Category Archives: Waterfront Homes

Faster Approvals Make Short Sales A Great Option for Buyers

The uncertainty of waiting for short sale approvals has made many buyers and Realtors avoid them as a viable option. But beginning June 15th that is all changing for the better.

New guidelines issued under the Federal Housing Finance Agency will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give homebuyers of short sales notice of their final decision within 60 days. The new guidelines also will require the mortgage giants to respond to initial short-sale requests within 30 days of receiving an offer.

That’s great news for buyers. Since short sales can generally be purchased at as much as 20% below fair market value, with approvals in a timely fashion, they become a great option for home buyers.

With many banks choosing to streamline the short sale process in lieu of foreclosure, the best deals are actually short sales.

Ready to sell your home as a short sale, or find a great deal on a short sale home?  Ken Can Help! Shoot me an email at KenCanHelp@gmail.com or visit my website at www.KenHelps.com and start searching for your new home.

For more information on the new streamlined short sale process follow this link:

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=3&id=276506

Deal of the Week – Las Olas Isles

Live the dream among multi-million dollar homes with this beautiful unit located on the Isle of Venice. Free boat dock. Sweeping water views. New hurricane impact windows.  It doesn’t get better than this.  Ready to find your piece of paradise? Ken Can Help!

Complete Listing Details:  http://www.kenhelps.idxco.com/idx/9851/details.php?listingID=F1130169&idxID=390

5 Vacation Rental Need to Knows.

Renting Out Your Vacation Home Can Be A Great Income Producer.

I help lots of out of area buyers purchase vacation homes. At todays prices, it’s hard to pass up owning your own piece of Fort Lauderdale real estate.  There is also is a great argument to be made for the investment quality of buying a vacation home now.  While I believe that anything purchased today will enjoy long-term appreciation, there has been much written recently that contradicts that.  But purchasing the right place at today’s prices can be a very profitable investment as a short-term vacation rental. While I’m happy to market and rent places for my clients, I always advise them that they can do it themselves. With the growth of sites like www.VRBO.com and others, being your own property manager has never been easier. They offer ways for you to accept credit cards for deposits and rental payments and make it easy to promote your vacation rental properties. You can even install an electronic combination door lock that will allow you to change the combination over the internet after each guest leaves, taking the hassle out of the key exchange.

Here’s a quick checklist of the top five things you need to know to get your vacation home ready to be a vacation rental. http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/maryumberger/5-vacation-rental-need-knows
If you’re ready to start looking for your vacation home or vacation rental, Ken Can Help! Visit my website to start browsing all available listings, or send me an email and let me do the searching for you.  With prices this low and interest rates at historic lows, there has never been a better time to own you piece of paradise.

Will A Bank Make Repairs on a Foreclosure?

Is a Foreclosure still a deal after repairs?

Some foreclosure properties are great deals. But when the bank is the seller, these properties are sold strictly AS-IS. Most lenders make buyer’s sign proprietary addendums that detail everything that could be wrong with the property, and that YOU ( the buyer) will be responsible  for any and all of the defects. This is just another “buyer beware” notice and of no concern if you’ve done your homework.

If you want a great deal and are set on buying a foreclosure property, get your inspections and determine if the home is still a good deal after the expense of reconditioning, repair and replacement of fixtures and appliances.

Most foreclosures are usually priced aggressively by the banks and are very good deals. In fact, many foreclosure properties are generating multiple offers over asking price. That’s another reason make sure you know what the repairs will cost before making your offer.  In some cases, like active plumbing or roof leaks (and even a non-functioning air conditioning unit here in the Tropics) a bank may agree to complete repairs or replacements. It’s always worth asking for. 

If you are looking to find a foreclosure deal in paradise, Ken Can Help! Visit my website to browse all available listings (www.KenHelps.com) or shoot me an email and let me do the searching for you.

A Beach Condo or Private Home Oasis? It's a Lifestyle Choice.

Enjoy the Ocean, the beach and the Cruise ships coming into Port from your window.

Private Tropical Back Yard Oasis

This past week, I was working with a couple relocating from Switzerland with a budget up to $450K. That buys you a lot in Fort Lauderdale right now. We began our search where most of my out of  area buyers start – a direct ocean-view condo within walking distance to the beach, shops and restaurants.  After two days of condo elevators, lobbies and parking the inevitable question came up – “Can we own a nice home for this price?”  The answer is “of course”.  After another day of showing  open-plan remodeled “Florida ranch homes” with tropical yards and pools, they have decided to purchase a house as their relocation home.

Out of area buyers looking to buy their piece of paradise at today’s great prices and low interest rates continue to keep me very busy. Whether referrals from past clients, or inquiries from my website, the discussion usually ends up at the natural fork in the road – “Do I buy that ocean-view condo or should I opt for the control and privacy of a single family home?” For those of you  who find yourself at that same fork in the road, let me offer a few insights that may help make your choice a little easier based on a few simple facts.

Ocean View Condo – Pros & Cons

1. View – If you have your heart set on a dramatic view, with the added benefit of waking out of your lobby to the beach  there’s no way to duplicate this with a home. 

2. Exterior “Maintenance-Free” Ownership – Since exterior maintenance is done by the condo association, this is the most care-free way to either snowbird or relocate to Ft. Lauderdale.

3. Maintenance Fees – Yes, they look high if you have not lived in a condo before. But remember, they include management of all the maintenance for the common areas of the building, windstorm and hazard insurance premiums, security, doormen, reserves contribution, water, garbage, maintaining that beautiful beach (sometimes even beach chairs and cabanas)…even cable, internet in some buildings. You pay for any of these things at your own home, so be sure to take inventory of what these items actually cost and compare them to monthly maintenance fees. You may be suprised at the value you are getting.

4. Amenities – Additional value you receive from your condo maintenance fees is the vast array of amenities. Pools, Spas, Tennis, Golf or Putting Green, Sauna, Gym, Bar-B-Q area, Party Rooms, Theatre, Library, Business Center and more.  If you add up what these entertainment options may cost you if not provided as a part or your condo purchase, you may begin to understand the real value of association fees.

5. Privacy and Control – This is another fork in the road and it’s a lifestyle choice. If you are a Snowbird that just uses your condo a few times every year, your freedom to ‘lock the door and go” without worry may be all the control you want. The other side of that coin is association rules and regulations that you must follow on everything from the color of the back of your window coverings, pet ownership, if and how often you may rent and “share” your unit, how many and what kind of vehicles you can park…on and on.  Condos are neighborhoods just like gated communities. Many owners like the piece of mind that comes from knowing how your neighbors can, and cannot use their unit and your neighborhood. Look at the association documents carefully as part of your decision to buy any condo. If you don’t like having to follow the “rules to live by” at the condo you are considering, then  this building (or condo life  in general) may not be the right choice for you.

6. Security – Whether there is a special front door key, an electronic call box, or a 24 hour security guard in the lobby you are more likely to know who comes to your front door in a condo than in a single family home. Your guests are also more likely to have to jump through a hoop or two to  park and get to your front door.  Your lifestyle choice.

7. Special Assessments – When the building needs repairs or upgrades, those costs can be paid out of budget reserves or special assessments to all condo owners.  Well managed associations have capital improvement plans to prepare for facilities maintenance and minimize the “surprise” special assessments. Remember, a home needs to be maintained too. But in a condo, the association gets to decide when to paint the building or remodel the lobby. You get a vote, but so do all the other owners. That cuts both ways. If you hate walking through a “tired” lobby to get to your unit, your neighbors may not vote for a renovation. No special assessment, but same old lobby.  This is as much of a control issue as a financial one.

Private  Home – Your Tropical Oasis? Pros & Cons.

1.View – You can’t own a house with a beach view at $450K. But you can have a private tropical pool and yard, customized to your exact specifications. Add exterior lighting, outdoor kitchen, shady gazebos or veranda and there’s just nothing like your own private paradise. Like to skinny dip? Not recommended at the condo pool. Want to have a private party for your friends by the pool? Thats just harder to do on a shared pool deck.

2.Exterior Maintenence – You are fully responsible for all maintenance on  your home. That means you can choose when and what color to paint. What kind of roof to replace, or windows to install. When to clean your pool and mow your yard. This is a lot of freedom, and responsibility. What fits your lifestyle better?

3. No “maintenance Fee” – This may seem like an immediate savings, and it is true that you are the king of your castle in a private home. But you will eventually have to pay for painting, repairs, yard and pool maintenance. Windstorm and hazard insurance premiums must be paid monthly.  An honest assessment at the costs of home maintenance and insurance v. condo association fees will make this choice easier for you on the financial side and more of a lifestyle choice.

4. Amenities – In your home, you get to choose the amenities to provide:  pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, patio furniture, gym, security and parking. Your choice, your expense, your control. There are also amenities provided by a condo that you are not likely to be able to duplicate….a professional gym, tennis courts, olympic pool, beach, security guard etc.    What’s more important to you? Lifestyle choice!

5. Privacy, Control and Security – This is a very clear choice for most people. There are very few rules and regulations on how you use your private home in older east-side neighborhoods, and few are ever inforced unless your actions aggravate your neighbors or create a dangerous environment.  You are more likely to have an unexpected guest or girl scout knock on your door in a private home, but your neighbors won’t tell what color to paint your house or how often to clean your pool.  Want to install a new paver driveway? Just go out  and do it whenever you want to do it.  You’ll need to take precautions is you are snowbird who likes to “lock and go”, but automated security systems and good communications with your neighbors can usually fill this gap. This is really a lifestyle choice alone.

6. Special Assessments – No, you will not get an association bill for a special assessment for repairs or remodeling expenses not covered by reserves. If your roof begins to leak, your pool pump poops out, or your exterior needs painting you are on your own. No neighbors will share these expenses with you and nobody will get 3 competitive bids or organize the repairs for you. But YOU are in control and if you prefer that position, and have your own personal reserves to cover the expense, this may be your best lifestyle choice.

There may be other very specific criteria important to you for your Ft. Lauderdale or South Florida home choice, but considering these choices carefully before beginning your home search will make the whole process a lot easier.

Ready to buy your place in paradise? Ken Can Help. Visit my website at www.KenHelps.com or email me with questions at KenCanHelp@gmail.com