Tag Archives: fort lauderdale condos

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Great New Condo for Sale in Fort Lauderdale!

Very excited for my new Seller’s! This 2 Bedroom/2 Bath walk thru Condo directly on the IntraCoastal with amazing unobstructed ocean views and a fantastic rooftop pool overlooking the city!

Spectacular unobstructed ocean and park views from this flow thru unit directly on the IntraCoastal. This two bed/two bath unit is in the heart of everything! Beaches, shopping, entertainment and restaurants. This financially sound building offers a beautiful heated rooftop pool overlooking the city, covered parking with plenty of guest space for your friends/family, 24 Hr security, and much more. Unit offers Washer/Dryer, built in trash chute and new carpets! Enjoy a private entrance to your unit as well

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6 tips for buying a vacation home

LOS ANGELES – June 16, 2014 – When Taylor Billington and her husband, Gary, set their goals 10 years ago, one of the items they included on their “vision board” was a vacation home.

It was more than an idle fantasy. The Fort Lauderdale homeowners, who own a marketing firm, had traveled to Orange County many times, and they had a clear idea of what they were seeking.

“The house had to have a water view,” Taylor Billington said. “It had to be Zen. It had to be modern. It had to have a very organic feel.”

Earlier this year, they took the plunge, spending $2.9 million on a three-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, where they’ll celebrate July 4th.

The home, perched on the edge of a canyon, beckoned with its fluid decks and an abundance of windows, as well as an infinity edge swimming pool and spa. The couple isn’t crazy about Laguna Beach’s summer traffic, but it did not come as a surprise. And it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

“We just don’t hate it as bad as here,” Taylor Billington said of the congestion on South Coast Highway, in an interview from her Florida home, “because the (Laguna) views are so amazing.”

The Billingtons followed one of the top rules that real estate agents cite about buying a second home: Make sure you know the area well first. Not just the draw. The drawbacks, too.

“Many people vacation somewhere, have a great time, then decide to buy something on a whim,” said Phil Malamatenios, Stanfield Group manager at Hom Sotheby’s International Realty in Orange County. It’s “not a good idea without researching thoroughly.”

Vacation home sales surged in 2013, the latest year available, according to the National Association of Realtors. They made up 13 percent of all residential transactions last year, the highest market share since before the housing crash in 2006.

If you’re on the market for a vacation home, here are some additional issues to consider, as laid out by agents and others knowledgeable about Southern California real estate:

Beware joint ventures

Ideally, one person or family will buy and use the home.

“If you involve friends or family members in a joint venture, be cautious and have an attorney to draft a partnership agreement,” said Phil Immel of ImmelTeam Luxury Real Estate in Dana Point. “Human nature changes business and family relationships. Divorce or financial change of circumstances over the years can get messy.”

If there’s more than one party involved, he advised, have a buyout agreement in advance.

Also, you would have to figure out who signs the loan documents. Some or all of the partners? The fewer involved, he said, the better.

He explained it this way: If two separate parties were on the documents, they’d be jointly – and separately – liable for the payments.

“If (you’re) not on the loan, the lender cannot use that against you” in evaluating whether you can afford other properties, Immel said. “However, you can count it as an asset, improving your creditworthiness overall.”

Consider renting it out

If you’re buying in a beach town and thinking of renting the home when you’re not there, get close to the water. Walking distance is most in demand, said Larry Aguilar of First Team Real Estate.

Aguilar is in the midst of closing a deal on a Balboa Peninsula condo for a client whose primary home is in Yorba Linda.

On the peninsula, Aguilar said, “You can make in the summer months what most people make in the whole year on a month-to-month rent somewhere else.”

“I own a lot of rental properties inland,” he said, adding, “Why don’t I buy something over there (near the ocean), and I can almost double or triple my income on rentals?”

If you are considering becoming a seasonal landlord somewhere, make sure you are clear on any rental restrictions, either by the city or a homeowners association.

Figure on extra costs

Think about how you would handle the business of rentals, including whether to hire a management company.

“Along the same lines, if you do not plan to do all of the work on the rental yourself, you need to consider having a team of people who can do repairs and manage the condition of the property as well,” said Christine Donovan, a real estate broker and attorney at DonovanBlatt Realty in Costa Mesa. “These all add up to additional costs of owning the home.”

Even if you don’t share your getaway with tenants, remember to factor in such costs as utilities, maintenance and landscaping.

Make it a stress-free trip

Many people prefer a relatively short trek to their second home, so buying something that’s between a 45-minute and a couple-of-hours’ drive from your primary residence can be a good idea.

