Dennis Realty CaresThe Dennis Difference September 26, 2022

Love in Action

The Love in Action event hosted by Tracy Echols and sponsored by Dennis Realty Cares was an astounding success, raising both awareness and desperately needed dollars to help fund The Life Center of Hernando, a home for homeless moms and their children, and Fostering Hope, a support organization for foster children and their families.

The event culminated in Spring Hill on September 15, 2022, with nearly 70 attendees! Bravera Behavioral Health and ToyoDoc stepped up to become Top Shelf Sponsors and were accompanied by numerous supportive community members and local businesses who graciously donated creative basket arrangements for the raffle. Lunch for the event was provided by Marzella’s Catering and dessert was provided by Weeki Wachee Candy Co. From the amazing food and dessert to the generous donations and community support, we are truly appreciative and thankful to be part of such a wonderful community!

The organizations that were the spotlight of this event do amazing things! We want to share just a little bit about each of them and hope that you will join us, in joining with them, to continue making a difference in our communities.

The Life Center of Hernando

The purpose of The Life Center (TLC) is to keep moms from having to go back to unsafe conditions due to needing a roof over their heads. TLC is committed to making a difference in the lives of young single mothers and their infant children by providing a safe haven and empowering these young women with tools for success. After working with TLC, we have seen firsthand that the need continues!

Currently, the Life Center houses 7 moms and 13 children with a waiting list that is growing. The services offered are intended to help moms get on their feet and ultimately transition out on their own, utilizing the skills they have learned during their stay. The in-house transitional program can run up to two years, with an optional third year as needed.

As part of the program, residents receive help in many areas including assistance with meeting educational requirements, completing paperwork for their children, and obtaining child support. Life Center of Hernando knows that education is crucial to personal improvement and offers numerous classes to help with teaching parenting skills intended to create a better future for both mother and child.

Mothers are able to stay in the program until they are stable, which could be as little as two weeks to two months, or up to two years. As you can imagine, the day-to-day needs never end and increase as new moms enter the program. While monetary donations are always needed there are more ways to help! The facility needs new floors, a replacement trailer, volunteers, and more rooms/beds for displaced moms and their children. We hope that you will consider helping as you feel lead and are able, and we encourage you to find out more on their website.

 

Fostering Hope of Florida

Fostering Hope Florida is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to foster children and foster families in the Tampa Bay area. At Fostering Hope, they know that foster children often come from difficult backgrounds and need a lot of nurturing, support, and love. To address these needs, Fostering Hope provides homes, called Hope Houses, in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties and rely on donations to provide foster families with the necessary items to maintain an enriched family life.

If you’re a parent, then you know firsthand that the need for family does not simply stop when a child transitions to adolescence or becomes an adult. Young people need a reassuring voice and support through all of life’s trials. That support could be in the form of having a mom or dad at their wedding, present when their child is born, graduating from school, and all of the other important milestones in life. Whether an infant, a teenager, or a young child, there is a need for support and that support could be you!

Here is some information from Fostering Hope regarding the services they provide as well as the impact you can have in a child’s life.

Currently, there are not enough homes in Hernando County to support the significant need for foster children, especially sibling groups. If you have extra space in your home, consider providing room for a teen or a sibling group in your home. Sign up to be emergency responders who take in children when there is an emergent need until the children can be placed into a permanent foster home. This will keep them from being moved so many times within the first 30 days. Some children can be moved up to SEVEN times before they are placed.

Can you imagine anything more disruptive and upsetting than being separated from your family, from your siblings, AND moved 6-7 times before you find a spot that MIGHT keep you? How stressful.

We invite you to meet Ke’Onda Johnson and learn about her story.

While adoption may not be feasible for everyone there are many other ways that you can help! At Fostering Hope their motto is “If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, you can sponsor. If you can’t sponsor, you can volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, you can donate. DONATE If you can’t donate, educate. Please consider helping this life changing organization and JOIN THE VILLAGE!

Now that you’ve learned a little about each of these very necessary charity groups you may be asking how you can help NOW! Both organizations have an ongoing need for the following items:
• Diapers – Size 5, 6, 7
• Pull-ups
• Socks
• Underwear (all sizes)
• Baby wipes
• Deodorant
• Toddler toothbrushes (0-2 and 2-5 years old)
• Children’s toothpaste
• Hygiene items
• Gift cards

We will gladly accept these items at any of our offices. If you would like more information on how to get involved, please reach out to Tracy Echols. Thank you for your continued support and helping us make the Dennis Difference!

