DELRAY BEACH

How Prospects for Buying a Home in Delray Beach Just Grew

 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 home sellers, too, when more buyers are newly able to afford a given price point, the effect can be electric...

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...

Future Points to Delray Beach Mortgage Rate Stability

When you are planning to sell your Delray Beach home, the latest interest rate gyrations can become a worrisome element in your planning. Last week’s news should provide a measure of anxiety relief.

Back a year or two ago, when almost all the credible financial voices were united in predicting that Delray Beach’s historically low mortgage interest rates would soon be moving back up into more familiar territory, the effect was to prod buyers to get busy. Delray Beach sellers took note, as well.

Everybody knew that the imminent rate rises could make all the difference between a doable monthly mortgage payment and a budget-breaker. Frequently cited were examples like the one pointing out the difference that a single point could make on a typical $350,000 mortgage payment: more than $200 a month. There was extra pressure on some home loan applicants whose incomes were deemed sufficient at the original rate: they might be declined if rates rose.

As is now amply evident, those interest rate worries turned out to have been surprisingly wide of the mark—or at least severely premature. Last week’s news provided renewed reason for Delray Beach home buyers and sellers to put aside their mortgage rate anxieties for the moment. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve reinforced their decision to hold the benchmark interest rate steady at the previously stated target range of 2.25% to 2.5%—which translates into a continuation of today’s temptingly low Delray Beach mortgage rates.

For Delray Beach mortgage rate watchers who remember that the March announcement included worries about a slowing economy, Wednesday’s pronouncement that economic activity...

Add This to the Reasons to Own Your Delray Beach Home

Lately, the common sense advantages to homeownership have been joined by a newcomer—one that doesn’t immediately leap to mind. It comes at an interesting time, as more and more of the national discourse focuses on healthcare issues.

The newest reason why owning your own Delray Beach home should have a high priority? Why it’s for your health!

That might sound like a bit of a reach if the only source behind it was the National Association of Realtors®. They do in fact point to recent studies that find homeowners “generally happier and healthier than non-owners.” Doubters inclined to question the validity of such a generalization might be reassured by the fact that the health outcome findings held up after being “controlled for factors such as income and education levels.”

It turns out that real estate industry promoters aren’t alone in finding a good health connection with owning your own home. In connection with World Health Day, the Habitat for Humanity group put together a “Health and Homeownership” paper. It linked one common sense phenomenon—the better condition of owned homes with those of rented homes—with health outcomes “including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health.” All in all, they felt confident in reporting “better health outcomes for homeowners.”

I’m standing by to offer healthy measures of help and advice for all your Delray Beach real estate dealings. Just call!       

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Delray Beach New Home Market Shake-up on the Horizon?

 When it comes to industries, you’d have to place Delray Beach real estate into the “stolid” category. The rules are set and agreed-upon. Everything having to do with real estate is entirely “real”—the opposite of “imaginary.” Certainly not frivolous, fleeting, or mercurial.

Major changes don’t come about often or quickly. It is true that one facet of the way real estate business is conducted has undergone a noticeable change due to the web. But that is actually only a shift in how clients find and qualify properties they might be interested in. They still overwhelmingly rely on real estate professionals to take responsibility for the consequential details of buying and selling.

But wait!

A new technology suddenly presents the possibility of making a substantial difference when it comes to new homes—one that might come to pass pretty quickly. It promises to shave as much as 30% off the total cost of constructing new Delray Beach homes. If and when that gets real, it’s hard not to envision widespread repercussions .

The technology involved is 3-D printing—up until now, a technology that has been confined to a ‘gee whiz’ futuristic corner of the residential construction industry. But if Texas startup Icon, Inc. is to be believed, by the end of this year, it will be producing printers that can create up to 2,000 square foot bungalows in a matter of days. That’s 80% of today’s average-size home.

Their Vulcan II is a machine that can print concrete walls as wide as 28 feet and 8 ½...

Now Delray Beach Households Can Be Monitored from Afar

Some new electronic gadgets have been gaining steam—some of which might be of interest to Delray Beach homeowners who find the strain of maintaining constant vigilance over all areas of the property can take a toll.

For any homeowner who has ever dealt with an all-but-unnoticed plumbing drip that suddenly turned into a flood, there is a new breed of wireless monitoring products that are easy to install and relatively inexpensive—especially when compared with wired security systems which require a subscription to an offsite monitoring center. These new wireless systems can also be unexpectedly versatile—capable of performing more than one monitoring task simultaneously.

One example is the Notion system. The basics are simple. A starter kit contains a central “bridge,” an inconspicuous box which is plugged into a centrally located wall outlet, the bridge connects into the household’s existing Wifi network. The kit includes three multi-purpose sensors—round, inch-high, 2-inch diameter plastic wafers that adhere to doors, windows, walls or the floor. Each one can sense water, temperature, the sound of an alarm, movement—or a combination. Powered by two AA batteries, they send wireless signals of what they sense to the bridge. 

The homeowner programs each sensor with limits which, if exceeded, cause the bridge to send alerts the owner’s smartphone and/or email account. For instance, if a door or window is opened at a time of day that’s not allowed—or a safe or liquor cabinet door is opened—the homeowner will be notified. If water is sensed under a distrusted water heater, or the temperature in a seldom-visited part of the house exceeds a...

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 factors.

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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 issue doesn’t overpower...

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.

The...

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 shakers, spice rack on the sink,...