South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

Some Expenses Aren’t Really Avoided by Boca Raton Renters

 That “things break down” is a truism as old as mankind—possibly preceding the invention of language itself. You can picture a furious caveman staring at the shattered remains of the wheel he’d just invented—after the first time it broke. Sooner or later, “things fall apart.”

When area residents mull over their personal living arrangement decisions, one of the logical financial arguments for renting Boca Raton homes rather than buying is the added cost of maintenance. Boca Raton renters reason that they don’t have to worry about saving up for a rainy day (as when the garbage disposal clunks out). For renters, it’s someone else’s problem (that is, the landlord’s)—as well as his or her expense. True enough.

But looking at the wider picture, you see that the universal ‘no free lunch’ rule applies. The landlord doesn’t really pay for the new garbage disposal except in the short run. Built into every rental agreement is a monthly charge into which the maintenance expense for the home or apartment unit has already been included. The average rates that residences experience breakdowns or require normal maintenance are well known—and the monthly pro-rated amounts have been reckoned and included.

It’s true that the inconvenience (and sometimes, shock!) of having to pay for sudden appliance breakdowns is largely avoided by Boca Raton renters, who may put a great deal of value on that advantage. But Boca Raton homeowners have more than one way to minimize the financial distress of inevitable breakdowns. They can either put something away in a rainy day account for that purpose only, or they can sign up for any of a number of home service plans.

The decision...

Buying Delray Beach Homes: a Smart 7-Step Progression

 Buying Delray Beach homes takes some degree of organization no matter what. Especially when time is a screaming imperative, it can make or break whether you land a home that’s right—or one you ultimately determine isn’t adequate over the long haul. Whether the time pressure is due to a sudden job transfer, family emergency, or the unexpectedly rapid sale of an existing Delray Beach residence (that can happen when I’m your selling agent!). Finding your next home in a hurry calls for no-nonsense organization.

The precise path to your house-hunting success is bound to include some unexpected elements, but having a step-by-step plan in mind will provide a useful template:

  1. Get pre-approved. This comes first, rather than determining how much you can (or want to) afford because it will reveal the lending world’s opinion, which—if you are other than an all-cash buyer—will preclude wasting time chasing just-out-of-reach properties.
  2. Set your budget. This may not be all you can borrow: it should be what you can comfortably afford.
  3. Hunt online. This is where today’s shoppers can cut to the chase way more efficiently than previous generations.
  4. Find a real estate agent who is highly experienced in the Delray Beach market (highly recommended: me!).
  5. Tour a variety of candidate properties. Your agent will manage this process to save time. Don’t be afraid to visit open houses if they pop up (but be sure to tell the showing agent you are represented).
  6. ...

Boynton Beach “For Sale” Signs Really Do Pack a Whallop!

Every now and then we have to shake our heads at how much the electronic transformation has changed daily living in Boynton Beach. Electronics have invaded practically everything—from home wifi to ultra hi-def TV to cell phones that double as search engines.

As you read this, you’re only a couple of clicks away from being able to summon up all the current Boynton Beach homes for sale that fit your chosen criteria. Want to check out 3-bedroom single family residences currently listed for $400,000 or less? Click click: here they are—complete with pictures (and perhaps a video tour). It’s a revolution that’s still ongoing, too—one bound to produce surprises we haven’t even imagined.

Yet, despite the sweeping changes in Boynton Beach real estate marketing, there is one old standby...

Boca Raton Lender Pre-approvals Make Sellers Comfortable

 The idea of gaining a lender’s pre-approval is one of Boca Raton house financing’s “no downside” ideas—it can only help. Can’t hurt. Theoretically, even if you belong in the upper reaches of the upper crust, having a bank pre-approval in your hip pocket couldn’t be a mistake.

For instance, suppose you happen to run across one of Boca Raton’s all-time dream homes, for sale at a reasonable asking price. You will be able to offer all cash for it (folks like you upper-crusters can do that); but a competing offer had just been received, and the owner is reaching for the “Closed” sign. If you are able to whip out the pre-approval sheet on the spot, it might be enough to make the seller pause because there’s no need to do further research into your substantiality. Even though you don’t need the bank, its pre-approval can only help.

