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Serving South Florida

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For over 35 years

Uncategorized

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condominium in South Florida

Condos for Sale

The Florida Realtors Association asked construction specialists and attorneys about the questions we should all be asking about the condition of our living spaces and what kinds of updates they need as they deteriorate from heat, humidity, hurricanes and climate change.

What kinds of questions should condo owners, likely with little knowledge of building construction, be asking now?

Ask about the age of your building, when the last inspection was and what kinds of repair work are planned in the near future, said Boca Raton, Fla., attorney Peter Sachs, who is certified in condominium and planned development law. You will also want to know how much money is in the building’s reserve fund and if and when an extra financial assessment is coming, he said.

You have the right to inspect your building’s records, which would include finances and repair work. Florida law requires that condos maintain their official records for seven years.

Who’s at fault when there’s a serious structural problem in a building? Is it the architects, the builders, the engineers, the inspectors or city officials? Or all of the above?

The architect, builder and engineer are all potentially culpable, as is the condo board if they do not act to fix the problem.

The architect would be responsible if there is a serious design flaw, and the engineer if the calculations, supervision or drawings are deficient. The builder would be to blame if corners were cut on materials or if construction failed to comply with the building code. The builder may also be liable for the failings of the architect or engineer.

The board, too, has obligations to residents. “The board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the unit owners. If the board is negligent and fails to act, or unduly delays, it may be held liable,”.

How often should structural engineers inspect high-rise buildings?

Miami-Dade and Broward counties require inspections when a building turns 40, but there’s no similar mandate in the rest of the state. The boards that supervise the buildings should take the initiative and conduct a thorough inspection at least every 10 years, and more often is better, said Yaniv Levi, president of Coast-to-Coast General Contractors in Hollywood, Fla. “It would behoove the association to do it yearly or bi-yearly,” he said. And he recommends the building get a new coat of paint, which also serves to weatherproof it, every seven to 10 years.

How quickly should buildings fix leaks and other water intrusions?

Immediately, Levi said. “As soon as the leak is identified, they should find the source of the intrusion,” he said. “If you catch it early, it won’t develop into something major.”

How can I find out if my building was constructed under the highest safety codes?

If it was built in 2002 or later, you should have the best building codes or close to it. If your building was constructed before 2002, it likely does not meet the highest standards unless it was damaged by a storm and had to be upgraded.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992 mowed down entire blocks of cheaply built houses, Florida adopted a statewide building code that has become a national model. When Hurricane Wilma struck Fort Lauderdale 13 years later, new downtown buildings, such as the 42-story Las Olas River House, held up well. Older buildings constructed before the building code sustained severe damage.

What should owners do if they believe their board is ignoring a safety issue?

You should ask to have the issue brought up at the next board meeting, said Hallandale Beach, Fla., attorney Larry Tolchinsky. “Get it on the record that the board is ignoring the issue,” he said. “Thereafter, file a lawsuit against the board.” Call the local building or code enforcement department to report your concern and put it in writing; if you can afford it, you may want to hire your own engineer.

It is imperative that condo owners exercise their rights and responsibilities. They should attend meetings, they should ask questions of their board, they should be prepared if reports have been issued. If you feel the board is not doing enough, you can ask for a special meeting to be called, board members to be removed, or go to court and seek an injunction to require the board to take certain actions.

If you believe a code violation isn’t being addressed, let your city or township know. It can issue citations to press for the work to get done.

Should condos have rainy-day accounts to pay for property improvements?

There’s often resistance from condo owners when a board of directors wants to add to the monthly maintenance fees, said West Palm Beach, Fla., attorney Michael Gelfand, who is certified in condominium, planned development and real estate law. Condo associations are required by law to budget for reserve accounts for repairs of significant components, such as painting/waterproofing, roofs and paving, but frequently owners vote down these budgets as well as expensive structural work.

These repairs are often expensive. In emails released by the town of Surfside, an engineer said Champlain Towers South, the collapsed building, needed to spend about $16 million to repair cracked columns and crumbling concrete.

