New Restaurants that have opened in Brevard County

 Awesome Jamaican Jerk & Thing in Palm Bay

More: Awesome Jamaican Jerk restaurant brings island spice to Palm Bay

• Me-N-Tito’s in Melbourne

More: Me-n-Tito’s brings a fresh taken on Mexican food to Melbourne

• That Cozy Restaurant in Suntree

More: That Cozy Restaurant brings a homey dining experience to Suntree

• Snug Pub in Cocoa

More: Review: Snug Pub brings a touch of the Irish to Cocoa

• Von Stephan Village German Bier Garden in Cocoa

Related: Restaurants in Brevard that have closed in 2018

Manderville is a community content specialist at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Manderville at 321-242-3614

New Restaurants that have opened in Brevard County

Title Solutions of Florida’s Shirts are here!

Our new shirts are IN our #TitleSolutions girls are rockin the new swag. Make sure you grab one at your next closing!

Title Solutions of Florida’s Shirts are here!

Top Ten Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

#July4th is here! Don’t forget that #PetAwareness is so important today!#BeSafe and have the very best Holiday. petMD #Top10 pet safety tips for the #4thofJuly:

Like many Americans, you may be planning to have a festive Fourth of July. Along with barbeques and day at the beach, no July holiday celebration would be complete without enjoying the fireworks that celebrate the birth of our nation.

Perhaps you are considering staying at home and planning a get-together with friends and family. Or, you may want to go check out your local professional fireworks display. While putting the finishing touches on your planned celebration, take a moment to consider your pets.

Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.

Because of this, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? In a 2005 press release the Indiana Proactive Animal Welfare, Inc. (PAW) stated that animal shelters the day after Fourth of July are “inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.”

Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and PAW have listed ways you can prevent your holiday celebration from turning into a tragedy. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your pet from panicking this Fourth of July weekend.

On to the tips:

Top Ten Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

Florida ranks in Top 10 of Kiplinger’s 2018 “where to retire” list

You were diligent about contributing to your 401(k) and savings and are ready to make the most of your golden years. But your wallet might be in for a shock.

The average cost of retirement is over $700,000, according to Merrill Lynch’s 2017 “Finances in Retirement” study. That’s more than any other major life expense, including taking out a mortgage on a house, raising children, or borrowing student loans to pay for college.

Since you spent all those years working, you’ll want to find one of the best places to retire, where your hard-earned dollar goes a bit further. But you also want to set up shop somewhere you can be happy and active.

Florida ranked No. 5 on Kiplinger’s 2018 listof tax-friendly states for retirees. There’s no state income tax, meaning you won’t pay taxes on your Social Security retirement benefits, pension, IRA, or 401(k) income.

Florida ranks in Top 10 of Kiplinger’s 2018 “where to retire” list

7 Small Home Flaws That Can Be Big Deals for Buyers

After living in the same home for a while, it’s amazing what you can get used to. A creaky floorboard, for instance. A chipped tile that you’ve been meaning to replace but haven’t gotten around to. A doorknob that needs a little coaxing to turn. No big deal, right?

Well, these small flaws can be huge deal breakers when you decide to sell your home.

“Prospective buyers are going to add all the ‘flaws’ they find to the price of the property, and that’s when they start trying to discount the price,” cautions Jane Peters, a real estate broker and owner of Home Jane Realty in Los Angeles.

Curious what some of these seemingly small problems are? Check out this list of minuscule (to you) things that buyers see as big hurdles to closing a sale.

1. An old electrical panel

Recently, home buyer made a controversial request for a repair at a property listed by Cedric Stewart, a real estate consultant at Keller Williams in the Washington, DC, area.

Apparently their home inspector claimed that $2,000 worth of repairs were needed on an electrical panel to get it “up to code.” The sellers insisted the current panel worked just fine.

“To the sellers, it was a small issue,” says Stewart, “but to the buyers, it was an electrical panel that could fail them at any time.”

To end this particular dispute, Stewart received bids from four electricians and got the repair quote knocked down to $1,200. The sellers offered that amount as a credit in lieu of repair at closing.

“The buyers grumbled,” Stewart recalls, “but they took it.”

2. Ripped window screens

Window screens will wear out over time, but if yours are torn, take it seriously.

