South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

Inheriting Boynton Beach Homes: Not without Issues

The wisdom behind the truism that there’s no such thing as a free lunch can even apply in a context as virtuous as inheriting Boynton Beach homes. Parents bequeathing the family home—or generations passing down the ancestral vacation cottage—are intended to be acts of unalloyed generosity. But common to many commentaries on the subject are some common unintended consequences. For Boynton Beach homeowners who have ever weighed the idea of passing the family homestead onto their progeny, it’s a point worth exploring.

 The most acrimonious outfalls surface when multiple heirs are involved. Since individuals fare differently as careers develop and life’s opportunities and challenges unfold, the obligations accompanying homeownership present difficulties for some heirs more than others. Given the fact that taxes, insurance, utility bills, and maintenance expenses are ongoing even for a property that is debt-free, the choice of which possible disposition (occupying, renting, or selling) may affect heirs very differently.

Overlaying the financial outfall is the likelihood that the latter two income-generating solutions are bound to raise sentimental issues when clearing the property for sale or new tenants. The emotional stress often causes heirs to avoid cleaning out an inherited property, sometimes, for years. Says Rhea Friedman, a CFP in Manhattan, “Not selling a house and not living in it makes for increased maintenance and insurance costs without much to show for them.”

The best solutions seem to result when everyone can summon “their best selves” to cooperate in formulating a precise agreement spelling out how ongoing expenses and obligations will be shared. Another variation is for the donors to engage Boynton Beach legal help to create a framework...

This Delray Beach Halloween, Real Estate Horror Stories Abound

Since Halloween comes around with ‘nary a difference from one year to the next, you’d think that editors eventually would be stumped to come up with a new topic for their writing staffs. This month, Delray Beach subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s real estate pages were treated to a creative solution: The Journal simply dug up some scary stories about real estate.

The first was “Home Renovation Horror Stories,” a chilling retelling of just how wrong remodeling attempts can go. These spooky construction nightmares that happened in real life lived up to the premise, starting with readers’ complaints that, rather than the good old days when a kitchen renovation was a huge ordeal, today “just finding qualified workers to do the job is a huge ordeal.”

The various renovation horror tales included one contractor who tried to remove the cabinets he’d just installed when a progress payment was delayed (because the work was behind schedule) and crews who “showed up and immediately began to destroy our home” (because their skill sets had been “overstated”).

Just as spooky for Delray Beach families with dogs or cats was “Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value.”­ The headline may have been a little misleading since most of the horrifying details didn’t have much to do with selling a home. They dealt with pet hi-jinx whose consequences would surely be addressed before any marketing could begin. One example was the puppy who found a bottle of red food coloring, which he chewed and then…(well, some horror stories are scariest when details are left to the imagination).

Beyond the “stains, chips, rips, scratches, watermarks”...

Holiday Decorating Timetable: Trustworthy or Dubious?

According to last week’s news release, if you already see your Delray Beach neighbors putting up their holiday decorations, they’re just going with the flow. At least that’s the conclusion you’d come to if you trust a newly cited consumer poll by minted.com, the online gift marketing site.

As widely reported by NBC and CBS affiliates, eight in ten Americans report that they begin decorating “before autumn leaves fall”—and six in ten “think holiday decorations in stores can be put up before the end of October.”

Now, since it’s widely agreed that most folks consider November 1st to be the earliest launch date for holiday ornamentation, it would be quite a surprise if Pre-Halloween holiday decorating is actually the norm in 60% of Delray Beach households. If true, you have to wonder if the witches and goblins now have to move over for Santas and reindeer (or menorahs and dreidels). It would make for some crowded displays.

The report notes that “about half of respondents say decorations around town” mark the beginning of the holiday season. That part does sound credible.

But as for the other findings, there are good reasons why Delray Beach householders may not really be in the minority if they decide to hold off for at least a couple more weeks before unpacking the Christmas or Hanukkah trimmings.

For one, it’s proving difficult to find published evidence of the survey results the TV shows are citing. For another, since minted.com is a purveyor of custom-printed holiday greeting cards, if their polling is limited to their customers (who probably order cards well in advance, since they have to hand-address all of them), any such survey wouldn’t...

This Gesture Makes for Gracious Boca Raton House Selling

When you first begin thinking about house selling, most Boca Raton sellers are rightly focused on getting the property in top shape, establishing a solid relationship with their Boca Raton Realtor®, and making some key decisions (like what the optimal asking price should be). In other words, laying out a practical strategic house selling game plan.

About the last thing anyone thinks about is their relationship with the ultimate home buyers. It would be impossible, anyway; until the first offer is tendered, the buyer’s identity and personality are unknown. That might even remain true throughout the entire house selling process—particularly when the agents manage the communications for the many details in the buying and selling process.

