Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Selecting The Right Home Within Your Budget

As your real estate expert, I know that it can be a challenge to locate your dream home while respecting the confines of your budget. Keeping to a budget while implementing some strategies can help you find the right home that fits your needs. Below are some tips on how to go about house hunting efficiently.

Define your budget
Don’t just figure out your budget by feel. Sit down and write out your monthly income and less your expenses using some hard number calculations. Factor in whether you are buying this property on your own, or with a spouse or partner. Finally, give yourself a healthy monthly margin between your income and expenses so that you are not financially stressed.

Work with an experienced real estate agent
Working with a professional and experienced real estate agent will help you sort through the available properties using your criteria of budget, location, size and amenity needs. Not only will a professional agent be able to search for these more efficiently, but they can also provide you with advice based on years of experience and expertise.

Location
It is always a good idea to select a location that you know. Maybe it is a place you grew up in, used to visit frequently or is regarded by most as a prime destination or hot spot. Select an area that you know has the amenities that you need like local services or the right school system. An area that has potential for growth or has a highly regarded school system can be a smart investment for when it comes time to sell.

Declutter your home
Rid your home of any unnecessary items or clutter as you prepare to move. There is no reason to pack up or pay movers more to relocate items that you don’t really need. Furthermore, these items may take up valuable storage space in your next home. You may just figure out that you don’t need that extra storage space after all. Consider organizing a yard sale or donating items to take advantage of the tax deduction.

Hot Home Trends to Watch

Many features, new ideas and designs of interest were presented recently at the International Builders’ Show and the Kitchen and Bath show held in Orlando Florida. Some of the top trends to note were as follows.

Modern Moderation – One concept that was discovered was that not everyone has the same idea when it comes to “modern.” In the end, it is evident that designers, builders and professionals in the industry feel that it is wise to have modern flare without going overboard. In other words adding modern material combinations to an otherwise more traditional home is a way to do some updating without turning off buyers. A popular buzzword at the show was “modern farmhouse.” The useage of farmhouse sinks, reclaimed wooden beams and sliding barn doors bring elements of an older traditional farmhouse while blending with contemporary materials.

Secret Hideaway – In the interest of having a place away from guests for prepping food that can remain cluttered, another term thrown around this year was “the messy kitchen.” This alternative space can be used for your coffee maker, prep station and the like to keep your unsightly “junk.” Designers state that this does not have to be a large space. A smaller section of counter space or even a spot hidden by a sliding barn or pocket door can be ideal.

Open Space Bathrooms – Another concept that was promoted in Orlando was the open shower or “wet bathroom.” Essentially this can be a modern look where there is no definitive barrier to contain a shower. Although this can be space saving in bathrooms where there is less room to erect a wall for the shower, it can also have its drawbacks. For one, it can be challenging to take a steamy shower in a larger space, and it can also be tough to limit the water spray to just the shower area.

Smart Homes – For a little while now we have seen technology advancing where many parts of your home from appliances to HVAC can be controlled by your smartphones. However, we are entering another level of automation with newer devices such as Amazon’s Alexa where devices can be activated by voice commands. Additionally, there are now sensors that exist and will automatically turn on lights at night when they sense a person entering a room. These advances show that controlling your home via your smartphone was just the beginning of how “smart” your home can be.

Create a Floor Plan Before Moving in

If you are planning a move in the near future, you are sure to have many things to schedule from packing to booking movers. However, one of the most helpful tasks is to set time aside to create a detailed floor plan of your new home. Chances are you will be bringing furniture that you already own and possibly purchasing some additional pieces. Planning out the rooms will give you peace of mind and assist with making sure everything fits comfortably.

Measurements
The best plan of attack is to take measurements of everything possible. Some listings, especially if they are new construction, may already have floor plans available which you can use. Most floor plans should be accurate, but the scale is not always 100% exact. Be sure to not only measure the size of the rooms, but also the width of entryways and doors can also be of help.

Use Online Tools
If there is not a floor plan already in existence and you need to create one on your own, try using a free online service like Floorplanner.com. This offers you an easy way to draw a floor plan and offers you tools of objects that you can place in rooms to represent your furniture.

Consider Function
While you are planning out your rooms, be sure to keep function in mind. Try to visualize the room with multiple people in it. Next, consider where your furniture should be placed so that it can be accommodating while not interrupting the flow. Sometimes it is helpful to collaborate with others on this to get a few different perspectives.

Be Open to Changes
It is important to understand that as much as you plan your home online, it is not the same as when you actually live in it. Be prepared to make some changes when your belongings are finally all moved in. Sometimes you may even need to live in it for a while to see how the setup works best.

Ultimately, it is most helpful to come up with floor plan ahead of time as you prepare. This should help relieve stress, see what you have and what is needed, as well as help direct your movers on where to place your furniture.

