Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

South Florida Sales Going to Foreign Buyers

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Foreign buyers have been playing an enormous part in representing sales in the South Florida residential market. According to a recent survey by the Miami Association of Realtors, foreign buyers made up 36% of the dollar value of home sales and accounted for 22% of unit sales or 10,600 homes. Foreign buyers paid an average of $590,000, compared to the market average of $329,869 and in many cases, approximately 75% of all of their transactions were cash deals.

The survey covered Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties for 12 months ending August 2015. The astounding dollar figure was $6.1 billion in home sales to foreign buyers.

The majority of sales were in Miami at 78.9% of the total. Broward was runner up at 18% with Palm Beach at 2.7% and Martin ringing in at .3%. The Miami Association study found that 14 percent of foreign home purchases in South Florida were for above $1 million.

“Miami members have unparalleled access to foreign buyers compared to the rest of the country,” said Mark Sadek, chairman of the Board of the Miami Association. “Miami and South Florida attract foreign buyers unlike any other U.S. market and increasingly from a more diverse group of countries.”

Time will tell should this trend remain at this magnitude in the market. The U.S. dollar has been strengthening making it more expensive for foreign buyers to purchase real estate. The recent survey stated that 37% of realtors said this had a moderate effect on buyers while 53% said it was a very significant effect.

According to the study, the top five countries of origin for foreign home buyers in Miami were:

  1. Venezuela
  2. Brazil
  3. Argentina
  4. Colombia
  5. Italy and Mexico

The top countries of origin for foreign buyers in Broward were:

  1. Canada and Venezuela
  2. Colombia
  3. Argentina
  4. Brazil
  5. India and Russia

Foreign buyers in Palm Beach county were primarily from Canada and Brazil.

The property of choice for these buyers were condos for 52% of the transactions. The majority of them were not relocating as 71% claim to use the property as a rental or for vacations.

Why are these buyers purchasing in the U.S.? The survey stated that 40% of the buyers were interested in a secure investment, 33% wanted a profitable investment while 25% were interested in the location. What this translates to is that a substantial amount of investors were at ease with leasing a property out to break even as it was a better investment than they can get in their own home land.

Three Developments Proposed for Ft. Lauderdale

Flagler-Village-site-and-a-rendering-of-the-project

Three large developments are being pitched to the Fort Lauderdale Design Review committee including an hotel and apartment tower as we kick off this year. Being that they are in the early stages of being proposed, all details are not yet fully released but the general scope of these exciting new additions to our city are described below.

Flagler Village

The first is a hotel slated for Flagler Village submitted by 315 Flagler LP. This site is proposed to include 195 rooms and 2,227 square feet of retail space at 315 NW 1st Avenue. 315 Flagler LP is managed by Dev Motwani, a long time developer and hotel manager who states that this location is ideal for accessibility. Specifically, it is close to city hall, courthouses as well as the future All Aboard Florida Rail Station. For those who are not staying at the beach, this is a great alternative location of convenience.

Further details of the $25 million project include 137,468 square feet of space for the hotel, retail and amenities. In addition, there would be 100 parking spaces to accommodate the patrons. Dev is in talks with hotel companies about putting a flag on the project. He envisions it as a select service-oriented hotel. The 22,795-square-foot site is currently owned by a trust headed by Curtis T. Bell, but Motwani said he would close on the property shortly.

The Flagler Village location is also being pursued for a 212 unit apartment building by Alta Developers, a Miami based development team. Alta purchased a portion of the site for $1.03 million at the end of 2015 in December, but the remaining parcel is currently owned by LBP 601 LLC and Jean Bernard Pierre-Louis. It is estimated that the remaining deal is under contract by Alta.

Project details include two 12-story towers at 421 NE 6th Street. The scope of the development will feature 2,600 square feet of retail space, an amenity deck with pool on the 6th floor and 281 parking spaces to accommodate the residents and guests. Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates are listed as the architect for the project.

Lauderdale Beach

The third  development is slated for the Lauderdale Beach neighborhood. The 1.1 acre site is currently owned by Allied Mortgage Investment Fund, however the applicant is Cavache Properties, managed by Adam Adache and Anthony Cavo.

Project details include a 24-unit multifamily building being proposed at 3030 N. Ocean Blvd. in Lauderdale Beach. Although the site is not directly on the beach, it is in close proximity. The $12 million project includes 81,580 square feet total with 16,316 square feet of nonresidential space such as the clubhouse and parking. A total of 51 parking spaces for residents and guests as well as a pool are being proposed as well. Adache Group Architects are listed as the designers, however it is not specified as of yet if this is a rental or a condo project.

Zestimates, Loops and Fantasy Island!

