DELRAY BEACH

One “Delray Beach Land for Sale” Detail That’s Make-or-Break

It might be the ultimate real estate daydream: finding a choice parcel of Delray Beach land for sale, figuring out the best way your house should be cited upon it—and ultimately building your own home on it. Whether it’s constructed to your own custom-specified floor plan or using a more budget-minded approach, finding the right piece of land comes first. If it’s priced within your budget, that’s all to the good—but before you write the check, no matter how appealing it might be, there could be one detail that might spoil the daydream.

It falls under the heading of the “perc.” It’s not about brewing the cup of coffee you envision enjoying as you take in the morning view through your kitchen window-to-be. It won’t be an issue if the parcel of Delray Beach land for sale is located where it can be served by our local sewer system. In that case, you and your contractor will choose a site for the house that will afford a trouble-free hookup. Perc is not involved.

But if the parcel is more remote, in order to build on it you must demonstrate how well it will support a septic system. To get a permit, the proposed septic area must pass a percolation test. And, as the saying goes, “no perc, no house.”

The test measures the drainage characteristics of the soil usually expressed in minutes per inch of drop-off. In general, sand and gravel drain the best, while high clay content or solid rock drain poorly. Most soils are a mixture—and individual site characteristics vary not only in soil composition but also by the depth of the water table, the steepness of the incline, its distance from open water, as well as a variety of other...

8 Tips for Selling Delray Beach Homes Despite a “Size Issue”

When you decide to sell your home for the maximum return, it’s important that you recognize all of its selling points: both the positive and negative. I can help with that, but as a starting point, if your Delray Beach house is a bit on the smallish side, you probably already know it. There is a good chance it’s one reason you’ve decided to move on.

The good news is that once you recognize that your Delray Beach home’s other fine points might be overpowered by the relative lack of spaciousness, there are measures you can take to downplay that drawback. The most important actions are those recommended for every Delray Beach home for sale, large or tiny:

  • Do away with excess furniture  
  • Add light everywhere you can

To minimize any “cramped” feeling:

  • Ditch the drapes (especially the heavy ones)
  •  Do away with the tchotchkes
  • Go with solids instead of prints in everything from wallpaper to artwork. In fact—
  • Lose the artwork
  • Consider removing interior doors where they chop up the home’s “flow”
  • Minimize your color palette—experts even suggest a single color everywhere!

Selling your slightly undersized Delray Beach home for the best price will involve putting its outstanding features front-and-center—but that will only be possible if the magnitude...

For Delray Beach Real Estate, Friday’s Quadrupled-Barreled News

Last week ended with a quadruple-barreled blast of good news that bolstered prospects for Delray Beach real estate—an effect magnified by how unexpected all had been.

When times are good, Delray Beach real estate can’t help but benefit. That may seem to be so obvious that it doesn’t even need to be said, but a close cousin is arguably even more important: When people feel times are good, Delray Beach real estate benefits.

Friday’s positives were magnified by the contrast with what had been reported in earlier days. Although the holiday-shortened week had seen evidence of strong holiday sales, that was dampened by a grab-bag of alarming developments: government shutdown; China trade standoff; Apple sales losses... This meant that Friday’s raft of unexpected good news made for commentators who were, by day’s end, all but giddy.

First came reports of shockingly good U.S. economic performance. Wages in December “surged” (the Wall Street Journal). The annual wage gain of 3.2% “matched the fastest pace since 2009” (Bloomberg)—a trend that was accelerating (3.5% in December).

That wasn’t all. Not only were wages rising—jobs were, too. Employers had “shattered forecasts” (MarketWatch) by adding 140,000 more jobs than had been predicted. It “underlined that the American economy remains strong despite market turbulence” (CNN Business). Even an incremental rise in the jobless rate was greeted as welcome news—it meant that more workers were actively seeking work. Discouraged by bleak prospects, they’d been sitting on the sidelines for years.

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One Word Keeps Cropping Up about Selling Delray Beach Homes

The word is “clutter.” It keeps cropping up whenever a Realtor is asked for advice about selling Delray Beach homes.

The clutter factor might not seem to be so overpoweringly important. After all, a housekeeping crew can scour and shine most homes in a day or two–and that would seem to outrank the clutter component by a mile. So why all the fuss about clutter?

I believe the reasons are many. Of course, selling any Delray Beach home requires it to be at least freshly cleaned (best if immaculately so)—but everyone accepts that without a second thought. Clutter is another matter. It goes to what’s meant by the term.

After a home has been prepared in every other way, de-cluttering action means ruthlessly removing just about everything that tends to attract attention, fill the space, or otherwise distract the eye of the beholder.

