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Is your Florida home ready for showings?

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Your Florida home is hitting the market and you want to make sure your property looks in tip-top condition. As we say, a little goes a long way! Here are some tips that can help you sell faster by making your home more appealing to potential buyers:

CHECK THE ROOF – Doing a roof inspection prior to receiving a contract, may put you in a strong position to negotiate with full knowledge of one of the most important aspects when calculating a purchase price. You will also have the advantage of fixing any possible leaks before the rainy season starts and this will prevent possible damage to the interior ceiling of the home.

CHECK THE WINDOWS AND DOORS – Check the windows and doors for proper closure. Cracks will allow warm air entering the home during the hot months, which makes the air conditioning work harder and will increase the electricity bill. Many buyers ask for an estimate of the monthly electricity bill as reference of the air conditioning working capacity.

DRIVEWAY – Power-wash the driveway, get rid of grime and dead twigs. First impressions are powerful. The driveway would be the first thing a potential buyer sees when visiting the property.

FRONT DOOR – A fresh coat of paint to the front door does miracles for the “look” of the home. The front door is the face of the home, show always a smiling face.

GUTTERS – Have the gutters cleaned. Get rid of leaves and other dirt settled in the gutters. This debris may obstruct the flow of water and may clog the gutters. The excess water may overflow back onto the property or may create leaks.

TRIM AND PRUME – As temperatures start to rise is the best time to trim trees and invest in that landscaping project that is always put aside for the benefit of other updates to the inside of the home. Just a bit of trimming and planting of some flowering will give a majestic look to any home.

GARAGE – Unclutter the garage of all those “precious treasures” that have not been put to use for years. A clean, spacious garage increases the size of the home in the eyes of the viewer.

SMOKER DETECTORS – Most owners do forget to check smoke detectors. Ensuring that the smoke detectors are functional, will demonstrate your interest in all aspects of the family well-being.

Are you looking to buy or sell a property in Miami or Sarasota Florida? Contact KSI Realty today at info@kijner.com.

Search Miami Florida latest listings for sale and register to your daily email alerts at 
http://idx.miamihousesforsale.net/idx/search/advanced. It's easy as 1,2,3!

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Source: tips courtesy of our Miami Broker, Terry Alvarez at FIR

Electrical Know-How: GFCI and AFCI Devices

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

GFCI and AFCI are specialized electrical safety devices with very different purposes. Let’s take a look at how each is used in the home as well as how they work. 

A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, is an inexpensive device that is designed to protect people from electrical shock in the home. They should be installed in any area with potential risk for electrical shock with a direct path to the ground, especially areas with plumbing. GFCI receptacles are commonly installed in bathrooms, along kitchen counters, in garages, unfinished basements, outdoor outlets and near swimming pools and spas. A GFCI monitors the electrical current leaving from and returning to the receptacle, which should be the same. If there is a mismatch in the currents, the GFCI will shut off the receptacle immediately, protecting people from serious electrical shock.

GFCIs have various configurations, including the standard GFCI receptacle with “test” and “reset” buttons. Homeowners should test these monthly to ensure proper operation. If the GFCI fails to trip or can’t be reset, it should be replaced. There are also remote GFCIs, which protect standard receptacles in the circuit. These should always have a visible label indicating GFCI protection, because there is no way to tell otherwise that a receptacle is or isn’t protected. Another option is a GFCI breaker, which is installed at the electrical panel and protects the entire circuit. These can be identified by the presence of test and reset buttons on the panel.

An arc fault circuit interrupter, or AFCI, is designed to prevent electrical fires in the home. This is a relatively new type of circuit breaker that detects arcing in an electrical circuit, shutting down the affected circuit before it causes a fire. Arcing can be caused if an electrical cable is punctured or cut by something as simple as hammering a nail into a wall. Other potential causes of arcing include frayed extension cords, loose electrical connections, and old and/or cracked insulation on electrical wires and cables.

