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Real Estate Advice

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fort Lauderdale is increasingly becoming a fine dining destination. National chefs are taking note and opening exciting new restaurants in the area and one of my personal favorites is Café Martorano. Chef Steve Martorano has three locations, one in Fort Lauderdale on Oakland Park Boulevard, one in Hollywood, Florida, and one in Las Vegas. The dining at Café Martorano is more akin to a sensory experience as the chef has integrated dining, music, and movies and dishes are served family style. Steve Martorano is a Philadelphia native, and his menu focuses on American Italian cuisine with the freshest ingredients available. Below are three of the signature menu items not to be missed, and if you like the neighborhood, please contact me for available listings! Bon Apetit!

Meatball: This classic meatball is served with Sunday gravy, ricotta cheese, and a long pepper. It is a large serving, so do not let the singular serving scare you away from ordering.
Shrimp Scampi: The Shrimp Scampi is a twist on tradition using butter, garlic, tomatoes, and peas, and is one of my favorites.

Eggplant Stack: Eggplant is pan fried, layered with mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, and parmigiano cheese. This is not to be missed!

Hours: 6 pm Dinner Service, 7 days a week, 3343 E Oakland Park Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 Located on the corner of Oakland Park Blvd and A1A (954) 561-2554

If you are unable to make it to Café Martorano’s Here is one of their Signature Dishes to Try!

Fusilli Pollo

8 oz. cooked Chicken Cutlet

Extra Virgin olive oil

White Wine


Sweet Peppers
Kosher salt, pepper

San Marzano Tomatoes

Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Fusilli Pasta

Fresh Basil

In a skillet heat the olive oil and brown some fresh garlic.
Then throw in the sweet peppers and saute until soft.
Toss in the cooked chicken, a little white wine, San Marzano tomatoes, kosher salt, black pepper, Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese & fresh basil.
- See more at: http://cafemartorano.com/recipes/#sthash.ITUtejGb.dpuf

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

With all the national and regional news on home sales values increasing, I am approached by many home owners looking to list their homes on the market. It is true that the available property on the market is in limited supply, and there are many buyers on the market looking to purchase properties. However, in a number of instances, seller expectations are out of sync with the market value of their homes. Home prices have increased substantially in the past year and while this is excellent news, there is a danger amongst those looking to sell their homes in listing it too high. Buyers will not pay over market value for a home, even when inventory is scarce. Pricing must reflect what the market will bear, not what the Seller needs to net.

If you are asked by your realtor to lower your list price or are in possession of an offer that you feel is too low, consider the yearly costs of keeping your home. Often, the cost of keeping the home could impact that decision in the long term. One factor that is not even computable is the opportunity cost in not selling due to market fluctuations. An example of this would be if a new development of comparable homes becomes available on the market, thereby increasing the inventory, and your home value will be reduced. Below is a rough estimate of carrying costs based on expenses for an average two bedroom 1100 sq. ft. condominium near the beach. If you have thought about selling your property please call me for a free consultation and honest discussion of your home value.

Average Homeowner Insurance: starting at $1100 per year (Florida average), although this can vary significantly based on amount of coverage and proximity to the ocean..

Taxes: Roughly 2% of the sale price $5,000 (average based on $250,000 property)

Monthly Assessments: For the majority of condominiums near the beach that fund reserves, this averages between .50 and .59 per sq. ft. or roughly $600 per month, yearly $7,200

Utilities: Electricity varies with usage but an average could be $100/month ($1200/year). High speed Internet $69/month ( $828/year)

Total Amount of Costs: $15,328 excluding a mortgage payment and any additional repairs and maintenance or building assessments.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

The National Association of Realtors and Florida Realtors determined through a one year study that international sales comprised 8% of Florida existing home sales from July 2012 to 2013. In terms of dollar amount, it rose to 9%. The statistic was the result of a poll of 977 realtors and the term “foreign buyers” were non-resident foreigners, who either vacation here or use it as a rental property. Polls also included sales of single family homes, townhomes, and condos, amounting to $74 billion total with $6.4 billion being international sales. Below are some of the other findings of this study and some insight into the buyer behavior, for my sellers looking to target international buyers.

1. International Buyers paid higher amounts than domestic. International buyers are often competitive and preferred in Fort Lauderdale since many pay cash and prefer short closings.

2. Nationally 27% of agents have international clients, in Florida, two out of every three realtors have international clients.

3. 80% of realtors said their international clients found the properties in Florida less expensive and better values than in their own countries. Comparatively speaking, purchase power in Fort Lauderdale is far greater than in the South of France, while offering similar weather and boating opportunities.

4. Fort Lauderdale held 9% of the international buyers focus in the study.

5. 84% of International transactions were cash.

6. International buyers prefer detached single family homes, then townhomes, and finally condos.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

When you are searching for the perfect home, you will likely have a set of criteria that your realtor will use to recommend homes that would appeal to your specific taste.. As you see various properties and find a fit, now is the time your realtor will give you an analysis of market values to assist you in making a reasonable offer. A comparative market analysis will provide a range of values for your desired property, based upon comparable properties that have recently sold in your target area. While most buyers are still looking for a good deal, in this market you will want your offer to be accepted, and therefore it must be competitive. Below are some items that factor into your offering price. If you are looking for condos or a single family home in the Fort Lauderdale, contact me today.

Property Condition. How does the property compare to other homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood? In this instance, take note of the structural elements such as roof, ceilings, walls, and other elements that would be laborious to repair.

Market Conditions. Market conditions, such as the inventory of homes available in the area, and what other similar homes have sold for, are provided and interpreted most accurately by your realtor. Currently, in Fort Lauderdale, it is a seller’s market and the inventory is limited, so more buyers are competing to buy a home, making a competitive offer extremely important.

Improvements. Substantial improvements include major structural improvements such as a new roof, remodeled kitchens and baths, high end finishes, ceiling popcorn removal and hurricane impact glass. These improvements add considerable value, however note your realtors advice on the actual value of the improvements inside a unit, as it may be over valued in the market.

Seller Motivation. If a seller is highly motivated, additional value can be added to your offer through the terms of the closing. A CASH OFFER, short inspection period, minimum of 10% escrow deposit, and quick closing add value and often result in a lower offer being accepted as opposed to those with longer closing periods, financing and other contingencies. The stronger the offer, the more likely it will be accepted.

The Final Number. Use all of the items above and the advice of your realtor to arrive at an appropriate offering price. If you are fair in your assessments and use a realtor knowledgeable in your area, you will likely strike a deal. Best of luck!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

As the ink dries on a listing agreement, the first phone call I make is to a professional photographer to schedule a shoot of the property. In terms of curb appeal, the photos are just as important as a fresh coat of paint and cleaning up a yard. According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home buyers start with the internet in their home search, and the images are everything. The multiple listing service allows 25 photos, while sites like Realtor.com allow 35. The more photos of your property, the better idea a buyer has of what your home looks like and the more likely they are to look more closely at the details such as square footage and amenities.

Having a variety of photos to choose from makes no difference if photos are of poor quality. A professional photographer is of utmost importance in this regard. Professional photos are high resolution, diverse, and the angles used are most flattering to your home, and taken in the right light can transform a space. Poor quality listing photos may make your home look smaller than it actually is, where as good quality images can make a home appear larger. If you are looking to sell your home and would like an in depth analysis of the current value of your home, contact me today.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is set to break ground on August 22. It was recently announced that a joint vewnture between Coastal Contruction and Tishman Construction have been selected to manage the construction, that will grace the shores of Hollywood Beach. A statement was released by CEO Tom Murphy to the Miami Herald this week, “There are great synergies between our two companies, including our mutual track records for creating hotels, resorts and multi-family residential projects of distinction, but more importantly, our shared values and company culture.” This project will bring hundreds of thousands to South Florida and could mean a substantial boost to the local economy, and to real estate values.

The project is orchestrated by developers Lojeta Millennium and Margaritaville of Hollywood, and investment group, Starwood Capital. This will be a massive undertaking. Margaritaville Hollywood will have a 17 story building that will include a 349 room hotel, restaurant, bars, and retail spaces over the 5 acre site. Some of the other amenities that will accompany the site will be a refurbished bandshell, public restrooms, water park, boat dock, and a 1,056 car garage. It is scheduled for completion by 2015. This will completely change the face, name, and economy of Hollywood Beach. Margaritaville’s across the country are some of the most popular destinations, for more than just Jimmy Buffet fans, many enjoy the island breezes and feel and Fort Lauderdale can offer an island feel while being easily accessible in the United States. I will keep you updated on the progress of this project.

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