Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

13 Potential Closing Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Closing on a new home can be just as exciting as it can be stressful. There are many steps to take along the way where things can go not as planned while the stakes are high. Here are some scenarios that can arise so you can try to avoid them in the first place. 

Buyer Side Potential Issues

Credit – While your credit may have been stellar when you got pre-approved, it might change later on when you put a home under contract. One of the biggest reasons this could happen is if you take on additional debts like buying a new car. Avoid larger purchases during this time to avoid any issues.

Job – It can happen, you could lose your job during the home buying process. If you can locate a new job quickly then you may even be able to get a cosigner to secure the deal. 

Closing Disclosure – With recent law changes you should receive this 3 days before closing. Make sure you review it and check for anything out of order. Alert your agent if there is immediately.

Loan Document Issues – You will get these docs 3 days before closing so again, make sure you review for anything that is even misspelled. It is not uncommon to see names misspelled which can be a closing delay so double or triple check everything!

Down Payment – Make sure you have this ready. That means make sure you have the funds ready to transfer (and not in a place where it takes several days), and know the exact amount needed.

Closing Costs – Different than your down payment, make sure you have your closing costs ready and even add a little padding to the amount just in case.

Insurance – As soon as you have a contract on a home, call and get some insurance quotes. That goes for both homeowner’s insurance as well as flood insurance. This will give you time to shop around if need be.

Seller Side Potential Issues

Title – There could be a delay if your title company finds any liens on the home. Your title will need to be free and clear of any issues or “clouds” so get a copy from your lender asap and review it thoroughly.

Walk through Issues – Homes should always be 100% empty of the seller’s belongings at the walk through and everything that was supposed to stay with the home should still be there. If either of these are not the case or if there are any damages then this could delay things unless an alternate arrangement is made.

Either Side Issues

Move Coordination – You would think this is obvious that a buyer should move in after closing and the seller should be out before. Sometimes wires get crossed and either one of these parties is misguided or a moving snafu takes place making for issues.

Death – You can deal with this potential problem with the contract stipulating that the obligations go to the heirs in the event of death.

Cold Feet – It can happen, someone for whatever reasons decides to not buy or sell the home. If a buyer does this, most contracts are written where they will forfeit their deposit. If a seller does this, they will need to return the buyer’s deposit. The buyer could potentially sue, but it is unlikely that they would. 

Natural Disasters – Should any disasters happen and the home is significantly damaged then most contracts will give buyers an out. If it is a small amount of damage, appraisers may want to review that this damage is fixed so that buyers may proceed with the purchase as normally would have occurred.  

 

7 Tips for Immediate Home Organization

It is still the beginning of the year, but spring cleaning season is just around the corner so here are some helpful tips to get your home organized in a snap. If you don’t have a ton of free time on your hands to give your home an overhaul, just tackling a few of these tips will help you feel far more organized.

Foyer

Don’t make the mistake of purchasing bins or storage baskets that are too small. This happens a lot and things tend to overflow and become messy all over again. Make sure to have enough, but most importantly large ones that can keep things neat.

Re-fold clothes

This is such an easy one that can make a huge difference. Instead of folding your shirts in a neat pile and placing them in a drawer, fold them “Marie Kondo” style. This essentially means you create a neat little rectangle that sits upright. The great thing about this is that you can fit more in the drawer and you can see all of your shirts at a glance without having to remove the stack to find the shirt you need.

Refrigerator

Bins and containers are also great ideas for things to have in the fridge. Not only do they make things look nicer, but they make foods easier to find when neatly stored. Invest in some quality containers that you can neatly stack to make life easier. Clear ones can also be helpful for easy identification. 

Travel gear

The best plan of attack here is to “nest” these items by placing smaller suitcases inside your larger ones. Store your smaller bags or backpacks inside the smallest suitcase. This keeps everything together while saving on space.

Maximize closet space

You would be amazed at how much more space you can get out of a closet when it is well organized. Especially with your narrower closets, add a shelving unit on the floor for boxes, a hanging rod for coats and a high shelf for labeled bins. You can always make use of the back of the door with a hanging organizer as well.

Tidy up open shelves

Open shelves are a popular trend and they do have their advantages. Frequently used items are easily accessed with open shelves but you have to keep them organized. Invest in some baskets or bins to keep things together and looking tidy.

Junk Drawers

Having junk drawers is sometimes necessary, but that doesn’t mean things cannot be nicely organized inside. Instead of having just one drawer, consider having a shelf with some transparent and clearly labeled bins. Being able to see what is inside the neat containers will make things neat and very easy to find.

Homes Are More Affordable Today

With prices of homes as they are these days, some may believe that owning a home in the present day is less affordable than in years past. Despite a pattern of rising prices, this isn’t completely true as it is not just the price that matters. 

So many homes are purchased with a mortgage and the rate defines much of the affordability equation. Rates today are even lower than they were in 2018. The other portion of the equation is the homeowner’s income and per recent studies that has been reported to have risen roughly by 3% over the last year. Furthermore, the National Association of Realtors has recently shared in their Housing Affordability Index that home affordability is better today than it has been in for the last 30 years. 

“A Home Affordability Index value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index of 120 signifies that a family earning the median income has 20 percent more than the level of income needed pay the mortgage on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment so that the monthly payment and interest will not exceed 25 percent of this level of income (qualifying income).”

The index had indicated affordability being at its greatest from the years of 2009 to 2015 during the economic downturn where there were significant sales of distressed homes in the way of short sales or foreclosures. Today, most of these properties are a thing of the past and affordability still is better than the years leading up to the crash. 