An AFCI breaker fits into the electrical panel in place of a standard circuit breaker. AFCI breakers are much larger than standard breakers and have a test button. They may not be available for older electrical panels, so retrofitting with AFCI breakers is not always possible. In addition, old wiring may have been subjected to years of poorly-executed modifications, which AFCIs may or may not compensate for. It is always best to check with a qualified electrician who can assess your panel and electrical components before making the decision to install AFCI breakers.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

The Inspection-Ready Home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

As many of you are heading straight into your busiest time of year, it makes sense to revisit the importance of being prepared for the home inspection. By taking some important steps to prepare the property for inspection, your sellers can avoid some basic problems that might otherwise affect a clean inspection report.

  • Routine exterior maintenance is an easy way for homeowners to keep up with minor problems before they escalate. Even if the home has been well maintained overall, there are some common problems that should be addressed.
    • Prior to the inspection, repair any damaged masonry on steps and walkways, and seal cracks in the driveway. Not only will the home look better, but future problems can be prevented.
    • Recaulk around exterior doors, windows, check flashing, and replace any missing or damaged shingles.
  • Inside the home, relatively minor fixes can improve the home inspection results.
    • Repair leaky faucets and fixtures, and repair grout around tubs and sinks. An electrician should inspect receptacles and switches and make any needed replacements or repairs.
    • Replace any cracked or broken window glass, and loosen any windows that are painted shut.
      If there is a fireplace, have it and the chimney cleaned and checked by a professional.
    •  If the home inspector can’t see into the chimney because of soot buildup, they won’t be able to inspect it and may need to return after it has been cleaned.
  • Homeowners should arrange service appointments for the furnace and central air conditioning so that any issues can be addressed before the home inspection.
    • If the home has battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, put in fresh batteries and install additional units if any are missing.

When the day of the home inspection arrives, a few easy steps will facilitate the inspection process.

  • First, the buyers should allow sufficient time for the inspection. A professional home inspection will take two and a half to three hours on average, longer if the home is very large. Most sellers choose not to be present for the inspection, though the potential buyer will usually want to be there. The homeowner will need to provide keys to any locked areas, and allow access to the attic, crawl space, garage, and yard.
  • Be sure that the home inspector has access to components such as electrical panels, the main water shutoff, and gas meter. Move objects from around the water heater, furnace, and central air conditioning unit so that the inspector can reach them unimpeded. In winter, clear walkways of snow and ice for safe access to the home.
  • Make arrangements for pets to be out of the home or contained in a crate for their own safety and that of the home inspector. Dogs in particular can be disruptive, and some may even be distressed by having an unfamiliar person in their “territory”.
  • It is always a good idea to store small valuables and medications out of sight and in a secure location for peace of mind. One option is for the homeowner to simply take them along when they leave during the inspection.

Taking these steps can go a long way in preventing or addressing problems that could negatively affect the inspection. An inspection-ready home presents itself best for evaluation and makes the entire process go more smoothly.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

The 5 Best Places in Your Home to Renovate or Improve

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

With the prime spring selling season heating up, here are 5 surefire ways to get the best bang for your buck and get top dollar for your listing:

1) FLOORING 

  • Remove outdated carpets
  • Replace with either laminate or hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles
  • It’s easier to clean and helps with people who have allergies
  • Also, buyers are specifically looking for updated flooring when they evaluate a potential home

2) FIXTURES & HARDWARE 

  • These include door knobs and handles on all doors, entrances/exits, cabinet hardware, bathroom and lighting fixtures, etc…
  • They are easy to replace and fairly inexpensive
  • You get a great return on investment for not a lot of money
  • If fixtures and hardware are not replaced, it can really date a property and make it appear as if it has not been maintained
  • Remember, everyone has to either touch a door or walk through it! It’s simple and cheap to fix the hardware

3) BATHROOMS 

  • If your client does opt to do a bathroom upgrade, it’s often worth the money, as it’s considered the 2nd most important room in the house 
  • Upgrades can include: new tile and grout, new faucet and hardware, new coat of paint, upgrading or replacing cabinets.

4) KITCHEN 

  • This is the most valuable room in the house, but your clients don’t need to spend a fortune in order to make it look spectacular
  • Simple add-ons such as a deluxe faucet, cabinet door hardware, upgraded or new appliances, new lighting, or adding a backsplash can help jazz up its appearance and functionality
  • They can also rebuild standard cabinetry at half the price (as opposed to custom cabinets or using expensive materials).

