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6 Budget-Minded Fixes that Add Delaware Curb Appeal

Oct 20, 2016

Conscientious Delaware homeowners keep on top of all the regular maintenance items pretty much automatically. Once you have lived in a place for more than a year or two, you know what you should be keeping an eye on. You have a handle on when major fixes and updates have to be addressed.

When you begin thinking about moving on to new digs, though, the focus shifts. Your Delaware property is about to enter a beauty contest, after all—so more attention will have to be paid to moving it toward the dazzler category. The floor plan, interior décor, mechanical functions, and the other features that prospective buyers will delve into may all come into play eventually—but only after initial interest has been piqued.

Call it what you will: “first take,” “initial impression,” or “curb appeal”—whatever you name it, if it’s positive, everything else can follow. If it’s negative for any reason, all the other factors will be fighting an uphill battle—or worse, a battle that’s never fought at all.

Given that most homes that are about to go on the Delaware market have basic maintenance issues solved, some of the most important home improvement items are those that boost the first impression. Here are six that are universally cited:

  1. Clean. This one is not as obvious as it sounds—owners are used to the way the front of the house looks, and more often than not, don’t even notice subtle loss to a home’s “sparkle.” When years of almost-invisible grime are cleared away, the difference can be startling. Every surface has its own effective cleaning techniques: they’re easy to find on the web.
  2. Spruce up the yard. If lawn dominates, dollars spent to bring as much life as possible will be well spent. If the season makes a quick enough turnaround impractical, professional lawn paint spraying services are a temporary fix.
  3. Mulch. If fall has given front yard flower beds too much of an overgrown look, be prepared to cut them back into shape—then mulch the newly-exposed soil. The look that emerges can transform unkempt into elegant.
  4. Entryway. If there is an entry lantern overhead, make its glass panes sparkle. Front door fixtures should gleam—and if they are beyond polishing, replacing them is not a budget-buster. It can also be transformative to paint the door itself with an inviting color that accents the exterior’s tone—an idea that could be the most cost-effective curb appeal assist of all!
  5. Driveway. If there are major cracks, they will need to be filled (quick! Winter’s on the way). But if the only problem is blemishes on asphalt, a sealcoat service when the weather allows can be well worth the dollars spent.
  6. Identity. The house numbers, whether simply on the side of the mailbox or elsewhere, are more important than most Delaware homeowners realize. After all, prospective buyers are certain to look closely at them—which can be turned into an opportunity to forge a distinctive identity. Search the web for images showing “house number design ideas” to see how many interesting looks are out there—then seriously consider if a change might add drama and distinction to your home’s curb appeal.  

These are not-so-costly fixups that can go far to help your Delaware property reach out and reel in its next owner. For more helpful tips—call me! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Sharing Creative Touches with Luxury Delaware Homes

Oct 5, 2016

You can find how-to books with strategies laying out do-it-yourself strategies for transforming a property into a “luxury” home. Likewise, there are scads of online lists of imaginative touches that imply they will do the same.

The idea is certainly appealing (but so is anti-gravity and time travel). But of course, the fact is that authentic luxury doesn’t come cheap. A significant portion of the qualities of Delaware luxury homes distinctions are intractable: in Delaware, they involve a home’s location, size, and the architectural features of the overall facility. For instance, most upscale Delaware luxury homes have a spacious living room; today, many feature an inviting area set aside for viewing a gargantuan wall-mounted flat screen TV. That’s a plus—but those with separate, professionally installed media rooms are a step closer to falling into the “luxury home” category.

It turns out that when you look at many of the lists touting “Simple Touches That Make a Luxury Home,” most are either not so simple, extremely expensive, or both. That’s not to say that actually employing some of the ideas might not pay off in terms of resale, but most involve substantial expense (and consequent risk). Still, there are other lists with more realistic titles— like “Adding a Touch of Luxury to Your Home” with ideas that involve more imagination than budget. They may not propel a simple property into the luxury class, but they can make a real contribution to a home’s livability and appeal—

  • Layer floor coverings: strategic placing of throw rugs over hardwood or carpeting adds dimension and interest
  • Improve visual coherence with wall cases, shelving, cabinetry or closed storage solutions (all these ideas actually systematically reduce clutter)
  • Furnish to create focal points—every room can use an eye-catching center of attention
  • Splash color: pillows on sofas; towels in bathrooms; pictures on hallway walls
  • Rethink lighting: consider lamps and fixtures as key décor items rather than just light sources
  •  Add crown molding, chair rails, and baseboards—where surfaces meet, these simple architectural touches add subtle grace

   The luxury home category rightfully describes the upper echelons of Delaware residences—and their price tags reflect it. But imaginative, tasteful décor doesn’t have to be overwhelming to add appeal to any residence. You don’t have be putting your own home on the market to add some extra touches of luxury. But when that time does come, I hope you’ll call me to help! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Expect 5 Basic Delaware Real Estate Investment Truths

Oct 5, 2016

If you go looking for insights from successful Delaware real estate investors, depending on which areas they concentrate on, you could come up with a variety of takes. Despite the distinct differences that separate the commercial and residential investment spheres, there are some time-worn truisms about the real life experience that would have most investors nodding their heads—

  1. Expect to work at it. The myth of buying real estate, watching it appreciate, then just cashing in is a two-dimensional expectation. A typical Delaware real estate investment has to be discovered, investigated, negotiated, cared for, cared for some more—and sometimes sold—for it to ring up the profits that make real estate investing so lucrative. The best investors relish doing all of it.
  2. Expect to interact with a wide range of people. Math skills are important, but people skills are up there, too. Just about anyone can do the arithmetic that produces accurate cash flow projections, but being able to network with real estate professionals and lenders—and manage close working relationships with tradespeople—are also vital for sustained success.
  3. Anticipate changing conditions. Economic conditions are always in flux, so Delaware and Delaware market conditions are always on the move. Last decade’s real estate investment strategies don’t guarantee success today—and certainly not tomorrow. Anticipating and planning for changing conditions is work that can pay real dividends.
  4. Expect losses. Any investment—including real estate investments in Delaware—involve some degree of risk. Serious real estate investors are those who profit the most from multiple investments over time. Necessarily, they expect that some projects won’t pan out as expected. Not expecting that to be true would be a rookie mistake.

This fifth one is ancient: it sounds like something Ben Franklin could have come up with:

  1.  A fast nickel is better than a slow dime. Strangely enough, this truism can be misinterpreted. One commentator thinks it means “owning real estate is easy; getting paid is tricky.” I think its core meaning is that knowing just when to sell is a terrific real estate investment skill.

In fact, you could say that prioritizing when to sell is what distinguishes real estate investors from most of the rest of us—real estate consumers who are contented Delaware homeowners. In my profession, I get to facilitate winning transactions for investors and real estate civilians alike. I hope you’ll give me a call for all your own real estate dealings! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at