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Unlike Dewey Beach, DE, Real Estate Oddities Dot the Golden Stat

Feb 19, 2018

Especially when it’s been a particularly long or hard winter, real estate agents in the sunnier states count on getting an influx of inquiries. In California, that phenomenon usually gets a boost when TV starts broadcasting shots of sunny blue skies over the Rose Parade.

Perhaps in compensation, California is also the frequent object of Dewey Beach, DE residents’ jokes about how nutty the state is—and there are some exceptional examples of real estate weirdness found only in California. These are real estate curiosities, so they aren’t transportable beyond the borders of the Golden State. Three come to mind:

First, there’s The Winchester House of Mystery. This San Jose tourist landmark was built by the heiress of the Winchester rifle fortune. Eschewing any professional architectural input, Ms. Winchester began remodeling an unfinished farmhouse in 1884—and continued adding rooms with no particular plan in mind until her passing, 38 years later.

Because of her determination to ward off malevolent spirits, the 160-room mansion has some unique touches designed to confuse otherworldly visitors. Among them are doors that open into solid walls, windows with views of other rooms, stairways with odd-sized risers that lead nowhere, and an abundance of stained glass windows, some with spider web motifs. At the time of Ms. W’s death, the majority of the six kitchens and 47 fireplaces were operational, but among the 13 bathrooms, only one had actual plumbing (to confuse the ghosts).

Down the road, just outside of Santa Cruz is The Mystery Spot, a chunk of real estate said to have been found in 1939 when the new owners of a large tract of land discovered a small canyon that made them feel “very light-headed or top heavy.” It also made their pocket compass behave in a way that was “not correct.” Within a half-century, so many visitors had taken a guided tour of the place that it’s been made an official California Historical Landmark—one where “puzzling variations of gravity, perspective, and height” are said to prevail.

A similar real estate attraction can be found at The Gravity House. Although an online video says that it is one of the “mysterious places with NO gravity,” Gravity House is not in outer space: it’s just off Highway 101 (on Confusion Hill). Gravity does definitely exist there, although it seems to misbehave. For just $5, entrants roam the ramshackle structure where floors and walls run every-which-way. As visitors progress from room to room, they are encouraged to decide for themselves why “people seem to grow or shrink” and how it is that water flows uphill. In some rooms, the challenge is trying not to fall into the walls.

The proprietors of Gravity House say that many theories have been advanced to account for the strangeness—including buried meteorites—but most scientists point out that anywhere you build a house where every surface is constructed at crazy angles, optical confusion will result. You may also tend to fall into the walls.

 

Our current Dewey Beach, DE real estate listings aren’t comparably exotic, but they do have attributes you’ll find much more livable. To visit some outstanding examples, 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

On Becoming a Landlord: Guidelines for Profitability

Feb 19, 2018

Anyone who has ever thought about becoming a landlord in Bethany Beach, DE has probably been attracted by its distinct advantages as an investment. Owning a property that appreciates in value at the same time it generates cash flow is a hands-on investment with obvious appeal. Yet that same “hands-on” factor can cause second thoughts: the very phrase “becoming a landlord” can inhibit busy would-be Bethany Beach, DE investors who aren’t eager to enroll in a second or third career.

In reality, becoming one of Bethany Beach, DE’s next landlords is considerably less daunting than it might appear. The “Forbes Real Estate Council” recently offered some choice observations on that score.

The Council is an assembly of seasoned high-end professionals whose commentaries appear on the heavily trafficked Forbes site. Their ideas frequently make good reading—especially when they manage to distill million-dollar wisdom down into a few major guiding principles. For Bethany Beach, DE investors grappling with the idea of becoming a landlord, real estate management software CEO Nathan Miller recently offered his distillation of the top ways to maximize real estate investment profits. There were three:

1.      Tenant screening is the Number One priority. Quality tenant background and credit screening services cost as little as $15.

2.      Have your tenants pay rent online.

3.      Require standard routine maintenance be performed by a licensed professional (or DIY if you are qualified)—don’t delegate to tenants.

For Bethany Beach, DE landlords, following these simple practices are actually methods for avoiding the most common cash flow siphons.

The first rule tends to minimize vacancies and deadbeat tenants.

The second guideline is derived from proven statistics that show online payers are more punctual with their payments—and less likely to resent the emotional toll extracted by writing out those big checks by hand.

The third capitalizes on basic human nature. Even the best tenants can “forget to change the air filters or clean out the dryer trap”—or any number of other routine tasks that homeowners know will prevent expensive breakdowns.

 

 Becoming a successful Bethany Beach, DE landlord may not be quite as simple as just following Miller’s rules—but the three do embody the kind of cut-to-the-chase mindset that seems to go with profitability in any business endeavor. And right now, Bethany Beach, DE’s opportunities are here and waiting—call me for a look! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at russellstucki@remax.net, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Common Sense Might Not Shape Future Fenwick Island, DE Home Sale

Feb 19, 2018

Many Fenwick Island, DE homeowners will be planning to list their properties this spring because it’s when future home sales would be expected to peak. Historically, at least, spring is when a sudden crush of prospects usually arrive on the scene. But this year, the upward drift in mortgage interest rates might have would-be sellers worried. After all, it’s common sense that any rise in home loan rates would put a damper on buyers’ enthusiasm.

Sometimes common sense and reality don’t go hand in hand. When we try to estimate the strength of Fenwick Island, DE’s future home sales, it could be a case in point.

That’s one way to look at the conclusions drawn by a pair of studies released last week. Both were focused on examining how rising interest rates are likely to affect future home sales. If you assume that higher mortgage rates automatically dampen home buying activity, that in itself could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For Fenwick Island, DE homeowners currently deciding whether the prospects for future home sales are on the decline, that could be a factor in their decision about whether to list their own properties.

 John Burns Real Estate Consulting examined the “common sense” idea about the dampening effect of rising mortgage interest rates—and found historical evidence that put the kibosh on it. They looked at ten separate periods since 1975 during which rates rose by 1% or more, and found little or no impact on sales if the underlying economy was strong. Apparently, the public optimism that accompanies a roaring economy offsets the effect of higher monthly mortgage payments.

 Another study by market research journalist Greg McCarriston summarized a late-2017 Redfin-commissioned survey. More than 4,000 people were polled in late 2017 about their own homebuying plans. Surprisingly, only 6% of those quizzed said they would cancel their own homebuying plans if mortgage rates passed 5%. A surprising 46% said that would either have no effect on their plans—or that it would actually increase their urgency to buy since rates might rise further.

 

Common sense or not, if both studies prove out, the strength of recent economic news could energize this spring’s Fenwick Island, DE future home sales activity—despite a creeping rise in interest rates. That will be good news for homeowners who decide to sell, and for buyers who are planning on the traditional spring flood of new properties entering the market. If you are thinking about joining either group, 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