Developer Secures Financing for Flagler Village Development

As your local trusted real estate resource, I am pleased to share the latest in what is happening with Fort Lauderdale developments. The Alta Flagler Village development in Fort Lauderdale is about to begin construction as the Alta Developers have secured their $38 million construction loan.

One of the most prominent lenders for construction projects, Bank of the Ozarks, has given a mortgage to Alta Flagler Village LLC which is an affiliate of the Miami-based Alta Developers. Work is anticipated to begin soon at the site at 421 NE 6th Street for the nearly 2 acre parcel.

Flagler Village has been a hot destination as of late. The area was a once overlooked neighborhood north of downtown, but has recently been booming with development in the last few years. Hotels, commercial space and residential developments have been in the works as this becomes one of the next most sought after neighborhoods. Flagler Village is well positioned with its close proximity to downtown making it attractive to live in for professionals. With plans emerging for the Brightline passenger rail station, this has led Flagler Village to rank high up on the list of places to consider to live in.

Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates is the designer for the project. The building is slated to have 12-stories, 2,600 square feet of retail space, 281 parking spaces and 212 apartments. Topping off the building will be an amenity deck with a pool found on the 6th floor.

Alta Developers also own a site close by which is planned to be a second phase for this project. City approval has not yet been completed.

DIY Ideas to Add Value to Your Home

Most homeowners are keen on ideas to further increase the value of their homes especially if they can do so in a small budget. Furthermore, some home projects can be done yourself which will save you even more money while making your home an even nicer place to live. Whether you are looking to give your home a facelift or you are prepping for a sale, here is a list of DIY ideas that can increase the value of your home.

Window Treatments – Instead of having bargain basement blinds, consider upgrading to some nicer wood blinds or even fabric drapes with decorative rods. The enhanced function can often times bring color and life into your room’s decor.

Paint – Never underestimate the power of paint. A room that is freshly painted with neutral colors will not only look updated but will also appeal to the masses if you are considering a sale in the near future. Lighter colors for smaller rooms also help create an illusion for more space.

Fixtures – Consider updating dated or worn fixtures. This includes switch plates, outlet covers, doorknobs, curtains and light fixtures. All of these items can be inexpensive but bring your home into modern day looking fresh.

Front Door – Is your door plain and boring? Consider replacing it with a decorative one perhaps with a glass insert. This is the first and last thing all buyers will see when they preview your home.

Ceiling fans – Keep your air fresh and moving by adding in ceiling fans. Not only does this provide enhanced aesthetics, but the function is an added value for keeping things cool.

Bathrooms – Don’t overlook your bathroom’s fixtures. Older, worn or dated fixtures can really make your bathroom pop with style. Towel bars, shower heads and even vanity hardware can all make a difference.

Hardware – Older hardware can make your cabinets look dated and cheap. For short money you can install some modern knobs and pulls that will give the whole room a much needed improvement.

Closet Systems – Organized closets always appear larger and more accommodating. Consider putting in a storage system that will keep all of your belongings organized.

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

Door Mat – It may sound trivial, but a large and fresh door mat will provide a warm and welcoming introduction of your home.

Factors that Affect Home Price

Median sale prices have been increasing for over two years consistently now and last June they reached another all-time high. We all know it has been in large part a simple equation of limited supply with greater demand. However, what about on a micro level within your market? What drives the price of a particular home in a specific place?

A Florida appraiser shares that pricing often hinges on three factors: location, product and timing. Product and location are somewhat connected where it can be the right home in the right neighborhood. Timing is more of a fluctuating element as it can have to do with what the local competition of inventory is.

How Appraisers Determine Value
Appraisers will approach a home’s value beginning with a physical inspection of the home’s bones. This includes core items such as roof, HVAC system, bathrooms, kitchen and condition of everything in between. Next, the appraiser will consider location and neighborhood which will include evaluating the recent comps and adjusting the price based on comparing your home to those.

Home Features that are in Demand
This also can mean which items have a big impact on the price. Granite counters used to be a hot item yet these days they are just considered standard. Design trends are showing that interior colors have switched from shades of beige and brown to more of tones of gray. These and other preferences are sometimes regional including having a pool or a second story which may or may not add value.

How Sellers can add Value
There may be select trends for your particular market, but one thing that is universal is to have your home in perfect condition when listing it for sale. If you have put off making some repairs or improvements then taking care of them first is always best. Buyers will resist your home if there are obvious signs of neglect and more significant repairs will certainly be found in a home inspection. Finally, be sure the exterior of your home is looking excellent. Your home’s curb appeal is important as it is the first and last thing every buyer will see.

Traps to Avoid
In markets like the current, there can oftentimes be multiple offers and bidding wars. At times when this happens, the purchase becomes more emotional than practical. Don’t lose sight of the property’s market value and replace it with your own. Just remember if you are getting a mortgage then your home will need to appraise appropriately otherwise the deal will fall through.