Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

Remodeling Budget Tips

Home remodeling projects can vary in their scope and size but one thing they all have in common is a budget. No matter how big or small it is helpful to assemble your budget once you have obtained costs of materials as well as estimates from any vendors or contractors that you will be hiring. It can happen that you will go over budget for a few reasons from products and services costing more than anticipated to upgrades to surprise issues. Here are some great tips for you to adhere to a budget.


Given the fact that you may wish to upgrade materials or appliances and that there can often be some unexpected issues that arise you will want to add in a buffer. Some designers will say you may want to add up to 25% of your costs as padding to account for these types of things.


When you are remodeling the opportunities can be endless other than any cost constraints. Therefore, it is important to prioritize your goals that you want to accomplish with the project. When complete you want to make sure that you are happy with what was done and got what you wanted. For pointers on whole-house projects you can focus more on kitchen, bathrooms and master bedrooms as you tend to derive the most value out of these rooms. 

Trust your pro

It can be tempting to do a lot of the legwork yourself, but leaning on professionals that you hire can help in overall planning and cost savings. Your contractor will have the experience in how to achieve a high design look and get the cost savings at the same time. They also can have access to materials that are cheaper or more cost effective while they have a more intimate knowledge of what products are better than others.

The Perfect Backyard’s Checklist

No matter if you are planning on selling your home in the near future or if you are simply looking to enhance your living quarters then making improvements to your yard can reap some rewards. Especially here in Fort Lauderdale where we get to enjoy the outdoors throughout the entire year, you really can extend your square footage outside. Here is a checklist of 8 items for making your yard the best that it can be. 


The most popular outdoor amenity is to have a place to dine or lounge. For this, you will need a surface like a deck or patio that will be accommodating to tables and chairs. If you don’t already have one, you can always enhance yours with nicer materials like pavers or warm things up with outdoor carpets. 


Less expensive or uncomfortable furniture is not going to make you want to relax and spend time outside. Invest in some quality pieces that will withstand the elements while making you feel like you want to sit for hours outside. 


Especially during the really warm months you will want to give yourself a break from the direct sunlight at times. Consider a large umbrella that you can move or retract depending on the strength or position of the sun. This is a very simple and relatively cost effective solution. 


Nobody wants to relax outside with a powerful spotlight aimed at them all of the time. While some strong lights near your cooking station might be helpful, create some mood lighting in your lounging areas with string lights, perimeter lighting or lanterns. 


Yes, even in South Florida there can be some cooler evenings where you wish to add some heat for comfort. Electric heaters above or freestanding propane heaters that can be rolled out are great solutions. Or, if you have space by your lounge areas then a firepit can provide both warmth and lighting for gatherings. 

Grill or Kitchen

Grills are great, kitchens are better. A good gas grill at the least is a must as your grilling solution. However, investing in a basic outdoor kitchen will not only make meal preparations even better but can also add some value when it comes time to sell. 

Activity Area

Patios are great to have but so is a little area of green space too. Especially when entertaining groups of guests you may wish to play games that require some grassy space. From croquet to cornhole having a patch of grass will give you these options while also making your pets happy!


With the above mentioned options of having patios, cooking and grassy spaces you will want to define these “zones.” Sometimes using different materials can be enough, but if you need ideas for further defining each then pathways can make for good separations. For designating a lounge area from a cooking area, try doing a warm, inviting outdoor rug with your furniture spaced around it. 


Top Considerations For Selling Your Home “As-Is”

When the time has come that you have made your decision to sell your home then you will want to begin preparing your home for sale. As you take a good look at it from the exterior to interior and go room by room, you will have to think about what may need to be done to it before you go to market. There are always going to be some definite action items like repairing anything that impairs the operation of the home such as a leaky faucet, electrical problem or broken door. However, in some cases focusing on cleanliness and staging can be a better route than making improvements. Here are some top things to consider when you prepare to sell.


This is a simple “dollars and sense” question as in does it make sense to even put that much money into the home. For example if you sink tons of money into the kitchen remodel would you necessarily get all of it back in the sale? Or can you do some more cost effective items like making sure all of the paint and tile is in tip top shape while you consider replacing all of the hardware for newer modern pieces.

Enduring a Renovation

Continuing on the ROI idea is whether or not you have the time and patience to live through a renovation. Important rooms of the home that generally call for significant updates would be your bathrooms and kitchen. You will have to question if you are willing to or even have the ability to live through the disruption of your home that a remodel will impose.

Taste Choices

Chances are you may not select the design, materials or function that your buyer may wish to have. You may be better off with focusing on cleanliness, staging or more cost effective updates like fresh paint of a neutral color. 

Curb Appeal

All of the efforts you put into the inside of your home are going to be fruitless if nothing is cared for on the outside. The front of your home is the first and last thing everyone who views it will see. Make sure your landscaping and home’s condition are in tip top shape. If you want to make more enhancements consider some patio furniture as staging that you can take with you to your new home.


If you are debating whether you should even do a small renovation project the question of timing comes into play. If you are doing it on your own or if you are at the mercy of a contractor’s schedule then you will need to factor in the time it will take to see if that works with your moving plans. If you have already found a new home to purchase then you may be on a tighter time frame.

In the end there are many things to think about for your specific home and personal situation. However, never underestimate the power of having your home in perfect, clean condition combined with the right amount of staging.


