Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Creating a Calming Zone at Home

The way we view our homes has slightly changed over the past year. Nowadays everyone is looking for things like more space, a place for working at home, perhaps a home gym and now a space dedicated to meditation or relaxation. This may be a corner of a guest room or even a shed in the backyard. Here are some great ideas for how you can create a calming zone like this within your home.

Identify the location

First, you must find the perfect location for this relaxation retreat. While the space does not need to be huge, you should definitely search for something that offers some privacy. This could be sectioning off a part of a guest room or finding a spot that is mostly unused in or outside of the home.

Keep it simple

You will want a space that offers comfort where you can sit or lie, but don’t crowd it with too much else. Keeping things minimal with a cozy chair and pillows is a good place to start. Then make sure it is kept tidy and free of distractions like harsh colors, mirrors and even family photos. 

Appeal to the senses

It is all about pleasant elements that make you feel happy and relaxed. Warm or soft lighting for what you see, soothing music or white noise like rain for what you hear and perhaps some nice scented candles for what you smell. Pillows or throw blankets that are soft to the touch can also be a nice add.

Leverage nature

If a semi outdoor location is an option that can be best as you connect with nature. If not, you can bring the outdoors inside. A room with a large window to the garden or having many plants around can create a more natural and calming environment. 

Add calming details

Other than these elements that make the room meditation ready, consider some personal touches that take it one step further. It may be that you make the room feel more like a spa if that environment makes you feel most relaxed. Perhaps if your home has a view of a nearby park that you like then you set up your room where you can view it best. Whatever elements that speak to you personally that are calming should be factored into your design.

The Things That Dictate How Quickly Your Home Will Sell

Preparing your home for sale is all about timing for the whole process from start to finish. There is planning that goes into getting it ready, negotiation and the transaction. While it is pretty clear on how long it will take you to get it ready for putting it on the market for sale, nobody has a crystal ball to tell them how long it will take to actually sell. What we do know is there are some statistics that will give us an idea of how long it will take but there are also several other factors that have a direct impact on the time it takes to sell. Here is a closer look at them.

Average sale times of comps

A big influence on your sale time will be your location. While nationally things are selling faster than usual, your particular area can dictate how long to expect to sell. The local comps will have data including the average time on market to use as a benchmark. 

Local supply and demand

Nationally we see that buyer demand is high and inventory is low. Buyers are being enticed by historically low interest rates and there isn’t enough inventory to keep the market in balance. This factor can fluctuate in one direction more or less depending on other local influences such as school rankings, public transportation, etc. 

Home’s condition

Most buyers will be looking for something that is move-in ready. The majority of people will want to purchase a home and not have to worry about organizing or financing additional repairs or major upgrades. Additionally, homes that may have underlying issues may be discovered during the inspection process which can extend negotiations and in turn prolong the selling process.

Staging

Your home’s general appearance can also have a big influence on how quickly it will sell. Statistically speaking homes that are staged will sell faster as not everyone can visualize its potential. Keeping the home clean, decluttered, freshly painted and well staged matters.

List price

Overpricing your home can be detrimental to its sale and your final selling price. A price too high will rule out some buyers, make it sit longer on the market and potentially solicit a low ball offer. Pricing it at market value or even slightly under can help you garner a lot of interest by serious buyers that can even result in a bidding war where you get more than expected. 

Your negotiating 

Finally, your negotiation methods and willingness to budge will also play into your timeframe. Those who hold out for asking price or don’t negotiate on terms will certainly run the risk of extending selling time. Ultimately the power is in the seller’s hands on what they choose to work with to get their home sold. 

 

5 Homebuying Myths Debunked

Taking the plunge from renting into homeownership certainly involves some important steps but may not be as unattainable as you think. From cash to credit you will want to be in a good position to make this move, but there are other things to consider as well as some myths to clear up about the process. Here are some items to set straight.

Homeownership means a lot of debt

Some may think at first that having a mortgage means you will be incurring a lot of debt. While needing to pay your mortgage regularly may be true, homeownership has its advantages. As you pay your mortgage down every month you essentially gain equity. This can almost act as like a savings account in some ways. You can potentially pull out equity down the road and use it for other things, or cash out when you sell. Owning a home with equity is also often a factor in one’s retirement plan.

20% Down is needed

This is often the thought of many because if you put down less than 20% then you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance or PMI. Plenty of people do this and put as little as 5% down on some properties and just have to pay a small monthly fee until their home has more than 20% equity in it. Ultimately it is a small price to pay for being able to own a home sooner than later.

Credit score must be perfect

Surely the better your credit score, the easier it will be to secure a lower interest loan. However, there are mortgage programs that have lower credit and income requirements that you can look into. It is worth mentioning that once you do secure a home loan this can overtime help you improve your credit as well. 

Now is not the time to buy

If it is a buyer’s market or if rates are low like they are today, then it can be a great time to buy a home. Also, if you are financially ready to buy and if it is time to upgrade your home then that certainly plays an important role in timing as well. Nobody has a crystal ball to know what will happen tomorrow, but if you prepare well then it is the right time to make a move.

