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Monday, May 14, 2018

Controversial development gets unanimously denied in Weston Hills Country Club, Weston, Florida.  Read more about it here:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Here’s the scenario…..

You are thinking about moving or making improvements to your current home.  Should you remodel the kitchen, baths, flooring, add a pool, change the patio decking, make an addition to add more square footage, replace the aging roof, finally change the a/c units, add or change window treatments, remove the popcorn ceiling, add a fence, upgrade appliances, paint the interior, paint the exterior, add a circular driveway, change out your landscaping, add impact glass . . .? (And yes I’m laughing as I write this because no matter how much you’ve done, there’s always more you can do.)

I have zero scientific or mathematical data to support my philosophy on over-improving your home, but I do have over two decades of selling properties in South Florida.  My general consensus is that you can spend roughly ten to fifteen percent of your home’s current value on upgrades and renovations.  For example, sellers with a home valued at $1,000,000 today can spend around $100k to $150k and still remain at market value if they plan on moving in the next few years.   My experience and market statistics show that sellers who make major renovations get substantially more money for their home at closing, get closer to their asking price, and spend fewer days on the market.  This information stays valid in good and bad markets. 

Here’s the caveat with the above information:  Is your home really worth what you think it’s worth?  Market conditions are changing weekly in South Florida.  Inventory has gone up ten percent, down ten percent, and has flattened off in the last sixty days.  The number of closed sales for January was off by 50% in Weston.  The internet, with sites like Zillow, has everyone believing that you type in your address and you get an instant, accurate figure on the value of your property. 

Now if you are looking to spend only three to five percent of the perceived value on your home for renovations, knock yourself out and enjoy the naked outdoor shower.  However, if you are planning to spend ten percent or more of the perceived value, I suggest you take the opportunity to consult a real estate expert in your area. You will want to discuss current home values, what improvements are needed immediately versus renovations that would be nice to have, and how all of this adds value to the property. 

I’m honored that most of my clients do consult me when they come to a crossroad about home improvements. I welcome any of our readers to contact me, as well. Thanks as always for allowing me to share my thoughts and provide a positive impact to the local real estate market.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Got Homestead Exemption?

Why not????  I was recently shocked to hear that one of my clients didn’t apply for homestead exemption when they purchased the home several years ago as their primary residence.  This oversight cost them over $10,000 a year in property taxes.  I’m sure more of you are out there so let’s try and get everyone in check. 

There are two main reasons that you should have homestead on your primary residence.  Number one is that your assessed value of the home which is the main ingredient in determining your tax bill can only be increased by a maximum of three percent annually. This limits your exposure to a higher than normal tax bill with the rise of property values.  This is very prudent in today’s market where you saw home values at rock bottom and now over the last five or six years have rebounded.  In some instances, the assessed value has doubled due to the market fluctuations which could generate an inflated property tax bill if there is no homestead on your property.

The number two reason to apply for homestead exemption would be the $25,000 discount off the assessed value that the State of Florida offers to all primary resident homeowners.  There is a complicated formula that figures the exact amount discounted but it ultimately means a $650 to $1,150 savings per year on your property taxes.

In order to get homestead, you need to meet the following criteria and provide the following information:

  1. A legal Florida resident
  2. A value of property worth more than $75,000
  3. As of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you.
  4. Provide the Recorded Deed as Proof of Ownership
  5. Proof of Permanent Residence which includes:
    1. Driver’s license
    2. Voter’s registration
  6. If you or your spouse claim homestead in any other area then you will not be entitled to the exemption.

Although homestead exemption is the most common exemption people talk about, there are several other exemptions that Broward County offers their residences.  Disability, Veteran’s, Deployed Military, and more offer additional savings.  There’s one exemption called the “Granny’s Flat Exemption” that could become a real advantage to many of us.  If you or someone you know has made major renovations to their existing home or built an addition for their parents or grandparents to live with them, an exemption may be option.  There are several rules to this exemption however if you qualify, you are entitled up to twenty percent of your homestead value in savings.

