South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

Delray Beach New Home Market Shake-up on the Horizon?

 When it comes to industries, you’d have to place Delray Beach real estate into the “stolid” category. The rules are set and agreed-upon. Everything having to do with real estate is entirely “real”—the opposite of “imaginary.” Certainly not frivolous, fleeting, or mercurial.

Major changes don’t come about often or quickly. It is true that one facet of the way real estate business is conducted has undergone a noticeable change due to the web. But that is actually only a shift in how clients find and qualify properties they might be interested in. They still overwhelmingly rely on real estate professionals to take responsibility for the consequential details of buying and selling.

But wait!

A new technology suddenly presents the possibility of making a substantial difference when it comes to new homes—one that might come to pass pretty quickly. It promises to shave as much as 30% off the total cost of constructing new Delray Beach homes. If and when that gets real, it’s hard not to envision widespread repercussions .

The technology involved is 3-D printing—up until now, a technology that has been confined to a ‘gee whiz’ futuristic corner of the residential construction industry. But if Texas startup Icon, Inc. is to be believed, by the end of this year, it will be producing printers that can create up to 2,000 square foot bungalows in a matter of days. That’s 80% of today’s average-size home.

Their Vulcan II is a machine that can print concrete walls as wide as 28 feet and 8 ½ feet high—in any number of patterns. An automatic mixer pumps concrete into the printer,...

History Brings Character to Older Boca Raton Houses

If you have your sights set on a brand spanking new Boca Raton house, the romance of a home that’s witnessed the comings and goings of previous generations probably doesn’t call out to you. At least not nearly as powerfully as a front door lock that’s yet to be turned, a kitchen with nary a ding nor scratch—or a roof covered by a decades-long warranty with your name at the top.

On the other hand, if you are drawn to older houses, to you, the best ones have character that can’t be matched. They have substance in a way that only time can convey. To some extent, they’re all historic!

If you love older houses, a new home’s first-one-in advantages don’t beckon as much as the feeling of a home that’s stood tall through many decades. You’re well aware that its maintenance will be in your hands. You’re comfortable in taking up responsibilities that your predecessors have shouldered in the past. When an older Boca Raton house is in terrific condition, keeping it in top shape is a continuing source of pride—all the more so when it really is “historic.”

Now, about that word: historic. Whether or not an older house carries the official designation, most enthusiasts think of an older Boca Raton house in that light if it fits into one or more of these categories:

  • If a previous owner is a significant historical personage—or the home was known to have hosted such persons—it qualifies.
  • If it can be linked to a significant event in history, likewise.
  • If its construction techniques or characteristics are unique enough to be of historical...

Boynton Beach Home Sales Could Reflect National Turnaround

A couple of storylines have dominated national real estate news outlets for more than a year. Boynton Beach homeowners who are less industry-focused have been hearing the same thing from the national news media, too. Last week, they both staged a partial about-face.

The storylines are interconnected. The dominant one dealt with the national trend toward a weakening in the number of homes being sold. About a year ago, both new and existing home sales numbers began to falter. This wasn’t enough of a drop to cause genuine consternation—but it was persistent enough to generate headlines.

The reason that potential Boynton Beach home buyers and sellers weren’t overly concerned was partially due to the second storyline, which focused on the fact that fewer homes were being offered for sale. That seemed to be a reasonable explanation for the falloff in the number of closings, rather than an underlying loss of public confidence in the value of residential real estate. More evidence was the continued rise in prices paid.

Last week came word that, for the first time in a long while, a change of direction was in the wind. On a month-to-month basis, both trends reversed. According to the press release from the National Association of Realtors®, the Pending Home Sales Index for January registered “a strong rebound”—rising 4.6% above December’s levels.

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates,” according to the NAR’s Chief Economist. This was noteworthy—for months, Dr. Yun’s pronouncements had sounded considerably less optimistic.

The same release registered the first apparent reversal of the inventory pinch. Gauged by the number...

Now Delray Beach Households Can Be Monitored from Afar

Some new electronic gadgets have been gaining steam—some of which might be of interest to Delray Beach homeowners who find the strain of maintaining constant vigilance over all areas of the property can take a toll.

For any homeowner who has ever dealt with an all-but-unnoticed plumbing drip that suddenly turned into a flood, there is a new breed of wireless monitoring products that are easy to install and relatively inexpensive—especially when compared with wired security systems which require a subscription to an offsite monitoring center. These new wireless systems can also be unexpectedly versatile—capable of performing more than one monitoring task simultaneously.

