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10 Ways to Prepare Your Florida Home for a Hurricane

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
Scroll through for tips
Install Surge Protection & Unplug Electronics
Seal Windows, Doors, & Cracks
Remove Area Debris and Trim Your Trees
Clean Out Your Gutters & Drains
Review Your Insurance
Take Before & After Pictures of Your Property for Insurance Purposes
Store Your Emergency Supply Kit
Check Your Roof
Check Your Sump Pumps, Drains, & Generator

Hurricane season has officially started in Florida as of June 1st. Is your North Florida home prepared? We’ve created an easy to-do list for you to follow to make sure you and your home are ready for whatever life throws at you. Prevention will save you anguish and money in the long run. When everyone starts to panic, you’ll be able to relax and know that you’re ready for the forces.

  1. Install surge protection and unplug electronics

A hurricane can create power surges which can damage your appliances and electronics. Make sure to add a power surge protector to your electrical panel and use power strips that have surge protectors to prevent any dangerous electrical situations. Get in a habit of plugging in and unplugging items you don’t use often.

  1. Prepare plywood, storm shutters, and sandbags for use

Stock up on plywood, storm shutters, and sandbags in preparation for storms. You can get sandbags for free within days of hurricanes and tropical storms to place in front of your doors and around the exterior of your house to prevent flooding. Experts recommend piling the sandbags up at least 2 feet. Board your windows with storm shutters or plywood within days of a hurricane.

  1. Seal windows, doors, and cracks

If you have any cracks in your windows or doors or running along the walls of your house, now is the chance to do some home maintenance and get them sealed. You can buy plaster or sealing tape from a home improvement store near you. If you’re not sure what sealant you need to repair your house, ask an employee for advice.

  1. Remove area debris and trim your trees

Make sure to remove hazards from the landscape. Clear out debris that could damage your home. Store any lawn items in your garage. Get your trees trimmed by a professional or trim them yourselves to reduce the chances of anything falling on your house. Make sure items that can’t be moved inside are tied down, secured, and protected. You can tie down small trees and scrubs. If you can’t store your car in a garage, try to move it to higher ground.

  1. Clean out your gutters & drains 

Clearing your gutters and drains is instrumental in protecting against flooding. Giving the water a clear passage to flow through can prevent instant flooding. Make sure all your gutters and drains are in working shape and don’t need maintenance. You can purchase a gutter gleaner from the store or just manually remove debris with your hands.

  1. Review your insurance

If you live in Florida, you should have home insurance that protects against hurricanes and flooding. Check your insurance and make sure you have all your information in case your home sustains any damages. Make sure that your insurance is updated to include any recent purchases or home additions.

  1. Take before and after pictures of your property for insurance purposes

In preparation for the storm, document what your home looked like before. Take photos of your landscaping, the house exterior, and the home interior. The documentation will help if you need to file an insurance claim. If you moved your belongings to better protect your home from the storm, you can also keep the photos as a reminder of how the furniture, etc. was placed initially.

  1. Store your emergency supply kit

Your supply kit should include at least 3 days of water and food. You should have a battery-powered or crank radio. Make sure to have a basic first aid kit, a few flashlights, and extra batteries. You can also include, maps, chargers, a wrench, a can opener, sanitation items, and a whistle to signal for help. Maintain an advantage by stocking up at the beginning of hurricane season so you can avoid the crowds. You can also store a few canisters of gas for your car in case there is a shortage.

  1. Check your roof

Make sure your roof is stable. Have a roof inspector look at your home to make sure the sheathing is well-connected. If your roof is at risk, get it repaired or replaced. You can also use hurricane straps or clips to fasten your house’s roof to the frame. Trimming your trees is also useful during this step because trees can crash through your roof. Make sure that there are no landscape threats that could impact your home.

  1. Check your sump pumps, drains, and generator

Inspect your sum pumps and drains to make sure they’re working properly. If they have a backup battery, make sure it is fresh or replace the battery. If you have a backup generator, test it to make sure it works. Get gas for the generator and place it in a location where it will be safe from the storm but easily moved and out of the way.

With your home taken care of, you can focus on your own safety. If you need to evacuate, you know your house will be okay without you. With these tips, you are ready to brave the storm. 

