South Florida Real Estate Blog by Alfredo Ruiz, Realtor

Why Shouldn’t You Buy Your Boca Raton House with Cash?

It’s a tempting scenario: after succeeding in gathering a substantial trove of cash, you find your Boca Raton dream house—and sit down to write out a check for the entire agreed-upon sum, buying it outright! The future looks like ultra-smooth sailing, financially speaking. No mortgage payment. No interest. No monthly insurance set-aside or property tax pre-payment shunted into some account the mortgage company insists upon. And you really own the place yourself, with no strings attached!

Although there are definite plusses to buying your Boca Raton dream house with cash, there are at least three opposing reasons why it would be prudent to at least think twice before writing that monster check:

1.      Taxes! The federal tax reform passed in 2017 may limit the interest tax deduction to $10,000, but that’s still a hefty plus come tax time—one that cash buyers might miss. It has the effect of reducing a mortgage’s bottom line cost. ...

What 4 Reasons Could Power December Delray Beach Home Sales?

Normally, December is a ho-hum month for Delray Beach home sales—and that could well be the case again. Across the nation, 2018’s leadup has performed pretty much as expected.

Home sales slowed as the number of home listings stayed in short supply and mortgage interest rates crept upward. So it would surprise no one if Delray Beach home sales followed the national trend.

But instead of a sleepy year-end market, a year-end surprise might be possible. That’s the studied opinion of CNBC’s respected real estate commentator, Diana Olick. December is “usually the slowest month for home sales,” she writes; “but that might not be the case this year.”

Last week’s pronouncement came on the heels of a dynamic stock market swoon but had little to do with that or other financial jitters. She pointed to three unique dynamics that make this December “one of the better times” to both buy and sell:

  1. Interest rates. After rate increases having turned “what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market,” Olick found that buyers are now likely to seize the moment. With mortgage rates hovering below 5% yet almost universally expected to move higher in 2019, that fact alone is “motivating buyers.”
  2. Prices. ‘Tis the season for bargain hunters. Web titan Zillow reports seeing a “sharp increase in the share of properties with price cuts.” Although the housing market can always be counted on to let up once the kids get back in school,...

Location, Location, and Location Rules Boynton Beach House Hunts

The common observation that “the three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location” has been around for the better part of a century. The wisdom of that wisecrack is still undeniable—including for when it comes to buying Boynton Beach homes. It is, after all, why a house in one of Boynton Beach’s more desirable areas will generally sell at a premium to one of equal size and construction in a less sought-after area.

For 21st-century house hunters who might be inclined to pay location less heed than their forebears, that could be risky. After all, what originally made one area more desirable than others has usually been a combination of meaningful factors. The first has to do with its raw attributes—the visual appeal of its setting, the quality of its microclimate, or its relative insulation from natural hazards.

Then there’s the livability factor of a location’s accessibility—its ease of access to places of work, shopping, and recreation. We may be have become an ever-more-mobile society, but a lengthy daily commute does exact a price in terms of quality of life. For anxious parents, a home’s location in a superior Boynton Beach school district can be the decisive draw. And as the holidays approach, it’s easy to recall how near proximity to a major airport can keep far-flung family members in the fold.

I counsel my clients to give full weight in their buying decision to the distinct equation that is location. It is, when all is said and done, the quality that stands alone—the one that’s utterly...

Sell Your Boca Raton Home Now? Poll Hints at an Answer

Boca Raton’s holiday season is well underway now that we’ve passed the commercial post-Thanksgiving kickoff days: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. If you are one who is debating whether or not to sell your home during the holidays, there are plenty of both pros and cons. One good reason is the relative lack of competition; another is the attitude of most house hunters in December: they tend to be an earnest crew.

As to whether this particular holiday season looks like a good one to sell your own Boca Raton home, last week offered what might be a relevant hint. Although it’s true that measuring consumer “moods” can be an iffy proposition, last week delivered at least one piece of hard evidence. Since Boca Raton home buyers are by definition the ultimate consumers, it was one element pointing to how this year-end market might be expected to fare.

