Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

10 Tips for Updating Your Kitchen

Sometimes you need to do some updating to your kitchen, but you may not have the money to do a complete gut and rehab. The good news is there are lots of things that you can do easily and affordably that can make a big difference. Here are 10 great ideas to beautify your kitchen. 

Hardware

Some people have cabinets that are neutral enough where they stand the test of time better than others. A quick fix for a fresh look is to upgrade your hardware with some that is more modern or pulls out the best in your kitchen. You could also try matching your backsplash with a more bold color too..

Countertops

This small to mid grade enhancement can really make a statement with the look of your kitchen. Lose the older counters and replace with some classy new quartz ones that frame your cabinets with a more modern and upscale look.

Window treatments

Are your kitchen windows dressed with older blinds or curtains? Pick a great color to add some life with a modern venetian blinds. There are some great faux wood options these days that may hold up better than real wood. 

Storage Solutions

Purchase some key storage mechanisms like spice racks, bag holders, drawer organizers and the like as anything that makes for better organization and offers you more storage will make your kitchen even more enjoyable. 

Paint

Give your kitchen a refresh with a coat of paint and select a color that makes your cabinets pop. Sometimes you can even paint one accent wall to add depth an excitement. 

Shelving

Open shelving is a hot look these days so if you have the space, securely fasten a shelf to display your best dishes, perhaps some spices and even flowers to add life and color. 

Redo Grouting

After several years your grout work can become worn so you may want to regrout the tile with fresh grout or even choose a darker color to add contrast. Darker grouts can also appear cleaner as well. 

Reorganize Storage

This is a great task to tackle as it can sometimes be free! Simply reorganizing how you have things stored can significantly increase efficiency. Make your life easier by not keeping your larger, heavier items up high where it can be hard to retrieve them. Group things together too like coffee mugs near the coffee machine. Finally, if you do end up adding an open shelf, maybe relocating your spices from that high cabinet to it will help too!

Add a Cart

Carts are great, flexible solutions for this as you can wheel them around to where they are needed most. Wheel it over to make an island that may help for prep space in the kitchen, or move it to the dining room and use it as a serving surface. 

Linens

Linens are similar to your curtains where they can be a great way to add an accent color and warm things up. Pick something for either a punch of color or that may match your decor like the color of your backsplash. Place a stack of them on display on an open shelf too for an idea!

 

The 4 Most Essential Things When Preparing Your Home for Showings

As your real estate expert I would like to share some important tips for preparing your home for showings. It is imperative that your home be in perfect condition in order to attract the largest number of buyers and obtain the highest selling price. While there are numerous things you can do to get ready, remember these 4 which are the most important.

Functionality

First step is to make sure your home has a good flow with regards to how your furniture is arranged. Do any necessary staging to show off its potential even if it’s not how you live in it. Next be sure that all things are in proper working order. Check that all faucets, door hinges, cabinets and drawers, toilets switches or any other appliance is operating as it should. 

Cleanliness

First step is to eliminate anything that you don’t need or want inside. Do not simply store things in closets as if they are maxed out it will appear as there may not be much storage in the home. If you don’t need it, toss it or donate it. All surface areas including counters and tables should be free of belongings except for the essentials. Bathrooms should be mold free, tidy and clean just as they would be for house guests. 

Freshness

Freshness is a good rule of thumb. Walk around your house and check each room including the exterior and look for anything that is “tired” or worn looking. Things to consider “freshening up” can include fixtures, paint, hardwood floors, worn carpet or area rugs. For the exterior of your make sure walkways don’t have broken bricks or pavers, flower beds are weeded and no bushes or shrubs are looking they may be dead. 

Appeal

Nearly all buyers will be looking for a home that is inviting and looks like it has been well maintained. Review your home’s exterior facade as well as each and every room inside. Be sure all rooms are well organized, staged appropriately, neutral in decor and presentable. Your exterior should be tidy with well maintained landscaping and walkways so everyone will be sure to want to tour the inside. 

 

Buyer Beware. Know These Things for Closing Day

The home buying process involves many parties and many steps. Even if you have done it once before, there are some things that are important to pay close attention to. Here are 4 things to know so that you are best prepared and don’t have any surprises.

Loan Paperwork

Just because you have finished the loan application and preliminary paperwork doesn’t mean you are all set. Lenders will still want to verify income, assets and employment all the way up to the last minute before closing. Additionally, you should not make any larger purchases during this time period. Significant changes can affect your ability to have your loan approved.

Home Loan Rate

Mortgage rates change regularly and the quote your lender gave you won’t remain current forever. Banks can “lock you in” for 45, 60 or another set number of days so that you can get the best rate. However, once that time period comes and expires, you may have to pay a higher rate depending on what they are then. Closing dates do get pushed out during negotiations so don’t forget to keep in mind when your rate lock expires. 

The Final Walk Through

Most contracts will specify a walk-through 24 hours before the closing and it is always a good idea to take full advantage of this. This is your chance to check the overall condition of the home and make sure everything is in good shape and working order before you take full ownership. It is always best to do this right before your closing and after the sellers have moved out.