Larry Aguilar’s Yorba Linda client is 56-year-old Hemant Agrawal. The Balboa Peninsula condo is his first vacation home. The search, Agrawal said, was a relative snap.

“It was much simpler than had it been for someone who’s not aware of what they need,” he said. “We were already clear we wanted to be as close to the water as we can.”

He also saw no need to travel far.

“Sometimes you just want to get away just to take a break,” said Agrawal, who works in the software industry and is married with two grown children in their 20s. The kids like the peninsula’s summertime vibe, busier than their quiet, inland neighborhood, he noted.

“They wanted to be someplace where there’s some action.”

Pick the right beach

Buying a house along the beach brings its own set of decisions.

“Do they want a busy beach or quiet beach?” asks Ken Ross of Surterre Properties, who sells oceanfront houses along a strip of Capistrano Beach where the homeowners also own the sand.

“Do they want to be closer or further away from the water?” he said. “In Orange County the water could be anywhere from 50 feet away to 500 feet away.”

And size doesn’t matter as much as it might in another area, according to Ross.

“Do they really need a bigger home?” he said. “When at the beach, they are outside 80 percent-plus of the time.”

Don’t isolate yourself

If it’s isolation you’re after, that’s fine. But be aware of the financial implications. Agents say that being an outlier can limit a vacation home’s resale potential.

“A remote location could be a hard resale, as most people don’t want to be remote,” Donavan said. They typically want to be near such amenities as restaurants and shopping, she said.

Gloria Jewell of Teles Properties, who sold the Billingtons their Laguna Beach house, agreed.

“Although a remote area does appeal to a few, the masses will prefer a destination resort for a vacation home,” she said. “Anywhere in a resort area – whether it’s golf, ocean, skiing (or) desert – will sell quicker.”

Above all, don’t let your vacation bliss lead you into a bad decision that could be with you for years.

“Purchasing a vacation home is such an emotional purchase,” Ross said, “that I have seen very smart people make decisions they would not do in any other circumstance.”

Copyright © 2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.), Marilyn Kalfus. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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Home ‘value’ isn’t absolute – it’s subjective

SAN FRANCISCO – June 12, 2014 – The concept of value is subjective when it comes to home amenities, and sellers often find that price and cost do not equal value.

Buyers’ and sellers’ motivations and desires play a big role, but they can be difficult to calculate. Some people may be willing to pay more for a pool, a main-floor master bedroom or to live a certain location, for example, but these features may turn off others.

Experts point out that a home’s worth is based on the data as well as the role it serves for the person living there. Other factors to consider include functional obsolescence due to over-improvement, whether the market will pay more for unique features like outdoor kitchens or media and audio systems, and whether buyers want athletic equipment in their homes that they can access at professional gyms and training facilities.

It’s important for buyers to consider whether the home works for them, as the “value in use” to the occupant may not be supported by market data.

Source: Inman News (03/31/14) Miller, Hank

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

 

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Leading Markets Index shows 56 metros at or above normal levels in June

NAHB: Leading Markets Index shows 56 metros at or above normal levels in June

 

WASHINGTON – June 10, 2014 – Of the approximately 350 metro markets nationwide, 56 returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This represents a net gain of nine metros year-over-year.

The index’s nationwide score of .88 held steady from the previous month. This means that based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 88 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Meanwhile, 30 percent of metro areas saw their score rise this month and 83 percent have shown an improvement over the past year.

“Markets are gradually returning to normal levels of housing and economic activity,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. “When we see more sustainable levels of job growth, this will unleash pent-up demand and bring more buyers into the marketplace.”

Baton Rouge, La., continues to top the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.4 – or 40 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros at the top of the list include Honolulu; Oklahoma City; Austin, Texas and Houston. Rounding out the top 10 are Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City – all of whose LMI scores indicate that their market activity now equals or exceeds previous norms.

“Of the three components in the LMI, the one lagging is single-family housing permits, which is only 43 percent of the way back to normal while home prices are 26 percent above their last normal level and employment is at 95 percent of its previous norm,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In the 22 metros where permits are at or above normal, the overall index indicates that these markets have fully recovered.”

“Well over one-third of all markets are operating at a level of at least 90 percent of previous norms, and this bodes well for a continuing housing recovery in the year ahead,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., which co-sponsors the LMI report.

Looking at smaller metros, both Odessa and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2.0 or better, meaning their markets are now at double their strength prior to the recession. Also at the top of the list of smaller metros are Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Grand Forks, N.D., respectively.

