West Palm Beach, FL Real Estate News

By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
When we read or hear that Palm Beach County property values continue to be on the rise, it’s a relief. No matter what else is going on, at least our real estate investment’s back on track! That comforting thought has a less reassuring sidebar, though, having to do with time and its effect on our investment. As every homeowner learns soon enough, regardless of the general trend toward rising property values in West Palm Beach, that’s only going to hold when the underlying investment—your home—is not allowed to deteriorate over time. Protecting gains in Palm Beach County property values by preventing the kinds of deterioration that time (and wear and tear) threaten to wreak doesn’t have to be expensive. One good example applies to homes with a wooden deck. Dean Bennett, owner of a Colora...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Follow Me On:     Mortgage News Housing Stays Strong into New Year Home loan applications increased in early January, as a weaker-than-expected December employment report sent interest rates lower. Home loan rates had been on the rise up until the report, and just as the Fed announced its decision to "taper" its Bond-buying stimulus efforts. Both purchase, as well as refinance loan application volume increased by 12 and 11 percent, respectively, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. "The drop in rates was (also) large enough to trigger a pickup in refinance volume," said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA's chief economist. The rise in purchase applications could be a signal of a strong home buying season this spring. Many in the real estate industry w...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Send to a Friend Follow Me On:   In This Issue         Last Week in Review: The housing, manufacturing and labor sectors have been struggling of late. Plus, the minutes from the Fed's latest meeting were released. Forecast for the Week: Several key housing reports are ahead, plus a look at U.S. growth and consumer attitudes. View: What is your body language saying to your clients? Use the simple tips below to avoid common mistakes many people make.           Last Week in Review         "Winter is coming." George R.R. Martin. Winter has long arrived in many parts of the country, and it is being cited as a reason for several weaker than expected economic reports. Read on for details, and what they mean for home loan rates.  After making important improvements last year, the housing secto...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
When it comes time to sell your home, you know most of the factors that determine Palm Beach County home prices. The number of bedrooms, condition of the yard, updating (or not) of the kitchen and bathrooms: they all influence final home prices in West Palm Beach. But what are some of the lesser-known factors that can drive up Palm Beach County home prices? Some of them are truly surprising— The words “Boulevard” or “Avenue” sound somewhat more prestigious than the humble “Street,” so you may not be totally surprised to learn that home sales for properties with these address suffixes are higher. According to a massive (10,000 sales) Trulia study, houses located on a “Boulevard” sold for an average price per square foot of $117, while those on a “Street” sold for only $86. The differenc...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
" Getting a Loan " January presented us with major changes to mortgage lending rules. These new guidelines aim to curb some of the excesses that occurred during the sub-prime years—hopefully resulting in a lower risk of default and foreclosure by borrowers and a healthier real estate climate for everyone. QM: “Qualified Mortgage” This all came about as one offshoot of the Dodd-Frank legislation that went into effect in 2014. It creates a new category, “Qualified Mortgage.” Lending institutions are required to document each loan they deem to be a QM; when they do, they benefit by being able to sell them to Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac, and are protected from legal action in the event of a future default. The reason that these changes won’t keep most borrower from getting a Palm Beach Coun...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Buying West Palm Beach real estate has long been one of the preferred ways to save for retirement, so the attraction of merging it with IRA benefits adds a tax dimension. In its own right, buying real estate in West Palm Beach as an investment combines the security of owning a physical asset with the relatively predictable income flow a rental property produces. And if Stan Humphries (Chief Economist at Zillow) is correct, in 2014 prices are expected to cap last year’s 5% gain by rising a further 3%. Put it all together and it’s clear why some retirement-minded people think that buying West Palm Beach real estate in an IRA is an attractive proposition. Self-directed Investment Retirement Accounts are largely similar to other IRAs. They allow investments to grow on a tax-deferred basis ...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
