivals is enough to tell you that Oviedo is one place where there’s always a lot going on. The fun starts each year in January with annual happenings like the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and continues into February with a Fitness 5K and Outdoor Expo. Throughout the year, you’ll have chances to party at Mardi Gras, attend the Bark and Brew Festival, play in the Relay for Life Golf Tournament or scare your family at Howl-O-Ween.

The fun really kicks into high gear when December arrives. This is the month when your family will want to enjoy the city’s tree lighting ceremony, Breakfast with Santa and the Dueling Pianos and Ugly Sweater Party. Also, don’t forget to put events like the Winter Fest & Holiday Parade, Holiday Bingo and Santa Paws on your calendar.

You’ll also be able to attend monthly events like movies in the park, comedy night and Food Truck Thursday throughout the year.

Oviedo may be a suburban city, but there is never a dull moment here!

great day in the country Oviedo

Getting Pulled over on Lockwood

police and safety in Oviedo

Live in Oviedo for just a few days or weeks, and you’ll probably hear about it. It’s even more likely that it will happen to you.

Getting pulled over on Lockwood is kind of a rite-of-passage for Oviedo residents. This exceptionally busy four-lane road has a speed limit of just 35 miles per hour. Of course, it’s not unusual for drivers to hit the gas a little too hard and too often when traversing its length, so be on the lookout for Oviedo’s finest as you cruise to a friend’s house or the drugstore.

Of course, this safe zone also makes life on Lockwood a lot more peaceful and serene. Perhaps this is where you’ll find your new home!

Oviedo's Quality Schools

Oviedo’s educational options have great reputations. Its schools are a part of the Seminole County Public Schools system. Out of 69 school districts in the state, Seminole County’s ranks fourth best. It’s ranked number three for athletes and is second on the list when it comes to the most diverse school districts in the state.

With a total of nearly 69,000 students, the district boasts a 19 to 1 student to teacher ratio. That translates to plenty of one-on-one and small group instruction. State test scores indicate that 61 percent of students in the district are at least ranked at the proficient level in reading while 64 percent are ranked as at least proficient in math.

What this all means is that parents can have confidence in the education that their kids will receive in Oviedo’s high-ranking schools.

The Weather

Oviedo Florida Weather

If you aren’t a Florida resident yet, then the local weather is bound to both surprise and delight you. Spring and fall are warm, summer is hot and winter is short. If you like plenty of sunshine and brief rain showers that leave the air fresh and sparkling, then Oviedo is an ideal place for you to call home.

Are you concerned about hurricanes? In Oviedo, you don’t have much reason to worry. Oviedo occupies a zone that is considered at very low risk for hurricanes. However, you will have to contend with high humidity in the summer.

The Theme Parks

Perhaps you’ve heard Orlando described as the theme park capital of the world. It definitely deserves this title, and when you make Oviedo your home, you’ll be within an hour’s drive of top-billed attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Fun Spot America Theme Park and many others. You’ll be able to enjoy everything from thrill rides to live entertainment, along with enough delicious, decadent food to last you for a lifetime.

Many locals decide to buy an annual pass to their favorite park so that they can return again and again.

If you love theme parks, you’ll love how close you are to some of the best such attractions in the world. Beware that your friends and family will use your close proximity as their excuse to stay at your house when they want to enjoy Orlando’s theme parks!

Restaurants in Oviedo

Top 10 Restaurants in Oviedo

Oviedo boasts an impressive array of restaurants. You’ll find every type of international cuisine as well as eateries that specialize in down-home cooking. Whether you’re in the mood for fast good or something more upscale, you’ll find it here.

You’ll find diverse collections of restaurants clustered around E. Mitchell Hammock Road as well as on University Boulevard in the vicinity of UCF.  Oviedo on the Park is also home to many nice restaurants.

Seafood, barbecue, Italian, Indian, brew pubs, familiar chains and one-of-a-kind finds, they are all waiting to be discovered in Oviedo.

Check out our blog on the top 10 restaurants in Oviedo.

An Array of Gym Options

If you love to work up a sweat in the gym and you’re worried that Oviedo just won’t have the right gym for you, worry no longer. People in Oviedo love to exercise, and this means that the city boasts an abundance of gyms. Some of the best include TeamFit 45, Orange Theory Oviedo, Eat the Frog, Riverside Fitness and Crossfit Tough as Nails.

Whether you’re looking for high-intensity workouts, personal training, boxing or a something that you’ve never experienced before, you’ll find the perfect gym in Oviedo.

Feel free to read more about gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs in the blog we wrote.

Hiking and Trails

Four Parks you have to visit in Oviedo

Do you love to spend time in nature? Oviedo’s exceptional climate makes it easy for you to make the most of the outdoors. The community is bursting with fantastic trails that are perfect for activities like hiking, biking and running.

Some of the best are the Cross Seminole Trail, which currently is broken into three paved sections, and the Flagler Trail, which occupies a former railroad bed. Eventually, the Cross Seminole Trail will be connected to form a 23-mile circuit.