Beyond the legally required reserve accounts, boards of directors take an assortment of approaches. Some have no reserves at all, while others have accounts dedicated to repairs needed every five to 10 years, said Mike Ryan, a Fort Lauderdale attorney and mayor of Sunrise.“ Some condos cater to people with fixed incomes. It’s difficult for them to suddenly get hit with an assessment,” Ryan said. “It’s up to the board how they want to handle this. It’s wise for them to put aside money. If you defer too long, it becomes too costly.”  The best strategy for the condo board is often to take the monthly maintenance fees and set aside some of that money for a rainy day fund, he said. This will lessen the financial impact on individual owners when a sudden major repair is needed, and the board must ask each homeowner for money.

What if an owner can’t afford the assessment?

“It’s like a lifeboat,” Gelfand said. “If you can’t pull your weight, you’re off.” The association may foreclose on your unit. Otherwise, their accounts will run a deficit and they won’t be able to pay the bills. Sometimes the association will borrow money from a bank to pay for these large expenditures, Tolchinsky said. “For those unit owners that can’t afford to pay, the association will likely spread the payments over time,” he said. “Up to 10 years in some cases.”

In terms of safety, is it better to live on a high floor or a low floor?

“In my personal opinion there are risks in both cases,” Tolchinsky said. “Living on the ground floor can have flooding issues. Perhaps issues with crime. Higher floors take longer to escape from the building and they have wind issues.”

Is it going to be harder to find concrete repair firms now that everyone is thinking about these questions?

“Perhaps, but my belief is the collapse was more complicated than just issues related to concrete repair,” Tolchinsky said. “Certainly, the cost of having a firm perform these repairs is going to skyrocket. This is based on the level of data and certifications that will likely be needed to be provided to boards and governmental agencies to perform this work. Also, the high demand for building materials and the lack of skilled workers given the tight labor market will make it harder to find concrete repair firms.”

An Exclusive Buyer Agent has a fiduciary duty to the Buyer who is their CLIENT and not their customer as with transactional agent.  They will work for you to get all the answers you need to make a valid and informed purchase decision.