But even when some thorny disputes need to be ironed out, by the time the keys are handed over it is in everyone’s best interest that the relationship end on a graceful note. After all, the new owners will be taking their own place in the Boca Raton community in which so many of your family’s relationships have flourished—and whether your new home is in Boca Raton or elsewhere, it can only be a plus when the final takeaway from your house selling transaction is a gracious one.

Leaving behind a welcome letter that’s more than a polite pleasantry can do that—especially if it’s a thoughtful one. Some ideas on that score:      

  • Share your family’s favorite Boca Raton restaurants and watering holes, local tradespeople (including quirks, when relevant), and details like your personal “best” lists of shops and stores.
  • If it’s been agreed that you are leaving household extras, give helpful information. If planters...

A Break for Some Boynton Beach Real Estate Transactions

Last week ended with some good news that can affect many Boynton Beach real estate transactions—specifically some with bottom lines equal to $400,000 or less. It came in the form of a rule change from Washington’s rule-makers, and whether or not it applies to your own property, it may signal a shift in regulatory outlook.

 Many Boynton Beach real estate transactions are subject to Federal regulations—rules devised to ensure the soundness of the financial institutions that provide home loans. Theoretically, everyone who buys or sells Boynton Beach real estate should benefit from legal regulations that restrain lenders from granting loans too easily. When that takes place, widespread “easy money” usually results in the kind of abrupt return to reality we saw in the last decade. Nobody wants that!

One way regulators prevent residential real estate “bubbles” is by seeing that home loans are legitimately collateralized—that home loan amounts don’t exceed the real value of the underlying properties. That’s realized by requiring that strictly professional appraisals be performed. Appraisals demonstrate that homes true values equal or exceed proposed loan amounts.

But—it’s always a balancing act. Appraisals take time and cost money—making buying and selling that much more cumbersome. Any regulation that is too strict unnecessarily retards legitimate Boynton Beach real estate transactions. Over time, that’s what had happened with the appraisal requirement.

Last Friday an official press release announced a lightening of the appraisal requirement. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency “have adopted a final rule that increases the threshold for residential real estate transactions…from...

The Downsizing Dilemma Gets a Helpful Hint

Here’s an idea from one homeowner who’s just completed a complicated exit from a sizeable house to a smaller property. It’s a last-minute strategy that could be helpful for Boca Raton readers who are planning a similar downsizing move.

Currently, the Boomer generation leads the pack of Boca Raton downsizers who face similar associated challenges. They’re emotional as well as practical—and this idea could be helpful on both scores.

The challenge of downsizing comes with paring down all the sheer scale of household bric-a-brac that builds up over the course of daily living. Some of the stuff may be saleable, but especially lately, because downsizing is becoming so rampant, most is not. The old, non-electronic ingredient scale may be perfectly functional but is currently more likely to end up in a landfill instead of on anyone’s kitchen counter. Why it wasn’t disposed of when the spiffy newer gizmo took its place is just human nature—we hesitate to throw things out when they still work!

But for older Boca Raton downsizers, there’s an emotional dimension to the process. When you’re wading through those boxes that haven’t been opened for ages to see if they’re of value, you find yourself with a dilemma. You can’t just toss all those cartons filled with envelopes jammed with pictures of bygone days—even when you know only a few are true gotta-save keepers. Every carton may have an irreplaceable family heirloom tucked in there alongside its eminently disposable cousin—but as a practical matter, when the moving van will soon be idling in the driveway, unless you are a hyper-organized person, the amount of time it would take to go through everything won’t be left.

The solution this householder found was to locate a storage facility...

Monday’s Equinox Ends Summer—but the Fed Signals Heat

For astronomers and TV weather forecasters, this Monday marked a red-letter day. It now seems as if the same could be said for Boynton Beach’s market prospects.

In the wee hours, the Sun arrived at one of the two places in every year where its path across the sky crosses the celestial equator (the imaginary line above Earth’s equator). Of course, for Boynton Beach residents, the reality is that it’s pretty much a non-event. Weather-wise, the equinox is an abstraction. The change of seasons creeps slowly, day-by-day, Monday being no exception.

Still, at Tuesday’s dawn, the last day of Boynton Beach’s summer has passed. Whether you call it ‘autumn,’ ‘fall,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ or anything else, the new season is upon us.

And in Boynton Beach real estate terms, it brings new reason to suspect that this fall could be a busy one. One indicator came last week, as Reuters noted that U.S. home sales “unexpectedly rose to a 17-month high” in August.

