Ft Lauderdale Real Estate Review

Welcome to my blog. I have been writing articles for home buyers and home sellers in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area since about 2007. If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate you can find some helpful tips right here. If you would like to get them sent directly to your inbox just sign up below. 

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Aug. 16, 2017

Recommendation From Sharon & Mike B

I love it when my customers send me recommendations.

2200 S Cypress Bend Dr Apt 601 SOLDThis one is for a recent sale in Cypress Bend. It sold in 11 days at full price. See the listing details here.

We were concerned about a long distance sale of our Florida condo. Tom was always available for our calls and questions and made the experience an easy one, handled on-line and the phone. We had a contract in 11 days, and we closed within a month at asking price! Would definitely recommend him. 

 

 

Related:

Right Now is a Good Time To Sell a Florida Home

More Recommendations

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By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

Aug. 12, 2017

The Canadian Dollar Has Strengthened and Thats a Good Thing

Florida Real Estate is On Sale For Canadians and Other Foreign Buyers. 

The Canadian Dollar has strengthened recently against the US Dollar and that is a good thing for Canadian buyers and home sellers in South Florida.

South Florida is a favorite spot for Canadian to vacation and purchase winter homes. A stronger Canadian Dollar gives Canadians more buying power. Their buying power has increased about 10% in just a few short months. The US Dollar(USD) was equal to $138 Canadian Dollars (CAD) on May 1st 2017. Today the USD is equal to $127 CAD.

Here is an example of how that effects a Canadian home buyer purchasing a Florida home for $250,000.

On May 1st they would have needed $345,000 CAD ($250,000 x 1.38)

Today they only need $317,000 CAD ($250,000 x 1.27) A savings of $28,000 CAD

Other currencies such as the Euro, and Brazilian Real have also seen strengthening against the US Dollar. This will make foreign real estate investment more attractive as long as it continues. Interest rates and oil prices are two major influences on the strength of the US Dollar against the Canadian and other foreign currencies.

Related:

Avoiding the FIRPTA Withholding for Foreign Property Sellers

When is The Best Time to Buy a House in Florida

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

Aug. 10, 2017

What To Repair If You Are Selling Your Home

Major Renovations Typically Will Not Net You More Money

If your kitchen and bathrooms were last remodeled in the 80's or 90s, or are even older, you may be tempted to updated them to make your home marketable. While it will make your home more attractive and easier to sell, in the end you will not end up with more money in your pocket.

According to Remodel.com you will only recoup 77% of the cost of a kitchen remodel when you go to sell your home here in Florida and the rest of the Southeast region. There was only one project on their list that actually had a positive return for homeowners and that is adding fiberglass attic insulation. That project nets 123% of the cost on average in the Southeast states.

I have consulted with homeowners that had just spent $40,000 on a new barrel tile roof. In their mind there home was now worth $40,000 more than when they installed it. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. Buyers expect a home to have a functioning roof over their heads. The reality is they will likely only recover about 70% of the cost of a new roof.

If you watch shows about flipping homes you need to understand that those people make their money when they buy their homes at below market values, do to their poor condition. They also do much of the the work themselves and are able to buy materials at contractor pricing or in some case for free in exchange for the exposure the vendor gets by being highlighted on the show.

So, you as a homeowner can gain some sweat equity by doing simple projects, like painting. Painting will add curb appeal for a relatively low cost, especially if you are able do the work yourself. Remember to stick with neutral colors. Shades of grey are popular theses days, while beige and tan colors not so much.

Landscaping and trimming is another good low cost project that will increase a homes value. It's the first thing buyers will notice when they come to view your home. Brown spots in the lawn and wild vegetation will detract from your homes appeal and can easily be fixed. 

Believe it or not a new steel front door will recover almost all of the it's cost. When your think about it makes sense. A front door will get beat up over the years and its another item a buyer can't miss when they view your home. 

There is one more item I want to finish up with. I don't have data on cost vs return but one repair item in particular seems to always make closing difficult. Outdated electric panels are common in Florida and many will make it impossible to insure your home and therefore impossible for a buyer to finance it. If you suspect your electric panel is very old, have it looked at by an electrician. New panels cost about $1000 and will prevent your home from failing a buyer's inspection.

Fortunately conditions favor the seller in most cases. Focus on things that will increase curb appeal without a big expense. If a repair item will prevent a home from getting financing, and is not a huge expense like an electric panel, then do it. A new roof on the other hand may be inadvisable, unless it leaks. Consult with your Realtor before doing an expensive project like that.