2021 Hurricane Preparedness Guide

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual.
A total of 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes are expected this season.This is above the 30-year average of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
In order to ensure you are properly prepared this hurricane season, you should consider how you are going to supply your homes given that hurricane season begins June 1st. Don’t be caught unaware, protect yourself.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
May 9, 2021 is the first day of National Hurricane Preparedness Week; hope you find this information informative and useful as we approach the beginning of the Hurricane Season.
2021 Hurricane Preparedness Guide
Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
Know Hurricane Terms:
Hurricane Watch – A hurricane is possible within thirty-six hours. Stay tuned for additional information.
Hurricane Warning – A hurricane is expected within twenty-four hours. You may be advised to evacuate. If so, evacuate immediately.
Storm Surge – Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more.
Ask your local emergency preparedness office about evacuation plans. Learn evacuation routes.
  • Plan a place to meet your family in case you are separated from one another in the hurricane.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit ( See information below)
  • Board up windows. Permanent storm shutters and impact glass offer the best protection. Also, you can use 5/8″ marine plywood. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Know how to shut off utilities.
  • Make a record of your personal property (take digital photos or video tape the contents of your home and/or business and keep in a waterproof container with you along with your homeowners insurance policy or better yet, upload everything to the Cloud)
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Reduce the water level in your pool by about 1 foot. DO NOT drain your pool.
  • Charge cell phones and back up batteries
  • Get extra cash since ATMs will be inoperative if power is lost.
  • Consider flood insurance and purchase it well in advance.
Have a Place To Go:
Develop a family hurricane preparedness plan before an actual storm threatens your area. If your family hurricane preparedness plan includes evacuation to a safer location for any of the reasons specified with in this web site, then it is important to consider the following points:
If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure.
If possible, leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay in starting your evacuation will result in significantly longer travel times as traffic congestion and weather deteriorates worsens.
Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home, preferably in the same county, or at least minimize the distance over which you must travel in order to reach your intended shelter location. In choosing your destination, keep in mind that the hotels and other sheltering options in most inland metropolitan areas are likely to be filled very quickly in a large, multi-county hurricane evacuation event.
If you decide to evacuate to another county or region, be prepared to wait in traffic.
The large number of people in this state who must evacuate during a hurricane will probably cause massive delays and major congestion along most designated evacuation routes; the larger the storm, the greater the probability of traffic jams and extended travel times.
If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate. Discuss with your intended host the details of your family evacuation plan well before the beginning of the hurricane season.
If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave. Most hotel and motels will fill quickly once evacuations begin. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area or county, the less likely you are to find hotel/motel room vacancies, especially along interstate highways and in major metropolitan areas.
If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets. Bring your disaster supply kit with you to the shelter. Find Pet-Friendly hotels and motels.
Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave.
Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense.
Get Ready Now.
If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or hurricane depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Disaster Supply Kit
I personally prepare a hurricane closet in May with all the needed supplies and materials so that there is never a last minute rush to the store when the shelves have been cleaned out.
Water :
  • Plan on one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking, washing, cooking, and sanitation. Extra water for pets
  • Store as much as possible in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.
  • Avoid using breakable containers, such as glass bottles or mason jars.
  • Fill bathtubs with water for bathing and washing dishes
Food :
  • Store at least a three day supply of non perishable food.
  • Choose foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking.
  • Choose foods that are healthy and high nutrition type.  (Canned meats, fruits and vegetables, protein or fruit bars, dry cereal or granola, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, canned juices, non-perishable pasteurized milk, high enery foods, vitamins, food for infants and pets, comfort/stress foods)
Supplies and Equipment:
  • A battery operated radio with extra batteries
  • NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags ( store in trash bags to keep dry)
  • Paper plates and utensils, including a non electric can opener
  • Candles and matches in a waterproof container
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, moist towelettes, and other personal grooming items
  • Paper towels and toilet paper
  • First aid kit and medicines ( ask your pharmacist or drug supply company for a one month hurricane supply and store in water proof container)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone and plug in battery operated charger
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Books, games and toys to keep kids occupied ( remember those batteries)
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, COVID Vaccine Passport, in a waterproof, portable container
  • Complete change of clothing including long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
  • Insect repellent and sun-screen
  • Paper and pencil
  • Local Maps
  • Make sure to keep all of your medications filled.
Business Preparedness
* Have an emergency communication plan in place before the storm hits. How will co-workers stay in contact if the physical location of a business is damaged?
* Turn off all non-critical work devices before the storm hits.
* Alert a third party about business evacuation plans in case a storm makes it impossible to get to your place of business.
* Protect important business documents that you may need quickly, such as property insurance policies.
* Have cash on hand to pay employees or contractors after the storm.
* Know which employees are certified in CPR, EMT, etc.
* If possible, disconnect a building’s main electrical feeds.
* Have a plan to notify all employees, post-storm, about damage and how you’ll move forward.
* Review contracts that are date sensitive and have a backup plan in place to handle potential problems.
* Assess all functions that could be impacted by a lapse in business – cash flow, bills, budgets and any upcoming events.

Lewis Shore Estates

Lewis Shore Estates is a luxury single-family community in the SoSo ( South of Southern) neighborhood in West Palm Beach, Floria.

Lewis Shore Estates defines luxury waterfront living in the SoSo ( South of Southern) neighborhood in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Southend is the “new” hot neighborhood along West Palm Beach’s waterfront. Lovingly nicknamed “SoSo” (South of Southern), the neighborhood runs from Southern Blvd to the Canal before West Palm Beach becomes Lake Worth, along Flagler Dr west to South Dixie. Lewis Shore Estates has become very popular with many homes being renovated as great restaurants and shops open along the Dixie corridor. Lewis Shore Estates is just a short walk to the Intracoastal has always been a highlight and draw of the neighborhood, as many residents walk and bike  up and down Flagler Drive along the waterway.

As one of the larger and more populous cities in Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach offers a variety of residential real estate choices for almost any preference and budget.

Potential homeowners may select from all sorts of condominiums, town homes and villas, or single-family homes from the different communities in the city. There’s also a wide range of architectural styles available, whether you’re looking for a contemporary, tropical, or more traditionally-styled structure (the latter, especially in the historic districts). Just minutes from the Palm Beach International AirportCity Place and the Kravis Center in West Palm BeachWorth Avenue on the Island of Palm Beach,  Jupiter,  Singer Island and Wellington.

View Homes for Sale  below.  Call Kim Bregman at 561-251-7170 for a private showing.