More directly, last week’s second straight cut in the fed funds interest rate augurs well for Boynton Beach sellers and buyers alike. With lower Boynton Beach mortgage rates “continuing to encourage buyers off the sidelines” (Reuters), it wouldn’t be surprising if the market continues to heat up. Despite the Sun’s ducking down past the Equator, it looks to be a propitious time to buy or sell Boynton Beach homes. That makes it an equally propitious time to give me a call!

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Surprising Delray Beach Real Estate Lessons for GenX Generation

By now, just about everyone in Delray Beach looks back on the last decade’s housing bust with a lot less consternation than heretofore—time can do that (as well as the recovery of temporarily lost value). For some Delray Beach homeowners, the temporary nosedive in Delray Beach real estate values was little more than an uncomfortable learning experience. For others, it served as confirmation of the long-term store of value their Delray Beach real estate embodies. But for others, the dominant memory is of the severe dislocation it and the accompanying worldwide financial meltdown triggered. Members of the Gen X group (those born between 1965-1980) could have ample reason to identify with any of the above—but there’s reason to believe the first two claim more adherents.

The Pew Research Center has gone over the statistics and emerged with these factoids about the generations and how they have fared, post-recession. The first one may be the most surprising:

  • Gen X households are the only ones to recover the wealth lost in the Great Recession. This was as of July 2018, but is eyebrow-raising since the Gen Xers were, according to Pew, “particularly hard hit.” That makes sense since they were younger than the Boomers, so more likely to have entered the market when prices were at their peak. Their superior rebound is explained by the fact that wealth tends to rise most quickly at younger ages—so the rebound caught their earnings sweet spot.
  • Today, Typical Gen X homeowners have more home equity than before the housing collapse. Since Gen Xers are in the prime working-age range, they’ve displayed the most consistent “ability to rebuild wealth.” Compared with the Boomers, Silent Generation, and to a lesser extent, Millennials, they have attained the most robust household income growth since 2010....

Boca Raton Real Estate Investing Without Pop-Up Ads

 Few Boca Raton residents who spend much time online have avoided the unnerving experience of having their screens populated with ads aimed at them, personally. Whether the culprit is Google or Facebook or one of the otherwise-useful apps, it’s close to impossible to avoid having your personal preferences noted and exploited by the omnipresent web snoops.

Among the annoying pop-up ads that result can be the ones that aim at real estate investors. Some feature piggy bank graphics, graying couples with anxious (or confident) expressions on their faces, or charts with upward-sloping trend lines. There is one that shows a toy house on top of a mountain of dollar bills—a variation on the ones perched atop stacks of coins.

But then there are the really aggressive pop-ups. Some of them actually pop up and without even asking start playing video movies about successful real estate investing. If the soundtracks are noisy, and particularly if they originate from a window buried behind other windows (so you have to stop what you’re doing to find them in order to shut them up), these can be really annoying.

Real estate investment pop-ups may promise Simple ways to invest, Hidden ways to invest, or even Secret ways to invest. The Secret ways are often free—contained in online books whose covers tend to look a lot like the other pop-up graphics (piggy banks, mounds of cash, etc.). It’s not hard to resist downloading them.

I have a not-so-hidden secret about Boca Raton real estate investing. Success takes some thoughtful groundwork, including identifying an investment goal, devising a strategy, and finding an energetic local real estate agent who knows Boca Raton and its current and emerging opportunities. When you give me a call, we can dispense with the piggy bank graphics and get right...

What Qualities Do Top Boynton Beach Real Estate Agents Share?

If it’s the first time you have ever bought or sold a house, don’t fret if you’ve found yourself procrastinating—who wouldn’t? Most people are at least temporarily paralyzed by the immensity of the undertaking. The same applies to many of Boynton Beach’s current homeowners whose last real estate foray happened years ago.  

Even so, veteran home buyers and sellers have the advantage of knowing that Job One is to establish a trusting relationship with an experienced Boynton Beach real estate agent. Experienced folks may do at least some preliminary groundwork—checking out the current crop of properties being offered—but in the end, they know how the single step of teaming with the right agent accomplishes the vital job of removing the guesswork from all that follows.  

The tricky part is identifying the right real estate agent. There’s no shortage of how-to articles on the subject—but in truth, the qualifying factors are simple, logical, and uncontroversial. They break down like this:

  • Experience. Top agents have piloted their clients through these familiar waters many times. They see snags before they arrive—and steer clear of them.
  • Energy. Top Boynton Beach agents are the real estate equivalent of the Energizer bunny. In the abstract, buying and selling homes is a paperwork job. In reality, it’s that and a non-stop, out-there-in-the-field profession.
  • Teamwork. A true team player is called for because top agents are flexible enough to be able to follow the direction of the client (you: the team captain) while working harmoniously with the full roster of other local Boynton Beach professionals. They will ultimately include Boynton Beach tradespeople, fellow real estate brokers...