South Florida Real Estate Blog by Alfredo Ruiz, Realtor

To our friends and clients / COVID-19 (coronavirus) UPDATE

The steady stream of news and information about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has touched us all.  We will all need to adapt to this new reality and find ways to manage and minimize the impact during this time of uncertainty.

We are reaching out as we are here to help you as clients, friends, and future homeowners.  Whether you are a current client or looking to purchase a home, our team can and will provide assistance. For those of you who are unable to fly to South Florida. to look for properties or -for those of you who own homes we have services to provide.  Our Video technology, in real-time, can expedite making a home buying decision.  Feel free to contact us, we have vendors, contractors and help at our disposal if you are in need of assistance.

Contact us as the numbers below with any questions you may have.

Shari Orland,  (954) 245-7469

Alfredo Ruiz,  (561) 350-6923


What’s the FICO News for Boynton Beach Real Estate Watchers?

The lowering of Boynton Beach mortgage rates is providing an undeniable stimulus for area buyers—so any change in how lenders look at credit scores is automatically of interest. In that sense, this should come as interesting news: FICO is about to introduce two new scoring models!  

But actually, it’s likely to produce barely noticeable ripples. Among other reasons, the gradual introduction of the new FICO Score 10 and Score 10T won’t happen until this summer—and most lenders will wait a while before adopting them (if they use them at all). The difficulty confronting consumers seeking to track relevant details in the credit rating universe is well known. For instance, FICO 8 is still the most commonly used, even though its successor—FICO 9— debuted six years ago. Further complicating the picture is how the three credit bureaus use specialized FICO versions (a different story entirely!).

Basically, FICO scoring has to do with how different factors are weighted in formulating any given “score”—the number meant to predict the risk a lender would take when funding a loan. Each new model attempts to further refine the available data. Such improvements become possible as more information is made available—and in today’s Boynton Beach, the all-encompassing electronic nature of our day-to-day dealings creates more and more data.

Among other factors, the new FICO 10 will give more weight to personal loans. It will penalize borrowers who take out loans to consolidate debt if they then continue to rack up more debt. FICO 10T will tabulate “trended”...

For Delray Beach Luxury Homes, there is No “Typical”

The typical Delray Beach luxury home buyer isn’t really “typical” any more than the property they will ultimately acquire. It’s a simple fact that the affluent prospective buyers who are Delray Beach’s next homeowners simply can’t be pigeonholed in any meaningful way. The Luxury Home Council defines the group as “owners of properties valued at five times the median price of U.S. homes”—but in fact, many Delray Beach luxury properties significantly exceed that metric. Again, there simply is no “typical.”

It follows that generalizations about today’s Delray Beach luxury properties are also few and far between. But there are some features that writers point to as gaining increasing popularity. Some include—

  • Designer Dressing Rooms. Yesterday’s closets are rapidly expanding into walk-in areas with luxurious cabinetry, sound systems, and designer lighting. Glass cases may display handbags and clothing; opening drawers can trigger lighting.
  • Gourmet Kitchen features are evolving. Today’s luxury kitchen may have built-in iPhone triggered coffee brewers, wine refrigerators (or walk-in, climate-controlled wine rooms), warming drawers—and/or any of the rapidly surfacing electronic “smart” kitchen adjuncts. There is no ‘typical.’
  • Spas. Luxury in today’s master bathrooms really comes closer to what high-end resorts feature in their spas. These begin with double vanities and walk-in showers, then add features ranging from towel warmers and rain showers...

This Spring, Strong Signs Boost Boca Raton Seller Optimism

As the traditionally fast-moving spring real estate market nears, Boca Raton sellers who will be listing soon have multiple grounds for optimism—with the scarcity of available properties being the most widely publicized. Now it appears that the long-standing national shortage isn’t just continuing: it’s widening.

According to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors®, buyers in nine out of ten markets they tracked could find 8.5% fewer homes for sale than had been available just one year before. That was in addition to the host of sunny economic conditions (a “soaring stock market, good economy, and low interest rates”) that were further motivating prospective homebuyers. If the number of local listings echoes the national trend, Boca Raton sellers could expect an uptick in competition for this season’s properties.

That was the theme of last week’s lead article in Realtor Magazine. Home Price Hikes Widen Sellers’ Advantageforetold the effect constrained inventory is expected to have on this spring’s real estate activity. New research pointed in the same direction: median listing prices have been rising at the same time housing supplies and days-on-market decline. According to, January patterns “set the stage for a competitive homebuying season.”

Although the principles of supply and demand would certainly lead to the same opinion, U.S. News & World Report gave a less ebullient reason to agree. In last month’s “Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2020,” they put out...

Coronavirus’s Faint Ripple Effect on Delray Beach Real Estate

Last week, in contrast with the nearly unanimous optimistic forecasts coming from the financial and economic think tanks, Delray Beach news consumers were exposed to a single worrisome detail. The cloud on the horizon was called “coronavirus.” Like the 21st century’s first pandemic—SARS—early reports from its point of origin were covered up by Chinese authorities. The World Health Organization is sending a team to China early this week.  

So far, Delray Beach has escaped direct manifestations of the new strain—and it’s been reassuring that American health services have been quick to take stringent precautionary measures to slow down its spread from Asia. But there’s little doubt that we won’t be able to contain it completely. It’s widely thought that its spread in the U.S. will most likely follow the earlier SARS pattern. That virus was effectively stifled here through similar containment efforts.

