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What to Make of Mortgage Interest Rate Event (& Non-Event)

Sep 29, 2016

It was fairly clear that the table had been set for last week’s Federal Reserve meeting to result in a minimal rise in mortgage interest rates. Their Fed Funds rate directly influences the mortgage interest rates that banks observe. Since Delaware real estate activity can be spurred or dampened by the monthly payment amounts Delaware mortgage lenders offer applicants, this national story has meaningful local repercussions.

It wound up as a non-event that nonetheless spawned action—albeit in a minor way. In May, Chair Yellen had said that a rate increase would be “appropriate” over the summer months. In the lead-up to last week’s meeting, other Fed governors had strongly implied that it was now time for a slight Fed Funds bump.

Still, most commentators kept their prognostications vague; they had been vociferously anticipating a move for many cycles, only to hear serial postponements from the Fed. In addition to having been burnt before by Fed head fakes, there was also another reason why a no-go might happen this time around. Regardless of what the jawboning had been, economic and employment growth was still stuck in first gear—and a rate hike could retard improvement.

The commentators weren’t wrong to hold fire. Once again, the Fed did nothing (except make even more noise about an interest rate hike…later).

Yet, even so, the market forces that nudge mortgage interest rates one way or the other did seem to react. After the non-announcement, rates barely budged at first—but then continued steadily lower (the lowest in weeks, in fact). By week’s end, the Mortgage News Daily announced that the string of moves had brought mortgage interest rates into a “post-Brexit range”—similar to the conditions “that sent rates plunging toward all-time lows.”

The reasons last week were less than certain, although frustration with the Fed’s lack of coherence was fairly unanimous. CNBC interviewed big time investment manager Bill Gross, who said that investors were left “very confused” by the meeting’s outcome. He pointed to the likely rate raise that Yellen had emphasized at last month’s Jackson Hole speech, as well as to Fed Vice Chair Stan Fischer’s earlier assurance that there would be two hikes this year.

All this left Delaware mortgage interest rate watchers to make their own assessments about what to expect for future conditions—most importantly, whether current favorable low interest rates could be counted on for long. There had been at least one indicator that optimists could welcome. Almost unnoticed was a footnote to the Fed’s announcement. Back in June, the Fed had predicted the lending rate to end 2016 at .9 percent. It now said the likely number would be .6%. That would result in Delaware mortgage interest rates still comfortably in the historically low range—hardly a flashing red light for would-be borrowers.

Wherever the Fed heads eventually, it’s indisputable that right now Delaware mortgage interest rates remain fetchingly low—creating rare opportunities for buyers and sellers both. Why not give me a call to explore how you can take advantage today? Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Expect 5 Basic Delaware Real Estate Investment Truths

Sep 29, 2016

If you go looking for insights from successful Delaware real estate investors, depending on which areas they concentrate on, you could come up with a variety of takes. Despite the distinct differences that separate the commercial and residential investment spheres, there are some time-worn truisms about the real life experience that would have most investors nodding their heads—

  1. Expect to work at it. The myth of buying real estate, watching it appreciate, then just cashing in is a two-dimensional expectation. A typical Delaware real estate investment has to be discovered, investigated, negotiated, cared for, cared for some more—and sometimes sold—for it to ring up the profits that make real estate investing so lucrative. The best investors relish doing all of it.
  2. Expect to interact with a wide range of people. Math skills are important, but people skills are up there, too. Just about anyone can do the arithmetic that produces accurate cash flow projections, but being able to network with real estate professionals and lenders—and manage close working relationships with tradespeople—are also vital for sustained success.
  3. Anticipate changing conditions. Economic conditions are always in flux, so Delaware and Delaware market conditions are always on the move. Last decade’s real estate investment strategies don’t guarantee success today—and certainly not tomorrow. Anticipating and planning for changing conditions is work that can pay real dividends.
  4. Expect losses. Any investment—including real estate investments in Delaware—involve some degree of risk. Serious real estate investors are those who profit the most from multiple investments over time. Necessarily, they expect that some projects won’t pan out as expected. Not expecting that to be true would be a rookie mistake.

This fifth one is ancient: it sounds like something Ben Franklin could have come up with:

  1.  A fast nickel is better than a slow dime. Strangely enough, this truism can be misinterpreted. One commentator thinks it means “owning real estate is easy; getting paid is tricky.” I think its core meaning is that knowing just when to sell is a terrific real estate investment skill.

In fact, you could say that prioritizing when to sell is what distinguishes real estate investors from most of the rest of us—real estate consumers who are contented Delaware homeowners. In my profession, I get to facilitate winning transactions for investors and real estate civilians alike. I hope you’ll give me a call for all your own real estate dealings! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Delaware House Hunting Blends Organization & Serendipity

Sep 29, 2016

When you go house hunting in Delaware, you’re likely to share a lot of the same basic assumptions that most everybody does. Whether you have a lengthy list of hard-and-fast requirements or are in more of a “just seeing what’s out there” mindset, you’re probably assuming that you’ll “know it when you see it.” That’s not necessarily true—for a couple of logical reasons.

First off, unless price is literally no object, your budget will dictate the segment of current Delaware listings that your house hunting will include. Among those candidate properties, it’s unlikely that all of them share the same features—the same positives and less-than-positives. You may find that you really get a great feeling about one home, only upon reflection to realize that some of its drawbacks are serious enough to eliminate it from contention. Likewise, another home that provided a so-so first impression could wind up seriously in the running if it rings up the best collection of strong points.

Then, there’s always the unexpected. A good example was the couple who were fairly sophisticated when it came to house hunting experience. They had enough home ownership history to have developed clear ideas about what they wanted: 3 or 4 bedrooms, a yard that was large enough to accommodate a moderate vegetable garden and the family dog (but not so large that maintenance would become an issue).  The only absolute caveats were that it could not be so close to a busy thoroughfare that auto noises would be an annoyance; and that if there were a swimming pool, it could not be an indoor one. NOT! The husband had experience with taking care of pools, and would not countenance dealing with a steamy, chlorine-smelling indoor pool. Period.

Those were simple enough requirements. None would eliminate a good sampling of the listings that were available at the time, so the house hunting proceeded. After nixing the usual number that left too much to be desired, there wound up being a handful of attractive candidate properties. In the end, there were two that rated a couple of return visits. Although neither could have been called the couples’ perfect dream houses, they were close to a final decision. Just then a new house came onto the market. It was slightly more expensive (and larger) than the others, but with positively beautiful yards, front and back, and (you guessed it!)…an indoor pool.

To bring the story to its inevitable end, they’ve lived in that house for years. The indoor pool had special air-moving equipment that erased the humidity and left no chlorine smell whatever. The husband says it is by far the easiest pool he’s ever dealt with. The garden is just what his wife was hoping for. It turns out to be their dream house.

The moral of the story is that there’s a lot to say for keeping a balance between having an organized approach to your house hunting and keeping an open mind. To which I have to add that I hope you’ll give me a call when it comes time for your own Delaware house hunting! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at