BOCA RATON

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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 of whether...

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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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...

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...

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 he described...

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 know that...