Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

How To Properly Stage Your Home

Most anyone can tell you that preparing your home for sale can require some planning. It is not usually the case that everyone’s home at any given point is in perfect condition where it is ready to be listed on the market for sale. However, the good news is that you don’t always have to do large scale remodel jobs to get it to the point where it is ready for buyers. Staging can be a great and economical solution to enhance your home as you make it look its best for buyers. Here are some staging how-to tips. 

Curb Appeal

Your home’s exterior is the first and last thing all visiting buyers will see so be sure it looks pristine. MAke sure your lawn, flower beds and walkways all look tidy and well manicured. Perhaps some new house numbers and a fresh coat of paint on that front door can do the trick. 


The next welcoming item is your foyer. Keep this organized with coats on racks and shoes put away. Consider putting a nice flower arrangement on a vestibule table for some color and life.

Declutter And Store

Visit each room and minimize all of your personal belongings. Be sure to also trim down the amount of decorating paraphernalia as well to make your rooms seem large and accommodating. The same goes for your closets and storage areas. If these are packed to the max they will seem smaller. Consider a storage unit for things as you widdle things down.


Don’t do a regular cleaning, do a deep cleaning. That means cleaning inside the cabinets, closets, behind toilets, under sinks and behind furniture. Don’t forget the importance of clean windows too!


Have each of your rooms setup as they are intended. If it is an eat-in kitchen, put the table and chairs in it. If it is a guest room, have the bed setup and move that exercise stuff to the side.

Easy Updates

Repair anything that may be obviously broken. If there are any small cracks, fix and paint them so nobody is wondering if there is more to fix behind the scenes. Do you have any broken door hinges or loose cabinets? Take a few moments to remedy these issues so buyers don’t get the sense that there could be more deferred maintenance than what they see. Fresh paint can really go a long way for a small cost too.


Go room by room and take down anything that is too personal. Any photos, awards, collections and personal items such as blow dryers, makeup caddies, etc. should all be put away neatly. Make a clean slate for any buyer to easily picture themselves living in the home as if it were already theirs.

Evaluate With Friends

Finally, put your work to the test. Invite over one or two of your most honest friends that may have a discerning eye. See if you may have overlooked anything that they feel should still be addressed. When we look at something every day, we might not see it as much as the eyes of a visitor.


Select The Best Movers With These Tips

Once you have found your new place and finally get the keys then it is time to move. Doing this on your own can be stressful and tiring, but you can always hire help to take some of the burden off your shoulders. There are many moving companies out there to choose from so how do you select the one that is best for you? Here are some helpful ideas on how to do just that.

Check credentials

One of the most important things to look for when choosing a moving company is to check their credentials. Make sure they are licensed and insured. Most reputable companies will have this information readily available for you. This is important so that you know in case anything happens then your valuables are protected. This is one of the benefits of hiring professionals as opposed to having friends help. Friends aren’t insured if they break anything!

Read reviews

Checking reviews is easy these days. You can typically go online and do some research on how the company is perceived by its former customers. Read the online reviews and check for any consistent complaints and negative patterns. 

Get a few quotes

As a rule for any service that you are soliciting, it is always a good idea to get a few estimates. This is particularly helpful to see if they all fall within the same ballpark for services offered. Be sure to give them all as much information as possible so there are no surprises. For example do you just want them to move your belongings or do you need assistance with packing anything up. Be very clear on your expectations.

Ask questions

When you interview each company make sure you ask as many questions as you need. It is a good idea to ask what is included in their services, how they plan on moving your fragile items, do they break down the beds and what is their timeline? Actual moving day can be hectic so you want to know exactly what to prepare for, what to expect and when they plan on showing up.

Follow your instincts

In the end sometimes you just know who to select. If one company seems unprofessional or was unreliable for getting a quote, maybe pass. Or if another is almost too good to be true that can also be a red flag. Chances are you will know who gave you the best feeling of confidence overall after doing your due diligence. 

Buying The Perfect Imperfect Home

Buying a home today comes with its unique challenges of lower inventory, rising prices and mortgage rates that have increased substantially over the past year. However, there are some ways you can get creative in finding your next residence. It starts with changing your perspective to finding the perfect, imperfect home. Here is a closer look at the concept.

Change what you can, your criteria

Sometimes what you have on your wishlist is unrealistic without compromise. You may want that three bedroom, two bathroom all renovated with a pool on the water in a certain neighborhood but that may be out of reach these days. Be open to some changes such as location and condition if you need certain harder things to change such as bed/bath count.

List out priorities

It can be helpful to sit down and write out your list of priorities. Most specifically, make a list of everything but break out into two lists, wants and needs. These are very different and important to differentiate as it can help with what you can’t live without when finding an ideal home.

Realistic financials

Get to know the market intimately in your desired area and see if what you really want is achievable there. What buys you champagne in one area only gets you beer in another. These days lowball offers are still not too realistic. 

See potential

If you found a great house that hits many of the boxes but has an old, outdated primary bathroom, it shouldn’t be crossed off your list these days. There is rarely ever a perfect house for anyone so you should train yourself to see the home’s potential. Keep a tally of what to expect for any remodel jobs so you can weave them into your plan after you purchase. 

Time is money

Ultimately you don’t want searching for your new home to become an official long-term part time job. There is never going to be a perfect home and the market is always going to fluctuate. Even if a home isn’t perfect today, it may be a smart financial decision in the long run. Start building equity now as opposed to waiting while you pay rent or risk higher rates in the future. 

