Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

5 Tips For Making Your Kitchen The Best Room In Your House

Everyone knows that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where families gather for meals, guests congregate when they visit and where many memories are made. The kitchen is often regarded for one of the rooms that a home’s value is so dependent on as a result. Here are a handful of ideas of how to elevate your kitchen and make it sensational. 

Flowers and Greenery

A very simple way to enhance your kitchen is to add some life to it, literally. Consider adding in some fresh flowers or greenery. Whether it be a vase on a windowsill with fresh flowers or some plants on open shelves or as a centerpiece they will add warmth and maybe even a pleasant fragrance. You can change out flowers seasonally as well to keep things fresh, colorful and season appropriate.


While plain white dishes are timeless and make a blank slate backdrop for your creative meals, consider getting some colorful or patterned plates and bowls. These can be great to have displayed on your open shelves or in your glass cabinets. This here too can even be a seasonal thing. Perhaps you search for some unique pieces or even a holiday themed set for that time of year.

Creative Storage

Storage is always important in any room of the house but especially the kitchen with all of what you need to have in it from cooking utensils to food. Keeping things organized for function and aesthetics is key. Consider creative things like hanging pot racks, under shelf baskets or a magnetic strip for your knives that is visually pleasing but also convenient. Also, using the inside of cabinet doors for things like plastic bag holders, additional dish towels or the like.

The Right Lighting

Having nice ambient lighting is key for any room of the house, but getting that right as well as having important task lighting is what you need when preparing food. Overhead lighting is good especially if on dimmers and having some over the island counter pendant lights can give enough light while adding interest. Under the cabinet lighting is super helpful for much needed task lighting too. Just avoid anything too bright or fluorescent that can really ruin the overall look that you are going for. 

Decorative Accessories 

Artwork and decorative objects can add personality and bring together your kitchen’s design. A framed print or painting can fill an empty wall, while decorative objects like vases, ceramic bowls or sculptures can add dimension and some interesting texture to your space. Be sure to select pieces that complement  both your kitchen’s color scheme and style.

What Not to Do When Listing Your Home For Sale

Preparing your home for sale can be a very stressful time as you get ready for your life’s next chapter. You will want to be sure that you cover the basics by decluttering, deep cleaning and staging your home. However, it is possible to do too much with your home. Here is some advice on things to avoid when you list your home for sale. 

Do not over-improve

To get top dollar it is important that your home be updated with things like flooring, modern appliances and fixing any glaring repairs that are necessary. However, there is a point when you don’t want to overdo it. For example, you might not want to install a wall of built-in floor to ceiling bookcases in a bedroom to create the perfect in-home office. There is a very good chance that potential buyers may need to make that a fully functioning bedroom for their family members. 

Don’t hang around 

When your agent alerts you of a showing that is scheduled, make sure to leave the home for that time. This goes for all of your family members, including the dog. If you can’t make arrangements to go too far, you can even go for a walk to let prospective buyers feel at home while they try to envision themselves living there.

Do not over-decorate

Adding too much can be overdoing it when it comes to decorating. When designing your home’s decor, keep things neutral where they warm up the space, but are not too dramatic or specific for anyone’s taste or style.  

Don’t take offense

Don’t forget, the purchase of a home is business. Although emotions get involved sometimes, try not to take things too personally. When a prospective buyer submits a low offer or claims that they will need to redo the master bathroom that is more your taste than theirs, don’t let this bother you while you negotiate. 


Little Known Things For Making Moving Easier

Moving can be an undertaking and sometimes stressful even if you are super organized. While there is no way to totally remove any of the stress, there are some tricks you can do to make the process go smoother. Here are some tips:

Create a checklist

Creating a list of to dos will help quantify all that is needed to be done and will help you stay on schedule. This should include things like packing, cleaning, setting up utilities, scheduling movers, etc. Put things in order so you can process each step in an organized way.

Change address early on

Doing this early on will help you stay organized and avoid missing any late payments or snafus. It is a great idea to make your list of places to update like mail, credit cards, DMV, etc. 

Use appropriate packing materials

Be sure to use proper packing with your belongings. Yes, you can be creative and use old blankets and the like that you already own in lieu of those you purchase or rent from movers, but avoid using basic trash bags that can easily rip and damage your belongings. Invest in boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap for fragile items. This will save you a headache in the long run.

Donate or sell items

There is no better time to do a purge of belongings than when moving. There is no sense in spending time packing or paying movers to relocate items you no longer need or are broken. Consider donating unwanted items or even selling them to help fund your move.

Label boxes

Make sure you do some simple labeling of what your contents are inside of your boxes. It is helpful for both you and your movers to have first the room that it goes in and then a description of the items inside. Ex. “Kitchen, dishes.”

Copy important papers

It’s never a bad idea to make a copy of any important documents before your move as well. Things like passports, birth certificates and the like are good to have a duplicate of just in case it takes a while to locate them after moving. 

Hire professional movers

Some of us have family and friends that we can employ to assist us with our moves, but these contacts aren’t professionals. Avoid having anything broken or anyone getting injured and get some estimates from some professional movers. There are different tiers of what you can have them do too so you can find what is right for your budget. 

Pack moving day bag

Designate one bag for your essentials to have on hand for moving day. A change of clothes, medications, toiletries, copies of documents, phone charge and the like are just a few ideas of what you should have on your person that day.