Related:

3 Steps To Get Top Dollar For Your Home

Good Pictures in a Listing Make a Big Difference. That’s why I Hire a Pro.

What Does it Cost To Sell a Home in Florida?

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

Aug. 8, 2017

Good Pictures in a Listing Make a Big Difference. That’s why I Hire a Pro.

 You only have one chance to make a good first impression 

I can take decent photos. But as you can see the photo on the left that I took is okay but it doesn't show off the living nearly as well as the professional photo on the right. Few would object to the one I took but I admit it doesn't have the same impact as the one on the right.

The first home I sold at the beginning of my career was a four bedroom home in Winston Park of Coconut Creek. It was a nice home with a pool. I hadn't made a dime yet in real estate but I hired a professional photographer to take the pictures and create a virtual tour. The original asking price was $425,000. The price was dropped to $410,000 about a month later and I got a offer for full asking price!  And this was just after the market began its huge decline. After the closing I learned that a key factor in the buyers choosing the home were the beautiful professional photos and virtual tour I provided.

The couple who bought it lived in Texas and went back home after viewing homes in Coconut Creek. The pictures they had of my listing cemented the choice for them because it helped them visualize living there. The others they had to refer back to, didn't. Ever since then I hire a professional whenever it is practical. 

In the above case the photographer and I were standing in almost the same location when these photos were taken. As you can see the home, pool and deck look bigger and more livable in the photo on the right.

A professional uses the correct wide-angle lens that enhances the view of rooms without making them look small. A pro also knows how to frame a photo correctly at its proper angle and lighting. I recall a listing of a small one-bedroom condo I had on the beach. It was only 720 square feet. It was in very nice condition and the photographer made it look like a small palace. Despite it being priced very optimistically in my opinion, it sold in about 6 weeks to a couple from Colorado who bought it sight unseen. They did have some friends come by and check it out for them and give the okay.

The purpose of the listing photos is to get prospective buyers to come view the home. I doesn't take much to make a home more inviting. Just hiring the right people with the right equipment. Snapping a bunch of pictures with you Iphone just doesn't cut it. 

Awesome homes deserve awesome photographs.

 

Related:

Low Ball Offers and How To Handle Them

 

The Best Time for Selling Real Estate in Florida

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By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

Aug. 1, 2017

7 Factors Home Sellers Overlook When They Try To Sell Without An Agent

Trying to sell a home can take a lot of time. Without the experience it takes a seller could waste countless hours and still not be successful. 

Even in a sellers market not every home will sell. Poor pricing, marketing and follow through will likely end in failure. An amateur attempt could end up damaging the perception of the home in the market place. The lure of saving that commission is strong, but many amateur home sellers don't prepare, and frankly don't know what they don't know. 

Here are 7 factors home sellers over look when they try to sell without an agent.

1. Data Doesn't Equal Knowledge -  Pricing your home correctly from the beginning is critical to a successful sale. There is a wealth of data available on the internet these days. Anyone can go find recent home sales. They are public records, and available on most county websites. But can the typical amateur home seller tell which ones are Arms Length Transactions? What is an arms length transaction anyway, and why is it important. An agent has access to the best real estate data, the MLS. An experienced agent knows how to process and interpret all that information correctly. Don't rely on Zillow or other site to give you quality information and data you need. 

2. Negotiating Skills - Some people really enjoy negotiating, most don't. When confronted by an offer on your most valuable asset, how will you react to the horribly insulting offers you will likely receive? Inexperienced negotiators will often let their ego get in the way and lose the deal before it has a chance. That's one good reason why almost 90% of buyers hire agents, at no cost to themselves, to do the negotiating on their behalf.  

3. Time. I think the thing most amateur home sellers underestimate is how much time will be drained from their lives that they will never get back. And that's whether they are successful or not, and the odds are against them.  Tiling my patio looked simple job and doing it myself seemed like an easy way to save some money. I had never done it before so it took at least twice as long to do as an experienced professional would take. Now whenever I sit on my patio, I wish I had spent the money and had that weekend back. Here is the trap. The more time you have into it, the harder it gets to toss in the towel.  

4. Preparation - Some of the things you do to prepare your home are common sense. Some are not. Of course, cleaning and painting go a long way in making your property easier to sell. Is staging worth the effort and expense for your home? Would you consider a pre-marketing home inspection? What will you need for forms and contracts if someone does make an offer?  

