Welcome to Sound Bite Q, the column that thanks advertisers who support SFGN. We invite you to support them, because without their outreach to us, we would not be here to reach out to you. More importantly, loc­­­al papers only survive in our busy world because we are all connected to each other. For me, this column does more than encourage you to patronize one of SFGN’s advertisers. It lets you know a little more about our friends and enables you to feel a little more comfortable using their services with the limited dollars you have.

I am “Broker Joe” Grano, Realtor of First Atlantic Realty, Inc.

How long have you been working in real estate?

I’ve been an independent real estate broker/owner here in Fort Lauderdale area since 1985. 

How long in South Florida?

I relocated Fort Lauderdale area in 1985 after the serving as a Marine. I ran for Mayor of Wilton Manors in 2004.

What is the best time of year to buy down here (better deals in winter vs. summer, or vice versa?)?

The standard idea is that one would sell in the season and buy in the summer, but the past years have obliterated that premise. As more sellers have waited for season to sell, there has been more competition keeping prices down. Some sellers panic if they haven’t sold before season is over leading to even greater bargains. The trick is be well represented and to be first. A Realtor® that keeps doing the homework should be able to produce bargains and/or secure the best sale price anytime. Make no mistake the competition is stiff. 

What neighborhoods can you get the best deals now (for instance nice house or condo, but less expensive than Wilton Manors or Victoria Park)?

Price range dictates location. A prepared Realtor® knows the area well enough to direct a buyer to the best neighborhoods for the money they can afford to spend.

Any neighborhoods on the up-and-up that are good investment opportunities (i.e. get a good deal now & values likely to increase in next few years as neighborhood improves)

27% of 2015 sales here were distressed compared to 17% nationally. Coral Ridge, Bal Harbour and imperial Point, Santa Barbara and Lighthouse Point are showing strong appreciation. East is east. Still, SW Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods such as Croissant Park, Shady Banks and Riverland are full of bargains. NE Fort Lauderdale toward the NW through Green Acres, North Andrews Gardens, Royal Palm Acres and even in East Gate or North Gate will play out just like they did as prices increased during the boom. There are some particularly great condominium opportunities on Fort Lauderdale Beach right now. West of the Turnpike, competition thins out and even more distressed sellers will be found in Central and Western Broward. If you can’t find a bargain call me. It’s about product knowledge.

What advice to you have for first-time buyers?

First-time homebuyer activity is at a near 30 year low. Don’t give up so easily! First-time homebuyers and renters alike should be properly pre-qualified by a mortgage person they trust well in advance. If they don’t know anyone they should get a proven referral from Relator® they trust. If they can’t do that they should call me. If a property is presented to a first-time buyer the presentation isn’t complete without a cost analysis and comparable sales showing that the asking price is realistic.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

The Harris Poll reported Florida topping the list of most desirable states in which to live in Nov 2015. Forbes reported (Jan 2016), Fort Lauderdale ranked 8th in the nation as Best-Buy markets for 2016. Successfully buying or selling real estate is an art. I like to say if you don’t know real estate, know the broker.