South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

To our friends and clients / COVID-19 (coronavirus) UPDATE

The steady stream of news and information about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has touched us all.  We will all need to adapt to this new reality and find ways to manage and minimize the impact during this time of uncertainty.

We are reaching out as we are here to help you as clients, friends, and future homeowners.  Whether you are a current client or looking to purchase a home, our team can and will provide assistance. For those of you who are unable to fly to South Florida. to look for properties or -for those of you who own homes we have services to provide.  Our Video technology, in real-time, can expedite making a home buying decision.  Feel free to contact us, we have vendors, contractors and help at our disposal if you are in need of assistance.

Contact us as the numbers below with any questions you may have.

Shari Orland,  (954) 245-7469

Alfredo Ruiz,  (561) 350-6923

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What’s the Most Important Part of Boca Raton Real Estate?

A key real estate insight was on display in one recent sponsored post that appeared in the Inman real estate trade newspaper. The theme was about eternal industry truths—rules that apply to businesses big and small.

One of the rules is widely understood by any enterprise that deals with consumers: it’s that “people-based” marketing is what works. The idea is to appreciate the emotional—as well as the rational—underpinnings of what people bring to how they lead their daily lives. In real estate, that translates into choosing to emphasize the experience made possible by a home’s features— rather than just naming the features themselves. Instead of simply listing the Jenn-Air this or Sub-Zero that, it’s more effective to first describe how a kitchen provides an ideal setting for gourmet cooks to create their show-stoppers—then detail the high-end appliances that make it so.

That’s a worthy insight, as was another that was also thought-provoking. It dealt with the primacy of “place” in real estate: the “Boca Raton” in “Boca Raton real estate.” It may be true that for many prospective buyers, the community has already been determined—in which case, competitive listings will have that in common.

But that needn’t diminish the power of describing how choosing this home will bestow all the advantages of living in Boca Raton—especially when the offering is in a community that has as much going for it as Boca Raton does. Potential buyers will be pleased to learn of their new home’s proximity to Boca Raton community features—the popular restaurants, parks, events, and other appealing attractions that may have drawn them here in the first place. Every Boca Raton...

Thoughtful Delray Beach Home Purchasers Check these Variables

Now that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, whether or not he proves to be right, the persistence of the Groundhog Day silliness does prove a point about seasonal weather: it matters. People have kept the tradition alive for centuries because the point at which our days turn from more- to less-dreary is keenly anticipated by just about everybody.  

It makes a point that future Delray Beach home purchasers sometimes overlook: how strongly seasonal changes may affect the properties they are evaluating. A house that shows beautifully on a sunny afternoon in springtime might be considerably less inviting when the weather turns stormy—particularly if there are hard-to-detect drainage issues.

It's one of a number of qualities first-time Delray Beach home purchasers may not think about, yet which they’ll be wise to keep in mind. These might best be called “variable” variables—transient qualities that impact a property’s livability. Notable among them:

Traffic. At ten o’clock in the morning, a house in town overlooking a fairly quiet corner can turn considerably less idyllic once the frenetic afternoon commute begins—and it could continue past sunset.

Light. A house with too little window coverage might not reveal that deficiency at high noon in July. But at this time of year, given the shortened duration of the daylight hours—depressing effects could be striking.

Noise. Sound pollution from a busy airport would be self-evident to any Delray Beach home purchaser—but the impact of a smaller nearby airfield might be less obvious. Especially if weekend flight patterns intensify overhead commotion, the result could be as unsettling as...

National Pet Culture Effect on Boynton Beach Home Sales

No sooner has Sunday’s Super Bowl brouhaha begun to fade from public attention than another mega-sporting event prepares its entrance. This one will draw less Supercharged ratings, but that doesn’t mean it won’t claim equally rapt attention in many Boynton Beach households. Next week will see the celebration of America’s beloved four-footed athletes: the Westminster Dog Show—since 1877, the pinnacle of American canine achievement (considerably more important than Sunday’s Puppy Bowl).

This year, the proceedings will expand to four days—the culmination of which will be next Tuesday’s Best in Show finale, televised from Madison Square Garden. You can bet that scads of Boynton Beach TVs will tune in to see which of the canine contestants (alongside their two-legged handlers) earn Top Dog honors. Many Boynton Beach dog show fanciers will be able to avoid the expensive outing to Manhattan by attending the proceedings from right here—streaming all the early stages, breed-by-breed, via https://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/tv-schedule/.

