Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Renovate or Just Sell? 6 Reasons Why Selling As-Is May Be Best

Once you have decided that you want to make a move, then you need to take a hard look at your home and begin preparing it for sale. There are the obvious tasks for anyone of decluttering and cleaning, but what about any projects that may be in need? Certainly any functional issues such as leaky roofs, plumbing or the like should be fixed, but what about updates? Here is a closer look at why renovations may not be best before selling.

ROI may not be realized

Many times a renovation may not pay off right away. A kitchen or bathroom renovation are the ones that typically have the most impact, yet they are expensive, time consuming and can interrupt your lifestyle. Chances are that you may want to put your focus on making sure they are in tip top shape rather than redoing them. 

Renovations are stressful

Even if you have more than 1 bathroom to use while you renovate one of your others, the mess and organization of it all can really be a headache. Especially when you are hiring a contractor instead of doing it yourself, you are at the mercy of their time frame. Historically speaking, contractors are not noted for finishing jobs early either!

Remove guesswork

Renovating will require you to make certain decisions about a space, its function and aesthetics. However, it is hard not to put some of your own spin things as you plan. This may not always be best as instead of the new counters you may replace, a future buyer may have preferred building in a breakfast bar for their family’s needs instead. 

Move on

There may be some projects or improvements that you always wished to have done. Maybe it was changing out a plain interior door with a French door, or adding a larger window to your eating area. Whatever it may be, focus on doing these personal projects in your new home instead.

Curb appeal

While the inside of your home needs to be clean and presentable, none of that is going to matter if you don’t address the outside. Especially here in Fort Lauderdale, the outside of your home is additional living space all year round so be sure it is looking perfect and inviting. If you decide to do anything other than sprucing up the landscaping, consider something you can take to your new home like a nice new outdoor patio set. 

Clean versus new

It is one thing if you have older flooring or appliances. However, if they are clean and in good working order then they will be far less offensive to any potential buyer. Not everyone will have the funds to renovate when they first buy your home, but if everything is clean and in good shape, they will feel that they could easily live with it until they can afford to do a project. 

15 Top Real Estate Terms Defined

Whether you are new to the real estate game or it has been a while since your last transaction, you will hear many terms referenced throughout the transfer of property that you may not know what each means. Here are 15 of the top terms that are outside of the more obvious that you will hear and may wish to have clarified. 

Approved for short sale 

This term means that the homeowner’s bank has approved a lowered price for the home and it is ready to be sold.

Back-end ratio

This is one of the ways that a lender uses to qualify a homeowner’s eligibility for a loan. This takes the monthly debt payments including the proposed housing costs, any car or loan payments, child support etc. and compares it to the gross income.

Capacity

This is simply the amount of money a buyer can afford to borrow for a loan.

Cash-value policy

This is the insurance policy that pays the replacement cost of a house less depreciation in the event that any damage should happen to the property.

Closing disclosure (CD)

This is the multi-paged document that is provided to the buyer a few days prior to closing. This identifies the terms of the loan including the interest rate, monthly payment, mortgage insurance escrow amount on a monthly basis as well as all closing costs.

Compliance agreement

This document is signed by the buyer upon closing which states that they agree to cooperate should the lender need to fix any mistakes within the loan documents. 

Conventional loan

A conventional loan is one that is not guaranteed by a government agency like FHA or VA.

Earnest money

This is a security deposit provided by the buyer to show intent to purchase.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

This is a government agency that insures loans made by private lenders. 

Housing ratio

This is one of two debt-to-income ratios that a lender will use to identify a buyer’s eligibility for a home loan. This compares the total housing costs to the gross income. 

Jumbo loan

This is a loan that is beyond the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac limit which is usually $425,100 in most areas in the United States.

Mechanic’s lien

This is a lien against a property that was filed in the county by an individual or entity who had done work on a home but was not paid. Should the homeowner refuse to pay, the lien allows for a foreclosure.

Origination fee

This fee is charged by the broker or lender to initiate and complete the loan application process.

Principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance (PITI)

These are the primary components that make up your monthly payment. 

VantageScore

This is a model some lenders use to make their decisions for lending. The borrower’s score is based on things like bill paying habits, outstanding debt balances, credit accounts, number of inquiries on credit reports and age.

 

4 Ways to Make a Buyer Interested in Your Home

Once you prepare to list your home for sale, it is important that you have it be in perfect condition from cleanliness to curb appeal. However, what can you do to make your home stand out among all of the other homes for sale in Fort Lauderdale? Here are some tips on how to pique a buyer’s interest when they see your home. 

Write a Compelling Description

First, get their attention when they see your home online. Make sure that your home has professional photos and your description highlights all of the key points that your home has to offer. Be sure to list all of the basic items like bed and bath count, but also reference any significant improvements that you have made that may not be obvious. Items like a new roof, HVAC systems and high impact windows are always good to point out. Finally, add things like how you can enjoy the home and its outdoor spaces to add value.

Address Deferred Maintenance

Not everyone has the ability to see past faded and chipping paint, missing pieces of trim or a broken door hinge. Additionally, if buyers see items that need repair, it can make them think that the home was not well maintained and that there may be other significant items that may need repair. Marketing your home when in perfect condition will convince all that it has been well cared for and it is in “move-in” condition.

Curb Appeal

The front of your home and yard are the first and last things that every buyer will see so you will want to make it inviting. Replacing worn or dated fixtures, freshening up paint on the front door or adding potted flowers will help create more of a positive impression for buyers. Tidy up the landscaping so bushes are nicely trimmed and beds are freshly mulched. 

