South Florida Real Estate Blog by Alfredo Ruiz, Realtor

What Gracious Touch Caps 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...

Monday’s Equinox Ends Summer—but the Fed Signals Heat

 

 

For astronomers and TV weather forecasters, this Monday marked a red-letter day. It now seems as if the same could be said for Boynton Beach’s market prospects.

In the wee hours, the Sun arrived at one of the two places in every year where its path across the sky crosses the celestial equator (the imaginary line above Earth’s equator). Of course, for Boynton Beach residents, the reality is that it’s pretty much a non-event. Weather-wise, the equinox is an abstraction. The change of seasons creeps slowly, day-by-day, Monday being no exception.

Still, at Tuesday’s dawn, the last day of Boynton Beach’s summer has passed. Whether you call it ‘autumn,’ ‘fall,’ ‘Indian Summer,’ or anything else, the new season is upon us.

And in Boynton Beach real estate terms, it brings new reason to suspect that this fall could be a busy one. One indicator came last week, as Reuters noted that U.S. home sales “unexpectedly rose to a 17-month high” in August.

More directly, last week’s second straight cut in the fed funds interest rate augurs well for Boynton Beach sellers and buyers alike. With lower Boynton Beach mortgage rates “continuing to encourage buyers off the sidelines” (Reuters), it wouldn’t be surprising if the market continues to heat up. Despite the Sun’s ducking down past the Equator, it looks to be a propitious time to buy or sell Boynton Beach homes. That makes it an equally propitious time to give me a call!  LOL  Alfredo Ruiz,...

Selling Your Delray Beach House — Vital Decluttering Word

When it comes to selling your Delray Beach house, the word that pops up in every discussion is the ubiquitous “decluttering.” Decluttering means exactly what it says: removing clutter in all its forms. Not just the debris that piles up in every Delray Beach household (old magazines, less-than-priceless dust-catchers, toys that have seen better days, etc.), but also some more prominent articles that overfill space.

But when it comes to taking real action in a decluttering campaign, there is another word whose value can’t be overemphasized. The reason that decluttering is something that needs to be discussed at all is that it can be painfully hard to execute. It means giving up something that has value, or at least used to have value—and which through familiarity has become comfortable to be around. You may not have used that set of TV dinner trays that halfway block the garage entrance door, but who says you won’t need them? Those bookends that are actually cut from a single geode may not have had any books between them for years…nor has the little table lamp been able to stand up straight without the coasters you hid beneath it years ago…but how can you just toss either of them? And if you put them out in a yard sale, who would ever buy them?

That is where the other word that’s connected with decluttering comes in. It’s an action word—one that energizes decluttering. It’s a word that you can place on a sign when you have a yard sale. In fact, you don’t even have to have a yard sale. Just set the clutter out on the front lawn with the word in big, bold letters.

...

Boca Raton Homeownership Boost from the Father of the 401(k)

 

Ever since its introduction in 1965, Americans by the millions have embraced the retirement vehicle known by its IRS handle, the “401(k).”  It hardly matters that few Boca Raton breadwinners know much about its relatively recent origins (much less, its family lineage)—but had they attended the Wall Street Journal’s recent “Future of Everything Festival,” they’d have been enlightened. The inventor of the 401(k) is Ted Benna—now known in financial circles as its father.

What the Father of the 401(k) had to say is encouraging for Boca Raton’s homeowners. Since his popular financial brainchild has massively changed the retirement picture far and wide (Japan’s retirement law is called the “Japanese 401(k).” His words have earned more than the usual amount of credence financial advisors receive.

He introduced his main point by referencing some of his more prosperous private sector clients. In his lengthy career, he noted that some of the most hugely successful people never bother to become successful at saving—yet some others “who don’t make big bucks” wind up with substantial savings—and comfortable retirements. Benna has a single explanation for these twist endings:

The key is learning early in life what you’re going to be.”

Even though that may sound somewhat obtuse, it translates into some specific advice aimed at younger adults. He advises that young people make a decision to put “at least 1% of their pay” into savings. Then, “Every time you get...