It will be hard to relocate

Some think they don’t want to buy as they will be stuck in a home. First, it is most often recommended to view a real estate purchase as at least a 3 year investment. This can help you manage any market twists while you get a sense of your new space. Should the market remain healthy, you can potentially sell much sooner than that as well or consider renting out the home if need be.

Ready to take the plunge? Contact me today!

How Long Does It Take To Purchase a Home?

Not everyone knows how long the homebuying process can take. As there are several parts that go into the preparations and process, there can be 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.

Home Buying Steps

Search – This part of the process can really vary and can take longer these days given the extreme void of inventory. However, the average person takes a couple of months of searching properties that come available and fall within their criteria. 

Offer – Once you have located the home of interest then it is time to act quickly! Submit your offer and then begin negotiations. This usually takes a couple of days. If your offer is accepted then you will move to inspection usually within a week.

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

How to Speed Up The Process

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

Paperwork – Your loan approval involves gathering up all of your important documents such as 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 goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Closing Costs – Your lender shall 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 ready to pay when that time comes. It is wise to prepare early enough to make sure you have what is needed. 

What To Ask And Consider When Buying A Property

There is no question that when you purchase a home there is a lot that you need to think about. Especially if this is your first time at the rodeo, you will want to make sure you are well prepared by asking all of the necessary questions so there are no surprises. Here is a list of some of the most important things to ask and consider as you get started. 

Preparation

Budget – You must establish a budget for what you are most comfortable with spending but also for how much a lender will qualify you for. Connecting with a mortgage agent is the first thing you should do.

Downpayment – Some first time buyers take advantage of programs where they can put little down in the way of 3.5% to 5%. However, it is worth noting that if you put less than 20% down then you will be required to also pay PMI (private mortgage insurance). 

Closing Costs – This is an important mention – many people get focused on the “downpayment” and forget about closing costs which are separate and somewhat substantial. These are your recording fees, prepaid items such as insurance and taxes and the like. Your lender should be able to give you a good idea of what to plan for this.

Moving Expenses – Aside from hiring movers and vans, take a look at any other fees that may be involved such as move in/out fees depending on your community.

Furnishings – If you are moving into a larger space than what you have, you should consider setting aside a budget for necessary furnishings that you will need.

Questions About A Particular Home

Neighborhood – Check the area for what is nearby for services, transportation as well as any plans that may be in the works for future development. Visit it at various times of day and talk with neighbors to get a real sense of what it is like.

Schools – This is of course of interest to those who have children, but knowing about the local schools and how they rank is also of importance to your home’s resale value.

Repairs – This is something that if it is not obvious then it will be uncovered when you perform a home inspection. It is key to hiring a professional so that you know what will be needed for repairs and that you can budget for them.

Roof – Also something that will be examined at a home inspection, but asking how old the roof is as well is a good indication of when replacement will be needed.

Appliances – Asking about the age of appliances and if any still have warranties is a good question so you know how to handle repairs/replacement. 

What is included – Before you assume the washer/dryer is staying, be sure to ask. Usually appliances and window treatments will stay but you should absolutely confirm if anything is being excluded. 

Comps – Before you put in an offer, make sure that you know what is selling nearby and for what. See what is most appropriate for a dollar amount of your offer with this factual information. Appraisers will be looking at comps too!

Why are sellers moving – Finally, it is always interesting to ask why a seller is selling. It may be for reasons that are personal and unlike your situation, but nevertheless it could be helpful to learn why they are ready to leave.

Remote Work And Its Benefit to Your Vacation Home Sale

The past year has certainly imposed significant changes on our homes and what we look for in them. With working remotely we have seen people flocking to their vacation homes, relocating or buying second homes. All of this has collectively led to increased demand for housing in locations such as here in Fort Lauderdale. 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has stated for example, “Sales in vacation-home counties increased 48% on average year over year in the third quarter; overall, 81% of vacation-home counties saw a year-over-year sales increase.”

If you have been debating about selling your vacation home then acting quickly may be to your best advantage. Homes in areas like ours are not staying on the market for very long as they get swept up by those looking to purchase in vacation areas. NAR also states that most vacation homes are selling in less than one month. 

Regarding pricing, that is also something that is on the rise. Homes across the country and across the board are still seeing the rising trend when it comes to price. Specifically for vacation homes, NAR recently shared “In the third quarter, prices in vacation-home counties rose by about 32% year over year. Seventy-nine percent of these counties experienced year-over-year price gains. NAR defines a vacation-home county as one in which seasonal housing accounts for at least 20% of stock.”

The bottom line is if your vacation home has been just sitting empty, possibly not getting as many renters as you usually have, or if you simply want to sell it so you can trade up or take it off your worry list, now may be the ideal time. Demand is high, so you’re in the ideal spot to get a stronger return on your investment today.