Homes by Becky Lane - Senior Volunteer
Feb 18

Volunteer in Our Community

By Becky Lane | Lakeland Life

Over the years, Lakeland’s citizens have proved to be a caring, community conscience group. The number of not-for-profit organizations in the area bear witness to that fact. Volunteering to serve others can significantly enrich your life and fill the spare time that would have otherwise gone wasted. If you are in the greater Lakeland area, here are a few places you can volunteer.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • The Kiwanis Club of Lakeland is dedicated to helping impoverished children achieve a better life from early childhood to college.
  • Kids Pack is another local organization with the goal of making sure homeless children are fed.
  • VISTE helps the elderly to maintain their independence and dignity while ensuring that they remain safe in their own homes.
  • The United Way of Central Florida has a three-pronged approach to serving the area. They help children succeed in school, help build financial stability and independence in families, and to improve people’s health.
  • Campfire Sunshine Central Florida has been serving children through camps and teaching them about the outdoors for over 100 years.
  • The SPCA of Florida‘s headquarters is located in Lakeland. It cares for homeless animals by preventing overpopulation and adoption programs.
  • The American Cancer Society aids victims of cancer and their families.

These are just a few out of the multitude of not-for-profit organizations in Lakeland and the surrounding area. They welcome anyone who wants to give their time to a greater cause.

Perhaps you see a need in Lakeland that is not currently being met. Starting a charitable organization can be a time consuming and sometimes difficult process. Ultimately the reward of serving others greatly outweighs the challenges you may face.

If you have further questions about the charities listed above, visit their websites for details.

Homes by Becky Lane - Senior Scams
Feb 04

Seniors in Lakeland Should Watch Out for These Scams

By Becky Lane | Seniors

According to the last Census, 21% of Lakeland’s population are seniors; which makes it a target-rich environment for scam artists. Most scams these days are done either by phone or through electronic means such as email or malware.

Often the seniors living in Lakeland are on a fixed income. Being scammed out of retirement money can prove catastrophic. How then can Lakeland’s senior community protect themselves from predatory grifters?

Scams

Here are some ways seniors can take steps to protect their income and information from scammers.

  • Be wary of someone claiming to be from your financial institution who asks for your account numbers and personal information. A bank or credit union will ask you to verify the information they already have. They will not ask for things like a social security number and address. This rule applies to emails from your financial institution as well. It is easy for spam artists to spoof (copy) the logo of a financial institution. They will often put it in an email so that it looks official. Your bank or credit union will never ask for your personal information or account numbers in an email.
  • If you are a senior who lives alone, don’t fill that void by creating a relationship with a salesperson over the phone; their goal is not friendship, but to get their hands on your money.
  • Pop-up scams are another way scammers can reach seniors. A pop up will appear on your computer screen which claims there is a virus on your computer. It will proclaim you need to download a program to get rid of the virus. The pop-up may even ask you to call a number and pay for tech support to delete the virus. Antivirus software will never ask you to call tech support. When this type of pop-up occurs, exit out of it right away. If you can’t exit out of it, shut off your computer. Should you have concerns about your computer after a scam pop-up happens, take it to a reputable computer technician. They can scrub away any malware that exists on your computer.

Lakeland seniors who are vigilant against these types of scams are less likely to fall victim to them.

Striking Channelside Views
Jan 21

Channelside Condo – 449 S. 12th Street, Unit 1402, Tampa

By Becky Lane | Real Estate Listings

Are you looking for a place to live where you can take part in downtown Tampa’s renaissance? Maybe you want a condo with both hardwood floors a view of the channel? Do you want to be near Channelside and take in a few Tampa Bay Lightning games at Amalie Arena? Or do you want all of those features in your condo? If so, number 1402 on the 14th floor of one of The Towers of Channelside located at 449 S. 12th Street in the Channelside area has what you want and more.

