South Florida Home Inspections

House InspectorWhether you’re purchasing an older home or new construction, I always highly recommend to home buyers I work with that they invest in a professional home inspection.  Don’t let the fact that it’s new construction fool you into a false sense of peace… even new homes can have defects.  Home inspection companies typically base their prices on the size of a house (square footage), so the larger the house, the more you’ll pay for a home inspection.  Also, some home inspection companies offer additional services (examples include testing for mold or radon) or can direct you to other companies that offer those services. 

If you’re viewing homes in South Florida and will be in need of locating a home inspector, here are a couple of resources that may help in your decision-making process:

ASHI has a code of ethics  and membership categories and requirements.  Also, check out their frequently asked questions on home inspections and view a virtual home inspection while you’re on their site.

NAHI also has a code of ethics (.pdf), standards of practice (.pdf) and different levels of membership.  While on their site, check out their resource library and articles for home buyers and home sellers.

Though some home inspectors or home inspection companies do not belong to either of these companies, home buyers may find the information on these sites helpful.  If you’ve received a referral of a home inspector or company that is not listed in either of these sites it does not necessarily mean that they are not professional or qualified.  Membership to either of the associations listed above is voluntary.


South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – April 2007

The Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.) has released the sales reports for April 2007.  Compared to last month, the number of single-family resale homes in all three South Florida counties has decreased.  At the same time, the median sales price for single-family resale homes has decreased slightly in the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area while it remained about the same in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. 

Sales of resale condos in Broward and Miami-Dade counties has picked up while remaining about the same as last month in the West Palm Beach metropolitan area.  Meanwhile, the median sale price of resale condos in Broward and Palm Beach Counties has increased slightly while the Miami metropolitan area’s resale condo sale prices has experienced a dip of approximately 9%.

Current Market Statistics

*Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.)

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Real Estate is a hot topic… or is it?

Today, shortly after I logged onto wordpress (WP) with a particular subject in mind for my newest post I decided to first click on their tags page, which I hadn’t visited before today.  What I saw stopped me in my tracks.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  What do you mean “real estate is not a hot topic”?

Real estate a hot topic?

At least some of my colleagues in the real estate business will likely understand what I mean by that.  Believe it or not, contrary to what the National Association of Realtors’ multi-year advertising campaign would have you believe (you know… the one with the slogan: “You’ve got a life. We let you live it. We’re REALTORS®. Real estate is our life.”), we actually do have a life outside of the real estate business.  Having said that, some of us do have a tendency to eat, drink and sleep real estate in one way or another even while we do other things.  At least I do.  This is not a business that is easy to “shut off” at the end of the business day, especially since that business day sometimes doesn’t end around 5:00 PM as do most “typical” jobs, not to mention the fact that we often work on weekends as well.  REALTORS® do a great deal more behind the scenes and sacrifice more than most consumers are aware of.
In my experience, almost anywhere I go, if someone brings up the topic of real estate it tends to be a conversation starter and pretty soon everyone gets in on the conversation.  So you can imagine my surprise to see that real estate was not only not a hot topic at the time, but dead-pan last on their list of 150 topics!  This may seem odd to you, but I’m not terribly concerned about this.  Why, you ask?  Well, because I think all this means is that not too many of my colleagues have taken on blogging as a way to market themselves, the areas they serve, or the properties they list.  This puts me ahead of the game and that’s OK by me.

South Florida Furniture Stores: Variety Abounds

With an average of 1,000 people moving to Florida each year and Broward County’s population projected to increase by an additional 400,000 by the year 2020, there will always be a need for new furniture.  I’ve noticed that in Broward County alone, several new furniture stores have opened in recent years so there is no lack of competition.  In fact, a few stores with well-established names in other parts of Florida (and even other states) have opened branches in South Florida over the past 3-4 years.  If you’re about to buy a new home in Broward County, I hope that you’ll find the following list useful.

new furnitureSome of the larger South Florida furniture stores:

There is one name missing that will soon join the list – IKEA, which will be opening its first-ever store in Florida in the next few months (located at the corner of 595/S.R. 84 and 136th Avenue in Sunrise, FL).

Florida Real Estate News

Local Real Estate Headlines:

Broward County

  • Broward population projected to increase another 400,000 by the year 2020. (Read Article)
  • Developer files lawsuit against activists who fought against 42-story condo. (Read Article)
  • Affordability becomes a real estate reality. (Read Article)
  • Miami-Dade County

  • Local leaders ask court to prevent takeover of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. (Read Article)
  • Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast

  • Commissioners review Callery-Judge Grove’s request to build 10,000 homes west of The Acreage. (Read Article)
  • Wal-Mart considers leasing empty store space in Wellington for one of their Neighborhood Markets. (Read Article).
  • .

    Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida

    Flamingo Gardens is located in Davie, Florida – the heart of Broward County – and encompasses 60 acres.  This South Florida attraction features a wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens.  Their 25,000 sq. ft. “free-flight” aviary which represents five eco-systems is unlike any other I’ve seen. Throughout the park you can see some of Florida’s native wildlife including flamingos, peacocks (roaming the park freely), birds of prey, alligators, river otters and bobcats.  You can tour the historic Wray home (built in 1933) which was built on one of the highest elevations found in Broward County or meander through trails full of lush gardens that showcase rare exotic and native plants.  Their narrated 25-minute tram tour is worthwhile and takes you through the tropical rainforest, native hammock, wetland areas and groves.

    Flamingo Gardens even has a charming wedding gazebo where many have exchanged vows.  In an area just outside the ticketed entrance, Flamingo Gardens also has a nice gift shop with more than the usual tourist-y souvenirs (and includes a well-stocked bookstore), as well as a garden shop with a variety of plants and garden decor to pick from. 