When you team up with an experienced Boca Raton Realtor® (I’m one of those), being able to mention your pre-approval is always a positive that makes sellers that much more eager to present their properties at your convenience. You can bet that it also makes your interest something the seller will court.

When a to-die-for Boca Raton home comes on the market at a competitive price (and there are some of those in this market), it’s bound to draw a crowd. Having a pre-approval in hand is almost the very definition of “qualified buyer.” Why not be one of those?

I’m here to help you find and make the kind of deal you want to tell friends and family about—one that engenders bragging rights. Call me!

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How Prospects are able to Buy a Home in Delray Beach and numbers are growing

 If you find yourself suddenly revisiting the idea of buying a home in Delray Beach, it won’t surprise you that you’re not alone. Lately, it’s seemed as if the stars are continuing to align to draw more and more people—first timers as well as those who are already Delray Beach homeowners—to make that decision. Last week ended with yet another inducement to point people in that direction.

The impetus didn’t arise from any local Delray Beach real estate event—although the traditional residential real estate busy season always helps spur activity. It came with an unexpected stock market rally that was universally attributed to an increase in the odds that the Federal Reserve was all but certain not just to hold interest rates steady—but to actually lower them further. The reason for the relative certainty came from a multiplicity of other market factors that pointed at a slightly negative market outlook. In the reverse tides of the financial world, that bad news is good when it’s likely to force the Fed to ease the cost of borrowing. As MarketWatch celebrated, “Get out the scissors—Barclays forecasts a half-point rate cut in July.”

Of all the factors that make buying a home in Delray Beach a tempting proposition, the back-of-the-envelope arithmetic that yields a monthly mortgage number that fits House A or House B inside the household budget is the most persuasive. When last week ended with all hands indicating that mortgage interest rates are poised to do just that, it provided a new reason to revisit this season’s Delray Beach listings. Some homes that had seemed beyond reach might soon be doable—it certainly seems worth another look. For Delray Beach...

Utility Bill Budgetary Information

It’s around this time of year that the bottom line on Boynton Beach utility bills tends to begin to grow larger once again. Power and water consumption can’t help but rise as we bid farewell to Boynton Beach’s mild springtime conditions. Gardens and lawns get thirsty now that the days are growing longer, and once deep summer heatwaves develop, household utility bills report what happens when air conditioners and sprinklers are called into action.

For Boynton Beach householders who’d prefer avoiding a budgetary shock when they open utility bills this July and August, it’s good to recall that some of the most effective expense-cutting activities are also the most straightforward. They are so simple and so obvious, that, paradoxically enough, they’re easy to overlook (at least that’s what the USEIA tells us). Here are some of the most effective cost-trimming actions—they also benefit the environment:

Energy:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs  
  • Shut down computers
  • Use power-miser power strips
  • Turn off the lights!!!
  • Use cold water (80°) in the laundry (except for synthetics and for sanitizing)
  • Eliminate “vampire” power (unplug idle electronics)
  • Run the washers (dish- and clothes-) only when fully loaded

Water:

  • Water outside only when the...

Rate Surprise Could Energize Boca Raton Real Estate

On Friday, Boca Raton’s real estate outlook ended the busy month with a genuine surprise—one that could well augur an extension of Boca Raton real estate’s traditional peak selling season. The news was significant enough to move from financial sections to front pages and bottom-of-the-screen crawls on cable channels. Atop the Mortgage News Daily broke the story:

“Mortgage Rates Drop Well into the High 3’s”

 Even local residents who rarely pay attention to the nuts and bolts of Boca Raton real estate matters would likely have done a double-take at the “3’s” in that news flash. The “low home loan interest rate” phenomenon has been old news for quite a while, but those historically low rates have hovered in the 4’s since 2017. Since even tiny changes in mortgage rates translate into big savings for home buyers (so, too, for sellers), breaking back down into “3” territory could prompt a change of plan for both groups.

MND’s announcement that “Mortgage rates were decisively lower” was corroborated by reports that in some regions the most credit-worthy applicants were “now easily seeing quotes of 3.875%.” Another article pointed out that the dip constituted the lowest level in 16 months, while another described a wider improved real estate outlook “as we enter a low-interest rate environment.”