Striking Channelside Views

With an expansive balcony, wide windows that let you take in the breathtaking panoramas while flooding the space with sunshine, and access to a pool that would put many of Florida’s resorts to shame; this location has no shortage of benefits. It boasts 1346 square feet of contemporary living in an open floorplan that will make you feel as if you are living in the sky. There are private bathrooms attached to the bedrooms; the spacious master bathroom features both a soaking tub and walk-in shower. Of course, the condo comes with two designated parking spaces in the garage that keep your car cool in summer and shelter you from afternoon thunderstorms. 

Nearby

If you are fitness minded the Tampa Riverwalk is within walking distance and lets you jog, bicycle or inline skate alongside the Hillsborough River. If you want to explore the river itself while getting exercise, paddle boarding and kayaking are two of the favorite activities among those who live in the area.

Properties like the one at number 1402, 449 South 12th Street are the reason that people have been flocking to Tampa, to enjoy both the vivid views and to be in the mild Central Florida climate. It is ideal for active young professionals who want to be part of the abundant nightlife in the area or retirees who want to spend their days on the balcony basking in the sunlight as you watch ships float past.

SRS Certification
Jan 07

SRS Certification – Seller Representative Specialist

By Becky Lane | Seller Representative Specialist

A sure way to know if a realtor in the Lakeland area is trustworthy and competent or not is if they have a Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) certification. Why is an SRS certification crucial for any Central Florida realtor? Because an SRS shows that the realtor has successfully completed the educational hours required to complete a certification course and that they showed a thorough understanding of the material by passing a stringent exam. When a realtor has completed an exam, here are some of the things that realtor will have expertise in:

SRS Areas of Expertise

  • Crafting an effective listing for your home.
  • Anticipating the needs of the client.
  • Understand what Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials are seeking in a home.
  • Identifying which target demographic, a home will appeal to the most.
  • Understand which method of marketing will be successful in selling a home.
  • Being able to stage a property in a way most likely to bring about a sale.
  • Using property marketing tools such as pictures, single property websites, social media, virtual tours and more.
  • Being able to stage an open house in multiple ways.
  • Understanding the auction process and how it can benefit sellers.
  • Understanding inspections and the roles all parties involved play.
  • Verifying that requests are made to repair any issues after a home inspection.
  • Identifying any issues that may arise between a contract being drawn up and closing.

These are but a few of the many things a realtor learns through the SRS certification process. Because I have an SRS certification, it means I belong to an elite group of realtors who act as an advocate for their clients and know how to make sure that things go smoothly for both seller and buyer. Let me act as your advocate in the sale of your home or purchase a new one.

An Oasis in Downtown Lakeland
Dec 17

Lakeland Life: Bonnett Springs Park

By Becky Lane | Lakeland Life

Imagine a park downtown in one of Florida’s fastest-growing and dynamic cities. Also, imagine the park serving as a place for people of all types and generations to decompress from the stresses of daily life while enjoying Central Florida’s lush natural surroundings. 

An Oasis in Downtown Lakeland

You won’t have to imagine much longer. Bonnett Springs Park will be the jewel of Downtown Lakeland. It will educate young and old with a children’s museum and an amphitheater, and delight all with a massive treehouse. It will also serve the fitness-minded with bike and walking paths woven throughout the park.

The park plans to incorporate the surrounding natural features Lakeland is known for, such as grand old oak trees, stately cypress forest, and pines that whisper in the breeze. A clear-cool stream will run across the park and allow visitors to contemplate it as it rushes past. It will truly be a wonder to behold.

A Boon to the Area

Bonnett Springs Park will act as a magnet to unify all of Lakeland. And, it will reap the benefits of the economic boost it will bring. Those working in downtown Lakeland will be within walking distance of the park. This will allow them to unwind after work, or get a quick bike ride in on a lunch break. Having such a natural draw will help to keep the businesses downtown. Perhaps, it will even bring new ones in that want to take full advantage of Bonnett Springs Park being close at hand.