12 New Construction Terms Buyers Should Know

For anyone looking to buy a home, there are definitely many terms for them to understand and learn as they go through the process. Some are commonly known such as PMI is private mortgage insurance or HOA is homeowners association. However, when buying a home that is new construction, there are a whole other set of terms to identify. Where new construction is a smaller pool of homes, chances are they are less commonly heard. Here is a closer look at what some of those are.

The allowance is the established amount of money recorded in a new construction contract by the builder for specific items. That can include things like flooring, fixtures, appliances, etc.

Certificate of Occupancy (CO)

This is a legal document of sign off by a municipality that states that the home has met the requirements and safety so it is ready for occupancy. All inspections of the property must be completed in order to get this.

Change Order

A change order is an amendment to the contract that states any official changes in construction, design options and the like so all parties are on the same page.

Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs)

This is pertinent to any home that belongs to a homeowners association. These are rules set forth by the association that owners must abide by. They can include things such as approved paint colors, pet restrictions and the like. 

Floor/home plan

Did you know there is a difference between a floor plan and a home plan? There is. A floor plan includes all of the interior of the home where the home plan encompasses the entire structure including the exterior façade and the interior as well. 

Homebuilder warranty

This is a warranty offered by the builder that spells out what they will fix, repair or replace in the home after it has been built. Typically these are offered for 1 year after the buyer purchases the home.


A plat is the official map that establishes the boundaries between each lot. 

Presale home

A presale home is one that is available for one to purchase before it is completed and ready to occupy.

Punch list

A punch list consists of any items that a buyer may have created during the last phase of construction that needs to be completed prior to closing. Typically this is a list of small items such as touching up paint, replacing a cracked electrical faceplate cover, etc. 


A rough-in is when essential items like mechanical, electrical and plumbing lines are laid out in the home being built. This happens after the framing is done but before final things like fixtures are installed. This is typically done in the middle of the building process. 

Spec home

A spec home is one that is built by a builder before it goes under contract. The builder is gambling on there being a buyer at some point before completion ideally. If a buyer solidifies a deal early enough, sometimes there is time to customize certain options. 


This is typically the last and final step conducted right before the closing. Usually the buyer and builder will meet to go through the home together to ensure all is well and all punch list items have been completed and the home is ready for transfer or ownership.

Saving For A Down Payment V. Retirement

Saving up for a down payment on your new home can feel like a painstaking hurdle for many. By the time you pay taxes, put aside for retirement and cover living expenses it can feel like you don’t have much left to build a reserve. This may have you looking at cutting costs here and there and maybe even consider lowering your contribution for your retirement. Here is a breakdown on whether that is the right option for you.

Retirement Logistics

There are some factors that you will want to consider if you debate lowering your retirement contribution.  First, you will want to take into account your age, where you are in life and your tax bracket. Depending on how much time you have left until retirement and how much you have saved, it may be better to alter your lifestyle and spending instead. Next you should also weigh in on if you have an employer match situation. If your employer is matching your contribution, you may only want to scale back to the max of where your employer is matching as it is essentially free money. Finally, definitely think about any ramifications if you lower your contribution enough where it pushes your income into the next tax bracket. That scenario would also be less beneficial to you in the end.

Other Financial Considerations

When you weigh your options with how to achieve your down payment goal, you may want to reassess how much house you can comfortably afford. It is one thing to reduce your contributions just for the down payment, but if you are planning on purchasing a more expensive home, then your housing costs could potentially keep you from resuming with your higher contributions. Take a hard look at the financials with a mortgage calculator and be sure to factor in taxes, insurance, any HOA’s or PMI costs as well. 

Finally, the big question is just how much do you need for a down payment? The figure of 20% is often what everyone thinks is necessary as you can avoid PMI. However, the reality is that there are certain loans and programs out there where even as little as 3% are possible. Investigating your home loan options will help dictate what is best for you and ultimately how much you will need to start saving. 


Why Buyers Need To Hire Experienced Agents

Buying a home at any given time can be a bit overwhelming with all that is involved. But today’s real estate market continues to be anything but normal. The lower inventory levels are still encouraging multiple offers on the same property while home prices are back on the rise. Navigating all of this can be stressful if you aren’t working with an experienced professional. Here are just a few of the ways that an experienced agent like myself can help you.


Only an experienced real estate agent will know exactly how to navigate a transaction the best way possible. With a finger on the pulse of the current market along with vital information from experience they will guide you through successfully. 


Key knowledge of what has happened in the market and what is happening is paramount for how you can craft your deal. This will help quell any questions of confidence that you may have.


A professional real estate agent will work for your best interests. That is everything from finding what you want, where you want and negotiating assistance to help you get it. Should any issue arise during the deal they can advise on how to best deal with it.


Legal contracts are part of the game in any deal. Real estate agents can help walk you through what is what and exactly what you need to do when and how.


The offer process can be a stressful part of the buying game. A skilled agent will get you armed with not only the best comps to justify your offer, but also help craft a strategy and approach as well. 

The Unexpected

Not every deal is the same and therefore having someone who has seen many kinds is extremely important. As much as we all want a deal to be cut and dry, there can be some surprises along the way that need to be addressed and smoothed over. Your experienced agent will know best how to get you through these hurdles so that you come out on top.