Listing Courtesy of COLDWELL BANKER RESORT REALTY - R
Many people don’t fully understand why it is that St. Patrick’s is the perfect day for selling a Bethany Beach home, or for buying one. But if ever there were a right time to explain it, this is it. There is one drawback to any such explanation, though: namely, that it makes so little sense.
That does not seem to make much difference to a lot of real estate industry marketing supply companies. I can bear witness to that fact, in the form of the postcards and various art pieces that are pitched to Realtors en masse ahead of every St. Pat’s. As you might guess, they are green (usually very green), and almost without exception bear some rendition of a four leaf clover. Also rainbows, pots of gold, wee leprechauns wearing green top hats with buckles on them, and sometimes horseshoes (to indicate the Luck O’ the Irish, of course).
What could this have to do with selling a Bethany Beach home, or buying one? That’s very hard to pin down. There is the simple good will postcard, that says, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” with no further connection. That’s a nice thought, certainly, and not risky. Who wouldn’t want to have a happy St. Patrick’s Day? There is one with a good-looking home at the end of a rainbow, with a wee little leprechaun holding a “Welcome Home!” sign—certainly a strong connection between selling an Sussex County home and the celebration.
One of the best ones is the poster that features two shades of green, a cartoon three-leaf clover (mistake there, if you ask me) upon which is printed in Celtic-looking letters, “You don’t need to have the ‘Luck of the Irish’ to sell your home.” You have to like that one, because it doesn’t discriminate against people who aren’t Irish (the closer you get to St. Patrick’s Day, the more you run the risk of seeming to snub the non-Irish among us).
There is one postcard with a lady bug crawling over clover leaves emblazoned with a sentimental poem, but the emotionality of the poetry is tempered by the heading, “For all Your Real Estate needs just give me a call!” Balance is important on St. Patrick’s Day…but it’s not clear that the card with the green beer mugs got that message (which is “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Remember, parade watching is like real estate. Location, location, location.”).
One that also tips the scales in the direction of crass commercialism is the picture of the big pot o’ gold brimming with gold coins. It says, “It takes more than Luck to sell your home.” I’m not sure what the St. Pat’s message is for that one—that selling your Sussex County home requires you to go out, find a leprechaun or rainbow, and wangle a pot o’ gold? It’s simply not the case. If you ask me, an experienced Realtor with a great marketing plan and a reasonable price will do the trick better than pots o’ gold or four-leaf clovers. Still, that can’t keep me from wishing you a terrific St. Patrick’s Day, as too!
Sometimes the experts who project trends in residential housing and real estate find that they have to correct their predictions. Once the final statistics are in, if they consistently reveal errors as wide of the mark as 50%, it’s just embarrassing. Such was recently the case with Harvard’s LIRA remodeling project—and for those of us who represent buyers and sellers in the Lewes home market, the resulting revisions were meaningful.
Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ statistical barometer for home improvement activity is known as “LIRA”—its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity. And as their research analyst Abbe Will wrote recently, it had become evident that “the quality and reliability of the LIRA’s benchmark data series declined markedly.”
When your benchmarks are no longer meaningful, there is only one thing to do: it’s called “re-benchmarking.” In this case, it caused JCHS to overhaul the very activities that it was attempting to measure. Instead of just projecting home improvement spending alone, the new “re-benchmarked” LIRA is broader. It adds maintenance and repair spending to remodeling activity.
What do the new findings augur for Lewes’s home market prospects? First good news: it looks as if the new projections should be much more reliable. And the graphs reveal a strong surge in national remodeling spending—not only for the remainder of this year, but for well into 2018. When remodeling spending is strong, real estate values (and prices) rise, too. For Lewes homeowners, the addition of the right kind of improvements is one way to bump up the value prospective buyers see a property.
One feature that Lewes’s luxury homes share is a well-planned, open kitchen. Where that is precluded by structural elements, one work-around is the addition of new appliances with a contemporary look. Stainless steel ovens and refrigerators have a way of creating a “luxury home feeling”—even when the spaces they occupy are relatively modest.
Another feature that signals opulence is at least one luxury bathroom. Spa-style baths can go far in that direction—and the resulting photography can add major eye-appeal to a listing. More modest improvements like changing out faucets for brushed nickel or other metal finishes (not gold, please!) can make outsized differences. Add fluffy new towels, and perhaps a scented candle—and the formerly so-so bathroom can become a mind-changer.
With LIRA’s home improvement activity projected to strengthen more than 8% this year—and promising further acceleration into next (to nearly $325 billion!)—it demonstrates the faith that consumers across the nation have in the growing value of their home investments. If you are evaluating the merits of various possible improvements for your home, I hope you won’t hesitate to give me a call. I’ll be glad to offer some incisive feedback on the preferences we have discovered with today’s Lewes buyers! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.