More rugged terrain is encountered in the Little Big Econ State Forest and the Geneva Wilderness Area. The Lake Jessup Conservation Area is one more place that hikers will love.

 

You can read more about some of the parks in Oviedo in another blog we wrote.

Close Proximity to Shopping

Whatever you need or want to buy in Oviedo, you’ll find it nearby. An abundance of grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores make it easy to pick up the essentials. If you’re looking for even more options, you may want to browse the offerings at the Oviedo Mall, Oviedo Park Crossing or the Lockwood Village Shopping Center. All of the familiar big box stores are represented as well.

A Great County

5 reasons why you should move to Seminole County

Located in the midst of Seminole County, Oviedo definitely benefits from this well-run government. Four SunRail stations are located within the county, making mass transit a breeze. Small businesses thrive here, so whether you want to start a business or just support mom-and-pop operations, you’ll find opportunities in Seminole County.

Because Seminole County is relatively small, it’s able to boast lots of advantages. For instance, crime statistics are low and the schools’ ratings are high. You’ll feel at home in Seminole County.

Of course we wrote a blog on why Seminole County is so great.

45 Minutes to the Beach

Do you want to enjoy the surf and sand? They are just a 45-minute drive from Oviedo. Head to the Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Daytona Beach and others when you’re struck with the mood to play in the waves.

 

Ask Waypointe Realty to help you get to know Oviedo even better. Our expert Realtors love to help people find the perfect home in Oviedo.

Top Gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs

Top Gyms in Oviedo and Winter Springs

Working out can feel like a burden if it’s been a while. Many people will wait to make it their new year’s resolution before they set foot in a gym for all of 3 weeks. But really, 80% of people who joined a gym in the beginning of the year quit within 5 months. Why wait for the new year? The best time to start is actually NOW

 
I love working out, if it’s the right workout. So I decided to test out different gyms all around Oviedo and some in Winter Springs and bring you my favorites, the pros and cons and then rate them on cleanliness, class offerings, hours open, customer service, caloric burn (intensity), cost and amenities.
Before I start with my top choices for gyms in Oviedo/Winter Springs, let me begin with a few caveats to keep in mind as you hear my assessment of the gyms I’ve chosen from my experience:
✅ Competitive
I’m competitive by nature and love aggressive, intense workouts with high intensity and training 
✅ Bore Easily
I get bored easily and not a fan of monotony, especially in a workout.
✅ Disciplined
I program my schedule and discipline myself to go to the gym every workday and sometimes Saturday as well
✅ Need Motivation
I have zero motivation in big box gyms and can do a great job staring at weights not knowing what workout to do and then when I do, just sandbag it and walk out with little satisfaction.
✅ Experienced
I’ve tried every workout you can imagine over the last two decades (from hot yoga, to rock climbing, contact boxing to Zumba) so finding something engaging and motivating can be a challenge for me. As a result, I have high expectations in a gym and workout.
✅ Looking for Change
This list is for the Oviedo/Winter Springs resident that is looking for a change, possibly has plateaued or just wants to know what’s out there that’s different from the same ol’ thing.

👉 Now, research has shown that when a gym is more than 15 minutes away, the consistency of attendance declines. Already as it is, consistency in a gym is low among members. To see good results at any of these gyms, please commit to at least 6 months. It takes time to develop strength and burn fat so be patient. That’s why it’s important to find a gym you connect with that motivates you and helps you reach your fitness goals. 

In this list you’ll note that I did not include big box gyms like the Zoo, LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness. Everyone pretty much knows what they offer and the cost, but if you’re like me and need motivation to see results, the gyms below are worthy of your time.  

⭐️Our Top Picks…

 
#1 BioFit Performance 

Price: $129+ (4 packages ranging from $129-499 per month) 

Pros: If I had to sum up my idea of a perfect workout experience, this is it. This is a family owned business that opened up during the COVID pandemic and has been successful due to their innovative science-based fitness model. You start with a Fit 3D assessment and a bio mechanic assessment to see where you are and where you need to be. They provide nutritional guidance, semi-private and private training along with unlimited classes in Conditioning (HITT style/ cardio/strength) and Durability (mobility/yoga). After your workout, you can unwind in the recovery room that offers a cold and hot jacuzzi’s and an infra-red sauna. In a nutshell, their goal is to give accessibility to all the amenities and resources a professional athlete does at the fraction of the price. 

Cons: Price may be a deterrent for most. Distance is a little farther from most Oviedo residents as it is located on the SW part of Oviedo.

Add’l info: High energy workouts as well as mobility classes, Fit 3D assessment and a bio mechanic assessment. Option for customized nutritional plan by a nutritionist, massage therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. There is also a registered nurse on staff as well. Bathrooms have showers, towels and extra amenities. They also offer a wonderful smoothie bar and outdoor seating next to the Cross Seminole Trail. 