One example is the Notion system. The basics are simple. A starter kit contains a central “bridge,” an inconspicuous box which is plugged into a centrally located wall outlet, the bridge connects into the household’s existing Wifi network. The kit includes three multi-purpose sensors—round, inch-high, 2-inch diameter plastic wafers that adhere to doors, windows, walls or the floor. Each one can sense water, temperature, the sound of an alarm, movement—or a combination. Powered by two AA batteries, they send wireless signals of what they sense to the bridge. 

The homeowner programs each sensor with limits which, if exceeded, cause the bridge to send alerts the owner’s smartphone and/or email account. For instance, if a door or window is opened at a time of day that’s not allowed—or a safe or liquor cabinet door is opened—the homeowner will be notified. If water is sensed under a distrusted water heater, or the temperature in a seldom-visited part of the house exceeds a set high or low limit, the alert goes out. The included smartphone app beams the current status of each sensor...

Moving into a New Boca Raton House? Warm it up!

It could hardly be a greater occasion—the move into a new Boca Raton house! Marking the moment in some unique way must be some sort of universal compulsion. It certainly stretches far beyond our shores (and back in time thousands of years).

Some Boca Raton new house owners mark the occasion by throwing a housewarming party—a tradition rooted in the days when every able-bodied villager would have been a ready volunteer in the dwelling’s construction. The proud new householder would be expected to host a celebratory feast in appreciation to their neighbors.

Today’s typical new homeowners are vastly more likely to be new arrivals to the neighborhood, so the warming of a new Boca Raton house is likely to be a considerably less crowded affair. Even now, though, after spotting moving van activity, some of the neighbors may stop by to introduce themselves. They’re likely to echo the past, bearing a housewarming gift as a welcoming gesture.

Today, that’s often a tin of cookies or a home-baked pie—but for a few of the more tradition-minded, it might be one of the ancient ones from a far-flung corner of the globe. If you are planning on moving into a new Boca Raton home anytime soon, don’t be surprised if you’re on the receiving end of one of these time-honored housewarming gifts:

  • Bread and salt. From Russia, when the first items brought into the home are a loaf of bread (banishing hunger) and salt (bringing wealth and hospitality), an abundant future is guaranteed.
  • Holy thread. In Thailand, tying a piece of thread around the wrists of family members assures good...

Four Fixes the Best Boynton Beach Real Estate Agents Recommend

The topic of preventive maintenance seems particularly timely, given last week’s record-breaking polar vortex and the many tales of household plumbing disasters it spawned.

The best Boynton Beach real estate agents do more than just representing their selling clients in the marketing, negotiation, and documentation of their homes’ sale—they also roll up their sleeves to make the entire process less anxiety-producing. One of the ways the best Boynton Beach real estate agents keep the process on an even keel is to offer advice on heading off surprises—especially the havoc that a maintenance breakdown can cause when showings are imminent.

There are several areas that Boynton Beach households can be threatened by—and you don’t have to have your house on the market to benefit from preventing them. Last month, the National Association of Realtors pointed out a batch of home maintenance areas that need attention—and four of them, if neglected, could cause major headaches:

  • Water heater spill. Water heaters can suddenly cease to function—or even flood an area if corrosion is rampant. The preventive measure many Boynton Beach homeowners aren’t even aware of is to “flush” it. Just turn off the power or gas to the heater, open a hot water tap elsewhere for a few minutes to lower the temperature in the heater, then put a bucket under the water heaters drain valve and drain until no sandy stuff is in it. Be careful—the water might still be hot.
  • Test for leaks. Since even slow leaks can cause major damage behind walls, it's worthwhile to be sure none are going on. Read your water...

One “Delray Beach Land for Sale” Detail That’s Make-or-Break

It might be the ultimate real estate daydream: finding a choice parcel of Delray Beach land for sale, figuring out the best way your house should be cited upon it—and ultimately building your own home on it. Whether it’s constructed to your own custom-specified floor plan or using a more budget-minded approach, finding the right piece of land comes first. If it’s priced within your budget, that’s all to the good—but before you write the check, no matter how appealing it might be, there could be one detail that might spoil the daydream.

It falls under the heading of the “perc.” It’s not about brewing the cup of coffee you envision enjoying as you take in the morning view through your kitchen window-to-be. It won’t be an issue if the parcel of Delray Beach land for sale is located where it can be served by our local sewer system. In that case, you and your contractor will choose a site for the house that will afford a trouble-free hookup. Perc is not involved.