In the living room, that means gathering up all the books and newspapers and removing them from the scene. It means doing away with the ashtrays, paperweights, and coasters. It means losing the magazine rack by the fireplace and pruning the number of throw pillows that usually populate the big sofa. It means dispensing with unnecessary throw rugs and any hall wall hangings that make narrow hallways more claustrophobic. Importantly, it means removing all the photos and memorabilia that make your house a home—because they make it your home when you want it to become their home. 

The same goes for the kitchen, where it means gathering up all the paraphernalia that’s needed to fix a breakfast or throw lunch together. Salt and pepper...

Now is Perfect Time for Which Home Improvement Projects?

 U.S. News and World Report may not be the primary source most homeowners turn to for Delray Beach real estate news flashes, but this month they have brought up some relevant insights regarding home improvement projects.

A week or so before Thanksgiving Day, they published an opinion piece urging homeowners to get off the sofa and “set yourself up for success” for coming home improvement initiatives. They pointed out that timing those projects can be tricky—not just because of weather considerations, but also because hiring professionals can be more difficult during certain times of the year.

I might add that planning in advance gives our local tradespeople the kind of notice they greatly appreciate. U.S.News listed their ideas on the best time of year for a dozen home improvement projects—and these four called for winter starts:  

  1. Interior paint: Winter (low humidity helps paint dry evenly, so Delray Beach’s drier winter air is a plus).
  2. Electrical updates: Winter (avoid the crush of competing Delray Beach homeowners).
  3. Building a deck: Winter (!!) (deck builders say pressure-treated wood stabilizes best when humidity is low—and cloudier winter skies help avoid early cracking that blistering direct sunshine can cause).
  4. Full-room remodel: Winter (since updating any room can take place at any time of the year, avoiding jam-packed summer months can mean avoiding higher labor costs).
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Unusual Lottery Story has a Real Estate Theme

A $180 Million Lotto Winner’s Massive Mountain Estate” was the headline in the Wall Street Journal’s “Real Estate” section. The photo above the headline really did look to be many millions of dollars’ worth of breathtaking. The panorama behind the stone-and-brick estate, perched on a California mountainside, provided an unobstructed 180-degree view of the valley far below. The lush landscaping around the mansion’s acreage was the very definition of “pristine” (literally, since the forest of trees was definitely newly-planted, lottery-winner style).

The surprise for Delray Beach readers is that the article was not another expected retelling about a big lottery winner who lost it all. The former roofing company employee and Mega Millions winner was not, in fact, wallowing in debt and crushed relationships. In fact, the story was about accomplishing the kind of real estate coup that usually plays out only in daydreams.  

Rick Knudsen used to look up from the front porch of his 4-bedroom home to view the progress of an enormous house being constructed on the side of distant Little San Gorgonio mountain. Then he bought the lottery ticket, won, retired, and plunked down $5.5 million for the not-yet-completed mansion. Then, “just bam bam bam…within three months, I owned it all,” he says, recounting how he added an adjoining 155-acre buffalo ranch and its accompanying steakhouse and saloon; then (why not?) another 640-acre parcel. And a home for each of his 5 kids.

The best part of this lottery/real estate story lies...

The Delicate Art of Considerate Delray Beach Rent Increases

 Inflation has been barely noticeable for quite a while, but as Delray Beach shoppers have begun to notice how it’s been creeping up lately. For Delray Beach landlords, that triggers a subject that directly impacts the profitability of their real estate investment.

Managing rent increases properly—and communicating them in a manner calculated to preserve your tenants’ goodwill—is a subject estate author Kevin Ortner writes about in Realtor Magazine. A few of his insights:

  • Raise rents on a regular schedule—usually, this will come at each lease renewal period (or when the agreement specifies)—but for month-to-month situations, once a year is recommended. Small increments on an annual basis are more predictable (and agreeable) than “catch up” raises scheduled less frequently.
  • Be competitive. The “sweet spot” you are looking for is the best price you can get for your rental—which is also actually “how much tenants are willing to pay.” That’s subject to compliance with Florida and local laws in accordance with the terms of your lease. Research by starting with a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual calculation of Shelter Cost Changes—most recently, 3.4% at the end of August. The national trends are good to know but are not as significant as the more important data: the rates similar Delray Beach rentals are currently advertising.
  • Give extra notice. You’re required to abide by the law and your lease, but when you give tenants more time, it makes any raise less burdensome. If the raise is competitive, tenants will have ample time to shop around and see that it’s reasonable.
  • Work to ...