Dennis Realty CaresThe Dennis Difference August 24, 2022

Dennis Realty Cares Saves Lives

Did you know that every two seconds in the US, someone needs a blood transfusion? Our Hernando Beach agent, Nicole Parker does and is getting involved! Nicole has been a champion for our blood drive program for a few years now and is committed to helping the community. In an effort to address the critical blood shortage that exists currently in our local communities, she is organizing various blood drives throughout the year. Nicole has committed to hosting a blood drive every two months and is hopeful that this effort will help correct the blood shortage. We are happy to say that so far this year, we have exceeded our participation goals!

So where did all the blood go? The simplest explanation is that the supply is less than the demand. Unfortunately, the donor pool is not what it used to be as older donors are not being replaced by younger donors quickly enough. To add to that, the pandemic made people reluctant to donate even though the need has been greater over the last few years, making it difficult to meet unexpected surges in demand.

The reason to donate is simple…IT SAVES LIVES. Since blood cannot be manufactured and has a limited shelf life, the supply must be constantly replenished. We are thankful that Nicole Parker has taken the lead on getting involved in this crucial cause by developing the partnership between Dennis Realty Cares and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

Our most recent drive was held on August 12th at our Hernando Beach and Lutz offices. We had a total of 23 donors which could potentially save 69 lives! Our donors were able to give distinct types of donations allowing for the donations to be used for a wide variety of needs. There was one platelet donor whose blood can be used for cancer patients and there were five Double Red Blood Cell donors which is used for trauma and surgical patients.

We want to extend a huge “thank you” to those who participated at our latest drive – Lori Bohach, Diane Fisher, Nicole Parker, Teresa Bach, Melinda Cook, Tamara Crim, Paige Dennis, Nicole Duran, Austin Miles, Bob Peercy, and Denise Taylor. We are grateful for everyone who took the time to SAVE A LIFE by contributing and are especially thankful that these donations will be used locally to assist in keeping the community supply on track.

To start the fall season off right, we are hosting our next blood drive on October 14th from 9am – 3pm at our Lutz and Hernando Beach offices. We hope all of you ghoulish guys and gals can “carve out some time” to participate in this life saving event! Please contact Nicole Parker with any questions at nicole.parkerrealtor@gmail.com.

HomeownerThe Dennis Difference June 30, 2022

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HomeownerThe Dennis Difference June 1, 2022

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CommunityThe Dennis Difference April 29, 2022

The Blueberry Festival

 

We are so excited to share that the annual Brooksville Blueberry Festival made its way back to historic downtown Brooksville this year! The family fun festival which made its debut in 2012, had a strong turnout this year with over 300 vendors and more than 10,000 attendees. 

Did you know that Florida is the 8th largest producer of blueberries in the nation? It’s true and is why the little blue gem has its very own festival! This year’s festival showcased all things blueberry from desserts like pie, cheesecake, & shortcake to decadent jams & honey and that’s not all. Local blueberry wine and beer vendors were onsite as well as vendors selling plants and of course, fresh picked blueberries! 

Dennis Realty, having an office located in beautiful downtown Brooksville, was proud to participate in this fun-filled event and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing agents who organized our booth and pulled everything together!

Please join us in giving a HUGE “Thank You” to Paul Sturdgess-Hayes, Lori Mostoufi, Pam Ritz, Rita Haugabrook, Tracy Echols, Sara Oquendo and Lucy Thomas for representing us all and showing the Brooksville community what the Dennis Difference is all about. Paul, who turned out to be our emcee as well as the voice of Dennis Realty on 103.9 FM The Boot & 99.9 WXJB Radio, did a fabulous job hyping up the event and we hope to hear him on the radio again soon!

As a result of our agents’ efforts, we are excited to announce that they raised over $250 for the Dennis Realty Cares charity program by selling raffle tickets for prizes donated by ABC Dennis Insurance & Arrow Title!

We hope to see everyone at the Brooksville Blueberry Festival next year but until then we invite you to stop by our Dennis Realty Brooksville office or any of our other offices in the Tampa Bay area!
Real EstateThe Dennis Difference April 28, 2022

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Selling!The Dennis Difference December 16, 2021

TOP 5 HOME UPDATES TO INCREASE RESALE VALUE

Your home is an investment! In order to ensure that you get top dollar when it’s time to sell, it’s important that the obvious things like the HVAC, roof, and overall structure are in good shape. To make your home even more attractive to potential buyers, think about things that can be done that are immediately visible to the naked eye. Realtor Magazine reported these top 5 projects from a recent poll from Homelight.com, where they asked a group of real estate professional their opinions on the best remodeling projects to do before selling a home.

 

1. Painting

  • Average project cost: $954 to $2,893 (depending on location, paint type, and labor)

Stick with neutral colors throughout, like whites, beiges, or soft grays. “It’s fine when there’s an accent wall or whatever; that’s different,” MaryBeth Harrison, a real estate professional in Dallas, told HomeLight. “But when every room’s a different color …  that’s cheap to fix with paint.” More than half of real estate professionals surveyed by HomeLight said they advise sellers to paint their interiors before listing. Some of the most popular colors: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray and Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.

2. Keep flooring consistent

  • To install carpet: $789 to $2,794
  • To install hardwood floors: $2,493 to $6,754
  • To install vinyl floors: $800 to $2,900

Real estate pros may be more likely to recommend this house project if the home has several different kinds of flooring throughout. A more uniform flooring look—one or two types—can be more appealing to buyers. Real estate pros say that many buyers may expect hardwood floors or premium vinyl. But not all carpeting has to go. However, many real estate pros do suggest removing any dated carpet, like those in bright colors, as well as any stained or worn carpet.

3. Brighten the kitchen

  • Average project cost: $382 to $1,064 (depending on equipment and labor); $2 to $20 per piece of hardware

White-colored kitchens remain the most popular. They can brighten the look of the space. “What the buyers are looking for today is white and clean—they just want clean,” Harrison told HomeLight. “It doesn’t have to be stark white. But they just want a clean palette.”

Dated kitchen cabinets can be painted by a pro for a quick fix. If the kitchen has other colors throughout, real estate pros recommend painting the walls white to try to brighten the space. Also, kitchen cabinets can get an upgrade with new hardware, such as hand pulls.

4. Replace dated countertops and appliances

  • Average project cost: $40 to $100 per square foot for new countertops (depending on material); $1,360 to $19,050 for appliances

Dated appliances and countertops can turn off buyers. If replacing the countertop, Harrison suggests a bright, monochromatic look, such as a gray or white countertop made of granite, marble, or quartz. Butcher block countertops could be a more cost-effective option. Harrison advises against brown or multicolored granite, which she says can date a home. She also recommends not replacing a countertop if the rest of the kitchen has not been upgraded and is dated. New countertops will look out of place.

5. Hire a professional cleaner for your bathroom

  • Average project cost: $70 to $85 per hour for a professional

A thorough cleaning of the bathroom can make a big difference, and often a professional cleaner can do the most thorough job. Pay attention to tile grout lines and any signs of mildew.

 

These are just a few things you can do to make your home look fresh and updated but you don’t need to do them all. Our agents would love to help you do a run through of what your home might need to get it ready for the market!

 

Source: “What to Remodel Before Selling Your Home: 9 Light-Lift Projects“, HomeLight.com (Nov. 1, 2021), “Top 5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value“, Realtor Magazine (Nov. 22, 2021)

 

HomeownerThe Dennis Difference July 16, 2021

5 WAYS TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SUMMER TRAVEL

Summer is a time for slowing down and taking it easy especially if you have school-aged children. Planning a summer vacation can be stressful enough and ensuring that your home is in good shape while you’re away will help ease some of that stress. Here are a few tips to help you get your home ready!

SHUT THE WATER OFF AT THE MAIN LINE

No one wants to worry about plumbing leaks while they’re away for an extended period of time.  Turning the water off at the main line will help prevent any leaks that may occur which could result in water damage and expensive repair bills.  After turning the water off at the main line, run all of the faucets until all of the water is out of the pipes. If you’re not sure how to find the main line, you’re not alone. This article from Bob Vila explains it all!

 

UTILIZE SMART SECURITY OPTIONS

Ding Dong!  Who’s there? These days it’s pretty easy to install smart security features like a doorbell or motion detecting security cameras that record activity on your property.  Utilizing these types of tools allow you access to any activity while you’re away and, in some cases, allow you to communicate directly with someone on the other side.  Not sure which one to get?  Here’s a list of the best doorbells for 2021 from Good Housekeeping. Other items that may prove useful are timer-based switch plugs that will turn on and off based on your settings, so you can set lights or radios to come on at certain times of the day or night.

 

SET THE THERMOSTAT

You definitely want to leave the AC running while you’re gone but it should be set to a few degrees higher than it would be if you were home.  Keeping the AC running will prevent mold and mildew from forming and keep any kind of musty smells at bay.  Setting the temp a few degrees higher will ensure that the unit runs but will also reduce the energy use since it won’t be running as often.

 

POOL MAINTENANCE

If you have a pool, you’ll want to make sure that the filter is cleaned before you go and that the chlorine tablets are added.  Additionally, make sure to turn the heater off if you have one so that you’re not wasting money heating the water while you’re gone.  Brushing the pool and doing a thorough cleaning will also help mitigate the possibility of coming back to an overly dirty pool.  Here’s everything you need to know to get your pool ready!

 

CLEAN THE KITCHEN

Cleaning out the refrigerator and taking out the trash are probably the easiest things you can do to ensure you come back to a pleasant-smelling home. Do a quick clean out of the fridge and gather trash from all areas before you go.  You’ll be happy you did!

These are just a few things you can do to prep your home for your absence, but you may want to consider having someone come by to check on things if you have that option. Everyone has different scenarios like pets or plants, so check out this thorough list from HGTV for more ideas on getting your home ready for summer vacation!

Buying!The Dennis Difference June 13, 2021

5 TECHNIQUES TO GET YOUR OFFERS ACCEPTED

Presenting the most competitive offer in today’s market can be frustrating and can make you feel like you’re in the 5th round of a boxing match! As we all know, “cash is king”, so Cash offers are generally going to be dominantly accepted over Conventional and VA offers.  To overcome this daunting task, we’ve enlisted the advice of one of our top experts, Nicole Parker, to get her input on how to present a competitive offer and get your buyers’ offers accepted!

Nicole utilizes 5 different techniques in order to land the knockout and make sure that her offers not only stand out, but get accepted.  Let’s dig in!

TBD LOAN APPROVAL

Ask the lender if your buyer can go through a TBD approval, meaning that the home address is “To Be Determined”.  This process allows the lender to go a step further in the pre-approval process by putting the buyer through the initial underwriting process. This way your buyer is already approved for the loan, pending conditions to be met such as appraisal and inspections. Once the appraisal is completed the buyer can be submitted back to underwriting to obtain a “clear to close”, cutting the approval process down to close within 2-3 weeks.

If the lender can’t do a TBD Loan Approval, they may be willing to write a letter to potential sellers explaining the lendability of your buyer. This additional reassurance can be helpful to hear for a seller, putting them at ease to know the deal will not fall through due to a financing issue.

SHORTENING THE INSPECTION PERIOD

On the contract you can give your buyer up to 15 days to have inspections completed and do their due diligence before being “locked in”. During that time frame the buyer can back out of the contract for any reason, which makes sellers nervous. If you can present an offer with a smaller inspection period window, such as 5-7 days, that is less time for your buyer to back out and puts a seller’s mind at ease.

INCREASED ESCROW DEPOSIT

Instead of the usual $1,000 deposit, have your buyer deposit a larger amount into Escrow.  Nicole recommends $2,500-$5,000 depending on the list price of the property. This shows the seller that your buyer has more stability as far as cash flow, and proves the buyer is serious about doing what it takes to move forward with the purchase of their property. These funds are held in Escrow by the Title Company and are applied towards the purchase price at closing anyways. So, while it’s really the same out of pocket to the buyer, having a larger Escrow deposit gives the seller more piece of mind.

LARGER DOWN PAYMENT

If your buyer is doing a VA or USDA loan, they may not have additional cash to put down, but suggesting to them that putting any additional cash down is a good idea.  This will make their offer more appealing because it shows that the buyer isn’t strapped financially and is able to make things work, especially if there is a problem with the appraisal, repairs with a roof, or something else. This proves to the seller that there is room for negotiating and they aren’t going to be left having to pay out of pocket for repairs or drop the price due to an appraisal issue to make the deal work. A little “wiggle room” is always more appealing to a seller.

APPRAISAL CONTINGENCIES

In a more “normal” market paying over appraised value out of pocket is not advised. However, right now while things are still climbing it may be necessary to advise your buyer to pay out of pocket should the home not appraise for the contracted price.

Nicole says that she has written contracts stating that the buyer will pay up to XXX amount out of pocket to meet the appraised value, so that the seller doesn’t have to drop the price to get the deal to go through. For example, if the contract price on the home is $275,000 and the appraisal comes back at $270,000, the buyer would bring cash to make up the difference.

Having said that, Nicole says that she does not advise going over $5,000 but that using this technique does help in having a leg up on the competition. If the home appraises at value, it is a non-issue, but definitely reassures the seller that if that problem arises, they won’t lose money by having to drop the list price.

We think these techniques are extremely smart and will assist in getting your offers accepted!  A special “thank you” to Nicole Parker for sharing her knowledge and expertise on this subject. Nicole is located in our Hernando Beach office and is available if you would like to discuss these topics further.

At Dennis Realty we genuinely believe in educating our agents and our clients so if you have questions, we would love to hear from you. It’s part of what we call “The Dennis Difference” and we invite you to come experience it!