Palm Beach Real Estate News

When COVID-related stay at home orders and restrictions hit the US in March, many buyers put their home search on hold. But as those orders and restrictions are being lifted, a good portion of those buyers are reentering the market.

Which brings up the question: what, exactly, are those buyers going to be looking for as we move through—and, eventually, out of—this pandemic?

recent survey from HomeLight, which polled real estate agents seven times between April and June, asked agents what they believed would be the most desirable or important features, characteristics, or amenities for buyers in the post-COVID-19 era—and, given what the country just went through in quarantine, the answers make sense. Some of the most popular responses include:

  • Designated home office (17 percent). COVID has pushed more companies towards a remote work model—which means more people than ever are working from home. Having a designated home office space is poised to be one of the most in-demand home features for buyers who are now working remotely.
  • Suburban or less dense location (16 percent). After a pandemic, expect many buyers to look to get out of the cities and into areas where it’s easier to get space—like the suburbs.
  • Private and spacious outdoor area (15 percent). COVID had many people stuck at home for months—and for many people without a yard, patio, or outdoor space, the lack of outdoor access made the experience more challenging. Expect even more demand moving forward for spacious (and private!) outdoor spaces, like fenced-in backyards.
Posted in:home features
Posted by Heather Smith on July 30th, 2020 9:04 AM

When COVID-19 first hit, many buyers put their home searches on hold—and that pause continued through the following months as much of the nation was under stay-at-home orders.

But now that the country has started to reopen, buyers are “unpausing” their searches and buying homes, which has translated to an unprecedented rebound in the market.

Data released in June in the National Association of REALTORS® Pending Home Sales Index, which measures housing contract activity, showed a 44.3% jump in May—the highest month-over-month increase since the Index started collecting data in 2001.

“This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a recent press release. “This bounce-back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery.”

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’ve been holding off on listing your home, it looks like buyers are officially getting back into the market and ready to buy—which should make it easier to sell.

Posted by Heather Smith on July 16th, 2020 9:06 AM

As the country reopens and starts to lift COVID-related restrictions, more people are getting back into the housing market—but many sellers are still concerned with how the pandemic will impact their home sale.

According to a new survey from LendingTree, more than 80 percent of sellers are concerned their home won’t sell—and almost 70 percent of sellers would accept a lower price in order to sell their home in the midst of the pandemic.

The Takeaway:

What does that mean for you? While this concern isn’t the best news for sellers, it is good news for buyers. Sellers are willing to lower their home price in order to successfully sell their properties, at least for the time being. So, if you’re thinking about buying, now could be a great time to score a deal on your home purchase.

Posted in:home buyerPosted in:home buying and tagged: home buyerhome buying
Posted by Heather Smith on July 6th, 2020 4:18 PM

Moving can be a stressful experience—and that’s especially true when you’re packing up your life and moving somewhere far, far away.

There are so many logistics that go into planning a long distance move. And if you don’t have those logistics in order, by the time you make it to your new home, you can feel completely stressed and overwhelmed.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! A recent article from realtor.com outlined tips you can use to reduce stress when planning a long distance move, including:

  • Choose the right date. Trying to move when everyone else is moving can make it more difficult (and more expensive!) to navigate your move. If you can plan your move during off times (for example, on a Tuesday instead of a Saturday or in the fall instead of the summer), it can be easier to coordinate and less expensive overall.
  • Do your research. Look into your options when it comes to movers. They are not all necessarily one size fits all. You’ll want one who has experience in long-distance moves. Knowing all of the possible options and doing your research into each one will help you make the best choice possible to avoid hiring a company that can’t provide you with the best, smoothest move possible.
  • Budget accordingly. The last thing you want is to move into a new home in a new city saddled with debt from a more-expensive-than anticipated move. Make sure you create a budget with a bit of extra padding in case you run into unexpected expenses during the moving process.
Posted by Heather Smith on June 22nd, 2020 12:31 PM

When you work in real estate, you spend much of your time in the weeds of a transaction, so it’s easy to forget about the true joy that comes from home ownership. At the end of the day, after all the paperwork is signed, after the champagne has been uncorked, real estate is all about real people being able to call someplace their own—a small slice of earth where they can lay their head at night and make a future for themselves and their families.

June is National Homeownership Month, making it the perfect time to remind people of some of the benefits of homeownership that we don’t always shine enough light on.

So, here are some of the true benefits of homeownership that we hear about from many first-time homebuyers:

1. Locked-in monthly expenses

Renting and hopping around from place to place can be exhausting—not only because of the constant upheaval, but also because rents keep rising, especially if you’re in a major metropolitan area. Buying a home fixes your costs in place (save for increases in taxes and insurance), and allows you the peace of mind of knowing your mortgage payment will be the same next year as it is this year. This might not seem so dramatic when you look at it in the short term, but if you’re thinking ten, fifteen years out, it’s a big deal.

2. Building a nest egg

In addition to fixing your monthly costs, you’re also buying an asset for yourself, as opposed to spending money to pay off someone else’s. The majority of Americans have a significant portion of their net worth in their home’s equity, and it’s long been a reliable way to accumulate wealth over time. Many homebuyers are sick of throwing their hard-earned money towards rent, and love the idea of using a home sort of like a savings account, especially when residential real estate has consistently appreciated over time. While it might not be the get-rich-quick scheme many people dream of, if you’re going to pay for a place to live anyway, why not be the primary beneficiary of your own hard work?

