BOCA RATON

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...

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...

Are Huge Changes Sweeping the U.S. Housing Market?

The National Association of Realtors® is a sunny organization whose pronouncements can be relied upon to promote (you guessed it) real estate. Like any gigantic organization (we have more than a million dues-paying members), the NAR tends to be cautious in its public pronouncements. But in last Wednesday’s article about the course of residential real estate in 2020, Boca Raton readers would have found the kind of sweeping statement that makes people think twice. “Is that really so?” “If that’s true, what then?

The statement was this: the decade just past “has been the most consequential stretch in American real estate history…one that fundamentally altered the landscape.”

Quite a pronouncement.

There followed a quick summary of the decade just past, making a convincing case that so much has changed that it might as well be part of “a different landscape.” Ten years ago, “many homeowners were desperately hoping to hang onto their homes” and, “buyers were struggling with newly skittish lenders.” The turnaround in those crucial elements is undeniable, yes, but reversals in conditions happen regularly. What makes this decade’s about-face “the most consequential” ever?

Their answer boils down to the scope of the recovery combined with a dearth of entry-level housing starts. The recovery has meant a sustained, robust rebound in existing house values, but unaccompanied by the resurgence of entry-level builders who were stricken from the scene. Even as price rises are finally leveling out, the starter house inventory remains strikingly sparse.

This is happening as major demographic changes...

Boca Raton Home Sellers Get Unlikely Staging Input

It’s fair to say that Walmart—the iconic American superstore—isn’t the first place most Boca Raton area home sellers are likely to think of when it comes to staging their property. After all, Walmart is most famous for “everyday low prices” (advertising code for ‘cheap!’). That’s quite a contrast with your house—the most costly purchase most people ever make.

So it was something of a head-turner when realtor.com, web home of the National Association of Realtors®, published an informative piece under the heading, “5 Home Staging Essentials You Can Find at Walmart.” Especially when you think about staging million-dollar Boca Raton estates, the Walmart connection seems like a stretch—much less a “home staging essential.”

That headline does make for some irresistible reading, though—and although Boca Raton staging professionals might debate some of the “essentials,” the list is worth quoting:

  • Fluffy white hand towels. No argument—as long as the fluffiness is (as described) “soft.”
  •  Round accent mirrors. They can be “a stylish accent” as described—but that depends on the quality of the frame (the one pictured fits the bill).
  • Fake green plants. Not a bad idea for corners where the real thing wouldn’t thrive. The examples pictured shows “the greenery” in nice-looking vases.
  • Flameless candles. In many settings, this could be debatable. Because they attract attention, such “safe LED candles” risk unnecessarily communicating “fake”...

Nobelist’s New Idea Could Bear on Boca Raton Real Estate

Gaining insight into today’s Boca Raton real estate market doesn’t usually call for Nobel Prize-level theoretical input, but you can make a pretty good argument that last week provided an exception. For those of us who are relied upon to provide knowledgeable insight into the myriad forces that can move our market, an intriguing interview in Yale University’s YaleNews roundup could go far in explaining one nagging question.

The Nobel Prize connection is with the interviewee: Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller. His Case-Shiller Indexes are the undisputed go-to economic measures of home price fluctuations. Dr. Shiller just published “Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events,” a book that delves into a novel explanation for why markets and pricing so often seem impervious to scientific analysis. If you’ve ever come away with more questions than answers after listening to academics discussing future conditions, you know what I mean.

Professor Shiller’s book is a plea for more study of “the epidemics of popular narratives,” which he believes have a strong influence on how economies and markets behave. For him, “popular narratives” aren’t the kind that are based on economic data. They are “simple stories, true and untrue” that underlie regular people’s thinking. Although these are often based on oversimplifications, they can be contagious—and sometimes lead to illogical conclusions that send markets in irrational directions.

He thinks they explain things like why people tend to believe that the stock market measures the health of the economy, or why they spend more money during booms than in busts. That’s hardly a rational strategy, as those who bought Boca Raton real estate during the...

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....

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...

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...

Selling Your Boca Raton House: “Myths” or Assumptions?

Oftentimes those lists naysaying common “myths” about selling a house are actually addressing assumptions. If “myths” are stories handed down through the generations, “selling your house” is an unlikely topic to be part of family lore. Myths about selling your Boca Raton house are usually more like logical assumptions that many sellers make on their own, rather than information they’ve heard from someone else.

So here is a “Top 3” list of questionable assumptions sellers sometimes make about selling their Boca Raton house:

  1. Homebuyers want to remodel after they purchase a home. Many people think that the average buyer “wants to make it their own” by wreaking wholesale changes to reflect their personal tastes. In fact, this assumption is contradicted by what is far more common: most buyers are attracted by properties that are “move-in ready.”
  2. Remodeling will take so much time it will be impractical. Updating tired details in key rooms (kitchens and bathrooms are typical) can be accomplished speedily when the scope is narrow. In some instances, concentrating on details like light fixtures, faucets, and kitchen and bath hardware design—can wind up reducing the time on market. 
  3. Remodeling never pays off. This budgetary assumption actually could be close to a myth because it is often discussed. But it’s only true when indiscriminate remodeling is undertaken. Small upgrades that focus on areas that buyers center on can definitely result in a higher selling price. This is where outdated kitchens or bathrooms warrant thoughtful consideration.

Every Boca Raton house deserves to be recognized as offering its own unique selling...

Top 6 Garage Sale Tips before You Sell Your Boca Raton Home

As soon as you begin to plan to sell your Boca Raton home, you’ll soon find one thing everyone agrees upon: the need to de-clutter. But where to start? For any home that’s been lived in for years, it’s easier said than done. Most of us shrink from even thinking about what goes and what stays. But one way to wade into the project is to force the issue by picking a date and (now that you’re committed)—holding a garage (AKA ‘yard’) sale!

For garage sale neophytes, there are a number of tips that veterans agree upon. Here are six that top most lists:

  • Inventory as if you are serious. That means making a list of each of the major items you will be offering, then placing a price tag on each. A very general rule of thumb is to price most at 25% of what you may have paid for items that are in “like new” condition—but that is only a guideline.
  • Tables—beg, borrow, or steal as many folding tables as possible (maybe the stealing isn’t such a good idea). But most people don’t like to keep bending over to inspect items—and experts say they don’t value them as highly, either.
  • Advertise. Use any local Boca Raton free media, social media, and, beginning a week in advance, put up strategically placed, easy-to-read announcement posters. Don’t forget to include the date, day, and hours (4 to 6 hours will be sufficient).
  • Set up at least a half-hour before the sale begins. The most serious customers are likely to be “first in.”
  • Get small change: lots of it. If you will be offering a number of pricey items, it could be worthwhile to invest in one of the many mobile gizmos that allow you to...