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Emergency Supplies for Quarantine or Hurricane

Emergency Supplies

Emergency Supplies

Emergency Supplies that you can buy now and be prepared for any emergency in the next few months.  COVID-19 cases are increasing and there may be a need for you to self-quarantine for a period of weeks. We are also in the summer months frequently occurring natural disasters—a flood, hurricane, tornado, fires, and more—and they often come with little or no warning.  There are already known shortages of items in the stores and with the onset of a hurricane warming the shelves will soon be bare. Stocking up now on the right non-perishable food items will help you weather the storm (or global pandemic) with less stress knowing that you have these emergency supplies on hand for now or later.

What to Always Keep in Your Pantry

These non-perishable food items (or close to it) have lengthy expiration dates, so you can stash them away for long periods of time, even if it’s not hurricane season or tornado season. Make a list of everything in your stockpile and check expiration dates every 6 to 12 months to keep things fresh. And don’t forget to have a MANUAL can opener on hand at all times—all that food won’t be of any use if you can’t open it.

Peanut butter: A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. Unless the jar indicates otherwise, you don’t have to refrigerate after opening.

Whole-wheat crackers: Crackers are a good replacement for bread and make a fine substitute when making sandwiches.

Nuts and trail mixes; Stock up on these high-energy foods—they’re healthful and convenient for snacking during a hurricane, tornado, or other emergency.

Cereal;Choose multigrain cereals that are individually packaged so they don’t become stale after opening.

Granola bars and power bars;Healthy and filling, these portable snacks usually stay fresh for at least six months.

Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins;In the absence of fresh fruit, these healthy snacks offer potassium and dietary fiber.

Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey;Generally lasting at least two years in the pantry, canned meats provide essential protein. Vacuum-packed pouches have a shorter shelf life but will last at least six months.

Canned vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, and peas;When the real deal isn’t an option, canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients, making these a great hurricane food or natural disaster

Canned soups and chili; Soups and chili can be eaten straight out of the can and provide a variety of nutrients. Look for low-sodium options.

Dry pasta and pasta sauces; It might be a carb-heavy, gluten-full food, but pasta is filling, and dry pasta and jarred sauce can last on pantry shelves for months

Bottled water; You need at least one gallon per person per day. “A normally active person should drink at least a half gallon of water each day,” Andress says. “The other half gallon is for adding to food and washing.”

Sports drinks;The electrolytes and carbohydrates in these drinks will help you rehydrate and replenish fluid when water is scarce. Just make sure your sports drink of choice doesn’t come with too many additives, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Powdered milk or Boxed milk; Almost all dairy products require refrigeration, so stock this substitute for an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D when fresh milk isn’t an option.

Sugar, salt, and pepper;If you have access to a propane or charcoal stove, you may be doing some cooking. A basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners will improve the flavor of your food, both fresh and packaged.

Multivitamins;Supplements will help replace the nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet.

 

What to Buy Right Before an Emergency

If you’ve been given ample warning that a storm is coming, there’s still time to run to the market and pick up more hurricane food: fresh produce and other items that have shorter shelf lives. Most of these foods will last at least a week after they’ve been purchased and will give you a fresh alternative to all that packaged food..

Apples;Apples last up to three months when stored in a cool, dry area away from more perishable fruits (like bananas), which could cause them to ripen more quickly.

Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits;Because of their high acid content and sturdy skins, citrus fruits can last for up to two weeks without refrigeration

Avocados;If you buy an unripe, firm avocado, it will last outside the refrigerator for at least a week.

Tomatoes;If you buy them unripe, tomatoes will last several days at room temperature.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams;If you have access to a working stove, these root vegetables are good keepers and make tasty side dishes. Stored in a cool, dark area, potatoes will last about a month.

Cucumbers and summer squash;These vegetables will last a few days outside of refrigeration and can be eaten raw.

Winter squash:While most are inedible uncooked, winter squashes, such as acorn squash, will keep for a few months. If you’ll be able to cook during the emergency, stockpile a bunch.

Hard, packaged sausages, such as sopressata and pepperoni; You can’t eat canned tuna and chicken forever. Try stocking up on a few packages of dry-cured salamis such as sopressata, a southern Italian specialty available at most grocery stores. Unopened, they will keep for up to six weeks in the pantry.