Website: https://biofitperformance.com/

BioFit Oviedo
#2 Burn Room Fitness (formally TeamFit45)

Price: $50-200 (based on packages) 

Pros: Wonderfully high-energy intense workout. Heart monitor provided to track your heart rate and monitor your calories burned throughout your workout. Fun atmosphere. Feels like a team even though you can compete against yourself and others in your station. They have filtered water station and showers. The different stations keeps it fresh and a new workout is provided every day. They offer assessments and it’s definitely results driven. Personal training is offered. They have an app with your info and to register for classes. 

Cons: Communication wasn’t always easy. Distance from Oviedo residents.

Add’l info: High energy workout, heart monitor provided to track pulse and calories burned throughout workout. Lots of class times that work for different schedules. 

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: https://burnroomfitness.com/

Burn Room Fitness Winter Springs
#3 Orange Theory Oviedo 

Price:  $159 (Unlimited classes)

Pros: Unlimited assessments throughout the month to track your progress. High energy cardio and strength training. High energy music and coaching that is motivating and keeps you on track where ever you are physically. Showers and filtered water. They offer water bottles for $1. Follow up email with workout results, calorie burn, and tracking your progress. Class times offered. 

Cons: Cost can be a deterrent for many. You better like to row and run on a treadmill.

Add’l info: Unlimited package is $159 per month but they have different plans available. You have to buy a heart monitor but they let you use one if you don’t have it for your first class. This is the longest I have ever been on a treadmill (which I hate) but I stayed motivated and focused. Felt great at the end.

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: https://www.orangetheory.com/  

#4 Eat The Frog Oviedo

Price: $70+ (different package options)  

Pros: Great central Oviedo location (Sprouts shopping center). Franchised gym that offers agility, cardio and strength classes in four-week increments. You also get a fit assessment every 8 weeks to measure where you are and adjust your heart rate monitor accordingly.  They offer a filtered water station and wipes available to clean down your station. Excellent class schedule with various time options. Really fun setup for the classes that gives you a full workout each time.

Cons: Same 3 classes are offered for the whole week. No coached classes in the evening if you need that motivation.

Add’l info: Heart rate monitor is an additional fee, but great for tracking workouts. They have an app that tracks workout, offers “frog points” for discounts and fun challenges throughout the year.

🩺❤️ Heart rate monitor tracking throughout workout

Website: Eatthefrog.com

Eat the Frog Oviedo
#5 Riverside Fitness

Price: $45 (unlimited gym use and classes) 

Pros: No contracts or initiation fees. Only $45 per month for unlimited classes and open gym. Class options are Boot Camp, Amrap and yoga. Boot Camp is well organized with a timer and offers a great full body workout. The members are all really nice and welcoming. Trainer goes around to make sure you’re doing the work out correctly. The yoga class was good. Sign-up is easy online and gets you connected with their MindBody app to register for classes. 

Cons: There are not a lot of class times, but the ones that are are convenient for most people’s schedules. Drinking fountain but no filtered water station or towels. Not really easy to connect immediately with staff. Not high energy classes overall, but good workout.

Add’l info: The open floor gym and the classes offered are in different buildings in the same shopping center. Showers are in the main gym facility. Great prices and definitely something to consider if you’re in it you live in the east part of Oviedo. Membership includes one personal training session a week for 30 minutes where you can go over something technical, accountability, or Nutrition. No childcare but was really cool to see two young kids joining their parents through the circuit. They modified workouts but they got to do it with their parents.

Website: riversidefitness419.com

Riverside Fitness Oviedo
RIverside Fitness
#6 Crossfit Tough As Nails

Price: Unlimited options = $100 (Student), $125 (First responders & teachers), $145 (regular option)  

Pros: If your competitive in nature this is a great work out for you. Classes are offered several times throughout the day for the WOD (workout of the day). Trainers care about technique and form. Very encouraging environment and supportive in teamwork. Aggressive workouts but can be tailored to your strength and ability. Showers available. 

Cons: If you don’t pay attention to the trainers, you can get very injured in the workout. The goal at Crossfit is to continue lifting and beating your personal record, so if you don’t want to lift heavy, this may not be the place for you.

Add’l info: This CF box offers MMA and Jiu Jitsu training. They focus on competition if that’s your goal. Every year they encourage the members to sign up for the Crossfit Open which is very encouraging for new and experienced members. If you’re looking to build muscle in a competitive atmosphere this is definitely a great option. They offer teachers and first responders discounts on memberships. 

Website: tlpnails.wpengine.com

#7 Elite Boxing Fitness Center
 

BEST TECHNICAL BOXING GYM 

Price: $99+ (based on different training packages)  

pros: Great atmosphere and family feel. Amazing work out. The most authentic boxing experience you’re going to have in Oviedo hands-down. This is definitely not your boxing class experience that you would get at a big box gym. This is a contact boxing gym so make sure to buy mouthguard and headgear. They’ll teach you the right technique and great training. Offer kids classes.

Cons: No showers. Website is hard to navigate to find any information so it’s best to give him a call to find out the class times. Not a workout for everyone. 

