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.
The past year has changed how a lot of us feel about our home and what is most important to have in them. As we all spent more time at home a lot of home improvement projects were taking place. As a result of all of this, certain home upgrades have become increasingly more popular than others. Here is a closer look at some that have been trending as of late.
With more time at home regularly accessing belongings, organization is key. Homeowners have been doing purges of items that they no longer want or need and implementing some organization systems. There are several ways to do this with some investing in a full-on professionally installed closet system to one they can create themselves. This could include anything from putting up shelves or bins themselves or even moving a smaller dresser into a closet.
With no surprise the addition of a sanitizing station has become more popular. Often by the entry door you will find an area designated for one to remove outer wear, masks and using wipes and/or hand sanitizer. For those who had mud rooms these rooms have just been further enhanced.
In the interest of increasing convenience, smart lights have seen an increase in popularity. These lighting systems can be controlled by either your voice or your smartphone. For short money you can swap out your current light bulbs with these smartbulbs.
For several reasons kitchen banquettes have seen a rise in popularity. For larger kitchens they make for a more intimate and cozy setting. For smaller kitchens they save on space as well as offer great storage space for under the seating. For every kitchen they introduce the opportunity for more decorative materials to be used for aesthetic interest.
Buying a home sight unseen may seem like a crazy idea or like something that doesn’t happen often, but it sure does. Especially with the events over the past year when buyers have been relocating to areas like Fort Lauderdale where they can work from home and enjoy the outdoors more comfortably all year round. While the purchase of a home without physically seeing it in person may seem challenging, it is possible to do it successfully if you follow some of these important steps.
The Right Agent
Working with the right agent is always important in any transaction, but especially when you need to rely on them even more in this type of situation. Make sure you select an agent who knows and specializes in the exact area that you are interested in. Do your research to see their past sales, testimonials and where they do business so you can confirm they are a good fit.
If you have a thought of a question or concern, start to make a list. You can never ask your agent too many questions. While you may seem like you might be overwhelming it is always better to cover important details up front rather than have unexpected surprises when your deal comes together.
These days there are so many tools available to us for home searches. Make sure you use everything that is at your fingertips as you get a good feeling about a home of interest. Some listings have virtual or 3D tours which is amazingly helpful to see a home’s rooms and layout. If not, your agent could do a video chat with you. Also, try doing a Google Street View of the address so that you can get a sense of the location and immediate surroundings.
Use Floor Plans
Many listings also have floor plans available for prospective buyers these days. However, if not then your agent could help with getting you some rough measurements of the key rooms that you wish to mock up a layout for. It is helpful to get a sense of size but it is also important to know what furniture will fit.
An inspection is always important but when you aren’t touring the home in person then it is crucial to lean on an expert. Even if you are buying with cash and don’t necessarily need an appraisal or inspection for financing it is still wise to do for insurance purposes and to know exactly what work the home may need.
Once you have decided that you want to move and sell your home, then comes time for the work. It is common knowledge that you will need to get it in tip top shape, but that can also require some financial investment as well. While you may need to shell out a few dollars for things like sealing your driveway or replacing broken fixtures, the good news is that there are several things that you can do that are no cost to you that make a big impact on prospective buyers.
Getting out the vacuum, mop and putting things away properly does not cost you a dime. Focus on your primary rooms and make sure there are no belongings or stacks of papers gathered on kitchen counters, bookshelves or coffee tables. Bathroom counters should also be clean and clear as well as closets being neatly organized. You don’t want anyone thinking the home is tight on space if it looks like your closets are not accommodating.
After you have cleaned and decluttered, now take a look at the home’s flow. Visit room by room and see that your furniture is placed where each room allows buyers to freely walk through without bumping into things and appears as large as possible.
Channel Buyer Mentality
Step outside of your home and then walk back in with fresh eyes…and nose for that matter. Does the home look and smell clean? Check up and down to make sure from baseboards up to ceiling fans are dusted and clean. Don’t forget to wash the windows too for allowing in all of the natural light.