But if the parcel is more remote, in order to build on it you must demonstrate how well it will support a septic system. To get a permit, the proposed septic area must pass a percolation test. And, as the saying goes, “no perc, no house.”

The test measures the drainage characteristics of the soil usually expressed in minutes per inch of drop-off. In general, sand and gravel drain the best, while high clay content or solid rock drain poorly. Most soils are a mixture—and individual site characteristics vary not only in soil composition but also by the depth of the water table, the steepness of the incline, its distance from open water, as well as a variety of other factors.

...

Why Investors Turn to Boca Raton Rental Property in 2019

Last Saturday investment commentator Rebecca Lake presented the kind of analysis that would warm the heart of Boca Raton rental property proponents. Her report appeared on the U.S. News website under the title “3 Reasons to Invest in Single-Family Rentals.” The piece was all the more persuasive because of its fresh perspective: according to the author, 2019 looks to be an especially advantageous year for rental property investments.

Since Lake’s article was aimed at the financial community, it occasionally lapsed into FinanceSpeak like “…there tends to be a ‘beta’ between the rental market and the stock market.” Especially for Boca Raton investors looking for relief from the stock market’s volatility, that translates into English as “daily swings in stock prices don’t affect real estate investors like equity investors.”

The “3 Reasons” in a nutshell:

  • The 2019 outlook is strong. With demand growing and supply limited (most notably in entry-level housing), one analyst predicts rent increases “landing in the 5%-7% range.” That would outpace even commercial real estate prospects.

 

  • Housing is bolstered by low unemployment. (Last Friday’s announcement of surprisingly strong employment numbers reinforces that “bolstering”).

 

  • Renter profiles are changing. Renting single-family homes has “become the new norm” among three well-populated consumer groups:...

8 Tips for Selling Delray Beach Homes Despite a “Size Issue”

When you decide to sell your home for the maximum return, it’s important that you recognize all of its selling points: both the positive and negative. I can help with that, but as a starting point, if your Delray Beach house is a bit on the smallish side, you probably already know it. There is a good chance it’s one reason you’ve decided to move on.

The good news is that once you recognize that your Delray Beach home’s other fine points might be overpowered by the relative lack of spaciousness, there are measures you can take to downplay that drawback. The most important actions are those recommended for every Delray Beach home for sale, large or tiny:

  • Do away with excess furniture  
  • Add light everywhere you can

To minimize any “cramped” feeling:

  • Ditch the drapes (especially the heavy ones)
  •  Do away with the tchotchkes
  • Go with solids instead of prints in everything from wallpaper to artwork. In fact—
  • Lose the artwork
  • Consider removing interior doors where they chop up the home’s “flow”
  • Minimize your color palette—experts even suggest a single color everywhere!

Selling your slightly undersized Delray Beach home for the best price will involve putting its outstanding features front-and-center—but that will only be possible if the magnitude issue doesn’t overpower...

Boynton Beach Homeowners Needn’t Fear the Sound of a “Pop!”

There is one persuasive reason why Boynton Beach homeowners (and prospective homeowners) don’t hear much about the likelihood that a new “housing bubble” could be in the making.

For any Boynton Beach homeowner who’s had the comfort of watching their property’s value grow steadily for years, a mere mention of the words “housing bubble” can squelch the enthusiasm. Even though real estate is “real” in a way few investments can equal, there was the last decade’s property value nosedive. Momentarily, at least, it rained on residential real estate nearly everywhere.

“Housing bubble” was the derisive term that described the previous run-up in prices that subsequently “popped” when sellers could no longer find buyers. A large part of the chaos was due to the home loan industry’s inability to finance mortgages at the previous valuations. In fact, for a while, even well-heeled buyers could scarcely find financing at any valuation.

 In 2008, the bubble metaphor seemed especially apt because the “pop” came so abruptly. When things go south suddenly, it’s particularly unnerving. But today Boynton Beach homeowners can take comfort in at least one reason why today’s circumstances bear little resemblance to what happened ten years ago.

  The Mortgage Bankers’ Association charts something called the “MCAI.” It’s a reliable measure of the availability of home loans, measured on a scale from 1 to 1,000. The higher the number, the easier it is for applicants to obtain home loans. A chart shows how, in the three years leading up to the height of...