Add’l info: Definitely not for the faint of heart. Very aggressive and intense. Water fountain, but no filtered water. I got punched in the face and left with a bruise. Didn’t like it but loved the intensity. Dorian is the owner and main trainer at this gym and he loves what he does. Definitely a lot of passion and the members love training here.

Website: eliteboxingfitnessstudio.com

Elite Boxing Oviedo
#8 9Round Fitness 

*When I walked in I was a little confused because there’s no exact class time.  

Price: $75+ (based on different packages)  

Pros: You come and go as you please and you jump in and do nine rounds of three minutes each with 30 second break in between with a corporal work out. Different workout every day which makes it fun but definitely kickboxing and boxing is a focus. No class times so it’s good to go with a friend if you’re able and definitely good on flexibility for your schedule.

Cons: If there’s no one in the gym it can be a little lonely and not quite as competitive or exciting, but the evening is packed. If it is packed, you have to wait for the end of the round and to jump in. Water is a dollar and there is no water fountain. No showers and no towels. 

Add’l info: Different pricing packages available based on month-to-month, one year year, six week challenge or six month challenge.

Website: 9round.com/oviedo

#9 Title Boxing

Price: $69+ (based on different packages)  

Pros: This place had very friendly staff, good hype-up music, showers, High-intensity cardio workout. Good central location in Oviedo off of Alafaya. They offer a section of free weights to do on your own. 

Cons: Insufficient classes in the early AM. One year contractual commitment and then month-to-month thereafter. Doing boxing and kickboxing over time may become redundant if you want more of a variety. 

Add’l info: This is a boxing/kickboxing gym. Need to buy gloves and wristbands. They have a water fountain but make sure to bring your own water bottle or you may be waiting in line after every round to catch a sip.

Website: titleboxingclub.com/oviedo

Title One Oviedo
#10 Breakthrough Fitness

Price: $100+ (based on different training packages)  

Pros: They offer some classes and you can take it with or without the class trainer. Really great customer service from the staff. Delicious shakes are made on the spot and sold at the gym. Staff really cares about your fitness journey. 

Cons: If you didn’t care for the workouts on the first three days, your motivation for returning to do the same workout later that week may wane. No showers or filtered water. 

Add’l info: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule is the same as Thursday, Friday, Saturday. AMRAP (As many reps as possible) workouts and high interval intensity training is the norm. Drinking fountain is provided. Intensity was not as high in the workouts as I would have liked. 

Website: breakthroughfitnessfl.com

Breakthrough Fitness Oviedo
#11 Row House Oviedo

Price: Starting at $79 introductory rate  

Pros: Good location in Oviedo (Sprouts shopping center off Alafaya Trail). Responsive team and great energy in the class. Coach was very motivating and challenged the entire “row crew” to push further. They teach good posture and proper technique for rowing.

Cons: Very limited class schedule (2 classes a day) for the time being and only 30-45 minute workouts. You really need to love rowing for this to be your main workout because they have classes where all you do is row the whole class, which may be great for some, not for me.

Add’l info: They offer lockers, water fountain, sanitizing of the stations after the workout. 

Website: https://www.therowhouse.com/location/oviedo

Row House Oviedo
Honorable Mention

YMCA Oviedo 

Beautiful facility with pool, childcare area, open gym, and classes. Great for the whole family with affordable prices. But again, if you are looking for results and need guidance and motivation this probably isn’t the best fit. 

Website: YMCA Oviedo

I personally have not seen good results in big box gyms because of my need for motivation, but if you do this could be a really good alternative. 

Let’s Wrap This Up…

 

I’ve broken up these reviews based on my assessment. Some of the things that matter to me may not necessarily matter to you which is why I want to give you all the options. Whichever gym you choose, just make sure you love the style and feel of the gym so that you maintain consistency. 

Remember that beyond 15 minutes from your house you are less likely to commit to a gym and I want to make sure consistency is there. Don’t try a gym for a month and give up. Whichever one you choose make a commitment to be there for at least six months to a year in order to really see a difference. I recommend changing up the gym after a year and a half or when you start plateauing.

I’ve chosen my way to workout and stay in shape, what’s yours? Find a way to stay in shape and feel great this year!

Best Homes to See Christmas Lights in and Around Oviedo

It’s the time of year again and if you’re like us, there’s nothing like Christmas lights to get us even more excited about this time of year! Thanks to our great Oviedo group on Facebook, neighbors have compiled a great list of homes in the Oviedo and surrounding areas to check out this year. Here are some of our favorites:

Oviedo, Winter Springs and Chuluota

OVIEDO

🎄 Neely Street in Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1055 Brielle Ave (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1039 Gore Drive, Oviedo – features a Santa letter box so leave your address and Santa will write back (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1003 McKinnon Drive, Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 1046 McKinnon Drive , Oviedo (Alafaya Woods)

🎄 726 & 749 S Lake Claire Cir, Oviedo

🎄 1009 Cutoff Branch Ct., Oviedo

🎄 1650 Genova Dr. Oviedo – lots of inflatables and lasers and a snow machine!