Money Makes the world go round

 

“De Plane, De Plane!” Some of us remember Tattoo saying those words every Saturday night to Mr Roarke on Fantasy Island.  In the last few years Realtors have been hearing “the Zestimate says….”.  In both scenarios the outcome is always the same: you need to learn a difficult lesson in order to get what you want.

Let’s start with some facts: Zillow and Trulia are one company (The Zillow Group).  The company’s mission as stated on it’s homepage is to “Build the world’s largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace.”.  At first glance it sounds like WOW, this is the best place to find my new home.  But Spencer Rascoff (Zillow Group CEO) has consistently proclaimed that Zillow sells ads, not houses.  In fact their website unequivocally states that “Zillow is a media business model and makes money selling advertising on our Web and mobile properties…”.  No mention of helping you find your home.

It gets better (again from their website) “When Zillow launched in early 2006, Zestimate® home values were the cornerstone of the site and quite revolutionary in our quest to create a database of all U.S. homes, whether they are for sale or not.”.

REALLY, WHETHER THEY ARE FOR SALE OR NOT???????

Perhaps, that explains why so many of the listings on both platforms are in reality Sold, Pending or simply never available in the first place.

When asked about publishing imperfect data Zillow COO Amy Bohutinsky said that “their” feedback suggests that consumers (Buyers and Sellers) “love Zillow”.  Ain’t love grand? Or in the case of most Zestimates, many Grand!

Yesterday marked another milestone in feeding the Group’s voracious appetite for advertising dollars.  Dotloop the electronic contract and Real Estate transaction management software company was acquired for $108 million by the Group (to be fair, I currently use dotloop and like it for it’s ease of use).  It was stated that it plans to offer the “technology” to” the more than 100,000 agents that advertise across Zillow and Trulia”.  The same way Janis Joplin sang that “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”, is “Technology” just another word for information when you’ve run out of synonyms?

The small print in the Zillow Group / dotloop privacy policy is that “we may share your personal information with third parties that may offer services that may be of interest (Third Party Sharing).” which you may opt out from.  Seriously though, how many people read the small print?

So now, all that less than perfect information (and imperfect Zestimate) about your home (which is not for sale in the first place) or, all of the transaction details that purchasers who used dotloop software to electronically sign their contract may now be available to the highest bidder.  Theoretically this includes any financial and personal information which you supplied to your mortgage provider if they are part of the “loop”.

De Loop, De Loop!

Do you really still wonder why you need a Professional Realtor on your side?
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Why Realtors Are More Important Than Ever

Smiling Shark

 

When it comes to looking for a Realtor everyone is searching for the same thing. The Realtor must have the knowledge that equals or exceeds everyone who has lived in every house in every neighborhood that the Realtor lists and sells in, the negotiating skills of the Secretary of State and the wisdom of Solomon to help you decide which home is right for you!

Seriously though, how do you find your Realtor?   You can ask friends and relatives for recommendations, read online reviews, ask for references or even make your decision based on who’s headshot you like the most (I kid you not). But at some point you’re probably going to ask yourself “do I really need a Realtor at all?” After all you can go to Trulia / Zillow and get all the “facts and information” you want right of what’s available, right? Without having to answer all sorts of pesky questions like “have you been pre approved for a mortgage yet or do you have proof of fund?” (Since getting a contract signed without mortgage preapproval or proof of funds is about as rare as hen’s teeth.) Or, what’s really a deal breaker for you to have in your new home and what’s merely on the “gee, it would be nice list”?

Litigation presently pending alleges among other things that “Notwithstanding express notice, Zillow does not remove all of the ‘SOLD’ listings from its site, although it does remove the listing agent or broker’s name once the property is sold,” and “Instead, Zillow continues to display many of the SOLD listings with the accompanying photographs in an apparent effort to drive further Web traffic to its site and to sell more ads.”   That’s right, those sites you’ve been depending on aren’t there to help you find your new home, they’re there to sell advertising space.

So that takes me back to the original premise- Why Realtors are more important than ever.   Over 93% of homebuyers used a Realtor last year up from 70% in 2001. So it doesn’t look like we’re headed the way of the traditional travel agent or the dodo bird anytime in the near future! As real estate transactions become more complicated, the consequences of not having a professional real estate practitioner on your side when purchasing something as important as your home can lead to devastating economic as well as emotional consequences.

There is a branch of economics called “transaction cost economics”. Without boring you with theories and lines of equations let me boil it down to a few sentences. Transaction cost economics explains that life in general is simpler without intermediaries inserting themselves into a transaction. The more commonplace and mundane a transaction is, the less need there is for a middleman. You can book a flight on JetBlue from Fort Lauderdale to New York for $89 with just a few clicks of your mouse. On the other hand, infrequent, highly emotional and costly purchases like buying your new home require the solid expertise and guidance an impartial expert can impart. There’s a good reason why the people in the C Suite hire professionals to manage their lives. Take a page from their playbook. As a Buyer, using a Realtor costs you nothing.  Contrary to popular belief, people who buy FSBOs generally pay 5.9-7.7% more than those working with a Realtor. As a Seller, your net profit is higher and you only pay when the house sells. Whether you choose to heed your Realtor’s advice is up to you, but not listening to it can cost you dearly.
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Fort Lauderdale Flood Insurance 101

Now that we’re in hurricane season (June 1- November 30), let’s talk about Flood Insurance.

 
Some of the things I hear most often from Buyers are “I hear that flood insurance is VERY expensive”, “the house I’m looking at isn’t in a flood zone so why should I carry it?” and “Since I’m paying cash I’m not required to get Flood Insurance so I’m not going to”. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of Flood Insurance. First of all, I think we all agree that it’s an annoyance. Yet another thing to pay for.

 
The national average premium for flood insurance is $700 per year. In Fort Lauderdale, flood insurance on a typical 100’ waterfront home on the East side of town is approximately $875 per year. OK, that means that we’re 1.25 times the national average. The average claim nationally in the past 5 years has been about $42,000. So using that same equation, that means that the average claim in Fort Lauderdale is about $52,500. The figures I’ve used are for a primary residence which is defined as a location where you (or your spouse) will live for more that 50% of the 365 days following the effective date of the policy. The days don’t have to be consecutive either. There’s usually a surcharge of approximately $250 if this won’t be your primary home. That’s still not bad! So it doesn’t look like I’m shilling for the insurance companies: I’m not forgetting that there is a deductible of about $5,000 on this kind of policy and a 30 day waiting period from the time you purchase the policy until the coverage goes into effect.

 
What about if your home is not in a designated flood zone? More than 20% of all flood claims are for homes not in a flood zone! Extra heavy rainfall can cause a flash flood in any neighborhood anywhere, even those not in flood zones. The good news is that Flood Insurance in non flood zone designated neighborhoods is less expensive!

 
If your home is in a designated flood zone (FYI- if your home is on water it’s in a flood zone) mortgagors will usually require you to have Flood Insurance as a condition of your loan in addition to the homeowner’s policy they require. Why? Because homes in these neighborhoods are more likely to experience a flood than a fire, so your friendly banker is going with statistical evidence. Since most lending institutions aren’t in the mortgage business, the only thing they’re getting from your Flood Insurance policy is the knowledge that if there is a flood, there will be money there to get your family’s life back to where it was pre-flood so you can continue to make your mortgage payments. Think about the people who had Flood Insurance after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and those who didn’t. While there is (limited) Federal disaster assistance it’s usually in the form of a loan that has to be paid back with interest. So even if you’re paying cash, in 30 years the average $875 per year premium will have cost you $26,250 which happens to be exactly 50% of the $52,500 claim example I used earlier.

 
While flood insurance can seem like just another unnecessary thing to pay for or a way for insurance companies and mortgage lenders to part you from your money, just ask the people in Houston and Chicago this week.  I’ll bet that those that have it are glad and those that don’t now wish that they did.
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AndyWeiser.com Has A New Look!

The Easiest and Most Complete Way to Find Condos and Homes in Fort Lauderdale just got even better!
The complete redesign of AndyWeiser.com has been completed.

 

June 5 Post

 

AndyWeiser.com is considered to be the most comprehensive online information resource for Fort Lauderdale Real Estate and information and facts by Realtors and consumer alike since first going live online in 2002.

Unlike other Realtor websites, I have designed the site for the client who is seriously shopping for a home or condo rather than the casual browser.

To wit: the buyer that uses AndyWeiser.com expects market expertise and completely personalized service  from a professional not the typical automatically generated impersonal computer searches that others provide.

Consistent dialogue between us insures that I will find you your perfect Fort Lauderdale property.

Some feel that this is an old fashioned approach in a modern world. I see it differently. I believe that my clients are entitled to my knowledge and analysis of the current Real Estate market, of the history and specifics of the neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding towns and to the benefit of my more than 30 years of Real Estate experience beginning in Manhattan and since 1998 in Fort Lauderdale.

I am in the top 1% of all Coldwell Banker agents worldwide.

In a nutshell- AndyWeiser.com is a customized, enjoyable Real Estate service rather than the usual one size fits all, assembly line process that is unfortunately usually provided.

I’ve used this first article of my new blog to tell you a bit about me and how I operate.

To learn more about me follow me on my new Facebook page at Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor or on LinkedIn at Andy Weiser

Send me questions at [email protected] or AndyW[email protected] (I’ve had the AOL screen name since 1987) or call me at 954-560-9667.

To all of my friends, clients, and colleagues who have been following me on Facebook for the past few years: Thank You.  You’ll need to re-like my page since it’s now a business page and not a personal page anymore.

Please like my new Facebook page at Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor.
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