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Real Estate Advice

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Canadians have been buying Fort Lauderdale real estate in droves recently. From Pied-A-Terres to luxury waterfront homes, Fort Lauderdale has become a second home to many Canadians looking to take advantage of the amazing weather and deals on the market. In July of 2012, the Canadian Finance Ministry tightened rules over first time home buyers obtaining government backed mortgages, for the fourth time since 2008. They reduced the time in mortgages from 30 years to 25 years, in an effort to slow down real estate growth. For this reason, many Canadian home buyers are looking to purchase in the United States, where mortgage rates are at record lows.
In some instances, investors are buying properties sight unseen and recouping their investment in under 2 years. According to Zillow, for those planning to live in a home for more than 3 years, owning is less expensive than renting in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market, with homeowners breaking even within 1.6 years. With the inventory in Fort Lauderdale at a limited supply, the median price of homes is increasing, and the interest from foreign investors, such as Canadians, has not decreased. The most recent change to the financing rules in Canada will create even more demand for homes with favorable financing in the United States. Since 2011, Canadian’s have been investing in residential real estate in Florida, and especially in Fort Lauderdale. For more information on investment opportunities in Fort Lauderdale, or for the best luxury waterfront properties, please contact me today.
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Monday, August 13, 2012
Many of my clients come to me looking to sell their condo, however sometimes their expectations of their home’s value exceeds the price that it will sell for in today’s market. Home prices are on the rise in Fort Lauderdale, and while the inventory is very low, many experts speculate that the home prices will increase by the end of 2013. There are several options for sellers in this predicament. If they cannot afford the carrying costs of waiting for prices to rise to their expectation level, they can reduce their price expectation to an appropriate number based on recent comparable sales in their respective building and surrounding area, while factoring in “the limited availability”. Another option is placing their condo on the market for an annual rental with the idea of helping to cover costs until prices return to their desired expectation level.
This second option can be very appealing for a number of reasons. By renting the property, you produce an income stream that will help cover carrying costs in the short term. Fort Lauderdale is an excellent location for annual and seasonal rentals since it is a vacation destination and many people like to rent during the winter for extended periods of time. Since most owners prefer to rent on an annual basis, there are every few seasonal rentals available meaning that those landlords desiring to rent on a seasonal basis are in a position to demand higher prices. With both seasonal and annual rentals, your property can also be listed for sale, with a provision in the lease allowing for showings with proper notice to the tenant. If this is an option you would like to consider, there are certain factors to weigh before deciding to rent.
  1. Renting Furnished or Unfurnished. If you would like to rent the condo furnished, you will have to be comfortable with the possibility of damages, which should be factored into the deposit you ask for. Even with an unfurnished condo rental, there will still be wear and tear to consider. Generally speaking, first and last months rent plus a security deposit are standard.
  2. Insurance. Make sure you check your insurance policy and see if your premium will increase if you decide to rent. You can also require that the renter purchase additional renters insurance.
  3. Animals. Consider if you would allow animals in your condo. Some condos do not allow pets, however in the event that they do, decide whether small animals or any animals at all will be allowed, since they can leave unpleasant odors in a home that can be costly to remove. You can also require a pet deposit to mitigate any pet damages, provided the building allows renters to have pets.
  4. Background Check by Landlord. Although condominiums have their own application and screening process, it is advisable for the owner to request current credit report, proof of income and application with references prior to accepting a new tenant.
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