Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

10 Things Buyers Will Want in 2016


Goodbye avocado green kitchens, hello clean and green features. Some of the desired trends for 2016 are not necessarily new ideas, but they are certainly gaining popularity. For example, green and environmentally friendly is not a new concept, but it has reached the top of the list of many developers and tech companies and now is on many buyer’s lists.

The NAHB’s International Builders Show (IBS), the Consumer Electronics Show (ECS) and the 2016 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) all had latest trends and products for the latest in healthy and technologically advanced homes.

If you are considering about putting your home on the market in the near future, take note of these top trends should your home be in need of any upgrades. Here are just a few of the trends that are popular for 2016.

Luxury Amenities – Popular high-end amenities will include outdoor shower and private museums. Another trait is for buyers to be purchasing the house next door to be utilized as guest quarters.

Clean Surfaces – Luxury vinyl flooring and larger tiles with less grouting will be more popular this year. Larger tiles in shower surrounds and walls in bathrooms will also have more of a simple and clean design using less grout making for easier maintenance.

Simplicity and Technology – Family friendly layouts with open floor plans and smart technology will be more prevalent this year. Well-designed homes with more space in common areas along with creative storage space will be sought after. Square footage is being trumped by technology. Homes that respect the environment with reduced energy consumption and sophisticated technology will be in pursuit especially by the millennial buyer.

Lighting – This year there will be a release by GE of a new smart LED bulb that can change the color of the light that is projected to sync with the body’s circadian rhythm. It will be called “C by GE” and uses Bluetooth connectivity to communicate with your smartphone so you can personalize color temperatures all day long.

Water Quality – Whole-home water filtration systems will be an ongoing trend. With clean living being promoted as much as it now is today, this feature will be common for those to include who are doing their renovation projects.

Cushioned Flooring – Cold flooring surfaces like concrete are phasing out. Cork flooring is now making a comeback and it comes in a variety of colors. This material makes for a much more comfortable surface than traditional wood flooring or ceramic tile.

Finishes – Stainless steel is phasing out and getting replaced by matte finishes. Stainless, black and white color themes will still exist, but matte finishes will hide fingerprints, smudges and dirt making for less maintenance and easier care.

Lower Pile Rugs – Shorter shags and patterned carpets will be replacing the standard plush variety. Cut and loop are now in as pattern and texture is often perceived as being a higher quality and compliment other home design elements very well.

Health Quality and Clean Living – Top trends will be materials and fabrics that don’t promote dust retention. Quartz stone countertops are lower maintenance with antibacterial properties and are durable. Undermounted sinks also promote cleanliness as there are no lips for bacteria to lurk.

Multifamily Construction – As Millennials and Gen Xers are forecasted to make up the majority of buyers for this year, new construction is beginning to consider the needs of these demographics. Factoring in amenities such as pet friendly facilities, spa services and on-site work spaces are all of great appeal for these crowds.

The elements of clean living and technology are certainly here to stay. Consider all of these trends when it comes time to update your home so that you have a desirable home for today’s modern lifestyle.

New Construction on the Rise in South Florida


New construction has been on the rise in South Florida with many projects being proposed over the past few years. Specifically, the South Florida tri-county region had experienced at 52% increase in construction contracts in 2014 which was a significant gain which then leveled out in the second half of 2015 back to normal levels.

Dodge Data reported $10.34 billion in construction contracts were awarded in South Florida in 2015, up from $10.04 billion in 2014.

The 2014 levels had seen unusually large gains at 62% growth in the residential sector. The slight decrease of only 2% to $6.55 billion is nothing to be alarmed about seeing as 2014’s surge was so great. In fact, South Florida had ranked second behind New York City in annual multifamily construction starts last year.

The nonresidential sector (commercial real estate, hotels, education, government and public works) had construction contracts up 12 percent to $3.79 billion. Increases in this sector again were skewed very greatly as 2014 had spiked substantially by the start of the $478 million renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Meanwhile, David Beckham’s soccer stadium does have the potential to begin construction this year and should this go as planned in Miami, we could see construction numbers have yet another boost in the near future.

It is anticipated that where construction costs had soared over the past handful of years, they may see some decline soon as we had experienced such a burst. The level in costs may assist the projects that were placed on hold due to lower profit margins and encourage them to now move forward.

This leaves us asking one question remaining. How are things in the rental market? Reports are showing that there are many projects in the pipeline that will be on the rental market. Specifically, there are 12,400 rental units under construction in South Florida where there continues to be a strong demand from tenants for quality rental spaces. The retail, office, industrial and hospitality sectors all have significant projects under construction and in the planning stages.

South Florida Sales Going to Foreign Buyers


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


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.”.


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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