The combination of nature and urban will bring the Lakeland area, and perhaps the greater surrounding Central Florida area together. Cross-cultural connections will be made. Relationships forged by the emergence of this marvel arising from the ashes of the forgotten railyards that made Lakeland great. Bonnett Springs Park is set to have the same fiscal impact and lure to Lakeland that the old railroads did in the nineteenth century.

The Future of Lakeland

Bonnett Springs Park will take hold of the full promise of the twenty-first century. By using both natural and technological advancements, it will serve as a beacon to those who want to escape the rigors of today while embracing the holistic approach of life tomorrow.

Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist
Dec 05

Becky Lane, Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist

By Becky Lane | Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist

Working in real estate in Central Florida often involves interacting with people who are retiring to the area. Working with retirees comes with a host of issues uniquely related to seniors. It’s important for a realtor to be aware of senior problems and be equipped to help with them. With my clients’ benefit in mind, I became a certified senior real estate specialist (SRES). This gave me a better understanding as to what seniors want and expect when making a home purchase. The SRES educates realtors on how best to address issues such as downsizing. With seniors who are downsizing, there is often a lifetime of furniture and accrued possessions that need to be handled. Knowing if these items should be sold in an estate sale, put in storage, or moved to the new home. It’s important that their possessions fit in the new home without cluttering it. An SRES can help with these decisions. I’m aware of safety issues that need to be addressed in your new home. Issues such as rails to hold on to or doorways wide enough to allow wheelchair access. I’m able to assist the family to determine if their loved one needs to be in a senior community where home health assistance is readily available.

A Certified SRES Acts in the Client’s Interest

I make sure that the seniors involved in a transaction are not losing money to move; by serving as an advocate on my client’s behalf. I know that leaving a home where they raised their children and where decades of warm memories were made can be emotionally challenging. It can also be emotional for a child of a senior to sell the home because their parents can no longer maintain it. Because I have completed the requisite SRES education, I’m able to address these issues facing seniors and many more. I want to be an asset in the life decisions seniors face in buying and selling their homes.
Aug 21

Location, Location, Location on Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven!

By Brittany Graham | Uncategorized

Ready for fun in the Florida sun?

Imagine waking up every morning, walking out onto your back porch to have a cup of coffee by the pool and watching the water over the canal. Sound like a dream? Then your dream home is ready for you!
Situated on a canal off Lake Eloise, 1220 Cypress Point East in Winter Haven is your ticket to fun in the Florida sun year round!

This 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home boasts 3200+ square feet of space, perfect for the entire family. Exit from the large family room onto your screened-in pool deck. The pool, which was resurfaced in 2015, is heated and maintenance is made easy by the screen coverage. Spend less time scooping leaves and debris out of your pool and more time floating on the water!

Speaking of water, it's no doubt that this home's best feature is the location! The canal is ready for you to build your custom dock. Keep your boat, kayak, or jet ski just steps from your back door. Jump on and go for an afternoon spin around Lake Eloise or explore the entire Chain of Lakes from your backyard!

With so much fun outside, you may never want to come indoors, but just in case your next birthday pool party gets rained out, there is plenty of room for entertaining inside this lovely home as well! The large family spaces, open layout, and beautiful double-sided fireplace create several areas to customize for your friends and family. Host your next football party, family reunion, or Sunday brunch in your gorgeous new home on the canal!

Call the Home Connection Group today at 863-602-8605 to schedule a showing to view this special home!

Aug 10

Your Oasis on Lake Bonny

By Brittany Graham | Real Estate Listings

Thanks to the bustling Central Florida real estate market, the Home Connection Group is fortunate enough to assist many families each year in selling their homes. All of our listings are great properties in their own right, but once in awhile a really interesting one comes along. That happened this month and we want to share this incredibly special home with you.

Nestled on 420+ waterfront feet on Lake Bonny in Lakeland, the family that is selling this home refers to it as a grown up’s playground. The defining feature of that description, apart from being on the lake of course, is the interior courtyard. Trust us when we say, there is not another property like it in Lakeland. Similar in style to a Spanish-style home with an open garden in the middle, the courtyard in this home makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into your private spa. The lush wood paneling, ample natural light perfect for growing all manner of plants, and built-in Jacuzzi create a hidden oasis as soon as you step in your front door.