Don’t forget about Portability of your property taxes.  A lot of my empty nester clients are very concerned about what this really means when they sell their home in the suburbs and upgrade to a place on the East Side.  Contact me further for details so I can clear up any of your uncertainties.

A special thanks to all my clients and sphere of relationships who have been powerful advocates of mine over the years.  It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of many transactions in the South Florida Market.




Monday, December 12, 2016

-Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.  We are traveling by train.  Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.  Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering- waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry.  “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all.  The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us. “Relish the moment” is a good motto.  It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Committed and Passionate, Eric and Meri Solomon are key players in the South Florida Real Estate Market.  Their passion for family, friends, and the South Florida Lifestyle makes them familiar members of the community from Weston to the Beaches.  Combine this with their in depth knowledge and dedication to the global real estate market, and the results are well-known, well-respected and well-trusted for nearly two decades.

Growing up in Plantation and Cooper City, their families have been entrenched in the growth of South Florida.  After college at University of Florida, Eric and Meri moved back to start their family and careers.   Eric quickly excelled in networking, marketing, and sales, which propelled them to open Solomon Homes in 2003.  Eric with help of Meri built a large loyal and fun client base over the years consisting of many walks of life. Their strong relationships built on trust and respect have created a referral network with quality contacts for a thriving business.

This dynamic team has also created a niche with Private Money Lending to help real estate investors fund projects throughout the State of Florida.  They work with hedge funds to finance unconventional deals that a traditional bank will not touch. 

For most of you in Weston, you know Eric and Meri as Drew, Noah, and Jacob’s parents.  Seven days a week you can find them at any of the fields throughout Weston coaching or helping out.  Eric is proud to be on the Board of Directors of the Weston YMCA and on the JAFCO golf fundraising Committee. Meri also spends countless hours volunteering at the schools and on various charitable foundations to make our Hometown a special place.

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Tags:   Importance of Working with a Top Realtor in your Transaction

Why use a Top Real Estate Broker in your Market?

It would probably be a stretch if I told you I am the best Real Estate Broker in the world, but when it comes to the Weston Real Estate Market I can confidently tell you I’m up there. Now you may be thinking “What’s the difference between a top broker and any other? They all have access to the same information.” and while the benefits of using a Top Real Estate Broker in your Market may not be apparent, once you have had the pleasure of working with a true professional you won’t want to deal with anyone else. A Top Real Estate Broker in a Market is going to have far greater knowledge of a Market than your normal broker. This additional market knowledge is not something that can be found in a book or online, it is knowledge that comes from experience in a market. Here are some of the benefits that only a top Real Estate Broker in your Market could provide.

Market Knowledge:

Most brokers can tell you that they will “Get back to you” with any information you may require about a listing or a location, this is not the case when dealing with a Top Real Estate Broker in your market. The Top Brokers know their Market inside and out and will have all information readily available, so that you get the responses you need at the time you need them most. The Top Brokers did not start at the top, they have worked their way up and have generally been in business for at least one property cycle, therefore they have experienced the market in both the fast periods as well as the slow. With this extensive knowledge a Top Broker can advise you on the right price to list or buy a home.

Specialty Knowledge:

A Top Real Estate Broker in a Market knows more than just the current inventory and historic data of homes available in the market. A top broker has experience in the area far beyond that, a Top Broker can share knowledge of the local schools, parks, houses of worship, availability of childcare, restaurants, entertainment, contractors, and much more. The great Real Estate Brokers in a Market continue to be successful because they  care for their clients and advise them to the best of their ability to ensure the best outcome for their client.

Track Record of Success:

Let’s face it, statistics speak for them self and one does not become a Top Real Estate Broker in a market without a track record of success. When working with a Top Real Estate Broker in a Market, you know you are working with the best Agent to buy or sell in that market.

When it comes down to it, using a Top Real Estate Broker in a Market is a great way to capitalize on market information and knowledge that may not be readily available for all to see. Nobody likes dealing with the unknown, and the best way to resolve this in Real Estate is working with a Top Real Estate Broker in your Market.

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