Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home to Retire In

Planning for your retirement can require a lot of strategic planning. Picking when to retire, what you will do with your time at that point and deciphering what role your home will play are all important parts of the equation.

Many baby boomers are reaching retirement age these days so the question of what to do with your home is presenting itself more often. The real estate market is still lacking in inventory in both the starter and trade-up market segments so it is wise to take a look at your home and assess it for your retirement needs.

Here are 7 things to consider as you go about this according to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA).

Equity – “If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.” In a lot of cases the equity that you have in your home can be enough to purchase a retirement home with little or no mortgage.

Affordability – “It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.” Factor in all of these things and assess if it would be cheaper to move to a home with lower taxes as you consider what your income is going to look like when you retire.

Maintenance – “As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.” Decide whether or not a condo with an HOA would be easier and more economical rather than hiring or doing maintenance yourself.

Security – “Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.” The added comfort for potential lockouts can be beneficial as well.

Pets – “Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.” Consider your pets and if your new home may require additional fees, deposits or if they are even allowed.

Mobility – “No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”  Wider hallways, handrails and single level living are good things to consider as they make for friendlier living conditions.

Convenience – “Is the new home close to the golf course or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!” Consider the location and if it is close to family and friends. Will you also be located close to the services that you need frequently? All of these things can cut down on travel making for easier living.

Bottom Line – When you plan your retirement, evaluate your current home to see if fits your needs as your first step. If you decide to pursue options for a new home, contact me and we can discuss your needs and the current market so that we can find the best solution for you.


What To Do When Your Home Doesn’t Sell

In today’s South Florida real estate market homes are typically selling very quickly and in many cases seeing multiple offers. However, it can still happen where properties linger on the market for various reasons and you will need to take a closer look at what is going on. Here are some tips for what to look for when a home is not selling.

Photos – Whether buyers are beginning their search online or if they are being sent listings from their agent, the photos are going to create the first impression. All buyers will make up their minds on whether they are interested or not based on what they see in the photos. Rather than having a few pictures that are haphazardly taken or blurry, make sure that you have several high quality and professional photos taken. Be sure that all selling points and desirable features are photographed and used in MLS or any online advertising.

Price – Pricing a home is not always easy. A fair price is arrived at using multiple ingredients including recently sold and active comparables, location, amenities and condition. While many sellers can feel their home is the nicest or they have put a significant amount of money into it, coming to the right price is more fact based than emotional. Pricing the home correctly when first listed is always best as that is when homes for sale receive the most amount of buyer traffic.

Condition – Even if your home is not the most updated one on the block, that doesn’t mean that it won’t sell quickly. Homes that are clean, decluttered and staged appropriately will be just as sought after. Most agents will provide valuable advice on cost effective things you can do from painting to rearranging furniture so that your home is appealing to the largest audience possible.

Access –  A Lot of preparation goes into getting a home ready for sale. However, the process continues on after your first open house. Private showings will be requested at various times so being as flexible as possible will allow for more buyers to see your home and hopefully result in an offer. Keep your schedule open and keep the home clean to make showings go as smooth and successful as possible.

Emotions – Some have stronger emotional attachment to their homes than others. For those who do, it is wise to remember that you are selling a “property” rather than your home. Try to remove the personal connection and pack away some of your personal belongings like family photos. During the marketing and sale process it will help you to remove your attachment while making it easier for potential buyers to create an emotional connection.

In the end all situations are different. If your home has remained on the market for longer than expected then it may be time to review everything and adjust your strategy.


South Florida’s Luxury Home Buyer Profile

The South Florida real estate market has been continuously growing in terms of price increases and a steady draw of buyers from all around. Fort Lauderdale’s price gains from this year over last year have been significant as buyers see the area as a destination to invest. For various reasons, these buyers in particular have been coming from the Northeast states as well as select other countries.

Various professionals in the real estate industry have been sharing their experiences per a recent article the Sun Sentinel. Tax refugees from Northeast states who are in search of better deductions in the wake of the newly passed tax reform have been making up some of the buyer profiles as of late. Although this has been a trend over the recent past, it has sharply increased due to the recent tax changes.

Another group of buyers has been foreigners. With price increases across the board, buyers are beginning to invest in areas like Broward County where the value is much better than areas like Miami and South Beach. According to the Miami Realtors Association Real Estate Report, foreign buyers are making up nearly a third of Broward County’s condo purchases. Popular buyers are coming from areas like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

In Fort Lauderdale, many buyers are seen coming from Northeast states and investing in higher end beach or waterfront locations. Buyers are in search of better tax advantages and are relocating from areas like New York and New Jersey according to the sales teams at select newly built towers like Auberge Beach Residences and 321 Water’s Edge. Auberge offers two towers of residences with the majority of them all being sold. Water’s Edge offers 23 residences with a completion date of fall of 2019 and has roughly half of the units sold already. All signs are showing a healthy Fort Lauderdale real estate market.


Top Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Even when a deal goes smoothly, moving is still a very stressful time. Making sure everything is lined up perfectly leaving your current home while coordinating a move to your new home requires a lot of planning and organization. Here are some common moving mishaps that you will want to avoid.

Not planning enough. Brainstorm your whole move and plan as much as possible. From booking movers early on to packing things up in a well organized fashion including well labeled boxes is really going to help you in the long run. Don’t leave any of this until the last minute.

Spending too much on packing items. Especially for those who are on a tighter budget, try using things you already have like storage bins, hampers and coolers for boxes. Towels and blankets that you already have can suffice in place for packing supplies.

Packing too much. Moving is one of the best times to declutter. If there are things that you have not used or worn in over a year, it might be a good idea to question if you need them at all. Before you pack it all up and haul it to the new home, consider selling items and using the proceeds to fund a portion of the move.

