How Do Agents Qualify A Buyer?

A seller asked Noreen and Amy how they will know buyers who viewed their home is qualified to buy. Great question. Get the answers here!

What the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce means to our community?

By: Noreen Payne

Chairman Elect of the Board of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce

Special to the Delray Newspaper

Delray Beach has won many accolades for being an intimate town with big city sophistication.  How do we maintain the image and growth of our wonderful city? We focus on supporting the local businesses that support the city and the people behind it!

Our Chamber focuses on supporting and enticing many businesses to Delray Beach – it is our Chamber’s mission to ensure that our business owners and visitors alike feel welcome and supported each and every day. The Chamber advocates on behalf of the businesses – works to build relationships and networking opportunities within our city, bringing exposure to the businesses to encourage future growth and development, organizing and delivering beneficial training and education to our small business owners who may not have the resources on their own, delivering programs and events to build excitement and focus for all of our Chamber members.

It is pure joy for me to witness a ribbon cutting of a new business in our city – to be there to watch the big smiles on the faces of the entrepreneurs who have chosen our city, Delray Beach, to plant their roots. To then see those same business owners come to one of the Chamber’s networking or education events and watch as they develop relationships and friendships within our local business community and residents. I am exhilarated when I leave a meeting with our City leadership and accomplish a victory on behalf of our Chamber business members – these wins impact the bottom line of our local business owners and I take pride in being a part of this process.

People often ask me “why” I am so involved in the Delray Chamber of Commerce. I must confess it was not an initial goal to be engaged and certainly would never have thought it possible that in 2020, I would be Chair of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce- but here I am! I simply went to an event in the hopes of meeting other local business owners and residents and the energy in the room was infectious. I found I understood our city better, was engaged in changing policy and attracting good businesses for us! I moved on to various leadership roles because I saw the value and the impact to our local community.

At the end of the day we are people looking to build relationships with other people – when we help a local business owner grow their fledgling business into a thriving business that impacts not only that business owner but also our entire economy. As a local resident, I want to see businesses thrive, I want to see new residents move into our area and participate in our community, to see our property values continue to rise and to know that our Delray Chamber is making an impact on our community and residents as a whole.

Here’s how you too can get involved:

Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce

www.DelrayBeach.com

561-278-0424

From Florida Realtors: HUD Plans a “Verification Plan for Service Animals”

All stakeholders should be pleased to learn that HUD has a “verification plan for service animals” in the works.

(Note: The following is not legal advice, as we are not lawyers. If you have specific questions about disability accommodations of any kind as it relates to housing, we can introduce you to a lawyer in our network who can advise you.) 

According to this report from Florida Realtors, “Landlords and property managers are entitled to “reliable verification” of a tenant’s need for a service animal and can require proof beyond an online certification, a Department of Housing and Urban Development official said Tuesday at the Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.”

Florida landlords, tenants, Realtors, and all involved may be interested to hear that HUD also reports to be considering how “exotic” animals (like alligators!) fit into this equation.

We are glad to hear that HUD has this issue on the radar screen, and we look forward to guidance and clarification around service animals in housing. There is significant confusion around this issue on all fronts, and clarification will surely help everyone.

Most importantly, we’d love to see people with disabilities who need service animals be treated fairly and without discrimination. As an extension, we’d like to see the “cottage industry” referenced in this article (that has sprung up to take advantage of the confusion and sell certificates) dealt with.

We’d also like to have investors who own rental properties be more clear on the issues around this, and have more structure and guidance from HUD and its state and county-level counterparts.

Also from the Florida Realtors article:

“It’s important not to trivialize the issue of service animals because of abuses of the law, Grosso said. “Very often, there is some nefarious attribution to people who request assistance animals. But many times, there are people with significant disabilities who legitimately need the assistance of a service animal. They bear the burden of the effects of service animal abuses.”

Guest Blog: Pros +Cons of Stamped Concrete for Pool Decks

The following is a guest blog post, written by Bill Michaels of Patterned Concrete. We were curious about this cool product, and wanted to share his info. He agreed to write about both the pros and the cons of the product, so our readers can get a balanced picture!  – Noreen and Amy

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Florida weather lends itself to relaxing in the pool. But you want a great environment around that cool water, too, right? The pool for most of us is another area of the house that should be designed with beauty in mind. A key part of that is the surface we walk on. It has to be beautiful but also safe and durable. And stamped concrete is a great option that meets all of those criteria.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is real concrete but the surface is colored and “stamped” with a design to make it appear to be another surface. It can look like brick, natural stone, pavers or even wood. 

