Top Real Estate Agents in Fort Lauderdale Reveal the Secret to Selling Homes There

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Fort Lauderdale boasts near-perfect weather and award-winning beaches. But even in a vacationer’s paradise, your home won’t sell itself.

As of January 2019, townhouse and condo inventory levels in the area are up 8.1%, thanks to a hoard of high-rise projects downtown. And according to the Florida Realtors Statewide Market Report, single family home listings increased 6.5% in 2018.

The extra competition means you’re up against dozens of other properties with tropical palm tree landscaping, intracoastal views, and a pool in the back just like yours. To kick your home sale into gear, we rounded up expert advice from top real estate agents in Fort Lauderdale who have on average sold 72% more homes than their peers.

They’ve got lots to say on how to boost your curb appeal with color, inspect your dock, and sell the South Florida beach lifestyle. Follow their tips based on decades of industry experience, and you’ll convince buyers your home is worth every penny you’ve asked for and sell faster than the gas stations run dry before a hurricane.

Use aerial photography to showcase your waterfront home’s location.

Anthony Wood at American Realty & Invest Corp
Anthony has sold over 69% more properties in Fort Lauderdale than the average agent and sells them 48% faster. He specializes in waterfront and vacation homes.

“We do drone aerials of the top of the house that show the intracoastal, the beach—to showcase what’s important. If it’s a home that’s on the intracoastal, it’s important for buyers to know details such as whether it’s direct ocean access, how many bridges there are, and the height of the bridges. Buyers with boats care about whether they can have a canopy top, whether they can have a center console, and in general what type of boat they’re able to have depending on the home.”


Invest in inexpensive landscaping for a strong first impression.

Jesus Cardenas at the Cardenas Group Realty
Jesus has over 17 years of experience and is among the top 2% of agents in Pembroke Pines.

“Color is a must-have when it comes to landscaping. For instance, I had a house that was just grass and green shrubs. But I told the owner, ‘Why not break it up with different colors?’

“So she put in purple and pink arrangements to give the exterior a homey feel and break the pattern of green. I think (the owner) spent less than $30, and it really helped.

“Here, in the Fort Lauderdale area, most of the homes you see have the standard palms, grass, and mulch. One of the other things I tell my clients—that’s not expensive—is to put in a little bit of mulch to break the pattern and make them feel that the house is taken care of. The mulch that stands out the most is the red variety (rather than the dark brown color).”


Put buyers’ minds at ease by highlighting your home’s hurricane protection.

Laurie Finkelstein Reader at Laurie Finkelstein Reader Real Estate
Laurie is a 2018 Best of HomeLight Award winner for being in the top 1% of agents in her area. She has 1,601 transactions under her belt and sells homes 56% faster than her peers.

“People are very specific about looking for homes that have hurricane protection, impact glass, generators—all types of different things that secure the home in a hurricane. Connected to that is how insurance companies want to provide coverage to homes at a good price when we pass the 4-point inspection and wind mitigation inspection because of the protection. When we don’t pass it, the insurance becomes exorbitant, which means buyers don’t want to purchase those houses.

“So sellers are hopping on the train and learning, especially if you’re east of Federal Highway, in the beach zone, that it’s really critical to spend the money and have your home hurricane protected.”


Use sweat equity, not renovations, to maximize your home’s showing power.

Dean Ehrlich at RE/MAX ParkCreek
Dean is a Luxury, Vacation Home, and Retirement Specialist and sells 77% more properties than the average Coral Springs agent. He is a Best of HomeLight 2018 winner for being in the top 1% of agents in his area.

“I listed a house in Coral Springs…and this particular property was relatively similar as far as bedrooms, bathrooms, pool as other houses in the area I’d sold before, so I had a really good feel for pricing. And we priced it a little bit higher than recent sales.

“The home backed up to high-tension power lines, which is always a negative, and had an original roof, which in that particular section means it needs a new roof. Crazy enough, we had four offers in two days, and we listed at $460,000. We’re going to close for $475,000. And every single offer we got started at asking and went up.

“So, what would I tell home sellers?

“Have your home show immaculately. Make it look like nobody lives there—which is tough to do. The home just showed so beautifully well. You’d be surprised how many homes are just sloppy and dirty. But if you have your home just show pristine, that’s going to be the best thing you can do, along with pricing it properly, to get as much money out of that house.

“I’m a big believer in sweat equity. Make the house look clean and neat. You don’t have to spend a lot.”


Investigate your dock before listing to keep the sale moving.

David Goodman at RE/MAX Advisors
David sells 72% more properties than the average local agent. He has over 18 years of experience in the real estate business and is a Luxury, Vacation, and Waterfront Home Specialist.

“Some of these properties that are on canals don’t have a dock—not even a little side dock, or something they can tie their boat up to. And some of them can’t get a dock because of the Coastal Construction Control Line. There’s rules that are regulating who can install a dock and sometimes docks that are grandfathered in can’t be replaced, but they can be repaired. It can get pretty complicated.

“In addition, if your dock is hiding damage to the seawall, water can be seeping in under your property and then can float into your pool. Being on the water is awesome, but it comes with a whole other host of potential problems. Before you list, I would recommend you investigate the seawall and the dock if you’re on a canal.”


Highlight the Fort Lauderdale lifestyle in targeted social media marketing.

Eddie Blanco at Stratwell
Eddie is an Investment property specialist and has 1,950 transactions under his belt. He sells 77% more property than the average local agent.

