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Buying Your First Bethany Beach, DE House Takes a Game Plan

Apr 10, 2018

Once you’ve settled on the goal of buying your first Bethany Beach, DE house, it’s hard to resist getting out there and getting started immediately! No matter if you know how vital it is to stick to a realistic budget on a purchase that’s this substantial, as soon as you’ve begun to save for that down payment, you’ll be hard-pressed not to at least stop by whenever you see an “Open House” sign. Even if it’s in a neighborhood where you know prices are half again what’s in your price range.

There may be no harm in that—but realistically, only if you are already following a delineated game plan. One that’s reality-based. Hard-headed. Businesslike. If not, it’s a better idea to resist the house hunting (even pre-house hunting) until your plans are charted out and underway. The danger in getting ahead of yourself is that buying your Bethany Beach, DE house is at least partially an emotional undertaking—and falling in love with the wrong house is the last thing you need. What’s at stake is gaining the incomparable feeling that now you control the place where you live (rather than the feeling that it’s the house that is controlling you)!

 Drawing up a game plan that sets everything in motion the right way doesn’t take Pulitzer Prize creativity. Financial guru Dave Ramsey has even boiled it down to “7 simple steps” for buying a house. I’d go further: the most pivotal parts can actually be found in his first three:

1.      Save for a down payment     

2.      Get pre-approved for a mortgage

3.      Find a real estate agent

The first step takes no more than a sheet of paper, a sharp pencil, and determination to calculate how much you can realistically set aside each month. The second step comes after your savings are nearing the percentage likely to be required for your down payment. I might disagree with Mr. Ramsey that this comes next—teaming with your Bethany Beach, DE real estate agent might be a better Step 2. I know that clients sometimes ask me for information on special home loan programs that support discounted down payment percentages.

Once those qualifying steps are out of the way, the remaining steps can proceed like clockwork: 4. Go house hunting; 5. Submit an offer; 6. Get a home inspection; 7. Close on your house.


Of course, this step-by-step is over-simplified, but laying out an advance strategy for buying a house does keep you in the driver’s seat. It also makes it much more likely that the Bethany Beach, DE house you wind up with will be one that guarantees homeownership will be a joy instead of a burden. When you call me in to help at an early stage, I’ll work hard to make sure that happens! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Condo & Homeowners’ Associations: Differences Matter

Apr 10, 2018

If you have ever checked out the latest Fenwick Island, DE real estate listings, you noticed monthly expense items for some of them listed as “Homeowners’ Association” (HOA) or “Condo Association” fees. Both are the monthly sums that any new owner will be required to pay in addition to property taxes.

It’s easy to lump them both together in the same mental category because they are so similar in character: each represents an expense item that neighbors pay to defray common maintenance, repair and other expenses that affect everyone. But there are major differences between the two—and they’re not just legal fine points. In fact, being aware of the differences will lead to a greater likelihood that you’ll take one particular action that can prove to be terrifically beneficial.

Without going into too much detail about all the possible variations of Fenwick Island, DE HOAs and CAs, the biggest differences are due to the differing scopes of ownership. Homeowners Associations usually consist of residences where the individual owners each own their homes and land. They may share many or few common areas. In one HOA, that common area might consist of a shared Olympic-size swimming pool, clubhouse, patios, gardens, etc. In a different  HOA, the shared property could be little more than an entry island with a sign and some flower beds.

In a Condominium Association, the mutual obligations are usually more extensive due to the nature and scope of ownership and obligations. The condo owner may own his or her unit, but shares in responsibility for the building and grounds. (If you’re thinking, where does the building end and the unit begin, you’re beginning to understand how important the distinctions can be).

What was that “one particular action” I mentioned—the one that can “be terrifically beneficial”? If you are seriously considering any of today’s Fenwick Island, DE condominium offerings, or those that list an HOA, that action is simple—be absolutely certain you have received a current copy of the rules and regulations that go with that property.

Key word here is “current.”

Both Homeowners’ Condo Associations can be terrific assets in protecting what is about to become your major investment—but if you wait until signing day to get a copy, they can also expose you to expenses you never expected.


When you take me on as your Fenwick Island, DE real estate agent, I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure you get all the information and expertise you need. They all will be part of how you make the right decisions to land you in your next Fenwick Island, DE home! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

For Georgetown, DE Home Furnishing Decisions, Avoid Creepy

Apr 10, 2018

The majority of Georgetown, DE homeowners make most home furnishing decisions piecemeal rather than in a single remodeling blitz. Even when you move to a new home, for practical reasons most of your household furnishings come with. Favorite pieces of furniture, art objects, and décor items accompany you from place to place even if they aren’t than perfect matches with the new digs.

The topic arose last Friday in a light-hearted commentary on’s “Home Improvement” pages. Author Jennifer Geddes identified pieces of furniture that today’s designers wish people “would never buy again— ever.” Her research could serve as cautionary guidance for modern householders attracted to less-than-classical innovations. Especially for Georgetown, DE homeowners planning to sell anytime soon, there is value in noting how some of yesterday’s home furnishing styles and materials are now best retired.


Appliances in wild colors. Pictured was a fire-engine red refrigerator in a gray and white kitchen. Although there was a matching fire engine red coffee maker on a nearby sink, it really does point out how distracting those once-popular items can be. At the opposite end of the spectrum but also seriously passé: avocado green and harvest gold.

Paper lamps (ones with light bulbs all in a row). They looked modern enough in their day, but by now that day is done—especially since most grow dingy with the passage of time.

Laminate shelf units. Those are the boxy ones made of plastic. The author suggests sending them off to the garage or workroom—or beyond.

Animal skin rugs. Popular 15 years ago, the general feeling is that no one wants to step on them anymore (cited is a “creepiness” factor).

Plastic Outdoor Furniture. May cheapen backyards now that so many brands are offering waterproof fabric alternatives.

More design features were frowned upon, including Ubatuba granite countertops (that’s the dark green stone with flecks of gold, black, brown and white). They’ve been out of style for at least five years according to design consultants. Practically speaking, if it has stood up to the intervening wear and tear and still looks presentable, perhaps the Ubatuba might stay a while longer.

The takeaway is less debatable. If you plan to sell your Georgetown, DE house any time soon, to play it safe, keep any design additions on the conservative side. It’s the home rather than the furnishings that needs to be the star of the show—a point reinforced by the primacy of clutter removal.


For more on what is currently attracting this spring’s Georgetown, DE house hunters, I hope you’ll call! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at