South Florida Real Estate Blog by Alfredo Ruiz, Realtor

Boynton Beach Homebuying Basics: What Some People Don’t Know

The government thinks that Americans are sorely lacking when it comes to key homebuying information. It’s hard to say whether that’s true of the Boynton Beach homebuying population—but Fannie Mae’s latest study explains some good reasons why it might be.

In Fannie’s recently issued publication, 3,600 respondents were ‘largely unsure’ or just plain wrong about current homebuying realities. This, despite the significance of homebuying as the most important purchase most people make. The overriding factor creating this illogical situation is the fact that it’s also a purchase seldom made. Homebuying is such an infrequent transaction most people don’t focus on data when it’s available.

Another contributing factor is “a fundamental lack of financial literacy across the country.”

The majority of those quizzed hadn’t a clue about credit score requirements. Even fewer were aware of debt-to-income ratio guidelines. Fewer than one in four were aware that low down payment programs exist at all (with almost none of them aware that the actual minimum down payment percentage is 3%).

 One bright spot was the fact that a powerful majority (91%) of the Americans questioned favor homeownership over renting. As any Boynton Beach schoolteacher will tell you, motivation is essential to learning. If 9 out of 10 of the 3,600 respondents who are in the dark about homebuying basics really do understand the personal benefits of homeownership, the motivation is already there.

In Boynton Beach, the simplest way to access...

Will Restaurant Developments Impact Delray Beach Real Estate?

The rise of e-commerce has created a raft of cultural shifts that are ongoing and profound—Delray Beach real estate is certainly one of them. One ripple effect may be expected from an industry that touches us all: the restaurants. It’s a ripple that’s just beginning to be felt in some areas—but may ultimately touch Delray Beach real estate. According to the Wall Street Journal, “as e-commerce expands into food delivery, new bets are being made on real estate.”

How so?

Traditionally, except in the most heavily-populated urban areas, regular restauranteurs have put little to no emphasis on food delivery. Although more common in Manhattan, Chicago or San Francisco, in most places, offering a delivery option was at best a financially break-even proposition. But e-commerce has begun to change that.

As mobile apps and one-click delivery options have skyrocketed in popularity, the revenue potential has become ever clearer. But more than that, now a growing number of restaurants are seeing a new possibility. Why pay for an expensive street-facing retail space in a trendy neighborhood if you could avoid it? Couldn’t you operate your kitchen from a less expensive warehouse district? In other words, if the demand is great enough, why not go all-delivery? The economies are undeniable—especially since it involves dispensing with the payrolls of greeters, servers, and a good deal of associated support staff.

The phenomenon has yet to displace restaurants in a major way—and it certainly will never compete with the entertainment value that an evening out at a fine...

What’s Wrong with Selling Your Boca Raton Home Yourself?

The single inducement for selling your Boca Raton home yourself is responsible for most FSBOs (“For Sale by Owner” offerings, pronounced “Fizz-BOW”). It’s some bottom line arithmetic that seems at least worth considering—the attractive notion of avoiding paying commission dollars to a real estate brokerage. Real estate commissions in Florida are negotiated—usually 5%-6%. For a home that closes at $300,000, the idea is for a thrifty FSBO seller to pocket $15,000 to 18,000.

Actually, no—at least for most sellers.

Since 87% of buyers choose to hire a licensed Boca Raton Realtor® to represent their interests, that agent can be expected to require FSBO owners to agree to compensate them for their services. Since that one agent can wind up doing the work normally handled by two, that commission could be at least the customary split of 50%—in which case the FSBO owner actually “saves” only $7,500-$9,000.

Even so, there remains a hefty sum. So why do FSBOs account for only 7% of home sales? That top-heavy result is easier to understand when you consider the recent finding that “nine out of ten FSBOs end up hiring an agent themselves.” That’s pretty close to the latest NAR finding that 91% of all sellers were assisted by a real estate agent.

The bottom line reason is the bottom line itself: in 2017, even for the small number of FSBOs that did sell, the typical FSBO home closed for $200,000—contrasted with the $265,500 for agent-assisted homes. Many of those hoped-for...

Boomer Wave Inspires Boynton Beach Real Estate Investment Idea

From midway across the Pacific can an interesting commentary last week—one that noted an idea that mainland Boynton Beach investors might find worth mulling over. The article appeared in the HawaiiHomes section of Oahu’s Star-Advertiser. It profiled an investor couple who have decided to make a change in their real estate portfolio.

