Real Estate Technology, Asset Management
Article | June 15, 2023
Florida’s real estate market is on the up amidst a COVID-driven boom. But, as homebuyers flock to the Sunshine State, they are bringing with them a checklist that consists of more than just sun, shores and southern fun.
In recent months, there has been an average of 1,000 people moving to Florida each day, resulting in more than a 50% increase in home sales in some parts of the state.
Alistair Brown, CEO of Alistair Brown International Real Estate (ABIRE), an international real estate sales and marketing company that has particular expertise in the Florida market, explains the cause of the boom.
“The pandemic has shifted behaviors and ways of life in more ways than one and, as a result, our living arrangements have had to adapt.
“For example, the rise in remote working, restrictions on leisure activities and social distancing guidelines have all caused a spike in demand for homes that are outside of crowded cities, have more space and COVID-safe amenities on offer. Many of Florida’s high-end houses provide just that.”
The migration has been particularly popular among families who, pre-COVID, resided in densely populated cites. But, with virus risks significantly higher in these areas and a threat of future outbreaks still looming, a rural escape seems to make perfect sense.
But, while some favor a permanent move to the state, a vacation home is an attractive investment opportunity for others – whether that is for domestic getaways, as travel restrictions remain in place, or a sense of home comfort, as you enjoy an extended stay with self-isolation periods.
However, no matter what the reason may be, the root motivating factor is an interesting one, and one that Alistair believes has inspired a new list of requirements among home buyers.
“The pandemic has caused people to re-evaluate the way they were living. We all have visions and desires for how we want our lives to play out and at no point have these been more magnified than during the virus outbreak.
“While the threat to our health and livelihoods has been worrying, the thought of a life with unfulfilled aspirations, confinement and heightened risk has become another significant concern.
“Many have accepted that the virus is not going away any time soon and the chances of returning to what we knew as normalcy are slim. So, rather than living a life of regret, it is time to adapt and fulfil those wishes while we still can, as well as inspire new ones in the wake of our current reality.”
But what exactly do these new desires entail? Well, Alistair explains they have a lot to do with the architectural design of homes.
“For those who experienced lockdown restrictions in confined living spaces, particularly in populated cities, the need for a home with room will be stronger than ever.
“Home buyers will be looking at the size and space available in specific areas of the house. For example, kitchens will need to have ample room to cater for an increase in cooking at home, as well as a dining area that is fit for the whole family.
“Outside space will also become a priority. Whether that is a private backyard, decking area or a communal garden, families will be looking for homes with outdoor living spaces in which they can enjoy the Sunshine State to its fullest, no matter what COVID-restrictions are in force.”
“One of the biggest enabling factors of the migration trend is the rise in working from home. While this was a requirement during the peak of the pandemic, many companies and employees will choose to make the switch permanent.
“Consequently, home buyers will be seeking properties with purpose-built home office spaces. These will also need to be spacious rooms that can accommodate everything from desks, filing cabinets and high-speed connectivity.
“Home offices need to be areas that can be closed off from the rest of the house. Not only does this provide privacy and minimize distractions when working, it also allows people to properly switch off after a long day.
“Balancing both home and work life can become incredibly difficult, especially when both are contained by the same four walls, so homes that allow for the separation of the two will be favored much more.”
“An incidental effect of the pandemic has been the reduced environmental impact of our restricted movement and new, minimalist lifestyles. Having recognized this, many will be seeking ways to continue going about their lives with greater awareness of their actions.
“At home, this will include things, such as efficient energy usage or growing their own food. Of course, this will require homes to have modern heating, plumbing and electricity systems in place, as well as gardens in which fruit and vegetables can be grown.”
“While it would be wrong to assume people were living in unclean conditions prior to the pandemic, the threat of the virus’ long-lasting existence on surfaces has only heightened people’s hygiene concerns.
“Therefore, homes that can be easily cleaned, or better, self-cleaned, will be more sought after than those in which risk prevails. Take for example, voice activated technology that can turn lights on and off or stop-start electrical appliances, without the need for manual intervention. And, while air conditioning units are a common feature of Floridian properties, they can be updated with smart technology solutions, such as those provided by RespirTech.
“As well as cooling the home, the new system will be constantly cleaning the air and surfaces using photocatalytic technology, which emits small parts of hydrogen peroxide. Such equipment will be increasingly at the forefront of consumer’s minds, as they seek to minimise physical interaction with products and systems.”
“With risks and restrictions remaining in place at many entertainment venues, leisure facilities at home are becoming a must. This may include bar areas, private swimming pools and home gyms to name but a few.
“While community amenities are still important in fulfilling our innate need for social contact, buyers are seeking properties which have more on offer at home than out.
“As well as protecting them against any of the risks associated with shared facilities, more home entertainment options will ensure any quarantine periods or future lockdowns cause little disruption to people’s daily routines.
