Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Is 2019 The Year to Buy Your New Home? Watch These 2 Facts

We are officially into the new year and many people are embarking on their new years goals whether it be joining the gym or kicking bad habits. For another large segment of the population, buying a new Fort Lauderdale home may be on their list of accomplishments for 2019. If this is your goal, here are two factors that play a large part in the real estate market that you will want to pay special attention to this year.

Interest Rates

Over the past year we have seen a slow and steady rise in mortgage rates, but with a slight change by the end of 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Mortgage Market Survey rates had inched up to 4.94% in November yet fell to 4.62% at year’s end. Regardless of the dip, rates are projected to reach 5% during 2019.

The rate that you lock in will not only impact your monthly mortgage payment, but it will also have an affect on your purchasing power. In other words, your purchasing power being the amount of money that you have to spend on a home. As rates increase, the price of the home that you can afford will decrease.

Inventory

In a healthy and “normal” real estate market, there should be 6 months worth of inventory for home prices to increase in line with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is only roughly 3.9 months of inventory supply which is still far below the normal level. What this means is that there will still be pressure on home prices potentially causing them to rise more rapidly.

The trend for inventory over the past handful of years has been on an downward decline, but in the last 6 months there has been a slight shift where more homes are becoming available. This is an interesting trend to keep an eye on as if we continue to see more homes on the market for sale, then we can be moving towards more of an even keeled or normal market as opposed to a seller’s market that we’ve been experiencing for quite some time now.

If you have any questions about the local Fort Lauderdale real estate market, contact me today.

Four Real Estate Market Trends for 2019 That Everyone Should Note

As we embark on the new year of 2019 we can all speculate on what will transpire in the real estate market. While we cannot predict what will happen, we can however get a sense of what is in store based on a few factors. The economic research team at Realtor.com has recently analyzed data in order to best forecast things for the year. Based on their findings it appears as both buyers and sellers will each face some challenges. Here are the top 4 things that were noteworthy.

Luxury Inventory Will Increase

The trend for inventory has been showing slim for years now. While homes have been coming on the market intermittently, not enough have been listed to keep up with buyer demand. In 2018 we did see inventory slightly increasing and it is expected that this will continue into 2019, but probably still at a low rate of growth.

“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist.

Home Affordability Challenges

Buyers have had their challenges of limited stock to choose from coupled with rising prices, but will this change much?

“In some ways, life is going to be easier for home buyers; they’ll have more options,” Hale says. “But life is also going to be more difficult for home buyers, because we expect mortgage rates to continue to increase, we expect home prices to continue to increase, so the pinch that they’re feeling from affordability is going to continue to be a pain point moving into 2019.”

Millennials Will Dominate Buyer Pool

These buyers are among the largest group of buyers out there and are accounting for 45% of mortgages according to Realtor.com. Some are first time buyers while others are already trading up to larger homes. The year 2020 is going to be the peak year for millennial home buying as the majority of them will be 30 years old.

New Tax Law

As far as the revision of tax code goes, the jury is out on that still.

“I think the new tax plan will affect mostly homeowners and home buyers in the upper parts of the distribution,” says Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. “Those who either own or are buying higher-priced homes are going to pay a lot more.”

Hanson also predicts that the biggest change here will be in mortgages where people will be less likely to take out larger ones. More revelations will become apparent after April 2019 where most will have completed their tax returns.

Last Minute Closing Issues and How You Can Avoid Them

The process for a real estate sale transaction requires a lot of moving parts where everything needs to go smoothly so that a deal can actually close on your agreed upon date. However, there can be some hurdles that arise during the process and even up to the last minute. Some of these things are within your control, while others are not. The bottom line is to be aware of what can possibly happen so that you are best prepared. Here is a closer look at some issues that can arise.

Financing Issues

While every buyer should get prequalified before searching for homes, most do but financing issues can still arise. A buyer could lose their job or make a significantly large purchase like a new car or the like that can jeopardize their qualification for a home loan. All sellers should make sure their offer is accompanied by a prequal letter at the very least.

Liens or Debts on Title

The title to your property allows you to rightfully own, use or sell your home. The title company will search and review any issues with the title so that a sale can be made. However, sometimes issues arise where there may be an unpaid debt that needs to be taken care of before the property can change hands.

Moving Day Mishaps

In most instances sellers will be all moved out by the time of closing as they should be. Buyers should also plan on moving in after the closing as well. However, it has happened where each party gets their signals crossed and move-in day timing creates some conflict. If one party needs to schedule any alternate arrangements, they need to clearly communicate this verbally and in writing.

Missing Closing Docs

There are countless documents to prepare and sign for every closing, but one of the most important is the closing disclosure form. The buyer must receive this ahead of time of the closing so that they know exactly all terms including what they are required to pay on the day of closing. It is a good idea to be in regular contact with all parties to ensure this gets delivered on time.

Incorrect Closing Docs

Issues can arise on closing docs where there can be mistakes whether it’s wrong addresses, unit numbers, misspelled names or the like. If possible, you may want to preview these docs prior to the closing day. Most real estate attorneys will help you avoid these issues when you hire them.

Final Walk Through Issues

One of the last things to be done before the closing is a final walk through of the property. These are usually conducted once the seller has moved out and the property is in the condition that it will be once conveyed at the closing. At times there can be a few issues that come up during this event. Missing appliances, unexpected damages or the like are examples of what may transpire.