Uber Controversy Boils as Real Estate Sale Surfaces

 This summer’s Uber driver controversy came to a boil over one particularly notable real estate market item. Whether or not Boynton Beach residents have ever had occasion to use the web-based taxicab alternative, lately it’s been hard to avoid reading about the noisy dispute.  

The controversy has to do with the publicity generated by a group of Uber drivers in their campaign to embarrass company bigwigs into granting them higher wages. They’ve been arguing that since they own their own vehicles, pay for their maintenance, fuel, and taxes—and since they also pitch in all of the driving labor—it’s only reasonable they be proportionately compensated. They say that the Uber company itself supplies only the communications and organizational structure, so the relative split of what riders are charged is grossly unfair.

Uber management points out that there would be no fares without their contribution.

Since both points seem valid, the argument continues.

This summer, a real estate sale entered the picture just as each side was working hard to gain public sympathy. Uber management had been pulling all available public relations levers to portray itself as having the more reasonable position. Then company co-founder Garrett Camp decided to buy a house.

This in itself would probably not raise anybody’s hackles. Boynton Beach homeowners, for instance, rightly view their own homeownership as the time-honored cornerstone of community participation—certainly no cause for...

For Delray Beach Neighborhoods, 4 Features Warrant Scrutiny

Every serious house hunter is aware that the Delray Beach neighborhood surrounding any house has a significant effect on its ultimate value. It follows that the future of a neighborhood will have a measurable impact the future value of the properties in it.

Part of the reason not much emphasis is given to this factor is the difficulty of gauging a neighborhood’s future prospects. That’s especially true for homebuyers who are new to the area. Yet there are ways to scrutinize neighborhood characteristics for indications that augur well…or which point to a future which might not be headed in the right direction. Here are four such factors:

  1. Incomes. Strong average household incomes are indicative of more than just the current bankrolls of the neighbors. Higher incomes are good bellwethers for households likely to maintain attractive landscaping—and to make future renovations to their properties.
  2. Home price histories. For properties currently listed in the same neighborhood, noting their online price histories can reveal more than just an upward trajectory—most homes in Delray Beach (indeed, almost everywhere in Florida) are now showing growth. The relative size of those price rises can reveal the most up-and-coming neighborhoods.
  3. Schools. Good schools attract the kind of family-oriented homeowners who tend to create attractive neighborhoods. There are two corollaries, too: first, the best schools are more likely to remain top-rated. Second, schools that are known to be rapidly improving are more likely to reward the properties in their area with better than average value appreciation....

Boca Raton Homes for Sale Prospects—the Straight Scoop

 It never ceases to amaze: the way media news briefs can state a set of facts that, despite being literally accurate, leave listeners with a mistaken impression. For local homeowners making up their minds whether the timing is right for putting their own Boca Raton homes up for sale, this last week provided a fine example.

One newscast in particular would seem to be off-putting. It’s true that when measured against the same period a year earlier, the national home sales levels had been weak. That made the one news blip that came over the satellite radios in many Boca Raton autos all the more convincing. Listeners might have concluded that throughout the country, potential home buyers were staging a disappearing act. That kind of discouraging news could well put a damper on those contemplating putting up their own Boca Raton homes for sale.

The real estate item was the final one in Friday’s on-the-hour news, which repeated hourly. The announcer’s voice delivered the bad news in matter-of-fact tones: “New home sales tumbled last month, dropping almost thirteen percent. Higher prices combining with a limited inventory sidelined many would-be buyers.

When you’re thinking about selling your house, that’s hardly encouraging news—even if you’re aware that statistics can be interpreted seven ways from Sunday. The announcer’s rapid-fire delivery would have had all but the most careful listeners convinced that they faced a significantly difficult market—one that “sidelined many would-be buyers.” But the first word in the brief was critical: “New.” The “tumble”...

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 all the latest relevant homebuying...

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 restaurant will always provide. But...

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 “savings” of $7,500-$9,000...