Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Staging Your Kitchen To Sell Your Home

As we have always known, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is the one room that holds tremendous value as it is where you prepare your meals, gather with friends and spend so much time with family. It is also the primary reason why so many homeowners spend a good amount in quality rehabs when it comes time for updating. However, the good news is when you decide to sell your home some staging projects can make a big difference especially if yours is not as current. Here are 4 ideas on some smaller things you can do rather than a full remodel. 

Lighting Zones

Lighting for every room in the home is key but in a kitchen you need to keep a couple of things in mind. It is important to illuminate the whole room, but you will also want focused lighting for certain areas. Task lighting for under your cabinets as well as pendants or fixtures over eating areas are good things to consider. Adding dimmer switches is also a good idea to regulate the amount of light overall.

Countertops

If most of your kitchen is older but timeless in style, consider updating your counters. Choosing a stone material will offer both an updated look while providing great function. At a fraction of the cost for a complete remodel, new countertops can make a big difference on the room’s look and feel. 

Doors and hardware

If your cabinet doors are of good quality but perhaps worn or tired looking, consider giving them a refresh with either a new staining or fresh coat of paint. This can usually be done for much less than replacing them all. Also, getting new hardware can be an easy fix for elevating your look. Be sure to select new hardware that shares the same hole spacing. 

Staging

After you have completed any improvements that you want to make, then it is time for the finishing touches of staging. You don’t want to have many items out on your counters so that you can showcase how much prep space you have. Keep some essential appliances or decorative touches that also provide function like a nice jar of cooking utensils. 

Depending on your home’s condition you may be able to do one or a few of these ideas for far less than a complete kitchen remodel. 

 

 

Creative Tips for Winning Offers

In any kind of South Florida real estate market there can be multiple offers on a property for sale. In today’s market despite the current economic situation, buyer demand is still outweighing the lack of supply for many types of homes. So the question is how can you make your offer more competitive? Here are 6 creative strategies to consider.

Tighten up the home inspection

You can do this in a few ways. Rather than a 10 day period for inspection, shorten this to 3-5 days. Also, once you have your inspection you may want to be more open to working with the list of items that are found and deal with them on your end unless they are so significant that they make you no longer interested in purchasing the home. 

Appraisal gap coverage

You may find yourself in a competitive offer situation where you offer more than asking, but that can cause a problem when it comes time for the home to be appraised. What if your offer is more than the home appraises for? You can offer appraisal gap coverage as a potential solution. Basically you can offer to pay any overage of the appraisal value in cash.

Increase earnest deposit

Your earnest money deposit displays good faith as well as your level of commitment to buying the property. There may be some ways out should there be issues with inspection or the like, but generally the more money you put down the higher the risk you are taking as a buyer. In a seller’s mind increasing this amount shows that the deal may be more solid with a better chance of it closing.

Pay your own closing costs

Buying a home calls for a lot of money up front for both your down payment but also for your closing costs. For anyone with less money readily available or especially first time buyers it can be common to negotiate that the seller pays for a certain amount of the closing costs. It would be best to avoid doing this if entering a competitive bid situation as a seller will most likely choose a deal where they don’t have to pay anything.

Escalation clause

This can be a very powerful and creative option for a winning dollar offer. Basically you can craft an offer stating something like you will pay $1,000 more than any other offer up to a certain capped purchase price. This can give you a big advantage if any of the competing offers are within your comfortable amount that you want to spend. 

Accommodate the seller’s timing

This can be achieved in a few ways too. First, if you can be flexible you can inform the seller that you can close in the fastest possible time or that you can work with them on a more preferable closing schedule. In some cases sellers may need more time before moving to their next home. Finally, should they need to close but stay in the home for a short time you could provide temporary occupancy for them. In instances like these you can even collect rent or a flat fee for them to stay in the home as short term tenants.

Making Your New House a Home

There are many things to think about getting done when you move into your new house. While some may be more obvious than others, here is an easy checklist of tips and what needs to be done as you plan. 

Set up the kitchen first

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Not only is it where everyone can sit and gather, it is where your important meals are had. Set up the kitchen as one of the first rooms even if you plan on eating out a lot while getting settled. 

Do a cleaning before unpacking

There is no better time to clean the home than before any of your belongings even enter it. If you cannot do a deep clean yourself, line up a professional to assist you. 

Furniture placement

You may have an idea of how you want to arrange things from when you toured the home, but if you are at a loss you can either set it up like your previous home or check the listing photos and follow how the seller had it. Nothing is set in stone and you can always rearrange it after living in it.

Gather paperwork

Things can get hectic after you leave the closing. You will have all of your documents along with others that you collect as you deal with movers etc. Keep a folder with everything together so that nothing gets lost and can be filed away when you move in.

Utilities and Address

You should have been able to transfer your utilities and change your address prior to moving but if not do it immediately. This is also a good time to make sure you line up any other services you may need such as lawn care, pool care, etc. 

Change locks and codes

Once you move in you should arrange to have the locks changed as you don’t know who may have copies from the previous owner. Change any other codes such as garages or any keypads too. 

Smoke detectors

Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for proper function. This can be a good time as well to replace all of the batteries and get on an annual maintenance cycle. 

Comfort kids and pets

A move can be exciting for kids but with some unsettling moments. Get your children involved in fun activities like picking paint colors and furniture placement in their rooms. Get their help with unpacking their belongings as well so they know where things are. Pets can be even more of a challenge as you cannot tell them what is happening. Avoid washing their toys and beds so they retain their smell. Place these items in the home prior to letting them in so they have the familiar scents. 

Locate important panels, shutoffs and extinguishers

You don’t want to fumble through the dark looking for the circuit panel in the dark or scramble to find the water shut off should there be a plumbing snafu. Get familiar with the location of all important controls for the home as soon as you move in.

Walk or bike around

Walking or biking the neighborhood is a great way to not only check out the nearby parks and businesses but can also help you meet the neighbors. Introduce yourself, family members and even pets. 

Celebrate and relax

Once you have taken care of all of the essentials then take a moment to enjoy your new home and relax. Perhaps it can be opening a bottle of champagne in your new kitchen or enjoying your favorite take out on the lovely new patio. It is now yours! 

 

How To Create The Best Outdoor Space

Regardless of how big or small your home may be, everyone these days is looking to create the best outdoor spaces even more so. With more time being spent at home the value of extending your home’s outdoor space is fast increasing as it opens up more options for entertaining. Many home designers will recommend that you treat your outdoor space just like another room in your home and decorate it accordingly.  Here are some tips as you outfit yours. 

Identify the function

Decide on what you have room for as well as what you want. If you have limited space will you furnish it with a dining table with chairs? Or if it is more of a lounging area will a couch and rocking chair be best? If you are fortunate enough to have space for more then design it with zones for different types of furniture. Be mindful of cramming too much into a smaller space. 

Consider the flow

When you furnish your outdoor space consider what you already have on the inside. If your style is more modern, stay consistent with that design when you choose your outdoor furniture. Also, a great way to continue the flow throughout your home is to select the same materials, colors and fabrics that you have inside. This can help ease the transition inside to outside and make it feel more like you are just going into another room.

Flooring

Take a look at what you have for flooring in your outdoor space now and where you plan on placing your furniture. If you need to create flooring then choosing a warmer material like pavers can provide a nicer look. If you have a simple concrete now then you could consider covering it with a stone material. In your zones you can add an outdoor rug that will really warm things up and make it cozy while it defines the space. There are some great options these days for outdoor rugs that hold up well through the elements. 

Overhead/shade

Especially in the summer months it can get very warm in the direct sunlight here in South Florida. Bear in mind that you may want to have some partial shade so that you can create a comfortable temperature while you enjoy the outdoors. This could be achieved by planting some taller hedges for natural daytime shade with the sun’s positioning or you could consider retractable umbrellas or awnings depending on your personal preference. 

 

Tips for Winning Offers

At any given time, even in a slower market there can be more than one offer on a property for sale. In today’s market despite the current economic situation the buyer demand is still outweighing the supply for many types of homes. So how can you make your offer stand out among the rest? Here are some great strategies to consider.

Appraisal gap coverage

You may find yourself in a bidding situation where you offer more than asking, but that can be an issue when it comes time for the home to be appraised. What if your offer is more than the home appraises for? You can offer appraisal gap coverage as a solution. Essentially you can offer to pay any overage of the appraisal value in cash.

Increase earnest deposit

Your earnest money deposit amount shows your intent and level of commitment to buying the home. There may be some outs should there be issues with inspection or the like, but the more money you put down the higher the risk. In a seller’s mind this shows that the deal may be more solid with a better chance of closing.

Tighten up inspection

You can do this a few ways. First, instead of a 10 day period for inspection, tighten this up to 3-5 days. Also, once you have your inspection you may want to accept the list of items that are found and deal with them on your end unless they are truly so substantial they make you no longer interested in purchasing the home. 

Pay your own closing costs

Buying a home requires a lot of money up front for your down payment but also your closing costs. For those with less money on hand or especially first time buyers it can be common to request that the seller cover a certain amount of the closing costs. It would be advisable to not do this if entering a competitive bid situation if you can avoid it as a seller will most likely choose a deal where they don’t have to pay.

Escalation clause

This can be a very powerful option for a winning dollar offer. Essentially you can craft an offer stating something like you will pay $1,000 more than any other offer up to a certain purchase price. This can give you a big advantage if any of the competing offers are within your capped amount. 

Accommodate seller timing

This can be done a few ways as well. First, if you can be flexible you can alert the seller you can close in the fastest possible time or that you can work with them on a more preferable closing time. Sometimes sellers need more time before moving to their next home. Finally, should they need to close but stay in the home a short time you could provide occupancy to them. In cases like these you can even collect rent or a fee for them to remain in the home as short term tenants.

 

Essential First Time Homebuying Tips

Buying your first property is replete with emotion. Excitement, thrill and perhaps a little anxiety and fear until you proceed through all of the steps. A home purchase is usually one of biggest investments that you will make so naturally you will want to make sure you are prepared and do it right. Here are some key things to consider. 

No Home is Perfect

Even if a home appears to be perfect, no home is. Just because the home was recently renovated doesn’t mean that there may not be some issues. Some things may not have been done properly or perhaps a system or appliance may not have been replaced with the home’s overhaul. The takeaway is that you always want to have a home inspection to be 100% clear on the home’s true condition.

Official Pre-approval

Many people go online to start googling for how much they can afford or look at online calculators for home payments that appear to be reasonable. However, the only way to truly know how much you can be “approved” to afford by a lender is to consult a professional mortgage agent. Give them your financial profile and they will run your credit and provide you with a number stated in a letter of how much you can afford.

Keep a Tight Schedule

One thing to note is that time is of the essence with all things real estate. From submitting your offer quickly on a home you like to getting your required steps on time as you progress through the home purchase process. Your typical closing is about 45-60 days when there is a mortgage involved. You will need to have things done in time such as a home inspection, home appraisal and loan application details completed.

Choose Professionals

From a lender to an agent you want to arm yourself with an experienced professional team. Before you simply call your friend’s uncle in another state because he is a mortgage broker, make sure whoever you decide to hire is experienced and professional. Someone who is responsive is imperative as it can make or break a deal. 

Patience

At any given time despite how hot the market is you can find yourself getting outbid on one or more properties. This is why it is important to act fast but also keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. While you may be heartbroken that you missed out on one home the one you eventually purchase may be twice as nice.