The Closing

It is not standard practice for all parties to always meet at the closing. Sometimes you have a seller that is in a different location and may choose to have their attorney represent them instead. It is good to know this in case you have final questions as they may not be there to answer them. 

Always pay attention to all of the steps along the way. Should you have questions, always reach out to your agent. Also, make sure you recruit reputable and professional people to work with. That goes from mortgage agents to movers. A stronger team will most likely lead to a more smooth transaction. 

 

How to Research Neighborhoods Before You Buy

Just like you would want to drive a car before you purchase it, most buyers would want to “test drive” the neighborhood they are considering buying a home in before they pull the trigger. Where a home is an even larger purchase, you should be sure that you really like what it has to offer before you make a sizable investment. Here are some tips on how to do some proper research.

Daily Routine

Aside from general activity in the area, it is always a wise idea to test out your commute or daily routes that you will be taking on a regular basis. See how long it takes to get to work, how easy it is to get to the grocery store, the gym or house of worship. Also, do you plan on walking or taking public transit? See how those options fair in your new location. 

Real Life Experience

The best way to immerse yourself in a neighborhood is to actually spend a few days in it. If you don’t have friends or family to stay with, consider even booking an Airbnb nearby. Ideally, stay a couple of days to experience both a weekday and weekend day to see what the area is like. Go for walks or drives at all times of day, morning and evening to gauge the general activity and noise levels. You may also be fortunate enough to meet some of the residents and talk with them to get a real feeling of what it is like. 

Nightlife 

Evening and weekend activities are a part of what makes a location “home.” Pick some of your favorite activities and bring along some friends to partake in them as you explore the area. Perhaps it could be some dinner spots, local bars or shopping venues that you could visit. Be sure to tell your friends that you are considering the area and solicit their unbiased opinions. After all, they will be the ones most likely to be visiting you so it’s good to see how they feel too!

4 Ideas for Home Exterior Updates

Most everyone at some point will consider doing some home improvements not only to rooms on the inside of their home, but also for the exterior. Especially where much of the Fort Lauderdale housing stock was built decades ago, chances are there may be some things you may want to do for updating. Here are 4 great ideas that you can do fairly easily for your home.

Front Door Focus

Not only is it a main focus of your home’s exterior, but visitors literally touch it every time they come over. If you have a standard or plain front door, consider replacing it with something that is more architecturally stimulating. There are some great options today, many that are equipped with high impact glass as well. If you already have a great, high quality door then consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. A complementary color to your home’s palette that also draws attention is ideal. While you are at it, consider updating your address numbers as well!

Landscaping

Mature plantings are always great, but keeping them from getting overgrown is always best. If your landscaping needs some updating, consider selecting materials that are drought tolerant like succulents. Doing accent areas with rock gardens also is a great idea as they don’t require much maintenance but also still allow for drainage. 

Paint and Masonry

Some homes may have particular masonry details that may associate it with an older time period. The good news is either removing them with some light masonry work or in some cases even painting them, you can bring your home into a more modern day look. Concrete or iron pillars can also be boxed in with wood materials for a great contrasting look.

Porch Update

Many homes either already have a front porch area or in other cases this can be somewhat easy to add. A front porch can add character but also offer function. Outfitting yours with pavers, potted plants and a stylish bistro set or outdoor lounge set will provide a great area for enjoying your yard. 

 

Home Improvement Ideas For Custom Budgets

Unless you are extremely particular on a regular basis, most homes will need some sprucing up for when it comes time to put them on the market for sale. As not everyone has an endless amount of funds for enhancing the home they are selling, here are some great ideas for improving your home based on your own comfortable budget.

Under $250 – Like they always say, “a little paint goes a long way.” This is true for both increasing appearances but also for getting a lot out of a small budget. If any rooms are tired looking or perhaps too risky of a color, fresh paint can help. Other ideas in this budget include investing in some nice flowers or plantings for your yard. 

$250-750 – On the low end you could consider hiring a professional cleaning company to do a deep clean of your home. This may also include some power washing of any exterior areas that need it too. For physical enhancements you may want to upgrade any old or dated fixtures or even a bathroom vanity. 

$750-1,500 – If you have any old appliances like a beat up stove or washer that is dated, consider upgrading to new and energy efficient models. Tankless water heaters can also be a great value add as they save on energy and your monthly utility costs. On the higher end you could also replace your front door with something more inviting or add crown molding to your primary rooms. 

$1,500-3,000 – In this range you can consider things like upgrading your lighting perhaps in your kitchen. Add sconces, pendants or some under cabinet task lighting. You may even be able to open up a dark bedroom or dining room by adding a glass door leading outside.

$3,500-5,000 – This amount will help you repair any worn driveways, walkways or patios outside. You may also consider upgrading/replacing any flooring that is damaged or outdated. Modern flooring can really have a big impact on prospective buyers. 

$5,000 or more – When you can afford to spend this amount, where it is substantial you will want to give ample thought to what is necessary for achieving a higher price. In some cases it may be worth doing a new roof or in others you may want to consider a kitchen remodel. As your experienced realtor I am happy to provide you with my expert opinion on what makes most sense for your home in this market.