Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

6 Tips For Caring For Your New Home

Once you have completed the purchase of your new home and moved in, now begins the true chapter of home ownership. The process of the home purchase has involved many important steps and now post closing begins some responsibilities that you will want to make sure you pay attention to. Here is a closer look at what you should be doing. 

 

Insurance

When you went through the buying process you most certainly needed to have an insurance binder for the property, but now make sure you have your contents covered too. Do you have enough coverage for that expensive piano or the like? For contents you may be able to bundle this policy with your auto premium so be sure to check into that.

 

Add Organization

Most people will pack up their belongings into boxes and label them with the contents or by room. Once you are unpacking in your new home, go room by room and consider getting some home organization items to help. For example closet organizers, drawer organizers and the like can make things so much easier to find.

 

Check/Add Safety Monitors

You may have had a smoke inspection before purchasing your home but take it one step further. First consider adding more carbon monoxide detectors rather than just those for smoke. Also, now is a good time to consider a home security system. Check with your insurance company too as some options may lower your premium. 

 

Assess Landscaping

While home structure items are covered in a home inspection, some landscaping concerns may not be. Take some time to look at your landscaping and see if all is well especially for future storm concerns. Are there larger tree branches that should be trimmed so they don’t damage your home? Are there any slopes that may cause water to drain towards your home instead of away? Get ahead of future issues now with some preventative measures.

 

Meet The Neighbors

Getting to know your neighbors is not just about being social with them but it is about creating positive relationships. Exchange numbers and make sure you all know who lives at home including your pets in case one ever escapes! Benefits of knowing your neighbors also includes helping each other out when traveling, checking your mail or on your home.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Once you have done some maintenance after moving in it won’t end there. Put your home on a maintenance schedule for important items. That includes regular HVAC filter replacement and service, smoke detector battery check/replacement, gutter cleaning and the like. Staying on top of these things will help make your home run like a well oiled machine. 

 

The Dos and Don’ts When Buying a Home For Sale

Buying a home has many moving parts to the process. Before you get yourself excited by imagining all of the entertaining you will be doing with friends and family, you will want to make sure you are best prepared for making this huge accomplishment. Here are a bunch of things that you will want to both do and avoid while you get yourself ready and well positioned. 

 

What To Do

Check your credit – Your credit plays a large role in qualifying for a mortgage. Make sure you check yours to know your score and check for accuracy.

Get pre approved – Contact a lender to get pre approved for a home loan. See what you can ultimately afford. You can shop lenders for fees that are charged as well.

Contact an agent – Contact a professional real estate agent such as myself to learn about local market conditions and to ultimately help you find a home in an area of your choice. 

Decide on an area – Chances are there may be more than one neighborhood that will work for you. Attend some open houses and drive around at various times of day to really get an idea of what an area is like. 

Preserve finances – It is important to maintain your financial status during the whole house purchase process for home loan qualification purposes. Avoid new jobs, opening new accounts or large purchases at this time. Give some thought as well to how you will budget for future home improvements during this time too.

Locate a home – Focus on a home’s potential rather than adhering to a strict checklist. Especially during times of slim inventory you want to be open to as many options as possible. Walls can be painted and rooms can be updated so long as the core is something you can work with.

Shop for insurance – Insurance is something you can shop around for and check for different rates, seek bundled discounts or see if your home has qualifying status for discounts like an alarm system or the like. 

Pay attention to security – A lot of personal information is exchanged during a home purchase. Be mindful of who you are providing your personal details to including social security numbers, bank info and the like. Be sure to work only with trusted and reputable professionals.

Review closing docs – Your closing documents are extremely important as they are what binds your deal. When you are given your final versions a few days before closing, be sure to review thoroughly and check for accuracy, correct spelling of names, etc and make sure amounts are what they should be. 

What Not To Do

Search before pre approved – Don’t get yourself excited by looking at home before you know if you can afford them. Only a lender will be able to realistically tell you what you can spend.

Don’t wait to save 20% for a downpayment – Sure, 20% is ideal to put down to avoid paying mortgage insurance but there are many loan programs that allow for much less, some as little as 3.5%!

Don’t get emotional – Try to keep to business so you don’t regret making any rash decisions. Also, it is not uncommon to get outbid on a home these days too so keep your chin up!

Don’t skip your research – Don’t just go by what a listing description may say – be sure to view homes in person and certainly follow up with a home inspection on a home you submit an offer on. Also, don’t just go by simple mortgage calculators for estimating payments. Not all include everything such as an HOA due, extra insurance needed or the like.

Don’t forget about closing costs – Many times buyers are so focused on saving for a down payment that they forget about closing costs – and those can be substantial too! Expect this to fall somewhere between 2 and 5% of the purchase price. 

 

Smart Financial Improvements For Your Home

Everyone knows that when you own real estate there are always going to be some property enhancements that you will want to make or that you will have to make. Making some repairs or additions can oftentimes increase the value of your home while you enjoy them for as long as you live in the home. Here are some of the best financial investments for your property that can do just that:

Major fixes

The best place to start is always with repairing any major or potentially serious issues. This could include things like an old or broken air conditioning system, leaky pipe or replacing an older roof. Some of these things are better to fix sooner than later as they can lead to further damage. Furthermore, if you plan on selling in the near future then these enhancements will add value for prospective buyers so be sure to market them.

Exterior Improvements

Investing some money into your home’s exterior can also bring about some positive returns. Updating your windows, replacing front doors, painting and landscaping can all have a large impact. If you don’t wish to financially commit to repainting the whole house, sometimes even a good pressure washing can make your home look better for a lot less.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

Bathrooms can sometimes be easily upgraded with the replacement of more visible things like toilets, sinks and vanities. If your tilework and flooring are in good shape then spending your money on the fixtures may be a better use of your money. 

