Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

More Northerners Move to Florida for Tax Incentives

Florida has always been among the top places for people to migrate to due to its spectacular weather, beautiful beaches and lack of personal income tax. More recently there has been anecdotal evidence of an influx of high earners from the Northeast that are looking to sell their homes in high-tax states and relocate to states like Florida.

Around when there was a federal tax change in 2017 there was an increase in activity for those making this move. With being limited on deducting city and property taxes especially in areas like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey there was a fire lit for some to pull the trigger on a move. Furthermore, in New York State there is going to soon be a boost in a “Mansion Tax” in NYC to help fund the city’s subway system that will only add to tax amounts. 

Some of these new residents are not only relocating their primary homes, but also their businesses too. While these northern states lose some of their tax revenue, these homeowners are able to either relocate their business or conduct a large portion of it due to advances in technology being able to do work remotely. Some states like New York are catching on to this trend and trying to hone in on those who have relocated but may still spend a considerable amount of time in the northern state. Audits are being done to see where these individuals are visiting their doctors, posting on social media and where cell phones are being frequently used to measure where the majority of their activity is taking place. 

In addition to the Northeast, Californians are also among those who are moving to the Sunshine State. For years Nevada has been a catch-all for these transplants, but now Florida is among their considerations that seek a similar climate but a more favorable tax situation. Particularly those with a higher income are looking to preserve their wealth as they get older. 

6 Way to Lower Your Closing Costs

There is no question that when you buy a house you will need to have a good amount of money set aside for it. Most everyone knows that they will need to save for their down payment, but what may come as a surprise to some is just how much they will need for closing costs. A good rule of thumb is to factor about 2 to 5 % of your loan’s value for closing costs. Here are some ways that you can potentially lower the amount that you will have to pay for these.

Review the Loan Estimate

Before you close your lender will provide you with a document that will detail all of the loan details and closing costs. This document will show you your monthly payment, interest rate and what percentage the bank is charging for fees. You may find that their fees are higher than what other banks would charge so you might want to shop around.

Lender Fees

Double check the fees that your lender is charging for things like underwriting and origination. These are also some costs that other lenders may charge less for or could potentially be some expenses that could be negotiated. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no!

Know what You are Paying

Before you enter into negotiations, it is a good idea to have knowledge of what you are responsible for paying for. This includes things like credit report, application fees, attorney fees and the like. Also, have a good grasp on what the seller is paying on their end like real estate commissions.

Rolling in Closing Costs

Not all lenders in all situations will be open to this, but some will allow you to roll some of your closing costs into your mortgage. It is important to note that while this will save you money up front, it will end up costing you more in the end as you will pay interest on these charges as part of the loan.

Locate Financial Assistance

Some first time buyers may qualify for select programs that offer grants or financial relief in some fashion. A good place to start is to check with a lender to see if you may qualify for one of these programs. From government to non-profit organizations there just may be one that could apply to your situation and help you save.

Select Your Own Vendors

Once you secure your loan you may want to choose your own vendors to help navigate to closing. Most often a bank will automatically use the ones they normally do, but they may charge you more than someone else you can find on your end.

Planning Your Closing Checklist

Your closing may be the last step in purchasing your new home, but it is the first step to your new chapter in life. Here is a list of things to prepare before your closing so that you are ready for what comes next.

Plan renovations

It is not that often that you buy a home that is 100% move-in ready or completely the way that you want it. If you are planning on doing some work to the home then don’t wait until after you close to begin making necessary arrangements. You can bring contractors with you at a private appointment or at your walkthrough so that you don’t lose any time getting things planned out.

Set up utilities

Don’t just assume that there will be utility service at the home when you move in. There could be a lapse in service as you also don’t know when the previous owner canceled their accounts. The best plan of action is to notify utility companies well in advance of the closing and set up accounts to begin on the day you take ownership.

Change locks

You never know who has a key to the home from the previous owner. Their friends, family, contractors or the like could have copies that work on all of the doors. A good rule of thumb is to change the locks after moving in and take this opportunity to key all doors alike if they weren’t already.

Professional cleaners

There is nothing worse than showing up with your movers with tons of boxes and furniture only to find out that the home is not clean. Assume the worst and schedule a company to do a good cleaning so that you aren’t moving your furniture in and placing it on filthy floors. Even if the previous owners did clean as a courtesy it may not be up to your standards.

Locate a handyman

You may have cleaners and movers in place for the move, but when you get settled with hanging wall art or even swapping out ceiling fans you will most likely need the assistance of a handyman. If you don’t have one already this can be a good ice breaker to ask the neighbors who they use.

6 Long Lasting Kitchen Trends

As expensive yet exciting as a kitchen renovation can be, we know this overhaul can be quite a large project. Given the time and price-tag that this often comes with, it is important to not only implement your own personal style, but you will also want it to stand the test of time. Here are 6 contemporary kitchen trends that are slated to last for years to come.

Open Shelving

Colored or glass front cabinets have been seen for years now, but open shelving offers the benefit of being both cost effective while eye-catching. It does take some thought to strategically plan so that it is accommodating, but the install is easy and it will motivate you to keep organized storage.