5. Sales and Marketing -  Talking isn't selling. Amateur home sellers tend to oversell their home. They talk too much and hover when they should let the buyer explore and image themselves living there. An experienced agent knows when to talk and when to listen. Marketing is putting together the flyers and getting awesome pictures taken and placing ads in the right places to attract buyers to your home. Professional photography is an investment that few amateur home sellers are willing to spend on. Awesome pictures is what attracts the eye to your ads and ultimately to create the curiosity to view the home in person. 3D photography is something many homes would benefit from but even fewer would be willing to spend the money on.  

6. The Realtor Network - I said earlier almost 90% of home buyers hire an agent to represent them.  Those buyer agents don't really want to show your home even if you are offering a commission. Why? Because of the risk involved. It is too easy for them to get cut out of the deal. So that leaves the amateur home seller to deal mostly with the investors and other bargain hunters.  

7. Keeping the Deal Together - After selling hundreds of homes, I really think that the hardest part of selling a home happens after a buyer is found and a price and terms are agreed upon. This is were an experienced agent really earns their fee. There are a multitude of things that can make a transaction turn sour, or at least make it necessary for the buyer and seller to be in different rooms to sign the closing documents. What can kill a deal? Inspections gone bad. An appraisal that comes in low. Financing is denied. Open permits, code violations, title problems, the list goes on and on.  It can be a very stressful time for all parties involved. An experienced agent knows how to tackle these problems in a direct way. They know how to be a diplomat or referee when necessary. 

Saving the commission is more perception than reality. If you are cooperating with buyers agents, then you are only saving 3% or less. When you factor in your time, expenses, and all the headaches for an endeavor that has no guaranty of paying off, what are you really saving? Hire an experienced agent. It's worth it.

Related:

A FSBOs Guide For Selling Your Home On Your Own 

For Sale by Owner Statistics

The Best Time For Selling Real Estate in Florida

 

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

Aug. 1, 2017

2200 S Cypress Bend Dr Apt 601 is Sold!

Just sold in Cypress BendOn July 31st my listing at 2200 S. Cypress Bend Dr Apt 601, Pompano Beach was sold to a new owner. It was under contract for full price in only 11 days. From the time it went on the market to the time it sold was only 42 days.

The Cypress Condo is a 2 bedroom 2 Bath corner unit in Building 6 of the Cypress Bend II Association.  It had 1400 square feet of living space. It was partially remodeled with a new kitchen and new tile in the living area. See the complete listing details and more photos here.

The asking price was $149,000

If you have are considering selling I get top dollar for my listed properties and get them sold quickly too. Contact me to day for a no obligation consultation. 

954-895-2431

Related:

Cypress Bend Sold Homes Report

2691 S Course Dr Apt 507 is Sold!

 

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

July 23, 2017

Yes, I Do Rentals

Find a Tenant For My Property

I am often asked if "I do rentals"

The answer is absolutely yes! I have been placing tenants in my investor client properties for years. If you own an investment property in Broward County I would be happy to find a well qualified tenant for you. I am very proud of the fact that placed dozens and dozens of tenants in my rental properties and have never had to evict a single one. I will market your rental for you, pre-screen the tenant's background and credit history, and then draw up the lease agreements for you.

The key to success as a landlord is to minimize the length of time your property is vacant and to thoroughly screen prospective tenants to prevent rent collection hassles, damaged property and overall nuisances.

Leave it to me to find just the right tenant for your property.

What does it cost?

The fee I charge to do all this is one months rent on annual rentals and 10% of the lease value for short term rentals. I don't charge to renew leases. 

Property Management

If you prefer not be involved in the day to day needs of your rental properties I can also manage them for you. Learn more here.

Call me today to schedule a consultation or complete the form below and I will contact you as soon as possible. 

954-895-2431

Fill out my online form.

 

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

July 17, 2017

Right Now is a Good Time To Sell a Florida Home

If you have been on the fence about selling your Florida home, now is definitely a good time. I will give your three reasons why? 

Reason Number 1. We are in a seller's market right now.

A sellers market is defined as when the current number of homes available on the market would all be sold in six months or less at the current rate of sales. If the current rate of sales means the available homes would take longer than six months to sell, then we would be in a buyers market. The market is considered balanced if it would take about six months to sell all the current homes available.