 

Non-grocery Items:

Within the two-week limit, make sure you have enough toothpaste, floss, face wash, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving cream and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. It’s also good to have extra laundry detergent and hand soap at home. Stock up on face masks, hand sanitizers, toilet paper

 

More Food Advice for an Emergency:

  • If the electricity goes out, how do you know what is and isn’t safe to eat from the refrigerator? If your food has spent more than four hours over 40º Fahrenheit, don’t eat it.
  • If you don’t have electricity, you may still be able to cook or heat your food. If you have outdoor access, a charcoal grill or propane stove is a viable option
  • If your family has special needs—for example, you take medication regularly or you have a small child—remember to stock up on those essential items, too. Keep an extra stash of baby formula and jars of baby food or a backup supply of your medications.
  • If you live in an area at high risk for flooding, consider buying all your pantry items in cans, as they are less likely to be contaminated by flood waters than jars.

 

 

 

COVID-19: Weighing the Risks of Going Out

COVID-19 Risk Chart
COVID-19 Risk Chart

Since COVID-19  lock downs began in the US, most Americans have drastically changed their patterns: following instructions to stay home, limiting almost all contact with others, and venturing out only for essential trips and exercise. Americans are getting tired of staying inside. All states have re-opened at different levels. As states begin to ease social distancing restrictions, people are beginning to have more options. Between those wanting to patronize newly reopened businesses or socialize in person, and more employers calling people back to work.

The safest thing anyone can do in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak is still the same as it was a few months ago: Stay home as much as possible to avoid catching or spreading the virus until there is a vaccine or effective treatment, or until the pandemic otherwise ends. That especially applies to people who are sick, who should do all they can to avoid exposing others to the coronavirus.

But for many people, it’s really not clear which kinds of gatherings are safe and which aren’t. And that uncertainty can spark anxiety. Fortunately, health experts know more about the COVID-19 than they did when the lock downs began, and they can point us to different levels of risk as we begin to reengage. First and foremost, the advice that has been repeated for much of the past few months remains true: Your home is still the safest place to be during this pandemic. You should continue trying to stay home as much as possible, because the virus is still circulating at a very high rate in many communities. But whether you need to for work or you’re simply tired of looking at your home’s walls, there are ways to mitigate risk when you go out.

if you want to do something outside your home, it’s better to take advantage of the fresh air and do it outdoors rather than indoors when possible. If you want to meet with certain friends or family, consider a pact with them in which you’ll both agree to minimize or eliminate contact with anyone else, to reduce overall exposure for everyone involved.

The most important thing: Avoid indoor spaces that bring you within 6 feet of people from outside your household for long periods. “It is about density. It is about duration of contact,” according to Cyrus Shahpar, a director at Resolve to Save Lives. So if you’re having friends over, consider hanging out outside (and keep it to a small group). If you want to eat at a restaurant, look for outdoor seating. If you’re going for a run, go to the park, beach, or streets instead of the gym.

After some mixed messaging from federal officials early on in the COVID-19 outbreak, there is widespread consensus that people should wear masks when they go out — a surgical or medical mask if they have one, a cloth one if they don’t.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masks “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” But other experts — and, in some cases, government mandates — go further, saying you should wear a mask in just about any setting outside your home as long as the pandemic continues.

The primary reason for a mask is to stop transmission from the wearer to others, particularly from people who are infected but asymptomatic and therefore might not even know they’re infected. If you wear a mask, you’re less likely to spray virus-containing droplets on surfaces or other people when you breathe, talk, sing, laugh, sigh, snort, cough, sneeze, and whatever else you might do with your mouth and nose.

One of the common pieces of advice throughout this pandemic has been to keep 6 feet or more away from people you don’t live with, summarized by the catchy slogan “6 feet distance determines our existence.” The closer you are to someone, the likelier they are to shed their coronavirus all over you, and vice versa.

Whether you’re leaving your home because you have to for food or work, or you’re going out because you can’t stand the sight of your apartment anymore, one way to minimize risk is to space out all your trips.

With every venture outside, you are putting yourself at risk of contracting COVID-19 in a world that’s still engulfed by a pandemic.