The investors (“Joyce” and “Reid”) are seniors themselves. They have “been reading about the demand for senior-friendly housing”— information bolstered by the fact that over 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the U.S. That AARP statistic is a little startling until you realize that there are 77 million American Boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964.

To Joyce and Reid, that fact—plus their having noticed how local senior-friendly housing prices were on the rise—convinced them that a portfolio change might be warranted. They ultimately decided to swap their current investment property—a two-story townhome—for a more centrally-located property. It’s walking-distance centrality, in addition to a single-story floor plan, made it decidedly senior-friendly.

The decision was fortified by other observations. In their area, some senior living communities were already experiencing waitlists. They reasoned that the senior-friendly rental was likely to command increasingly higher rents. And just in case in future years they found themselves unable to obtain suitable housing, they might eventually decide to move into their investment property themselves.

The demographic repercussions the Hawaiian landlords observed is one...

Selling a Home in Summer: What Can a Homeowner Do?

Middle of the Summer already!, Is this the summer when you want to sell your Boca Raton home?  It’s a fact that summer buyers tend to be well-motivated buyers. Or they may be jamming activity between vacations, backyard BBQ’s and (especially recently) just trying to stay cool. In other words, they also may be distracted buyers.   

Luckily, there are reliable basics you as a homeowner can help best position your home for a successful summertime sale:

  1. Mow the Lawn frequently – everything grows faster in the summer!
  2. Create Summer Curb Appeal – colorful flowers in beds and planters.
  3. Decorate with Summer Accents – bright accents in tropical colors to evoke coveted vacation days.
  4. Bring the Light Inside – It may be bright outside, but make sure inside can match up to the cheery light outside.  Lights should always be turned on for showings and opens.
  5. Have Flexible Showing Hours – You’re busy—but so are your buyers.  When your home is on the market, it’s up to you to make it as easy to show as possible.
  6. Move Furniture Outside – Sell the dream of outdoor living!
  7. Offer Summer Beverages and Snacks. – Ice cold or sparkling lemonade are always crown pleasers (and unlikely to stain the furniture).

If you’re readying to sell your home, I’m...

Is It Time to Sell Your Delray Beach House?

Whenever the U.S. economy is booming, there are naysayers who view it as terrible news. It’s not surprising since economists can disagree about just about anything and point to statistics that prove their point.

A recent CNBC report provides a golden example. It’s one that, if you’re inclined to think it’s time to sell your Delray Beach house anyway, would reinforce that thought. It ran under the gloomy headline “Housing is providing another in a line of troubling signs”—the signs were those “pointing to an economic downturn.”

The report elaborated on a finding that compared home sales statistics from a recent period with those that preceded coming recessions. To the analyst author (Fed economist William Emmons), the result indicated that an economic downturn is likely. Although the trend looked “much less severe” than the one that preceded the Great Recession, he thinks December of this year is a plausible month for “peak growth.”

In other words, starting in 2020, look out!

For anyone who believes Professor Emmons, it means that, for Delray Beach homeowners who are going to sell anytime in the near term, now would be a logical time to put their homes up for sale. That is, before the economy weakens—usually, a trigger for buyer’s market conditions to prevail.

Whether this (or any other) economic prognostication is to be taken seriously is anybody’s guess. But it IS true that if your own plans include selling anyway, the current optimistic...

Simple Steps to Shrink Your Home’s Boca Raton Energy Bills

Right about this time during most years, if yours is a typical Boca Raton home with typical cooling capacity, its energy consumption will rise (just as it does in the chilliest depths of winter). It isn’t at the top of most homeowners’ summer to-do list, but now is an ideal time to take a hard look at how to reduce your Boca Raton home’s energy consumption.

According to the people who study these things, now is actually an ideal time to assess how your home’s energy use can be improved. That’s because—according to the U.S. Department of Energy—three-quarters of all U.S. homes have air-conditioning. The Consumer Energy Alliance says that cooling demands account for “approximately $29 billion annually to individuals and families.” If you’re used to an abrupt rise in your own Boca Raton energy bills right about now, your family’s budget confirms the claim.

