BOCA RATON

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 into action remains to be seen, as is the longevity of the phenomenon—although most commentators...

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...

Wit and Wisdom that Harmonizes with Boca Raton Real Estate

If you’re a frequent visitor here, it will come as no surprise that those of us whose days are devoted to the Boca Raton real estate industry aren’t shy about championing the virtues of homeownership. We’re aided by more than a century’s worth of wit and wisdom directed to the merits of owning the place where you live.

America’s two most storied humorists contributed to the collection. There is Mark Twain’s “Buy land—they’re not making it anymore” and Will Rogers’ “Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.” Then there is Anthony Trollop, the classic English novelist’s wry “Land is about the only thing that can’t fly away.”

You can credit other real estate witticisms to more modern celebrities—like “The best time to buy a home is always five years ago.” (The late jazz great Ray Brown gets credit for that one).

The real estate-promoting commonplaces don’t just come from writers and entertainers, either. Take President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Real estate can’t be lost or stolen…managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” Abraham Lincoln could have been the nation’s first sub-divider with his “I am in favor of cutting up the wild lands into parcels, so that every poor man may have a home.”

 Today’s Boca Raton real estate may be a far cry from Honest Abe’s “wild lands”—but the insight from America’s first billionaire, J. Paul Getty, is as apt today as it was when...

What “Extra Step” will Help Sell Your Boca Raton House?To

Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell your Boca Raton house, you will have looked over the listings of neighboring properties and taken all the necessary steps to see that your own home stacks up well beside them. Before you go on the market, there’s one extra step that can make a sizeable difference in what happens next.

Now, if you have already recruited an experienced Boca Raton agent, this next step won’t be necessary. But if you are still in the pre-consultation stage, having already brightened and lightened and de-cluttered, etc., here’s the immediate extra step that will serve you well:

Don’t even think about anything connected with your plans to sell the house for a few days. Do anything else. Disconnect from real estate entirely. In other words, try to take a clean break from everything connected with selling your house.

Then, reenergized and with an open mind, imagine you are one of the house hunters who will soon be crossing your threshold as actual prospects will be doing before long. Pretend you have just come from another house showing. You may have set up another appointment, too, so you won’t dawdle (but don’t rush, either—give it, say, 20 minutes).

And put yourself in a slightly skeptical frame of mind. Assume a slightly critical mindset; many prospective buyers will be suspicious of the possibility of hidden flaws. It’s why minor blemishes can generate undue concern. These are the “hidden dissuaders.”

  • The object of this pretend showing is to identify such blemishes. You may...

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 architectural...

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 luck....

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:...

For Boca Raton Homeowners, Clarifying PMI-MPI Confusion

Checking out an online piece dealing with some technical adjustments having to do with mortgage insurance the other day, I came across an indisputable statement:


“Many homeowners are confused about the difference between PMI (private mortgage insurance) and mortgage protection insurance (MPI).”

 

That, if anything, is a considerable understatement—especially because Boca Raton homeowners can sometimes find “mortgage protection insurance” abbreviated as well. If your professional duties include distinguishing the finer points of Boca Raton mortgages for your clients, you are unlikely to confuse “PMI” with “MPI.” But for the rest of humanity, that’s not necessarily the case. Since the difference is substantive, here’s a 30-second primer:

PMI is Private Mortgage Insurance. It’s designed to protect the lender rather than the homeowner. If Boca Raton homeowners run into trouble—for instance, if they were to lose their job—the PMI coverage will reimburse the lender for any shortfalls. PMI coverage is usually required when Boca Raton homeowners pay less than 20% of a property’s sale price as the down payment. When the loan-to-value of the mortgage reaches 78%, these policies can usually be canceled (sometimes that’s done automatically).

MPI is Mortgage Protection Insurance—a very different animal. This protects the Boca Raton homeowners, covering missed mortgage payments for designated periods of time under specific circumstances. Unlike PMI, this insurance is strictly voluntary on the homeowner’s part. MPI policies...

Will Tomorrow’s Boca Raton Real Estate Be Much Like Today’s?

No one needs convincing to agree how much buying and selling Boca Raton real estate has changed since we entered the 21st century. Not only can you review homes for sale whenever you wish but you can also use Boca Raton real estate sites like this one to compare properties by all sorts of metrics.

This consumer-friendly advance was actually foreseeable in 1999. It was the subject of plenty of forward-looking commentaries. So it’s not hard to imagine that the glimpses into real estate’s future that Forbes’ panel of experts came up with last week could actually come to pass. The published piece promised “Six Ways Tech Could Change the Real Estate Process,” but the six panelists saw similar advances. The progress came in three areas:

  1. Artificial Intelligence will help agents instantaneously adjust documentation to conform to legal requirements. Florida and Boca Raton laws are in fact subject to change—so I am definitely in favor of this one!
  2. Remote Transactions will become even more thoroughly supported so that searching, viewing, purchasing and even closings will be able to be conducted remotely. A second expert described essentially the same advance as “Time and Distance Removal.”
  3. Disintermediation. This six-dollar word entered the vocabulary when people started talking about the “Bitcoin” and “blockchain” phenomena. The word means dispensing with unnecessary processes in a transaction—and in Boca Raton real estate, that could apply to aspects of title insurance and home loan generation. I’m pleased to note...

Unexpected Boca Raton Home Repairs? Expect ‘Em!

As Thanksgiving rolls around again and our Boca Raton houses fill with visiting relatives and friends, it’s hard to repress an occasional thought like, “Gee, I hope the water heater holds up” or “Boy, this would NOT be the time for the range to give out!” But it’s true that if there’s one thing first time homeowners can learn from their more experienced Boca Raton neighbors, it’s to expect the unexpected—at least when it comes to home repairs. That isn’t to say that some wallet-draining breakdown is certain to happen a month or two after moving in—but the odds are close to 50-50 that something could need attention within the first year or so.

That was just one of the major takeaways for Boca Raton readers of last week’s NerdWallet 2018 Home Improvement Report. Among Americans who have ever purchased a home, a whopping 44% say they experienced some unexpected home repair within the first year of ownership. And 48% reported having experienced at least some level of anxiety due to unexpected home repair costs.

Fortunately, Realtor Magazine issued some follow-up research that should quell at least some of that anxiety over unexpected Boca Raton home repairs. Among 113,000,000 “high-dollar” projects, the average cost was only $1,350. The NerdWallet report furnished an explanation for this less-than-budget-breaking bottom line: the growing popularity of do-it-yourself solutions. They ascribed the phenomenon to the growing popularity of DIY TV programs coupled with the ready availability of online “how-to” videos....