5) ADD AN INCOME-SUITE

  • Depending on the city or municipality, if the neighborhood allows for Income Suites, your clients could potentially add 150-160% of equity into their home by putting in an extra suite 
  • This allows the owner to also potentially receive additional income through a tenant 
  • Depending on the specific market or city, demand for double unit homes can rise by more than 25% 


Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at 
info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com.

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Information courtesy of Pillar to Post: www.pillartopost.com.

Fire Prevention - Tips and Reminders for Staying Safe

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Fire Prevention Week falls during October, and this month is a great opportunity to review fire safety and preparedness for your home and family. Preventing a fire in the first place can mean the difference between safety and devastation.

Cooking is the most common causes of house fires, and as a daily activity the potential for problems is high if care is not taken around the kitchen. While cooking, never leave cookware on the stove unattended. It can take just moments for hot oil or grease to flare up, and a pan of forgotten food can go up in flames. Baking soda can be used to put out a small kitchen fire if caught right away – keep a package close at hand for ready use. Avoid wearing clothing with very long or loose sleeves while cooking as they can easily catch fire if they make contact with an open flame or hot burner. Keep towels and flammable pot holders away from the stove. 

Electrical cords and appliances should be kept in good repair, and any damaged wires or sockets should be replaced right away. Don’t overload electrical outlets – use power strips only when necessary and make sure they are properly rated. Electronics and small appliances should be unplugged when not in use to avoid potential problems.

Keep the dryer vent hose free of lint and other buildup, as dryer heat can easily spark a fire there. Check and clean the hose at least once a year for best results. Depending on how and where the hose is installed, the process can be as simple as using your vacuum cleaner to remove buildup. Bonus: the dryer will also run more efficiently with a clean hose. There are also professional services that will clean your venting system for a nominal charge. Never leave the house while the dryer is running – if a fire should start, you will only discover it too late.

Should a fire occur, fire extinguishers need to be easily accessible to the kitchen and laundry areas. Make sure any extinguisher is labeled for use on the three common types of fires – grease, paper/wood, and electrical. These multipurpose extinguishers are labeled as “A B C rated.” Using the wrong type of extinguisher on a particular fire can make the situation worse and can even be life-threatening. Water should never be used on an electrical fire or on grease fires as this will just cause the fire to worsen. 

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home and outside all sleeping areas. The newest types of residential smoke detectors have 10-year batteries, and many are available in updated, low-profile designs. If your smoke alarms use replaceable batteries, change the batteries once a year; many people use the transition from Daylight Saving Time as a reminder to do this task. Hard-wired smoke alarm systems should be inspected according to the installer’s or manufacturer’s instructions.

Make – and practice – a family escape plan. Make sure each family member knows how to quickly get out of the house to safety in the event of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having two ways out of the house, in case smoke or flames make one of the exit routes impossible to use. Smoke can fill a house within minutes, making it difficult or even impossible to see the way out. With preventive measures, you can lower the chances of a fire, but careful planning can help you and your family survive if the worst happens.

Questions? Comments? Are you looking to buy or sell a house, a condo, a coop or a villa in Miami Florida or New York City? Contact us today at info@kijner.com.

Sick House Syndrome

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

What Is Sick House Syndrome, and What Causes It?

Sick House Syndrome occurs when a house can’t “breathe” and rid itself of indoor pollutants, resulting in poor indoor air quality – a “sick house”. Inadequate ventilation allows these pollutants to build up, causing potential health risks to the home’s occupants. Young children, the elderly, and some chronically ill persons are most susceptible to the effects of Sick House Syndrome.

Common sources of indoor pollution include tobacco smoke, certain carpeting materials, furnaces and fireplaces, pressed wood cabinets and furniture, and household cleaning products. In addition, a buildup of moisture can cause mold, which can grow uncontrolled inside walls, crawlspaces, and other areas. Mold spores are released into the air and can also travel throughout the home via heating and cooling ductwork.