The LMI shifts the focus from identifying markets that have recently begun to recover, which was the aim of a previous gauge known as the Improving Markets Index, to identifying those areas that are now approaching and exceeding their previous normal levels of economic and housing activity.

More than 350 metro areas are scored by taking their average permit, price and employment levels for the past 12 months and dividing each by their annual average over the last period of normal growth. For single-family permits and home prices, 2000-2003 is used as the last normal period, and for employment, 2007 is the base comparison.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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Growth to pick up, hiring steady

Good News for All!!

Survey: Growth to pick up, hiring steady

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – June 9, 2014 – U.S. economic growth should accelerate in the second quarter and remain healthy for the rest of this year, according to a forecast by a group of U.S. business economists. Still, growth for the full year will likely come in lower than they previously estimated.

Job growth should remain steady and consumer spending will also likely pick up, a survey by the National Association of Business Economists said Monday. The survey of 47 economists from companies, trade associations and academia was conducted from May 8 to May 21.

The survey also found that economists increasingly agree that the Federal Reserve will end its bond purchase program by the end of this year.

That’s partly because economists are optimistic about growth for the rest of this year: They expect it will jump to 3.5 percent in the second quarter and remain above 3 percent for the rest of the year.

But the pickup comes after harsh winter weather caused the nation’s gross domestic product to contract 1 percent in the first three months of the year, much worse than analysts had expected. GDP is the broadest measure of an economy’s output.

That weak first quarter reading has caused many economists to lower their expectations for 2014 as a whole. The NABE survey found that economists now project growth will be just 2.5 percent this year, down from a forecast of 2.8 percent in March.

The new forecast is still slightly above the annual average growth rate of about 2.2 percent since the recession ended in June 2009 and up from 1.9 percent in 2013. But stronger growth is needed to accelerate hiring and boost wage growth, which has been weak by historical standards.

The NABE’s survey is slightly more pessimistic than the Federal Reserve’s most recent projections, released in March. The Fed expects growth will be between 2.8 percent and 3 percent this year. The Fed may lower its growth outlook for this year when it releases its next forecasts later this month because of the first quarter’s contraction.

Economists are nearing a consensus about the timing of the Federal Reserve’s next moves. Nearly three-quarters expect the Fed will end its bond purchase program in the final three months of this year, the NABE survey found. That’s up from the 57 percent who said so three months ago.

The Fed is purchasing Treasury securities and mortgage-backed bonds in an effort to lower long-term interest rates to encourage more borrowing and spending. It has been steadily paring back the program, from $85 billion a month last year to $45 billion in May.

In addition, 86 percent of economists forecast that the Fed will raise the benchmark short-term interest rate it controls for the first time in 2015. In March, just 53 percent said 2015, while one-third said this year and 15 percent said a rate hike wouldn’t occur until 2016.

The NABE survey found that the economists are more optimistic about hiring. They project that employers will add 209,000 jobs a month this year. That’s up from their March forecast of 188,000.

So far this year, hiring has been a little bit better: it has averaged 214,000 a month from January through May.

More jobs means more people earning paychecks, and that can boost spending.

Economists are more optimistic about consumer spending this year, which they estimate will grow at a 2.9 percent pace. That would be the highest level since 2006.

AP Logo Copyright © 2014 The Associated Press, Chris Rugaber, AP economics writer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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Why do people move?

WASHINGTON – June 5, 2014 – Among 36 million people who moved between 2012 and 2013, 5 percent said the most important reason for moving was to be closer to work or for an easier commute, while another 8 percent cited the desire for cheaper housing, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The most common reason for moving in 2013 was “wanted new or better home/apartment.”

The report, Reason for Moving: 2012 to 2013, presents an in-depth look at 19 reasons why people changed residences during the previous year. It’s the Census Bureau’s first on this topic since 2001, and the report compares numbers to 1999.

Overall, the reasons for moving haven’t changed, but a higher percentage of people now move for pragmatic reasons, such as saving money. While “new or better home” still topped the list of reasons, it was cited by only 14.8 percent of respondents recently. In 1999, 20.8 percent of Americans moved to improve their circumstances.

In addition, 6 percent moved in 1999 for cheaper housing; last year that parentage rose to 8.3 percent. And the percentage that hoped to lower their commute costs to work was only 3.1 percent in 1999; last year it was 5.4 percent.