When it comes time to put your home on the market, one key early decision is which area realty company will be your sales partner. Of course, you will choose someone you feel comfortable working with, but there are further hard-nosed criteria that can help guide your choice: Experience in Our Market There’s nothing wrong with giving a brand new real estate school graduate a try, but especially if it’s important to sell quickly, you’ll want to work with a professional with demonstrated local experience. For openers, those agents know more about the history and direction of home sales in West Palm Beach - they’ve been participants! That’s first-hand knowledge that will be vital in helping you arrive at a smart asking price. You’ll find that the experienced agents also have a smartphone l...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Real Estate Investment It could be considered a magic trick that will have the audience gasping in disbelief: turning one of your child’s college expenses into (drumroll, please)…a profit! Setting the stage for this trick will take some doing. Consider the magician to be the parent of a Palm Beach County high school age child. This should be someone who subscribes to the overall philosophy of regarding every potential catastrophe as nothing more than a well-disguised opportunity. When this magician reads that college tuition and fees are now $22,000-$30,000 per year, and that the average cost of room and board in 2013-2014 will range from $9,500 at a 4-year public college to $10,830 at a private school, he doesn’t quake in terror. Instead, he thinks, “opportunity!” After all, this is s...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Part of the recovery in West Palm Beach’s real estate scene is the increasing likelihood of multiple offers on a listed property. This is every seller’s dream— but if you are one of the bidders, it’s important that you don’t allow it to become your nightmare. There is one way— the only sure way—to keep the specter of competing Palm Beach County multiple offers from upsetting your home buying prospects. Summed up in one word, it’s “preparation.” Preparation starts with assembling a strong financial package. If your target property attracts multiple offers, you want yours to stand out. By the time you learn that other offers are at hand, it’s probably already too late to begin putting together documents—they should be in hand before you even identify a property. Getting pre-approval for ...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Words you can’t afford to hearas a Real Estate Agent As a Real Estate Agent, there are afew dreaded words that we hope we never hear – “Sorry, we purchased a home already and are closing next week.”   If you have been fortunate to never hear those words, then count yourself lucky.  If you have heard them before, then you can’t let it happen again.  Period. The number one rule in any business is – follow up, follow up, and follow up!   On the next Agent Mastermind class, we are going to cover some great strategies that will help you make sure you never lose another buyer or seller again, including – What system is best for buyer and seller follow up? What is the best way to follow up? What follow up system is the most user friendly? And much more…   For both new and seasoned agents alik...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
If you own a luxury home in West Palm Beach, this will be good to know: according to researchers at DataQuick, the number of homes sold at more than $1 million rose nationally by 37% in the first half of 2013. Last Friday, the Wall St. Journal headed its Mansion section with “the recovery in high-end real estate,” and Bloomberg reports that luxury home prices in the biggest four cities that had fallen nearly 46% during the downturn have now more than doubled. If the formerly-missing luxury home buyers have been buoyed by record-breaking Wall St. returns, it’s not surprising that they’re now ready to come out of hiding. For some owners of luxury homes in West Palm Beach, that’s what they’ve been waiting for. Of course, marketing a luxury home in our neck of the woods takes a deft hand. ...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Sell your property - Even when it is clearly necessary, if you’re like most of us, you feel a built-in reluctance to sell your Palm Beach County property. Those four walls (okay, I know there are more like 40 or 80, but bear with me) contain all the furnishings and other possessions we gather through the years to create our family’s unique environment. When we come through that front door, we feel more comfortable than anywhere else on Earth. But your home is also an investment (and what a colossal one it is!). That’s why the decision to sell your Palm Beach County property—disconcerting though it may be—ought to be much more a business proposition than an emotional one. When you choose me as your Palm Beach County real estate agent, it becomes part of my job to point out the smart bus...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Property management for Palm Beach County landlords can be the key to circumventing what can otherwise become growth-limiting factors. If you are one of those who acquired a few rental properties as a reliable way to earn easy, hands-off income, you may have been surprised when your hands turned out to be a bit more ‘on’ than you had planned. Or perhaps you are an experienced landlord looking for a way to expand your business—but already fully occupied with the status quo. The solution may be one you considered before, but decided against for cost reasons. But now that you have more predictable cash flow expectations, you might take a harder look (clearly, many others have done so: according to the international analysts at IBIS World, the property management industry does $55 billion ...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Follow Me On: You magazine - February                                             www.christianpenner.com Lower Rates and Higher Home Prices Ahead A weaker-than-expected December employment report sent interest rates lower, resulting in more home loan applications in early January. Keep Reading »     6 Things You Must Know About Home Heating By Pat Mertz Esswein, Kiplingers.com Your home may be your castle, but you don't have to pay a king's ransom to keep it warm. Keep Reading »     A Three-Course Meal for Valentine's and Any Night After By Kathy Brennan, Caroline Campion and Kirk Leins If you're opting for a quiet, intimate dinner at home instead of at a noisy restaurant this month, consider this three-course meal with recipes from Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, co-authors of th...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
