DELRAY BEACH

Surprising Delray Beach Real Estate Lessons for GenX Generation

By now, just about everyone in Delray Beach looks back on the last decade’s housing bust with a lot less consternation than heretofore—time can do that (as well as the recovery of temporarily lost value). For some Delray Beach homeowners, the temporary nosedive in Delray Beach real estate values was little more than an uncomfortable learning experience. For others, it served as confirmation of the long-term store of value their Delray Beach real estate embodies. But for others, the dominant memory is of the severe dislocation it and the accompanying worldwide financial meltdown triggered. Members of the Gen X group (those born between 1965-1980) could have ample reason to identify with any of the above—but there’s reason to believe the first two claim more adherents.

The Pew Research Center has gone over the statistics and emerged with these factoids about the generations and how they have fared, post-recession. The first one may be the most surprising:

  • Gen X households are the only ones to recover the wealth lost in the Great Recession. This was as of July 2018, but is eyebrow-raising since the Gen Xers were, according to Pew, “particularly hard hit.” That makes sense since they were younger than the Boomers, so more likely to have entered the market when prices were at their peak. Their superior rebound is explained by the fact that wealth tends to rise most quickly at younger ages—so the rebound caught their earnings sweet spot.
  • Today, Typical Gen X homeowners have more home equity than before the housing collapse. Since Gen Xers are in the prime working-age range, they’ve displayed the most consistent “ability to rebuild wealth.” Compared with the Boomers, Silent Generation, and to a lesser extent, Millennials, they have...

Which Delray Beach Homeowners Benefit from the Rate Cuts?

When interest rates were cut after the Fed’s July meeting, the press was quick to point out that not every homeowner would benefit from the move. As Bankrate.com noted in its lead article How the Fed’s Interest Rate Decisions Affect Mortgage Rates, “the majority of Americans won’t be affected.”

That’s true—for the moment. But for some Delray Beach homeowners, by last week, the immediate effects constituted good news. The Bankrate commentators touched on some of the traditional brain-teasing economics behind the effects (“there is an inverse relationship between bond prices and yields”)—but the practical repercussions were more straightforward. Mortgage lenders reacted with rate cuts, so:

  • Benefits flowed to the “winners of the rate cut”—some home loan borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).
  • Also benefitting were those using home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
  • Current fixed-rate mortgage holders may be able to cut their mortgage payments via refinancing.
  • Possible beneficiaries will be homebuyers whose budgets could now stretch to fit pricier homes.

The reason only some ARM holders will benefit immediately is because these loans usually adjust annually—and some don’t adjust for the first two, three, five (or even seven) years.

The Bankrate piece linked to another article, from way back on June 3rd. It described how “nearly 6 million people can now cut their mortgage payments with refinancing.” That was after May’s “sharp drop in rates” (which...

Delray Beach Multiple Offer Scenarios Still Can Happen!

Real estate market changes can be sudden or slow. No matter how the broader market shifts nationally or locally here in Delray Beach, certain types of properties or price ranges can still result in a multiple offer scenario.

Buyers: never fear! If you fall in love with one of these highly desired homes, there are strategies that will help your offer stand out that DON’T involve simply offering more money. 

Go beyond the pre-approval letter

The more prepared you are, the better.  To get ahead, be the buyer who’s further along in the loan process BEFORE you make an offer.  This means preparing all the documents your lender needs when it’s time to approve the mortgage: tax returns, W2s, pay stubs, bank statements, etc.

Find a 24/7 mortgage broker

Did you know there even was such a thing? Time is always “of the essence,” so working with a mortgage professional who is available on weekends can help when a quick turnaround is critical. That way, if you put an offer on a house on a Saturday or Sunday, your lender can contact the seller’s real estate agent directly to assure the sellers that you’ll be able to close quickly and on time if they choose your offer!

Write a love letter

Personal letters can actually work! Such a letter might include a brief intro to you and your family (and don’t shy away from including a fun fact or two to make it personal). It would go over the unique details you like about the house, the neighborhood, and the future you envision there.  It never hurts to end with a note of appreciation of how well the sellers have taken care of the property.

Be flexible with the seller

It’s not always about the money.  Timeliness matters.  Closing dates matter.  Maybe the seller needs to be out...

Buying Delray Beach Homes: a Smart 7-Step Progression

 Buying Delray Beach homes takes some degree of organization no matter what. Especially when time is a screaming imperative, it can make or break whether you land a home that’s right—or one you ultimately determine isn’t adequate over the long haul. Whether the time pressure is due to a sudden job transfer, family emergency, or the unexpectedly rapid sale of an existing Delray Beach residence (that can happen when I’m your selling agent!). Finding your next home in a hurry calls for no-nonsense organization.

The precise path to your house-hunting success is bound to include some unexpected elements, but having a step-by-step plan in mind will provide a useful template:

  1. Get pre-approved. This comes first, rather than determining how much you can (or want to) afford because it will reveal the lending world’s opinion, which—if you are other than an all-cash buyer—will preclude wasting time chasing just-out-of-reach properties.
  2. Set your budget. This may not be all you can borrow: it should be what you can comfortably afford.
  3. Hunt online. This is where today’s shoppers can cut to the chase way more efficiently than previous generations.
  4. Find a real estate agent who is highly experienced in the Delray Beach market (highly recommended: me!).
  5. Tour a variety of candidate properties. Your agent will manage this process to save time. Don’t be afraid to visit open houses if they pop up (but be sure to tell the showing agent you are represented).
  6. ...

How Prospects are able to Buy a Home in Delray Beach and numbers are growing

 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...

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...