On Tuesday, the Rasmussen Reports polling organization published one of its periodic consumer attitude polls—this one zeroing in on residential real estate. Among the findings in a report titled “Homeowner Optimism Still Among Record Highs”

  • U.S. homeowners are “more optimistic than ever” about their home’s value.
  • 69% of polled U.S. homeowners say that were they to sell their home now it would be worth more than what they owe.
  • Already last May, 66% fewer had held that opinion—and that was the highest in nine years!
  • ...

For Delray Beach Landlords, the Rental Home Pet Dilemma

Delray Beach rental homes can provide their owners with an investment that’s competitive on many fronts. It can provide cash, positive equity growth, tax advantages—and even a variation on the “pride of ownership” that live-in homeowners feel. But at least in one area, it also brings a brow-wrinkling decision that those who live in the homes they own don’t have to think twice about.

We’re talking about pets. Fido and Kitty—yes or no?

For a huge proportion of American families, it’s a no-brainer. Despite potential less desirable side effects, that new puppy or kitten will be welcomed without hesitation into parlors from Delray Beach to Anchorage. Any damage that might result is just part of the wear-and-tear any household expects. The American Pet Association used to point to the 39% of households that own a dog or two—and to the 33% who own at least one cat. That might be greater today, now that 94 million cats and 89 million dogs populate U.S. homes.

What this results in for Delray Beach landlords is a tough choice about whether to allow renters to have pets. It might seem to make sense to simply rule them out—thus avoiding the clawing, scratching, digging, chewing on floors, walls, and fixtures, etc. Who needs those mental images to keep you up at night?

But if you decide on a no-pets policy, you eliminate something like 40% of your potential rental candidates. They’re spending $70 billion (!) a year to take care of their pets—which is why it’s sometimes argued that some of the personality types drawn to fostering animals are also highly...

Boynton Beach Listing “Hero Shots” that Come Once in a Blue Moon

The “hero shot” is what advertising agency folks call a photograph that makes a product the “star” of its surrounding layout. The product can be a cereal box or a Mack truck—large or small; it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the product appears at its most appealing.

In local real estate terms, the hero shot for a home being offered for sale is the glamour shot that appears at the top of the Boynton Beach listing. For professionals to create that photo, they use the latest equipment to capture the image, then refine it through top-notch processing software to enhance it further.  

But when it comes to making sure your own home is represented by the best possible real estate hero shot, there can be exceptions to the wisdom of relying exclusively on a professional’s “eye” and experience. Sometimes the homeowner’s own photo is superior. The pros will readily admit it.

Those exceptions occur when alert homeowners seize on once-in-a-blue-moon conditions that make for an arresting photo. That can happen when a seasonal change in a property’s landscape happens to create a gorgeous backdrop—something that can’t be emulated at any other moment. In New England, that can occur at a magic moment during peak foliage season when the leaves are just so (and the sun cooperates). In Arizona, it could be a stunning sunset when the cacti are blossoming in the front yard. In Washington D.C., when the cherry blossoms are out, and the pool cover has just come off…

Homeowners know when...

The Many Hats Worn by Boynton Beach Real Estate Agents

The “licensed Boynton Beach real estate agent” line that appears beneath a local Realtor’s® name may be printed in small type, but it actually signifies large value. Today Boynton Beach’s buyers and sellers can take for granted that their transactions will be executed in a manner that’s both transparent and completely reliable. For those who have ever had to deal with more arcane systems in other countries, the difference can be critical.  

One factor that contributes to the smooth running of today’s system lies in education. Real estate agent training comes in two tiers. Formal classroom education is the first step—the true difference-maker comes later. Since Florida and Boynton Beach legal regulations guide all real estate transactions, every agent must learn how to apply them in practice—that’s demonstrated by Boynton Beach agents when they pass the state-administered licensing examination.  

The second part is experience—the field knowledge that comes from successfully guiding clients through unique circumstances (and just about every transaction winds up including some of those).  But concluding a successful deal is only the culmination of any number of other daily activities that go into producing the service we provide:

  • Retrieving and reviewing Boynton Beach Multiple Listing Service activity reports.

