Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Six Ways for Homeowners to Save with Taxes this Year

The spring is typically a time when most everyone has taxes on their mind. For some of us, this can mean making final payments while others will be lucky enough to receive a nice refund check. Regardless of your particular situation, one thing we all have in common is we all have to pay our taxes. Here are 6 things that you can take full advantage of when you are preparing your next return.

Home Office – If you don’t already have a home office, you may want to invest in creating one. Having an office allows you to take a tax deduction in a couple of ways. You can do this with the simple method of $5 per square foot or you can calculate a percentage of your home’s electric bills and expenses. However, you must use the office regularly and exclusively for work as well as record your expenses by keeping receipts.

Pay Property Tax early – This can work to your advantage for whichever year you may need to take a larger deduction. For example, you may get your tax bill in December with a due in late January. Pay it in December if you need a larger deduction for that year, or don’t pay it until January if you estimate that you will need a larger deduction in the following year.

Solar Panels – “You can take a credit of up to 30%, with no cap, on the equipment and installation costs of solar energy panels and solar water heaters you purchase in 2017,” says Jacob Dayan, partner and co-founder of This equipment must be used to heat water or power either your primary or second home. This cannot be used for a luxury item such as a pool or spa.

HELOC for improvements – If you are going to be building an addition or doing a significant remodel, consider taking out a home equity line of credit. The interest on the loan is tax deductible which means that the upgrades can be a lot cheaper for you.

Home Improvement Receipts – Make sure that you keep records and receipts of improvements that you make to your home. Any significant improvement like a kitchen remodel, new roof or furnace can be used against your capital gains taxes you may have to pay when you sell the home.

Pay Points – If you intend on buying a home this year or think you will be refinancing, then you could save on taxes in terms of points. Points are also known as loan origination fees or discount points which is prepaid interest. If you are going to be purchasing a home, then you can deduct them for the year that you make the purchase. If you are just refinancing, then you can deduct them over the whole term of the new loan.

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Luxury Living Developments Emerge in Fort Lauderdale

If you in the market for a home in South Florida, don’t overlook Fort Lauderdale. The area is no longer just a spring break destination as it is chock full of superb dining, shopping, entertainment, arts and now luxury condo living. Here are 9 new luxury developments that are emerging in Fort Lauderdale.

The Residences at W Fort Lauderdale
All 171 unit owners can enjoy the luxury services of the W Hotel while residing in these homes featuring Italian cabinetry, stone counters, entertainment systems and more. Priced from $730,000 to $1,500,000 these homes are available for immediate occupancy.

100 Las Olas
Soon to be Fort Lauderdale’s tallest tower, this 46-story building will feature 121 residences and a 238-room Hyatt Centric hotel. Homes feature Nolte cabinets with quartz countertops, Jenn-Air appliances, and Grohe and Kohler plumbing fixtures. Common amenities include an observation deck, a fitness center, pool, cabanas and a club room. Delivery is projected in fall 2019. Priced from $800,000.

321 Water’s Edge
321 at Water’s Edge will have an exclusive 23 waterfront homes, ranging in size from 2,800 to 3,800 square feet. Designer kitchens boast custom Italian cabinets, Hansgrohe fixtures, quartz countertops, and Gaggenau appliances. Building amenities include a chic lobby, a private wine club and lounge with personal wine storage, fitness center as well as a waterfront pool and a private marina. Projected completion will be December 2018 with prices from $1.95 million to $3.5 million.

Auberge Beach Residences and Spa
This development features two towers on 450 linear feet of beachfront land offering 171 units. The development’s North Tower, with a glass-encased lobby and a restaurant from a Michelin-starred chef, is slated for completion by the end of 2017, while the South Tower, with a world-class spa, is expected to be finished by mid-2018. Priced from $1.5 million to $9.8 million.

Botaniko Weston
Spread out on 121 acres, Botaniko boasts 125 single-family homes with 5 to 7 bedrooms each varying from 6,500 to 9,700 square feet. These homes boast modern interior-design schemes by V-Starr Interiors, the firm led by tennis champion Venus Williams. Estimated delivery will be in the fourth quarter of 2017. Priced from $1.9 million.