“They’re a pain for anyone to replace,” says Stewart. “Therefore, sellers don’t want to do it and buyers will insist that they do. If the sellers refuse to fix it, the buyers will demand a credit. This can be a major point of contention, and we’ve seen it delay progress before.”

Stewart recalls one seller who agreed to replace a damaged window screen. But on the final walk-through, it still hadn’t been done—and the buyer threatened to walk away from the deal.

“It worked out,” says Stewart, “but it wasn’t pretty.”

3. The location of your laundry room

Even if you own a state-of-the-art washer and dryer—and plan to bestow both on your lucky buyers—they may not be so thrilled with these nice appliances if they aren’t situated in what they think is the “right” place.

“Some buyers have a problem with the laundry being on the ‘wrong’ level, especially in a three-level house or townhouse-style condo,” Peters explains.

In other words, you might be fine lugging your laundry to the basement, but don’t expect all buyers to feel the same way. Offer to move these items to a new locale to warm buyers up.

4. Sticky door locks

Live in a house long enough, and you’ll encounter a malfunctioning door latch or lock. That may be no big deal to you, but it may alarm buyers big-time.

If it’s an exterior door, they will likely view this as a major safety issue, explains Stewart. And although it may seem like a simple fix, it’s often a complex one, he says.

Think about it: The company that installed the doors may no longer be around, the model may not be in production anymore, and/or it could be tough to get someone to replace the exact hardware. Consider fixing this problem before a buyer notices it.

5. Your bathtub or shower

Some people prefer showers, others want baths (particularly parents who must clean up small kids). So if you’re missing one or the other, watch out.

In an ideal world, you’ll have both: a bath with a showerhead above. But even if your bathtub works just fine, make sure the style isn’t too off. Not everyone is excited to soak in a tub straight out of “Stranger Things” in avocado green. If that’s you, luckily there is an easy fix: Consider slapping on a new coat of paint (yes, you can do that). Here’s how to paint a bathtub.

6. Small closets

“Many buyers focus on closets,” says Peters. “Are there enough? Are they large enough? Walk-in closets are also preferred.”

There are a few things you can do to ease these concerns. For one, try to make your closets look roomier by decluttering them as much as possible. Put excess items elsewhere (like a rented storage unit). You might also consider hiring a contractor to build or extend closets where needed—or at least point out to buyers that they can do this themselves.

7. The walls of your kitchen

Some people like—no, make that love— open kitchens. So if your kitchen currently has four walls, you could be in trouble.

“Buyers may look at the possibility of breaking down a wall,” Peters says. But be warned, many might not want to do the work, or just get such a bad first impression of your kitchen that they move on. If you think your kitchen’s four walls feel cramped and is stalling your sale, consider opening it up yourself. Here’s how to knock down a wall.


Stephanie Booth’s stories have appeared in magazines such as Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Psychology Today.  Follow @stephanieBbarth

7 Small Home Flaws That Can Be Big Deals for Buyers

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Adds Two ‘Really Cute’ Deputies To Their Team

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – I am extremely excited to announce that the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit has received two new bloodhound puppies from the Jimmy Ryce Foundation who will serve our community in searching for missing children, seniors with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, or suspect’s attempting to avoid arrest.

The Jimmy Ryce Foundation was started in 1996 as a non-profit organization by Don and Claudine Ryce to aid in the rescue of missing or abducted children. The organization was started after their son, Jimmy, had been abducted and murdered the previous year.

It was their belief, that Jimmy may have been found sooner if police would have had immediate access to bloodhounds. Since starting the organization, the foundation has donated more than 400 certified bloodhounds to Law Enforcement Agencies that have in turn saved hundreds of missing children and adults.

In order to help pay for the cost of providing these dogs, the Foundation receives donations from many generous individuals and corporate sponsors.

The two puppies recently donated to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office were donated to the Jimmy Ryce Foundation by JetBlue Airlines who are proud partners in helping protect communities across the nation.

As a show of appreciation, our two newest team members are being named “Jet” and “Blue” to express our gratitude to JetBlue and the Jimmy Ryce Foundation.


Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Adds Two ‘Really Cute’ Deputies To Their Team

Learning the Lingo: Escrow, EMD, Other Closing Terms Translated

The moment has finally, truly, amazingly arrived: You’re closing on a home! And if you’re about to sign on the line that is dotted, you should be prepared to hear a whole lot of closing-related terminology that sounds a bit like “alphabet soup from another language,” warns Cara Ameer, a Realtor® in Ponte Vedra, FL.

