The Grass is (not) Always Greener

The Grass is (not) Always Greener

I’ve always been interested in the saying that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” I’ve heard countless people use it in a number of contexts, but particularly with regard to real estate

I suppose the point of the phrase is that human nature makes it easy for us to become preoccupied with the thoughts of another life –perhaps a better life – somewhere else. We can be taken over by envy quite easily and start to imagine that others are having all the fun, particularly in the age of social media.

But here’s my little secret: Since I have moved to Boca Raton, I have never longed to be anywhere but here.

Quite the opposite in fact! I am reminded daily about the incredible perks of living in this part of the world, and I make a point of continuing to notice and appreciate them. Here are a few of the reasons the grass is certainly not greener anywhere else – at least not for me.

 (Really) Enjoy your Harley

I ride my Harley Davidson to work. In glorious sunshine. Along the coast. No gloves. No scarves. No thermals. Just sunglasses and a warm breeze in my face. If you have a convertible, you don’t have to wait for the right time of day at the right time of year to put the top down.

Play by the Pool

We have a beautiful swimming pool that is usable year round– an amazing place to sit and relax while the kids enjoy themselves whether it’s summer or winter. The pool doesn’t need to be heated and is a great place to host friends or relish some tranquil reading time by yourself.

Access to Golf

Golf has been described by writers as “a good walk spoiled”, but not even my high handicap can get in the way of my love of golf. The area is full of incredible golfing destinations, giving you every chance to stay active and challenge yourself to improve your game.

The Beach

I can walk from my house to the beach for an evening stroll,feeling the sand in my toes as the sun goes down and the waves crash in. It is truly spectacular. If the beach is your thing, this place is heaven..

The Ancillaries

Depending on how adventurous you want to get, this area affords you the luxury of finding a property that lets you fulfill your wildest dreams. You can get numerous acres of land next to a lake with a private dock from which to fish. One home nearby has access to a runway…from the back garden. Whatever you need, there’s probably a way to make it happen.

Next time someone tells you the grass is always greener, you can have a little smile to yourself.

For me, the grass is greenest right here.

All the best,

Paul Ross
Property Matters

Schools to Consider in Boca Raton

Schools to Consider in Boca Raton

Schools to Consider in Boca Raton

When I talk to people about buying property, things invariably come down to evaluating location. And one of the most critical factors in evaluating location is schools. 

In terms of my own family situation, I have always thought:

“If, at the very least, I can give my kids access to a great education, a place where they feel comfortable and safe learning about the world, then I will have fulfilled my role as a parent.”

Finding the right school situation for your kids is a major decision.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to showcase some of the best that Boca Raton has to offer. My list features both public and private schools, and everything from elementary through to college/university. There are other great schools in the area, but these are schools that, for me, really shine.

Enjoy!

AD Henderson

Alexander D. Henderson University School is an elementary-middle school (K-8) on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. They are not a part of the Palm Beach County School System, instead they are a public laboratory school under the auspices of the State University System. They have been rated an “A” school for the last 12 years.

Classes are small and parent involvement creates a community feel that bolsters the wonderful things happening at AD Henderson. The faculty members at Henderson have a variety of experience and many are instructors at the University level as well. One of the best things about AD Henderson is that teachers are all involved in research to help Henderson and other Florida schools grow to their fullest potential.

Don Estridge High Tech Middle School

Don Estridge High Tech Middle School provides a world-class education along with a rigorous, technology infused curriculum: their ultimate goal is that all students become responsible and productive life-long learners.

Formerly an IBM Facility Building, the school is named after Philip Don Estridge, known as Don Estridge, who led the development of the original IBM Personal Computer, what we now know as the PC. On its dedication the Estridge family donated his own personal IBM 5150 computer machines!

Today, Don Estridge High Tech Middle School has an exciting initiative underway to provide each student and teacher with an iPad to use in the classroom. This supports their desire to offer a digital learning environment where students work collaboratively and compete globally.

St. Andrews College Prep School

Saint Andrew’s School is not just a local treasure, it is a nationally recognized kindergarten through 12th grade, day and boarding, college preparatory school. They offer a rigorous, private school curriculum that fosters creative thinking, opportunities to achieve balance, and experiences that build strong character.

Serving students from over 40 countries of multiple faiths and cultures, St. Andrews delivers outstanding programs with the mission of developing every child in mind, body and spirit. This school is an absolute gem!

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University was founded in 1961 and offers a broad range of academic programs, activities, and services halfway between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Ten distinguished colleges offer more than 170+ degree programs in fields that span the arts and humanities, the sciences, medicine, nursing, accounting, business, education, public administration, social work, architecture, engineering, computer science and more.

