Palm Beach County Real Estate Market News 

By Lilianna

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 14, 2018

Mortgage rates have risen about half a percentage in 2018

What does that mean for you if you’re buying a home now or plan to buy one soon?

First, don’t panic.

When you’re buying a home, the mortgage rate matters. However, you shouldn’t focus on the rate and let that scare you and stop searching for the home.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to average 4.5% in February, which is about half percent from 2017. This increase doesn’t have a major impact on the monthly payment. On a 30-year loan for $200,000, the monthly payment would be about $59 more at a 4.5% interest rate than at a 4% interest rate.

What to do when rates rise

Lock your mortgage rate. If you close the home loan by the specified date, the rate can’t go up. You can use this tactic after the lender has approved you for a mortgage for a specific house.

Buy “points” to reduce the interest rate. If you have the cash, you can pay for discount points — in effect, prepaying some of the interest in exchange for a lower mortgage rate.

Revise your price range. A higher mortgage rate brings higher monthly payments. Rising rates might force you to adjust your home-price range downward.

The higher interest rates are the ‘new normal’. Talk to any housing economist about mortgage rates, and you’ll hear that rates have been abnormally low in the decade since the housing crash. I remember purchasing my first home for 9% interest rates. The rates we’re looking at today are still, pretty low.

People have gotten kind of lulled into these low rates, and a lot of people think this is normal, but this is not normal.

 

We are returning to normal, and it is going to be a painful process, but it is happening. 

Posted in Buying Home Advise
Aug. 8, 2018

Landscaping Tips That Can Help Your Home Sell

For many homes, landscaping can make or break a deal. 

Coordinate With Color

If your home has a yard, don’t be afraid of adding accents with pops of color. Many buyers prefer a nice green lawn; if you don’t have a sprinkler system, your local home improvement store will have easy-to-use and affordable sprinkler units you can hook up to a garden hose to help revive any dead grass. You can also add color with flower pots: plastic or terra cotta pots filled with annuals are an easy, cheap and quick way to bring some colors to driveway or front porch. 

Pressure Wash

Sometimes a landscape or outdoor area doesn’t need a complete renovation to look brand new. When it comes to decks, fences, driveways, and any other outdoor surface that can accumulate dirt and grime, an easy way to freshen things up is with a good pressure wash. Pressure washing is cleaning a surface with a powerful stream of high-pressure water.  The water is strong enough to get rid of months and even years’ worth of dirt and debris on wood, masonry, brick, and concrete.

Lead the Way With Light

While it’s highly unlikely you’ll have many people come and view your home at night, a great and easy way to add to your current landscape is with lights! Whether it’s adding a new outdoor lamp, or putting in walkway or path lights, buyers love to see little details put into homes. Pathway lights are often overlooked by homeowners, but a home with outdoor lighting will always speak volumes to potential buyers. 

Ditch the Dead Plants

A nice manicured yard always rates highly to the buyers. But if you have dead plants, it’s a good idea to ditch them. Take a couple of minutes each day to check out your yard - grass, flower beds, pots, etc. - and pull out anything that’s dying or dead.

Add More Fresh Mulch

Flower beds are a great focal point for any yard, especially when they’re a real show stopper. But if your beds look weathered or rough, they can be a definite turn off to potential buyers. An easy and affordable way is by adding new mulch or other ground covers like bark chips or gravel to help make the beds look fresh and new. A yard that has fresh mulch will always draw in a buyer’s eye. 

Summer is a popular time for real estate and an even more popular time for your yard. If your home can benefit from a little yard TLC, don’t hesitate. The tips above are easy, quick, and they’ll certainly help your home stand out from the competition. Your home will sell much faster.

Posted in Practical Advise
July 25, 2018

Keep your cool in HOT weather

Summer in Florida is the time to prepare for the high temperatures that kill hundreds of people every year. Extreme heat causes more than a thousand deaths each year. 

You must to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. The main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:

High humidity in Florida.  When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly as should, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.

Personal factors. Age, (People age 65 and older are at high risk for heat-related illnesses and very young children) obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death.

Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.

Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.

Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

If you play a sport that practices during hot weather, protect yourself and look out for your teammates.

Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.

Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.

Seek medical care immediately if you or a teammate has symptoms of heat-related illness.

Posted in Practical Advise
July 11, 2018

Proven ways to increase home value

Thinking of selling your house?

4 proven ways to increase home value based on my book "How to sell your home for more money?"

Some factors that determine what a house is worth are out of your control, like its location and the current conditions of that market. However, there are several tricks and repairs you can do to increase your increase home value.

Whether you want to build equity faster or get top dollar when you sell, use the tips below to raise the value of your home.

1. Make it attractive - 30 seconds first impression formula

Curb appeal — how your home appears from the street. A home’s exterior needs to make a prospective buyer want to walk through the front door. You need to make sure existing landscaping is well-maintained. If your yard seems dull in comparison with your neighbors, consider planting flowers, laying a mutch or painting the front door and driveway. Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom. They are the most important selling points and those rooms must be updated to keep a property reaching its highest value. A minor kitchen remodel recoups 81% of its cost in added value on average, versus 53% for an upscale kitchen remodel with stone countertops, custom cabinets, and commercial-grade appliances, according to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report.”The same is true for bathrooms; a midrange remodel — new flooring and a few updated fixtures — delivers a 70% return on investment, while an upscale bathroom remodels — heated flooring, custom cabinets, and designer fixtures — sees 56% on average.

2. Make it easy to maintenance

Since many home buyers worry about buying a home that will need constant maintenance and needs replacing a major component, you may consider replacing or repairing them before putting it up for sale. Make sure the A/C units, water heater and the roof will be in great condition. It will have a major influence on getting the higher price. Improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value. Consider replacing stained carpet with the tile of laminated floors

3. Make it looks bigger

Square footage has a huge impact on value. Price per square foot is one way helps people compare homes that are similar in style and upgrades. Bigger homes often command higher values, and even if an appraiser doesn’t officially acknowledge the full value of added space, a buyer will likely notice. Adding a room is the obvious way to make your house bigger, but you can also create additional living space by closing the screened patio area and building a deck.

4. Make it smarter

Safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of technologies younger buyers wants in their new homes. These safe and smart devices include thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting. Unlike replacing the roof or renovating the bathroom, you can usually install cameras for less than $500, thermostats and locks for $250 or less.

Posted in Home Improvement
July 5, 2018

Summer Watering Tips

The best practice is using rainwater to water your lawn, if possible. Watering a lawn can use up a lot of water, especially if you are using processed tap water. Instead of using the hose, try to capture rainwater in a rainwater collection barrel and use this to water your lawn in the summer. Rainwater is soft, so it is ideal for watering your lawn and plants.

Get a large barrel and place it outside to collect water when it rains. 

Skip watering after it rains because enough water will fall directly onto your lawn. Wait to use the rainwater until you hit a dry period. 

Wait until your lawn starts to turn yellow or brown to water. If you have to water your lawn, water just enough to keep it from turning brown and avoid running sprinklers too regularly. For example, you could turn the sprinklers on for a full night once a week, rather than misting your lawn every night. 

Your lawn will usually recover from turning brown. Although grass can turn yellow or brown quickly during dry periods, this does not mean the grass is dead or dying. It is only becoming dormant; the roots are still alive. 

Water your lawn during the cooler parts of the day. Watering your lawn when the sun is shining or when it is hot will not do your lawn much good because the water will evaporate quickly. Water your lawn early in the morning or after the sun goes down. This will allow the grass to soak up the water before the sun dries it up. 

You should apply a fertilizer to your lawn and plants once every 6 to 8 weeks if desired. Choose a slow-release plant fertilizer and follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to apply it. Wait until the soil temperature reaches no more than 65F to apply the first layer of fertilizer, and then apply the fertilizer once every 6 to 8 weeks through the summer and into the fall. Look for a granular fertilizer that you can just sprinkle onto the lawn and plants.

Posted in Home Improvement
June 28, 2018

How much house you can afford?

Figure out how much house you can afford

The traditional 20% down payment is still the best option because it lets you skip private mortgage insurance. But if 20% down is not possible, there are programs that can get you into a house with a much smaller sum. For example, FHA programs let you get a mortgage with as little as 3-1/2% down if your credit score is at least 580.

The first step is on deciding how much you have saved for down payment then how much you possibly can spend on a house.

Lenders will give you a loan which must be limited to a specific amount so that your monthly housing payments (including property taxes and insurance) will not exceed 28% of your pre-tax monthly income.

But if your income is not stable, if your pay fluctuates seasonally or you work in an industry with high turnover – you should consider a lower percentage, perhaps 20% or so, just to make sure you will have enough for additional expenses beyond that monthly housing payment like repairs, additional utility bills, homeowner’s association fees, and so on.

Posted in First time Buyers
June 23, 2018

Buy Flood Insurance

FEMA Encourages Homeowners To Buy Flood Insurance 

Hurricane season begins June 1, which means homeowners and renters need to buy a National Flood Insurance Program policy now to be prepared for disaster.

A flood insurance policy generally takes effect 30 days after purchase, and homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.

Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States and mostly in Florida, and it can occur almost anywhere — not just in high-risk areas. On average, 25 to 30 percent of all flood claims paid by NFIP are for properties outside high-risk flood areas.

If your community participates in NFIP, you can buy affordable protection that insures a single- family home for up to $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. Renters can cover contents up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure a building up to $500,000 and content up to $500,000.

A 30-day waiting period must pass before most flood policies become active. Some policies, however, start sooner:

If your building is newly designated in a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area, and you buy flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision: One-day waiting period.

If you buy flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing your mortgage loan: No waiting period.

If you select additional insurance as an option on your flood insurance policy renewal bill: No waiting period.

If your property is affected by flooding on burned federal land, and the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire-containment: Possible waiver of a waiting period.

You can purchase flood insurance through an insurance agent.

Posted in Home Insurance
June 22, 2018

Buying First Home

Buying first Home can seem a bit overwhelming

Here are helpful points for you to reference when going through the process.

Find a real estate agent. A good real estate agent/ Realtor can easily assist you from contracts to closing and everything in between. Once you have found your dream home, meet with your agent to discuss comparable sales and make your initial offer. There may be some additional negotiations between you and the seller during this time but once all parties have agreed to the terms you will officially be under contract.

Complete your loan application. Complete and return all necessary loan applications and paperwork to your mortgage broker so they can start work on having your loan approved.

Hire a home inspector. A home inspector will go through the entire property inside and out and report any damage or repairs that may affect the value of the home.

Hire an appraiser. An appraiser will solidify that the home you are purchasing is the right price and will be necessary for financing.

Have a walk-through. Right before a closing plan to visit the property one last time to make sure that everything is in order and as it should be.

Head to the closing table. Once there you will have to sign mortgage and closing documents, as well as provide any additional monies needed to close.

For more information about the home buying process visit Buying page and watch a video.

Posted in First time Buyers
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates