Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Fixer Uppers – Are They Affordable in The End?

When you conduct your home search you will usually find a variety of homes that are on the market for sale. Some that have been completely renovated from top to bottom, some that need  a short list of updates and those that are true “fixer uppers.” Prices for these homes should be adjusted accordingly and if you are considering one that needs a lot of work, there are some things you should take into consideration. Here are 4 helpful tips for buying a home needing significant updating.

Your own capabilities

The first question is how much of the work can you do yourself? Are you skilled at hanging drywall or is a family member a professional in a helpful trade? Being able to do work on your own is certainly going to save you big, but only attempt this if you truly know how to do things the right way, safely and to local code regulations. Aside from your skill set, factor in if you have the time to do these projects as well with work and personal life obligations.

Choosing professionals

Before you solidify any deals, check with reputable contractors and get some firm estimates on the work that is needed. Choose your contractors wisely as well. Talk to friends, neighbors or family members for referrals and read reviews. Once you have a firm grasp on what is needed to invest in the home, craft your offer accordingly. You may even get the current homeowner to do some of the repairs on the list.

Home inspection

If you are getting a mortgage or home loan then a home inspection will be a definite. For any who are doing a cash deal, a home inspection is still a wise idea. There will certainly be the obvious needed repairs, but a home inspector will provide you with the best knowledge possible and arm you with what you need to know for making a deal that makes sense.

Add cushion

Once you have done your due diligence and research for pricing out necessary repairs, you will want to account for one last thing – a variance for the unknown. Unexpected circumstances will certainly come about during the process of renovating. A good rule of thumb is to add a cushion of between 5 and 10 percent of the anticipated costs to cover any of these surprises.

5 Ways to Make your Home a Smart Home

Technology is fast improving and advancing by the day and with regards to homes, new products are being offered now that are not only more efficient, but they communicate with one another making life a lot more convenient. There are many ways that you can update your home and bring it into modern day by adding in some technology. Here are a 5 easy ideas of things that you can do.

Control appliances with your smartphone

Some newer appliances have this feature, but if you don’t have any then you can upgrade your electrical sockets or plugs with a smart version including a smart power strip. This can be as easy as plugging it in and connecting your appliances or devices. This can offer you the convenience where you can control appliances, televisions and the like from anywhere.

Security system

Many homes nowadays have security systems, but not all are controlled from your smartphone. When connected and controlled from your phone, you can turn systems on and off, link cameras up so you can view live monitoring and even receive instant alerts should the system be tripped.

Energy saving

For many people, being at work all day leaves your home unattended where it can be an ideal time to save on energy costs. Automated systems and those controlled remotely with your smartphone allow you to do things like adjust the temperature while you are gone for savings as well as adjust it to the right setting shortly before you arrive home so it is back to the ideal.

Communicating with your home

You can control certain things in your home much in the way that you do when you talk to your smartphone. Today, there are voice command systems that allow you to do the same with things such as dimming the lights, opening the blinds, play music, disarm alarms and more.

Home theater

Installing an automated home theater system will give you the feeling of being at the movies yet you are still in the comforts of your own home. Movies, music, videos and more can be streamed throughout your home using an app on your smartphone. Dim the lights and fire up the surround sound all from your phone and you will have an instant theater-like atmosphere.


Top South Florida Locations for Home Price Growth

Home prices in the South Florida real estate market have been on the rise for quite some time now. Last year, we had seen an interesting mix of just where exactly some of the largest gains were occurring. Both the luxury coastal communities as well as entry-level neighborhoods had seen some of the bigger price increases by comparison to the rest of the market.

According to data shared by the Florida Realtors and the Realtor Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale, there were interesting findings for single families in particular. Overall single family sales increased by 0.4% for 2018 over 2017, but median home prices increased more substantially by 6.1%. Of all zip codes studied, 5 of them had year-over-year price increases of over 20%.

Locally here in the Fort Lauderdale area among some of the most noteworthy increases were as follows.

The 33308 zip code which is the region partly of the Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale By The Sea and Oakland Park neighborhoods. Specifically the number of sales increased by nearly 12% in 2018. Additionally, median sales prices had increased by 14.3%.

The zip code 33311 for Fort Lauderdale – Lauderdale Manors/Roosevelt Gardens also had an increase in number of sales by over 7% while median sales prices had significantly increased by 15.3%.

Two other areas with significant increases include the 33319 area of North Lauderdale and 33315 of Edgewood.  North Lauderdale had slightly fewer sales in 2018 as opposed to 2017, but had a median sale price increase by 15.7% while Edgewood had the same amount of sales with a 16% median sale price increase.

While there were increases here locally among different neighborhood types, none of the top zip codes that had at least 100 sales saw price decreases. Only a handful areas experienced median sale prices decline of at least 2% and these were located mostly north and west of the Fort Lauderdale area.

3 Tips for Buying Your First Property Right

When you first jump into the real estate market by purchasing your first home you have the opportunity to make some great decisions. Nowadays, not all that many people buy a home and remain in it for decades like they used to. That being said, you should pay close attention to a few things when you finally are ready to put down all the money you have been saving for your down payment. Here are some tips.

Choosing the Right Neighborhood

This advice can apply to your second, third or more home, but especially on your first property as there is probably a greater chance of outgrowing it and needing to move. Choosing the right location is always key. Chances are you won’t be purchasing in an “A” location unless the property you find is in need of significant work which you may want to avoid. Finding a “B” or even a “C” location can be just as good. Many of these areas are “up and coming” and will be more affordable with a chance of increasing property values. Do your homework for price trends as well as what plans are in the works for the area.

