Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Top Home Updates You Can Do For Under $1k Each

For anyone with a home that is in need of some updating the anticipation of renovation costs can be daunting. Sure, in some cases you may need to gut your kitchen but in others with a little creativity there can be some very reasonable updates that will not only make your kitchen look more modern, but you won’t go broke completing them. Best of all when it comes time to sell your home, many of these updates will recapture a high percentage of their original value. Here is a list of great ideas you can do for under $1,000 each.

Kitchen

Double sink – For anyone that is looking for an updated chef’s kitchen, a double sink is sure to please. Give cook’s the tools they need with a larger double sink that is ideally under mounted and stainless steel. 

Kitchen island – Everyone loves to have more versatile counter space. Islands add room for food prep and can also be a great place to dine or entertain.

Paint cabinets – For anyone who has good painting skills this can really transform your kitchen. For the cost of paint and brushes you can select a neutral color and brighten up the room making it look more modern and even larger.

Bathroom

Bathroom fixtures – Don’t leave your older and worn fixtures. Pick matching fixtures to replace your sink faucet, shower handles and head. 

Upgrade toilet – Other than the obvious aesthetics a newer toilet will save you water and money in the end. 

Bathroom vanity – A vanity is a main focal point in most bathrooms. Upgrade yours to one with a stone countertop, neutral color and has enough storage that is necessary for proper use. Finish off the upgrade with a nice mirror to match.

Other

Ceiling fans – Ceiling fans are very popular here in South Florida. Add style and function with a high design ceiling fan. Matte black with wooden blades can be a nice choice depending on your home’s motif.

Paint main rooms – Simply stated a little paint goes a long way. Neutral colors are always best while you freshen things up. Tackle your main rooms or those that are looking more tired first.

Landscaping – Trimmed hedges cost you nothing but time which you can do yourself. Spend your money on some mulch for the beds or some additional plants and flowers to dress up your home’s curb appeal. Patches of sod can also be purchased relatively cheap for filling in any bald spots on your lawn.

Smart thermostat – Technology has made lives much easier these days but also helps save money. Thermostats that are programable but also remote controlled by smartphones make life easier and are a bonus for anyone looking to buy your home. 

 

5 Mortgage Myths

These days there is a lot of chatter about just how low mortgage rates are. This is part of the driving factor behind a busy real estate market as well as the cause for many to refinance their existing mortgage to realize some savings. Among the discussions comes some false or misleading information which should be cleared up. Here are some of the top myths about home mortgages. 

Getting a mortgage is simple

With rates so low lenders are extremely busy. Many are looking to take advantage and either buy property or refinance the one they own. With this influx of applicants some lenders are tightening up their requirements. Some lenders are dealing with this by increasing minimum credit scores as well as increasing down payment requirements which may make things more challenging for some. 

Who qualifies

The historically low rates of today are great news for many, but not for all. Most importantly you need to have a good credit score to qualify. Additional things like the type of home, size of loan and down payment will all play a factor in the rate as well. 

Everyone should refinance

Just because loan rates are low doesn’t mean it makes sense for everyone to refinance. Everyone’s situation is different and needs to be looked at carefully. Consider how much of a drop in rate you are looking at and how long you plan on being in the home as refinancing costs can be significant enough to make it not worth it. Also, factor in where you are in your current mortgage term and consider whether it makes sense to start the clock all over again. For anyone approaching retirement in the not too distant future it may make sense to stay on the current course and pay off the home sooner.

You can apply for a mortgage after locating a property

Especially in today’s competitive landscape you will most certainly want to apply for a mortgage first, then go look for a home. Any competing offer that doesn’t have the financial backing will simply be overlooked by sellers. Don’t get your heart set on a property and either lose out or find out for whatever reason that you cannot afford it. 

Forbearance means you don’t need to pay back your loan

With the state of affairs occurring this year many have been struggling with financial hardship and by result have been granted mortgage forbearance. What this means is that the lender has more or less granted a time out so to speak for some payments. This doesn’t mean that you don’t still owe the money however. Terms will vary from lender to lender based on what was worked out. Payments may be tacked on at the back end of the loan or shall be paid in an agreed upon period of time. 

 

How To Prepare Best For Movers

Preparing mentally can be challenging enough for a big move. While most of the physical part can be handled by your movers there are some things that really only you can do. You can hire movers for just the actual transport of your belongings or you can hire them to even do your packing but you will want to take care of these 6 things first on your end and here is what they are.

Create a path for ease

This all starts outside of the home when you plan on the movers arriving. Where will they park? If you are in a more urban location will you need to assist with parking permits so they can securely park rather than double-parking. If you live in a neighborhood that is more spread out then make sure your driveway can accommodate their trucks and possibly park at a neighbor’s house to keep a clear path.

Make necessary arrangements

For anyone living in a larger apartment complex or condo building you may need to check with the building manager for moving protocol. While some may require a fee to be paid others may allow you to reserve service elevators which can keep things running smoothly.

Protect walls and floors

Assess what you have for pieces that will be moved through the door. Make sure you secure anything that may be in the way such as pictures, mirrors, lightbulbs or anything else that may be fragile and in the way. It is also wise to alert your movers what you have for flooring materials so they can prepare accordingly. You would hate to have scratches on your hardwood floors!

Measure

Only you will recall how your furniture first made its way inside your home. Did you painstakingly assemble a large armoire or sectional couch when you bought them? Measure these items to see if they will fit through the door or if you will have to take them apart. This could mean you may need to build in some prep time.

