Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Real Estate Agent

Real estate transactions may seem like they are very straight forward, but the reality is there can be unexpected hurdles. Experience and general market knowledge that only a professional real estate agent can provide will add tremendous value for any transaction both smooth or complicated. Here are some points as to why you want to hire a professional for the job.

Paperwork – For every transaction there comes a lot of documents. Offers, purchase and sale agreements, disclosures and more are all things that are necessary for each deal. On top of this, there are important tasks and dates to have things completed by which can all be facilitated by your real estate professional.

Steps of the Sale – You may be able to locate a home of interest to buy, but then what? Only a professional agent can help guide you through all of the steps to purchase that home. This includes assisting you with crafting an offer that is strategic based on current market conditions. Not only do you want to have a smooth purchase, but you also don’t want to overpay.

Negotiating and Communication – Both are key to any transaction and there are many parties involved. Buyers, sellers, mortgage agents, inspectors, appraisers and others are all involved and need to be dealt with. An agent can assist with the communication to keep on schedule so that no important steps are missed.

Home Value –  Picking the right list price is also very important. Price it too high and you will risk the home sitting on the market. Price it too low and you leave money on the table. Only a professional agent will help you with valuable market data to help you arrive at the most appropriate price.

Market Knowledge – You can read as much as you want online or try to search for active and sold properties, but only a professional agent has their finger on the pulse of what is going on. They can assist you with all of this information and guide you through a negotiation without paying too much or offending a seller with an offer that is low.

Do you have questions about the current real estate market? Contact me today.

 

6 Things Homeowners Overlook and How to Pay for Them

Most people these days have a good idea of the basic things that are required for purchasing a home. As it is one of the larger purchases that you will make, it is clear that you will need to have a good amount of funds set aside for your down payment and upfront closing costs. However, aside from this there are other expenses that one will encounter when they buy a home yet not everyone takes these into consideration. Here are some additional items to keep in mind when you embark on a home purchase.

Homeowner Association Fees – Whenever you buy a condo or home within a planned community there will be regular fees to maintain common areas. In condo and townhome complexes you will see “HOA” fees being charged on a monthly or quarterly basis. Be sure to factor these into your monthly expenses on top of what your mortgage will be.

Property Tax – Property tax is inevitable and rarely ever decreases. Typically this will be paid by your lender and built into your monthly mortgage payment. Keep in mind that taxes are paid in arrears and the first year you live in the home you will pay the amount the seller was paying. These are likely to increase the following year depending on what you paid for the home.

Insurance – Much like property tax, insurance will also be paid by your lender and built into your monthly payment. Shop around with insurance agents and find a policy that has the right coverage for you. Look into flood insurance quotes as well as in some locations this will be required as an additional policy.

Repairs/Maintenance – Pay close attention to your home inspection as this report can be a helpful tool to project some of your repair costs. Anything that stands out as being in need of repair now or soon should come up. It is best to have some money on hand as some things can happen that aren’t even seen or expected in the home inspection.

Pests – Regular extermination and preventative measures are common for pests. Especially in South Florida, treatment for wood damaging termites and other bugs is typically a regular expense to factor in.

Rainy Day Fund – While all of these things can be expected, sometimes things will occur that weren’t. It could be an appliance, irrigation pump or similar that is working properly and one day breaks and needs repair or replacement. These things can be expensive so keeping money aside is a wise idea. Making sure that your home is well maintained will also benefit you when the day comes for you to sell it. The last thing you want is to have to make numerous repairs at that time for one large expense.

 

How to Organize and Maintain Your Closets

We all start off with an empty closet that probably has shelves or bars for hanging our belongings. It is up to everyone to stow away their things in an organized fashion…and keep it that way. Sometimes the hard part isn’t when you first put things away, it is the maintaining some sort of order going forward. Why is this important? These types of homeownership tips help for better day-to-day living, but are also very helpful for when it comes time to sell your home. Here are some tips to follow for making your closets work for you and anyone who views them.

Know Your Needs

All closet layouts don’t work for everyone. Take some time to review what you have, what you want to store in the closet and assess your needs. Do you need mostly hanging space? Do you need two rows of hangers? If you have a lot of shoes you may need to add a lot of cubbies perhaps along the floor for them.

