South Florida Real Estate and Community News

July 16, 2021

What To Expect When Buying a Home in South Florida

Buying a home requires a lot of planning. If you are contemplating purchasing one of South Florida homes, you will need a lot more than just planning. You need to know about the current price and market conditions, insurance, HOA communities, home inspection, closing costs, and other steps in the process. Learning about all of these can help you to avoid shady deals. It'll also save you from common mistakes that many first-time homebuyers make. This article takes you through the essential things you need to know as you plan to become a homeowner in South Florida.


Market Conditions
South Florida has witnessed a significant rise in the cost of homes over the last couple of years. However, there is a consistent fluctuation in the average price of homes in the area. Buying during the peak period will cost you a lot more than during the off-peak periods. An excellent way to play the market trends to your advantage is to work with an experienced realtor who understands the trends.



Homeowner’s Insurance

While South Florida offers a nice ambiance and welcoming weather, the state also experiences a fair share of bad weather. Bad weather conditions are one of the biggest reasons you would need to get a homeowner's insurance. Depending on the location you have your eyes set on, you may need to ensure your home against floods, hurricanes, hail or wind damage, and others.


As you plan for the monthly mortgage payment, it is also advisable to consider the homeowner's insurance cost. If you are unsure about the insurance budget, you can always call your insurance provider to find out. The cost of your homeowner's insurance will be affected by factors like the age of your roof and whether or not your roof meets the current wind mitigation standards. Other factors include the age of plumbing installations and materials, the presence of outdated electrical wiring, and more.




Home Inspections

Many first-time homebuyers get so excited about the prospects of owning a house that they tend to forget about home inspection. Skipping home inspection is a sure way of landing yourself in debt. A typical home inspection will cover the house's general structure, plumbing, electrical wiring, pest inspection, flooring, bathroom and kitchen inspection, HVAC inspection, mold inspection, and drainage inspection. The home inspection exercise reports can help you negotiate a lower price for the house or avoid it.



Deed Protected Communities or Not

Several communities in South Florida are deed protected. These communities are governed by a homeowner's association that addresses the welfare of residents. Each homeowner in the community is levied a certain amount monthly or annually. There are also specific rules and regulations that each property owner must follow. It will help if you read the fine print of the agreements before purchasing the house. You may need to see a lawyer to explain the details of the deed to you.



Closing Costs and Related Fees

As you are planning your home purchase cost, you should keep the closing costs in mind. This cost is usually about 2 to 5 percent of the mortgage principal. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to handle this cost.



Find a Reputable Real Estate Agent

To navigate South Florida real estate, you should seek out a reputable and experienced real estate agent. Your real estate agent will help you to identify the properties that fall within your price range. They will also leverage their connection and network to deliver various homes in top communities and neighborhoods.



Steps To Buying a South Florida Home

Examine Your Current Financial Situation

Your financial situation at present is what will determine what mortgage lenders feel about your ability to sustain and repay a mortgage loan. If you are dealing with debt, it is best to service those debts first before applying for a mortgage loan. As you evaluate your finances in readiness for a mortgage loan, you should pay attention to the following;




Credit Score 

- The higher your credit score, the better the discounts you enjoy on mortgage rates.



Debt-to-Income Ratio 

- It is advisable to spend 36% or below of your income to debt ratio.



Down Payment 

- If you are planning on securing a conventional loan, you need to have at least 5% of the home's cost as a down payment.



Closing Costs 

- Closing costs are the add-on costs that you may not be able to shake off. Prepare to pay between 2 to 5% of your home's price in closing costs.



Homeownership Costs 

- You'll most likely need to keep your home well-maintained throughout the year. This cost is roughly $3,599, going by the average maintenance cost in Florida.


Select the Right Neighborhood
When selecting your South Florida, the right neighborhood and the amenities offered matters a lot. When considering the right neighborhood, you should factor in the neighborhood's average value and the past home value trends. This will help you to understand the future value of your purchase. The local lifestyle is also a factor to consider. Check out the availability of top schools, amenities, restaurants, and transportation options.



Get Pre-Approved

One of the most common mistakes first-time homebuyers make is that they begin a property search prior to being pre-approved for a mortgage loan. It is important to halt any search until after you have been pre-approved. This helps you to set a better budget and target your home purchase needs. 



Search and Close the Deal

Once you have been pre-approved, your search can begin. Work with a reputable realtor to narrow down your options. A reputable realtor will guide you through the property-purchase process. The realtor can also recommend home inspection agencies, lawyers, notary offices, and others to speed up the process. If you aren't a local, your realtor can also link you with local contractors to handle minor repairs.

The process of owning a home in South Florida can be complex. However, with the right information and experienced realtor, you'll be able to avoid the common mistakes associated with the process. Learn more about home buying in South Florida at



Fort Lauderdale Realtor

Bryan Gold, 4325 N Ocean Dr 

Lauderdale by the Sea FL 33308




Posted in Buying a Home
June 11, 2021

Buying a Condo or Buying a House: Which Suits My Family More?


