South Florida Real Estate Blog by Karen Sussman, Realtor

Thinking of Remodeling?

Thinking of remodeling your home? Here are 6 great tips

 1 -  Don’t Over Improve   Ask a local Realtor for listings of comparable homes so you can determine if it makes sense to invest as much as you plan. This is especially important if you expect to sell in the near future.

2 - Set a Realistic Budget Include a cushion for unforeseen expenses, obtain at least 3 written estimates.

 3 - Hire Good Help Ask for recommendations, interview several contractors, look for  experience, check reviews and references.  

 4 - Get Everything in Writing Insist on a detailed contract with costs for materials and labor   and  get a timeline.

 5 - Prepare for a Mess There will be noise and dust. Cover furniture and hide your   valuables.

 6 - Conduct a Careful Inspection Before & After  It is a good idea to take pictures of rooms prior to the work to   record if anything gets damaged or goes missing. Make sure to   conduct a complete inspection after the work is done before  making the final payment.


Looking for something to do this 4th of July in Delray Beach?

Looking for something to do this 4th of July?

Here is what is happening in downtown Delray Beach:

Sand Castle Contest from 8 am to noon.  To register email:

Silverball Museum’s Sand Sculpture exhibit & get your photo on the beach! 9 am-12 pm

Flag Raising Ceremony, Atlantic Ave & Gleason 5 pm

Main Stage Entertainment, Atlantic Ave & A1A, 5 pm to 9 pm



AJR 7:30 pm

Putt’n Around Mini-Golf Course 5-9 pm

The Kids Corner hosted by The Avenue Church, 5-9 pm

Dine along A1A with Caffe Luna Rosa, Burger Fi, & Boston’s on the Beach 5 pm -9 pm

Fireworks launch over the beach at 9 pm


Thinking of buying a new condo?

Here are  7 things to check on before you do:

1. What is the condition of the condo complex? Make sure the building and common areas are will maintained.

2. How many units are for sale in the building? A large percentage of units for sale can be a sign of problems.

3. How many units are owner occupied? Some lenders will reject loans if the complex has a large number of renters.

4. What are the condo fees and assessments? Confirm the condo association fees and what they cover.  Also find out if there are any current or pending assessments.

5. Does the building have reserves? Make sure the association has adequate reserves for emergencies, renovations and updating.

6. Is the building in good financial shape? Request a copy of the building financials and current approved budget. Find out if the condo has any outstanding debt and if there are any current or pending lawsuits.

7. What are the restrictions? Most buildings have some restrictions. Find out the association rules for renting, pets and alterations to units. 



10 Steps to Buying a Home

10 Steps For Buying A Home

1. Figure out what you can comfortably afford & set a budget  If taking a loan make sure to get pre-approved before you start looking at homes. In   addition to the cost of the home figure in taxes, homeowner's association fees, insurance & utilities.

2. Put cash aside You will need to have money for down payment, application fees, closing costs, inspections, insurance & moving expenses

3. Prioritize what you want in your new home What’s most important to you? Being close to work, a good school district, a big backyard, an updated kitchen? Focus on your priorities & know what trade-offs you are willing to make.

4. Find a qualified Realtor ® An experienced area Realtor will help you find exactly what you are looking for & assist with every aspect of the home buying process. Buyer's Agents typically receive their commission from the Seller.

5. Start shopping for your new home Once you have determined your budget, the buyer’s agent you’ve chosen will be able to target homes that meet your priorities in your price range

6. Make an offer on a home Have your agent provide with you comparable area sales to determine the best offer to make. It usually takes at least 4 to 8 weeks to close on a home.

7. Get a home inspection Make sure you have a licensed Home Inspector look at the property. They should go through the entire structure  checking plumbing, all appliances, electrical, roof, air conditioning & heating etc. They should also check for termites & and any signs of mold. 

8. Get insurance for your new home If taking a loan the lender will require you to obtain...

Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit for more tips.