Plan around kids and pets

Younger children and pets can often get in the way when movers are trying to do their job. Some items are heavy and movers need an unobstructed path when removing them from your home. Pets can get in the way or become anxious with the commotion. See if you can have a neighbor or pet daycare mind them during the peak moving times. 

Be available

It is important to not be in the way of the movers but be accessible. Find a location in the home that is central so they know where you are to ask questions or so you can be of assistance with anything they may not know about the home.

Wow Your Appraiser With This Checklist

A home appraisal is a key part of any real estate transaction as it confirms the value of the property while it justifies the price that is being paid. Once you accept a buyer’s offer to purchase, their mortgage lender will schedule a third party company to perform the appraisal. Recent comparable sales as well as an onsite visit will be completed on your home to evaluate it for many factors. Here is a helpful checklist of things to consider ahead of time to address so that your home receives its best review.

Research Property Value

Before the appraisal is even scheduled it is a wise idea to get an estimated value of what your home is worth and you can do this in a few ways. You should be able to do some online research of recently sold homes nearby that are similar to yours in size and location. Furthermore, when your agent first listed your home they should have given you a CMA. This will have a home value in it along with some recent comps to support it.

Easy Access

Make sure that the appraiser has full access to every part of your home. This includes attics, closets, garages, separate dwellings and storage areas. 

Build Fact Sheet

For anything that is not crystal clear, draft a fact sheet and list things out. These items may include major recent improvements or upgrades, new systems with warranties, any homeowner’s association fees or info, nearby school info or other external benefits. 

Conduct Minor Repairs

You certainly want the home in perfect condition and chances are it may be close to it if you recently listed it for sale. If not, tend to things like missing pieces of trim, broken doors, peeling paint or anything else that needs fixing as appraisers will notice these things.

Cleanliness

The same idea as repairs applies here too. If you recently got your home into perfect condition to list it for sale, then cleanliness should be top notch. Make sure it is still in great condition for the appraiser just as it was for the photographer. Appraisers will understand if you have begun packing however so you don’t have to worry so much about that.

Restrict Pets

Similar to access that we spoke about earlier, be sure pets are secured and don’t impair the appraiser from entering any rooms or areas. Take dogs for a walk or restrict them to crates to keep them out of the way.

Copy of Report

Appraisers can make mistakes so ask for a copy of the report so that you can review for accuracy. Sometimes a measurement could be off, comps may not be the best ones for one reason or another but you can ask your agent for assistance on some of these items to review.

How To Pick a Good Home To Retire In

There comes a time when everyone begins to plan for retirement in the physical sense. This means selecting a home for retirement that will be both comfortable and accommodating. Things to consider when picking the right home include everything from where to what. Here are some great tips to follow as you plan for yours.

Location

Much like any real estate purchase location is key. Things to consider for retirement properties include climate, ease of accessibility to conveniences like shopping, healthcare and a community that you will enjoy spending your free time with.

Single-story living

Keep it simple. Avoid having to climb stairs if you don’t need to and pick a home that offers the ease of single level living. As one ages and could have more mobility challenges this will only make things easier overall. Fortunately, South Florida offers a lot of housing stock with single level living.

Bathroom

While bathtubs can be nice for soaking or handy during hurricane season, day to day a walk in shower that is spacious will be most accommodating for you in the long haul. Being able to safely walk in and out is key.

Hallways

Even with no challenges narrow halls and doorways are never favored. However, allowing more space to travel with ease is important. Especially should you ever need assistance with any devices that may require more clearance. 

Extra space

No matter your age a lot of people are fond of companionship. Making sure you have space for a partner, roommate or even family member can be helpful to factor in and keep as an option. 

Pets

Pets are just like our children and can offer emotional sustenance in our lives. Their companionship is fulfilling and life just wouldn’t be the same without them. Consider a home that allows pets and offers the conveniences that they would need.

Mobility

Retirement for many can be a busy and fun time of life. With more free time to spend with family, friends and partake in many activities that you truly enjoy. When locating a home be sure that it is close to the things that are important to your lifestyle as well as offer some alternative transportation options.  

Security

This can be a blanketing concept from a home security system to services that are available locally that can send help with the push of a button. 

If you are considering a home that you can comfortably retire in, feel free to contact me today. 

Remodeling Budget Tips

Home remodeling projects can vary in their scope and size but one thing they all have in common is a budget. No matter how big or small it is helpful to assemble your budget once you have obtained costs of materials as well as estimates from any vendors or contractors that you will be hiring. It can happen that you will go over budget for a few reasons from products and services costing more than anticipated to upgrades to surprise issues. Here are some great tips for you to adhere to a budget.

Buffer

Given the fact that you may wish to upgrade materials or appliances and that there can often be some unexpected issues that arise you will want to add in a buffer. Some designers will say you may want to add up to 25% of your costs as padding to account for these types of things.

Priorities

When you are remodeling the opportunities can be endless other than any cost constraints. Therefore, it is important to prioritize your goals that you want to accomplish with the project. When complete you want to make sure that you are happy with what was done and got what you wanted. For pointers on whole-house projects you can focus more on kitchen, bathrooms and master bedrooms as you tend to derive the most value out of these rooms. 

Trust your pro

It can be tempting to do a lot of the legwork yourself, but leaning on professionals that you hire can help in overall planning and cost savings. Your contractor will have the experience in how to achieve a high design look and get the cost savings at the same time. They also can have access to materials that are cheaper or more cost effective while they have a more intimate knowledge of what products are better than others.