3. The joys of personalization

Sure, you can decorate an apartment or a rented house, but you can never make those intrinsic changes that make a place truly feel like it represents you. Spend enough time in a home and you’ll know exactly what you want to change to make it perfect. And decorating and remodeling can (and should) be fun. Your home is your castle, and you should make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. That’s why most people choose a home that has just the right amount of stuff they love, whether it be location, kitchen, or layout, and then change the rest of it themselves to truly make it their own.

4. Becoming part of a community

You can, of course, become a member of a community when you rent. But ownership conveys a deeper sense of belonging, especially on your end. Think about how you feel when you accidentally break something at home. When you own, the emotional frustration is deeper because that home belongs to you. It’s this same concept that drives communities to push for higher rates of owner-occupancy and homeownership. People who own in a community tend to have a bigger stake in it, if not only out of self-interest. When you buy, you’re not only making a commitment to yourself, you’re making one to your entire neighborhood.

5. A safe place to call your own

People have long valued a place to come home to and call their own. It is, after all, where we go when we’re done being out in the world. It’s a safe refuge where we can close the door and rest, spend time with our families, and be ourselves without having to worry about other people. A home gives us our own sanctuary—something every human being needs to feel safe and secure. At the end of the day, this is the most powerful reason why people strive to buy homes, and the true benefit of homeownership that outweighs all the others.

Those are just a handful of reasons agents hear from homeowners. But everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting a home…

So if you’re already a homeowner, let’s hear what you love about homeownership! And if you’re not, what would owning a home mean to you?

Posted by Heather Smith on June 11th, 2020 2:19 PM

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many potential buyers decided to put their home search on hold. But it looks like buyers are getting back to searching for homes online.

According to recent analysis from LendingTree, which analyzed Google search data, search interest value for the term “homes for sale,” which measures the popularity of a search term on a scale of 1 to 100, jumped from a low of 56 when the pandemic hit to 86 by the end of April—an increase of 54 percent!

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? An increase in searches for the term “homes for sale” is a good indicator that buyer interest is starting to pick up again—so if you’re thinking about selling your home, consider that good news. And, if you’re thinking about buying, know that you’re not alone, and you may have some stiff competition for houses you want to buy.

Posted by Heather Smith on June 4th, 2020 12:40 PM


Many homeowners are worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause home prices to drop—or to even crash like they did during the 2008 housing crisis.

But according to a recent survey, the majority of real estate professionals feel confident in the housing market and its ability to withstand the pandemic.

According to the March 2020 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, 60 percent of real estate professionals expect home prices to remain stable or increase in the next 12 months.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re worried we’re headed towards another housing crisis, you can breathe a little easier knowing most professionals agree that when we come out on the other side of this pandemic, home values will remain steady—or potentially even move higher than where they are today.

Posted by Heather Smith on June 1st, 2020 12:44 PM

5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answer

Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.

1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already available which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs.

2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour. Drive separately from your agent meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing.

3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. Since every aspect of real estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to set the right expectation.

4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections, appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow. Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.

5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.

The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time.

Posted by Heather Smith on May 21st, 2020 12:51 PM

The shelter in place orders that have been in effect for weeks across the country have many people spending more time at home than ever before. And after spending so much time in their homes, many of them are noticing what they don’t like about their current space—and what they’re looking for in a new home.

new survey from realtor.com asked people what they considered must-have features for their next home after sheltering in place. And, unsurprisingly, many of them had to do with space.

Some of the most common must-haves on buyers’ post-quarantine wishlist include:

  • More space (16 percent)
  • More/better outdoor space (14 percent)
  • Separation from neighbors (10 percent)
  • More bedrooms (9 percent)

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? If stay-at-home orders are making you realize you’re ready for a new space (and more space), you’re not alone—and you’re not stuck. Thanks to virtual tours and closings, home sales are still happening in the midst of the coronavirus—so get in touch with your real estate agent and start looking for the space you need.

Posted by Heather Smith on May 6th, 2020 3:26 PM

Much of the country is practicing social distancing—and doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

Social distancing at home can be a challenge and limit what you can do with your time. But if you’ve been thinking about putting your property on the market, this offers the perfect opportunity to get your home ready to sell.

recent article from Redfin outlined different ways sellers can productively use this time at extended home to get their properties ready to sell, including:

  • Clear the clutter. Have you been meaning to organize your garage, get rid of old furniture, or finally clean out your closets? Now is a great time to tackle any clutter-clearing projects—and get your home neat, orderly, and clutter-free for buyers.
  • Do a deep clean. When you show your home to prospective buyers, you want it to be sparkling clean. Take this opportunity to deep clean your home from top to bottom, including washing windows, cleaning grout in the bathrooms, and washing all your drapes, curtains, and blinds.
  • Up your curb appeal. It’s important to get outside and get some fresh air every day—so why not use that time to up your home’s curb appeal? Outdoor projects like raking and removing dead leaves and debris or adding potted plants to your front walkway are a great way to pass the time—and to make your home more appealing to buyers.
Posted in:home sellerPosted in:selling your homePosted in:home sellingPosted in:homesellingPosted in:selling a homePosted in:home organizingPosted in:pandemicPosted in:social distancingPosted in:social distance
Posted by Heather Smith on April 2nd, 2020 6:12 PM

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Heather Smith

Illustrated Properties 125 Worth Avenue, Suite 202
Palm Beach, FL 33480-4094