Kitchens are often regarded as the heart of every home with much attention focused for value. Functional things like cabinetry and appliances are where you should invest your money for quality products. You don’t necessarily always need to buy top of the line models, but you should keep up with current trends and stay within the parameters of what is expected for the price range of your home in particular. High efficiency models are always a good bet where there can be both tax incentives as well as a realized monthly savings in energy costs. 

Entryway Improvements

Your front door will always be greeting your visitors before you even do personally so it plays a large part in creating the first impression. Replacing your entry door with something both aesthetically pleasing and efficient will help add value while potentially saving you on your energy costs.  

 

Your Post Move Checklist

Most everyone gets consumed by all that needs to be done when leading up to their closing day, but what should you do right after you close and move in? Now that the home inspection, financing requirements and all contracts have been completed and you physically have moved in, what should you make sure you take care of next? Here is some help on items to take care of once you start unpacking.

Inspect belongings

When you hire movers to help you relocate, be sure to inspect all of your belongings as you unpack. Most movers will have a contract stating that they are insured and offer coverage should there be damage to any of your belongings as a result of anything on their end. Check your contract while you review your personal items.

Figure out trash days

With a big move comes a lot of trash. Figure out both when and where to leave your trash for pick up. That also includes recycling and how to dispose of any larger unwanted items.

Update the locks

Who knows who the previous resident gave keys to. Now that you live in the home it is best to keep things safe and change the locks. Now you can keep track and control who has access to your new home.

Register your car

Whether you moved to a new state or one town over you should update your registration. Contact your insurance agent so that you remain in compliance with your policy. Your premium is based on your address so you will want to have that current. Who knows, your rate may even decrease if you are lucky!

Paint now

There is no better time to paint than right as you move in. Before you start unpacking, placing large pieces of furniture along walls or hanging pictures, get that fresh coat of paint up in your rooms. 

Update voting address

No matter if it is for the president of the United States or for a local school board election don’t forget to update your voting address. There is no better way to start making a difference in your community than voting for your officials of choice. 

Check your credit

Your credit report will be accessed during your move for financial confirmation for your loan. Your personal information during a home purchase is often exposed to all necessary parties so it is a wise idea to check your credit report within six months of making a move. Confirm that your address is correct but also check for anything suspicious.

How to Learn Everything About a Neighborhood

Unless you are doing an in town move, researching a new neighborhood is something every homebuyer is going to want to do. If the area is nearby you can certainly go on a fact finding mission and do some grass roots research with an in person visit. However, if you are relocating or if there are more details that you want to find out then there are some great resources out there at your fingertips. Here are some tips for how to learn about a neighborhood.

Walkability

Want to figure out how easy it is to get around on foot in your new hood? Walkscore.com is a great website to see just what is possible and around for you to reach by walking around instead of getting in the car. You may see there is a lot within walking distance that you can enjoy!

Demographics

The U.S. Census Bureau compiles information about an area for things like age, race, population density and even average commute times for an area. Visit census.gov to see what your area of choice looks like.

Schools

Don’t take someone’s word for the quality of your neighborhood’s schools, see for yourself. Greatschools.org will give you a chance to see report cards on schools along with reviews from parents, teachers and the students themselves. 

Crime

If you want to assess the safety of the neighborhood and see what is going on, visit mylocalcrime.com to pull up local crimes from vandalisms to shootings. There is a map function too so you can see exactly which areas are experiencing this activity.

Local Attractions and Information

Most towns have their own website which can be a resource for local happenings. Some feature a calendar of events to help you plan your year. Yelp can also be a good option to find things like which local restaurants may be most appealing to you. 

Find A Similar Neighborhood

Like the area you are living in now for certain reasons? Visit neighborhoodscout.com where you can find your next ideal neighborhood by selecting filters which include lifestyle preferences. If you like where you live now but want to move it can help you find a comparable place around the whole country too!

Things Homeowners Want In their Kitchen Remodels in 2022

Despite what many design experts may say is no longer in style when you may be watching your favorite television renovation show, some homeowners are still doing certain things in their kitchen remodels that are proving to be tried and true. Most everyone wants to do what is in style, but personal preferences and budgets come into play. Here is what homeowners still love to have in a kitchen regardless of whether it is in style or not.

Granite and butcher block countertops

More trendy materials such as quartz or even concrete countertops may be the rage these days, but granite still makes the top 10 list of desirable features among builders. It has been very popular ever since the 1990’s when it replaced formica. The same goes for butcher block too with its warm and inviting tone even if just used for an island counter.

White kitchens

Many new colors are becoming popular this year and often a different shade of green. However, white continues to be a mainstream and safe choice for many where it looks clean, organized and yields a neutral or blank canvas for adding colorful decor. 

Gray tones

For anyone who doesn’t want to do just a safe white, gray tones are still running strong for remodels. It is a practical color that can hide dirt but adds some interest more than white while making things look chic.

Open kitchen concepts

Other than a quick questioning of whether separate kitchens may be best during so much time being spent at home for the pandemic, open kitchens are still a very popular trend. The ability to easily entertain, cook and remain engaged with others is much easier and made possible with this open concept rather than being stuck in a separate room. 

Stainless steel appliances

Despite design pros suggesting matte appliances as the new trend, stainless still remains a timeless and popular choice. Some experts state that even black can be a great runner up to stainless for standing the test of time. 

Tile backsplash

Some trendy backsplash designs have come about including wood, chalkboard paint or integrated stone that melds with countertops. However, tile backsplashes still hold as a popular choice over glass, brick or stone.