“We’ve done B-roll videos of the Fort Lauderdale lifestyle. People skateboarding, riding motorcycles, biking, walking their dog on the beach. We get the same people who do the video tours of the actual house tour, to incorporate that B-roll (into the video).

“We show this on social media, and we do social media targeting. We’ll take the video, and we’ll say, ‘we want Facebook to show this video to everybody within 20 miles of this house, that is age ‘this to that,’ who has an interest in boating, golf, nightlife, or whatever the case may be.

“And then also, because I know maybe some snowbirds could be interested, we also do a geographic territory of anybody who lives in New York, New Jersey, and expand the search around there so it comes up on their feed.”



Stage your home, especially when combating less-than-desirable features.

Laura Sanders at RE/MAX In Motion Inc
Laura earned the 2018 Best of HomeLight Award for being in the top 1% of agents in her area. She is a Luxury Home, Waterfront, and Retirement Specialist, as well as a single-family home expert, working with 71% more SFHs than her peers.

“I am a certified home stager. I am a true believer in staging. I think the money you spend you’re going to get back, plus you’re going to sell quicker.

“I have a property right now that backs to a turnpike, and the staging takes away from that negativity. It was listed with another Realtor, and the pictures looked horrible. So I took it over and put it back on the market with new pictures, staged it, and we had an offer within three days.“


Watch out for common home inspection issues in Fort Lauderdale properties.

David Magua at Keyes Company
David is a townhome expert who works with over 35 more townhomes than the average Weston agent. He sells 68% more properties than his peers and has over 22 years of experience.

“A lot of the time, sellers are surprised by issues that come up during the home inspection. It’s very common here in South Florida because we have a lot of humidity, a lot of rain.

“For example, the roofs here tend to leak. You as the seller never see the leak because the leak never gets into the house. It leaks into the roof and it runs down some of the wood and starts to rot the wood. Everything is great until somebody walks into that attic area with a flashlight. He starts doing a moisture meter and then these things come up.

“Another one that’s coming up very often: we have a problem with houses built between 92 and 98 with polybutylene piping. That comes up at least one out of every 10 transactions we deal with. It’s 10% of the time now.

“It’s a big number because in many cases the work hasn’t been done and this affects the buyer’s positioning in getting insurance. Instead of there being 10 companies, maybe any two companies will work with that type of piping in the house. So it affects the saleability of the property.”


Time your open house to catch the most buyer traffic.

Sandra Rathe at Keller Williams Legacy
Sandra is an Investment property specialist and sells 71% more properties than the average Miramar agent. She is a Best of HomeLight 2018 winner for being in the top 1% of agents in her area.

“Open house timing depends on the time of year. In the winter months, in South Florida, it’s never cold, so it’s not weather-dependent, but it is based on the amount of sunlight. Because we find that when it’s dark out, we don’t get the traffic. People are more hesitant to come to an open house in the dark, plus they can’t see your sign.

“Our main days that we do open houses are Saturdays and Sundays, usually between 1-3 or 2-4. But Saturdays are full of sporting events for the kids, and Sundays there’s a high percentage of people that go to church, and again, more sporting events. So the afternoon’s are definitely a better time here.

“During certain times of year when we have enough daylight, we’ll host open houses on Wednesday or Thursday evenings. We’ve had really good turnout with those.

“The other thing to keep in mind when doing an open house on a weekend is to check the football schedule. We don’t want to be competing with one of the biggest football games—you have to check your local teams, and then if there’s any championship games. You don’t want to be competing with Super Bowl Sunday”.


Keep your pool area clean and simple for the best ROI

Aaron Novello at Keller Williams Partners
Aaron is a Luxury Home, Waterfront, and Retirement Specialist. He has 818 transactions under his best and sells homes 53% faster than his peers.

“Make sure your pool is clean. Pressure wash the area around the pool. In Florida we have lots of foliage, and it’s sunny all year round. So make sure that dead foliage is pulled away, put down some mulch, things of that nature. Because that’s one of the big areas that will sell the property: Kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, that pool space, right?

However, I typically don’t implement pool staging. I’m aware that as you get to higher price points, like $1 million plus, it makes sense to have staging. But staging is very expensive. You have to do it for a certain amount of time, and it could be a three-month contract and you have to pay per piece. And I don’t find it to be effective enough and to actually equate to more money for that to be justified.

“So we just have it [the pool] professionally cleaned, have the professional photographer go over, and he might move stuff around, if need be. And that’s the way we handle it. “


Fort lauderdale houses sold by top real estate agents.
Source: (Ivan Cholakov/ Shutterstock)

Top agents in Fort Lauderdale say: Attract them with the lifestyle, sell them on the house

Fort Lauderdale can feel like the forgotten middle child of South Florida. West Palm Beach to the north and Miami to the south have been luxury beach destinations by design, but it was Fort Lauderdale’s New River and agricultural gold mine that put it on the map in the early 20th century.

And in typical middle child fashion, Fort Lauderdale harnessed these unique strengths to thrive on its own. Among its bragging points:

If you’re on the fence about selling your Fort Lauderdale home, there’s no question that the area has a lot to offer. The challenge is showing buyers why your house is “the one” to fall for in paradise—and that’s where a top Fort Lauderdale agent comes in.

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Editor’s note: Agent quotes have been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.

Header Image Source: (Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock)