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For Lewes Sellers, a Pre-Sale Checklist

Apr 28, 2016

Selling your Lewes home is the kind of major undertaking that has so many facets just deciding where to start can delay liftoff. Since there is no actual “right” place to begin, like other mammoth projects, just digging in anywhere will do. The happy truth is that when you’re selling a home, once momentum gets going, the rest of the pieces tend to fall into place.

To get the ball rolling, here is a pre-sale checklist of major activities that selling your Lewes home will entail. To get started, pick any one:

  • Nagging problem elimination. Very few of us attend to every home maintenance problem as they gradually develop. If there were a reliable poll on the subject, I’d guess that 95% of Leweshomeowners have at least a two or three areas that we’ve learned to live with—but which will need to be attended to before we get very far toward selling our home. Identifying them is a pre-sale first step…then fixing them is the action item that transforms the idea of selling your home into reality.
  • First impression inspection. Any time you return from an outing you have the opportunity to get started on what will become your marketing approach. Do this by stopping and seeing what kind of first impression your property makes on someone setting eyes on it for the first time. What seems least fresh and appealing? Is it fencing that could use a quick coat of paint? A planter that needs colorful blossoms? The numerals on the mailbox? Selling your home starts with favorable first impressions.
  • Lights! Camera! Action! An essential element to get prospective buyers clamoring for a tour is the photography that highlights your Leweslisting. To start preparing for that, pick a room—any room—and stage it: clear it of unneeded objects, furniture, etc. This will entail figuring out where to store the objects that you want to keep, but which clutter up the visual appeal…and once you’ve identified where they will be stored, you’re seriously on your way to selling your home.
  • Getting down to business. Educating yourself about the competition means taking a look at this spring’s Lewes listings to get a feel for where the market is. Which comparable homes have just sold, and which haven’t moved for months? Your home may not be ready for market for a while, but the earlier you start familiarizing yourself with today’s Lewes real estate market, you better the odds that your listing price will be right.
  • Exit strategy. (My favorite of all) Be prepared to move! Any action you take in this direction, be it checking out reliable moving companies or beginning the hunt for your next house makes selling your home that much less of a long shot.

Each of these is a step that begins to transform the idea of selling your Leweshome from a looming cloud of uncertainty into a doable certainty. I didn’t even mention the easiest and surest pre-sale checklist item. It’s one certain to get the ball rolling:

Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Rehoboth Beach Real Estate Investment “Top 5” Draws

Apr 28, 2016

Of the investor-friendly possibilities, real estate has some particularly welcoming attributes that have kept it perpetually close to investors’ hearts (and portfolios). This is particularly the case whenever tenuous national and world affairs make the future unnervingly hard to predict.

Forbes magazine is one of the foremost sources that knowledge-thirsty investors consult for ideas and commentary about productive destinations for their extra investment capital; and some of those ideas recently surfaced in a piece on why real estate is “investor-friendly.” They pointed to five major characteristics that continue to attract investors:

  1. Volatility. Rehoboth Beach landlords have a degree of protection from the kind of volatility that the stock and bond markets frequently experience because rental rates are by their nature more stable over time. Globally, even international investors find U.S. real estate markets to offer relatively safe haven in troubled times. Forbes also notes that real estate investments offer insulation from price movements “since returns are derived from rental income in addition to price appreciation.”
  2. Inflation. Any Rehoboth Beach investor who has been around for a while knows how inflation can be a real investment-killer. Research points to the price-raising flexibility that real estate investments embody—but you don’t need to be an academic to know that everyone expects rents to rise when the cost of living does. When inflation rears its otherwise unwelcome head, commercial real estate investments have “the potential to become more profitable.”
  3. Returns. Last year, global economic growth slowed for most kinds of investment assets, but real estate was an exception. Rising rents alone would have done the trick (but underlying appreciation also didn’t hurt).
  4. Diversification. As an injection of a different asset class, real estate is a portfolio-strengthener. Spreading risk is one of the bedrock principals every Rehoboth Beach investor learns from the start—a real estate investment does the trick.
  5. Tax benefits. The income from a rental investment in Rehoboth Beach can be partially offset by depreciation and loan interest “that can add up to a substantial tax break.”

This spring, the current listings offer any variety of such investor-friendly possibilities. When you decide that your own investment portfolio might benefit from the stability and other advantages that distinguish Rehoboth Beach real estate investments, I hope you won’t hesitate to give me a call to investigate! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Bethany Beach Homeowners Eye Swings and Bridges

Apr 28, 2016

They’re called “swings” or “bridges”—but they don’t belong on a kindergarten playground. They’re the specialized loans that can help Bethany Beach home buyers get past the kind of cash crunch that can snag an otherwise perfectly achievable purchase.