ALWAYS wash your hands frequently, and don’t touch your face. If you’re going to frequently venture far outside your home, that advice is especially pertinent. Take hand sanitizer to use religiously and wear gloves whenever possible.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Home Whenever Possible

La Clara

La Clara

La Clara, West Palm Beach, FL

La Clara is a new construction condominium project by premier developer, Great Gulf, in the heart of West Palm Beach, FL with views of Palm Beach, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.  The resort-style,  25 story boutique condominium, offers only 83 residences.    La Clare deftly combines classic luxury with contemporary design. Airy one to three-bedroom residences, from 1,500 to over 3,000 square ft, all feature expansive private terraces with radiant water views.

La Clara,  designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, will feature a fitness center with a yoga studio and spas, an outdoor garden and walking area, a dog spa, a club lounge, theater, conference room and business center, valet service, concierge, wine tasting and storage areas.

Located on scenic South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach, across the Royal Park Bridge – equidistant from the bustling downtown city centre of West Palm and the iconic destination of Palm Island. Residents will enjoy the best of both, without having to compromise. Abundant amenities and masterfully finished interiors will provide a sense of refined living, and the luxury of never needing to venture beyond the grounds.

Levels 4-5

UNIT A
1 BEDROOM/1.5 BATHROOM
1,203 SQ FT INTERIOR
358 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT B
2 BEDROOM/2.5 BATHROOM
1,652 SQ FT INTERIOR
887 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT C
2 BEDROOM/2.5 BATHROOM
1,516 SQ FT INTERIOR
338 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT D
2 BEDROOM PLUS DEN/2.5 BATHROOM
2,044 SQ FT INTERIOR
533 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT E
3 BEDROOM/3.5 BATHROOM
3,094 SQ FT INTERIOR
754 SQ FT TERRACE

Levels 6-22

UNIT C
2 BEDROOM/2.5 BATHROOM
1,516 SQ FT INTERIOR
338 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT D
2 BEDROOM PLUS DEN/2.5 BATHROOM
2,044 SQ FT INTERIOR
533 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT E
3 BEDROOM/3.5 BATHROOM
3,094 SQ FT INTERIOR
754 SQ FT TERRACE

UNIT F
3 BEDROOM/3.5 BATHROOM
3,158 SQ FT INTERIOR
1,153 SQ FT TERRACE

From tennis and golf, to waterfront dining and afternoon strolls along palm-lined streets, Palm Beach is the place to get away from it all while connecting with friends and family. Both West Palm Beach and Palm Beach host a delightful selection of restaurants to perfect for every palate, mood, and occasion. The Norton Museum of Art is minutes away featuring some of the finest exhibits South Florida has to offer. Enjoy exquisite shopping down Worth Avenue and South County Road.  More than just a beautiful place to live and play, West Palm Beach offers the freshest local produce and seafood, creating an environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle.  La Clara is a new take on luxury rising in the center of West Palm Beach’s most luxurious communities.

View Condos for Sale at La Clara below.  Call Kim Bregman at 561-251-7170 for a private showing.


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COVID-19 South Florida Resources

Quick Facts

If you live in Broward County, you can call this hotline to have your questions answered: 954-357-9500.

If you live in Palm Beach County, you can call this information line with your questions: 561-712-6400.

The Sun Sentinel posted drive-through testing sites in South Florida here.

Please be aware of financial scams. You can learn more and report them here.

Tele-Health

Medicare: Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency. Learn more here.

Florida Blue: Florida Blue’s network of primary care doctors and specialists will be able to treat patients virtually at their normal office visit rates. Visit the Florida Blue website, the Florida Blue app, the Teladoc app, or by calling Teladoc directly at 800-835-2362.

Baptist Health: Baptist Health is offering telehealth services through its Care on Demand platform. If you or someone you know has cold or flu-like symptoms, visit here using code CARE19.

Cleveland Clinic: Cleveland Clinic Florida is encouraging the use of its Express Care Online Virtual Care services as much as possible during the outbreak. Click here for more information.

Cigna: Cigna is offering COVID-19 specific resources for enrollees. Click here for more.

Humana: Humana has agreed to waive telemedicine costs for all urgent care needs for the next 90 days. This will apply to Humana’s Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and commercial employer-sponsored plans and is limited to in-network providers delivering synchronous virtual care. More information here.

COVID-19 Public Website and Call Center

Please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.