Setting The Table
It may sound silly at first, but rather than a big empty dining room table, consider setting even just a couple of pace settings. Staging a room so it is inviting such as putting out nice placemats, your best flatware, dishware and linens will warm things up. Finish off with a decorative centerpiece or table runner.
Let The Outdoors Inside
You can do this a few ways. After of course you have all blinds open for each showing, make sure you have some of what is best about our tropical Fort Lauderdale location, the outdoors. Many homes have flowers in their gardens that can be cut and placed into arrangements indoors. Additionally, for those of you who have fruit bearing trees, a bowl of lemons placed on the kitchen counter can also be a cute and colorful idea.
Things are different these days when it comes to the length of time that one lives in a home. It used to be that you’d save up for your first home and settle in for decades until it was time to downsize. Today, many people are starting out in a condo, then trading up to a single family and potentially going to different neighborhoods as they upgrade their lifestyle. If you are one of these individuals who finds yourself moving frequently, here are some helpful pointers to keep things easy.
Furniture is something we all need but sure can add up in cost. When you purchase your necessary items keep things simple and start with the basics. Avoid buying items that are too big, too pricey or may not be necessary in your next home. Keeping things simple will ensure better chances that everything will fit at your next residence should some rooms be smaller. You will want to avoid having to sell things as furniture doesn’t tend to hold a great resale value.
Keep Moving Boxes
Moving boxes can add up when you are talking about needing enough to move a whole house. Each time you move you can break them down very carefully so that they are folded neatly to store but can also be reused. Stow these away under beds or in places like attics where they won’t get ruined.
Similar to boxes, packing materials can really be expensive. Bubble wrap in particular while it is necessary for your breakable items gets pricey but you can always use alternative packing. Consider using your towels, blankets or even clothing instead. Hold onto some newspapers as well for another wrapping option.
Don’t Waste Time
Packing always takes longer than you anticipate so don’t wait until the last minute. As soon as you know you are moving start packing your secondary items. For example, starting in the kitchen pack away your top shelf items that you don’t use everyday. Perhaps this may be your China or appliances you rarely use. Leave only what you need everyday for packing last. Do this same method with your clothing. Pack away seasonal clothing that you aren’t using first. When you get close to moving day, pack a small suitcase for what you may need right away.
If you find good movers you may want to hire them again. There are only so many times you can get your friends to help and buy them pizza, so if you find good professionals then treat them well. Offer them water, lunch and tip them well for their good service.
When the time comes to select the right insurance company it can be overwhelming with where to begin. Anyone who has watched TV has seen all of the ads for companies like Geico, State Farm, Progressive and more. The number of companies and ads should be an indication of how big of a business insurance is. So how do you go about finding the company that is best for you? Here are some tips on how you can pick the right one.
Shop by price
The best thing to do is to find three different companies and solicit some quotes. What is most important is to pay attention to the amount of coverage that each one offers in their quotes. One provider may have a cheaper quote due to less covered on their policy so make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If you don’t want to do this on your own, you could always enlist the assistance from an insurance agent.
Check for customer service quality
Price isn’t the only thing that matters with whom you hire. If you have to cash in on your insurance with a claim you want to make sure you have them on your side so do your homework and check online reviews, interview family, friends and neighbors or even your agent to see who has had top quality experiences. Find out who has a track record of responding quickly and paying claims promptly as that can help lessen a stressful situation.
Other factors to consider
Other than price and great service, check to see what other kinds of insurance these companies provide. You may want to leave your options open for other types of insurance where not all companies offer everything. For example, you can oftentimes get a bundled discount if you have the same company write both a home and an auto policy all rolled in together.
Each insurance company will be licensed and regulated by your state. For any questions or concerns that you have about any company, you also have this office or division as a resource for answers or more information.