“Ultimately, post-COVID living will focus more on maximizing comfort while minimizing the potential impact of any future chaos. And, like most things in life, that starts at home.”
Notes to editors
About Alistair Brown International Real Estate
Alistair Brown International Real Estate (ABIRE) is a boutique real estate consultancy and creative agency that brings together the most distinguished properties from around the globe. Offering a diverse portfolio focused exclusively on the world’s most desirable locations, its specialist team is committed to providing nothing but the very best in high-end property.
Under the direction of founder Alistair Brown – who has more than thirty years’ worth of experience in the sector – the firm has attracted some of the finest real estate professionals in the business today.
Laying a primary focus on Florida and the Caribbean, ABIRE has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the real estate market in each of these areas. Successfully navigating the complexities of premium real estate through creative thinking, worldwide networking and a distinct marketing approach, ABIRE’s longevity in the industry is a direct result of its ability to exceed the expectations of its clientele.
Real Estate Technology, Asset Management
Article | May 10, 2023
According to a recent Bankrate survey of prospective buyers, the down payment was unanimously considered the biggest hurdle to buying a home. Saving for a down payment has hampered the home-buying journey for approximately 36% of those polled, in addition to the economic slowdown.
The good news is that there are many down payment assistance programs that empower home buyers and mitigate the financial burdens they face on their way to becoming a home owner. Many home buyers are not aware of these programs. Those who do know, have several misconceptions. The key is to understand the options and how down payment assistance programs operate.
Who Qualifies for a Down Payment Assistance Program?
One of the misconceptions that many have is that down payment assistance is only offered to first-time home buyers. Although, modern first-time buyers have multiple options at their disposal, many programs also cater to repeat buyers. In fact, according to the Homeownership Program Index, about 38% of down payment assistance programs in the Q1 of 2022 weren’t availed by first-time home buyers. This implies that repeat buyers can access as many as one third of homebuyer assistance programs even if they have bought a home before.
In addition, repeat buyers can take advantage of first-time homebuyer assistance programs depending on the definition set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which states that an individual can qualify as a first time home buyer if they:
haven’t owned a primary residence in three years
are a single parent who has owned a home only with a former spouse
Location and Profession-based Eligibility for Down Payment Assistance Programs
Over and above the multiple options available to first-time and repeat home buyers, individuals in a specific location or profession could also be eligible for down payment assistance. The National Realtors Association says that a number of local and non-profits provide down payment grants and loans that are aimed at area borrowers or those with a specific borrower requirement.
Plus, individuals who work as teachers, doctors, nurses, and veterans can avail of the assistance programs offered by local, state, and federal lenders based on their profession.
Buying a home doesn’t have to be a financial burden. There are many down payment assistance solutions available today to empower prospective buyers fulfill their dream of becoming a home owner. Connecting with a local real estate, and using buyer proptech could help to find trusted lenders and a range of assistance programs.
Real Estate Technology, Asset Management
Article | May 30, 2023
Considering a remodeling project? Before getting started, establish a list of return on investment (ROI) goals, because not all home improvements are created equal. Some add value to the home that can be recouped when selling, while others may be nice to have but are unlikely to raise the home's asking price. Anyone who wants to focus on home improvements that will pay for themselves when selling the home should know which projects to avoid. Read on to learn about three home improvement projects with a strong return on investment.
For homeowners looking for a better price when they sell, it's hard to go wrong with landscaping. This is one of the few home improvements that typically yields a positive return when selling the home. On average, homeowners can recoup 150% of what they spend updating a home's landscaping.
Since curb appeal is a huge factor in selling a home, choose improvements that can be seen from the road for the best return. Resodding or reseeding a lawn is a project that typically provides good returns. In an arid climate like Nevada, consider landscaping with native plants, xeriscaping, and other eco-friendly desert landscaping options to reduce water usage and maintenance requirements.
Adding new trees to the landscaping can pay off now and at the time of sale. Trees provide shade and natural cooling, which can take a chunk out of power bills. When selling, trees add between $1,000 and $10,000 to the selling price of a home.
Creating a Dazzling Entryway
Continue the strong first impression by creating a welcoming space in the entryway of the home. Upgrading to manufactured stone veneer has a return on investment of around 96%. The improvement is relatively simple but makes the front door and the surrounding area more dramatic.
Even small improvements can have a big impact. Upgrade to a metal door or one with small windows that let in additional light. Find upgraded house numbers that are visually appealing and easy to see. This often costs less than $100 but can improve the look and feel of the entry area and practically pay for itself when it's time to sell.
Minor Kitchen Remodeling
The kitchen is the heart of the home. This is the room that is one of the top choices for home improvement projects. However, contrary to what one might expect, huge kitchen overhauls don't always yield a high ROI. In fact, less costly improvements typically have a better payoff. Small projects that can dramatically improve a kitchen include:
Refacing the cabinets and adding updated hardware
Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances
Choosing more energy-efficient appliances is an upgrade that can start repaying itself right away. Other improvements are likely to increase the price of the home when it sells. However, on average, kitchen remodeling projects only bring in 77% of their cost when it's time to sell. Because of this, homeowners should focus on upgrades that improve their quality of life and what they are likely to get back for their investment.
