Listing Courtesy of BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES GALLO-R
When Dewey Beach residents hear about floods, images of homes tumbling into the sea or half-submerged along the banks of a raging river probably leap to mind. But the risk of flooding isn’t confined to those headline-grabbing catastrophes—which is why the recent passage by Congress and signing by the President of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) will be of interest to many people thinking of buying a home.
Sellers are required by law to disclose if a property is in an officially-designated flood zone; and banks typically check this information as well. While it can certainly be off-putting to be informed of this when buying a home, the availability of flood insurance can keep it from being a deal-breaker. But “available” doesn’t necessarily mean “affordable”—which is where HFIAA comes in.
Many prospective Dewey Beach homebuyers are only vaguely aware that flood and water damage are not covered under traditional homeowner policies, something that’s newly relevant when buying a home. Part of the reason is because only 5% of the U.S. population lives in an officially designated “Coastal Flood Plain”—so it’s not a much-discussed issue in most parts of the country.
But the coastal areas that do get attention whenever disaster strikes are not the only kinds of flood plains that are relevant. FEMA assesses and maps areas that are subject to flooding, and assigns them letters denoting the likelihood of flood damage. Some of the provisions of the new HFIAA deal with overhauling those procedures, but the most immediately significant parts deal with (you guessed it) cost.
Here a little history will be helpful. In 1968, the National Flood Insurance program was created to help some property owners secure insurance in areas where it had been prohibitively expensive. But, as one might expect, the cost of the program soon became a problem. That in turn triggered passage of another Act—the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012—intended to allow premiums in covered areas to rise to offset their real costs.
The new HFIAA now partially reverses that yet again, because policy-makers fear the effect on the housing market. The new act delays some of the price rises for four years and allows homeowners who sell their homes to pass the lower premiums on to the new homeowners. It’s also relevant that there are two different types of coverage available: dwelling only and dwelling/property. Although dwelling only coverage is cheaper, as you might expect, there’s a good reason: it doesn’t cover the personal belongings that a flood could destroy.
Some zones, like Zone X, are as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars per year. The zones that flood more regularly can run into thousands…and all flood insurance premiums are in addition to the regular home insurance costs. For those buying a home in an area where properties might be classified as within a flood zone, it’s a good idea to check with one of the local insurance companies that offers flood coverage. When all is said and done, only you can decide if it’s worth the risk or not.
If you are thinking of buying a home in Dewey Beach this year, flood insurance is only one of the details you’ll want to consider. Call me today and we can begin by putting together a list of your search criteria.
Your first open house in Sussex County can be compared to a movie’s world premiere. We may not have strobes flashing and paparazzi jostling each other, but all eyes are definitely on the above-the-title headline star: your house.
It’s a star that has to look its glamorous best, too, or the fans will be disappointed. The purpose of any Sussex County open house is to sell buyers on the largely emotional dream of potentially owning your home. Doing so means banishing everyday imperfections—the debris created by daily living—from the stage (at least to the extent it’s practical). Absolutely essential is insuring that the whole property, inside and out, is clean and tidy.
Your first open house is one premiere that can use some set decoration and makeup wizardry, as well. They call it ‘staging’ when a professional sets the scene, but you don’t necessarily need a pro stager to make some magic happen. Clear away every bit of clutter, then open the rooms to as much flattering light as you can to create a setting that will appeal to buyers.
To insure the opening is as grand as possible, your Sussex County open house should be literally as “open” as possible. Restricting a room or two does not play well with the critics, so unless there is a real risk in allowing visitors access, understand that any serious buyer will need to see everything. Covering things up will look suspicious—even if you know you’re just doing so because one room is a little messy. Having a room or two blocked off has been known to deter otherwise interested prospects.
Part of movie’s success depends on good word-of-mouth, so consider inviting the neighbors to stop by. They’ll be happy to receive an invitation, and their presence can also work in your favor. When neighbors are there, mingling in the lobby with potential buyers, their first-hand information about the neighborhood, schools, etc. will carry ultimate believability.
First rate Hollywood premieres provide press kits by the score; your Realtor® should do the same. A front table should have your agent’s color fliers with all the necessary information about the house…and you can consider taking it one step farther with a sheet of your own detailing what you love about the home, the neighborhood, the local schools, shops and restaurants. It’s the kind of souvenir that can keep your house in the running when buyers decide which properties rate a second visit.
Helping create Sussex County open house hits is just part of my job! If you are looking to sell your home, contact me today to discuss the details of a marketing plan that will bring the results you want. Call/text 302-228-7871 or email me, Russell Stucki, REALTOR ® of Beach Real Estate Market to provide detailed information on Delaware homes for sale, investment and commercial properties, luxury and waterfront homes, condos/townhomes, new construction, lots and land, farms and equestrian properties located in but not limited to Bethany, Bethel, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, Delmar, Ellendale, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Laurel, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Ocean View, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, Selbyville, Delaware.