    Flamingo Gardens is also well-known locally for its fruit stand which offers freshly squeezed juices and fruit smoothies, and they’ve been shipping Florida citrus and gift fruit since 1928. 

    Whether you are just visiting, new to Broward County or South Florida, or a long-time resident, I highly recommend a visit to Flamingo Gardens… a glimpse into “Old Florida”.

    Location: 3750 S. Flamingo Rd., Davie, FL  |  Phone: 954-473-2955  |  Map

    South Florida Real Estate Market Conditions – 1st Quarter 2007

    The Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.) has released the sales reports for the 1st quarter 2007.  Below are the numbers for the three major metropolitan areas of South Florida.  As you can see, the number of sales are down from the same time last year. 

    In the greater Fort Lauderdale area, single-family home prices seem to be holding steady while the prices of condos have decreased by about 6%.  I believe the disparity is due to the numerous South Florida condo conversions, many of which had units that were purchased for the sole purpose of flipping to make a quick profit and by the time the closing on them took place some of those investors found themselves needing to sell the property at a break-even point, if not at a loss when the market shifted from a strong seller’s market to a buyer’s market.  I believe this to be true in large part because I’ve noticed that many of the condos that are currently for rent are located in condo conversion communities, especially in certain cities where there were many apartment complexes that converted to condos.

    In the greater Miami area, it seems that despite all the negative news reports about foreclosures increasing and the market softening, both single-family home values and condo values have actually increased 2% and 8%, respectively.  Not bad considering all the “gloom and doom” articles I’ve read over the past year. 

    Meanwhile, in the greater West Palm Beach area (which includes Boca Raton), the median price of both single-family homes and condos have decreased by 4% since the same time last year.  I believe one of the reasons for this is because Palm Beach County had the most new construction happening during the hot seller’s market.  New construction generally sells for more than a similar property that’s a resale and when the market shifted, new home construction slowed.

    *Median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

    Source: Florida Association of Realtors (F.A.R.)

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    South Florida Under Phase 3 Water Restrictions

    With the majority of South Florida experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has announced that Phase III water restrictions for Broward County and Eastern Palm Beach County begin today.  This limits lawn watering and car washing to one day a week during specific hours.  Warnings and citations continue to be handed out to those who don’t abide by the new water restrictions.  Learn more about Broward County’s Phase III water restrictions as well as check water restrictions by zip code

    For those of you who are keeping track… Lake Okeechobee’s water level is currently 9.38 feet (approximately 4 feet below its historical average for this time of year and within five inches of its record low of 8.97 feet, recorded in 2001).  Here is the latest water shortage area map.  The SFWMD website has a wealth of information on ways to conserve water.  Let’s all try to do our part!

    South Florida Native Plants

    Let’s start by answering the question “What is a South Florida native plant?“.  It refers to indigenous species that existed in Florida prior to any significant human impact or changes to the landscape.

    By planting native plants and restoring natural habitats, you are contributing to the conservation of South Florida’s ecosystems.  Benefits of native plant gardening and habitat restoration include:

    • reducing landscape maintenance and water consumption
    • provide a habitat for migrating wildlife
    • provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other native wildlife
    • bridging the gaps between protected conservation areas.

    Want to find out which native plants are recommended for your South Florida neighborhood?  Simply visit the regional conservation website  and once there, simply enter your zip code or county in one of the fields on the top right side of the page and click the “find” button.  Be sure to also check out their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page which is also very informative.

    If you enjoy gardening, check back regularly for additional posts on South Florida gardening and landscaping

    To learn more about Florida’s native plants visit the Florida Native Plant Society, and if you’d like to join, contact your local chapter.  Ready to add some South Florida native plants to your landscape and are not sure how to locate a South Florida native plant nursery?  Here is a list of some local ones:

    Broward County:

    Spyke’s Grove | 7250 Griffin Rd., Davie, FL | Website | Phone: 954-583-0426
    The Garden Gate at Sears | 2251 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach, FL | Website | 954-783-1189
    Alexander Landscaping & Plant Farm | 830 S. Flamingo Rd., Davie, FL | Website | Phone: 954-472-5039

    Palm Beach County:

    Indian Trails Native Nursery | 6315 Park Ln. W., Lake Worth, FL | Phone: 561-248-6669
    Meadow Beauty Nursery | 5782 Ranches Rd., Lake Worth, FL | Phone: 561-966-6848

    Miami-Dade County:

    Richard’s Lyons’ Nursery | 20200 SW 134th AVe., Miami, FL | Website | Phone: 305-251-6293
    Veber’s Jungle Garden | 24605 SW 197th Ave., Homestead, FL | Phone: 305-242-9500

    Davie FL – Recent Home Sales Prices

    Recent sold homes - sales prices in Davie Florida.You won’t have much trouble finding homes in Davie, Florida to suit your needs and budget.  Here, you can find everything from “affordable” homes and condos to luxury homes on 1+ acres.  Almost 85,000 residents call Davie “home” and while that may seem like a high population, it’s really not when you consider that Davie is a sprawling 34+ square miles!

    The list below is a sampling of recently sold/closed sales prices* of condos/villas/townhomes and single-family homes in Davie, FL (sold/closed sales from 1/1/07 through the date of this post).  If you’d like information on available homes for sale in any of the following Davie neighborhoods, click on the corresponding link and let us know the specifics of the home you’re looking for.

    Recent Single-Family Home Sales Prices in Davie:

    Recent Townhouse and Condo/Villa/Townhouse Sales Prices in Davie:

    *As reported on the South Florida MLS. <– Search for Southeast Florida real estate for sale!