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Evaluating an Offer for Your Delaware Home

Jan 16, 2017

Once we have marketed your Delaware home successfully, there follows the delightful interlude during which the eager buyer awaits your response to his or her offer. It will be 100% delightful if, in evaluating the offer, all details are as you hoped and expected. But many times, evaluating an offer results in more than a simple “Yea” or “Nay”—the details can be crucial:

Offer Price. Suppose the top line number is close enough to your asking price to bring a smile to your face. Your Delaware property’s value has been acknowledged by the buyer—it’s in line (or better) with neighborhood comparables, and your net after expenses will enable you to move on to your next residence without financial strain. Evaluating an offer only begins with that eye-catching number, but it doesn’t end there. There are all the other elements, many of which boil down to the level of risk going forward.

Deposit. High on the list is the pledged amount that accompanies the offer. Whether it’s called a deposit, earnest money, or pledge, this serves to instill confidence that when you are evaluating the offer you know that it’s backed up with more than wishful thinking. If the amount is greater than the customary minimum, it’s a signal that the would-be buyer is more than minimally serious about completing the transaction, that their financial ability to execute is demonstrable—or both. Evaluating this detail of an offer does, however, involve factoring in whether it would be unduly easy to “de-commit” the committed amount, as well as the true liquidity of the pledge (overseas bank deposits, for instance, raise eyebrows).

Inspection provision. Almost every serious offer will be contingent on the property’s condition passing inspection—but this is a risk element that’s largely controllable by the seller. It’s the reason some Delaware sellers get ahead of the game by investing in their own inspection before listing. Twelfth-hour discoveries of maintenance issues that could have been fixed beforehand are apt to throw a disproportionate amount of cold water on a transaction that had been proceeding smoothly. If a condition has been properly disclosed in advance, evaluating an offer will include verifying acknowledgment of disclosures.

All the rest. An offer may have any number of other provisions, so properly evaluating an offer means carefully weighing the practical impact each may have. The timing elements can be  crucial. Too lengthy a closing can be inconvenient and add a degree of uncertainty. Too swift a closing may create an interim “no-place-to-live” situation—and wow—can that be awkward and expensive! An offer that is contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home adds a degree of uncertainty that needs to be evaluated with knowledge of that area’s specifics. Any detail that introduces uncertainty adds to the ultimate risk.

Success in evaluating an offer for your Delaware home—or comparing multiple offers when that auspicious situation occurs—often means a lot more than a simple yes or no decision. Coming up with a strategic counter-offer is often called for—and that’s when there’s no substitute for having an experienced agent by your side to help fashion a strategic win-win counter offer.

To discuss these and all the other steps that will result in the successful sale of your property, give me a call to arrange a no-obligation consultation. Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Asking Price: to Drop or Not to Drop

Jan 16, 2017

For more than a year, it’s been the happy trend across the nation for the average DOM (days on market) for residential properties to have been declining. It’s a “speed of sale” measure—one that most Delaware home sellers hope will reflect that it won’t be long before they are handing the keys to happy new owners.

There are some ruling considerations that go into establishing a winning Delaware asking price. One is psychological: thinking of a buyer’s frame of mind, most people don’t want to be the only ones who are interested in a house. When a slightly lower-than-comparable asking price is part of the marketing message, it draws a crowd. Another consideration is the search bracket. Knowing how buyers tend to bracket price range parameters for similar Delaware homes is something I can help with. If comparable homes have been selling in a range that tops out at $400,000, asking $410,000 (so you can discount it in later negotiations) is a mistake: your property won’t even appear on search results you’re aiming for. 

It is said that pricing is an ongoing discussion—something that holds true if the activity level is less than expected. In every dissertation, oration, article, comment, FAQ, and essay about successful house sales, the dictum is the same: if the place doesn’t sell, first check the asking price.

Sometimes that truism can seem indisputable. If the property in question has been listed at an asking price that’s higher than comparable Delaware houses—other homes that have sold—unless outside factors have slowed all area sales, the asking price is probably the stumbling block. A homeowner can quite reasonably object that their property has unusual qualities that make direct comparisons with other Delaware homes inexact, but that logic may not be powerful enough to counter the market figures that buyers can see (remember that they don’t want to be the only ones who are interested). Sometimes even for a home that shows spectacularly, lowering the asking price can be the simplest and quickest route to a “sold” sign on the front lawn.

In the case of those Delaware homes where Delaware asking price conformity isn’t the issue—as when there simply are no other properties that are at all similar—if lowering the asking price is not indicated, it will simply become a waiting game: waiting for the buyer who appreciates the special character of the property. The good news is that there IS a buyer out there for every property; the bad news is that unique properties attract unique buyers—as in, there are fewer of them. But there is some second good news: when they do show up, they are apt to fall in love with the place!