The growing national fascination (and infatuation) with canines has repercussions that touch upon Boynton Beach home sales. Last spring, Realtor Magazine focused on pets as “Real Estate Influencers”—noting that pet ownership is booming throughout the land to such an extent that now a full third of pet-owning clients will often (“or maybe very often”) refuse to make offers on homes that aren’t ideal for their four-legged friends.

The takeaway for Boynton Beach homeowners whose properties have pet-friendly attributes is not to be shy about promoting them. The numbers support that conclusion....

Last Week’s Boynton Beach Mortgage Rates Exceed Expectations

Boynton Beach’s home loan picture has presented buyers with rarely seen benefits for quite a while—but last week, the picture brightened even further. That isn’t to say that Boynton Beach mortgage rate quotes matched all-time lows—but they were coming pretty close.

Across the U.S., the numbers quieted even the most pessimistic observers. What it will mean as Boynton Beach enters the traditional peak home sales months is something we will have to wait to see. But if the likelihood for a surge in nationwide activity is any indicator, last week saw green lights flashing. A sampling of what was being hailed from virtually all quarters:

The Wall Street Journal: “Falling Rates Could Boost Mortgages Ahead of Spring Selling Season.”

MarketWatch: “This could be the ‘last affordable’ spring home-buying season for a while…”

CNBC Power Lunch: “The average 30-year fixed fell to 3.71%—almost a full percentage point lower than a year ago—and that sent current borrowers rushing to refi.”

FreddieMac.com: “The 30-year fixed-rate was the lowest in three years.”

Mortgage News Daily found the rate drop surprising—actually convention-defying. Rates “managed to move appreciably lower” despite Friday’s strong showing in the employment numbers. “Today’s big jobs report” should have led to higher mortgage rates. That it didn’t was an indication of “some more staying power” than industry experts usually expect.

The technical factors affecting home loan rates are difficult...

Why Today’s Boca Raton Homebuyers May Inspire Future Envy

As Boca Raton homebuyers arrive at their final choice, it’s impossible to ignore how greatly their decision will influence their future. Five, ten, twenty—or more— years from now, the purchase will likely have shaped a lot of what’s to come. Buying a home in Boca Raton at this point in time may be seen to have been a great move for the family. Or not. It’s a truism that puts most homebuyers in a thoughtful state of mind.

 A prime facet of what will come to be seen as a successful purchase is whether it will later be seen as a financially shrewd decision. On that score, today’s Boca Raton buyers have little to worry about—particularly if they will be financing with a typical 30-year home mortgage. Everyone knows that home loan interest rates are low right now—but the real impact of how that fact will actually play out is informative.

The average interest rate over the past half-century is 7.75%, according to Freddie Mac’s official records in http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html. By decade, that breaks down as—

1970s: 9.35%      1980s: 12.34%    1990s: 7.91%     2000s: 5.10%      2010s: 4.03%

For the average homebuyer during the past 50 years, that means a typical monthly payment for a $300,000 mortgage has been (principal and interest only) $2,149. Contrast that today’s buyer—when offered a 3.75% home loan, the monthly P&I will be only $1,389. Over the course of a 30-year loan, that’s a difference that works out to a savings of more than $273,600!

Back in the ‘80s,...

Maximizing Boynton Beach Home Sales with Steamy Features

The selling price that any Boynton Beach home brings depends on any number of factors, the most critical of which is most often how it stacks up alongside its neighborhood comparables. If its comps are in line, the property is virtually certain to attract interest. If overpriced, it’s likely to attract little interest; if bargain-priced, it’s sure to draw a crowd.

Studying the significance of the many other factors that contribute to how a home sale fares is a tricky business. Predicting what an “expected sale price” for any Boynton Beach home would be is a necessary starting point—yet that figure would have to depend on any number of factors, all of which combine to create how the house shows.

That being said, it’s still interesting to see what the researchers come up with when they cull through the hundreds of thousands of national home listings, looking for listing features that coincide with better-than-expected final sales prices. Zillow Research does this from time to time—most recently coming up with a “top 10” list that offers few surprises, except for one: that’s a “steam” thing.

