South Florida Real Estate Blog by Alfredo Ruiz, Realtor

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...

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 rentberry.com.
  • “Renting frees up money to save,” says onerent.co.

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...

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...

It’s 2020—Paperwork May be at Risk!

In case you haven’t heard yet, you’d better watch out for 2020’s date-noting anomaly. This quirk was widely publicized on January 1, but for Boca Raton residents whose holiday focus was limited to Rose Parade floats and football games, it’s worth another mention.

As USA Today scolded, “Stop abbreviating 2020.” That is, if you (like most Boca Raton check writers) are accustomed to shortening the date by writing only the last two digits of the year (so you would have written “11-15-19” instead of “11-15-2019”), you’d better stop doing that; at least for the remainder of this year. According to legal authorities, the shorthand version could “cost you big.”  

The problem is that in 2020, a date written with just the “20” for the year can easily be altered by simply adding two digits. A check written in 2020 could, by appending “19,” appear to have been dated a year earlier. That creates an easy opportunity for fraud. As one example, a current purchase contract could be made to appear to be a year or two older, with the extra payments now long overdue. Even though you might find it unlikely that you could be victimized, ruling out the possibility is as easy as jotting down the two extra digits.

For anyone transacting Boca Raton home sale this year, that’s a particularly good idea. The paperwork that flows across the closing table is voluminous—and the importance of seeing that the dates are unassailably accurate goes without saying. However remote the chance that nefarious characters might one day take advantage of the...