Even though you will probably have your real estate attorney, a rep from your lender, and your trusted Realtor nearby to explain the things you don’t know, you don’t want to look totally clueless, right? Which is why this installment of our Learning the Lingo series takes aim at all those confusing terms and acronyms you will hear when you close on a home. You’re welcome!


You might hear your lender or agent speaking to you about the COE, which stands for “close of escrow.” “They are simply discussing the date you will officially be the owner,” explains Rhonda Fee, a Realtor in Pleasanton, CA. But what exactly is escrow, you ask? Read on.


Think of this as a holding area for essential funds and important documents, maintained by an attorney or a representative from the title company (more on them below) as the details of the sale are ironed out. Once the sale is finalized, the escrow agent disburses the payments and documents accordingly. This is a good thing. There are many variations of escrow accounts, depending on the specifics of your deal. Let the pros explain the salient points of yours.


That’s short for earnest money deposit—the funds buyers put down to prove to sellers that they’re making a serious offer (typically 3% to 5% of the cost of the house), proving they’re earnest about the deal, not just a tire-kicker. Earnest money is one of the more debated and misunderstood aspects of the home-purchase process. So what happens to this deposit? If all goes smoothly, it will be put toward the buyer’s down payment and closing costs. But if the buyer backs out for no good reason, the seller generally keeps the EMD as a consolation prize. But sometimes there arelegitimate reasons to back out, which leads us to …


There are the valid justifications that enable buyers to walk away from the deal and take their EMD with them. Contingencies must be removed for the deal to go through. For instance, if the buyers placed a 10-day inspection contingency on the purchase, that means for that period they have a right to hire a home inspector to check the house top to bottom for any glaring flaws. Upon the 10th day, if nothing major is found, the buyers will be asked to remove this stipulation in writing. Once the buyers have removed all of their contingencies, they have to go through with the purchase or forfeit their EMD.

Title insurance

How do you know for sure that a home seller really owns the place free and clear—and that they can sell it without some long-lost heir coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim? Enter title insurance, which offers protection against any competing claims to the home. As part of the process, the insurer will run a title search of public records, seeking loose ends such as liens against the property or fraudulent signatures on ownership documents. Note that there is separate title insurance to cover lenders and buyers, and you would do well to get a policy for yourself. It establishes that you can truly “take title” to the property as the legal owner, which is entered in public records.


CDs aren’t just ancient music formats for playing your Motörhead collection. The term is short for “closing disclosure,” a document the buyer is required to receive three days before close. “It summarizes the buyer’s loan in terms of the breakdown of their mortgage payment and all fees that the buyer will need to bring,” Ameer says. Use this time wisely: The devil is often in the details, so if you see something that looks amiss, now is the time to ask your attorney or Realtor.

Cash to close

Cash to close includes the total amount of money buyers need on the big day to seal the deal. It’s typically 3% to 6% of the price of the home (that would be $2,539 on a $200,000 loan) and includes appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, as well as the down payment and prepaid items such as any funds held in escrow.


Prorating is when certain fees or taxes are divided to align with the time of ownership between the buyer and seller. For example, if annual property taxes on a home are $3,000 and the seller moves out one-third of the way through the year on April 1, they’re responsible for paying one-third of the taxes, or $1,000. The buyer pays the rest.


Credits add wiggle room to those closing costs to help cash-strapped home buyers seal the deal. If the buyer can’t quite come up with enough cash to close, the seller can agree to pay credits that could add up to 6%of the home’s sale price. Sellers benefit as well, in that this contribution is tax deductible (but don’t count on sellers offering credits in a hot market). Conversely, sellers may offer the home at a lower price to entice buyers but then ask for credits to defray closing costs on their end. 

On record

“When you hear these words, it’s time to celebrate,” Fee says. “That means you officially own your new home.” Congratulations!

 Liz Alterman is a writer who’s covered a variety of subjects, from personal finance issues for to career advice for The Muse. 


Learning the Lingo: Escrow, EMD, Other Closing Terms Translated

New Google Review JUST IN!

New Google Review JUST IN!

10 cities where housing is still a buyer’s market

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Tight housing inventory has led to rising home prices and stiff competition among house hunters in much of the country. But in some cities, homebuyers still have the advantage in negotiations.

“With reduced inventory and appreciating home prices an issue in much of the country, real estate market conditions are challenging. Many markets have become overheated, but there are still markets where smart buyers can find more affordable homes,” Phil Karp, senior manager of brokerage services at, said in a press release.

To rank the housing markets with the best deals for buyers, the online real estate brokerage’s research team recently examined regional averages of each of the following categories, weighing them in importance: the difference in the prices homes are listed and sold at (30%), homeowner equity levels (25%), outstanding inventory (20%), the number of days on the market (15%) and the change in monthly rental cost compared to the previous year (10%).

On average, the price of homes in these 10 areas is $297,794, which is $35,330 below the national average and $16,375 lower than what the houses originally listed for. And in all of these markets, the average monthly payment needed to rent a home is rising, making homeownership look more attractive., a division of Altisource, compiled the data used to rank the 10 regions from public and private sources, including the U.S. Census and aggregated information from First American. Only metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people living in them were included in the ranking.


10 cities where housing is still a buyer’s market

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


Brevard County Free School Supplies Giveaway July 28

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – The Brevard Schools Foundation’s Back-to-SchoolSupplies Giveaway for low-income families will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2018 at the Clearlake Education Center Gym located at 1225 Clearlake Road in Cocoa, Florida.

Over 2,000 children enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch program will receive new backpacks filled with school supplies.

They will also be given hot lunches, books, brief dental screenings, eye and diabetes screenings, gift certificates for haircuts, and other benefits.

Additionally, there will be fun STEM activities for children to participate in, provided by Northrop Grumman and NASA’s Launch Services Program. Families must have pre-registered for the event in order to participate.

In Brevard County more than 39,000 students qualified for Free or Reduced Lunch during the 2016/2017 school year, and nearly 2,400 students were registered as homeless.

Due to financial hardship, many of these children come to school without any supplies of their own. As a result, they may struggle to perform at the same level as their peers.

Organizers say that the Back to School Giveaway exists to help level the playing field by providing these children with the tools they need to succeed in school.

This event is a community endeavor and is made possible through the cooperation of many groups and individuals. Businesses including Parrish Healthcare, MC Assembly, PNC Bank, JACOBS Technology, and others have donated funds or collected school supplies for the giveaway.

Any supplies leftover from the Back to School Giveaway will be distributed throughout the year from the Supply Zone for Teachers.

The Supply Zone is an educational resource center that gives free school supplies to teachers from high-poverty schools.

Supplies are either used in the classroom or given directly to students who cannot afford their own.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Supply Zone or the Back to School Giveaway Event should visit the Brevard Schools Foundation website at

Image credit: Brevard Public Schools

Brevard County Free School Supplies Giveaway July 28

WATCH: Figment the Turtle Released After Brevard Zoo Rehabilitation

Why do we celebrate on Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May, will be held on May 28, 2018. The holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

How will you celebrate?  Let us know on Facebook!

#FigmenttheTurtle, a juvenile green #SeaTurtle, was released into the ocean after being rehabilitated by the #BrevardZoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center (#STHC). She was found severely ill and weak in March at #ParadiseBeachPark. Produced by Katie Sivco.

Why do we celebrate on Memorial Day?

Rachel DeCamp obtains her CAM License.

#Congratulations to Rachel DeCamp, on her recent #CAMLicense! A #CommunityAssociationManagementLicense will allow Rachel to increase her menu of services, to better serve the residents of #BrevardCounty.#SolutionsPropertyManagment

Rachel DeCamp obtains her CAM License.

8th Annual ShrimpFeast @ Port Canaveral

Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Date: Friday April 13, 2018
Location: Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal 10
Address: 9005 Charles M. Rowland Dr., Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Price: $40 per person or $70 per couple.
Category: Fund Raiser

The Propeller Club of Port Canaveral 8th Annual ShrimpFeast features locally sourced shrimp from Wild Ocean/Cape Canaveral Shrimp Company and prepared by Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill chefs in a variety of ways. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting the Propeller club web site:, or by sending an email request to

Live entertainment will be provided by the “Beach Bums” and the Brevard Hawaiian Dancers will be performing. Soft drinks, wine and beer are included along with the meal in the price of the ticket! Come and join the fun with dancing, door prizes, and a silent auction. This event is the Propeller Club annual fundraiser with proceeds going towards the club’s community service activities.

More Information / Purchase Tickets

8th Annual ShrimpFeast @ Port Canaveral

FSA testing scorecard: Brevard County School District vs. others in Florida

FSA testing scorecard: Brevard County School District vs. others in Florida Here’s a twist: We’re grading the Florida Standards Assessments, sort of.

Did your school make the grade in the FSA and statewide final exams? Thanks to our database, you can compare a district’s scores on subjects — English, math, science and more — with other districts across Florida and the state average.

Click on the individual district to see scores for each school on our database at

The database analyzes FSA scores in English language arts, geometry, algebra, math, science and biology and statewide final exams in civics and history. It’s a good tool for those interested in a quality education for their children.

It may even bring out a competitive spirit among parents and educators: Which county has the highest score? What’s their secret?

To see the FSA testing scorecard database, visit


FSA testing scorecard: Brevard County School District vs. others in Florida

Title Solutions Found in… Puerto Rico?

The #HardLife of a #TitleSolutionsofFlorida button, frolicking in the waves in #PuertoRico#TitleSolutions gets AROUND! #LifesaBeach#BrevardTitleServices

Title Solutions Found in… Puerto Rico?

A Day In the Life on the #SpaceCoast

#Melbourne & #BrevardsBeaches  #LiveBig  #TitleSolutionsofFlorida #TitleSolutions  #SpaceCoastEDC

A Day In the Life on the #SpaceCoast

What is ‘Title Insurance’

Title insurance is indemnity insurance that protects the holder from financial loss sustained from defects in a title to a property. The most common type of title insurance is lender’s title insurance, which the borrower purchases only to protect the lender. Owner’s title insurance, paid for by the seller to protect the buyer’s equity in the property, is available separately.

Purchasing Title Insurance

An escrow or closing agent initiates the insurance process upon completion of the property purchase agreement. There are five major U.S. title insurance underwriters, of which the agent or attorney typically recommends one.

There are two types of title insurance: lenders’ insurance and owners’ insurance. Almost all lenders require the borrower to purchase a lender’s title insurance policy to protect the lender in the event the seller was not legally able to transfer the title of ownership rights. A lender’s policy only protects the lender against loss. An issued policy signifies the completion of a title search, offering some assurance to the buyer.

Since title searches are not infallible and the owner remains at risk of loss, there is a need for additional protection in the form of an owner’s title insurance policy. Owner’s title insurance, often purchased by the seller to protect the buyer against defects in the title, is optional.

Often, a lender’s policy and an owner’s policy are required together to guarantee everyone is adequately protected.  At closing, the parties purchase title insurance for a one-time fee. To prevent abuse, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits sellers from requiring purchase from a specific title insurance carrier.

Risks of No Title Insurance

Having no title insurance exposes transacting parties to significant risk in the event a title defect is present.  Consider a home buyer searching for the house of their dreams only to find, after closing, unpaid property taxes from the prior owner.  Without title insurance, the financial burden of this claim for back taxes rests solely with the buyer.  They will either pay the outstanding property taxes or risk losing the home to the taxing entity.  Under the same scenario with title insurance, the coverage protects the buyer for as long as they own or have interest in the property.

Source: Title Insurance

What is ‘Title Insurance’

Happy Birthday, Jenna!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our beautiful #EscrowCloser Jenna Webb! Your knowledge and personality make Title Solutions Closings the best in #Brevard. We hope you have a wonderful day!

Happy Birthday, Jenna!

Beach Clean up this past Monday with your Title Solutions Girls

On the second Monday of Every Month we will be doing a #beachcleanupplease join us to help keep our beaches beautiful. Keep a look out for the next one! Every month the location will change. Any suggestions on a specific beach are welcomed  #titlesolutionsofflorida

Beach Clean up this past Monday with your Title Solutions Girls
Beach Clean up this past Monday with your Title Solutions Girls

Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce Listing

Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce Listing

Brevard County Receives $35 Million Federal Funding For Beaches

Brevard County Receives $35 Million Federal Funding For Beach Restoration, Protection. RESTORATION WILL TAKE PLACE IN DECEMBER 2019 AND MAY 2020.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – More than $35 million has been earmarked for beach restoration in Brevard County under a 2018 Work Plan funding list released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Work Plan includes approximately $28.4 million for initial construction of the Mid-Reach segment of the Brevard County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project.

The restoration is expected to take place between December 2019 and May 2020.

The Mid-Reach project was specifically designed to provide storm protection benefits while, at the same time, minimize impacts to the nearshore rock reef habitat.

The Mid-Reach Project will provide continued maintenance of Brevard County’s shoreline which will sustain healthy beaches for the enjoyment of residents and visitors and furnish habitat for endangered species, including thousands of sea turtles that nest along the Mid-Reach each year. Sand placement along this shoreline is essential in order to avoid coastal armoring.

In some Florida communities armoring has narrowed the public beach and reduced sea turtle nesting habitat.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also committed an additional $7 million in Flood Control Coastal Emergency funding to repair hurricane Irma damage in the South Reach of the federal project. This work is expected in early 2020 in the towns of Indialantic and Melbourne Beach.

For more information about the Mid Reach Project, contact Mike McGarry at or 321-372-5194. Source:

Brevard County Receives $35 Million Federal Funding For Beaches

Search Brevard County Records

Search Brevard County Records

Open House in Cocoa Beach this Friday!

Address: 114 Boca Ciega Road, Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, Florida #OpenHouse this Friday, 12-2PM, hosted by #NicholeDemeter, #JennaWebb and #JenniferKline  Join us for Mimosas, snacks and prizes!

Open House in Cocoa Beach this Friday!

What the 20 Most Popular Home Renovations Are Really Worth in 2018

Planning to remodel your kitchen, add a master suite, or undertake some other pricey home renovation in 2018? Watch out—not all of these home improvements pay off like they did in the past, according to Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report.

For this much-referenced annual report, now in its 31st year, researchers pinpointed the average return on investment of 20 popular home renovations by canvassing contractors nationwide on how much these upgrades cost to complete, then compared that with how much real estate agents estimated these features would boost a home’s market price (in other words, their value).

And the news isn’t so good for homeowners looking to remodel on a massive scale: The report found that in 2018, Americans should expect to make back only about 56% of the money they spend on renovations. That’s down from 64% the previous two years.

What gives?

“This year, the most expensive projects didn’t have much of a gain,” says Craig Webb, editor of Remodeling and manager of the report. “I think it’s because real estate professionals think we’re getting close to a peak in market prices. So consequently, spending a lot of money does not automatically mean your house will just ride the escalator up and be worth a lot more.”

Current events could also play a role. New tax laws curtailing the deductibility of mortgage interest and local property taxes might be dampening real estate agents’ confidence that piling on the improvements will pay off. Plus, recent wildfires, mudslides, and other natural disasters have created what Webb calls “a freight train of extraordinary demand” on materials and labor that is bound to jack up renovation costs all round, leading to thinner margins on their return.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. As usual, this year’s report found that the ROI varied widely by project. A new garage door, for instance, essentially pays for itself, earning you a whopping 98.3% of your money back, making this the best value of the whole bunch. And the worst? Installing a back patio, which will recoup only 48% of your expenses.

Check the chart below for a full rundown of the top renovations, including how much they cost, their value at resale, and the percentage you’ll recoup. And if you’re looking for some general pointers, here’s one: If you’re going to shell out money, do it where everyone will notice—on the front of your house.

Curb appeal projects tend to have high paybacks than inside-the-house projects,” Webb continues. “Any real estate professional will tell you curb appeal matters a lot, and these numbers prove it.”

This explains why garage doors top this list, followed closely by manufactured stone veneer (which offers a 97% ROI) and wood decks (83%).

Another golden rule of renovation?

“It’s better to replace or repair than add and remodel,” says Webb. In other words, go ahead and fix that frayed siding or replace the roof before you add a master suite or overhaul the kitchen.

Mostly, keep in mind that if your tastes are, ahem, unique, that could lead to trouble if you’re expecting home buyers to swoon over the same things.

“You may spend gobs of money on what you think is the perfect kitchen remodel,” Webb says. “But if your idea is to have something from the 1970s with avocado ovens, the next person could walk in and say, ‘That’s ugly. I don’t care that you spent $75,000 on that—let’s tear it out anyway.'”

What the 20 Most Popular Home Renovations Are Really Worth in 2018

Florida Trends’ Summer Getaway Guide 2018

When it’s time to break away from the everyday, plan the perfect #SummerGetaway, right here in #Florida! #FloridaTrends#SummerGetawayGuide has something for everyone. #Summer2018#TitleSolutionsofFlorida

Florida Trends’ Summer Getaway Guide 2018

How to Buy a Home From a Family Member Without the Feud

Buying a home is hard, but if you want to learn how to buy a home from a family member, you’re entering truly treacherous territory. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all been to family dinners where a seemingly benign issue can instantly turn into a blood feud. And when it comes to real estate—usually the largest asset most people have—there’s a lot at stake financially.

Buying a home from a family member might seem deceptively easy at first glance. You know where they live, so you may think there’s little risk of getting swindled, and maybe they’ll even cut you a deal. The biggest pitfall, however, is thinking you can skip important steps in the home-buying process because you’re on the same family tree.

In the interest of keeping future holidays merry, leave nothing to kinship alone and follow these steps.

Have a family meeting

Difficulty can easily occur when a homeowner and a potential buyer in the same family agree to a sale but keep it to themselves until the deal is in motion.

“Two or more people often come to an agreement about a piece of real estate only to have their ideas ruined by someone who wasn’t kept in the loop,” says Seth Lejeune, a real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, in Malvern, PA.

The biggest issue occurs if someone secretly promises a house to a family member and then dies. Or maybe you want to buy your aunt’s house—but so does your sister. As soon as the idea of a potential interfamily sale crops up, notify every person affected and come to an agreement.

Work with a real estate agent

Doing a home sale transaction without an agent may seem like a great way to save money and, hey, you’re among family, right? But go it alone, and it’s most likely the fastest route to headaches and confusion. An agent can not only represent both sides of the transaction fairly, but also keep an emotional distance.

Some real estate brokerages can act simply as a transaction broker, which means less commission dollars. Each side may have to pay only a 1% fee if it’s simply a matter of acting as a guide and preparing paperwork, says Lejeune.

Get an independent appraisal

Sellers often place an unrealistic value on a house they love. And as a buyer, you want a price that’s fair, but how do you figure out what that number is? By seeking an independent property evaluation through an appraisal before you agree on a sale price, says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Brandywine Fine Properties in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

While lenders use appraisers to verify that a home can act as collateral for a loan amount, individuals can use independent appraisers, who cost around $300.

Don’t skip the inspection

Just because you’ve had 12 Thanksgivings in a home doesn’t mean you’re an expert on the furnace’s condition! While home inspections are sometimes viewed as a way to protect the buyer from a dishonest seller, the fact is most homes have problems that the owners simply aren’t aware of, says Scott Brown, owner of Brightside Home Inspections in Syracuse, NY.

Even if the house is sold to you at a discount due to family ties, expensive repairs in the thousands could pop up down the line and create hard feelings. Prevent any potential problems by hiring an inspector to identify any of the home’s issues so repairs can figure into the sale price.

Set pricing upfront and don’t haggle

Ryan Fitzgerald, owner/broker at in Charlotte, NC, has experienced the pitfalls of buying property from relatives.

“They are by far the most difficult real estate transactions I’ve ever been a part of,” says Fitzgerald. His tip to avoid conflict is to do all of your negotiations upfront. And here’s where getting the appraisal and inspection done prior to arriving at an accepted offer is key.

“It’s never pretty when there’s an appraisal issue, which means the bank won’t grant a mortgage for the sales price,” says Fitzgerald. In that instance, the buyer and seller would need to renegotiate the deal. “And it’s an entirely different dynamic when you’re haggling with family.”

But if you have every nickel agreed upon upfront due to what was discovered during inspection and at appraisal, monetary expectations are set for everyone.

Lawyer up and sign that contract!

You may feel a handshake with a relative is all you need to seal every deal, but protect yourself by signing a contract.

If there’s an objective lawyer trusted by both sides, save some money by hiring just one lawyer. But if there’s suspicion of the opposing parties, then retaining your own counsel is a good idea.

Don’t skip adding a contract contingency that the deal is void if you can’t get a mortgage. You may think your uncle or cousin may understand that you can’t buy a home without financing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.  Source:

How to Buy a Home From a Family Member Without the Feud

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Judy Dutton is a deputy editor at covering news and advice about personal finance, home buying, selling, decorating, and everything in between (

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