For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the DOH’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

County Health Departments

If you’re concerned that you may have contracted the coronavirus, please contact your healthcare professional or county health department:

Broward County: 954-467-4700
Palm Beach County: 561-840-4500 
Miami-Dade County
: 305-324-2400

Additional Resources 

Bank Regulators have also instructed banks and servicers to be proactive in extending help to homeowners:

Banks have posted their own policies and ways for consumers to contact them for assistance:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Protect Your Credit: The CFPB is urging consumers to protect their credit(link is external) during this pandemic.
Protect Yourself Financially: The CFPB has a number of resources(link is external) focused on financial protection, both short and long term, such as paying bills, income loss, and scam targeting.  Resources include contacts for housing and credit counselors, debt collectors, and state unemployment services.

Department of Labor (DOL)

DOL has provided resources for employers and workers(link is external) in responding to COVID-19 and including the impact on wages and hours worked and protected leave (these resources are primarily for businesses and employers).

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. EPA has provided important information about COVID-19(link is external) as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

Immediate Foreclosure and Evictions Relief for Homeowners for the Next 60 Days

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has authorized the FHA to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium(link is external) for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Read the full press release(link is external).

FHA Q&A Form

FHA continues to run single family business operations. FHA has created a Q&A form available on their website to keep interested parties updated on their procedures during the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh(link is external)  for the most current information.

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

FHFA has instructed Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their servicers to be proactive in providing assistance to homeowners including forbearance. In addition, FHFA imposed a moratorium on eviction and foreclosures on mortgages backed by the GSEs:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued similar guidance:

  • Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer
  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days
  • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
  • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification

Fannie and Freddie have also created pages with additional information:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has also created a Coronavirus Tax Relief section(link is external) on their website with updated information for taxpayers and businesses (these resources are for businesses and not specifically for consumers).

What Home Buyers Can Learn From a Seller’s Disclosure Statement

Sellers Property Disclosure

Any responsible buyer wants to know everything about the home they’re buying before signing on the dotted line. After all, this is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make, so due diligence is a must. The majority of the real estate agents in Florida are Transactional Agents and do not owe the Buyer a fiduciary duty, An Exclusive Buyer Agent does and will work for the buyer to determine all the information known about the property and advise you on inspections, permit searches, etc. Reviewing the Seller’s Disclosure is the first step in this process.

A Seller’s Disclosure in the State of Florida Is a standard form that is essentially a checklist in which a seller indicates the condition of the different features of a property, any known problems affecting the property, and any pending legal issues. This could include things like knowledge of lead-based paint, water damage, pest damage, past repairs, past insurance claims, any history of property line disputes, etc.

Typically, a seller’s disclosure form is filled out by the seller along with their listing paperwork. When buyer’s agents go into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to look up potential properties for their clients, that disclosure statement should be available or can be requested from the listing agent.

I am increasingly running into situations wheretransactional brokerage firms are taking the position that since a Seller’s Disclosure is NOT required by law that are not asking the sellers of their listings to fill one out. The first line of the SPDR provides “Notice to Licensee and Seller”; the less they know, the easier it is to make a “deal”. They are relying on the fact that other transactional agents working with buyers will feel the same and not ask for a Sellers Disclosure.

Although sellers aren’t required to complete this specific SPDR form, a residential seller does have to comply with the rule established in Johnson v. Davis. In that case, the Florida Supreme Court held that “where the seller of a home knows of facts materially affecting the value of the property which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer, the seller is under a duty to disclose them to the buyer.” These material facts are sometimes referred to as latent defects. In addition, in Rayner vs. Wise Realty Co. of Tallahassee, the First District Court of Appeal provided that this same disclosure requirement applies to residential properties that are being sold as is.

In cases were the listing agent does not provide a Sellers Disclosure I request that the Seller answer all my questions in writing and provide a comprehensive list of questions that encompasses everything asked on the SPDR and more.

A seller’s disclosure form is NOT a substitute for a home inspection. Remember, sellers are required to disclosure only problems they know about. Most homeowners don’t go in their attic very often, and have probably never been up on their roof, and they aren’t required to do so before filling out the disclosure. While this document can provide a lot of valuable information, the home inspection is another layer of protection for a buyer.

The importance of this disclosure statement is just one of the many reasons why it’s critical for buyers and sellers to use an Exclusive Buyer Agent ( EBA) during any real estate transaction. EBAs are up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations and are very experienced with the complex documents and paperwork. They can help walk buyers through the disclosure so they understand all aspects of the home they’re buying and recommend the appropriate home inspections ( WDO, Radon, Leak Testing, Mold, and more) to ensure that any hidden defects are found in advance of the purchase.

Electrical Safety Tips During the Holidays

Xmas tree lights

Decorating your home is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season. Because electricity is involved with so many holiday decorations, it’s important you follow a few simple tips to keep your home and family safe.

Checking your decorations and electrical equipment for damage is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe this holiday season. Before plugging anything in, inspect electrical outlets to ensure they aren’t loose, damaged, or cracked. You should also look for damage to your decorations themselves, like cracked bulbs and frayed electrical cords, and refrain from using decorations with these problems.

Avoid overloading your electrical outlets. If you’re using incandescent light strings to decorate your home or your tree, never plug more than one of these strings into a single outlet. Also, don’t plug multiple high-wattage decorations into one outlet. Either of these decorating missteps can easily overload the outlet and increase your risk for a house fire.

Buy the right decorations. When you’re shopping for your indoor and outdoor decorations, look for items that have been certified by an independent testing laboratory. This means a decoration has been successfully safety-tested.

Lastly, make sure you unplug your electrical decorations whenever you leave your house and when you go to sleep at night. Many electrical fires occur when homeowners are asleep or out of the home, so taking this extra precaution is an important safety tip.

If you want to enjoy a safe holiday season, follow each of these electrical safety tips. Using electrical decorations responsibly can help protect your family from harm while you also transform your home for the holidays.

10 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Hiring a Contractor

What questions to ask your contractor in advance of hiring them.  Most homeowners have some concerns when it comes to hiring home improvement professionals. Some are afraid of overpaying, some worry that they’re hiring an unqualified professional, and others wonder about the character of the individuals they’re inviting into their homes. Asking these ten questions can help alleviate all of these concerns.

1. How long have you been in the business or working in the industry?

Look for a credible track record and successful work experience.

2. Are you licensed, insured and bonded?

At the very least, make sure your pro is licensed and carries worker’s comp and liability insurance. Bonding is not a universal requirement. Think of bonding as homeowner insurance that protects you in case of an incomplete job.

3. Do you guarantee your work in writing?

While a verbal guarantee is nice, it offers no guarantees that the contractor will actually stand behind his work. Draft a written guarantee that states exactly what is and isn’t covered.

4. Can you provide references?

Ratings and reviews are a great resource, especially when coupled with references from previous customers. Ask your contractor to provide a list of references. Don’t hire pros who can’t offer references. I would also advise researching the Better Business Bureau to see any complaints that may have been filed against the company.

5. Do you pull all the required permits?

Failing to pull the requited permits can cost you in the long run. Have your contractor pull the necessary paperwork and permits to get your job started. Also require that they deliver copies of all closed permits once the job is completed. If your contractor is hesitant, find a new pro.

6. Who will be managing the project?

If your contractor isn’t in charge of your job, insist on meeting the project manager to ensure he measures up to your standards.

7. What is the project timeline and daily work schedule?

Construction scheduling is never perfect. Workers get sick, orders get delayed and weather causes interruptions. But an organized contractor will provide you with a work schedule that clearly outlines a start and end date.

8. Will you need water or bathroom facilities?

Most contractors are self-sufficient enough to bring their own water. But, unless your job is a major remodel that necessitates bringing in a port-a-john, there’s a good chance your workers will need to use your facilities. Dedicate a bathroom (or bathrooms) to your workers before you start your project.

9. Will you need my garage code or keys to my house? Who will have access?

Many homeowners feel uncomfortable handing over the keys to their home. Unless you plan on staying home during the construction, you’re going to need to give your contractor access to your house. Knowing who has the keys to your home will give you peace of mind.  You may feel confident with your ongoing security if you plan on having your locks rekeyed after the project is completed.

10. Will you sign a contract?

All worthwhile contractors will write out a clear contract that defines the work to be performed, as well as the material, costs and completion timeframes associated with the project. Thorough contracts also cover what happens if the project becomes problematic. This is known as a time and materials contract. The contract should also include a termination clause that spells out the circumstances in which both parties are allowed to terminate the contract.

DO NOT PAY IN FULL UNTIL THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS COMPLETED AND YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE WORK.