Coral Ridge Country Club
Enclave is perfectly situated on 22 acres within Coral Ridge Country Club, the Enclave is comprised of 36 single-family homes at a championship golf course. Renowned builders include Bomar Builders and Grey Door Luxury Homes, however you can choose your own builder as long as they get approval from the homeowners association. Residents can apply for membership in the country club, with amenities including a pool, dining, and tennis courts as well as the 18-hole golf course. Priced from $800,000 to $1.4 million.

Ocean Resort Residences
This development has 290 units which are fully furnished including features such as curved screen televisions, spacious private balconies, marble entry foyers, and kitchens with Sub- Zero and Wolf appliances. Amenities include a pool, cabanas, a poolside restaurant and bar, fitness center, a Conrad-branded spa, and an on-site gourmet market for convenient shopping. Priced from $400,000.

Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach
Adjoining the beautiful gardens of Bonnet House, this 95-unit development boasts townhomes and penthouses as well as traditional condominium units. The homes contain semi-private elevators, gourmet kitchens with Italkraft cabinets, quartz countertops, and appliances by brands such as Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Bosch; and wine storage. The building also includes an oceanfront restaurant, a club room with a private dining room, fitness center, a pool with food and beverage service, and concierge services making it luxury complete. Completion is set for this summer with available units priced from $1.2 million.

This 100-unit luxury condominium building is the first on Middle River in Fort Lauderdale with 15 stories. Riva has a private club for residents, fitness center, club room, exhibition kitchen, spa, private wine lockers, pool, cabanas, and dog walk. Completion is slated for late summer 2017 and priced from $700,000 to $2.65 million.

6 Ways a Home Purchase can Fall Through

There can be a lot of excitement when purchasing a home as you are envisioning your new life in this property, but it is important to keep your emotions at bay while you stay on track with the steps of the sale. Home purchases can and do in fact fall through at times and according to the National Association of Realtors, 1 in 16 deals do not close. Why do these deals falling apart? Here are some of the top reasons so that you can avoid them.

Changes in credit
Your credit can fluctuate throughout the course of a deal. Things like a missed payment, opening up a new credit card, making a large purchase all can have an affect on your credit score. Make sure you are making your payments on time and avoid making any large purchases so you don’t jeopardize your eligibility for a mortgage.

Home Inspection
A home inspection is always a wise thing to do. Keep in mind that no property is perfect and most will have something come up even if it is relatively minor. Try to keep things in perspective if there are necessary repairs. For more significant issues, you may try negotiating with the sellers to see if they will work with you on the issue.

Failure to get pre-approved
Every buyer should connect with a reputable mortgage agent before they even begin their home search. Only a mortgage agent will be able to provide you with a pre-approval letter that lists the amount that you can afford. This letter is also helpful to accompany offers so that sellers know they are working with a qualified buyer.

Running out of funds
Your downpayment is not the only thing that you will need to have cash for. In addition, there are miscellaneous moving expenses, potential repairs and closing costs at the very least. Your mortgage broker can provide you with a good faith estimate for what you will need regarding monies that are directly related to the deal.

Loss of perspective
Sometimes even the smallest things can get blown out of proportion. Keeping in constant communication with everyone can help avoid many of these potential issues. Don’t lose sight of the big picture as well as sometimes the smaller issues really don’t matter so much in the end.

Cold feet
Buyers many times get emotional and excited during the home search and offer process. Once the inspection report is complete and is followed by paperwork and writing checks the purchase becomes a true reality. In the end, homeownership is worth it as you build equity in the home that you will begin making new memories in.

The Fort Lauderdale Boom

The city of Fort Lauderdale was once well known for being a popular vacation and spring break destination for many. However, today the landscape is changing with more and more people relocating to officially call it a permanent home.

Home prices continue to rise with low inventory with the swelling population as part of the equation. According to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors Association, single family homes listed for sale in particular have declined by 7.2% between January of 2016 and January of 2017. Multifamilies also declined but by a more modest 2.9% for the same time frame.