Pricing is part math and part skill, and since the market is constantly changing, it’s a skill that rewards experience tempered by consistent monitoring. I monitor Delaware real estate full time so I can provide the most timely assistance and advice in all phases of selling and buying. I hope you’ll 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

Is There Really a Best Time to Buy a House in Delaware?

Jan 16, 2017

Many of us who call Delaware home find that the beginning of the new year serves as a useful benchmark. This is when it’s easiest to collect the bygone year’s household bills and receipts and stash them in the drawer, box, or envelopes marked “2016” to be revisited at tax time. Once all the holiday ornaments are safely stored for next year, it’s time to embark on the coming year with a refreshed outlook and energy.

When you go looking for fresh insights that will be relevant to Delaware real estate buyers and sellers, some of that New Year’s enthusiasm can come in handy. Particularly when you come across news items with headlines like “The Best Time to Buy a House” or “The Best Time to Sell a House.” It’s not that the topics aren’t interesting, but since we know darned well that there’s no such thing as a single “best time” to buy a house, it takes a little extra energy to read further. The best time to buy a house in Delaware depends on the area, neighborhood, on the current market activity which varies from year to year—and on the qualities of the property itself.

Nevertheless, coming across the Business Insider piece headlined, “New research reveals the single best day of the year to buy a house,” it was simply too tempting to pass up. The best single day! This was nonsense, of course, but with fresh 2017 energy to spare, it had to be checked out! Here’s what was revealed:

This analysis resulted from some past research dusted off from RealtyTrac’s review of more than 32,000,000 home and condo sales from across the nation. It had taken 15 years to collect all that data, but when they put it all into the proper columns and added and divided in the way statisticians do, they came up with the final answer:

The best day to buy a house is October 8.

Now, since it’s going to be a long time until the next October 8 (it will fall on a Sunday), some secondary news might be of more immediate interest to Delaware readers. The best month to buy may be October, but the second best month to buy a house is February! So wouldn’t it follow that January is a good time to start looking?

The way RealtyTrac defined the “best” time to buy was by comparing the sale price with the fair market value. For buyers, the best day was the one with the biggest average discount. October 8 was that day.   

Now, the practical use for this information here in Delaware is very limited for a couple of reasons. First off, they really meant “best day to close” a sale—leaving open the more tactical consideration, which would probably be the best day to make an offer. Then, too, the residential market and resulting sales results over the past 15 years have been so varied and sometimes so wildly atypical that generalizing from them could yield almost any answer. Also, this was a nationwide survey—so even just the way weather here in Delaware differs from the national average would certainly affect the results.

But the ideas written about did have some practical value. They highlight the notion that for buyers, the late fall and winter months might be a pretty good time to buy a house in Delaware even when there are comparatively fewer properties on the market.

It’s true that today there are some great buys to be had—which makes it a great 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

Winter Delaware House Hunting Can Yield Unique Insights

Jan 16, 2017

  Showing a home in bad weather might seem to be a blueprint for disappointment, but sometimes that’s not what happens. Of course, prospective buyers do find that house hunting in Delaware is easiest when the sun is shining, but homes continue to be bought and sold in every season, and sometimes bad weather can even prove to be advantageous.

Now, it’s true that when you stick the word “bad” in front of anything, you can bet it will stifle enthusiasm. If you’re trying to promote something, it’s hardly the go-to adjective. “Let’s try out that new Chinese restaurant—I hear it’s bad” isn’t a quorum-builder. That’s why “let’s schedule some serious house hunting; it looks like the weather will be really bad,” isn’t likely to spur a lot of enthusiasm—even if a deadline looms and people need to find a house.

When the wind is howling, and Mother Nature lets loose with one of the many ways she has of transforming water into a treacherous adversary, any showings that aren’t canceled can become unique opportunities for both the hunters and homeowners.

For the house hunters, there’s a chance to see how impressively the property holds up in less than ideal conditions. In that sense, it’s an opportunity to go “backstage” to experience how solidly built the place comes across in the midst of a storm. That experience can’t be duplicated on a mild spring day—and it can result in a valuable insight, no matter what the verdict.

For the seller whose property stands up well to the challenge, this is an opportunity to demonstrate that convincingly. Remember how great it is to feel the warmth and comfort of home as you curl up on the couch with a good book? Anything a seller can do to amplify that kind of welcoming feeling—from lighting a crackling fireplace to setting out cups of hot cocoa—can make it that much easier for visitors to see themselves as the safe and secure owners of the property. 

If the showing goes well, the buyers will be certain to return when the sun shines and the protective qualities of the structure are less prominent. But experience shows that if they do request a second visit, that stormy first look will have set the table for a positive outcome.

House hunting in Delaware—which is often a truly pleasurable outing in spring, summer, or fall—takes on a different aura this time of year. But even when the weather behaves the way it has been recently, don’t think that Delaware house hunting expeditions are out of the question until spring arrives. They are happening—and winter sales are the frequent result. I’m here to help no matter what the season. Rain or shine, I hope you’ll 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