Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

10 Ways to Protect Your Home and Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies and accidents often strike without warning which is why being prepared ahead of time is always a wise idea. These tips will assist you in making sure your home and family will be best protected and prepared should an emergency occur.

Protect against break-ins. Home invasions happen in all areas in the United States. This rate suggests that it is a good idea to invest in a home security system to protect your home and family.

Be aware of local threats. In South Florida of course tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes can strike. Alert your family of the natural threats and have a plan in place to be best prepared for potential disasters.

Outdoor lighting. Be sure your outdoor lights are working properly and keeping your perimeter well illuminated. Homes that are well-lit will deter burglars better.

Home checks. Every month or so, inspect your home for any damaged or broken items. Roofs, doors, windows, pipes and drains are things to be on top of for wear and tear. Making sure everything is in good operating shape will help ensure safety.

Test smoke detectors. Billions of dollars in personal property are lost every year due to fires, therefore it is a wise idea to regularly check both your smoke detectors as well as carbon monoxide detectors. This can save you money or even your life.

Test your fire extinguisher. These units can get old and stop functioning after a while. Check the pressure gauge along with the hoses for any cracks to see if it is ready to be used and in tact.

Devise an emergency plan. Construct a plan for you and your family in the event of an emergency. Where will you meet? How will you communicate? If lines are down you will need to agree on a meeting place to ensure that everyone knows that you are all okay.

Keep contact information accessible to all. Be sure to have important contact numbers stored in your cell phone, however keeping a backup hard copy is also a great idea. Numbers to record include primary care physicians, poison control and a trusted neighbor.

72-Hour emergency kits. The CDC suggests having the following kit in your home and car.

  • One gallon of water per person, per day
  • Non perishable food
  • Can opener
  • Important medication
  • Radio
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Toilet paper

Home inventory. In case you need to file an insurance claim it is helpful to have an itemized inventory of your valuable goods. Keep instruction manuals, serial numbers, receipts and the like in a safe place so you can easily access them if needed.


How to Simplify Your Move

When you are at the first stages of moving, getting organized can seem like a lower priority. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, looking for homes available for purchase and the like all seem to take precedence. However, there are several benefits to getting your home organized ahead of schedule. For one, minimizing the clutter can help as you stage your home to be viewed by many prospective buyers. Additionally, getting your home prepared in the beginning is only going to save you more time when it actually comes to moving day. Here are 5 great tips that can help you get started for a more simplified move.

Create groups of items – Begin by sorting through your belongings. You may create a few piles with one for trash, one for donating or one to give to friends or family. You may even create an additional “maybe” pile for items you feel you may want to keep. Give yourself a time limit for this pile and revisit it after a short period of time.

Give yourself time – The process of getting organized does take some time. Especially where there may be sentimental items that require thought, be sure to give yourself enough time to go through everything.

Invest in clear plastic bins – Keeping your items packed away in clear plastic bins will keep everything stored away but also allows you to view what is inside. Alternatively, if you already have boxes or colored bins, be sure to clearly label what is inside.

Recycle paper – Many households have one common problem – a paper trail in each room. Whether it’s miscellaneous documents, old mail, newspapers, magazines or the like it can certainly start to collect. Consider scanning in anything valuable to an online storage location. Recycle all non valuable items and shred anything else that may have account numbers or personal information.

Begin now – Time can be your most valuable asset. Start as soon as you can as depending on your home’s size and the amount of possessions you have, getting organized may take some time. You can even go as far as scheduling some time slots in on your calendar to hold yourself accountable.


Great Advice for Buying Your Fort Lauderdale Home

The transfer of a property from seller to buyer can be an exciting day for all. However, if you don’t perform your due diligence, this day can become a nightmare if things are not properly in order. Not only will you want to ensure that all steps are taken and a schedule is followed, but you also want to have the right team to help you. Here are some important tips to follow to as you embark on the process.

Research your team – Cover all of your bases and be sure to hire a realtor, mortgage broker and a real estate attorney. When selecting this team, do your homework and make sure that each have the appropriate experience. As a seasoned realtor, I am happy to provide my sales history with you. Additionally, I can provide recommendations for other mortgage brokers or attorneys if needed.

Hire an attorney that specializes in real estate – A real estate attorney will provide you with the best service and can ensure the smoothest transaction as they are most familiar with the process. If you have a contact that you know who is an attorney, but not one who specializes in real estate, this can be problematic as they may not be able to easily clarify legal issues with documentation. Another recent concern surrounding attorneys who are less than reputable has been wire fraud. Hiring someone blindly can lead to financial disasters.

Keep to your schedule – Time is of the essence with all real estate transactions. There are important dates when things need to be completed by so it is imperative that you meet them. A good rule of thumb is to get everything done as early as possible. Aside from scheduling home inspections, your loan paperwork is more of a process. Your mortgage agent will give you a list of items they they will need in order to get you a home loan and verify your financials. It is best to complete this request as soon as possible so that your closing does not get delayed. Delayed closings can result in additional problems and financial impositions.  

Fort Lauderdale’s Downtown Skyline Has More Changes on the Horizon

More development for Fort Lauderdale’s downtown district is on the horizon. Earlier this month the City’s staff had signed off on the project known as “Riverparc Square” yet Commissioner Steve Glassman has requested that the project be discussed publicly first before any work begins.

“It’s significant in its size and scope,” Glassman said. “The public deserves the right to express their opinions about the project.” So, now that it’s going to the City Commission, officials can decide “if we want to have a hearing on this project,” he said.

The development’s team, Southside River LLC from Miami has plans to on the land at 501 S. Andrews across from Publix supermarket. There would be three towers with one building being comprised of 790 apartments and 279 hotel rooms.

“It’s a housing opportunity for folks to live close to where they work,” such as the state and federal courthouses and Broward Health Medical Center, said Robert Lochrie III, project attorney for developer Southside River LLC.

More details of the plan included 44,698 square feet of retail space on the ground floor as well as nearly 300,000 square feet of office space. An existing office building located at the site would be removed. One tower would reach 43 stories, the second at 42 and third at 36. One would think this would be the highest building for the downtown area although that is still held by 100 Las Olas coming in at 46 stories.

We shall see how the development progresses and if any public backlash will come about. Glassman states that they are scrutinizing more of these projects as they are proposed. There certainly has been a strong demand for housing options as well as retail and restaurant spaces to accommodate the residents. The proposed Riverparc Square caters to all of these needs.

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.