The same report also shows a mortgage payment on a median priced property as a percentage of the median national income. Historically this percentage lies at roughly 21%. Since June of 2018 this percentage has almost consistently fallen with it landing at around 15.3% towards the end of 2019.

In the end don’t assume that buying a home isn’t affordable in current times. It is important to take a look at the big picture and consider all aspects to see just how reasonable it is today. 

 

Proposed Development of Sears Location

More Fort Lauderdale development is afoot with the latest proposal for a project over at the juncture of US-1 and Sunrise Boulevard. Residential towers boasting mid-century architectural designs could be replacing the Searstown plaza changing the skyline for the immediate area, yet becoming an extension of nearby Flagler and downtown. The proposed development calls for the two tallest towers to rise by 30 stories with additional new 15 and 17 story buildings offering a total of over 800 residential homes. 

The proposal for development is being offered by RK Centers, led by Raanan Katz, who is a part owner of the nearby Miami Heat NBA basketball team.The plans that were recently shared by the developer to a review committee call for a total redesign of the property located off North Federal Highway with it being turned into a new community boasting shops and restaurants as well as a 10,000-square-foot art studio.The proposal had three parts to it including the following:

-A 17 story tower that would include a 240 room hotel located at 550 NE 9th St. This also includes almost 3,500 square feet of restaurant space, a café featuring outdoor seating as well as parking for almost 300 cars.

-A 15 story residential tower located at 450 NE 9th St. This would house 135 units as well as retail and restaurant space, an art studio spanning over 10,000 square feet and parking for 230 cars.

-The two 30 story towers and the 15 story tower that would be home to 819 residential units would be located at 901 N. Federal Highway. This also includes over 70,000 square feet of both retail and office space, 4,000 square feet of restaurant space, a 4,000 square foot food court, as well as parking for 1,351 cars.

The planning for the project had started back in August, stated Andrew Zidar, leasing and development manager with RK Centers. Apparently there is yet to be a timetable for both groundbreaking and completion. However, the company who owns approximately 8 million square feet of retail properties in both Florida and New England is aggressively moving forward with the needed city approvals to begin. ‘We are full speed ahead,” he said.

 

This Year’s Kitchen “Must Haves”

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where you spend a good amount of time every day and it is where most everyone congregates when you entertain. Because of this, kitchens are the room in the home that has such a significant value and is why most homeowners want to keep it updated. Here is a look at what the top trends are for 2020 that are most desired per information shared by Houzz. 

Kitchen Island

The top desired feature in a kitchen is an island. Many kitchens have them and it is no wonder why they are highly sought after. They offer great counter space, a place to serve, gather and even dine. Nowadays homeowners are getting more creative with them by doing accent colored cabinets or surface tops to make them stand out. 

Kitchen style

Most popular kitchen designs are modern, contemporary or transitional. While farmhouse was quickly growing, this trend has cooled per recent studies. Transitional styles are less distinct and tend to borrow from other trends which is most likely why they are more timeless. 

Cabinets

Cabinetry has remained more neutral with white being among the most popular. Mid tone wood cabinets or gray followed with light wood tones being least popular. With cabinets being a significant item in the kitchen, it is not surprising that most wish to keep things consrvative. 

Backsplash and appliances

White backsplashes are still among the most popular with gray or multicolored following up. For appliances, high-tech options have slightly dipped in popularity.

Flooring

Flooring was interesting with hardwoods being most popular in the kitchen these days among remodelers. Tile came in to follow shortly behind. What is most interesting is that vinyl flooring is on the rise. With new designs now looking just like wood or tile, vinyl is increasing in its popularity due to its durability and cost. 

 

6 Reasons Why Decluttering is Crucial

Most everyone will accrue more than they need to over time in the way of personal items, tools, nick nacks and general belongings. What this all accounts for is too much clutter in your home. While this may not be a problem for you in your day to day life, it certainly can be when it comes time to sell your home. Here are 6 strong reasons as to why decluttering is one of the most important things you can do.

Buyer Vision

Keeping everything neutral is always best. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the home and that may be difficult with family photos, rare doll collections or anything that is “taste specific.” You don’t want to distract buyers with these things nor do you want to make them think too much work is needed to get the home more towards a neutral palette. 

Illusion of space

By getting rid of unnecessary or bulky furniture, donating older clothing from your closets and tossing all of the old food in your pantry that is past its expiration date you will make your rooms and storage areas seem more spacious. Holding on to more than you need will make everything feel cramped and smaller than it really is.

Photos

It all starts with photos. Almost everyone who decides they are interested in seeing your home in person will see it online first. Good photos will certainly entice them to tour the home in person and the better the home looks physically, the better it will photograph. 

Counter space

This is key. Everyone wants a kitchen that they can prepare a good meal in with plenty of counter space. Show off how much space you have by putting away almost everything except for the utmost essentials. This may mean putting that large toaster oven away which may be a pain, but it can help showcase the space much better to buyers. 

Perception is reality

In other words, if your home looks messy and cluttered, then most will think it is probably not well cared for even if that is not the truth. You don’t want anyone thinking that “if this is how the home looks, then I wonder what else was left uncared for.”

Allow your home to sell itself 

Finally, don’t let your personal items get in the way of the home selling itself. In most cases the buyers aren’t purchasing your couch and coffee table so don’t let those get in the way of showing buyers just how large and enjoyable your living room is. Keep things to a minimum and if anything add neutral accessories to warm things up and appeal to the largest audience possible.