You’ve probably seen stamped concrete without even realizing it because it looks so realistic. As concrete, it’s reasonably priced and holds up well. But it goes beyond the normally drab appearance of concrete to create a work of art. And it can be designed for almost any look you’re trying to achieve, from hand-hewn stone to wood.

Versatility of Stamped Concrete for Pool Decks

You want your pool area to reflect a certain mood or theme. It may continue the architecture of your house, or it may be a totally different concept. Perhaps you’d like to divide your yard into different sections, even. You may have an outdoor kitchen, the pool itself, and perhaps a walkway through the garden. And you may want each to be distinct.

One of the great things about stamped concrete is that it can be used to create the surface for all these areas. Your contractor simply colors the concrete differently and stamps it for the effect you want.

Want a paver walkway? No problem. Cobblestone kitchen floor? Easy. Wood panels for the pool deck? You got it. And your visitors can hardly tell that it’s not “the real thing” until they’re on top of it and really paying attention.

A pool deck, in particular, has to be a reliable, safe material where you’re free to walk barefoot and enjoy the warm Florida sun. Its appearance has to hold up over time and contribute to the overall atmosphere. Stamped concrete fits the bill.

Advantages of Stamped Concrete Compared to Other Surfaces

Why would you choose this option compared to others? There are several reasons.

Stamped concrete provides significant durability. It’s concrete, after all. It holds up well under the sun and rain. It’s a surface that going to serve you well for a long time.

It’s also easy to maintain. Regular maintenance just involves basic cleaning – just sweep it off. You can choose to power wash it if you want, and even use a mild liquid detergent on it as needed. The biggest step you’ll need to take is having the surface resealed every two to three years; this helps seal in the color and keep it vibrant. Your contractor would be glad to do this for you and it’s extremely inexpensive to have done.

As we mentioned above, stamped concrete also provides a great deal of flexibility. There are so many designs available and more are developed all the time.

Another advantage is the price. Stamped concrete is competitive with other surface materials in price, and is a good bit cheaper than some types. Combined with the low-maintenance aspect, you’ll come out ahead economically.

Worried about burning your toes? Concrete reflects a lot more heat than brick or tile. As always, lighter colors are cooler, but the concrete itself stays cooler as well. Overall, it’s a more comfortable surface to work on in the heat.

You can also avoid some of the pitfalls of other materials. Natural stone or pavers can be uneven from the start. They become worse as they settle. Wood can, of course, splinter. But you avoid those problems with stamped concrete. You don’t want to trip, stub your toe, or have to pull a splinter out of your foot. With stamped concrete, you won’t have those issues.

Pool Safety and Stamped Concrete

Pool safety is always important and many factors have to be taken into account to keep everyone safe. That includes the safety of the surface around it.

Since you’re dealing with a surface that’s usually wet, it’s important to do what’s necessary to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Since stamped concrete has a seal on it to protect its appearance, it can be slippery. However, an anti-slip agent mixed in the sealant helps keep you safe.

This mix is a normal part of the installation. But it’s always good to ask your contractor about this and other steps that might help you stay safe.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Nothing is perfect, and we do want to present the reality as well. The advantages are far greater than the disadvantages, but here are some things you’ll have to deal with.

First, concrete cracks. There’s no way to avoid that. That doesn’t mean it’s going to fall apart, but at some point you’ll see points where the concrete does split. However, your contractor knows how to lay the concrete so that usually it will concrete in the best spaces. In other words, the cracks will be in places that least affect the usability and appearance of the surface.

Also, there may be some issues with saltwater pools and stamped concrete. There are still divided opinions among professionals about the presence and seriousness of the issue. But in some cases, it seems that the salt has worn through the sealant. Also, the salt seems to find its way into cracks in the concrete, which can cause the concrete to flake.

Usually this problem with salt happens where there’s a lot of salt dropping – for instance, where people climb out of the pool. It’s only in those spots where excessive salt accumulates that there’s an issue. Again, the jury’s still out on this, but it is something to ask your contractor about.  They may recommend a different type of sealant. Also, it’s a good idea to hose down the deck anyway after use.

Conclusion

Stamped concrete offers a chance to make your pool deck look great for a reasonable cost. It is both beautiful and durable, so you know it’s going to be a great benefit to your yard for a long time. There are tons of great designs and colors to go for, too!

About the Author

Bill Michaels works for Patterned Concrete as a media outreach specialist. The company is an expert and pioneer in stamped concrete since 1972. It has grown from its Toronto-area roots to have franchises across North America.

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