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Real Estate Values Winning Streak (and a Zamboni)

Dec 12, 2017

Last week’s real estate news didn’t rate front page headlines, but I spotted three items of interest—two of which have implications for Delaware real estate values. Both fall in line with upbeat news about the economy that permeated the airwaves. Holiday shopping (online and otherwise) was strong as consumer optimism peaked—probably related to expectations for a tax break.

The two stories that related to Delaware real estate values stemmed from the periodic HPI report. That’s the “Home Price Index” put out by researchers at CoreLogic. Last week’s announcement showed national single-family residential sales and prices rising in October. That made it the fourth month in a row for 6%+ price rises—the longest such winning streak since June of 2014!

For those Delaware real estate watchers who fret whenever price rises look like they might create an over-inflated market situation, the HPI forecast carried some reassuring news. Its forecast called for more price rises in the coming year, but at a more moderate and sustainable 4.2% rate. They based both findings—October rise and the 2018 forecast—to the tight supply of homes on the market combined with a strengthening economy.

The third, less weighty item was a feature in the Wall Street Journal’s real estate section. It didn’t have anything to do with Delaware real estate values, but as the first winter storms swept the upper Midwest and Northeast this past weekend, it was definitely season-appropriate.

The story featured an $8.3 million home for sale in Dedham, Massachusetts. The “classic shingle-decked three-story” house was said to preside over 22 acres. It boasted seven bedrooms and baths and one other special feature: an ice hockey rink. Although the 2007 home does have a wine cellar and billiards room, the owners might be accused of being dangerously tight-fisted, because the Zamboni garage apparently is offered sans the requisite Zamboni.

But perhaps that can be negotiated.

 

Back to our own rising real estate values, ice hockey rinks aside, there are currently some eminently affordable offerings on the market. I’ll be here to offer my expertise and a helping hand to Delaware buyers and sellers. Do 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

5+5 Heads-Ups Prevent Delaware Winter Emergencies

Dec 12, 2017

Over the weekend, at the same time California’s Santa Ana winds were dealing chaos in the west, the premature arrival of winter weather was pounding the other side of the country compliments of Winter Storm Benji. The unprecedented December snowfall started in New Orleans and worked its way all the way up the East Coast to Maine—all of which made last week’s Consumer Reports’ article unusually timely.

CR happened to have published a heads-up on ways to cope when winter storms interfere with daily routines. Delaware winter weather may not regularly trigger Alaskan-level emergency situations, but it’s still a worthwhile reminder for Delaware householders to be prepared for any nasty winter onslaughts that Delaware might have in store for us.

These five areas were highlighted as most important (they’re also recommended by HUD): 

1.      Smoke Detectors—they’re required for every Delaware home, but if you haven’t checked them lately, now is the time.

2.      Carbon Monoxide Alarms—portable fuel-burning appliances produce CO—but so do fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and even water heaters. When all the windows are sealed, deadly accumulations are possible.

3.      Generator—if your house is in an area frequently subject to outages, even a small unit to power at least the refrigerator and electronics can be a godsend—but only when it is properly vented!

4.      Fire Extinguisher—surprisingly few Delaware homes have recently inspected fire extinguishers.

5.      Auto Cellphone charger—communications are more important than ever if the power goes out.

And while we are thinking about safety, the National Safety Council has these Safe Holiday Season topics worth noting:

1.      Wear gloves when arranging “angel hair” (it’s spun glass that can irritate your skin).

2.      Don’t inhale when spraying artificial snow.

3.      Use a proper step ladder when hanging holiday decorations—even if a chair is right there!

4.      Check light strings for frayed or exposed wires.

5.      Make sure paths are clear “so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, and toys.”

 

Emergency preparations and accident prevention can be easily overlooked as we enter the hectic Delaware holiday season, but timely precautions can result in holiday-saving results. Meantime, I’ll be standing by, too, ready to help should any Delaware real estate matters arise! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Home Appraisals Catching Up with Market Rise

Dec 12, 2017

The week’s news about the continuing moderate rise in home values will certainly bring a smile to Delaware homeowners. But, as seems to be true for just about everything, there can also be some unintended consequences.

One group so affected are the folks who labor in the home loan industry—particularly when it comes to home appraisals. Delaware appraisals come into the forefront when lenders are formulating their mortgage offers. Home appraisals are professional estimates of the value of the homes being collateralized. Lenders count on their accuracy to backstop a loan—to make its value recoverable in the event a borrower fails to repay.

That’s why steady rises in Delaware home values have one consequence that’s less than helpful. It’s a non-issue as long as enough similar local homes have changed hands in recent months since Delaware home appraisals depend heavily on comparable sales to establish realistic property values. But if the buying and selling of nearby properties happen to have been sluggish, the only comparable sales numbers will reflect older transactions. And they might not fully reflect current market upsurges.

The possible result is that the amount agreed upon by buyer and seller might be higher than the appraiser sees reflected in the comparables—and even seemingly minute differences can be enough to quash a mortgage.

Since lenders really do like to create home loan offers that make buying possible, they do their best to keep track of the phenomenon. The disparity is formalized by Quicken Loans with their HPPI (Home Price Perception Index). The HPPI measures the difference between what homeowners seeking to refinance their home believe it is worth versus what appraisers can verify.

The very good news (at least nationally) is that the trend has turned toward harmony between the appraisers’ opinions and those of current and future homeowners. The numbers are different in every locale, but the move toward agreement is widespread. By the middle of last month, the gap had narrowed for the fifth month in a row—and is now within 1% of agreement.

 

 Delaware home appraisals and mortgage offers are important elements in the home-buying process—but there are many more. It’s my job to help buyers and sellers put all the pieces together to ensure that the final transaction progresses along smooth, rational, and predictable lines. I hope you’ll call me! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com