Classic Tiles

You can’t really go wrong with classic subway tile as it can be installed in many ways. Choose stacked joints instead of alternating or even consider a horizontal install. There are lots of other shapes that won’t fade in time too such as classic penny or even mosaic tiles.

Zoned lighting

Lighting is important on its own in any room. However, zoned lighting in the kitchen is particularly key as you will want overall lighting but also the assistance of task lighting. Choosing things from pendants to under cabinet lighting are great things to add. Best of all you can always easily change the fixtures eventually so long as the wiring is in place.

Limited upper cabinetry

This is a concept that works for everyone for aesthetics, but understandably not for all with respect to space. The open shelving trend with limited upper cabinetry will provide more of an open, larger and stylish look. Depending on space and needs the amount can vary per home.

Larger sink

While years ago a larger sink with a sprayer may have been a luxury, today it has slowly become a standard. Even if you don’t do a lot of hand dish washing these sinks are great for those larger pots and pans that don’t fit in the dishwasher. They can also be quite handy with meal prep as well!

Colorful appliances

If you are tired of stainless steel appliances, consider colorful models instead. These are becoming more popular as an alternative to the stainless, white or black options that have been around for years now. The colorful options are equipped with today’s features yet are a nod to the vintage models which are sure to add timeless character to your home.

Inexpensive and Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Nowadays with so many home improvement shows airing on television, homeowners are always interested in ideas for things that increase the value of their homes especially if they can do them on a budget. Some home improvement projects can be done on your own which will save you more money while making your home an even nicer place to live. Regardless of if you are interested in giving your home a much needed face lift or if you are preparing for a sale, here is a list of “DIY” ideas that can help increase the value of your property.

Front Door – If your front door is plain and lackluster then consider upgrading it to a decorative one with detail or a glass insert. This is a primary focal point of your home and one of the first and last things that all buyers will see when they preview your home.

Paint – Rooms that are freshly painted using a neutral palette will not only look presentable but will also appeal to a larger audience if you are preparing for a sale. Lighter and brighter colors for smaller rooms can help create an illusion for appearing larger.

Window Dressings – Upgrade to nicer wood blinds or even fabric drapes with decorative hardware. The enhanced function can often times bring color and elevated style into your room’s decor as you warm things up.

Bathrooms – Old and outdated fixtures can really make your bathroom look tired. Towel bars, shower heads and even your vanity’s hardware can all make a difference when replaced with newer stylish ones.

Fixtures – Update your dated or worn fixtures. This includes your switch plates, outlet covers, doorknobs and light fixtures. These items can be inexpensive but bring your home into modern day looking nice and fresh.

Closet Systems – An organized closet will always appear larger and more spacious. Consider installing better shelving or even a storage system that will keep all of your belongings well organized.

Ceiling fans – Keep the air fresh and circulating by adding in ceiling fans. This can provide enhanced aesthetics while the function is an added value for keeping things cool. If you already have some and they are older and dated looking, consider replacement.

Crown Moldings – Adding crown moldings to your ceilings will add character and luxury at a small cost. The wood can be purchased at most local hardware stores and installed with a nail gun. So long as you have the tools and put in the effort, this can be an inexpensive way to add great value.

Door Mat – It may seem insignificant, but a large and new door mat will provide a warm and welcoming introduction to your home.

Kitchen Hardware – Old hardware can make your cabinets appear dated and sometimes even cheap. For short money you can purchase some modern knobs and pulls that will give a big impact on your kitchen.

What Happens Once Your Home is Under Contract?

Everyone knows that preparing your home to go on the market for sale involves many steps. It requires everything from decluttering to cleaning so that your home is perfect when introduced to all potential buyers. However, what is in store once you have found a buyer and have entered contract?  Here is a list of the important steps that are involved from going under agreement until your closing date.

  1. Tend to any issues that may have come up during the inspection. Some deals experience additional negotiation for repairing items that were found during an inspection. Be sure to complete these if they are part of the deal.
  2. Prepare for the appraisal. Keeping your home clean and in show condition is a wise idea so that is shows off its highest value.
  3. Make arrangements with movers. Hire and schedule your movers in time for the closing date.
  4. Start packing. After the appraisal there usually aren’t any other crucial visits from buyers or third parties so this is an ideal time to begin packing and planning.
  5. Be sure your buyer’s financing contingency date is met and complete. This date in the contract is the deadline for the buyer to have 100% confirmed their loan commitment. Having this verified is a strong indication that all finances will be in order for the day of the closing.
  6. Disconnection of utilities. Contact all utility companies and services to notify of termination or transfer to your new location effective on the date of your closing.
  7. Change your address with the USPS and and anywhere else needed. Officially change your address with the Post Office in person or online as well as any other services that are important.
  8. Only leave behind items in the home that have been agreed upon in the contract except for appliance manuals. Be sure to take all personal items when leaving the home including extra household supplies and paints unless agreed upon by the buyer. All service manuals for appliances and warranty information can be left for the new owner.
  9. Leave the home clean. Upon your departure you should leave the home in good and clean condition for the new owners.  
  10. Closing Day. Attend the closing and sign all necessary documents as well as transfer keys and collect monies. Once all of the paperwork has been completed and the attorney records the deed you have successfully sold your property!