The real estate market is booming in South Florida. Here are tips for buyers and sellers looking to jump in

Luxury homes in South Florida.
Luxury homes in South Florida. (FloridaStock // Shutterstock)
 

South Florida’s housing market is booming through the COVID-19 pandemic as homebuyers flock from cities in the north with a new ability to do their jobs remotely from anywhere.

While it’s sellers who have the advantage right now — demand is high but supply is limited — there are opportunities for buyers to benefit, as well and local real estate agents are weighing in on how to best take advantage.

A new report shows that Florida has become a popular destination for home buyers from areas like New York, Chicago and Boston. Even rentals of single family homes are up in South Florida, as some families opt for a safer option until the market stabilizes.

Chuck Luciano with South Florida Luxury Advisors in Boca Raton said he hasn’t seen anything like it in the 21 years he has been in the industry.

“Florida has always been a destination where people plan to move. Covid-19 accelerated that, I believe,” Luciano said. “This past four month stretch has been the busiest four months of my career. Most of my buyers are from the big cities trying to get out of the densely populated areas.”

 

The current market with its limited stock of homes has been more beneficial to sellers who haven’t had to lower their prices.

But there are still steps sellers should take to ensure the best price. Jackie Tedesco with United Real Estate Advisors in Weston said the biggest thing sellers can do is get their property appraised by a professional.

 

“It doesn’t matter what type of market it is, price your property at market value and get a professional opinion,”Tedesco said. “You have to compare with other properties in the area.”

Sellers market or not, there are still advantages for potential buyers. Interest rates are lower than before, allowing buyers to purchase more in a house than they would have been able previously, Luciano said.

“Interest rates are historically low. Even though prices are rising, interest rates are still low so they can buy more than they did a year ago,” Luciano said.

He advises that before starting to hunt for a property, buyers should get pre-approved for a loan, as lending requirements are tightening as banks try to protect themselves. Tedesco also advises potential buyers to shop around for the best possible rate.

Both recommend connecting with a local real estate agent rather than going through the process alone. A local agent can find a home that fits a buyer’s specifications, helping them to get properties in better school districts or finding homes in with the best bars or restaurants for younger couples.

Most importantly, a local real estate agent can also find a property in a location that won’t lose much of its value in a cyclical market, something Luciano stresses.

“Take a look at the areas that have historically maintained their values in up and down markets and if you are going to invest when the market is on the higher side, do so with those parameters in place,” Luciano said. “There will come a time when the market will revert. “

Even though the pandemic has changed the way people interact, there are still safe ways for people to look at potential homes. Tedesco recommends wearing a mask at all times and suggests that sellers offer booties to go over shoes to prevent germs from being brought in from the outside.

“Some sellers also already leave their lights on so no one has to touch anything,” Tedesco added.

 
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