Home Equity Basics – How To Calculate And Use It

As much as we all dread making those monthly mortgage payments, one way to think of them is paying towards your future in the way of equity. Simply stated, equity is the cash you can access as you accrue it. If you are looking to renovate a property or maybe even pay off some high interest credit card debt, equity can be an amazing way to get some quick cash into your pocket. Here is some more information about home equity, what it is and how to use it.

What is home equity

When talking about real estate, equity refers to the ownership of a home. So even though you legally may own the home, you only have all of its equity once the mortgage is fully paid off. You can of course potentially access the equity you have before your loan has been paid off. See how to access it further down.

How to calculate it

There are two basic forms of equity. There is initial equity which is the amount of money you put down on the property. So if you close on your new home with 20% down, then you have 20% equity. The other kind is progressive equity. This is the amount of equity you accrue in a few ways. As time goes on and real estate market conditions improve and grow, then your home should be worth more. If you do appropriate home improvements, then the home will increase in value. Finally, as you continue to pay down your mortgage, you can also increase your equity as you reduce your loan. So at any point in time you can calculate equity by taking the current market value of your home and subtract the amount owed on the mortgage.

Ideas on ways to use it

Once you have a good amount of equity you can choose to do some things with it. You can potentially take out equity to consolidate your debt that you may have on some higher interest credit cards or other loans. Some people take equity out and choose to flip houses where they buy a property that needs fixing and then sell it for a profit. Others may choose to just buy additional properties like rental buildings and collect monthly rents for hopes of some passive income. 

How to access it

So all is well if you have some equity, but how do you access it to use it? There are a few ways. First, you could do a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is basically a loan in the amount of some of the equity in your home. This will really just act like a second mortgage. You get the money and can start paying it back monthly over a fixed period of time. Another way is a cash-out refinance. This is when you refinance your home with an entirely new mortgage and new loan rate and therefore you can pull out some of your equity at that time. This only makes sense if you can get a good mortgage rate or if you are looking to take out equity while also possibly doing a shorter term for your new home loan. 


10 Homebuying Costs To Know About

There are many things that go into the purchase of a new home. Most everyone knows that there is a necessary down payment to save up for other than the obvious purchase price that needs to fall into your budget. Here are 10 costs that you should be aware of when you buy your home. 

Earnest money

When you put your best foot forward during the offer process your “earnest” money is the purchase commitment. Typically 1 or 2% of the purchase price is standard for most areas. 

Escrow account

An escrow account is how your mortgage company makes sure you have necessary funds to cover related taxes and mortgage insurance. This is more common for loans with less than 20% down.

Loan origination fee

This fee is to cover the price you pay the loan officer for the loan including underwriting, originating and all of the processing costs. Plan on roughly 1% of the loan.

Home inspection

When the offer is accepted and you want to check the condition of the home, plan on a home inspection. These will unearth the true condition of the home. A safe bet is to plan on roughly $500 for this. 


Not all states require that you have an attorney for your closing, but you should definitely plan on having one to assist you throughout the process. Someone who can represent your best interest and be sure you are well covered.

Credit check

Lenders will typically pass along this cost to you in order to pull your credit report. Plan on roughly $30.

Additional insurance

Other than the standard homeowners insurance, you may be required to purchase additional insurance. For example those in flood zones may need to get a flood policy. 


The only true way to certify a home’s value is through an appraisal. The lender will also pass along this cost to you so that they can be sure of the loan to value ratio and so forth. Plan on roughly $300-400.

Title company

You will pay a title company to research the title to ensure that it is free and clear of any issues. The lender will typically present you with this company.


This is not necessarily always the case, but a lender may require that a professional surveyor conduct a survey to determine the exact property lines. Plan on roughly at least $200 for this.

How Long Does It Take To Buy a Home?

Despite it being a common thing not everybody knows just how long the homebuying process can take. As there are many different parts that go into the preparations and process, there can be select variables that can make it take longer for some than others. Here is a closer look at the timeline of what needs to be done.

Steps of Home Buying 

Search – This step in the process can be most fun but really vary and can take longer these days given the extreme lack of inventory. However, the average person usually takes a couple of months of searching properties that come available and fall within their criteria. 

Offer – Once you have found the home of interest then it is time to move quickly! Submit your offer and then start negotiations. This usually takes a couple of days of back and forth. If your offer is accepted by the sellers then you will move to inspection usually within a week.

Contract to Closing – After your home inspection has been completed then you move to entering the contract with all of the terms and conditions along with putting down the down payment. From this stage to the closing is usually between 30 and 60 days. During this time you will process the mortgage paperwork, have a home appraisal done, do a title search and lock in home insurance to take effect on the day of ownership.

How You Can Speed Up The Process

Preapproval – Get this done well before you have even begun looking at homes. Not only will this potentially eliminate some properties that fall outside of your budget, but having a pre approval letter in hand will mean you will be ready to submit an offer on the very first property you see if it is a great fit.

Paperwork – Your loan approval requires gathering up all of your important documents including pay stubs, taxes and the like. As these will need to be current, make sure you have everything on hand so that your approval process can go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Closing Costs – Your lender will provide you with a “good faith” estimate of what your closing costs will be. It is important that you have these funds available but also have them ready in an account to pay when that time comes. It is a smart idea to prepare early enough to make sure you have what is needed.