Boynton Beach real estate agents keep their fingers on the pulse of the market—intelligence that is the basis for their clients’...

Delray Beach’s Thanksgiving Traces Back to – What, Exactly?

This Thursday, at some point in the festivities we’ll be remembering the Pilgrims and their Indian guests on that first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. After all, that gathering was the genesis of today’s Delray Beach Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Or was it?

This momentary doubt surfaced when someone mentioned the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. When you think about it, how likely it is that our Neighbors to the North would create a national holiday to memorialize some ancient Massachusetts get-together? Pretty unlikely.  

So if their Thanksgiving doesn’t celebrate the day the Pilgrims feasted with their new Wampanoag friends, what does it celebrate?

The Canadian version is said to be offshoots of the Old World’s “Harvest Festivals.” According to England’s Metro News, “Harvest Festival in Britain is the ancient festival that celebrates a successful yield.” It’s a “Sunday of Thanksgiving” observed on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon (this year, it came on September 23). European Harvest Festivals are said to be remnants of pre-Christian harvest festivals, during which corn dolls are traditionally fashioned from “the last sheath of the harvest.” You can find many pictures of the corn dolls (they call them ‘dollies’). No Indian tribes. No turkeys.

Pagan festivals and dollies? Does this put the accuracy of all Delray Beach elementary school bulletin boards with their Pilgrim hats and turkey displays in jeopardy? Fortunately, there’s a problem with...

6 Reasons Why Not to Wait to List Your Delray Beach House

Your reasons for when you decide to list your home can be dictated by personal events that you set in motion—or by others that just come along. Then again, when you have a good deal of leeway on the decision, at this time of the year, you might be tempted to wait for Delray Beach’s “spring selling season” before listing your Delray Beach house. Yet there are several real-world reasons why delaying might not always be in your best interest. Here are six persuasive ones:

  1. Determination. Buyers who appear during the end of year months are almost by definition more determined to find and buy their new home. The holidays make such extra-curricular activities less convenient, so looky-loos and next-year buyers are largely absent. 
  2. Competition. Waiting for next spring’s expected onslaught of new Delray Beach buyers makes less sense when you consider the expected accompanying onslaught of new Delray Beach listings. Fall and winter sellers face sparse competition. 
  3. Yard work. With the peak growing season behind us, the coming months require significantly less attention to keep garden and lawn—hence, curb appeal— in showing-ready condition.
  4. Moving expense. With their peak moving season far in the future, many professional Delray Beach moving outfits offer discounted rates. It makes sense for them: in an average year, more than 40,000,000 Americans will move—and 80% do it between April and September!
  5. ...

Multigenerational Trend Counters Downsizing Wave

Downsizing has gotten a lot of attention as Baby Boomers—many of whom have become empty-nesters—discover that they don’t need the space, expense, and elbow grease required to keep up the family property. But there is a counter-trend that could well explain the popularity (and desirability) of many big ol’ Boynton Beach homes. It’s a multigenerational thing.

It was to be expected that multigenerational family households became more numerous following the Great Recession. After all, when jobs became scarce, incomes stagnated, and foreclosure rates skyrocketed, the idea of moving back home with mom and dad became a practical necessity for many Boynton Beach families.

Enter the term “multigenerational family living.” It’s defined as the inclusion of two or more adult generations—or including grandparents and grandchildren under 25 years of age—in a single residence. That lifestyle choice had been steadily declining from 21% in 1950 to 12% thirty years later. But beginning in 1980, that trend reversed—sharply so, during the economic turmoil of 2007-2009. Although that rapid increase has since slowed, today it is still on the rise.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 51.5 million Americans lived in multigenerational households in 2009 (that’s 17% of the entire population). Compare that with the latest count from Pew Research, which registered 60.6 million (19%) in 2014.

Pew explains part of the trend as a cultural phenomenon stemming from the growing diversity of the U.S. population. Cultural preferences among some Asian and Hispanic...