This is a timing situation that happens quite frequently; it’s in the nature of residential real estate transactions. Suppose you are selling your Bethany Beach home to an out-of-state buyer. The deal is well on its way to being finalized on the agreed schedule. Meanwhile, you have found a new, bigger place that’s perfect for your family (it’s in Bethany Beach, too—also in a great neighborhood). The problem is that you need to close on the new home before the sale of your current one is finalized. That’s the cash crunch.

The solution can be a bridge loan (AKA, a swing loan). It’s a loan for the short period of time that will allow a home buyer to close on the new home purchase as the other sale closes. Of course, the problem is (this is what the lender has to be thinking) what if the sale of the old house falls through? The answer is to be able to produce a binding contract for that sale—without it, there is little chance the loan will be granted.

Bridge loans aren’t terrifically popular with lenders, since they involve a certain amount of paperwork for a transaction with such a short duration. I find that lender reluctance is minimal when we deal with one which is already involved—either holding the earnest money deposit or otherwise engaged with the parties. Even so, the terms of a bridge loan will be more expensive than other kinds—but since the term is brief, the higher interest cost does not amount to much of a deterrent.

Bridges and swings aren’t the only possible way to solve the buying-before-closing dilemma. Sometimes a line of credit (HELOC) on the old house will fill the void, particularly if it has not yet been entered in the Bethany Beach MLS. If it is already listed, the line may come with some extra charges, including cancellation or closing charges to compensate for the likelihood of its short duration. It is sometimes also the case that the lender financing the purchase of the new home is willing to provide a bridge loan by using the old property as security. Although that is a secured loan, it’s likely to be an expensive one.

When my clients buy or sell, or, as in some of these situations, buy and sell, some of what I do is to help put together creative solutions. Seeing you successfully sell—or move into—your Bethany Beach home is what my service is all about. It starts when you give me a call!  Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Dewey Beach Mortgage Rate News is Old News…Not!

Apr 28, 2016

The headlines last week had a familiar look to them, but in terms of what they actually signified for readers who might be potential home buyers or sellers in Dewey Beach, they really should have triggered a snap-to moment:

Mortgage Rates Fall to New 2016 Lows,” was the Star Tribune’s headline.  Yahoo Finance echoed that, adding, “Is Now the Time to Buy?” 

“Ho-hum,” readers might have reacted; “same ‘ol, same ‘ol…”

The so what? treatment was also what most media outlets gave the news. After all, haven’t mortgage rates been low for a long time now? So what if rates hit the lowest mark since May 2013? TV newscasters (cable and otherwise) were mostly mum, except on the financial channels. News is about what’s new—and this just didn’t seem to qualify.

Wrong!

In terms of real people’s lives, the actual impact of what those headlines mean is all but seismic. If you are selling your Dewey Beach home, the number of potential buyers depends on how many people can afford to shop in your asking price’s range. Likewise, for serious house hunters, the real contenders are those that fit your budget.

That’s where the current Dewey Beach mortgage rate picture is more than slightly interesting. It can be decisive. The impact that even small rate adjustments make are substantial—and that makes the current environment truly momentous. The average mortgage rate over the past 3 decades has been 7.49% (that’s what you get if you average out the official numbers since April of 1986). That means that a $300,000, 30-year fixed rate home loan would create a $2,095 monthly payment.

That’s why last week’s news should have been earth-shaking—at least to anyone on the fence about making a move in the current market. The official word from quasi-government entity Freddie Mac was that nationally, mortgage rates actually dropped again, inching down to a national average of 3.58%.

The math is remarkable. That same $300,000 home loan payment would today cost only $1,360—a savings of $735 every month. About a third. Put another way, on the same budget, the same Dewey Beach house hunter could afford “a third more house.” In terms of any kind of shopping discount, that’s a wild one!

So I’d argue that there was actually a great deal of news value in last week’s drop in mortgage rates, whether the actual percentage shift was a small one. The news is that these incredibly low rates aren’t being treated as news—despite their importance to real people buying and selling real homes.

There is a danger in how people have the capacity to accept current conditions as normal—even if they’re extraordinary. That capacity has a downside: it means we can be lulled into acting as if today’s reality will continue on forever. History has a way of creating dramatic wakeup calls on that score…all of which is another way of suggesting why today is a terrific time to give me a call! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.