Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Top Fun Backyard Design Ideas

As the recent pandemic has changed how we all live and value our homes, our yards have truly become more valuable these days than ever. If you are thinking about enhancing your own backyard to achieve your own pleasure at home, take a look at some of these great ideas.

Play Features

Get away from the TV and sofa and gather with your friends outdoors for some play time. Pour a drink and fire up the grill while you play some of your favorite games together. Game ideas include a bocce ball court, putting green or setting up a corn hole platform set.

Exercise Area

Feel the burn in the outdoors with an outdoor gym. All you need is some designated space, a few of your favorite weather proof pieces of equipment, and you use a simple sailcloth panel to provide shade and protection from the elements. 

Meditation Space

Sometimes you need to connect with nature and decompress and recharge from the troubles of the world. The solution can be to set up a yoga or meditation space as a place to rejuvenate. You can find a quiet spot surrounded by plants that is perfect for a deck or your mat.

Water Features

Water features can really range in scope from cheap to more involved and expensive. On the simple side an outdoor shower can be a great idea to experience the best refreshing way to cool off and get clean in nature. These showers can also be quite convenient for washing pets too! Next idea would be a hot tub for cooler days or evenings to soak and relax under the stars. Finally, if your yard and budget permits, there are all shapes and sizes of pools to choose from that suit your likings.

Relaxation Zones

Here is where you can create all sorts of options for outdoor enjoyment. For simple relaxation solutions you can use hammocks, swing beds and sun beds which are great for lounging, reading or even napping. You can then ramp it up to the next level and make an outdoor living room with couches, tables, outdoor carpet and create a space just as you would inside. Other options include setting up a dining area with table and chairs for gathering with friends and family for meals, playing games or even doing some light work at home. 

 

8 Easy Ways To Personalize Your New Home

When you first move into your new home it is common to want to put your personal stamp on it to make it uniquely yours. Sure your furniture and belongings inherently do that to a certain point, but not everyone has the vision or interior design gene to know where to start. Here are 8 great and easy ways to customize your new place.

Paint Front Door

For a much smaller commitment than repainting the whole house, consider painting the front door with a color of your choice. This will freshen up the look but also help put your own taste into the front facade.

Paint an Accent Wall 

If you cannot come up with an idea for changing the color of all of a room, try painting an accent wall. A complementary color will add some life into a room and be a nice backdrop for some of your own artwork. It is a small project while you try mapping out a color scheme.

Bathroom Fixtures

Not everyone has the money ready to redo a bathroom especially right after buying the home. For a fraction of the price of a remodel you could start with elevating the look with some new fixtures. Something of your taste for the vanity and perhaps a nice matching rain head for the shower.

Customize Entry Ways

You know yourself and the household best for what suits, but customize entryways with what makes your lifestyle easier. Perhaps it’s a bench by the door with shoe storage and hooks for keys.

Light Fixtures

Replacing light fixtures is a great idea for low cost with high impact. Maybe it is the one for the dining area, added pendants over bar counter seating or even a prominent room’s ceiling fan light combo. Select something that is more conducive to your taste and lifestyle.

Window Treatments

The cost of window treatments can really vary. On the lower end you could simply upgrade your blinds and curtains with colors and textures that you like. On the higher end you could invest in plantation shutters for a really refined and timeless look.

Plants

Fill your empty corners and spaces with some life, literally. You can never go wrong with real, living house plants. They come in all shapes and sizes so they are very accommodating for any location that needs some freshening. 

Outdoor Fun

Finally, enjoy the outdoors as you wish. Whether it’s relaxing on a hammock, with friends around a firepit and picnic table or playing games like horseshoe there are many affordable and easy options to set the stage for how you want to make the yard just the way you want it.

Common Mistakes Buyers Make At The Final Walkthrough

When you have located the perfect house to purchase and have gone through the inspections, financing and appraisal processes then just before you close you will need to conduct the final walkthrough. This next to last step is to make sure you view the home and confirm that it is in proper working order and the sellers have left what they should have – nothing more, nothing less. However, there are some common mistakes to avoid that buyers make at the walkthrough. Here are some of them.

Arriving early

While you may be excited to visit the home again and of course being late is not great you don’t want to show up early to the walkthrough. Moving requires a lot and sellers may be in need of every minute to prepare the home including cleaning. The walkthrough is always scheduled to be as close to the actual closing as possible but sometimes there are larger gaps.

Not bringing your agent

No two deals are alike and sometimes there are gray areas that leave things in question. This is where you want to have your agent by your side to guide you through this step. Your agent will also help review the home to ensure everything is as it should be per your agreement. 

Measuring and planning 

The sole purpose of this step is to make sure that the home is in proper condition and that everything is as it should be per the purchase agreement. All parties agree to allot time for this to be completed. This is not the time to do additional measurements for furniture or the like to decide what fits or doesn’t.

Not bringing the purchase and sale doc

This is important especially to confirm that any and all items that were discussed to be done were completed. It is common to have a few things come up during the inspection and then sometimes have to negotiate into the contract. This checklist should be on you during the walkthrough.

Not checking for damage

Sometimes buyers are focused on the items that were supposed to be completed instead of doing a general review of the home for damage. Even if sellers have hired professional movers there could still be some moving related items that require repair. 