How Can Indoor Pollution Be Reduced?

Source control is usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality. In some cases, eliminating the specific sources of indoor pollution – for example, removing carpets, repairing and maintaining faulty furnaces – is all that is necessary. It’s also a good idea to have heating and cooling ducts cleaned every few years.

For many other offending substances, improving ventilation is a key means of decreasing indoor pollution. These include tobacco smoke, cleaning products, and moisture buildup. Many newer homes in particular are so well insulated and sealed that only a very limited amount of fresh air can get in. In this situation, using attic or window fans and opening windows when weather permits are easy and inexpensive ways to increase ventilation. Over the years, tobacco smoke can actually be absorbed by walls, floors, and ceilings and may need to be professionally removed.

Asbestos and lead do not normally cause problems if they are undisturbed, but these and other hazardous substances should be analyzed by a qualified professional to determine if sealing, abatement, or removal is warranted. The presence of these materials may also need to be included in disclosure forms when selling a home, so special attention is warranted in these situations.

Questions? Comments? Are you looking to buy or sell a house, a condo, a coop or a villa in Miami Florida or New York City? Contact us today at info@kijner.com.

 

Tips For Fall Maintenance

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The leaves are turning, the air is cooling – autumn is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to get your property in shape before winter rolls in so that you can help avoid problems in the months ahead. Here are some tips to get you started:

Seal it up: Caulk and seal around exterior door and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape from these openings, but water can enter and cause mold problems and even structural damage.

Look up: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. Always have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but you can use binoculars to do a preliminary survey from the ground.

Clear it out: Clear gutters and eaves of leaves, sticks, and other debris. If the gutters can accommodate them, leaf guards can be real time-savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.

No hose: In climates with freezing weather, garden hoses should be drained and stored indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and burst, causing leaks and increasing the potential for serious water damage.

Warm up time: The furnace should be inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide no-cost furnace inspections to their customers, but schedule early as there can often be a long waiting list as the weather cools down. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving money and energy.

Light that fire: A wood-burning fireplace can be a real pleasure on a chilly fall evening. For safety, have the firebox and chimney professionally cleaned before use this season. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed.

With these easy steps, you’ll enjoy the comforts of your home all season long and know that you’re protecting your investment, too.

Are you looking to sell or buy a house, a condo, a villa or an apartment in Miami Florida or New York City? Do not hesitate to contact us at info@kijner.com or visit us at www.kijner.com

Where are global buyers searching in the United States?

by Kijner & Sons International Realty



Kijner & Sons International Realty
 is pleased to annonce that according to recent statistics and reports from the National Association of Realtors® as of 12 December 2014, Florida is one of the most sought-after real estate markets for international homebuyers and investors worldwide.

Miami ranked 3rd, Orlando 4th and Fort Lauderdale 6th among the top ten most searched U.S. cities by non U.S. consumers looking to buy a home in Florida

The top most attractive real estate markets and U.S. cities for foreign homebuyers are as follow:

  1. Canada: Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Las Vegas, Miami
  2. United Kingdom: Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Miami, Beverly Hills
  3. Australia: Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Detroit, Beverly Hills
  4. Brazil: Miami, Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Miami
  5. Germany: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Colorado Springs, San Antonio
  6. Mexico: San Diego, San Antonio, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles
  7. France: Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Miami Beach, Las Vegas
  8. India: New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, Chicago
  9. Italy: New York, Miami, Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Detroit
  10. Russian Federation: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago
  11. Netherlands: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas
  12. Spain: Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Fayetteville (GA), Mcdonough (GA)
  13. Turkey: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Houston
  14. Sweden: Los Angeles, New York, Beverly Hills, Fort Lauderdale
  15. Japan: San Diego, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Jacksonville, Las Vegas
  16. Korea: Los Angeles, New York, Irvine, San Antonio, Las Vegas
  17. Switzerland: Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Miami Beach, Naples
  18. Ireland: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Beverly Hills
  19. Philippines: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Houston, Denver
  20. South Africa: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Beverly Hills, Atlanta

Looking to invest in Miami or buy a home or condo in Miami Beach? KSI Realty can help! Contact us today at info@kijner.com

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Sources: Realtor.org Omniture Discover - December 2014

Buying a home during the holiday season

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Although home buying is generally not people's primary focus during the holiday season, it might actually turn out as a great time if you are on the market for a new house. Whether you wish to relocate to or invest in South Florida, you won't need to slow down your search for the perfect Miami home.   