🎄 94 E. Magnolia Street, Oviedo

🎄 5686 Magnolia Bloom Terrace, Oviedo

🎄 680 Neile Court, Oviedo (Geneva Drive)

🎄 517 Oak Street, Oviedo (tune to 90.1FM for music)

🎄 2816 Ashton Terrace, Oviedo (South of W. Chapman off Aloma)

🎄 Carnaby Drive in Carillon Westhampton (2 houses with programed light show and 2 houses Grinch themed)

🎄 2754 Running Springs Loop, Oviedo (Isles of Little Creek) – Hot chocolate packets and candy canes are available. If you want your child to have a letter sent to them from Santa, deposit the letters in the North Pole mailbox and Santa will return it by Christmas.

🎄 805 Wellington Ave (Bentley Woods – near Oviedo H.S.)

🎄 1018 Corbin Ct, Oviedo (Near Oviedo H.S.)

WINTER SPRINGS

🎄 Bivona Christmas Light Show – 1601 North Wind Ct. Winter Springs – 6-11pm until New Year’s

🎄 1209 Wolverine Trail, Winter Springs

🎄 1212 Andes Dr, Winter Springs, beginning 11/28 hours are 7-10 PM

🎄 681 Oswego Court, Winter Springs – All homemade wood decorations unlike any other home

CHULUOTA

🎄 Kilowatt Christmas Lights – 536 Wax Palm Lane, Chuluota

🎄 274 Clearview Road, Chuluota (Tree Monkeys Christmas lights Spectacular. Christmas Eve – cookies and cocoa with Santa’s elves too!)

🎄 1164 Groveland Drive, Chuluota

 

Christmas lights in Oviedo - Waypointe Realty
Christmas lights in Oviedo - Alafaya Woods

Nearby Oviedo: Casselberry, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs

🎄 Oak Vista Lane in the Garden Lake Estate Subdivision of Winter Springs at the corner of Dodd and Dike Rd. Nearly the whole street is lit up – 6-9 PM

🎄 Fye’s Crazy Christmas House, 407 Eagle Circle, Casselberry (Times are Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm-9pm and Friday- Saturday 5:30pm-10pm – weather permitting)

🎄 Johanessen Lights, 7849 Georgeann Street, Winter Park – featured on Great Christmas Light Fight 2016. December 6- January 2, 6-9pm – NOT LIGHTING UP FOR 2020. BACK IN 2021.

🎄 Lemonwood Court, Altamonte Springs (whole block is decorated)

🎄 Cranes Roost Park, Crane’s Roost Park (decorations around lake and park)

🎄 780 Diane Circle, Casselberry

🎄 337 Kimi Court, Casselberry

🎄11 Winding Ridge Road, Casselberry- Has a light show set to music

Christmas lights in Oviedo
Christmas lights in Chuluota - Tree Monkeys

A Guide to New Home Windows

A Guide To New Home Windows

 

Many homes tend to serve as hot spots for meetings, family gatherings, and play dates, especially with more and more people having to work from home and even do homeschooling. 

Homeowners are noticing more and more all the items in their home that are needing some replacing or TLC. After years of use and activity, your home is bound to require some updates — including the windows. There are numerous benefits that come with new home windows, but what exactly are they? Windows can have an impact on the value of your house, and in some cases can lower heating and cooling costs. The following post will cover the main factors to consider when investing in new windows. 

How Windows Impact Home Value 

As a homeowner, you probably realize that the housing market tends to fluctuate. To keep up, renovations may be necessary from time to time. Even if you don’t plan to sell, performing proper maintenance could help boost your home value. In fact, windows are an often-underrated selling point of a house. While replacing windows isn’t necessarily a cheap DIY project, it almost always boosts value.

On average, it costs about $5,421 to install new windows. To replace all of them in a house, you might spend on average $12,000. However, you could earn roughly $10,000 back in resale value, increasing the likelihood of a larger net profit.

When Should You Update? 

It’s expected that over time your house may experience some wear and tear. As such, it might need to undergo renovations. Here are a few ways to tell if your windows need to be replaced:

You feel drafts coming in around the framesYour energy bills are increasingThere’s noticeably more condensation or frost on the glassThe frames are starting to decay or chipThere’s visible damage caused by wind, rain, freezing temperatures, or extreme sunlight

Aside from replacing non efficient or broken panes, you might consider updating the windows to increase curb appeal. If the rest of your house is in top shape but the windows look outdated, it could throw off the aesthetic of the property. Torn screens or old-fashioned window designs might decrease the market price because they make the rest of the house look unkempt.

Modern renovations, such as swapping single pane windows with energy efficient units, can add value to your home and make a positive visual impression. You might be surprised how much more welcoming your residence looks when the outside is well-maintained.

Determining Insurance Coverage 

Most homeowners insurance can cover a variety of repairs. Regardless of the provider and reasons for replacing the windows, it’s helpful to know the coverage options and under what terms you can update your property. For example, most plans cover natural damage, such as from a fire, flood, or storm. Peril policies will usually help if the event occurred outside of the home, while all-risk policies can cover more circumstances.

