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Twas the night before Christmas…

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Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the condo association,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The socks were hung by the screen door  with care,
In hopes that St. David G. Malt  soon would be there.

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The renters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of reduced mortgage rates danced in their heads.
And mother in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sofa to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
slide open the sliders, and kicked up the sash .

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The moon on the breast of the green grass as it grows,
Gave the luster of mid-nanosecond to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Eight Malt Realty Employees working right near.

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With a little old driver, so lively and tall,
I knew in a moment it must be St. David G. Malt.
More rapid than his employees they came,
And he whistled, and laughed, and called them by name;

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“Now, Judy! Now, Kelly! Now, Mia and Rosa!
On, Myriam! On Rhodes! On, Gina and Jennifer!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash  away all!”

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And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. David G Malt came with a bound.

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His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His eyes cover in sunglasses! his smile so bright!
His cheeks were like roses, his skin tanned just right!

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He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

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He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a grumble,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas from Malt Realty and to all a good night!

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Stay Tuned for next weeks post, a year in Fort Myers 2013 ….

Introductions are in order!

Major's Picture of the sun setting

Yes, we took this picture from our home in the Hamlet.

          Hello South West Florida! My name is Jennifer Asselin, and I’ll be taking over the administration of the Malt Realty blog from December forward, just in time for Christmas. Currently, I’m renting from Malt in the Hamlet community near Mcgregor Blvd, just minutes from the Edison Home, shopping, downtown… it’s just a really good quiet place to live, in a great location.  Who better to update the blog than someone who has lived five years in one of their developments? I share the privilege with my husband Major, and my son, Major II, who just turned five in August. When asked to join the team at Malt, the choice was easy… sign me up!

Major II getting ready for school

In our wonderful courtyard, our son is ready for school.

     My husband and I have been married nine years and aspire to own a home someday. We enjoy renting, as it affords us some of the amenities we normally would not be able to enjoy, but we aspire for greater things as most families do and dream of a wonderful home to call our own. Malt has been so great to our family over the years, we decided to stay here in The Hamlet until we can find our own four walls, and of course eventually buy a property managed by them. Next to our community is the Mcgregor Reserve, a beautiful, sprawling, tightly woven group of Spanish tiled houses and oak trees. The neighborhood is simply gorgeous, and we can hope to one day own a home as nice as any in there. This time of year with the weather being so nice, my family and I often take walks around the neighborhoods, saying hi to people we recognize (which is many) and comment on things to come.

Ball park fun!

My family and I at the Miracle Base Ball game

     South West Florida has been very good to us, especially this year with not a single breeze from a hurricane, or a whisper of cold air, and I’m pretty sure we intend to stay here for the rest of my life. While I’m enjoying myself, I may as well hold myself to the standard of posting once a week. I’ll try to keep it real estate orientated, and as I find information that would further me on my quest for a beautiful home, I’ll post it here as well for you, the reader. I want a better interest rate like anyone else. Demographic is super important to me, as are relevant schooling within certain districts I hope to live in, traffic and crime rates, etc. Follow me as I look to Fort Myers as a permanent home for me and my family.

Coming up: Christmas light pictures taken in some of the Malt developments. Stay tuned!

Should You Buy a House or Rent an Apartment?