At least where Delray Beach real estate commerce is concerned, it seems unlikely that this is a cloud on the horizon that will wind up affecting this spring’s home buyers and sellers greatly, if at all. Locally, expect more disinfectant wipes to be offered in Delray Beach stores and offices (and possibly at this spring’s open houses, too). To date, medical investigators have yet to determine if the coronavirus strain is any more virulent than the influenza strains that annually hit the U.S.

Nonetheless, it’s odd but true that thus far, the only apparent effect on local Delray Beach real estate may have been to boost activity. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association,...

Boynton Beach Home Sellers Optimistic Forecast

As soon-to-list Boynton Beach home sellers may tell you, tracking the national home sales trends is one pastime that’s been less than exciting of late. The National Association of Realtors® monthly compendium of activity has long been mired in utter predictability. For month after month, the reports have been variations of familiar themes. The pace of sales is mildly positive, or stalled, or mildly negative. Prices inch up—but barely (owing to a seeming perpetual lack of inventory). And the future? That looks like more of the same

It's been enough to make the most dedicated Boynton Beach real estate trend-watcher skip the reports. That’s why, for those still paying attention, last Wednesday’s NAR recounting of key indicators for home sales must have come as a jolt of unexpected good news:

  • December’s home prices rose 7.8% compared with the previous year’s. Per the report, “Price appreciation has rapidly accelerated.”
  • Pace of Sales. Forty-three percent of homes sold last month had been on the market for less than a month. On average, properties remained on the market for five fewer days than in the...

Scientifically Speaking, What’s the Real Value of “Curb Appeal”?

The importance of “curb appeal” as a factor for selling Delray Beach homes has never been questioned. It’s as important as packaging is to breakfast cereal makers—or to any manufacturer whose products compete for shelf space in a supermarket. “Curb appeal” produces a potential homebuyer’s first impression—and that has a way of influencing a lot of what follows.

Yet just exactly the degree to which curb appeal determines any Delray Beach home’s sales success is—like most of the other factors that go into the art of selling—not something that you’d think would lend itself to scientific study.

Not so, as the slogan on the masthead of the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics proclaims. The editors of that periodical take an opposing view: namely, that recent advances in the “theoretical and empirical research using the paradigms and methodologies of finance and economics” can be applied to real estate.

That promise made some headway in a recent article authored by two college professors: “Valuing Curb Appeal.” The academics used newly developed Artificial Intelligence advances (“a deep learning classification algorithm”) to rate Google Street View photos, then combined that with sales data from nearly 89,000 properties. The result was a determination that homes with excellent curb appeal “sold for 7% more than similar houses with poor curb appeal.” Furthermore, in slow markets, that figure rose to as high as 14%.

As a Wall Street Journal reviewer acknowledged...

Long-Term Results Usually Tilt Toward Buying

Some of the reasons cited by advocates of renting over owning are the financial burdens homeownership entails.

  • “Maintenance and Repairs are On The Landlord,” boasts online site
  • “Renting frees up money to save,” says

There are certainly circumstances that make renting Boca Raton properties a prudent choice—some are due to specific career, lifestyle, and financial circumstances—particularly when future matters are undecided. But although the “maintenance and repairs” argument sounds reasonable—it really doesn’t hold up when you consider that rental terms aren’t devised to result in a loss for the landlord. Any fairly priced rental or lease payment covers the cost of the property’s upkeep—with a reasonable percentage added for profit!

The “freeing up money to save” argument is probably literally true at the early stages of most Boca Raton home acquisitions. But the long-term reality is that Boca Raton homeownership builds equity—equity that translates into “savings” (albeit in a less liquid form). Those are savings that aren’t as readily available as cash in the bank, but that is actually a substantial pro-savings feature: the “enforced savings” attribute. The greater average net worth of homeowners over renters bears it out.

The most frequently cited reason for not buying is the difficulty of coming up with a down payment. If today’s robust economy truly does result in more dollars...

When Will the Spring Rush begin for Delray Beach Homes?

January has often been a month when Delray Beach homeowners decide to get serious about projects they’ve put on hold during the past year. It’s only logical: most of us tend to regard the annual calendar changeover as a kind of mental departure point. “Out with the old! In with the new!” is more than just a greeting card motto: January has long been a month for committing to major initiatives.

Deciding to sell your Delray Beach home can be such a project—and when you combine that January milestone idea with the popular acceptance of spring as the key home-selling season, you might think that right now—in mid-January—is the ideal time to begin preparations. In the past, that was often the case. But if the National Association of Realtors®’ latest research is on target, that notion may be passé. For the buyers, at least, the wait is over. For them, spring is already here!

 Research shows that most people think that April is when home buyers start home searches in earnest, but the latest statistics from 2019 show that February was the leader. It racked up the most monthly views per listing. And January was only 1% behind February. In other words, as far as serious homebuyers are concerned, this year’s Delray Beach homebuying push may already be underway!

The NAR believes that it’s the more competitive housing market that was responsible for the shift to an earlier start last year—and they have reason to believe that trend will continue this year. Their economists speculate that low inventories and rising prices caused searchers to begin their house-hunting early last year. That...