Academically accomplished students take advantage of honors programs on the Boca Raton campus and the complete, four-year honors curriculum offered by the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College on the Jupiter campus. The Boca Raton campus provides an exciting and supportive learning environment for students and its 2,500-seat Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium enables students to enjoy performances ranging from rock bands to the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lynn University

Lynn’s mission is to provide an innovative, international and individualized education that enables students to realize their potential.

Lynn University’s small size and fearless people let them do things the big schools only wish they could. They are committed to cultivating a boundless classroom with iPad-powered learning that engages students beyond the grounds of the school.

In an attempt to foster entrepreneurialism, they encourage students to connect with potential employers as early as their first semester. In addition to inspiring a global mindset with peers from around the world, Lynn also offers the opportunity to graduate at a pace that suits the student through their accelerated degrees program.

As you can see, we are spoiled for choice here in Boca Raton. Add that to the fact that great schools often lead to real estate stability and makes areas less susceptible to fluctuations in the market.

If you would like to know more, I am happy to use my personal experiences to help you make the right decision for your family.

All the best,

Paul Ross
Property Matters

The Practical Considerations of Moving from the UK to the USA

The Practical Considerations of Moving from the UK to the USA

Moving from the UK to the USA: The Practical Considerations

Making the move to the USA is incredibly exciting: you and your family are likely buzzing with anticipation – I know we were! There is a lot to look forward to in your new, destination home: people to meet, local amenities to explore, and communities to engage with.

One of the things to remember, however, is that there are a whole host of practical concerns that accompany a decision as big as this. Take care of these, and you free yourself up to embrace and enjoy your new home and its environs.

With that in mind, here are some of the practical considerations when you’re making the move from the UK to the USA.

Finding a home

This may seem ridiculously obvious, but finding the right home can take time and you need the right agent working on your behalf. Once we made the decision to move, I made sure to contact an agent who knew the local area and who would work tirelessly for me. In fact, this was such an important part of the whole process that I pledged to provide the same quality of service to others making the big move across the pond.

Store or ship?

We got some mixed advice on this one, but I am confident we ultimately made the right decision. Some people encouraged us to ship our belongings gradually, taking the vital things initially and then seeing what we would actually need from the remainder. I wanted to get everything done in one swoop as shipping is not cheap but doing so in bulk is cheaper than smaller quantities in over a few shipments. We basically loaded everything into a large shipping container and that was that. Within a few weeks we had our belongings in our new home, which helped bring some familiarity to the new surroundings, especially for the kids – I stand by our decision!

Health Insurance

Let’s be honest, Health Insurance will be a bit of a shock to the system for anyone relocating from the UK! We went from simple, affordable coverage, to hefty monthly bills in addition to out-of-pocket charges for care. It still confuses me that I pay a monthly charge and still have to pay when someone in the family needs medical attention! But, the system is here to stay, and should be factored in as an additional expense to monthly budgets. Make sure you do your research and find out what you and your family will need when you move. I can help with recommendations here in the Boca Raton area, and the national healthcare website is a good place to get more information about plans and what they will cost.

Bringing your pet(s)

Pets are members of the family – so you’ll need to plan their trip too! This process can be complicated, and there are horror stories about beloved pets being kept in quarantine in certain countries. Not here though! When we travelled, our dog walked off the plane with us and out into the fresh Florida air. There are a host of options for making your pets flight more comfortable – for example, we had our dog’s crate sprayed with a hormone to induce relaxation during the flight, which certainly helped (although I still can’t say he enjoyed the trip!). As long as you do your research and are prepared for the processes and procedures, you will be fine, as will your pet! Again, please reach out for first-hand advice if it helps.

That should be enough to get you started!

As I mentioned before, I have been through this process and I’m happy to answer any and all questions you have! Get in touch if you’d like to chat.

Take care and best of luck!

Paul Ross
Property Matters

The (Sometimes Forgotten!) Reasons to Buy a Second Home

The (Sometimes Forgotten!) Reasons to Buy a Second Home

While the benefits of owning a second home might seem obvious (hello more beach time!), there are a number of often-overlooked benefits that people either forget or have never considered.

Having worked with numerous clients moving to Boca Raton from the UK, I noticed we were having the same conversations over and over again. The decision to own a second property, particularly one in another country, is always a big one, but the people I have talked to always seem to look back in relief.

With that in mind, here are some of the most often-discussed benefits of owning a second home.

  1. A home away from home

The familiarity of returning to the same place frequently on vacations can create a second home for you and your family in an entirely different part of the world. Vacations can be stressful because you have to get the lay of the land every time, which can eat into time spent in relaxation mode. With a second home, you become familiar with the local landscape and you establish a base from which you can explore further. From Boca Raton, for example, you can head to Miami Beach, spend a weekend in the Keys, or take the kids on an adventure at Universal Studios. In a second home, you will feel more intertwined in the local landscape, making holidays a breeze.

