Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

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.

Summer Sales Volume Doesn’t Effect Rising Home Prices

The summer real estate market in many regions of the country typically has a slow down by comparison to spring. This year South Florida had seen a slight dip in the number of transactions in July although the softer month didn’t hurt prices.

According to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County had a slight dip in single family home sales by 15% compared to July of 2015. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors shared that Broward County also had a slight dip by 11% when compared to this time last year and Miami Dade County had a 16% decrease according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

Despite the slight percentage change home values have remained steady for July. In fact, the median price increased between 3% and 8% in the tri-county areas.

The shortage of inventory levels continues especially in Broward County. The supply shortage is measured at being down 12% in July compared with July of 2015.

The lack of homes that are available for sale could be playing a role in the slight dip we are experiencing in the number of monthly sales.

So what does this mean as we are entering fall market? It does remain to be seen. With an election coming up we can anticipate that there could be a small hiccup towards the end of the year. However, we cannot overlook that employment has been strong with more jobs being created at faster rates this past summer. In addition, mortgage rates have still been consistently hovering at extreme lows around 3.5% for an average 30 year fixed loan.

The low rates will continue to create a sense of urgency that buyers will want to take advantage of. For others, life changes and the need to move will always be there – and with fall market, many are eager to get their transaction complete and get settled before the holiday season.

Common Home Buyer Oversights

Purchasing a new home is like buying a new car. Both are large ticket items and typically create a very exciting time of your life. However, as a real estate purchase will likely be one of the most expensive things you will buy in your lifetime, it is crucial that you don’t overlook some very important steps before you submit any offers to purchase. Here are some common oversights that you want to be sure you don’t fall victim to.

Homeownership Expenses
“People focus so much on mortgage payments and closing costs,” says Brendon DeSimone, author of “Next Generation Real Estate. “What they don’t realize, until after the fact, is that there are expenses like oil or propane and landscaping that are built into home ownership.”

Buyers should forecast all expenses that go into caring for the home. Sometimes operating costs are made available by the seller which can help you budget. Some finance experts also recommend that you set aside 1% of the home’s value per year for repairs and maintenance.

Failing to Consider Resale Value
Not many buyers stay in their homes for decades anymore. When purchasing your home, consult with your realtor about neighborhood trends and comps. This can help you see how things are selling and what this particular home may sell for in years to come. The home may be a perfect fit for you today, but if your situation changes you want to be sure you can sell when that time comes.

Not Researching the Neighborhood
Aside from making sure that the location works for schools, proximity to work and necessary services, it is a good idea to go above and beyond. It is recommended that you visit the neighborhood many times during different times of day. It is also wise to talk to the neighbors to get an accurate feel for the area.

Failing to Research the Homeowners Association
“Never close on a home without doing serious due diligence on the homeowners association,” says DeSimone. Many HOAs can be well structured and supportive, but there have been reports of a few cases where homeowners have not agreed on issues. Also, you will want to know if there are a lot of delinquent homeowners because “if there is an upcoming assessment, or there are delinquent homeowners, the HOA and you will have to cough up the money to cover it,” DeSimone says.

More Apartments Planned off Federal Highway

A 34,000+ square foot parking lot at the corner of Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 20th Avenue in Pompano was just sold by 225 North Federal Highway LLC, managed by Scott Brenner of Brenner Real Estate Group in Fort Lauderdale. The buyer of the $5 million site off of Federal Highway is Pompano Atlantic LLC, an affiliate of Coral Gables based developer, Meyers Group.

The property was recently approved by Pompano Beach for an 8-story, 147 unit apartment building of over 160,000 square feet. Design was provided by RLC Architects.

Alan Losada, Meyers Group COO, stated that his firm will make some improvements to the design of the apartments, although the scope of the project will remain somewhat the same. Plans to begin breaking ground are slated for the first quarter of 2017,

“We think it’s an up-and-coming area,” Losada said. “There’s a lot happening right now there on the beach with new construction and restaurants…U.S. 1 has seen a lot of improvements with new shopping centers and a new LA Fitness.”

Brenner’s entity, 225 North Federal Highway LLC owns the office building and bank at 225 and 301 North Federal Highway.

The real estate market continues to offer slim inventory for those in search of purchasing homes. For others, many are not in the position to buy their home just yet whether it is down payment challenges or simply not being ready for longer term homeownership. With the rising costs of real estate, many millennials and empty nesters are looking for options that are easily attainable like one would find in an apartment rental. As rents increase in more traditionally downtown neighborhoods, areas like Pompano offer great convenience, proximity to beaches and local services and are becoming prime destinations for those in need of good quality housing.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Caters to Boomers, Millennials and Developers

We have seen the trend in many parts of the country, downtown urban areas emerging as hot destinations for millennials and empty nesters in search of an active lifestyle. Here in Fort Lauderdale, the empty lots, warehouses and run down housing is disappearing quickly as developers move in to create housing.

A few years ago the revitalization of Flagler Village, the area west of U.S. 1 and between Broward and Sunrise Boulevards, began with FAT Village (Flagler Arts and Technology). An area of older warehouses were converted into performance spaces, hip businesses and galleries that are appealing to millennials.

Since then, developers have followed and there are 42 projects either in planning stages or are under construction for the 300 acre neighborhood. Many are rentals which are targeting the young professionals, but some are condo projects. Flagler 626 is a 12-story condo tower on NE First Avenue which will offer 97 units, including 3 townhomes, at an average of $350 per square foot. Flagler 626 is nearing completion of the approval process and is being developed by BRYL Development, LLC and designed ty Stewart Robin of Nest Plan. The project will offer studios, one and two bedrooms that range in size from 671 SF to 1,580 SF.

Morgan Group who is based in Texas has many projects in the Flagler area. Earlier this year they sold the Edge at Flagler Village to TIAA for $114.4 million. The Edge is a 332 unit apartment complex on North Federal Highway. In addition, Miami based Related Group developed and sold the Manor at Flagler Village for $149 million last year.

With more and more residents moving into the district, commercial demand will follow suit where older buildings can be repurposed into office spaces and the like. Public transportation will also be a key factor in the success of the development for the area. All Aboard Florida is slated to launch its Brightline in 2017 with service between Orlando and Miami. A stop in Flagler Village will be created for the line.

Nearby in North Bay Village, the informal name of the area to the east on Las Olas Blvd, new developments of luxury condo projects are emerging like Gale Residences, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Auberge Beach Residences & Spa and Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach. These upscale residences are catering to the empty nesters who may be living outside of the city and looking to sell the larger home for an exciting lifestyle downtown by the beach.