Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

7 Things About Purchasing A Home in Fall

The spring typically marks a busy time for many with some receiving tax returns that they use for larger purchases. Some will purchase cars or get married and others will start their search for a new home. However, lately the fall has become just as popular for many of these activities. Similar to how October has become more popular than June for weddings, it can be just as an ideal time to purchase a new home.

Here are some reasons as to why the fall can be a perfect time to purchase real estate.

Tax breaks
Even though paying income tax is unavoidable, you can lower your taxes by becoming a homeowner. “Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December,” says David Hryck, a New York, NY tax adviser, lawyer, and personal finance expert. “Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.”

Less Competition
With demand being so high as many buyers are active these days, it has been challenging to find enough housing stock to accommodate the demand. However, once the fall has arrived, school has started and many buyers with children typically drop out of the search as they don’t like to make a move during the school year. Also, the fall can potentially include homes that were previously listed in spring and didn’t sell for one reason or another. These homes can sometimes be repositioned for the fall market now with sellers who are more motivated to sell before the holidays.

Sellers are worn-out
Some sellers who have listed their home in spring and haven’t sold are often more motivated to sell come fall. Perhaps they were too aggressive with their pricing and now they are eager to sell in fall market so they are not stuck with carrying the home through the end of the year as they wait for the next spring.

Sellers are serious
Properties that are listed in the fall are typically available then as the homeowner needs to sell. It may be time for them to sell due to a job relocation or similar. “The sellers with houses on the market in the fall tend to be serious,” says Sam Heskel, president of Nadlan Valuation, an appraisal management company in Brooklyn, NY. “That means sellers could be more open to negotiating and accepting a lower offer.”

Fall is a safer season
Robberies also have peak seasons says Sarah Brown, a home safety expert for SafeWise.com. “July and August are prime months for burglaries to take place,” she says. “Waiting until the fall [to buy] gives you an advantage when learning about a home and the neighborhood.” You’ll be settled in your home and can take precautions — like setting up that new alarm system, installing motion sensor lights, etc. before the next burglary season approaches.

You get more attention from service companies
Spring and summer markets are typically busier seasons so you will also have more competition in the way of service providers. From your mortgage agent to your home inspector you will have less competing buyers in the fall which will allow you to rank higher up on the list for attention and service.

Take advantage of year end sales
Even if your new home is move-in ready, there are still going to be things that you will want to purchase as you settle in. Perhaps you want fresh window treatments or living room furnishings to fit better with the style of the home. Many times at the end of the year retailers are offering great deals and sales as they try to make their numbers by year’s end.

Realtor.com Forecasts Hottest Fall Market in 10 Years

As we come off of a summer that was replete with immense demand and increasing prices, the real estate market is forming to be the hottest in 10 years according to recent monthly data on inventory and demand on Realtor.com. Homes that were for sale in the month of September were selling 4% faster than last year regardless of prices continuing to be on the rise.

According to data on Realtor.com, the median age of listings, which indicates the inventory on the market, was projected to be 77 days for September – three days less than what we saw in 2015. Total inventory levels are lower than last year with less than 450,000 new listings being brought on to the market in the month of September.

The median home price has increased by 9% over 2015 as it continues this year’s record setting trend by marking a new high for September.

“House hunters who were shut out this summer because of fierce competition could fare better this fall, with more opportunities to buy and mortgage rates still near all-time lows,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com® chief economist. “But don’t expect bargains—prices haven’t come down from this summer’s record highs. Overall, the fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the traditionally slower sales season, and pent-up demand remains substantial as buyers seek to get a home under contract while rates remain so low.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, has shared that the limited supply levels have taken the momentum out of the housing market that we had experienced earlier this year. “Contract activity slackened throughout the country in August except for in the Northeast, where higher inventory totals are giving home shoppers greater options and better success signing a contract,” he said.

Yun expects existing-home sales in 2016 to be around 5.36 million, a 2.1 percent increase from 2015 and the highest annual pace since 2006 (6.48 million). The national median existing-home price growth is anticipated this year to increase around 4 percent.

As mortgage rates are remaining at all time lows coupled with strong buyer demand, the real estate market this fall is a great time to buy and sell.

Home Sales Up in South Florida

Home sales have increased as prices continue to rise in South Florida according to local Realtor boards. Broward County had seen 1,658 sales of single families in August which was a 9% increase over last year according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. This improvement comes after a slight decline earlier in the summer in July.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach County had an increase of 12% over last year and Miami-Dade County sales were up by 9% which was in fact the county’s best August on record.

“Homes that are presented well and fixed up are still selling very quickly,” said Howard Elfman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. “If you don’t jump on it, somebody else will.”

Along with sales volume, median prices also increased in the tri-county region. Broward County saw a median price escalate by 6% while Palm Beach County’s rose by 7%. Miami-Dade followed with a 15% increase.

Despite a small increase in listings, the market remains competitive, said Judy Ramella, president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. She said some buyers are losing two or three homes to higher offers before they realize how the game is played.

“There are still so many more buyers out there than inventory,” she said.

Palm Beach County had 6,808 listings in August which was up 6% from last year. The county had a 4.6 month supply of inventory, meaning it would take that long to sell all the homes if no additional properties were listed for sale. A balanced market has six months of inventory, most real estate agents say.

By comparison, Broward listings are more scarce. Inventory had dropped 11% in August yielding a 3.7 month supply of housing stock at 5,395 homes. Listings south of $500,000 are especially harder to come by. Properties in the higher end segment of the market provide more of a selection for buyers.

