South Florida Real Estate Blog by Shari Orland, Realtor

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)....

Unexpected Boca Raton Home Repairs? Expect ‘Em!

As Thanksgiving rolls around again and our Boca Raton houses fill with visiting relatives and friends, it’s hard to repress an occasional thought like, “Gee, I hope the water heater holds up” or “Boy, this would NOT be the time for the range to give out!” But it’s true that if there’s one thing first time homeowners can learn from their more experienced Boca Raton neighbors, it’s to expect the unexpected—at least when it comes to home repairs. That isn’t to say that some wallet-draining breakdown is certain to happen a month or two after moving in—but the odds are close to 50-50 that something could need attention within the first year or so.

That was just one of the major takeaways for Boca Raton readers of last week’s NerdWallet 2018 Home Improvement Report. Among Americans who have ever purchased a home, a whopping 44% say they experienced some unexpected home repair within the first year of ownership. And 48% reported having experienced at least some level of anxiety due to unexpected home repair costs.

Fortunately, Realtor Magazine issued some follow-up research that should quell at least some of that anxiety over unexpected Boca Raton home repairs. Among 113,000,000 “high-dollar” projects, the average cost was only $1,350. The NerdWallet report furnished an explanation for this less-than-budget-breaking bottom line: the growing popularity of do-it-yourself solutions. They ascribed the phenomenon to the growing popularity of DIY TV programs coupled with the ready availability...

News for Boynton Beach House Hunters: Blessedly Calm

Last week ended with such horrendous news in California that it was a blessed relief how in at least one narrow slice of the news—one of interest to Boynton Beach house hunters, among others—there was blessedly very little worrisome to report. Against the grim reality of how November 2018 was beginning in other areas of the news, Boynton Beach house hunters could relax for a moment.

This quiet corner of the public space was in what for house-hunters is an area of key concern—the slice of the financial sector focused on home loan originators and the residential mortgage market. The news from that quarter was, in brief, not much news.

The Tuesday election had held a high likelihood of affecting credit markets, and thus, mortgage interest rates. It’s usually true, and The Mortgage News Daily thought that the quiet on Monday “suggests traders are waiting to see if other traders care about the election results.” As it turned out, at least by Wednesday, they didn’t.

The MND predicted “Probably One More Day of Waiting for any Election Impact,” but it turned out to be a longer wait than that. On Wednesday a Federal Reserve Board Statement was scheduled for release. Days like that are known in the industry as “Fed Days”—they usually move rates. But what resulted, according to Mortgage News, was only “movement…that looked small if viewed by anything less powerful than a microscope.”

And so it went. Boynton Beach mortgage rates remained in historically lower-than-average...

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 not...