If you look around South Florida, single family homes near the median price level have about 3 months worth of inventory. At the entry level price ranges there is even less than that. Condominiums have about 3 to 5 months of inventory. Both are well below a balanced market of six months.

Its hard to believe, but this seller's market actually began around 2011. Waterfront property made the swing in 2010. So we are in the seventh year of a sellers market in Florida. Who knows exactly when this cycle will end. Why take a chance if you can get out now.

Reason Number 2. Interest rates will most likely be higher next year 

The Fed has raised interest rates twice already in 2017. It is expected they will raise the rate at least once more before 2017 is over. Higher borrowing costs means less buying power for the prospective buyers of your home. If the average rate increases from 4% to 5% that will equal a 10% decrease in what a buyer will be able to afford to spend. If they could afford a $500,000 at 4% interest, they will only be able to afford a home priced at $450,000.

Reason Number 3. Consumer Confidence is Good Today

Economic news has been mostly good lately. The stock market has been hitting record highs and the unemployment rate has been dropping steadily. In May 2017 the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.3%.

I am generally an optimistic and I hope this trend continues. However, I would rather be selling when the news is good than when things turn sour. 

Everyone has different circumstances that will affect their decision to sell and when. If you are trading up to a bigger and better home, then waiting will only mean the house you will eventually buy will cost more too. If your are downsizing, you may be able to hold out a while longer. If your home has obvious flaws you definitely should be selling while the market is hot. If you own a vacant property, there is no sense in waiting. Any appreciation you are getting currently will get eaten up by your carrying costs.

Ten years ago we all thought prices will rise forever. We learned the hard way that they don't.

Related:

The Hidden Cost of Holding on to a Vacant Property

What Does it Cost to Sell a Home in Florida? 

 ________________________________________________________________

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

July 13, 2017

5 Common Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid

5 Common Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid

1. Don’t pad the price too much. Price it realistically. This is number one for a very good reason. It is all about price these days. The definition of Market Value is the price a home will sell at in 45 days or less. You may resign yourself to believe that it will take a long time to find the right buyer and get your home sold because that is what has happened to your friends or neighbors.  Even now as the market improves buyers are staying away from homes priced too high. There are a lot of eager buyers in the market and well priced homes get a lot of attention. Excessively padding the price will significantly reduce the number of potential buyers willing to take a look.

2. When deciding how to price your home, don’t focus on the asking prices of neighboring homes. Those homes haven't sold yet! About the only thing you can learn from the asking price of the home down the street is the price it WON'T SELL for. If your neighbors home hasn't sold yet, it could be because they overpriced it. Don’t make the same mistake. Find out what similar homes have actually sold for recently in your neighborhood. 

3. Don't hire the wrong agent. Ask your agent how many properties they have sold and how long they have been selling real estate. Does he/she know how to value a property properly? Is he/she up on the latest technology? Does he/she have a good web presence including social networking on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook. Does he/she employ a professional photographer? You never get a second chance to make a good impression and the MLS is littered with really bad pictures. Do you have a good rapport with your prospective agent? Is communication easy? These are things you need to ask.

4. Don't make it hard to show your home. Make your home available to show at all times. It would be nice if all buyers and their agents were able to give a day or two of notice before showing your home. That is usually the exception in real life. A buyer’s agent will typically make arrangements to show 4 to 6 properties at a time and often on short notice. If you have to be there to put the dog in the back yard and can't work around their schedule, that buyer may never end up seeing your home.

5. Don't hover. In fact make yourself scarce when your home is being shown. Most buyers prefer not to have to interact with the owner of the home when they are viewing it. It is easier for buyers to visualize living in a home if they aren't being watched and they can talk candidly and critique it among themselves. A particular feature you may think is important to point out may not be what the buyers are after.

Related:

The Best time For Selling Real Estate in Florida

What Happens When You Sell Your Home

 

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By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!

June 11, 2017

2900 NW 42nd Ave Apt A108 For Rent - 2 Bedroom Condo

 

 

 

2900 NW 42nd Ave Apt A108

2 Bedroom condo available for rent in the Township.

First floor unit with a water view. Tile floors. Enjoy all of the amenities available including a performing arts center, aquatic center with an Olympic sized pool, a two story fitness center, a sports center, recreational complex, racket club.

Asking $1300 a month.

Call 954-895-2431

 

_________________________________________________________________

By Tom Day

You can reach me 954-895-2431

If You Like This Post, Please Share. Thanks!