Not retaining receipts. It is easy to not save your receipts during moving time as things are often out of place. However, come tax season you may be able to deduct some moving expenses where it will save you money on your tax filing.

Not having a survival kit. Moves across town are stressful enough, but bigger moves across state lines or several towns away can be made easier if you plan a “survival kit.” This kit should include enough of your comfortable clothes, toiletries, snacks that are easy to eat and don’t need preparation, medication, water bottles and phone chargers.

Not hiring movers. You can go it alone and move all of your things by yourself with some help of friends or you can hire movers to assist. Get an estimate from a professional mover as it may not be much more than you think. If you already have to rent a truck and somehow compensate friends, you might as well get an estimate from a mover at least for the bigger items that you need help moving. Keep in mind most professional movers are insured for any damaged belongings, something friends don’t offer!

Pier 66 Development Takes a Step Forward

Pier Sixty-Six in downtown Fort Lauderdale could soon see some major construction should the city’s commission approve a developer’s request. The proposal set forth is for the renovation of the hotel with plans for 750 residential units, 15,000 square feet of commercial space along with 4,000 square feet of marina space with 150 dry and 145 wet boat storage slips.

The commission had recently held a hearing for the development agreement which covers what the developer intends on doing over the next 20 years. The developer, Tavistock Development Co., is requesting that the commission approve the agreement before they solidify their plans for development.

The developer has been asked to provide a timeline by mid July of when the site plans will be prepared and the city would have its final vote then as well. If the agreement is approved, these plans would be submitted to the city, public hearings would be required and the City Commission would also need to vote before anything could get built.

Tavistock Development Co. bought the hotel site in 2016 along with the the neighboring Sails Marina a year later. The developer is requesting that the city view both parcels as one despite the fact that they are separated by 17th Street. The land is currently zoned for dwellings to not exceed 120 feet high and Tavistock is requesting a variance for the city to allow them to rebuild the 221 foot tall hotel at its current height. Recent hurricane Irma had caused damage to the tower where 40% of the rooms are unusable.

The development agreement would be active 14 days after being approved by the city and would remain in effect for 20 years. This is longer than the typical approval yet state law says that development agreements cannot exceed 30 years.

Selling Your Home When You Have Kids

Selling your home can be an involved process while you manage the tasks that are involved in your regular daily life. For those of you who have children, the process can be even more complicated. Not only do you have to worry about getting yourself prepared, but you have to devise a strategy with your kids from getting them prepared for the move to keeping them under control during open houses and showings. Here is a plan with tips that can assist with making things go more smoothly.

Preparing your home

The first thing you will want to do is get the home physically prepared. During this stage if your kids are willing to assist, great! If not, make arrangements for them to be cared for while you complete these steps.

Declutter –  Start by getting rid of all the toys laying around the house and create a designated area for them. Ideally a kid’s room is best to store them.

Dealing with kids while packing – It is a good rule of thumb to involve your kids in the move process and get them excited about it. Give them choices of which items they want to keep and which they want to donate. Keeping the whole process positive will help them transition.

Deep Clean – Inspect and clean the whole house from top to bottom, literally. Dirty walls, windows, cabinets and floors should all be wiped down and rid of grime or marks.

Freshen up paint – Aside from overly worn walls, painting with a neutral palette will appeal to nearly all buyers. The more fresh and neutral the home is, buyers will feel there is less work for them to do when moving in.

Clean flooring – Especially if you have carpeting, you may need to take a look at replacing it. Kids can be tougher on carpets and it is usually cheaper to replace them yourselves than providing a buyer with a credit.

Staging – Once you have the house all clean, it is important to keep it that way. Before you stress out, there are really only some occasions when it must show perfectly. The first is when professional photos are taken. After that, open houses and whenever private showings are scheduled then the house should be in excellent condition.

Managing kids during showings

Create a schedule if necessary – Showings can be requested at any time, but it is common for many to be after work. If your family has any regular times when you are all out of the house then you should share these times with your agent as they will be optimal for showings.

Have a plan – For the times that showings have less lead time, have a plan in place on how to prepare quickly. Create a checklist of what needs to be done like placing toys in bins, wiping down counters and bathrooms and then pick a place that is easy to go to during the showings like a nearby park.

Help your kids cope

Child development – Studies show that frequent moves can be tough on a child. Depending on the reason for the move, but keeping positive and supportive will help make it easier on them.

Making new friends – Doing a combination of staying in touch with old friends while getting involved in local activities in your new area will help foster friendships.

Involvement in sale process – Involve your children when they show interest. If they do not, don’t force them but be open to answering any questions or concerns that they may have.

Different behavior – Reports will say that some temporary changes in mood will be normal for most kids during a move. However, if these negative changes last more than a couple of months than you should seek help for them.

Different reactions at different ages

Babies – Infants are the easiest to deal with with regards to settling into a new home. So long as you remain calm and nurturing then they will follow.

Toddlers – Similar to babies, they will follow your calm and positive attitude. Frequent moves, however, can take their toll on toddlers so be sure to encourage them to share their feelings with you.

Youngsters – Children in the 5 to 7 age range are likely to mimic your attitude so once again keep it positive. The good thing about kids this age is that they can understand better and communication is made easier.

Pre-teen – Kids 8 to 12 typically have the biggest problem moving if changing schools. No matter when you end up selling, it is best if you do so quickly so your school transition schedule stays on track.

Teenagers – With teenagers it is important to stay open with communication and discuss their feelings. In some cases when families move with kids in high school, it can sometimes work better for them to find a way to finish out high school and join the family later. Alternatively they may benefit from being more involved in the process and asking them what they want in a new home. If the distance allows, they can always visit their friends from their previous school.