“We asked people to select the reason that contributed most to their decision to move,” said the report’s author, David Ihrke, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Journey to Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “Picking one reason can be difficult as moves are often motivated by many different, and oftentimes competing, factors. For instance, if one’s primary reason for moving is to be closer to work or having an easier commute, they may have to sacrifice other preferences. This could include forgoing cheaper housing options or settling for a different neighborhood. If they mainly want cheaper housing, they may have to deal with a longer commute.”

Some people moved for a better job, but the Census study finds that reason increases based on the distance of the move: 23 percent of moves less than 50 miles were for job-related reasons, but it was 48 percent of those 500 miles or more.

Other highlights

″ Men were more likely than women to move for job-related reasons.

″ Better-educated people were more likely to move for job-related reasons than those with lower levels of education.

″ Married respondents were the least likely to move for family-related reasons.

″ Moves within the same county were typically for housing-related reasons, while intercounty moves and moves from abroad were more for job-related reasons.

″ Several individual reasons, such as “change of climate,” “health reasons” and “natural disaster,” were each cited as the main reason for moving by fewer than 1 percent of householders.

For people who seeking to move, dwellr, a new Census Bureau app powered by American Community Survey statistics, can pull up a list of U.S. locations that matches users’ preferences for such variables as city size, geographic region and job type.

The full survey is available on the Census Bureau’s website.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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Realtors to condo boards: Get FHA certification

WASHINGTON – May 27, 2014 – Many prospective condominium buyers find that they cannot use FHA financing – not because they personally do not qualify, but because the entire development where they want to buy is ineligible.

Due to policy changes at the federal level and decisions by condo boards, FHA lending has become off-limits to thousands of communities in the last few years.

Agency officials have banned “spot” loans and will insure mortgages only for units in condo projects that have passed a certification process. That process looks at elements such as budgets, reserves, percentage of renters, insurance coverage and delinquencies on condo-fee payments.

FHA contends that its revised procedures weed out fiscally weak, poorly managed projects. However, some condo boards argue that FHA’s evaluation criteria are too strict, and that the certification process is bureaucratic and cost-prohibitive.

Since changing its policy four years ago, the number of condo developments approved for FHA financing has plummeted by over 50 percent. As of mid-May, FHA says just 10,020 communities out of roughly 144,000 condo projects nationwide had FHA certification – about 7 percent.

The country’s real estate community is rallying to persuade condo boards to seek the certification. An educational video that debuted at the recent National Association of Realtors spring legislative conference, for instance, emphasizes the “positive benefits” of certification. It urges directors to keep unit values high by expanding the pool of potential buyers, help unit owners tap equity for retirement, and remember the low risk of default associated with FHA borrowers.

Source: Washington Post (05/24/14) P. 5; Harney, Kenneth R.

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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Small businesses more optimistic about economy

WASHINGTON – May 15, 2014 – April’s Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.8 points to a post-recession high of 95.2 – the first time it crossed the 95 mark since 2007.

Seven index components improved, one was unchanged and two fell. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) compiles the monthly index.

“April’s index did pass the 95 mark that seemed to block any progress in optimism for the past five years,” says NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, the index is still 5 points below the average reading from 1973 to 2008, and far from what is considered expansion levels.”

While the 95 level seemed to be a cap on optimism that has now been passed, Dunkelberg does not yet consider the recession fully over.

“This reading can only be characterized as a high end recession reading,” he says. “Small business confidence rising is always a good thing, but it’s tough to be excited by meager growth in an otherwise tepid economy. … So while the improvement is welcome, as long as small business owners continue to have negative views about the future, the 95 number may fade.”

