South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

This Delray Beach Halloween, Real Estate Horror Stories Abound

Since Halloween comes around with ‘nary a difference from one year to the next, you’d think that editors eventually would be stumped to come up with a new topic for their writing staffs. This month, Delray Beach subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s real estate pages were treated to a creative solution: The Journal simply dug up some scary stories about real estate.

The first was “Home Renovation Horror Stories,” a chilling retelling of just how wrong remodeling attempts can go. These spooky construction nightmares that happened in real life lived up to the premise, starting with readers’ complaints that, rather than the good old days when a kitchen renovation was a huge ordeal, today “just finding qualified workers to do the job is a huge ordeal.”

The various renovation horror tales included one contractor who tried to remove the cabinets he’d just installed when a progress payment was delayed (because the work was behind schedule) and crews who “showed up and immediately began to destroy our home” (because their skill sets had been “overstated”).

Just as spooky for Delray Beach families with dogs or cats was “Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value.”­ The headline may have been a little misleading since most of the horrifying details didn’t have much to do with selling a home. They dealt with pet hi-jinx whose consequences would surely be addressed before any marketing could begin. One example was the puppy who found a bottle of red food coloring, which he chewed and then…(well, some horror stories are scariest when details are left to the imagination).

Beyond the “stains, chips, rips, scratches,...

Holiday Decorating Timetable: Trustworthy or Dubious?

According to last week’s news release, if you already see your Delray Beach neighbors putting up their holiday decorations, they’re just going with the flow. At least that’s the conclusion you’d come to if you trust a newly cited consumer poll by minted.com, the online gift marketing site.

As widely reported by NBC and CBS affiliates, eight in ten Americans report that they begin decorating “before autumn leaves fall”—and six in ten “think holiday decorations in stores can be put up before the end of October.”

Now, since it’s widely agreed that most folks consider November 1st to be the earliest launch date for holiday ornamentation, it would be quite a surprise if Pre-Halloween holiday decorating is actually the norm in 60% of Delray Beach households. If true, you have to wonder if the witches and goblins now have to move over for Santas and reindeer (or menorahs and dreidels). It would make for some crowded displays.

The report notes that “about half of respondents say decorations around town” mark the beginning of the holiday season. That part does sound credible.

But as for the other findings, there are good reasons why Delray Beach householders may not really be in the minority if they decide to hold off for at least a couple more weeks before unpacking the Christmas or Hanukkah trimmings.

For one, it’s proving difficult to find published evidence of the survey results the TV shows are citing. For another, since minted.com is a purveyor of custom-printed holiday greeting cards, if their polling is limited to their customers (who probably order cards well in advance, since they have to hand-address all of them), any...

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...

A Break for Some Boynton Beach Real Estate Transactions

Last week ended with some good news that can affect many Boynton Beach real estate transactions—specifically some with bottom lines equal to $400,000 or less. It came in the form of a rule change from Washington’s rule-makers, and whether or not it applies to your own property, it may signal a shift in regulatory outlook.

 Many Boynton Beach real estate transactions are subject to Federal regulations—rules devised to ensure the soundness of the financial institutions that provide home loans. Theoretically, everyone who buys or sells Boynton Beach real estate should benefit from legal regulations that restrain lenders from granting loans too easily. When that takes place, widespread “easy money” usually results in the kind of abrupt return to reality we saw in the last decade. Nobody wants that!

One way regulators prevent residential real estate “bubbles” is by seeing that home loans are legitimately collateralized—that home loan amounts don’t exceed the real value of the underlying properties. That’s realized by requiring that strictly professional appraisals be performed. Appraisals demonstrate that homes true values equal or exceed proposed loan amounts.

But—it’s always a balancing act. Appraisals take time and cost money—making buying and selling that much more cumbersome. Any regulation that is too strict unnecessarily retards legitimate Boynton Beach real estate transactions. Over time, that’s what had happened with the appraisal requirement.

Last Friday an official press release announced a lightening of the appraisal requirement. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency “have adopted a final rule that increases the threshold for...