Wear and tear, negligence, and common maintenance aren’t typically covered in most insurance plans, though supplementary damage might be included. Review your policy for the specifics.

How Windows Impact Your Electrical Costs 

Most older windows are single-pane, which means more hot and cool air can escape as the seasons change. The more panes you have, the more energy efficient. Consider replacing single panes with windows that are more environmentally friendly to help the planet and your wallet. You could save an estimated $126 to $465 per year, depending on where you live and how many units need to be replaced.

Additionally, heating and cooling costs comprise roughly 40% of yearly energy expenses. If your windows aren’t working efficiently, it might cause air leaks and wasted energy. When they work properly, however, you could spend less on your furnace and air conditioning systems.

When thinking of ways to increase home value, your thoughts probably go to the kitchen or bathroom first. However, don’t underestimate the power of new windows. With a little research and some investment, you could boost the home’s value and your family’s comfort.

Written for Waypointe Realty courtesy of Jaclyn Crawford, a staff writer with ImproveNet in 2016, who enjoys chronicling the latest trends and ways you can make your home the loveliest it can be.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-34bfd3ccf8d16665abca8f2e344caba5.jpg' }}

window

Top Bathroom Trends In 2020

Top Bathroom Trends in 2020

 

Wondering what’s hot in bathrooms this year? Whether you are building a new home or ready to remodel, it always pays to learn what’s trending.

Keeping bathrooms fresh and vibrant is a great way to add enjoyment and value to a home. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most popular and prevalent bathroom trends of 2020.

1. Bold and Shiny Bathroom Tiles

If deep, dark, moody hues are your go-to decorating favorites, you will love one of the top tile trends of 2020. Glossy bold tiles are back in style.

Especially in vogue are jewel-toned tiles such as royal blues and greens.

Make a strong statement in the bathroom with these shades.

2. Raw and Natural Bathroom Tiles

On the flip side of bold and flashy are tiles that return to a more earthy look. Natural textured tiles can work on walls or floors.

If you use them for the floor, though, invest in rugs that will be comfortable to step on each day, as this kind of texture can be hard on the feet. One especially fashionable choice for floors is travertine, with its warm hue that flouts the long-held standard of bright and white in the bathroom.  

3. Tiles in Unique Shapes

Squares and rectangles are only two of the many possibilities for bathroom tiles. 

Everything from hexagons to scallops is making waves these days. When you’re creating a stylish bathroom, think outside the box with shape and size. 

4. Showstopping Bathtubs

The love of luxury is here to stay in bathroom design. Recent luxurious developments include interesting tub shapes and eye-catching freestanding designs. 

Not only are classic oval and rectangle options available, but you can also select a round tub to create a unique aesthetic. Deep-soaking tubs are still beloved, as they give homeowners a place to relax and unwind with maximum comfort. 

An increasing number of black tubs can be found in current home showcases as well. These add a note of opulence to their surroundings. 

5. The Color Black

Speaking of black tubs, this is a color that’s truly on-trend in today’s bathrooms. Forget the more muted gray and go with bold black instead! 

Look for it in light fixtures, vanities, mirrors, and more to distinguish your bathroom from the traditional design.  

6. Raw Stone Sinks

There’s nothing like the natural beauty of a raw stone stink. Add one to any bathroom to up the wow factor. 

If you are considering installing one in a bathroom with heavy usage, however, keep in mind natural stone can be hard to clean. 

7. Brushed Brass Finishes 

The elegance of brushed brass is trending in bathroom designs, especially when homeowners want to create a luxurious, spa-like space, such as in the master suite. 

Favored for its sophistication and glamour, brass has many applications for the bathroom. This finish is effective on faucets, mirrors, vanity hardware, and light fixtures. 

8. Smart Upgrades

As technology continues to evolve, so do bathrooms. Trending today are high-tech toilets, seat warmers, automatic lid openers, smart showers, automatic sinks, and the ever-popular built-in Bluetooth speaker system. 

If you love a little tech boost at home, also consider voice-activated lighting and mirrors that talk to you!​ 

When you want to stay on the cutting edge of modern bathroom design, exploring trends is key. 

The eight ideas above are a great place to start for your bathroom. Pick the in-style ideas that are most appealing and work them into the design, knowing you are in good company. 

Written for Waypointe Realty courtesy of Erica Garland, Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom with 15-plus years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. 

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-e8e9ac003bf0baed29ed114740be1b88.jpg' }}

Red Flags Before Hiring a Home Contractor

The success of major home improvement projects largely depends on the contractor you hire. Yet not all working contractors are qualified to do the job. Some may have a friendly demeanor over the phone and offer you a great deal, but then cut corners on the job site, leaving you in the dark about their progress.

With money and time on the line, it’s imperative to find a highly qualified, competent professional you can trust with your unique job. Here are nine red flags you shouldn’t ignore when searching for a contractor for your home renovation.

