Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Common Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make After Moving In

First-time homebuyers can be even more excited as they finally have purchased a home of their own. There have probably been years of built up dreams for all of the things they want to do to a home when they settle in and make it their own. However, there is a typical pattern of mistakes that they can often make as they execute some changes. Here are some common things that are done so you can avoid them.

The wrong decor

One common mistake is choosing the wrong decor that goes against the style of your home. For example, if your home is a mid century modern by its design, you should avoid going with Victorian traditional decor where it will clash.

Not testing paint colors first

This is very important to do exactly where you will be painting. For example, color swatches may look nice when looking at them inside the store or inside your home, but if they are going to be for the exterior of your home then look at them outdoors in the natural light. Do test spots on the house with sample jars first.

Mismatching furniture

It can be tempting to purchase a chair that is nice looking and in your budget. However, think about all of the items you have and consider how it will go with your existing theme. Some things can be accent pieces or pushed, but make sure they complement each other well so they don’t look out of place.

Throwing out too much

It is easy to get excited and want to start fresh when you move into your new home. Some think about getting rid of all of their old furniture and getting new pieces once moving in. However, not only can this get expensive but you may find you could use select pieces like a bookshelf for example to fill in some space. Start with what you have and then make edits as you go.

Pretty versus practical

Always prioritize necessities first before simple wants. Be sure your home’s major systems are in good working order and take care of any needed servicing before spending money on a nicer looking bathroom vanity or the like. You will need money on hand for the important stuff first.

Impulse buying versus planned

Some buyers will simply make a purchase of a furniture item solely because they like it at the moment. Other things need to be considered though like measurements to see that it will fit in the room, get up the stairs, etc. for example. Make a plan before you set out and go shopping for best results.

 

Inexpensive Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Today, many homeowners are interested in ideas for things that increase the value of their homes especially if they can do them on a budget. Certain home improvement projects can be done yourself which will save you more money while making your home an even nicer place to live. Regardless of if you are interested in giving your home a facelift or if you are prepping for a sale, here is a list of DIY ideas that can increase the value of your property.

Paint – A room that is freshly painted using a neutral palette will not only look presentable but will also appeal to a larger audience if you are considering a sale. Lighter and brighter colors for smaller rooms can help create an illusion for more space.

Window Treatments – Don’t invest in the cheapest blinds possible, consider upgrading to nicer wood blinds or even fabric drapes with decorative hardware. The enhanced function can oftentimes bring color and elevated style into your room’s decor. 

Front Door – Is your front door plain and lackluster? Consider upgrading it to a decorative one with detail or a glass insert. This is one of the first and last things that all buyers will see when they preview your home.

Fixtures – Update your dated or worn fixtures. This can include switch plates, outlet covers, doorknobs, curtains and light fixtures. These items can be inexpensive but bring your home into modern day looking fresh. 

Closet Systems – An organized closet will appear larger and more spacious. Consider installing  a storage system that will keep all of your belongings organized. 

Ceiling fans – Keep your air fresh and circulating by adding in ceiling fans. This can provide enhanced aesthetics while the function is an added value for keeping things cool. 

Bathrooms – Don’t forget your bathroom fixtures. Old and outdated fixtures can really make your bathroom look tired. Towel bars, shower heads and even vanity hardware can all make a difference when replaced with new styles. 

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

Door Mat – It may sound insignificant, but a large and new door mat will give a warm and welcoming introduction of your home. 

Hardware – Old hardware can make your cabinets appear dated and sometimes cheap. For not a lot of money you can purchase some modern knobs and pulls that will give the whole room a much needed improvement. 

 

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Selecting the best neighborhood for you goes hand in hand with finding the right home to purchase. Many buyers will weigh features such as public transit, school ratings and proximity to parks. Other factors including budget, taxes, assessed values and operating costs will also be considered.  However, while some of these factors are important there are other things that you may want to consider as you learn if a neighborhood is right for you. Here are a few tips to assist you in your search. 

High barriers to entry: The zoning restrictions for a community and patterns for development can be a good indicator for what to expect for the future. In other words, communities that are more strict and preserve their culture are typically more desirable places to live.

Pricing predictability: An effective approach for forecasting how a home will retain its value is to see how it has performed in past cycles. It certainly is not possible to exactly anticipate how the future will affect pricing, but you can definitely see historic data and trends that may show how well an area will weather a volatile market. 

Rate of homeownership: Another helpful gauge is the percentage of owner-occupied homes in the neighborhood. Generally speaking, owner occupied dwellings are more likely to be upgraded over time. These improvements add value while creating stronger ties within the community. 

Safety: Communities with a higher rate of owner occupants also result in safer communities as residents become more invested in their neighborhoods. Research has found that there is a link between above average rates of homeownership and lower than average crime rates. For a full crime report visit the local police station in your neighborhood of consideration. 