Buyer’s or Seller’s Remorse

There is not much you can do if someone changes their mind about buying your home. However, ever buyer will put money into escrow as earnest money towards the closing. Should they change their mind they will lose these funds as a penalty. For sellers with cold feet, there is less to lose, but they should do a self check and ask themselves if staying is really the best financial, physical and emotional decision. There was a reason they originally chose to sell and should ask themselves why that has changed.

Death of a Buyer

You may think it won’t happen to you, but it does happen. In the event that it does occur, remain in regular contact with the buyer’s representation as the sale can still go through, but just anticipate a closing date to happen later on.

Do you have questions about the buy or sell process? Feel free to reach out and ask. I am happy to assist you.

Home Staging Can Speed Up a Sale

According to a report that was shared by the National Association of Realtors, 62% of sellers’ agents think that staging a home decreases the number of days a home will be actively on the market for sale.

“Realtors® know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home and, according to NAR’s most recent report, staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “While all real estate is local, and many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are will to pay for it, staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value.”

The report shared that nearly two-thirds of sellers’ agents felt staging decreased time on the market, with 39% stating it greatly decreases the time and 23% stating it only slightly decreases. Sixteen percent stated that it either greatly or slightly increases the time on the market while 8% feel it has no impact.

Regarding the buyer audience, 77% of buyers’ agents report that staging a home makes it better for visualizing living in the property, and 40% are more likely to go visit a home they first saw staged online. Meanwhile, 38% of buyers’ agents believe that staging can add value only if staged according to the buyer’s taste. Therefore decorating should be neutral and designed to cater to the greatest audience possible.

Realtors that work with both buyers and sellers agreed that the living room is the most important room to have staged. The living room is followed by the master bedroom, kitchen and then outdoor space if there is any. Given the outdoor lifestyle in Fort Lauderdale, this should rank of higher importance in this region.

The majority of buyers’ agents felt that staging can increase a property’s value between 1 and 10%. Only 1% of buyer agents think that staging can have a negative impact on price. Seller agents think staging can add anywhere from 1 to 15% in value with no agents feeling it has a negative impact on price.

The findings of how many agents recommend staging and when they like to stage were across the board. They ranged from before listing on the market to only when a home proves difficult to sell. However, the bottom line is that nearly every agent recommends decluttering the home along with a good cleaning and fixing obvious items in need of repair.

 

Pier 66 Proposal Offers Homes, Retail, Restaurants and Office Space

A proposal for a project to rehab the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and Marina could add quite a lot to the 32 acre location. The site, well known for its revolving rooftop restaurant, could see a mix of 100 new homes in the way of condominiums, villas and single-family homes along with shops and restaurants.

“We want to bring some life and some energy to the marina and celebrate Fort Lauderdale as the yachting capital of the world,” said Jessi Blakley, spokeswoman for the developer, Tavistock Development Co.

The actual breakdown includes the following:

Villas

Four, 4-story buildings with 39 villas.

Condos

Two towers with 11 stories that contain 38 units each. Each tower will feature office space as well as commercial units that will be used for both retail and restaurants on the first and second floors.

Single-family homes

Twelve, 4-story houses that would be approximately 5,000 square feet each and boast private yards.

Aside from the plans for additional development, the proposed plan includes renovating the hotel rooms. The hotel now has 384 rooms with 154 in a 17-story tower and 230 in a 2-story building. The rooms located in the tower have yet to re-open since Hurricane Irma last year. These plans include decreasing the number of hotel rooms to 345 with combining some units for larger layouts and replacing the 2-story dwelling with a 10-story tower.

Desirable amenities for the hotel would include two layers of pool decks with one for adults and one designed for children. Additionally, there would be approximately 17,000 square feet of fitness and spa facilities.

Tavistock Development Co. had purchased the parcel back in 2016, but any plans for development were halted due to Hurricane Irma which caused damage to the property. Should these plans get approved then construction would be slated to begin by the end of 2019. Blakely states that the addition of the shops, restaurants and residences would “really play up the waterfront activity.”

 

 

Quiet Hurricane Season Yields More Fort Lauderdale Home Sales

Thanks to Mother Nature, the 2018 hurricane season here in South Florida was a relatively quiet one. The stresses of arduous preparation and painstaking recovery were dodged this year unlike what we all experienced last year with Irma. As a result, the real estate market has shown a much more robust increase in sales this fall. While it makes sense that an uninterrupted season would be better, it is great to see an overall continued strength in the market.

Broward County has seen single family home sales increase by 18.5% while median sale prices decreased by a small 2.1% according to Realtors of Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. Listings available for sale have increased in numbers but only to a supply of 4.3 months which is still considered a seller’s market.

Condos in Broward saw an increase in sales of 8.8% that came with an increase in sale price by 5.8%. The number of listings available for sale only increased by 1% where it is around 5.5 months. This is still deemed a sellers market being under 6 months.

“Median time to contract remains below 40 days, and this number may drop in the coming months,” said Ron Lennen, president of Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale. “With the volatility of the stock market, consumers could choose to invest in real estate and look to close quickly to lock in lower interest rates.”

On the mortgage front, interest rates are inching upwards which is making mortgages more expensive for those who need financing. According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage is now at 4.63% which is up from 3.81% from a year ago.

All of that being said, these statistics show that the market is still robust with positive activity. If you are looking to buy or sell in the near future, please contact me.