Listing Courtesy of OCEAN ATLANTIC SOTHEBY'S INTL REALTY
This March has been such a busy one on the Sussex County real estate calendar that I thought it would be a good idea to double-check everything just to be certain I wasn’t overlooking any important happenings.
It wasn’t just that the first day of spring on the 20th is the traditional start of what’s regularly the busiest time of year for Dewey Beach real estate activity. This is a reliable phenomenon, further reinforced by the 61 million results you get when you Google “Spring Real Estate Selling Season.” To be accurate, the National Association of Realtors® fudges a little by calling spring and summer the hottest seasons for real estate activity—but it turns out they are pointing to the fact that many sales initiated in spring close during the summer (which is when people prefer to move).
March also has a red-letter day on the 23rd, which is when Freddie Mac, the mortgage reinsurer, is set to kick off their ‘Home Possible’ program. It’s a lowering of their down payment requirements, so mortgage lenders will have more leeway with borrowers. That should provide a further boost for Sussex County real estate activity, which has been laboring for years under tough lending requirements that discouraged some otherwise well-qualified home buyers.
Then there was also St. Patrick’s Day (although that has a less-than-convincing effect on Sussex County real estate activity). There is March Madness, in which basketball plays havoc with more than just television schedules. You could say that it plays hob with appointment times for many Dewey Beach home showings, since the last five minutes of most of the games take at least half an hour.
Just in case the calendar has even more events that might affect Sussex County real estate, we thought we’d better check to be certain we haven’t overlooked any upcoming happenings.
We found out we can relax.
True, this March is Optimism Month, which is certainly thematically in tune with the positive spring real estate outlook (speaking of ‘in tune,’ March is also Music in Our Schools Month and Play the Recorder Month).
It’s International Ideas Month, which, for anyone who’s been following the headlines, is certainly arriving in the nick of time. For those who are, internationally speaking, prone to sticking to their old ideas, March is also International Listening Awareness Month. It’s Mirth Month as well as Humorists are Artists Month. It’s also Noodle Month (does this have a connection with Mirth Month?), Peanut Month, and National Nutrition Month.
In addition to minding nutrition, this is a month for safety: it’s National Collision Awareness Month, as well as National Cheerleading Safety Month. It turns out, there are another couple of dozen other Months that are taking place right now, but most have little to do with buying and selling homes.
What seems better connected to Sussex County real estate is the fact that this is also Umbrella Month, although it’s too early to know the precipitation total for the whole month. It hasn’t prevented many showings or open houses, for sure. In any case, if you are thinking of taking advantage of the Spring Selling Season, it’s also a terrific month to give me a call!
When it comes to making legal distinctions, the ones connected with buying and selling Dewey Beach houses have lasting consequences—so it’s important that they be the intentional kind. Although Three Dog Night might have sincerely believed that One is the Loneliest Number—that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to the title of an Dewey Beach home.
The majority of Dewey Beach houses are purchased by married couples. Families that remain intact can make property title issues relatively straightforward. But as the second half of the 20th century progressed, the culture became more accepting of people living together prior to marriage. Because of its impact on how people—especially couples—apply for home loans and refinances, the matter of legal title more often came into play.
I don’t offer legal advice, so will simply point out that there are key differences when you hear terms like Tenants in Common, Tenants by the Entirety, or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. Being aware of those distinctions will allow future homeowners to choose which form will serve them best. Couples—especially those expecting to be married down the road—need to consider how things might change should they decide to refinance. It can make a difference if, for instance, a co-signer should later be required. When a Dewey Beach homeowner refinances and adds a spouse who was not named on the original mortgage, the spouse may be added to the title or deed. Those and other changes to a property’s title then has tax implications. Married couples may acquire title automatically through Tenancy by Entirety, as well as through rights of survivorship.
The key is to understand the implication of single and joint ownership. In the event of divorce, as with any material change, other rules may apply, too—which is another reason to recommend a consultation with counsel to clarify all related issues.
It’s always an exciting moment when you are about to take on the ownership of a home—certainly cause for celebration. Yet it’s also important to have an honest discussion with your spouse in order to put any existing issues on the table. It's amazing how many couples embark on home ownership (or refinancing) while dealing with significant relational issues. Some meet the issue by drafting a legal agreement that lays out what will happen with the property depending upon specified contingencies. Such agreements won’t carry weight with a mortgage company to effect removal of a person's name from a mortgage in the case of divorce—in most cases, a home would have to be refinanced again to remove a spouse's name from a mortgage.
Understanding the fine print can’t help but reduce the risk of unforeseen consequences down the line. Titles and title insurance may seem to be dull details that automatically confirm intended outcomes, but those outcomes have to be thought through and specified. The good news is they do get properly addressed every day in the course of acquiring a home. Pointing out the important details are just one element of my service: which is to help you every step of the way! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.