As reflected in the near-record national rise in home prices, West Palm Beach homeowners as a whole had much to cheer about in 2013. According to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, home prices increased 13.6% from October 2012—and in fact, they’ve been improving at a faster annual rate in each month for almost two years! Every expert I researched agreed that this rate of increase won’t (and, for the health of the market, shouldn’t) continue at that gravity-defying pace in 2014. Most of them do predict higher interest rates with a slower (but steady) rise in home prices. Adding to the overall optimism is last week’s RealtyTrac report that showed foreclosure filings last year weighing in with the lowest annual number in 7 years. That’s that: the recovery has happened! Some potential West Palm B...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Getting a Loan With a Retirement-Level Income The ongoing housing recovery is being boosted by some older participants. Builders and developers in particular have found that catering to the 55+ segment of the market is good business. Many retired buyers in West Palm Beach looking to enter the resurgent market will be pleased to learn that getting a loan is still possible, even if their income isn’t all that it used to be. In addition to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, intended to keep lenders from discriminating on the basis of age, last Saturday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin describing new tools which help Freddie Mac lenders evaluate properties—and new guidelines for disclosing that data to borrowers and loan applicants. Let’s face it: retirees w...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Palm Beach County property owners, whether they are single homeowners or large institutions holding multiple rental properties, are members of the same club—at least by one definition. They are all real estate investors, even though not all of them are the kind of West Palm Beach property owners who keep an  eagle eye trained on the value of their real estate investment portfolio (most of us think of it more as just “home”). Unless they plan to sell sometime soon, today’s asset value, book value, or whatever financial term you are looking at, is pretty much an abstract notion. It only becomes significant in the real world if you set your sights on selling. Even so, West Palm Beach property owners may be interested to learn that the past few years’ steady rise in property values nationw...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
Staging your Palm Beach County home for showings will always be a time-eater. The word itself is indicative: “staging” means transforming your busy household into a theatrical set. In addition to thoroughly cleaning every nook and cranny, it usually means spending on paint and a variety of minor supplies to tweak the production. Then comes the actual visits by potential home buyers, sometimes interrupting your schedule (sometimes with very little notice). If you have kids, keeping the staging in pristine condition must clear an extra hurdle. When the kids spill food on the floor (or leave toys underfoot for potential home buyers to trip over), selling your home can turn into a hand-wringing ordeal. It needn’t be. Here are a few sanity-preserving pointers: Designate one room for the kid...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
There is less guesswork than you might think about establishing an on-target Palm Beach County real estate listing price. There is really very little mystery: Comps and CMAs When you hear your Realtor™ refer to ‘the comps,’ you probably think of them as the printouts of the Palm Beach County real estate listings which are comparable to your own property. More comprehensively, a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis, also includes a broad look at pending and completed sales, as well as withdrawn listings. That analysis will also include and account for differentiating factors, such as upgrades you have made to the home, location, and other features that make your home unique. Market Conditions Market conditions will also play a strong role in developing a real estate listing price that’s ...
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By Christian Penner, Your Mortgage Lender - 561-316-6800 | 561-373-0987
(The Christian Penner Mortgage Team)
If you plan to be looking for a new home in West Palm Beach anytime this winter, before long you will find yourself having to pare down your list of ‘eligibles’—the properties that you ask your Palm Beach County real estate agent to include on your gotta-see-this-one list. The better job you do in whittling down that list, the more efficient your tour of properties will be. That’s not just a time-saver, either: the fact is, you’ll be more sharp-eyed and energetic when visiting prospective homes if you don’t waste time and energy on those that you could have eliminated beforehand. Some earmarks: 1. Houses that have been on the market for a long time Area homes that have been on the market for more than 90 days probably have something about them that’s made them less appealing to buyers....
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