Weigh the pros and cons between owning and renting

Photo: Couple starting up at house.
There is an upside and downside to either buying or renting. Buyers can argue that owning a bit of the American Dream gives them security that they can pass on to their children. However, that dream can be very expensive and financially limiting.
On the other hand, renters can have greater flexibility because it is simpler for renters to pull up stakes and move if the need arises. However, the money they pay each month helps the landlord’s financial security, not theirs.
So, let’s break it down. Renters first.
Advantages to renting over owning
  • You have fewer responsibilities.
  • Someone else will handle repairs.
  • There is only a short-term commitment needed.
  • There are not a lot of other costs.
  • You can invest down payment and maintenance money into other investments.
When you rent, you have fewer responsibilities. It isn’t your home, so you have less to worry about. In addition, you can expect your landlord to handle the repairs.
You can rent month to month, or to a short-term lease. There’s no real commitment. You can walk away virtually at any time.
When you rent, you generally pay just a security deposit upfront. If you need to, you may even find a rental that includes furniture. You will not have a lot of other expenses. If you don’t have extra money in the bank, renting is the way to go.
If you do have money, but choose to rent, you will have other options for investments. There is no demand for a large investment with a rental.
Disadvantages to renting over owning
  • It isn’t your home.
  • You might be asked to leave any time.
  • You will not share in any real estate profits.
  • There are no tax benefits.
When you rent an apartment, you are borrowing someone else’s home. You may not make any major changes in the property without getting permission and when you do, you are making improvements on someone else’s home.
In addition the landlord may not make repairs in the way you might wish. After all they don’t live there. When you own your own home, you can set things up the way you like.
Your landlord will probably give you a lease, a short-term time commitment, but at any juncture they might decide to sell the house or move back in. You could be asked to leave at any time.
If the real estate market improves and the house goes up in value, you will not share in the profits. You are in effect helping your landlord make the payments to the bank for their investment.
Your monthly payment to the landlord is not tax deductible. There are no tax benefits for you as a renter.
Advantages of owning over renting
  • You own your own home and can pass it on to your children.
  • You can make any changes you want to your home.
  • You can make a sizable profit on your real estate investment.
  • You can take advantage of tax benefits for homeowners.
  • You can leverage your money.
There is a feeling of pride when you own your own home. It is yours and you can pass it on to your children. Owning one’s own home is usually a strong goal for most people.
When you own a home, you can remodel as much as you like. Sometimes you might be restricted on what you do to the outside by the local government or a Homeowner’s Association, but for the most part you can do with it what you like.
If the real estate market goes up, your home can make you a lot of money. Since you put a small percentage of the value down, your investment can be remarkable, if the market is strong.
Every single dollar that you pay in interest for your primary residence is tax deductable if you itemize. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.
There are few investment opportunities that allow you to leverage your money the way real estate does. Even though you may only put a small percentage down, you still get the full value of the appreciation if the value increases.
For example: Say you put $10,000 down on your $100,000 home (10%). Now let’s say after 5 years your property is worth $120,000 (increasing 20%).
Your investment has gone up $20,000. That is your profit.
Your investment of $10,000 has brought you $20,000. You doubled your money.
Disadvantages of owning over renting
  • You must repair and maintain your property.
  • You will have substantial upfront costs.
  • If the real estate market goes down, you could lose your investment.
  • Mortgage “latenesses” hurt your credit score badly.
  • The monthly costs are usually higher.
  • It is a long-term commitment.
When you own your own home, you must pay for and handle every repair needed. You must also maintain the property. Lawn and pool care cost something each month, even if you do it yourself.
When you purchase a home, you must put money down and pay for closing costs. These are costs you must pay upfront. If you didn’t invest them in your home, you could earn a rate of return with another investment.
If the real estate market goes down, you could lose the money you put down. Selling your property might become impossible, without putting more money in to pay back the bank. These losses can happen quickly.
If you are late with your mortgage, even one month, it will severely hurt your credit score. If you are late often enough, you can lose your home. If you default and the bank forecloses, your credit score will take a long time to recover.
Conversely, when you are late on a rent payment it is rarely reported. The only time it can really affect your score is if you are evicted or if you skip out on your rent payment (which shows up as a collection). These factors will also directly affect your ability to get a mortgage later, as mortgage companies see your ability to handle your rent payments as a good prediction on how you’ll handle mortgage payments.
Your monthly costs are typically higher when you have a mortgage. Not only do you have principle, interest, taxes and insurance to pay each month, but you have all the other expenses that homeowners have.
When you rent, you can often work out a month-to-month arrangement. If you get a lease, it is for a year or two. With a mortgage, your loan is usually structured to be paid back over 30 years. You can sell your home at any time, but often it takes a while to find a buyer and if the market has declined, you may not have that option. Purchasing a home is usually a long-term commitment.

Source: Realtor.com

Why Malt Realty?

We take the time to understand your goals and objectives of your property investment.

You relax, knowing capable management is protecting your investment.

We are highly trained and experienced professional property managers with over 25 years of experience and have managed and sold literally thousands of properties in Fort Myers.