Professional energy audits take between a half an hour and four hours—and are almost always worth the cost. But short of that, there are many budget-saving actions you can take yourself, right now. Here are some of them:

  • Clean or change your filters
  • Raise the thermostat (rule of thumb is that a 7-10 degree change can save 10% every year)
  • Upgrade to LED bulbs
  • Clear space around air vents
  • If the attic is suitable for frying eggs, see about getting better insulation or (better still) an attic fan
  • Check your water heater temperature. Recommended:...

What’s a Double Whammy when Selling Your Boynton Beach Home?

USA Today quoted an eye-opening figure. It’s one that probably means that it describes one of the most common of circumstances that might apply to Boynton Beach home buyers of any age or income group since the “common circumstance” applies to “89% of repeat homebuyers.” Coming as it does from the National Association of Realtors®, that gigantic proportion would have to apply to home buyers of all ages and income groups.

The 89% describes those who aren’t only buying a home—they’re also selling one. The statistic only applies to “repeat” homebuyers since, by definition, first-timers couldn’t face the double-whammy. But when nearly 9 out of 10 of the rest of homebuyers qualify, it’s clear why USA Today thought the situation would interest a lot of readers.

The angle of the piece was “how to take the stress out of selling your house and buying another”—a worthy goal. As Boynton Beach home buyers know, the predictable stress level can be divvied up into two groups: those who can afford to carry two homes, and the rest of us. If the total available wherewithal won’t stretch to support the expenses involved in both, the sale and purchase need to be synchronized to enable both transactions. USA Today rates the “extra pressure” resulting from possible timing hiccups that could derail either or both deals as a delicate “balancing act.”

When I am asked to be your Boynton Beach real estate agent, it’s my job to remove the extra heap of anxiety from all my dual track clients. When you have a firm handle on your financial picture,...

What’s Numerically Incorrect about Delray Beach’s 4th of July?

 This Thursday, all of Delray Beach will be out celebrating America’s Independence Day—the 4th of July national holiday that’s only slightly incorrect, numerically speaking. That detail is best preserved in a letter home written by John Adams, the Founding Father who followed George Washington as the second American president.

There was a terrific TV series a while back based on McCollough’s biography of John Adams. In case you missed it, Adams is rightly known as one of the most eloquent of the Founders—although Adams’ “eloquence” was apparently most evident in his writings, since he’s reported to have had a high, squeaky voice. The producers of the TV series wisely refrained from overemphasizing that detail.

The name of Delray Beach’s Independence Day celebrations is wedded to the Declaration of Independence—the parchment proclamation we studied in school. It was adopted by a gathering of representatives from the 13 original colonies. The majority had become increasingly convinced that complete separation from the King of England’s Empire was the only way to deal with the growing civil unrest had already caused the Redcoats to storm Boston. With worse on the horizon and having repeatedly failed at petitioning for a peaceful resolution, they reluctantly authorized the creation of an army with Washington as its General. In that long hot summer in 1776, they had finally decided to formally declare war—but needed to put together a statement of high-minded principles. Without that, they would have been branded by the civilized world as self-serving criminals and anarchists.

The independence declared in the timeless...

Owning a Home in Delray Beach Still Rates #1!

Owning a home—whether in Delray Beach, in Florida, or in any other state—is Americans’ most trusted way to build wealth. That’s the takeaway from Gallup’s poll, conducted this spring. It’s easy to agree with—but surprising for a number of reasons.

First off, the continuing bull stock market has now rewarded investors for a very long time. Thursday ended with the S&P 500 marking yet another all-time record. When “owning a home” has to compete with an alternate investment alternative that’s been on a rampage for years, wouldn’t you expect it to be the peoples’ choice?

There is also the fact that residential real estate price rises have slowed recently, moderating after a sustained stretch of dynamic growth. Whenever trends like that show signs of tapering off, it’s likely to give investors second thoughts. And then there’s the memory of the housing crunch from the last decade—a phenomenon that few have forgotten.

But if our Delray Beach neighbors are at all typical, “owning a home” is the clear winner as their best long-term investment choice. Despite the record highs notched by Wall Street in 2019, Gallup found that “more Americans continue to believe real estate is a superior long-term investment to stocks”—by 35% to 27%. And savings accounts or CDs aren’t even close (at 15%).

Gallup has been polling the “best investment” question for 17 years, but this year’s April 1st through...