1. Lacks Contact Information

At a minimum, a reputable contractor should be able to provide you with a working phone number and an address that can be verified with the Better Business Bureau. No physical address is a common sign of an unlicensed contractor. 

Many unlicensed pros can’t afford an official office and often move from area to area in order to stay in business. Beware the contractor who has a PO box or temporary address.

2. Demands Unreasonable Payment Up Front

Most contractors ask for money up front to secure your place on their calendar or begin buying materials. But a contractor who requests more than 15% or the entire sum before starting should set off alarm bells. Chances are, you may be hiring a swindler who will take your money and never return to start or complete the job.

Similarly, some fraudsters will ask to be paid in cash. Without a check or credit card statement to back you, it becomes your word versus the contractor’s in any payment dispute. 

To avoid getting scammed, be sure to determine a payment schedule before the work begins. A typical arrangement used by professional contractors is one-third paid in advance, one-third halfway through the job, and the final third upon completion of the project. Before the last payment, make sure that all permits have been closed and all final inspections have been completed.

3. Solicits Your Home

As a general rule of thumb, contractors who make cold calls or go door-to-door do not represent legitimate businesses. Often these are phony contractors who are passing through the area in hopes of making a quick buck. These contractors may use high-pressure sales tactics, such as pushing a temporary low rate.

Another common tactic used by these contractors is claiming to have materials left over from a previous job that they wish to use on your home for a reduced cost. While this may sound like a great way to save money, you are not likely to see any of those materials or the contractor after you make a down payment on the job. 

4. Lacks Permits 

After accepting your project, the contractor is responsible for securing the necessary permits. If the contractor asks you to obtain the permits, it may be because he or she is not licensed or registered with the proper state agencies. 

Some fraudsters may even waive permits as an unnecessary expense. However, completing a job without the proper permits can result in unsafe construction and expensive future repairs. Building officials can also shut down an unpermitted job. 

5. Can’t Present Proof of Insurance

Workplace accidents can happen at any time during the renovation, and even the best construction crew can make mistakes. For this reason, it’s essential that the contractor holds adequate liability and workers’ compensation insurance to keep the project protected financially. 

Trustworthy contractors take care to invest in their reputation. Therefore, a contractor should have no problem showing you proof of his or her license and insurance. If a builder can’t present any documentation, move on to the next candidate. 

6. Refuses to Sign a Contract

Pass on the pro who is unwilling to sign a written contract. Verbal contracts allow shifty builders to wiggle on price, job quality and completion dates. Also, verbal agreements make legal action difficult in the event of fraud or unfinished work. 

Licensed and reputable professionals are willing to sign a contract and may even help you write it in some cases. Be sure to get all of the project details in writing, including the scope of the work, types of materials to be used, detailed timeframes, the contractor’s license number, warranties, guarantees, and final costs. Ensure that verbal commitments are written into the contract. 

7. Has Outdated or Missing References

Desirable contractors should have a constantly revolving list of new and satisfied customers. Checking with previous customers is one of the best ways to learn about the quality of work and level of professionalism you can expect to receive. 

Be sure to verify at least three references. If a contractor can’t provide current references from jobs similar to yours, avoid moving forward with that prospect.

8. Lacks a Website, Portfolio, or Reviews 

Always do your due diligence before hiring a general contractor to work on your home. Professionals should have an online presence, portfolios, and reviews that you can use to vet them. Be suspicious of portfolios with too few projects, no before and after photos, and grainy images. 

9. Communicates Poorly 

You’ll want to work with someone who keeps you in the loop during the entire project, so looking for a contractor with great communication skills is key. A good contractor should be willing to tell you about the job’s progress and respond to your calls within a reasonable period. 

You’ve found a great contractor when he or she arrives on time and the project is running according to — or ahead of — schedule. If communication is vague, difficult to understand, or delivered with ill temper, the contractor is not doing an essential part of the job, and it may be time to find a new hire. 

Ultimately, it comes down to hiring someone you feel good about, both personally and professionally. You want a trustworthy professional whose workmanship will create a beautiful residence to be proud of for years to come.

For more red flags you shouldn’t ignore when hiring a home contractor, see the accompanying infographic. 

Author bio: Tim McKenna is an account manager at CraftJack, which connects contractors with homeowners who are looking for assistance with home projects. McKenna works with contractors to find the best lead generation solutions for their businesses and offers helpful advice when needed.

Graphic created by CraftJack, a provider of remodeling contractor leads.

How To Recover Your Home After A Hurricane

Steps to take After a Hurricane

 

In Florida, it pays to stay on your toes during hurricane season. This may help you minimize the property losses that you might otherwise sustain while also keeping you and your family safer.

Recovering from a hurricane is not quick. Months of hard work may be required before you feel like you’re back on your feet.

However, knowing what to expect and the steps that are necessary for recovering your home after a hurricane can give you more certainty at a time when that commodity is in short supply.

Be sure that you’ve got a hurricane insurance policy well before the season starts, and then use these tips to get back on your feet.