Let's see some of the advantages of buying a Florida property during these festive months:

1) It's always sunny in Florida: you won't have to cancel your open house because of bad weather conditions. No need to shovel or prep your car for the snow. Just ask anyone from snowbirds to overseas visitors, Winter is probably one of the nicest seasons to enjoy Florida and shop for a house in Miami. 

2) Less competition: let's face it, between shopping for the perfect Christmas gifts, decorating the house, entertaining friends and family or planning your upcoming Winter holidays, fewer people are looking for a house this time of the year. You will thus have more chances to plan and visit properties and snatch your dream house.

3) Motivated sellers: sure home prices in South Florida and Miami have increased in 2014, but generally speaking, people putting their house for sale during the holiday season have a good reason to do so. They are highly motivated to sale and since there are less potential homebuyers looking, they might be more willing to negotiate. 

4) Motivated lenders: again, this is not the busiest season for closings, so lenders might approve you faster. 

5) Better interest rates and possible tax cut with an early mortgage payment: we are currently in a buyer's market with lower interest rates. This is definitely a great time to consider buying a home in beautiful Miami, Florida. In addition, since mortgage payments are made for the month prior, homeowners paying their January mortgage payment early - before end
of December - could benefit from a tax deduction for the upcoming year*.

If you are looking for your next Miami House, Miami Condo or Miami real estate investment opportunity, KSI Realty can help! Contact us today at info@kijner.com

Search now for Miami properties available for rent or for sale by clicking here

Register now to our free and easy email alerts and get your tailored listings daily in your mailbox by clicking here

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*For more information on mortgage payments, possible tax deductions and/or fiscal benefits, please see
 a licensed professional such as certified public accountant or mortgage broker.

South Florida: one of the most attractive real estate markets for international buyers

by Kijner & Sons International Realty


Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to annonce that according to recent statistics and reports from the Miami Association of Realtors®, South Florida and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area in particular are the most sought-after real estate markets for international homebuyers and investors worldwide.

Throughout December 2013, Miami ranked 2nd, Orlando 6th and Fort Lauderdale 7th among the top ten most searched U.S. cities by non U.S. consumers looking to buy a home in Florida. Top overseas homebuyers in South Florida for the month of February 2014 were from South America (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Bolivia), Canada, Russia and Europe (France and the UK). 

The top most attractive real estate markets and U.S. cities for foreign homebuyers are as follow:

  • *Canada: Detroit, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami
  • United Kingdom: Los Angeles, Houston, Orlando, New York, Atlanta
  • Australia: Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco
  • Ireland: Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas
  • *Brazil: MiamiOrlando, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach
  • India: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas
  • *Germany: Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, MiamiSan Antonio, Detroit
  • Japan: San Diego, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Oahu
  • *Mexico: San Diego, San Antonio, Laredo, MiamiEl Paso
  • *France: Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami Beach, New York
  • China: Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, Irvine, Chicago
  • *Italy: Miami, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Miami Beach
  • *Netherlands: Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, MiamiLas Vegas
  • Philippines: Ashland (AL), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, Beverly Hills
  • South Korea: Los Angeles, Irvine, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Atlanta
  • *Spain: Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago
  • *Russian Federation: MiamiNew York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago
  • *Sweden: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Detroit
  • *Switzerland: MiamiLos Angeles, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Naples
  • *Poland: Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami
Are you looking to invest in South Florida, one of today's most attractive real estate markets? KSI Realty can help you buy your Miami house or Miami Condo. Learn more about South Florida's real estate opportunities and the Miami housing market by contacting us now at info@kijner.com.

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*Country with Miami or Fort Lauderdale as top searches
Source: Miami Association of Realtors: "Brazilians, Colombians Top List of Consumers Searching Miami Property" (April 6th, 2014) 

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