Tips For Purchasing Waterfront Property

There is a different set of tips for purchasing waterfront properties as coastal homes are truly unique which of course makes them highly sought after. The expansive views, cool breeze and access to all the activities that being on the water brings are just some of the perks. With this ideal location there are some items to pay close attention to when you are considering a purchase. Here are 5 tips for buying a waterfront home. 


No matter what type of home you are looking to buy you will always want to work with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent. However, especially when buying a waterfront home then working with an agent who has knows all of the ins and outs from insurance to home loans is always best.


When you find a home that you may want to add a dock, boardwalk or seawall to then you will want to do some research. If the home is currently lacking one of these items then it could mean that they may not be allowed by the city. Find out if what you want to do is permitted by the city before you submit your offer. 

Water usage

Depending on the actual location on the water it is also a good idea to find out about the usage allowed. For example are boats or jet skis allowed? Is swimming safe? Is it public access? What is the wildlife like nearby? All of these are great questions to learn the answers to before putting pen to paper.

Flood zone

While there is nothing quite as nice as being right on the water, you will need to consider the close proximity when it comes to the potential of rising waters. Some buildings are more vulnerable than others but a good inspector can assist you with quality advice for the particular parcel of interest. 


Going hand in hand with flood zones is flood insurance. When properties are located in flood zones then flood insurance is a must and often required by most mortgage companies. Depending on your home’s elevation certificate the amount of insurance that you need to carry can vary property to property. Finding out what the current owner pays is a good place to start just to get an idea.

In the end there is nothing quite like living on the water so make sure you do your homework so you will be comfortably enjoying your new home’s view. 

Staging Your Kitchen To Sell Your Home

As we have always known, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is the one room that holds tremendous value as it is where you prepare your meals, gather with friends and spend so much time with family. It is also the primary reason why so many homeowners spend a good amount in quality rehabs when it comes time for updating. However, the good news is when you decide to sell your home some staging projects can make a big difference especially if yours is not as current. Here are 4 ideas on some smaller things you can do rather than a full remodel. 

Lighting Zones

Lighting for every room in the home is key but in a kitchen you need to keep a couple of things in mind. It is important to illuminate the whole room, but you will also want focused lighting for certain areas. Task lighting for under your cabinets as well as pendants or fixtures over eating areas are good things to consider. Adding dimmer switches is also a good idea to regulate the amount of light overall.


If most of your kitchen is older but timeless in style, consider updating your counters. Choosing a stone material will offer both an updated look while providing great function. At a fraction of the cost for a complete remodel, new countertops can make a big difference on the room’s look and feel. 

Doors and hardware

If your cabinet doors are of good quality but perhaps worn or tired looking, consider giving them a refresh with either a new staining or fresh coat of paint. This can usually be done for much less than replacing them all. Also, getting new hardware can be an easy fix for elevating your look. Be sure to select new hardware that shares the same hole spacing. 


After you have completed any improvements that you want to make, then it is time for the finishing touches of staging. You don’t want to have many items out on your counters so that you can showcase how much prep space you have. Keep some essential appliances or decorative touches that also provide function like a nice jar of cooking utensils. 

Depending on your home’s condition you may be able to do one or a few of these ideas for far less than a complete kitchen remodel. 



Creative Tips for Winning Offers

In any kind of South Florida real estate market there can be multiple offers on a property for sale. In today’s market despite the current economic situation, buyer demand is still outweighing the lack of supply for many types of homes. So the question is how can you make your offer more competitive? Here are 6 creative strategies to consider.

Tighten up the home inspection

You can do this in a few ways. Rather than a 10 day period for inspection, shorten this to 3-5 days. Also, once you have your inspection you may want to be more open to working with the list of items that are found and deal with them on your end unless they are so significant that they make you no longer interested in purchasing the home. 

Appraisal gap coverage

You may find yourself in a competitive offer situation where you offer more than asking, but that can cause a problem when it comes time for the home to be appraised. What if your offer is more than the home appraises for? You can offer appraisal gap coverage as a potential solution. Basically you can offer to pay any overage of the appraisal value in cash.

Increase earnest deposit

Your earnest money deposit displays good faith as well as your level of commitment to buying the property. There may be some ways out should there be issues with inspection or the like, but generally the more money you put down the higher the risk you are taking as a buyer. In a seller’s mind increasing this amount shows that the deal may be more solid with a better chance of it closing.

Pay your own closing costs

Buying a home calls for a lot of money up front for both your down payment but also for your closing costs. For anyone with less money readily available or especially first time buyers it can be common to negotiate that the seller pays for a certain amount of the closing costs. It would be best to avoid doing this if entering a competitive bid situation as a seller will most likely choose a deal where they don’t have to pay anything.

Escalation clause

This can be a very powerful and creative option for a winning dollar offer. Basically you can craft an offer stating something like you will pay $1,000 more than any other offer up to a certain capped purchase price. This can give you a big advantage if any of the competing offers are within your comfortable amount that you want to spend. 

Accommodate the seller’s timing

This can be achieved in a few ways too. First, if you can be flexible you can inform the seller that you can close in the fastest possible time or that you can work with them on a more preferable closing schedule. In some cases sellers may need more time before moving to their next home. Finally, should they need to close but stay in the home for a short time you could provide temporary occupancy for them. In instances like these you can even collect rent or a flat fee for them to stay in the home as short term tenants.