Looking to list your condo, townhouse or single-family home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with the hope of quick cash from a fast sale? It’s every seller’s fantasy to see top dollar offers roll in the instant a house goes on the market.
But it isn’t easy.
Unlike most of the country (which is experiencing low inventory), Fort Lauderdale’s housing market is not a guaranteed boon for sellers.
As reported in the Palm Beach Post, Jeffrey Levine, first vice president of the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale, notes that an increase in inventory is one of the factors that’s turning the area into a more balanced market.
Higher inventory means more competition for your home—which could end your dreams for a fast sale if you overprice your property.
“If you’re priced right, you’ll sell, probably in the first thirty to sixty days. If you’re a little bit higher, you’re not going to sell,” says David Goodman, who ranks in the top 1% of seller’s agents in the Coral Springs area of Fort Lauderdale.
Luckily, median sales prices are only stagnating right now, rather than decreasing as they have in the past when inventory levels rise.
According to the Realtor Association of the Palm Beaches, if you’re priced right, the median time to contract is around 37 days. For condo and townhouse sellers, statistics indicate you’re looking at closer to 60 days.
But this one-to-two month timeframe is far from guaranteed. Our own statistics indicate that Fort Lauderdale homes spend an average of 107 days on the market before selling.
Don’t expect to make more on your home sale than the last house that sold in your neighborhood, either. “It’s not like other markets where you can price it $50,000 above the last guy. That’s not going to fly right now,” says Goodman.
Instead, you’re likely to get a little less than your listing price, especially if you want to sell fast. But not that much less. At the moment, stats indicate both single family and condo/townhouse sellers will receive upwards of 90% of their asking price.
Now that you know what to expect when you enter the Fort Lauderdale real estate market, what’s next?
I’ve Decided to Sell My House in Ft. Lauderdale — Now What?
Between home inspections, mortgage lenders and the potential of offers falling through, a big portion of the selling process is out of the seller’s hands. Even so, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your dream of a quick sale for your Fort Lauderdale home becomes a reality.
You just need to get these three things right:
- Hire the right Fort Lauderdale real estate agent
- List your house at the right price
- Use the right real estate marketing strategy
Sounds simple, right? With hard work and smart planning, it can be.
But there’s one thing you need to do first to get your house ready to sell fast:
Seriously. Even before your home hits the market you need to clean up and clear out as much as you can. Store it, toss it, donate it—whatever you intend to do with your stuff on moving day, don’t wait.
A spotless, uncluttered property lets buyers focus on the house, rather than the story told by the owner’s belongings. Don’t worry if you don’t have a new home move-in ready just yet to house your stuff. You can easily store your belongings with a short-term lease at one of the Fort Lauderdale’s top-rated storage facilities.
This doesn’t mean you need to move out completely. Home staging expert Debra Gould of Six Elements Inc. says that your belongings are what transform your house into a home. So keep your foundation furniture pieces, basic necessities and aesthetically pleasing decorative items in place—this may just lead to your home selling faster.
Why? The Los Angeles Daily news reports that a well-staged home sells for more money and spends 73 percent less time on the market than a lived-in, unstaged home.
If you don’t have a knack for de-cluttering and depersonalizing yourself, you can bring in a professional stager to do the job for you. In Fort Lauderdale, the best way to ensure that you find the right stager is to contact the Broward Chapter of the Real Estate Staging Association.
While you’re packing, you also need to start doing the homework that will help you find the right agent, price and marketing. The best place to begin is right in your own neighborhood.
To Sell Your House Fast in Fort Lauderdale, Know Your Neighborhood
Splashing along the Blue Wave certified beaches, relaxing on a gondola ride on the canals, catching dinner and a show in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District—Fort Lauderdale is a virtual playground with something for everyone.
You already know this, but your potential buyers may not. Fort Lauderdale is a favorite destination for families, retirees and second-home vacationers relocating locally or coming from out-of-state. Many aren’t coming for the location alone, they’re looking to enjoy the Fort Lauderdale Florida lifestyle.
According to Goodman, “The ‘Fort Lauderdale Lifestyle’ is about being outside on the water, at the beach or dining at one of our fabulous restaurants. It’s America’s Venice. There are 165 miles of navigable waterways in Fort Lauderdale and with the great weather, year-round boating is very popular.”