Still sick and tired of hurricanes? If you’re planning on skipping town, our experienced North Florida Realtors can sell your home. If you’re looking for a new home before a hurricane hits, we can find you a house that is safe and fits your needs in the Gainesville, St. Augustine, or Ocala areas.

Plan the perfect home or garden party with these simple steps.

How to Plan the Best Home/Garden Party

Whether you’re selling your home, just bought a new house, or want to entertain your friends, parties are a great way to show off your house’s best assets while giving your guests a great experience.

A simple house gathering is affordable, easy to pull off, and an enjoyable experience for those who attend. Below we’ve outlined a few ideas for how to turn your next house get-together into a success.

  1. Set a Theme

Think about the mood you’re trying to capture or what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’ve just moved into your new home, you can go with a paint-a-room party, an unpacking party, or a stock-the –bar theme housewarming party. If you’re getting ready to leave your house, why not do farewell parties where guests bring photos with you or where guests have the option of taking home items that clutter your house? If you’re hosting in spring or summer, host the party in your yard with a barbecue or sports theme. You can also host your own personal open house and invite your neighborhood as well as your friends.

  1. Set a Budget

How much do you want to spend on your party? Make sure you understand your limit before moving forward with the party planning process. This may be a good time to go back to step one and determine how realistic it is. If you don’t have a grill yet, how can you get one within the budget? If you’re hosting an open house style party, make sure you have the budget to provide for everyone invited. Then go through and see how you can get everything in your invite. For example, you could prepare your own food, have people bring in their games, and more.

  1. Invite Your Neighbors

Whether you’re moving out of an old home or into a new home, inviting your neighbors gives you an opportunity to show off you and your house. When you’re moving out, you can give people an updated view of your home and give them a more personal notification that your house is for sale (even if they choose not to attend). If you’re moving in, you can get to know the neighbors and get inspiration for new ideas about your house. Your neighbors can also give you advice on the local area and act as a resource in case of possible emergencies.

  1. Send Out Invites a Week in Advance

Give your guests plenty of notice for your event. Create a private Facebook event to let guests know, send out an email, or send them a text. You’ll want to have a guest list to make sure who’s coming, and if RSVP is necessary, make sure to include the deadline in your invites. Even if you’re on a budget, platforms like Canva allow you to create fancy invites for free or you can just craft a simple template of your own including the who, what, when, where, and other details of the event.

  1. Keep the Food and Drinks Simple

If you’d like to go above and beyond with food, go for it! But you can also have a fun and exciting event without getting gourmet meals rushed in. Get discounts on catering or buy bulk products yourself and make the food. Create finger sandwiches, bake desserts in advance, or more. Just because you’re keeping to a budget doesn’t mean you need to limit the amount of food you serve. Host a potluck or ask people to bring their own alcohol. Create your own fruit punch or lemonade bowl and offer clearly marked drinks for kids and adults. Serve snacks like pretzels or chips and dip, and buy bulk bags or take advantage of BOGO at Publix.

  1. Provide Games

Games are one of the best parts of a home party. Supply your own games, ask friends and neighbors to bring their own games, or make your own. If you’re having a garden party, ask people to bring corn hole, Frisbee, football, or other outdoor sports. You can plan a trivia to test people’s knowledge of the town you’ve recently moved to or are planning to move from. If you’re in the Gainesville, FL area, you can test people on their knowledge of the small town or the University of Florida. You can also create an easy scavenger hunt that will get people familiar with your home.

  1. Choose Atmospheric Music

You can always find a playlist to suit your need on music streaming websites like Spotify and Pandora. Whether you’re looking for spring themed music, a housewarming playlist, or other, you can find the beat that’s right for you and your house party. Make sure you also have a music playing device planned out whether it’s your TV or a portable speaker so you can entertain guests the whole time and give the event a positive vibe, even if when it gets a little slow.

  1. Organize for a Potential House Tour

Part of the reason for your party should be to show off your house. Have a tour planned that you can give everyone who gets there. Make sure the rooms are tidy and ready for showing. If you’re selling your house, this could offer a great opportunity to clean it up before you get individual showings. Rehearse your speech and how you’ll move people through the house. Will you give them the tour as they come in or in groups once everyone has arrived? Rehearse with family members before the big event to get your plan perfect.