Checking for additional repairs

If there is a moving related issue or something that wasn’t there before then that is one thing, but the final walkthrough is not the time to look for additional items to further negotiate. Your opportunity to audit needed repairs is during the home inspection, not the walkthrough. Additionally, especially in a seller’s market it is not wise to delay a closing for any of these reasons as the sellers may have 

Tips For Hosting The Perfect Housewarming Party

Once your moving day has come and gone and everything is nearly in its place your home is now a home. Now it is time to celebrate your accomplishment and throw a housewarming party with your favorite people to start enjoying your home. You certainly don’t have to make this be a stressful ordeal, keep it simple and streamlined so your guests and you can fully bask in the enjoyment. Here are some great tips that will help keep your stress and your wallet in check. 

Pre-party prep

Most of the work needed to be done is before the actual party. This starts with making a list of everything you need to do. That list should include decluttering and cleaning your house, getting groceries that you will need for the party, serving platters, plates and the like as well as setting up gathering spaces. Make sure you have spaces for setting out food as well as plenty of seating for everyone to lounge.

Send an email invite

Invite your guests the easiest, fastest and most environmentally friendly way with an email invite. Evite or an event on Facebook are great ways to easily do this at no cost. Best of all, RSVP’s can happen very quickly too so you can get a fast head count for planning.

Prepare provisions

When planning out the food and drinks you can also keep things simple here so you aren’t tied up with cooking while trying to enjoy time with your guests. Head out to your grocery store or even wholesale membership club to get some platters. Most will have plates of bite size snacks, meat and cheeses, cracker spreads and mini sandwiches. Anything that is bite size and easy to eat is always best. Finally, if you venture out of these basics you may even want to pick a theme like build your own tacos for example.

Streamline serving

Put out your non-perishable items well in advance like nuts, chips and crackers. This will help save time so you only have to deal with warm or cold items right as guests arrive. Also, arrange your assortments utilizing more than just primary tables and enlist the help of sideboards, coffee and end tables.

Brevity with beverages

Put out all of the mixers with the alcohol while you can stock the fridge or even a cooler with beer, wine or those trendy hard seltzers everyone loves these days. If you are feeling creative and have the time, put out a jug of some homemade sangria or martini mix. They tend to up the game and also can look pretty cool on display for all to self-serve!

Atmosphere

Create the right mood and environment. Table cloths for serving areas, colorful plant centerpieces and the right lighting are big items. Dim/warm lighting, perhaps tea lights or party lights in your outdoor areas and even some lanterns lining the front walk to greet guests are great ideas. Finally, consider the party theme and attendees and either create the perfect playlist of music or set it to the right station to keep some background pulse going. Enjoy!

Tax Considerations For Cash Buyers

Buying a home with cash seems like it is straightforward. You can save money and time with lower closing costs, no financing contingencies or required appraisals. However, there are some elements that may be less obvious like property taxes, tax deductions and reporting. Here is a closer look at some of the details. 

What Tax Breaks Do Homeowners Get?

Generally speaking homeowners can take advantage of deductions on their taxes. These include property taxes, mortgage interest, mortgage insurance premiums (PMI) and mortgage points. These items are tax deductions – meaning you can deduct them from your total taxable income. Of course some of these need not apply should you be paying cash.

Does It Make Sense To Buy With Cash?

Here is where it all depends on everyone’s situation. For one, recent tax changes that now offer one to take a standard deduction may not necessarily make much of a difference as it may be best just to take the standard deduction. The other thing to consider is the cost to finance. Calculate how much it will cost to borrow the money to finance the home over the 15 or 30 years that you carry the mortgage for. While you may lose these tax benefits it may be better or cheaper to pay cash.

Do You Need To Report a Purchase to the IRS?

You just might. The IRS does have a form “8300”  that depending on where you are buying a home the IRS may be looking for this form to be completed. While wire and bank transfers are the norm for cash transactions and have their mechanisms in place for reporting, check with your accountant and title agent should you need to do this.

How Do You Pay Property Taxes?

Prior to your closing the title agent will look up the taxes that have been paid and the effective dates which will then determine what is owed by the buyer and seller. These figures will be on the closing document, but really have no difference whether paying cash or financing. What does in fact differ is the fashion in which you pay your taxes going forward. For those with a mortgage your taxes will be collected in a prorated amount each month by the lender. Your lender pays them in full when they are due. If you pay cash for your home then you pay your property taxes just like you pay any other bill when it is due.

 

Tips For Adding Style To Your Outdoor Space

Homeowners have been focusing on making the most out of their yards even more so these days by adding more furniture, play stations or lounging areas. At first one may be thinking of what they want and what they can fit, but once you have established these things it is time to consider adding an element of style and improved aesthetics. Here are some helpful pointers. 

It’s All About The Details

When you select an area for seating you will want some consistency. Set it up with matching seats, tables, toss pillows and even side tables. This will automatically create a focal point in your yard that will say welcome! You can also add some finishing touches like stylish vases, plant containers or trays. These items can be purchased for lower costs and help add warmth to your look.

The Right Lighting

Lighting is always key whether inside or out. A good mix of some practical and fun or mood lighting is a great combo. Make sure you have the important and essential lighting for safety but consider some spotlights on yard plants or features, string lights for cooking areas and even lanterns by your seating areas. 

Create Rooms

Build in some easily defined areas within the backyard for activities like cooking, dining, and relaxing. The separation of all of these areas will create organization and a natural flow. These different “rooms” within the backyard will make it feel like as much of a sanctuary as your actual house.

Include Plant Furniture

Pots and containers for plants can have multiple uses. For one, they will add some life and interest in your outdoor decor with the different plants you choose as well as the colors and types of containers that you get. Pots are great as you can use them as accent pieces for your different rooms or zones. Containers can also be used to section off your different zones making for almost a natural divider.