While best known as a vacation destination nestled by the ocean among palm trees, Boca Raton is not solely for tourists. Boca Raton is a city of about 100,000, consisting of a blend of young professionals, seniors, and families who enjoy the temperate climate and plethora of outdoor activities and restaurants, shopping, and museums. The Boca Raton real estate market is highly competitive and features median prices about $100,000 higher than the national average. So if you’re looking for a home in Boca Raton, here are some tips to give you the edge.
Consider Local Housing Types
Part of the allure of house hunting in Boca Raton is the variety of home types available in the area. If a condo is an appealing option for you, then Boca Raton is a great place to house hunt as there are condos throughout the city that offer many common amenities like fitness facilities, patios, and pools. Waterfront penthouses with breathtaking views are also an option if that’s within your budget.
Perhaps older, more historic homes are more your taste. If that’s the case, East Boca Raton has many options available in the Old Floresta style popularized in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Old Floresta style features the Spanish Mission style with plentiful windows, stucco, and barrel-tiled roofs. The price range for these homes can be from the low $800k to $2.75 million for the larger estates. With their age and proximity to the ocean, maintenance is something that you will want to consider.
If you’re a retiree looking for a community to call home, then Boca Raton may be an excellent choice for you. West Boca has several retirement communities like Century Village, which features a library, clubhouse, and theater. Entry-level prices are around the mid-$70,000s for a smaller unit to $360,000 for the larger units. With almost everything on-site, you’ll seldom need to use your car. Boca Raton is good for families, with family-friendly neighborhoods flourishing in western Boca Raton. These typically feature newer homes built in the last 30 years and offer plenty of parks, walking paths, and excellent schools.
Look at Pricing in Boca Raton
Earlier this year, the median home price in Boca was $529,415, considerably higher than the national average of $309,800. However, that includes some very high-end homes, which skew the numbers a little bit. Entry-level one-bedroom, one-bath apartments start at about $85,000, with the top-end being in the several million dollar range. Property taxes in Palm Beach County sit around 3.68%, over triple the national average of 1.1%.
Buy in a Competitive Market
With low mortgage rates, high demand, and a low supply due in part to COVID-19, it’s very much a seller’s market, with homes undergoing bidding wars, leaving little room for price negotiations. Many homes are selling above market value. COVID-19 has also limited open houses and showings, making way for simultaneous closings to become more the norm, with sellers waiting to accept an offer until they have searched themselves.
With a simultaneous closing, the seller gives a private mortgage to the buyer to purchase the property. That mortgage is then immediately sold to an investor. The investor pays cash to the seller, allowing the seller to get funds for their next home quickly. It usually takes about 60 days from an accepted offer to closing, giving the sellers time to purchase their next home and relocate. To make your offer more appealing, have a mortgage pre-approval or access to the funds available at the showing.
Research the Florida Homeowner Associations
Nearly every home available in Boca Raton is part of a homeowners association. Homeowners pay fees annually or monthly to maintain common areas like pools, clubhouses, golf courses, paved areas, and landscaping. The more value there’s in the community features, the higher the fees will be. Most HOA dues are under $400 a month, with some of the lower-end homeowners associations have annual fees under $500. Conversely, homes on the golf course or within clubhouse communities can see fees exceeding $20,000 per year.
Typically, these HOAs are governed by a board of directors elected by the members. They’ll then make guidelines for what’s allowed for construction and other aesthetic aspects of your property. Often they’ll also cover internet access, garbage removal, and the like as well. When looking at a house, make sure you look at the history of the HOA fees to get a feel of what you can expect going forward based on past activity. Also, since the fees cover many amenities and utilities, you’ll save money from paying for all of that individually, making these fees much more reasonable.
Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Home in Boca Raton
No matter where you’re buying, a home inspection is crucial, so any potential issues are discovered upfront, such as wiring issues, a leaky roof, foundation issues, or other structural problems. There are other considerations to consider as well that are more specific to Boca Raton and surrounding areas. First of all, many ant species are present in Boca Raton, and they can make their way into your home. Ensuring the home is sealed up around pipes, cracks, and vents will help keep the pesky critters out. In addition to a home inspection, a pest inspection would also be a worthwhile venture to undertake.
Due to its location on the coast, Boca Raton is susceptible to high winds from hurricanes and tropical storms, which can cause extensive damage. If you are buying an oceanfront property, schedule a specific inspection to check the seawall to ensure it is structurally sound, has had all requisite repairs and upgrades performed, and determine the remaining life span of the seawall.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a vast portion of the city as a flood hazard area. Special permits may be required when doing any building or renovating to deal with drainage issues. Any area by a waterway like inlets and canals can flood as the elevation is very low. With this in mind when purchasing a home in Boca Raton, make sure you look into flood insurance as most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding damage.
If you’re ready to make a move to Boca Raton, Florida, reach out to the knowledgeable team at Titan Funding. We can go over financing options, including the advantages and disadvantages of each regarding your specific needs.