You are assured that seasoned professionals, with a proven track record, are marketing your property to qualified applicants.

We maintain positive resident relations while adhering to stellar management practices.

Additional reasons why…………..

Progressive Rent Structures

Our detailed knowledge of the market affords us the ability to achieve the highest rental rates.

 Thorough Tenant Screening 

(Credit, employment, rental, on-line civil and criminal histories)

Our thorough knowledge of Landlord/Tenant Procedures affords us the ability to place a well qualified resident in your property.

 Referrals from other Realtors

Our well known, well respected reputation has earned us referrals from other realtors affording a larger market of high caliber prospects.

 Longevity of Employees

Our team’s longevity of employment affords you the comfort of a long-term relationship with the same team members who know you and your investment goals.

 Superior Maintenance Service

Access to established suppliers and contractors; fair, competitive pricing for services.

 Saturday Office Hours

Expanded hours for the convenience of residents, prospects, and clients.

History of Veterans Day

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Source: http://www.va.gov

Halloween Costume Contest

Halloween Costume Contest

To enter tag Malt Realty to your Facebook photo of you in your scariest, creative and most original costume. The photo that receives the most likes wins.  Your friends and family can vote.  The winner will be announced on Friday, November 1st and will receive a three month membership to Omni Fitness.   For more information visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/maltrealty.

Halloween Collage

Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Organized on the Run

For all the use it gets in most of our homes, we don’t always have time to keep a clean kitchen. When we’re in a rush, cleaning can get relegated to the bottom of the to-do list.

You don’t have to invest hours in scrubbing to keep your kitchen clean and organized, however. In fact, we’ve got some streamlined tips that will help you get there in record time.

Read on for kitchen cleaning tips you can carry out in an instant.

Get organized
One thing that will help cut clean-up time is to be organized before you start cooking.That process begins with cleaning out your pantry, removing old items and placing like ingredients together. When you know exactly what you have and where it goes, prep time goes even faster. And once the meal is cooking, you’ll have a much easier time putting everything back where it belongs, rather than shoving items onto a too-full shelf.

Baskets and bins are a great place to store boxes and bags of food. If you don’t have an actual pantry or adequate cupboard space to comfortably store all your food, consider placing baskets and bins on open shelves in the kitchen itself. Your ingredients will be within easy reach and just as easy to put away.

Clean as you go
One of the cornerstones of keeping a clean kitchen on the run is to tidy up as you work. When you finish chopping, for example, clean the cutting board and knife right away. The same goes for the salad spinner, the blender or food processor — whichever tools you use the most. By the time you’re done with the prep work, most of your cleaning should be finished, too. And while your meal is bubbling on the stove top or in the oven, you can wipe down the counters, clean the sink and sweep/vacuum/spot clean the floor.  By the time the post-meal dishes are done, a cursory wipe-down of all surfaces should leave you with a shiny kitchen.

Deeper cleaning in a hurry
Removing built-up grime in the kitchen is one thing that can slow us down when it comes to occasional deep-cleaning. To make even a thorough once-over relatively pain-free, mark your calendar every two weeks (consider a weeknight when you may not have any plans) to replace your clean-as-you-cook routine with an efficient, targeted attack on cupboard fronts, parts of your stovetop that haven’t had enough attention and behind your sink faucet. You would be amazed by how much cleaning you can do while a casserole or chicken is in the oven.

When your meal is done, you’ll have a bit more cleaning up to do than usual, but the truly tedious work will be behind you…for the next few weeks, anyway.

Seasonal scrubbing
There are some kitchen cleaning tasks that just can’t be done quickly. This list would include cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning the oven/range hood and cleaning out drawers and cupboard interiors. One way to make sure these tasks get done on a regular basis is to link them to the seasons. Check your calendar for the date that each of the four seasons begins in the coming year, and make an appointment for some quality cleaning time in your kitchen. You can now celebrate the coming of a new weather pattern with a sparkling clean kitchen.

Your rental kitchen is the heart of your home, but you don’t need hours to keep it looking great. Follow these daily cleaning tips and you’ll look forward to preparing each meal — and you won’t even mind the cleaning that comes afterward!

Source: blog.rentals.com