 

Knowing When It’s Safe To Go Back Home

It’s natural for people to want to return home with all possible speed after a hurricane. Unfortunately, recovering your home after a storm requires a vast amount of patience, and that is especially true with this step.

Returning home before the authorities have advised you that it is safe to do so is never a good idea. Instead, wait until they have lifted all restrictions. Remember that your life and well-being are far more important than your investment in your home. A lack of potable water, electricity and sanitation can make returning to your home too early just as dangerous as trying to ride out the storm in your living room.

When authorities do say that returning is authorized, watch out for hazards such as loose power lines, gas leaks and potentially dangerous wildlife. Proceed with caution, and don’t be in too much of a hurry to move back in. Maintain an alternative shelter until your home is ready to be occupied again.

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Basic home insurance policies frequently don’t have coverage for hurricane damage. However, because you live in a place where hurricanes are a relatively common hazard, it’s likely that your insurance agent either persuaded you to purchase separate hurricane insurance or wrote a home insurance policy that included hurricane coverage.

Most hurricanes bring two significant hazards with them. These are wind and water. This may mean that you need two separate insurance policies for windstorms and flood damage.

Windstorm insurance policies kick in when your home suffers damage thanks to high winds. Flood insurance protects you when a surge of water or a flood causes damage to your property.

The best way to obtain flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. If your insurance agent offers flood insurance, it probably is done in accordance with the NFIP.

When floods strike, your insurance pays for the direct physical loss of the covered structure and your belongings. NFIP policies feature two types of coverage. One of these is building coverage, which applies to plumbing and electrical systems, water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators, stoves, built-in appliances, foundations, staircases, well water tanks and other features of your home.

The second type of coverage is for the contents of your home. This protects your furniture, washer and dryer, clothing, electronic equipment and more.

Essentially, if any of these items is damaged in a flood, then it is eligible for coverage under your flood insurance.

Understanding Your Deductible

Most people are familiar with insurance deductibles. That’s the amount that you typically must pay out of pocket before your insurance protection kicks in. However, the deductible on a hurricane insurance policy is a little different when compared with other policies.

People are accustomed to choosing a dollar amount for the deductible on their car insurance policy, but in certain U.S. states, like Florida, hurricane insurance carries a deductible that is a percentage of the insured home’s value.

This deductible typically ranges between one and five percent. Accordingly, if the insured value of your home is $500,000 and the deductible on your hurricane insurance policy is five percent, then the insurance company will make a $25,000 deduction from payment that they make on your claim.

In Florida, insurers generally offer hurricane insurance deductibles of $500, two percent, five percent and 10 percent. Some insurers may offer deductibles in excess of 10 percent. Work with your insurance agent to determine a coverage amount and a deductible that are appropriate for you. Ideally, your coverage will be enough to completely rebuild your house if it is required.

Taking the Proper Steps

Filing a Claim

Filing a hurricane insurance claim is a complex process, and technicalities, errors and omissions only exacerbate the difficulties. Accordingly, it is wise to locate and review your hurricane insurance policy as soon as possible in the aftermath of a storm.

This will help to refresh your understanding of what your policy covers, and it also may yield important instructions regarding how to file your claim. Even more critically, your policy likely will tell you how much time you have to file your claim. It is not unusual that steps like notifying your insurer of the loss and filing a claim must be completed in a relatively short period of time.

Accordingly, it makes sense to contact your insurance agent or the claims department of your insurance company as soon as possible after the hurricane passes. Typically, you will be assigned a claim number on this first phone call, and your information will be given to an adjuster who will review and assess the damage to your property.

Make a List of Valuables

It may take some time for the adjuster to visit your property. In the meantime, you can facilitate the process by taking pictures and making video recordings of the property. This step is critical, as it enables you to prove your claim. These photographs and video recordings also preserve the state of the property as it existed immediately after the flood. The insurance adjuster may rely on these to help document your claim.

In addition to photographic and video evidence, maintain a written list of all of the damage that your property sustained in the hurricane. Write down the value of each item, and if you can locate the original receipt, include it with your list. The more organized you are, the easier the adjuster’s job is and the less likely it is that something will be overlooked.

Create a Paper Trail

Try to keep written records of all of your interactions with your insurance company. Use email and letters as often as possible to create a paper trail, and make notes on all telephone conversations. If things go wrong down the road and you believe that your insurer has acted in bad faith, this documentation will be valuable.

Give Yourself Time to Heal

Recovering from a hurricane is no easy task. Remember that a natural disaster exacts a mental, physical and emotional toll in addition to all of the property damage. Just as your house cannot be restored overnight, neither can your equilibrium.

A series of advances and setbacks is inherent in the recovery from any disaster. You’ll have bad days and good days, but you’ll probably also see that overall you’re traveling in the right direction.

Celebrate the small victories, and don’t let the setbacks get you too low. Remember that Waypointe Realty is here to help you prepare for a storm or to recover from all of life’s hurricanes.