At a generous 3700+ square feet, this home has more than enough room for your entire family to enjoy. Have a picnic lunch in your personal gazebo by the lake, play a game of basketball on your own court, or host a family gathering in one of several entertaining spaces. There are bonus rooms that would make perfect hangouts for teenagers or play rooms for little ones. Push off from your personal dock on the lake and enjoy the rest of the summer taking your boat or kayak for a cruise.

One of the most interesting features of this home is the level of privacy it affords. Safety was a major priority for the former owner who lived in this home also, so built into every aspect, from design to technology, there are security measures that will keep you and your family safe. The home's main entrance is through agated breezeway monitored by security cameras. Around the home, there are security cameras on floodlights, so you’ll never be surprised by anyone.

Interested in income property or supplementing your mortgage payments with rental income? The adjacent duplex, being sold as a separate property by the same owners, features two sides of 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with interior laundry. The desirable lake-front location means you’ll never lack for tenants creating instant value in your investment.

This incredibly unique home is waiting for the perfect buyer - someone looking for a home outside of the ordinary, with limitless potential for family fun! Call the Home Connection Group today at 863-602-8605 to schedule a showing to view this special home!

July 4th events lakeland
Jul 02

Lakeland Life: July 4th Events

By Brittany Graham | Lakeland Life

Happy Independence Day! July 4, 2017 marks the 241st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and we hope you are celebrating as much as we are! Here are a few fun family events happening around Lakeland and Polk County to get you in the spirit of celebration!

Red, White, & Kaboom! at Lake Mirror Promenade, Lakeland, FL · Monday, July 3rd

Hosted by the City of Lakeland and sponsored by T. Mims Corp., the Red, White, & Kaboom Independence Day Celebration will feature live music, vendors, food, and fireworks. The event takes place from 6pm-9pm on Monday and City garages will be open for parking. Jah Movement will be playing reggae and cover music beginning at 6pm. There will also be a canned food drive for VISTE, supporting food banks for elderly Lakeland residents. Coolers are allowed (no glass) and you can find the full list of food trucks attending on their Facebook event page.

Rock N’ Freedom Fest at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, Winter Haven, FL · Monday, July 3rd

The City of Winter Haven is hosting Rock N’ Freedom Fest at Lake Silver on Monday from 6pm-9pm. The event will feature live classic rock/funk music from the Dan Signor Project and food trucks. The Winter Haven Hospital Bloodmobile will be on site so attendees can donate blood to support the blood bank in their community. The fireworks will take place at 9pm over Lake Silver. Complete information on their official Facebook event page.

Thunder on the Ridge at Lake Eva Park, Haines City, FL · Tuesday, July 4th

Celebrate the 4th at one of the largest events in Polk County! Featuring rides, games, live music, and, of course, fireworks, Thunder on the Ridge is a Polk County annual tradition! The festivities start at 3pm and conclude with a fireworks show at 9pm. There are multiple live bands playing all afternoon and lots of family friendly activities to keep kids entertained. Bring your A-game and sign up for the double elimination cornhole tournament (signup form on website) – the tournament check-in is at 4pm and there is a $200 cash prize! Complete schedule can be found on their Facebook event page.

LEGOLAND Knight Lights in Winter Haven, FL · Tuesday, July 4th

Celebrate Independence Day with all-day fun at LEGOLAND! There is a special July 4th holiday schedule of events for the day, including all the Knight Lights summer fun, plus a giant July 4th Flag Build to participate in. Kids of all ages can attend character meet & greets, stage shows, group builds, scavenger hunts, and dance parties. The Fireworks Spectacular will take place in Pirates’ Cove at 9pm! More information and the special July 4th events schedule download can be found on the LEGOLAND website.

Happy Independence Day from all of us at the Home Connection Group!

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