Condominium sales had inched up 7% in August in Broward County coupled with a 9% increase in median price as the summer market had come to an end.

How to Save Money on Your Next Home

There are a lot of moving parts involved when you are purchasing property. Aside from the time spent looking at homes, there is also a lot of planning and paperwork. The last thing you want to worry about is spending even more money than you have to. Here are 5 tips on how you can save when purchasing your next home.

Always Hire a Real Estate Agent
A big mistake some people can make is to purchase a home without a licensed real estate agent. An agent adds tremendous value based on all of their experience. Not only can they assist with the paperwork, but their experience in the local market will aid you in your negotiations. As not all deals are straight-forward, an agent can help maneuver a transaction so that it closes.

Avoid PMI
For buyers with down payments that are less than 20% of the home’s value, private mortgage insurance will be added to your monthly mortgage payment. If you can afford to put down at least 20% you will avoid this fee being added on top of your principal, interest, taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

Reduce Property Tax
There are a few ways to reduce your property tax. If you feel that your assessed value of your home is high, you can request a review. Sometimes this can work in reducing the value and the amount of your taxes after an inspection is completed. In addition, many areas offer a reduced tax for owners who occupy the home. If you reside in the home full time, be sure to see if your town offers this and complete the necessary paperwork on time.

Shop Around for Insurance
Just like you can shop around for auto insurance for your car, you can do that for your homeowner’s policy for your property. It is worth investing some time into searching for a company that can offer you the best rates and coverage. Bundle packages also can be found with discounts when you add auto insurance to the plan.

Additional Mortgage Payments
If you are financially comfortable enough to do so, pay a little more each month towards your principal and you can end up saving thousands of dollars over the course of the mortgage while reducing your term.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Aims to Create Hip and Fun Vibe

Fort Lauderdale’s downtown neighborhood of Flagler Village has been on the radar of many millennials, developers and entrepreneurs due to its rapid growth. The ideal location that is adjacent to the downtown workforce offers a prime spot for many to live and work with a walkable commute. Now the area is striving to complete its mix to include shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

“Flagler Village should be that fun, hip, energized, live-work-play area in Fort Lauderdale,” said David Cardaci, who owns a Mexican restaurant in a converted auto-body shop, and a funky bar that serves drinks from an airstream RV.

The village spans across 250 acres from the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks to Federal Highway south of Sunrise Boulevard. Walking events to lure in the public are being formed by FAT (Flagler Arts and Technology) as well as MASS (Music and Arts South of Sunrise). The groups share common goals of trying to bring more food and drink establishments into the area.

“We want to help take down the cultural desert and bring more of an oasis to the area,” Lagi said.

Eli Goldshtein who owns a production company in a space on Northeast Fourth Avenue is planning on converting a warehouse into a venue that can host live concerts, corporate gatherings and social events.

“It’s more like a community-driven thing,” Goldshtein said. “We see what’s happening and we’re really happy to be part of it.”

Flagler Village is booming right now with 16 developments that are in some stage of review or construction. These projects total over 3,300 residences and more than 700 hotel rooms. Residences are being designed to appeal to millennials that offer affordable spaces with easy access to shopping and entertainment. Construction of the Wave, an electric streetcar system that will run through the neighborhood, will begin next year that shall help those interested in public transport rather than by personal car.

With all of the buzz and building that is happening the neighborhood is quickly becoming developed which is adding the much needed density for businesses to open up shop and thrive. Many of the remaining parcels are quickly being purchased for their hopeful opportunities.

“You can drive around this whole area and you see these houses and buildings and you think, ‘That would make a great bar or restaurant,'” Cardaci said. “I’d say 95 percent of those buildings are already spoken for.”

The next area that is speculated for expansion is westward. However, for now, Flagler Village is where all of the focus is.

What Does a Buyer’s Agent Do?

The real estate market has changed quite a bit over the last decade. Technology and the internet has made things a lot easier for consumers to begin the home buying process with information available online. This has been helpful for consumers in some cases, but with the amount of information out there also comes misleading and stale data that can be confusing.

The only way to get accurate information is by hiring a full time and professional real estate agent. They will be the true reliable source of current trends and expert advice on every step during the home buying process.

A good buyer’s agent should not only provide you with market information and property search results, but also go above and beyond as your primary real estate resource. To elaborate on this, here is a list of what you should expect from your buyer’s agent.

  • Educate buyer on the local real estate market conditions, prices and trends.
  • Provide advice during the entire home purchase process based on buyer’s needs.
  • Find active properties that suit buyer’s needs and wants the most. In addition, provide information about schools, tax rates and amenities that fit the buyer’s lifestyle.
  • Understand buyer’s needs, wants and reason for moving.
  • Offer advice on different potential neighborhoods that may be options for consideration especially if there are any financial constraints.
  • Assist buyers in narrowing down their options as they sift through property possibilities.
  • Help manage negotiations during the offer and counteroffer process.
  • Explain all legal documents involved in offer and contract.
  • Provide insight and guidance with inspections.
  • Offer counsel on addressing any needed repairs.
  • Offer resources for contractors, movers and other professionals needed.
  • Attend the closing to ensure all of the buyer’s interests are protected.

The process of buying a home has several moving parts that are involved. The purchase of real estate is typically among the largest that one will ever make so hiring a trusted professional is imperative for a successful transaction.