Deciding between buying a condo or a house is a big decision, especially when it involves your family. Houses provide stability and typically offer backyards and large kitchens for growing families, while condos are associated with smaller, more efficient spaces and proximity to shopping and nightlife. 


If you are trying to choose between buying a condo or a house, a few factors can help you decide which option suits your family more. These questions encourage you to consider aspects such as available space, long-term plans, cost, and property upkeep. 


If you are trying to choose between buying a condo or a house, a few factors can help you decide which option suits your family more.


House or Condo?

Before deciding between a house and a condo, it is helpful to understand what each type of living accommodation is and the fundamental differences between them.


A house is a building on a plot of land that is typically meant for a single-family unit. When you buy a house, you also own the land it occupies, which typically includes a small front and back yard. Most people take out a mortgage loan to pay for the property and pay off the loan in monthly payments over 20-30 years. At the end of that time, they own the building and property outright. Often, houses are long-term investments where a family stays for several years and only moves if circumstances make it necessary. 


A condo, short for a condominium, is a piece of property inside a building with several other units. These units are individually owned but are surrounded by common areas used by all of the residents. Condos range in size but are typically smaller than houses and do not come with individual land lots. When you buy a condo, you own the unit and may live there or rent it out. You typically do not own anything more than what is inside the walls of your unit, meaning the hallways, stairways, and other accommodations are communal properties. Often, those who are downsizing opt for a condominium because it is conveniently located, and they do not have to perform the same upkeep required of homeowners. 


A condo, short for a condominium, is a piece of property inside a building with several other units.


Question to Ask Yourself

When deciding on the best option for you and your family, it is essential to ask yourself the following questions to pinpoint whether a house or condo is the right choice. Look at each question and consider the facts that inform your answer. 


  • What Space Does Your Family Need?

Realistically, how much space does your family require? Houses are lovely for families with several members and those with small children. Homes often come with backyard areas for kids and pets and multiple rooms inside for comfortable living arrangements. Condos range in size, but they are typically built with one to three rooms. 


This means that a larger family would not have as much space in a condominium unit as in a house. If your family is already large, you have small children, or you plan to grow your family in the coming years, a house is probably better suited to your needs. If your children are almost grown or leaving the nest soon, a condo may be a good choice for the future. 


  • What Are Your Long-Term Plans?

Your long-term financial plans affect your decision to buy a house or condo. Both are good investments for the long-term, but for different reasons. A condo is an excellent way to get into the real estate investment scene and can provide income as a rental property. If your long-term plans include living in multiple locations or owning rental units, a condo is a good idea. 


A house is also an excellent financial investment in most cases. When you buy a house, its value appreciates, which means you gain equity over time. If you decide to sell the house years down the line, you can profit in the right market. Also, a house is suitable for long-term plans that don’t center around finances. If you and your family plan to stay in one location long-term, then a home is a great idea. Work with a knowledgeable South Florida real estate agent to pick a house or condo that fits your long-term plans. 


  • What is Your Budget?

Your budget is probably the deciding factor for your choice between buying a condo or a house. Houses typically cost more than condominiums because they come with a large living structure and land. Buying a house includes many expenses above the listing price that must be factored into the total cost. Condominiums often include association fees and fees for security measures for the community. It is essential to ask yourself what your budget is to determine which property you can afford. 


  • What Kind of Upkeep Are You Prepared For?

Another critical question to ask is what type of maintenance responsibilities you are willing to deal with. In a condo, you are generally not responsible for fixing problems that arise with plumbing, heating, electric, roofing, or other home-owning maintenance issues. If you are looking forward to a quiet retirement or simply don’t want to put in the time, effort, and money to take care of these problems independently, a condo is a good idea. However, if you don’t mind taking on these responsibilities and the other aspects of homeownership work for you, buying a house is a good option. 


  • What Perks Are You Looking For?

One final fun question to ask yourself is what perks you are looking for. With a condo, you are usually close to other people and fashionable downtown shopping areas. You may have a community pool and lounging area and be able to develop friendships with other residents. 


With a house, you may not have access to the flashy perks of living in a condo; however, you and your family can have your own space and make significant changes to your property. Your decision will be based on the type of living environment you prefer and the location that works for you.


Work with an experienced real estate agent to help you decide between buying a condo or a house.


Let a Real Estate Agent Help

Work with an experienced real estate agent to help you decide between buying a condo or a house. Bryan Gold, a realtor with the Abode Group in South Florida, is the perfect agent to work with when choosing a new home for you and your family. Bryan is happy to help you look at different property options to make the best decision for your significant purchase. Contact Bryan today at (954) 464-3459 or to begin your journey to buying a home or condo in South Florida.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 26, 2021

Complete Cost Guide When Buying a Home

Complete Cost Guide When Buying a Home

The process of buying a new home is overwhelming and exciting. While you are probably aware of many costs associated with purchasing a home, such as monthly mortgage payments and homeowners insurance, other expenses may come as a surprise. 