You always have a reason to celebrate your home, whether you’re just putting on a casual holiday event, you’re planning to sell, or you just moved in. And whether you’re buying or selling your house, you should only have to worry about buying or selling your house. At Pepine Realty, we’re here to help with everything else. We will make your open houses a success, give great showings of your home, and take care of the home selling process. When you’re looking for a home, we’ll find you the perfect home you’ll definitely want to celebrate. Contact our agents to being the buying or selling process today.

Five Frugal Fixes to Sell Your Home

Getting prepared to sell your home is no easy feat.  There is a lot of planning and organizing that precedes having the “For Sale” sign up in your front yard.  If you have been living in your home for sometime, there are most likely areas that need a little extra TLC.  While you may have become accustomed to looking at the dated porch lights, these are factors that could potentially deter a buyer from considering your house.

Spring is right around the corner, and most people typically have the urge to start spring cleaning.  Rather than sprucing up the inside of your house, it may be time to beautify the outside of your home. The exterior condition of your home plays a big part in how fast your home sells.

According to Zillow, the best time to sell your home in Florida is in the spring.  Homes that were sold in the spring months sold 15 days earlier when compared to homes that were listed for sale in previous months.

These simple yet budget friendly tips will add instant curb appeal to your home.   guaranteed to attract a potential buyer’s eye. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or you just want to update the appearance these quick fixes will do the trick.



1. Painting Your Front Door

One of the easiest things to do that will give you the highest payoff when selling your home is painting your front door.  A brightly colored door is a fantastic way to draw attention to your house, to make it feel more modern and inviting. This simple update will make the biggest difference in the outer appearance of your home.

The best way to pick a new door color is to bring swatches of the paint home and compare them to the exterior trim and brick coloring of your house. Wondering where to start when it comes to picking paint colors?  There is an app that lets you see what different door colors would look like; it’s called Fresh Door Paint.



2.  Updating Your Hardware

Upgrading the door knocker and changing the handles on your entry door are quick and thrifty ways to enhance the appearance.  Steer clear of the traditional contractor’s brass, as this is a sure fire way to date the character of the home. If changing out the handles sounds like too much of a hassle, spray painting them is an easy alternative to refresh the look.



3. Modernizing Your House Numbers

There are two different popular methods that are currently trending when it comes to updating your address numbers.  The first is to obtain numbers with a trendy font, for example, fonts based on geometric letter-forms, as shown to the left.  Alternatively, decals and stenciling are just as popular and are an easy DIY weekend project. Design Within Reach has many choices of modern house numbers to pick from and purchase.



4. Upgrading Your Porch Lights

Porch lights serve as a safety feature at night, which is great for extra security. They can and should also be used to make a statement.  If your lights are lackluster, it might be time for an enhancement.  Picking out funky lights can add character to the front of your house but also serve as a statement piece, especially when combined with updated hardware and a colorful front door.  Keep in mind, if you are updating your hardware, it would be ideal to have the lights and hardware similar in theme and color.


5. Adding Window Boxes

 It can be very expensive to totally redo landscaping for the front yard.  Instead, adding window boxes is a classic way to boost your curb appeal.  Additionally, they will deliver the pop of color that the front of your house just may need.  There are many tutorials that will teach you how to create your own window boxes.   Take a look at Pepine’s Pinterest board for some inspiration. Then it’s time for some fun! Adding the flowers and hanging the boxes are the best part!

These upgrades may seem small and insignificant, but remember, attention is in the details.  By changing these small items your home will appear newer and more up to date.  All of these modernized upgrades will surely help to sell your home more quickly.


Current Presence in the Market

The millennial generation currently makes up about 56% of home buyers on the market now, according to Zillow’s 2016 report of consumers housing trends.  The Millennial generation has a large presence in Gainesville, due to the University of Florida.

Millennial’s tend to be an extremely visual group that heavily relies on photos and apps to answer any questions they may have. If you are interested in selling your house, these five updates will definitely catch the eye of a buyer and allow the presentation of your home to be visually appealing online.  In turn, this will allow your home to sell faster.

When the time comes to put your house up for sale, you know you can count on the agents at Pepine Realty.  For more information contact us or call us at (352) 226-8474.