Palm Beach Real Estate News

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

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

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

Predicting the housing market should be an Olympic event; everyone loves to predict the ups and downs of the real estate market. As we enter 2020 consumers are wondering if it’s a good time to buy? What can home buyers expect this year and is it time to move?

Housing Market Trends 2020
Most analysts agree that 2020 should see a continuation of the momentum which built in 2019. The foundation for growth is strong with low unemployment numbers, higher household incomes and high consumer confidence. Additionally, we are starting to see more Millennials enter the housing market than ever before.

Housing Stocks
More and more investors are realizing the value of adding real estate to their portfolios. Shunting the hassle of owning rental properties, many of these investors, as well as new participants, are turning to REITs for investment diversification. REITs that are based on hard assets provide stability as well as liquidity, making them very popular. The types of properties held in these funds is changing also. In addition to commercial and large scale buildings, many funds are adding smaller homes to their portfolio – taking advantage of the growing down-sizing trend as Baby Boomers move to their next home.

Market Picture for Buyers

Overall, buyers should find a nice selection of homes from which to choose. Interest rates are expected to remain reasonable and home prices should flatten a bit with the increased inventory of homes. All-in-all, 2020 should be a continuation of the past year with no extreme moves expected in the market.

Posted by Heather Smith on February 28th, 2020 6:29 PM


A lack of inventory has made it extremely challenging for would-be buyers to find the right property. But it looks like a wave of new construction may finally be on the way—and, judging by the permits, that wave is going to be a significant one.

According to a recent article in REALTOR Magazine, housing permits (which act as a predictor for future construction) increased 5 percent in October. That’s the fastest rate of permit authorization since 2007—just before the Great Recession.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, this increase in housing permits is “tremendously good news for the housing sector.”

“At 1.46 million units on an annualized basis, housing permits are nearly to the level needed for the country over the long haul,” Yun said in the article. “Since new-home construction kicks off the chain reaction of people trading up and trading down by buying new and selling their existing homes, more housing inventory will surely show up in the market next year.”

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’ve been trying to buy a home but have struggled with a lack of inventory, this increase in housing permits should be the jumping off point for new construction—and once that new construction hits the market, it should make it easier for buyers to find the right home.

Posted in:homebuyerPosted in:buying a homePosted in:home buyer and tagged: homebuyerbuying a homehome buyer
Posted by Heather Smith on January 10th, 2020 2:57 PM


Technology has made a variety of real estate transactions significantly more convenient; instead of filling out paperwork in person, digital contracts allow you to conduct virtually all of your real estate business online from wherever you are. But there’s one transaction the majority of people still prefer managing in person—and that’s closing on a house.

According to a recent survey from Solidifi, a network management solutions provider in the residential lending industry, 81 percent of consumers prefer to close on their home or refinance in person. One of the main reasons? Consumers still value having a qualified closing agent on hand to help them navigate the process; according to the survey, more than two-thirds of consumers said their experience working with their closing agent would make them more likely to work with their lender in the future.

What does this mean for you? If you’re purchasing a home and the thought of a digital closing doesn’t sit well with you, you’re not alone. Working in person with a qualified closing agent can help you better navigate the closing process, get all of your questions answered, and ensure that the purchase or refinancing of your home goes smoothly.

Posted by Heather Smith on December 20th, 2019 3:17 PM



For most first-time buyers, purchasing a home is the biggest purchase of their lives—but according to a recent survey, the majority of them don’t exactly feel prepared.

A recent article from REALTOR Magazine outlined a survey from first-time homebuyer survey from real estate resource Framework, which found that the majority of first-time homebuyers feel unprepared to buy. According to the survey, only 41 percent of first-time homebuyers felt prepared for the homebuying process, while 44 percent said they feared making a costly mistake. And more than half of all first-time buyers—both prospective (58 percent) and recent (53%)—said the homebuying process was more difficult than it needed to be.

What does this mean for you? If you’re buying a home for the first time, you want to feel as prepared as possible—and that means working with a qualified real estate agent. The right agent will help you feel prepared for every step of the homebuying journey—and make the entire process of buying a home feel less complicated and difficult.


Posted by Heather Smith on November 21st, 2019 3:07 PM

Want to experience higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in your life? The answer could lie in real estate.

According to the 2019 Fall Homebuyer Insights Report from Bank of America, the vast majority of homeowners—a whopping 93 percent—are happier owning their home than they were when renting.

And the benefits of owning a home don’t end there. Homeowners also report higher levels of life satisfaction in all areas, including how much time they spend pursuing hobbies (82 percent of current homeowners vs. 63 percent of prospective buyers), the quality of their social life (78 percent of current homeowners vs. 58 percent of prospective buyers), their financial well-being (77 percent of current homeowners vs. 42 percent of prospective buyers), and their life overall (88 percent of current homeowners vs. 70 percent of prospective buyers).

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? Happiness, fulfillment, and life satisfaction aren’t things you can purchase. But you can purchase a home—and, in many ways, that’s the next best thing.

Posted by Heather Smith on October 22nd, 2019 1:50 PM

A real estate transaction can be an exciting thing to experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. Your experience will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your transaction and, perhaps more importantly, the agent you’re working with.

A great agent will not only get you over the finish line to the best of their ability, but they can also change your life for the better. Here are eight ways:

1. They’ll show you they care

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like everyone’s attention is in short supply. A great real estate agent will show you that’s not always the case, by listening and caring about you and your needs. Not only will being a good listener help an agent do their job, but it’ll also show you that even in business, there are still people out there who care.

2. They can save you a lot of money

There’s an old expression, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Hiring a great agent can save you literally thousands of dollars, as the right agent will not only negotiate effectively, but also know what pitfalls to look for as the transaction moves along, saving you money in the process.

3. They can help you see things in a different way

One of the most overlooked aspects of hiring a great agent is just how much of an effect they can have on your perspective. For instance, you might think that you’re looking for something in particular, but a great agent can take what you asked for and find something that’s even better than anything you’ve ever considered. A great agent is like an expert matchmaker.

4. They’ll do more than help you buy or sell a home

A great real estate agent will go above and beyond for you. They’ll help you find contractors, give recommendations on design (if you’re open to them), and even help you navigate the restaurants in your new neighborhood. Great agents provide so much value because they want to be your go-to resource for anything to do with real estate.

5. They can find you something that no one else can

Great real estate agents aren’t necessarily miracle workers, but they’re close. A great agent will surprise you with something no one’s ever thought of before, whether it’s finding a property that you didn’t know about, or a solution to an otherwise complex problem. A great agent is proactive and instead of sitting around waiting, will make things happen for you.

6. They can take a lot of stress away

One of the best things about a great real estate agent is the peace of mind that comes from working with them. There are lots of things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and a great agent knows this and will not only anticipate issues ahead of time, but will shoulder the burden and solve problems for you, making it a low-stress experience.

7. They’ll go to battle for you when it counts

The right agent is like a general you can depend on when the going gets tough. From searching for the right property or buyer, to negotiating, to pushing the deal through despite all obstacles standing in the way… a great real estate agent won’t back down from adversity and will battle for your best interests at all times.

8. They can become a friend for life

Maybe your real estate agent is already your friend, but if not, with a great agent you might eventually become one. Real estate is much more about relationships than it is about individual transactions, and great agents know this. They also usually have the kind of infectious personality that you always want to be around. So don’t be afraid to form a lifelong friendship with your real estate agent, it could truly change your life.

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Posted by Heather Smith on August 29th, 2019 12:24 PM

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Heather Smith

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