Real Estate Florida

Real estate market varies in different contexts. In Florida, for example, there are other real estate tactics that work and do not work. Now, we learn the two important aspects that realtors should know about the real estate industry in Florida.

First is the negative effect of short sales. There was a time when real estate selling in Florida is flourishing in the area of short sales. A short sale is also known as the falling short of the proceeds from a sale of a property. This happens when the lien acquired a property through an unpaid debt by the property owner. The owner could not pay the lien the full amount, but the lien still gives up the right to the property at a price lower than what should be paid. To close a short sale, a bank must approve the buyer’s request. The processing will take a longer time if there are more banks involved.

This high rate in short sales of properties dragged down the market prices of properties in Florida before. Some homes that do not close because no buyer is interested or buyers changed their minds affect the prices of other properties. It is a good thing that recently, short sales of real estates have gone down for almost half. As of January 2014, only 29 properties are open for short sales. Soon enough, these properties will be sold and the real estate spiral could start making its way up faster.

Another aspect of real estate in Florida that realtors should know is the translation of the income from real estate into a passive or monthly income. Realtors earn passive income in the properties they deal through the monthly rental which can go from short to long-term. A company called JWB Real Estate Capital has a feature on its website that provides beginner and pro realtors trainings for passive income in real estate. They provide training sessions to teach realtors to maximize their passive income earnings and study the investment industry in Florida.

Best Toilet

Florida Toilet Rebate Program and Water Problem

Best ToiletIt’s common among homes in Florida to have more than one toilet. In fact, many houses can have more of them than full-fledged bathrooms. The purpose of this is mainly for convenience. For example, a bathroom in the master’s bedroom means occupants don’t need to go down or out of the room to relieve themselves. In the same manner, it makes everyone more efficient. The rest have the unoccupied toilets for themselves. Check for best toilet here at http://www.champtoilet.com/

But along with this inconvenience is the increasing water problem. Granted, Florida’s water problems pale in comparison to those of the rest of the world. Until now, hundreds of households in Africa don’t have any access to sanitary water or own bathrooms. In a lot of places, water is a very valuable commodity that entails a high price. Thus, only those who can afford can use clean water.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that water is abused in Florida. Old toilets can consume as much as 5 gallons of water in each flush. Thus, if a person flushes at least 3 to 5 times a day, more than 20 gallons are used just to eliminate human waste–that is also over 20 gallons of water waste. That can be more than a thousand gallons every month if one takes into account all the households in a city alone. Indeed, toilets are some of the worst water wasters in the world.

The Rebate and Retrofit Program

Over the last few years, Florida water has been subject to many issues including contamination especially from fertilizers derived from irrigated or agricultural areas. Moreover, water pollution is constantly on the rise, and even if it’s not so severe in the state, pollution from other areas can affect and reach Florida.

There’s therefore the need to conserve and make water use more efficient. In line with this, different governments and communities in Florida decided to create a program that offers two things: a retrofit of the bathroom and a rebate.

In this program, homeowners are requested to change their old toilets, those that are installed before 1994, into newer models. These more innovative toilets have WaterSense label. WaterSense is an initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Labeled toilets are expected to help save a household as much as 60% of water or roughly over 10,000 gallons each year. For Melbourne City residents, the toilet change saves them more than 17 gallons of water each day. Not only will this be practical, but it will also be economical as homeowners can als decrease their utility bills. The EPA website has a comprehensive list of toilet models with WaterSense label.

To encourage homeowners further, many cities in the state now offer a rebate of around $50 per household or per account. Those who want to take advantage of this, however, need to do so as soon as possible since it’s based on a first-come, first-served basis. Every city has allotted a budget for rebates. Once the amount has already been distributed and no more funds remain, it also no longer processes rebate application.

Other Requirements

Not everyone can take advantage of the rebate. Aside from the fact that it’s first come, first served, it also mentions that only the city residents with good accounts (that is, they have updated records with no unpaid bills) can apply. If the house has been remodeled or built after 1994, as backed by a remodeling or building permit, it is no longer allowed to apply since it’s assumed that the newer toilets have been installed as mandated by the EPA. It’s also essential that the homeowner is willing to change the toilet to any of the recommended models of the EPA.

These products come in sets: tank and toilet bowl. So far, there are three types of toilets to choose from, based on their flush methods. Pressure-assisted units utilize a strong water pressure to flush down the wastes. Other two options are gravity and vacuum assisted.

Almost all good-quality toilets cost more than $50, which means the rebate isn’t truly significant. But you’re advised not to take it at face value but to look at another much better perspective. In the long term, the toilet change can let you enjoy more savings in water and utility costs.

Take Note

The rebate already covers for the purchase and installation of the water-efficient toilets, and residents are responsible for the assembly. (It is also based on the toilet’s purchase date.) It’s thus important that you research a reliable professional plumber, one with a license or certification and preferably a general liability insurance. Before you decide to buy a new toilet, ask a plumber to see the design or configuration of your toilet and plumbing system so he can recommend the most ideal toilet to use.

Image credit to http://florida.sierraclub.org/images/water_world.jpg

Clean Water for Florida

It was a long and hard battle for the people of South Florida, and that may be perfectly understandable. The defendants are no average–these are their own water district and, to a certain extent, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). But perhaps the saying “Patience is a virtue” is definitely true. A landmark case received an equally landmark verdict, and the people of South Florida eventually won.

What’s the case about? It was a challenge in line with the Clean Water Act. Back in 2002, concerned citizens and organizations in South Florida decided to sue the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA. A long time ago, a dike was built around Lake Okeechobee, which is the main source of water supply for the community.

At first glance, it looked like it was to prevent the water from overflowing especially when rains become more persistent, but it was mainly for agriculture. The ultimate treasure lies underneath it: muck soil that allows the farmers to grow winter crops and, later on, sugar cane. To reveal the precious soil, the water had to be pumped and dumped back into the lake as a reserve in case the farmers needed to boost its irrigation during dry spells.

But it’s here the main problem begins: The groundwater that was added back into the lake wasn’t fresh anymore. Rather, it’s filled with nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that changed the water’s ecosystem significantly, killing the freshwater fish and decreasing the level of oxygen, causing the overproduction of algae. When these living things died, they settled at the bottom of the lake and then transform into muck soil. Then the process continued as long as the fertilize-infused water went up to the lake and the muck soil layer disturbed.

Further, the gates that released the water from the lake were actually found at the bottom, bringing with it sediments and water that was enriched by the fertilizer, threatening the life of the marine species in rivers and estuaries and those of the community. Sadly, for many years, not one of the government agencies, especially the EPA, did something to enforce the policies of the act.

The case was more than a battle against David and Goliath or protection of the waters. It showcased society’s reality. Over the years we’ve been beseeched by information commercials, articles, journals, and studies that show how water pollution is affecting the world, and although we empathize and believe that something must be done, we tend to ignore the traditional practices that are contributing to it perhaps because at some point it has become an accepted one, a norm that’s already hard to eradicate.

Second, with our lack of understanding or knowledge on the many laws that protect the environment, it’s more difficult for us to defend it. We may have already felt that such practice in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the endorsement was wrong, and yet we didn’t have the power to do something about it because we really didn’t know.

Yet it also displayed how persistence and a sense of community moving toward one goal can make a huge difference not only for the environment but also for the lives of the future generation, who hopefully will continue to benefit from the waters provided by the lake. It was a victory for the present and future people of South Florida.