Review of April indicators

  • Labor markets. NFIB owners increased employment by an average of 0.07 workers per firm in April (seasonally adjusted), weaker than March but the seventh positive month in a row and the best string of gains since 2006. The remaining 74 percent of owners made no net change in employment.
  • Job creation. Twenty-four percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period (up 2 points). This suggests that the unemployment will ease a tenth of a point or more. Fourteen percent reported using temporary workers, up 1 point from March. Job creation plans reversed a recent negative trend and rose 3 percentage points to a seasonally adjusted net 8 percent.
  • Sales. The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales in the past 3 months compared to the prior 3 months improved 4 points to a net negative 2 percent – far better than the negative 31 percent readings in 2009.
  • Expected real sales volumes posted a 2-point decline after a strong 9-point gain in March, falling to a net 10 percent of owners. While down a bit, it is still the third highest reading since early 2012.
  • Earnings and wages. Earnings trends improved 4 points to a net negative 20 percent (net percent reporting quarter to quarter earnings trending higher or lower), the best reading since 2007. Not seasonally adjusted, 15 percent reported profits higher quarter to quarter (up 3 points), and 41 percent reported profits falling (down 1 point).
  • Rising labor costs are keeping pressure on earnings. Two percent reduced worker compensation and 23 percent raised compensation, yielding a seasonally adjusted net 20 percent reporting higher worker compensation. The gains in compensation are now solidly in the range typical of an economy with solid growth.
  • Credit markets. Credit continues to be a non-issue for small employers. In April, just five percent of the owners reported that all their credit needs were not met, 1 point above the record low. Thirty percent reported all credit needs met, and 53 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan. Only 1 percent reported that financing was their top business problem (tied with the record low) compared to 22 percent citing taxes, 20 percent citing regulations and red tape and 15 percent citing weak sales. Small business owners are far more concerned about taxes, regulations and health care costs than financing issues.
  • Inventories. The pace of inventory reduction was steady, with a net negative 6 percent of all owners reporting growth in inventories (seasonally adjusted). Reductions are good if in response to strong sales, but not so good if it is in response to weak sales.
  • Inflation. Seasonally adjusted, a net 12 percent of owners raised selling prices, up 3 points after an 8-point rise in March. Twenty-five percent plan on raising average prices in the next few months (up 2 points). Only 3 percent plan reductions (unchanged) – far fewer than actually reported reductions in past prices. Overall, the report suggests the U.S. economy will see a bit more inflation.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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Fla.’s housing market shows strength in 1Q 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – May 12, 2014 – Florida’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and a slight uptick in inventory during the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 50,251 in 1Q 2014, up 2.3 percent over the 1Q 2013 figure.

“The first three months of 2014 show a strong housing market in Florida, with diminishing distressed property sales,” says 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and The Villages. “More jobs are being created, putting more Florida residents back to work, and our population continues to increase. All of these factors are bolstering the state’s economy and providing a solid foundation for a strong housing market.

“Statewide, new listings for single-family homes over the three-month-period rose 12 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 8.2 percent. Home sellers, whether in the single-family home market or the townhouse-condo market, received more than 92 percent, on average, of their original listing price during the first quarter of this year.”

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 1Q 2014 was $168,000, up 9.1 percent from the same time a year ago, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties during the quarter was $135,000, up 16.9 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Looking at Florida’s townhome-condo market, statewide closed sales totaled 24,860 during 1Q 2014, down 0.8 percent compared to 1Q 2013. The closed sales data reflected fewer short sales last month: Short sales for condo-townhome properties declined 55.8 percent while short sales for single-family homes dropped 52 percent. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

“The first quarter statistics reflect the fact that Florida, in part a derivative market, has felt the sting of the northern winter.” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Yet, the market is showing some positive movement. Sales are up, particularly for non-distressed properties. Other data indicate that this is a market that is settling down and returning to more stabilized conditions.”

In 1Q 2014, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell during that time) was 58 days for single-family homes and 56 days for townhouse-condo properties.

Inventory was at a 5.7-months’ supply in the first quarter for single-family homes and at a 6-months’ supply for townhouse-condo properties, according to Florida Realtors.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36 percent for 1Q 2014, up from the 3.50 percent average recorded during the same quarter a year earlier.

To see the full statewide housing activity reports, go to Florida Realtors Media Center and look under Latest Releases, or download the 1Q 2014 data report PDFs under Market Data.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

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Correct grammar may help sell homes faster

Correct grammar may help sell homes faster

 

 

SEATTLE – May 9, 2014 – Luxury-home listings that are written in full sentences – without spelling or grammatical errors – move off the market three days faster, and they’re 10 percent more likely to sell for above list price compared to listings in general.

On the other hand, listings riddled with technical errors like misspellings, incorrect homonyms and incomplete sentences sit on the market longest; they also have the lowest percentage of listings that command more than list price, according to a study conducted by online proofreading app Grammarly and Redfin.

For the study, Grammarly examined 106,850 luxury listings in 52 metro areas last year.

“Perfect” grammar listings may indicate the agent is attentive to other details as well, like pricing the home correctly and weighing offers, suggests Karen Krupsaw, vice president of real-estate operations at Redfin.

The analysis also looked at style preferences and found that phrases written in all-capital letters saw the least success in terms of sale price. Common abbreviations that tend to be recognized even by buyers outside the real estate industry, such as “bdrm” for “bedroom,” fared well by comparison.

Source: Wall Street Journal (05/09/14) P. M12; Tanaka, Sanette

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688