Homebuyers need to factor in additional costs to the home’s total price. This complete cost guide to buying a home in Florida breaks down these expenses of purchasing a home, so you know what to expect when it’s time to sign the papers. 


Costs Associated With Buying a Home

Costs Associated With Buying a Home

There are many costs associated with buying a home. From the mortgage payment itself to the home inspection and closing costs, purchasing your home means paying various fees and calculating more than the price tag on the property listing. The following are standard costs involved during the home buying process. 


It is important to note that these costs are listed separately; however, many times, mortgage payments and insurance costs are combined. For instance, homeowner’s or mortgage insurance and property taxes are typically lumped into your monthly mortgage payment, while home inspections and title searches are rolled into closing costs. Sometimes the buyer can negotiate these costs with the seller to be covered on their end. It is a good idea to work with an experienced South Florida realtor who can help you discuss some of these costs with the seller’s realtor.


  • Mortgage Payment

A monthly mortgage payment is the most obvious cost associated with buying a home. For most people, buying a home means taking out a loan to purchase the house. The loan amount is based on the asking price, your down payment amount, and your monthly payment is determined by the term of the loan and the annual percentage rate (APR) the lender offers. Determining this cost is one of the critical steps to buying a home in Florida since it is the biggest expense when purchasing a home. 


  • Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is a necessary cost of buying a home. Lenders require you to purchase homeowners insurance for your property that covers personal injury, interior or exterior damage, and loss of property or assets. The insurance price depends on various factors, such as your home’s location and the bank’s coverage requirements. 


  •  Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is another potential cost for homebuyers, mainly if they utilize an FHA loan or the bank sees them as a risky investment. If you are making less than a 20% down payment, you may be required to purchase mortgage insurance before closing on your home. 


  •  Property Taxes

Property taxes are another cost to consider. These taxes pay for schools, road improvement, libraries, sewer upkeep, etc. Property taxes are paid in arrears, meaning they are paid one year behind, so the seller is responsible for the property taxes for the year you purchase the house.


The amount is prorated depending on the date of the sale, and the seller gives the buyer credit for the taxes. You do not pay for property taxes upfront; however, you are responsible for using this credit to pay the taxes when they are due at the end of the year.


  •  Closing Costs 

Closing costs refer to several finalizing fees of buying a home. Closing costs are approximately 5% of the total loan amount. They include expenses incurred during the real estate transaction, such as loan origination fees, administrative fees, credit report fees, title searches, mortgage points, home appraisals and inspections, and property taxes. 


  •  Home Inspection and Appraisal

Whether the home inspection and appraisal are included in the closing fees or not, expect to factor them into the cost of buying your home. A listed home inspector performs a home inspection to determine the condition of the house. This small cost can save you big bucks later on if a significant element needs to be replaced, as you can often negotiate to have the seller fix big-ticket items before you purchase.


A home appraisal is covered by either the buyer or seller and is performed by an appraiser who determines the property’s value. This process is important, especially to lenders, because they don’t want to lend more than the home’s value. Although each of these reports costs a few hundred dollars, they save you money in the long run. 


  •  Recording Fees

Recording fees are often included in closing costs. These are fees charged by the county where the real estate transaction takes place in exchange for recording or registering the transaction. This means filing the mortgage information or deed with the county as a time-stamped document. The fees are generally low but vary by county. 


In addition to understanding the costs that buyers are responsible for during the homebuying process, it is also helpful to look at the seller’s costs. Some costs responsibilities are negotiable during the process, but for the most part, sellers are responsible for the following expenses: 


  •  Commission to Real Estate Agent

As a buyer, you do not pay your real estate agent directly. Both your real estate agent and the seller’s agent are paid from the profits they make on the sale of the property. This means you are paying for the home, but the seller is paying for the transaction.


  •  Title Search

Typically in Florida, the seller pays for a title search. It confirms the legal ownership of the property and ensures that there are no liens against the house. Lenders require this document before closing to verify the correct preparation of documents for the transfer of ownership.


  •  Outstanding Balances


Before the seller can complete the sale, they must pay all outstanding liens on the property. These expenses include Homeowners Association (HOA) dues, property taxes, and even utility bills.


Look for Your Dream Home Today

Look for Your Dream Home Today

The costs of buying a home are many, but if you’re financially prepared, they shouldn’t stop you from purchasing the house of your dreams. Work with an experienced realtor like Bryan Gold to find a home in South Florida that meets your budget needs along with your ideal location and aesthetic. 


Bryan Gold draws on seven years of experience to help you negotiate with the seller to lower or split some of the costs of buying a home while you work with your lender to close on your investment. Bryan uses technology and proven strategies to get you the best deal possible on your dream home. Contact Bryan today to find out more at (954) 464-3459 or

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