Some common mistakes can reduce what a homeowner will get back from a kitchen remodeling project. Investing large amounts of money on items that will need to be replaced again in a few years is unlikely to provide a positive return. Choosing items that are too high-end can cause them to clash with the look and feel of the rest of the home, which could turn buyers off.
Improve Daily Life and ROI With These Home Improvement Projects
Most home improvement projects do not pay for themselves in full when selling the home. Rather, they are changes that make the home worth more to the owner now, that have the bonus of a price increase when you sell the home. The right home improvement project can make any house feel like a new construction home.
Homeowners should look to areas that will give them the most mileage when picking updates for their homes. For instance, old kitchen cabinets can make the room feel dull and uninviting. Refacing with a bright new finish can make the kitchen feel like a brand-new room. Adding low-maintenance shrubs to the front yard adds visual interest that can be enjoyed right away. Projects that require special permits could raise questions during a home inspection and potentially reduce the home's value—but properly permitted additions may let homeowners list a home with an extra bedroom or bathroom.
Choose the updates that will provide the most meaningful benefits, both now and at the time of sale. By making the home inviting and attractive, sellers are more likely to be able to name their dream price.
Real Estate Technology
Article | July 6, 2022
Infrastructure development is directly proportional to the economy and is a key indicator of economic growth. World powers have heavily invested in infrastructure development to support the system and other varied sectors of the economy. The Indian construction sector, in particular, has been significantly affected by the pandemic. However, this year will be fruitful, as the sector appears poised to regain growth and seize various opportunities with the ease of global markets. The Indian construction sector began the year with DRDO partnering with Maiwir Engineering to complete a 7-storey state-of-art research facility at the Aeronautical Development Establishment campus in Bengaluru, spreading across 1,30,000 sq. ft. in a record timeline of 45 days using hybrid construction technology. The quest for a greater economy, concerning material costs and reduced construction timelines, has resulted in innovative solutions that seek to combine construction materials and methods to an optimum effect. One such adaptation is the use of hybrid construction technology.
Hybrid construction technology is a mix of conventional and pre-engineered methodology, using a combination of structural steel and reinforced concrete to form an efficient and sustainable design model. The highest level of optimization is achieved in resolving complex engineering problems in well planned phases. First, the structural steel members and partial pre-cast members are manufactured off-site at a factory yard. In the second phase, ready-to-assemble members are transported to the construction site, and in the third phase, they are installed in a calibrated manner using machinery.
Decoding this Innovation
The hybrid construction technology is a highly flexible building system. It is composed of horizontal and vertical structures, which can be used either separately or as part of a system depending upon the required standards. It is a global, effective, and cutting-edge solution for industrial, commercial, and residential structures, as well as large works, infrastructures, facilities, renovation, and conservative restoration. An offsite precast yard is setup for the fabrication and assembling of precast elements. Once all the members are installed to form a structural frame, a cast in-situ concrete pour is done monolithically to achieve the structural integrity.
The Way Forward
The main areas of focus in the near future are high-rise buildings for commercial, residential, educational institutions, hospitals, data centers, and urbanization of logistic corridors. Just like India’s space program "mission to Mars," the mission to build can happen at a fraction of the cost with local materials and skill-developed teams, and we shall target and improve the country’s GDP growth with infrastructure development and spending. Over the past 3 decades in India, there has been a quantum jump in construction technology, especially in steel structures related to design concepts, erection methodology, manufacturing, section profiles, code provisions, etc.
The evolution of composite structures is one such revolution, which has gained significant importance and has mostly replaced conventional construction techniques.
Application of Hybrid construction technology
High Rise Residential & Commercial buildings
Hospitals & educational institutions
Seaports & airports
The industry can reap the benefits of both worlds of conventional concrete construction and precast structural construction. This new combination of technology ensures flexibility in terms of design and also faster project deliverables without compromising quality and onsite safety. It has proven to produce high-quality structures in record timelines, resolving complex engineering projects to cater for the rapid growth of infrastructure in the country.
The Importance of Hybrid Construction Technology
No or minimal wastage during the construction phase, which roughly accounts for 1–5% in conventional RCC buildings.
Improved structural integrity
Faster construction reduces the timelines by up to 60%
Optimized resource utilization
Wind loads & seismic load resistant
Significant reduction in construction costs
While fast-growing economies like China and other developed economies in Europe and the Middle East are adopting technological advancements for constructing complex engineering projects and residential structures, with this revolutionary technology, India can witness itself on the global map as a developed economy by building faster and more economically efficient structures than any other global power.