Fort Lauderdale attracts many people for different reasons. Some find Florida’s west coast a bit too slow, while others find cities like Miami a bit too much. Fort Lauderdale offers the right pace with much to offer. Among the best parts is the boating lifestyle. There are many marinas, homes with deep water frontage and plenty of coastline to travel.

Companies who are based here include AutoNation, Hotwire Communications and Citrix Systems. These companies benefit from a diverse pool of labor, a great location for domestic and international markets as well as favorable tax incentives. Recently the Canadian pharmaceutical company, Apotex, shared that they would be opening a development center and packaging facility in nearby Miramar. Other firms such as Magic Leap, a virtual reality startup are also expanding here which is drawing more people to the area. In fact, Fort Lauderdale’s population in 2016 was just over 180,000 and is forecast to increase to nearly 195,000 in the next 4 years by 2021 according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

For those who see the value in Fort Lauderdale, it can be a great find. By comparison, it is less expensive than Miami which is just a half an hour south. Many developments are being erected, especially on the higher end of the market to cater to the draw of buyers looking for luxury and turnkey housing. To accommodate the population increase, Mass transit will also be enhanced with the new Brightline express train service running between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm launching this summer. Service to Orlando will also be expanded in the next few years making mobility very easy between the major cities.

The continued interest and widespread investment in infrastructure shows that Fort Lauderdale is certainly a hot spot on the rise.

New Buildings Reshape Fort Lauderdale’s Skyline

New buildings are springing up in the Fort Lauderdale area and the city’s skyline is taking on a new landscape. Take a look at the various parts of the city and you will notice that cranes have been a part of the views as many new construction projects are flourishing across town.

One of the most significant developments is named 100 Las Olas and it is scheduled to be the tallest tower in Fort Lauderdale at nearly 500 feet.

“Fort Lauderdale is coming into a transformation from the retail standpoint and of course, a residential standpoint,” Peggy Fucci, a real estate strategist, said.

Jack Seiler, Fort Lauderdale Mayor, was recently attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the tower. The development is slated to include a hotel, over 120 residential units as well as 8,500 square feet of retail space. “We’re trying to create a very walkable, livable, 24/7 live, work, play downtown and I think these buildings are helping to deliver that,” Seiler said.

Down the street to the east you will find the next prominent building amidst the changing skyline. Las Olas Condominium Tower is located next to the Federal Highway Tunnel and best of all is conveniently just steps from countless restaurants and shops. An ideal setting where you can access endless entertainment options outside your door without needing to use your car.

Another new project is Gale Residences, Fort Lauderdale Beach. This development is currently in the works and is scheduled for completion in 2018. Perks of this residential tower include nearly 130 units with views of both the beach as well as the intracoastal.

“We’re not trying to be any other city, we’re just trying to be the best city we can be,” Seiler said.

Finding The Perfect Home Within Your Budget

As your real estate expert, I know that it can be difficult to find the home of your dreams while staying within the confines of your budget. However, sticking to your budget while working in some strategies can help you find the right home that fits your needs. Here are some tips on how to go about house hunting efficiently.

Identify your budget
Put time aside to sit down and record your monthly income less your expenses using some real number calculations. Factor in whether you are purchasing this property on your own or with a spouse or partner. It is a wise idea to give yourself a monthly padding between your income and expenses so that you are not financially stressed.

Hire an experienced real estate agent
Working with a professional and experienced real estate agent with years of expertise will help you search for potential properties using your criteria of budget, location, size and needs. A good agent will be able to find these more efficiently while giving you with advice. I can assist you locally, but if you are looking in other areas allow me to connect you with a professional in the location of interest.

Picking a Location
It is always best to focus on a location that you know well. This could be a neighborhood that you grew up in, visited often or is highly regarded by most as a hot spot. Select an area that you know has the amenities that you need like local services or the right school system. A location that has possibilities for growth or has a highly rated school system can be a great 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. Don’t pack or pay movers to relocate items that you really don’t need. Also, these items may take up valuable storage space in your new home that could be better used. Contemplate having a yard sale or even donating items to charity and reap the benefits of the tax deduction.