Since most Boca Raton real estate observers would have thought we were already in such an environment, the further movement was both truly unexpected and definitely welcome. Whether or not it will nudge fence-sitters...

Are Delray Beach Home Sales Part of a “Facebook Effect”?

experienced the kind of growth that’s been typical over the past couple of years, your Facebook friends will be more likely to buy a home themselves. Improbable as it sounds, Dr. Johannes Stroebel says that his research shows this as a measurable probability because “friends’ experiences…influence personal behavior” when it comes to their housing decisions.

The results of Dr. Stroebel’s study emerged from a panel discussion held this month. The conversation took place in Washington, DC, as part of the annual Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Most of the headlines from that gathering centered around the midyear forecast by NAR Chief Economist L. Yun. He sounded the kind of optimistic note that will be music to local homeowners—particularly if they are planning to sell their own Delray Beach house anytime soon. After several years of wage growth that exceeds home price growth, the two are now aligning more rapidly than heretofore. The bottom line is that “home sales should be much stronger.” The continuation of low mortgage interest rates adds to that probability.

NAR optimism aside, the announced Facebook effect prompted further discussion. It was shown that renters whose Facebook friends experienced a 5% growth in their house prices over the past two years have a 3% greater chance of buying their own home within the next two years. The effect is more pronounced in “socially-connected counties,” where positive experiences “were even shown to increase the size of a home” that was purchased.

Whether or not you believe yourself to be sufficiently “socially connected,”...

Boynton Beach Home-Selling Checklist for a Rainy Day

When you are getting ready to sell your house, there’s nothing like a sunny day to spur you into last-minute readying. The final curb appeal-enhancing projects, springtime yard and landscaping spiffing-up activities, window cleaning and the like are readily dispatched when the weather is balmy.

 But when it’s dreary outside (it does happen in Boynton Beach, unfortunately), there is at least one home selling activity that doesn’t call for fair weather. In fact, it doesn’t call for anything else either, save for a pen and paper (or the computer equivalent) and access to the household records. It’s a necessary part of any Boynton Beach home-selling, too—something that’s best dispensed with before moving day.

The rainy-day activity in question is Contact Sheet Preparation. When finished, it will comprise an invaluable resource to be presented to your home’s new owners—one that will be greatly appreciated by them. Depending on how much detail is included, its creation can occupy most of a rain-soaked afternoon.

At a minimum, the contact sheet should include:

  • Boynton Beach Community Emergency Phone numbers
  • Utility Companies
  • Household resource providers (plumbers, electricians, septic service, chimney sweeps, etc.)   

The most detailed contact sheets also can include “Once in a Blue Moon” details, which identify long-ago resources like the guy who fixed the garden shed lock or the company that web address for the company that supplies the extra garage door...

Your Boca Raton Real Estate Planning Can Pay Off Immediately!

Any Boca Raton home sale, like everything else, tends to go better when preparation has been carefully thought out—and then acted upon. For homeowners who suspect that they will be selling sooner or later, there are some planning steps that can be taken long ahead of time.

Some Boca Raton real estate planning is the long-range variety. The first thing the canniest new homeowners do is to take a look at the property with an eye to improving its landscape design, and plant trees. Even if they take a decade to mature, that’s an action that can pay huge dividends later.

There are other real estate planning actions that don’t take years to start bearing dividends. Take the example of household utilities. The issue here is the bills that begin to appear in the mailbox (or computer’s In-box) within a month of moving in. What might seem to be a background irritant at first may rear its ugly head with greater impact later, when a sale is impending. Particularly if and when energy prices escalate—a not-unlikely possibility.

Any Boca Raton real estate plan takes buyers’ concerns into account—and today, many prospective buyers are mindful of the real impact operating costs have on a family budget. They ask to see a year’s worth of utility bills before making an offer. Since those bills are a matter of record, it’s not an unreasonable request. But if the energy and water expenses are sky-high, they are bound to reflect in the size of the offer. If they’re off-putting enough, they can even result in the worst offer: none at all!

The takeaway is simple but important. Where utilities are concerned, the best real estate planning is to minimize the...