The top ten listing features include “professional appliance” (meaning at least one quality  brand name appliance), “outdoor kitchen,” “prep sink,” “waterfall countertop,” “wine cellar,” and “heated floor.” It’s not surprising that the majority are features found in gourmet kitchens and well-designed bathrooms. One feature you might not predict is “Pot filler”: that’s the faucet located on the backsplash behind a range or cooktop. Pot fillers are relative newcomers in popularity. Non-kitchen features listed were “...

What Timeless Adage Applies to Selling Delray Beach Homes?

Last Tuesday night, as rickety Father Time welcomed in the infant New Year, an old saying was resurrected (as it is most years): “Everything old is new again.” It’s usually heard in relation to the temporary nature of fashions—like the width of neckties or the lengths of skirts. That has little to do with buying and selling Delray Beach homes, other than reaffirming the value of deep walk-in closets. If they’re roomy enough, temporarily out-of-style finery can await their next at-bat.

The nature of buying and selling Delray Beach homes differs from clothing purchases so greatly that it seems outlandish to think you can draw any useful conclusions by comparing the two. The size of a homebuying transaction and the complexity of the procedures that must be followed certainly point in that direction. Even so, in the broader context, there is more than a kernel of wisdom in the old saying. The national experience from the past two decades bears this out.

In the Year 2000 and for the first years following, the housing market showed all the signs of normalcy: where home values grew, the rise was slow and steady. But then, for a number of reasons only mildly related to the intrinsic value of homes, there developed a virtual stampede to “buy in” to avoid missing out on the widespread boom in U.S. housing values. Lax home loan oversight was a major culprit. Then came the puncture of the bubble—and an equally overdone plummet in market values. By the beginning of the second decade, market forces finally stabilized, allowing a bounce back, then today’s resumption of slow and steady value growth.

This is not to suggest that we will soon see another bubble, stampede, and the like—on the contrary, it will almost certainly be a long time before living memory has faded...

History of New Year’s Resolutions Hard to Find

Delray Beach New Year’s Eve partygoers will be taking part in one of the most ancient of human rites—one that dates back thousands of years. New Year’s resolutions probably started about the same time, but there aren’t any traces of them (not surprising, when you consider that all traces of most New Year’s resolutions disappear entirely before Groundhogs Day).

If one of your own resolutions is to become a more knowledgeable New Year’s Eve partygoer (or even just to be better prepared to break awkward silences), the following New Year’s historical facts could come in handy:

  • Ancient Babylonians hosted the first known New Year’s Eve parties (back around 2000 BC).
  • The Romans celebrated New Year’s Day on March 1.
  • Auld Lang Syne is Scottish for “times gone by.”
  • The Times Square ball drop features Waterford Crystal triangles that change every year (for 2020, the pattern is called “The Gift of Goodwill”).
  • The last place to celebrate the New Year is Baker Island (it’s in the South Pacific).

On the other hand, if you’re one of those Delray Beach New Year’s Eve partygoers whose New Year’s resolution is to be less of a know-it-all, keeping these New Year’s trivia to yourself could get you off to a better start.

In any case, on a much more serious note, this Wednesday marks the opening of a whole new decade—one that bears multiple signs of a decidedly prosperous future. If your year will include Delray Beach real estate dealings, I’ll be here to ensure they follow through...

2020 Predictions: Good News for Boynton Beach Home Sellers

 If the commentary from TheStreet.com is on-target, “housing and real estate experts” are largely in agreement about how real estate will fare in the coming year. If the local scene falls in line with their predictions, it will be a good year for Boynton Beach home sellers.

That’s not to say the prognosticators haven’t left themselves some wiggle room—a good idea since future events rarely completely conform to expectations. But the drift of TheStreet’s 12 top predictions does point in a direction that holds ample encouragement for Boynton Beach home sellers. High points:

  • There are many factors that point to a “more competitive” housing market. As fewer sellers list their properties, buyers will vie for what’s out there.
  • A “return of bidding wars” is possible. Redfin is the most optimistic, putting a figure to the result—with the first half of 2020 notching prices up 6% year-over-year. In the second six months, it expects supply and demand to halve that rate.
  • Mortgage rates are expected to “stabilize at the low end”—further encouraging buyers to strengthen offers.
  • In the event that a recession occurs, housing won’t be affected. Again, the low inventory picture is expected to shield sellers.
  • Overall, with demand exceeding supply and first-time buyers newly becoming “a very significant component” of the market, U.S. home values should rise.

These predictions do fall in line with trends already in place, so no raised eyebrows should result. Potential Boynton Beach home...