  1. Getting everyone together

Because second homes are often in vacation destinations, owning one gives you a way to reunite those closest to you by having family and friends together. You’ll be able to create new memories with your inner circle, maybe even hosting an annual event that becomes a family tradition. Because you know the area so well and have built yourself into the social fabric, you can offer incredible experiences that take vacations to the next level.

  1. Enjoying retirement before retirement

The place you work and live may be incredible, but every location has its drawbacks. In the UK or Northeast USA, people brave harsh winters and sometimes struggle with difficult weather conditions. For that reason, retirement becomes a haven, somewhere to retreat to for a change of pace, as a kind of refuge. Owning a second home lets you experiment with a potential retirement destination down the road and to reap the benefits of retirement before you’ve actually retired!

If you would like to know more, please get in touch!

Sincerely,

Paul Ross
Property Matters

Why you should think about Boca Raton when moving to America from the UK

Why you should think about Boca Raton when moving to America from the UK

Moving to America from the UK: 5 reasons to consider Boca Raton

When moving to America from the UK, there are lots of things working in your favour: Americans speak the same language, the flights are manageable, and the lifestyle has much in common with that in the UK.

However, there are still challenges to overcome when deciding to buy one-way tickets across the pond. Although English is the spoken language in America, American English can be very different from the Queen’s, for example, and it can take time to adapt to the rhythms of interaction upon first arrival.

A familiar accent…and some local knowledge

Property Matters partner Paul Ross moved his family from the UK to Boca Raton in 2015 and has since made a concerted effort to help other UK families do the same. “I know just how comforting it can be to hear a familiar accent when you’re in a new environment. It might seem like a small thing, but when everything else is new, it can be reassuring to share a connection and a sense of humour with someone. It makes the whole process less daunting.”

In addition to the language barrier, there are some differences in the real estate landscape to consider. Paul emphasizes the importance of having an agent work on your behalf, a service that is paid for by the listing agent: “Back home, there is no such thing as a buyer’s agent, buyers have to fend for themselves in all aspects of the buying process. In South Florida, if instructed to act on a purchaser’s behalf, an agent will do all the running for you and best of all, the listing agent pays their fees, it literally doesn’t cost you a penny.”

There is also the element of trust to consider, Paul continues: “The buyer’s agent is legally required to act in your best interest with licensing laws in place to help enforce this. Looking back to the UK, it amazes me that this sector is unlicensed when for most people, this is one of the largest investments they ever make. A professional agent will put their local knowledge to work for you, listening to your requirements, sourcing appropriate properties, setting up viewings and touring the area with you. This really takes a lot of the stress out of the buying process and puts so much more information that isn’t publicly available into the hands of the buyer.”

Moving to America: Choosing Boca Raton

While the likes of New York, Boston, and other big (cold!) cities have always been popular relocation choices, more and more families (like Paul’s) are moving to Boca Raton.

Here, we have outlined 5 reasons you might consider Boca Raton when moving to America:

  1. Get outside…any time of year.

Boca Raton boasts a winterless existence which means you can explore what the city has to offer year round. No need for hats and scarves here, in fact, you’ll have to figure out where to store all your sweatshirts and coats. While those in the Northeast bundle up or hunker down, you can take the family out for an evening stroll on the beach in mid-December.

  1. Beautiful neighbourhoods

Your house is a lifestyle choice, so you need to make sure the area you settle in has what you need. Boca has everything from beach-front condos to charming single-family homes and everything in between. Whether you prefer your home to overlook the 6th fairway of a golf course or the intracoastal, there is something for everyone. Gated and guarded communities will help you remember what it was like when you didn’t have to lock your front door and the kids could roam the neighbourhood without a care in the world.

  1. Great schools

With access to top-quality public and private schools, Boca offers no shortage of choices when it comes to education. The stunning Florida Atlantic University also lives here, as well as a host of other higher-education institutions such as Lynn University and Palm Beach State College. This makes Boca Raton enticing, not only to families, but to companies moving to the area looking for a well-educated workforce.

  1. Public places

Boca offers a wealth of free (or nearly free!) public amenities. There are more than 40 parks covering 16,000 acres of parkland and trail to go along with miles of public beaches that have avoided commercialization. Mizner Park, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, and the Wokodahatchee Wetlands are all worth a visit, to name but a few.

  1. The beach

And of course, the beach. While others are digging their cars out of the snow, you’ll be wriggling your toes in the sand. With a two-mile stretch of lifeguard protected beaches, you can feel safe on your family day out. There’s even a webcamto track the waves live before heading to the beach, giving you updates every few minutes.

Making the move

If you decide to choose Boca Raton, we are here to help, however, Paul had one final piece of advice: “Even if you don’t choose Property Matters, I couldn’t recommend to you strongly enough to get an agent to work on your behalf. Feel free to contact us even for recommendations of trusted professionals to use in the area. It will make your life so much easier.”

If you are relocating and want more information about where to move, how to make a smooth transition, or where to get a good cup of tea, please get in touch!