The better you plan out your closet for your needs, the better chance you will have for putting things away properly. As you assess your needs, this is a great time to pare down on what you have and only keep what you need and use. If you haven’t used it in over a year, it may not be worth trying to find space for it.

Small Compartments

A good rule of thumb is to have more, smaller compartments. In other words, having more shelves will allow you to break up things like shorts and t-shirts rather than having taller stacks of things that may be prone to toppling over and creating a mess. Creating a better closet system may cost a bit more to set up, but in the end it will save you more time and headache when you are searching for your things. A great tip for these compartments is to put any loose items in clear or transparent bins. This allows you to keep things contained but can easily see what is inside each.

Kid Compliant

For anyone who has children, getting them to tidy up can be a challenge in and of itself. If you want your kids to help in keeping things organized, make it as easy as possible for them. Generally kids are better with putting things away quickly in bins, baskets and cubbies. Hooks are also preferred to hangers in efforts to keep things simple.

Lighting

Keeping things bright will make it easier to see. Choose paint colors that are light so that your closet is brighter and appears larger. For larger closets, improve the lighting with better fixtures so you can see everything that you have.

Coral Ridge Country Club’s Lots are Almost Sold Out

The Enclave at Coral Ridge Country Club development is nearly sold out with most of the 36 lots having been purchased. The development only has 6 of the remaining 36 lots remaining that are designed to be built as master-planned residences in a gated community. Prices are from $800,000 to $1.4 million.   

The Enclave is one of the last sites in Fort Lauderdale where a home buyer can purchase a lot of this size. It has been reported by the managing partner of the development that they are seeing common buyer profiles including a mix of international buyers and younger families.

The featured builders for the homes include both Bomar Builders and Grey Door Luxury Homes. Although buyers do not have to work with either entity, they must build their home so that it be consistent with the design standards that are set forth and governed by an architectural review board.

The concept for the Enclave began back in 2004. Terry Stiles and Phil Smith bought the Coral Ridge Country Club and the adjacent 75 acre parcel that was the American Golfers Club golf course. Following a growing trend of repurposing golf courses, shopping centers or other similar properties into developments, Stiles and Smith are doing the same in this location. Given the void of available land parcels along with a declining interest in golf, the two sought their plans to cater to the growing need for more housing.

Last year Stiles and the family of Smith, who died the year before, saw their development off Federal Highway begin to gain traction with the sale of 18 lots. The year prior in 2016, the partnership had built The Enclave Shops at Coral Ridge, a 27,300-square-foot center located at the entrance to the new residential development.

The Fresh Market is the center’s anchor tenant and earlier this year, SunTrust Bank erected a branch on the north side of the entrance. The Enclave also negotiated with the city to create a 5-acre park near the front of the development that features outdoor workout equipment as well as a walking trail that is open to the public.

 

Creating a Safety Checklist for Your New Home

When your moving day is officially set there are many things to be planned. However, your family’s safety should not be overlooked and some things should be considered as you move into your new home. Here are some helpful tips that have been shared by The Red Cross.

Fire escape plan – Assemble a plan for an escape if there should ever be a fire. This should include two ways of vacating the premises as well as two places for all family members to meet. One should be a meeting place immediately outside of the home while the other should be further away in case the area is blocked.

Survival kit – It is a wise idea to have enough food and water for each person in the family for at least three days. In case of any weather related emergencies, this will help you be best prepared.

Severe weather shelter – Locate the safest spot in your home in the event of severe weather. As in South Florida, high winds during hurricane season are something to plan for. For many homes, this may be a certain interior room or a bathroom. Generally rooms that are away from windows are prime for this.

App alerts – There are apps that you can set up on your phone that notify you of weather and safety alerts. For example the Red Cross Emergency App allows you to set preferences based on your actual location so that you can be notified of any potential disasters in your area.

Assess your risk – When you are unpacking in your new house, bear some thoughts in mind. Avoid overloading power outlets or running wires under area rugs. Always be sure that your smoke alarms are charged and working well.

 

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.