Home Staging

Homes that are vacant or have too much furniture oftentimes do not sell as quickly. An empty home is challenging for those who don’t have the imagination or vision to see how it can accommodate furniture. Alternatively, too much furniture can pose the opposite problem – it can be hard to see the size or potential of the rooms with too many things in it. Stage your home with the right amount of appropriately sized furniture to remove the guesswork. Keep your decor neutral and remove all personal photos so that you appeal to all. 

 

Flagler Village Continues to Expand

Flagler Village has fast become the downtown areas next hip and exciting destination. Offering a prime location close to Las Olas Blvd and a short drive to the beach the area is offering an environment that some are comparing to that of Wynwood.

Flagler Village was once home to many warehouses, car and marine repair shops and the like all placed in a neighborhood that was diminishing. Today, these blocks are now filled with tenants including a microbrewery, retro bars and illustrious buildings with murals not unlike that of Wynwood. Housing stock has also increased with roughly 1,400 new apartments with estimates of nearly 4,000 more to arrive within the next few years. 

Local developer of Flagler Village, Charlie Ladd, has 3 projects in the neighborhood that are currently pending. They are two office and retail buildings that are pending permits as well as a third one consisting of a movie theater that sits on top of retail and restaurant spaces with a rooftop bar. This third project is slated to break ground this coming September. 

A premier project in the area that is underway is known as Motif. This is a 7 story apartment building boasting 385 homes along with retail and restaurant spaces on the street level located at 500 N. Andrews Ave. A unique component of the project includes a walkway built for market stalls, outdoor restaurant seating and a public plaza courtyard area. Artists will be hired to provide their pieces throughout the building as well as the walkway areas. The first phase of the development is scheduled to complete in early 2020 with the second phase being done closer to mid year. 

Other recent projects in the area include The Whitney Apartments (386 units), Pearl Flagler Village Apartments (331 units), One Flagler Village Apartments (292 units) and the Dalmar Hotel (323 rooms). There are currently permits pending for a 350 unit apartment building named “Modera 555 at Flagler Village.” 

Slowly the empty lots and old warehouses are being converted into vibrant businesses and housing options as the exciting growth of the area continues. 

5 Tips for Refinancing Your Home

At certain points homeowners may consider refinancing their home for several reasons. Maybe it is time to do a renovation and pull out some equity or perhaps when rates dip it may be worth considering a refi for a lower payment. Whatever the reason is there are a few steps to consider before you call a lender and just jump in. Here are 5 tips for you to review before beginning the process. 

Calculate the numbers

It may seem like a refi is always a great idea if you can either pull out equity or if you are getting a lower rate. However, the one other major consideration in the equation is time. Figure out what loan term makes sense with your future and retirement plans. Resetting the clock on a 30 year mortgage may not make sense if you are 10 years away from retirement. 

Check your credit

You are allowed to check your credit once per year from the major bureaus under federal law. Even if you know that you pay your bills on time, it is still wise to check it for accuracy and to make sure there are no mistakes. How solid your credit is will have a big impact on your borrowing power and what rate you will get. 

Prepare your finances

Lenders will check your overall financial situation so it’s best to have that in order. Aside from your credit score, they will like to see that you aren’t maxed out on your available credit. Additionally, it is also helpful to show that you have liquid savings on hand for several months in the event of a job loss or the like. If you don’t have this on hand, a refi could still be a good option for you.

Estimate your home’s value

Lenders will also want to see that you have 20% of equity or more in your home. As market conditions can fluctuate, it is a good idea to have a value in mind of what your home is worth today especially if you are pulling out equity in the refinance. You can do preliminary research online to see what has recently sold or you could reach out to me for more information. I would be happy to help.

Research lenders

Unless you have a reason not to, then begin with your current lender for a refi. Typically most lenders will want to retain you as a customer so they will offer you the best loan package. You should also do your homework and at least shop around to know what current rates are being offered as a benchmark. 

Do you have any questions about your situation? Contact me today and I would be happy to provide some guidance.

Yard Tips to Minimize Watering

These days everyone knows that when it comes to your yard you don’t want to waste our valuable resource of water, but you also don’t want to waste your valuable time. Even if you have a proper irrigation system, water bills alone can make you want to disable it at times especially if you don’t have a private well. Here are some great ideas on how you can design your landscaping so it is eco, budget and spare time friendly!

Stay with Hardy, Local Plants

Even in areas like the Southwest where there is a lack of natural water, yards and gardens are still filled with color and texture. Native plants thrive as they are used to the normal state of the region. Select which plants are typically in the area and go with those. Aside from succulents, South Florida has many trees, bushes and flowers that require less water.

Add Some “Hardscaping”

Grass is great, but some areas for patios, stone walls, paths and the like serve great purpose as well. These can enhance aesthetics but also provide great function for entertaining and gathering places. In fact, studies have stated that new patios and fire pits are among the top projects for adding value to your home for resale. Just keep in mind that you will want to plan for proper drainage given our heavier rains.

Try Fake Grass

Turf has made big progress and now has the look and feel that is much like real grasses. Research brands for those that hold up over time and have a good feel on your feet. Especially for smaller yards this can be ideal where watering and mowing can be challenging. 

Plant Cacti and Succulents

These plants are very hardy while they add color, flowers and texture to your landscaping. Just make sure they are not located in areas where they will have “wet feet” as they prefer a dryer setting.

Rock Beds

Instead of having as much grass as you may have, try breaking it up with rock beds. As an alternative to mulched beds, rock beds don’t require as much work where they don’t break down like much does and need replacement. You will save on needing to water these areas as opposed to grass while you still have the benefit of an area for drainage.