Avoid a Full “Fixer Upper”

Many of the TV shows that you see today make it look much easier than it really is. You don’t want to have to learn all about remodeling, find contractors and teach yourself with expensive mistakes on your first home. It is best to start off slow and small. Instead of picking a property that needs structural renovations or significant plumbing work, perhaps stick to one that only requires cosmetic updates such as paint, new carpet or a new bathroom floor.

Make Your Negotiations Count

While it is true that you need to make your offer competitive in today’s market, things are changing and you don’t have to buy a property if the seller doesn’t agree to the terms you want. Focus on finding a property that doesn’t necessarily need a lot of work, but one that you can potentially get for a good price. Keep in mind there is more to negotiate on than just price as well. Consider things like repairs that need to be done, timing of closing or even furniture or fixtures that were not originally included.

In the end, buying your first property right can set you up well for the future. Start out small, slow, cheap and negotiate well. These are all things that are within your control!


This Year’s Best Remodeling Projects for ROI

In 2018 we experienced an increase in the cost of building materials which affected building and remodeling project nationwide. Because of this, the return on investment for home improvement projects has trended downward according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. Replacement projects were hit harder than larger projects as they are mostly material costs versus labor costs.

“With the increasing costs of building materials and labor, we urge remodelers to think like real estate professionals first,” says Clayton DeKorne, editor-in-chief of Remodeling magazine. “When you adjust your focus to think like a broker first, you can dull clients’ No. 1 pain point—cost—with a discussion of the amount that can be recouped.”

Below are 5 projects with the highest ROI in the high range price tier:

Garage Door Replacement (97.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $3,611
  • Average Resale Value: $3,520

Window Replacement (Vinyl) (73.4% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $16,802
  • Average Resale Value: $12,332

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (71.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,994
  • Average Resale Value: $6,469

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $20,526
  • Average Resale Value: $14,530

Bathroom Remodel (60.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $64,743
  • Average Resale Value: $38,952

Below are 5 projects with the highest ROI in the mid-range price tier:

Manufactured Stone Veneer (94.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,907
  • Average Resale Value: $8,449

Minor Kitchen Remodel (80.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $22,507
  • Average Resale Value: $18,123

Deck Addition (Wood) (75.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $13,333
  • Average Resale Value: $10,083

Siding Replacement (75.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $16,036
  • Average Resale Value: $12,119

Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (74.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $1,826
  • Average Resale Value: $1,368

The Cost Vs. Value Report had polled over 3,000 real estate professionals for popular home improvement projects in 136 markets in the United States. While these numbers are based on their opinions, we also have to adjust regionally for some things that are more valued in our market here in South Florida. For one, high impact windows are most likely valued at a higher cost to replace yet also probably have a higher ROI as a result.

If you are considering a home improvement project and would like some real estate advice, please feel free to reach and contact me. I am happy to help.

10 Things Sellers Forget When Selling Their Homes

These days most everyone who is preparing to sell their home knows that there are a basic set of things that you need to do to prepare it physically to be listed for sale. These things include decluttering, cleaning, painting and staging. However, there are many other details that can often be overlooked that can be just as important. Here is a list of things that you should pay close attention to when you list your home for sale.

Pressure Wash Dirt/Mold

Especially here in South Florida, roofs, driveways and even some portions of houses will need to be pressure washed to be free of mold or grime. Not only can pressure washing things make them look nicer, but it can also prevent things like a dirty roof looking older than it really is.

Focus on Your Entry Door

As this is the first thing everyone is going to see that previews your house, make sure it really shines, literally. Take a look at everything around it too, not only is the door freshly painted, but is the mailbox next to it clean? Do you need a fresh doormat? Are windows nearby washed?

Depersonalize the Outdoors

Make things as neutral as possible and remove anything that may be too personal such as seasonal decor, flags or lawn ornaments.

Open up Blinds

Let the sunlight in. Open up all blinds in all rooms to allow each to be bright. Brighter rooms always appear more inviting that dark, cavernous ones. Take a look at your window treatments too, do they need to be updated with some fresh new ones? There are some great cost effective options nowadays.

Fix Driveway/Walkway Cracks

Large cracks in driveways patios or walkways can be unsightly or even dangerous as a tripping hazard. If you cannot fix these yourself, consider hiring a handyman or mason to address them for you.


This does not mean that you should purchase smelly candles or plug-in air fresheners as they can be just as offensive as foul odors. Remove foul odor sources such as pet belongings or the like. Minimize preparing any strong smelling meals during showing times and leave windows open when you can for fresh air.

Organize Storage Areas

Yes, don’t forget your closets and storage areas. Well organized closets will always appear larger and more accommodating. Consider investing in better shelving systems or wall organizers if need be.


Most appliances have manuals or warranties. For any that are newer and recently purchased, this can even be helpful as a selling feature. Gather all of these together for future owners.

Sweep Garage/Carport Areas

These areas are also important parts of the home and even though they are prone to getting dirty, doesn’t mean they should remain that way. You don’t want any prospective buyers to feel that any room or part of your home needs to still be cleaned.

Search Your Address Online

Check to see if your home is located on some major websites and that all information is accurate. Some sites allow you to claim your home as yours and update the info so it is correct.