Historical context: Long term residents and businesses in a neighborhood often feel a sense of pride in preserving their community. Historic preservation can help maintain a neighborhood’s character and value as we have seen in select areas across the United States. 

A wise idea is to spend just a few hours perusing public records and meeting neighbors. A small investment of your time can be very valuable in making a smart purchase. 

 

3 Tips For First Time Buyers

Buying your first home is a big decision and certainly comes with a lot of excitement. At times it can seem overwhelming but rest assured it can have the power to change your life for the better. If you are considering buying a home in the near future, here are three things that can help arm you with some helpful information as you pursue your dream home.

1- Consider all housing options due to low inventory

Today’s real estate market has more buyers than available homes across the landscape as many are well aware. When this is the case it is wise to consider all of your home style options to open up your pool of options. As a few examples you may have your heart set on a single family home, but condos and townhomes can sometimes be more affordable especially as a first time buyer. Regular maintenance and upkeep are all taken care of for you.

2- Calculate your ideal down payment and add some padding

While it may be true that a down payment is a good chunk of money, it doesn’t mean that you have to put more than 20% down. In fact, data from NAR (National Association of Realtors) shows that the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% in over 15 years. In reality it has been more like 13% which could mean you may not have to save quite as much as you may have thought. In addition, there are also some down payment assistance programs and some loan options only require 3.5% down. There is the advantage of not paying PMI with 20% down but check with your lender about what options are available to you.

3- Work with professionals

When you are ready to start the process, reach out to a real estate professional such as myself. I can guide you through the steps of what is required beginning with getting pre-approved with a trusted lender. Next we can discuss your needs and compare that to what the local market trends are showing so that we can find you the best home possible. 

The Basics Of Making an Offer

Crafting your offer is like crafting a proposal basically. There are all of the things that you are hoping for like purchase price as well as all of the legal things that you need to have in there to cover each party. Here is a breakdown of all of the necessary items you will want to have addressed. 

What to include

It is important to cover all of the necessary basics in your offer because if it is accepted then it acts as the blueprint for the sale going forward. Make sure you have these items addressed:

-Address

-Sale Price

-Terms (cash v. finance)

-Seller providing clear title

-Closing date

-Earnest money amount

-How taxes, utilities, etc are prorated

-Define who will pay for services like title insurance, survey etc.

-Final walkthrough

-Time frame for offer expiration

-Contingencies

Contingencies

You can make your offer contingent upon a few things but the most common are the following:

-Financing. You will have to secure specific financing by a lender in an agreed upon time. If you cannot, then you will not be bound by the contract. 

-Home inspection. The property should be inspected within a certain amount of time after the accepted offer. If not, the contract will become void so make sure these dates are recorded appropriately.

So what happens next? You have a binding contract if the seller accepts your terms. If they agree to all but perhaps just one or two things like the price, then you may receive a written counteroffer. This can go back and forth and will become binding when both parties agree to terms. Unless a seller accepts the terms as they stand exactly, they do jeopardize losing the deal should they counteroffer. This is a window of opportunity for a buyer to walk away should they wish.

Who pays for what is often defined by local custom but can be negotiated as well. These items may include:

-Termite inspection

-Survey

-Buyer closing costs

-Repairs required by lender

While sellers may feel these are not their responsibility, a contribution from them may help ease a deal through. Not all buyers, especially first time buyers, are often short on cash.

 

Key Items To Inspect Before Purchasing A Home

When you finally find the home of your dreams it can be tempting to rush right into the purchase especially during competitive times like these. However, don’t skirt your opportunity to do a professional inspection of the home before you solidify the deal. This will help you know exactly what you are getting into and potentially further negotiate should any larger problems become uncovered. 

Foundation

A home cannot survive without a stable and intact foundation. A professional home inspector will determine whether the foundation is solid and secure both inside and outside. Signs of crumbling mortar, gaps or deteriorating blocks are red flags that the structure may start to lean or shift. If the ground slopes toward the foundation, that means water runoff could collect around your home and seep into the structure causing further issues.

Plumbing

An overview of the plumbing is also something that should be checked. Water lines should be inspected along with a check for water stains or wet spots on walls or ceilings which could be a sign of an issue. Signs for both plumbing issues as well as any water coming in from outside should be looked for so you know what you are dealing with.

HVAC

The HVAC system should be in proper working order and preferably not nearing the end of its life span. An inspection of the system will reveal whether it is fully operational or will need to be replaced within the next few years. You may request the current owner’s utility bills to see if the systems are energy efficient, and if not, you may want to consider installing new ones to save you money and a potential headache should it break soon.

Roof

The roof is another area to be examined carefully since repairs or replacements can be costly. Have the home inspector check for missing or damaged roofing elements as well as any problems with the gutters or downspouts. There should be permit info available so you can see how old the roof is and when to anticipate replacement.