As a homeowner familiar with your neighborhood, it’s easy to overlook all the great nearby attractions. Highlighting your proximity to beaches, restaurants, parks, schools, shopping and other attractions is a key marketing tactic when you live in an active community like Fort Lauderdale.
On breaks from packing, take a few farewell strolls around your neighborhood to remind yourself of the best venues within walking distance. While you’re walking, pay close attention to any for sale signs you see.
The stats and listing prices you find for these similar properties will prepare you for the listing price your agent is likely to suggest for your own Ft. Lauderdale home. Coming prepared with these expectations saves time otherwise wasted on negotiating an appropriate listing price with your real estate agent.
Why You Should Work with a Top Ft. Lauderdale Real Estate Agent
When you want to sell your home fast in Fort Lauderdale, you may look at an agent as an unnecessary middleman—but listing without one is like going on trial without a lawyer.
First off, having a real estate agent on your side is good for your bottom line. As the Realtors of Greater Palm Beach and Greater Fort Lauderdale know, statistics show that Fort Lauderdale real estate agents raise the home price for sellers by 16 percent, making a top Fort Lauderdale agent’s real estate commission worth its weight in gold.
Then there’s all the issues that can crop up during closing that can only be solved by a Florida real estate expert. If your buyer is the only one with an agent in the deal, chances are the solution will favor the buyer and cost you some money.
Plus, a Realtor knows the ins and outs of local laws and regulations that can hold up a sale for inexperienced sellers. For example, Goodman points to the issues canal homeowners face:
“Some of these properties that are on canals don’t have a dock, and some can’t get a dock because of the Coastal Construction Control Line. And sometimes docks that are grandfathered in can’t be replaced but they can be repaired. It can get pretty complicated.”
These region-specific considerations make selling with a top realtor the smart play. The question is, how do you find the right Fort Lauderdale real estate agent for you?
It all comes down to knowing what you need in an agent. The best agent for you will have experience selling in your neighborhood and have a track record for selling your style of home.
Always Disclose (So You Don’t Tank the Sale)
You may have lined up a buyer for your home fast, but that’s no guarantee your Fort Lauderdale house is off your hands just yet. The bottom line is:
No sale is final until the last contract is signed and the check is in the bank.
While there are many reasons a home sale can fall through that a seller cannot control, you can avoid your buyer backing out due to inspection findings. Pro agents advise Fort Lauderdale home sellers to get a pre-listing inspection and fix any major repair issues that might land a home back on the market.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida has a number of region-specific issues that you need to address and disclose to your buyer to guarantee a smooth sale. Florida’s subtropical climate increases the risk for mold and for homes on Fort Lauderdale’s extensive canal system, dock issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Goodman notes, “If your dock is hiding damages to the sea wall, water can be seeping in under your property.”
Another major issue that homeowners need to address before listing is removing any unpermitted construction. Goodman specifically targets converted garages as there is no legal way to convert a garage in Florida:
“When you step into a garage you’re typically stepping down, which is not to grade. If your garage is converted, typically it’s done with a frame build, where they’ll build the floor up, or pouring 16-18 inches of concrete onto a slab that could crack and damage the foundation.”
Appraisers know that garages cannot be legally converted in Fort Lauderdale, and lenders won’t lend on properties with unpermitted work. So finding a buyer is going to be a challenge unless you rip out the garage conversion (or other unpermitted work). Removing that conversion will also reduce the square footage of living space your home has, so make these changes before listing your property if you want to sell fast.
Not all the news you disclose needs to be bad. Some elements that inspectors and appraisers find, like hurricane shutters, actually boost the value of your home. Any improvements you’ve made to meet current building codes also work in your favor, as it raises your listing price and draws in buyers if you include the information in your marketing materials.
Selling a home is a massive undertaking that can feel overwhelming, especially if you want sell your home fast. But with the right price, the help of a top Fort Lauderdale real estate agent and a solid marketing plan that incorporates your knowledge of what makes your house and neighborhood desirable—you’ll be saying so long to your Fort Lauderdale home in no time.
Header Image Source: (Lance Asper/ Unsplash)