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Top 5 Tips for Real Estate Showings (while Parenting)

Jul 17, 2016

For Selbyville homeowners who are simply coping with the challenges of daily living, keeping the place clean when your small kids are in the house is one of those “trying” situations. If a real estate showing is added to the mix, it can become something close to a sanity-testing situation—“trying” in the same way that brushing your teeth while eating peanut brittle would be “trying.” ­

For veterans of the real-estate-showing-while-parenting situation, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There is ample evidence that prepping your Selbyville place with kids underfoot can be accomplished without the loss of parental sanity. This word comes from survivors who have lived to tell the tale—and sold their houses, too, no less!

Here are five key tips that are cited most frequently—

  1. Involve ‘Em! This is the advice we also hear from psychologists commenting on housework in general. Rope the little ones into activity at a level that fits with their age level and attention span. Think ‘game,’ and you’re halfway there. Since there is no way you can stop kiddy messes from developing in the first place, create a “new normal” where the end of an activity is always cleaning up afterward.  
  2. Reduce Overwhelm. For little ones, help right-size a big job (like “let’s clean your room” into a series of doable ones (“let’s put the books away”). A corollary is to limit any tidying job so that it doesn’t last longer than max 15 minutes (this will work for you, too—once you’ve let go of the idea that every task has to be finished once it’s started).
  3. Construct a Visual. Crafts are fun—so make a connection with cleaning. Tasks can be assigned via your own colorful chore wheel (a Wheel of Fortune with tasks), or a chore grab-bag. Be sure that after task completion comes a reward.
  4. Everything has a Place. Learning where things go is only possible when there IS such a place. It’s good news that kids usually find that returning things to where they belong is sort of fun all by itself. When the job is done, point out how nice everything looks!
  5. Schedule. Since real estate showings happen at unpredictable intervals, there will be much less to do if cleanups are part of the everyday schedule, anyway. For moms and dads whose goal is to avoid turning into The Hulk every time they want to prepare their Selbyville home for a real estate showing, the central key is to involve the kids in a steady-as-she-goes, continuous low-key cleanup system.

Many post-sale adults report that the benefits turn out to be long-lasting. In addition to being able to put the house in top real estate showing trim, they establish ongoing juvenile involvement in household chores—one that travels well (right into their new house, in fact)! If you are going to be listing your Selbyville home when small children are part of the equation, the upshot is that it can be turned into a decidedly positive educational experience.

Give me a call for other ideas about how to navigate these and other pre-sale waters when it’s your time to list! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Lewes Searchers Unearth Baffling Mortgage Rate News

Jul 17, 2016

 If you were one of those homeowners in Lewes who happened to consult Google for “mortgage rate news” over the weekend, you might have been puzzled by the top two results.

Fortune got the top spot, with an article headlined, “Your 30-Year Mortgage Rate Should Be Lower Than It Is Now.” That might have rightfully ruffled your feathers. After all, if the mortgage rate news is that your rates are higher than they should be, just what kind of chicanery is going on—and who is behind it? This sounds like a greed-inspired ploy of some kind—and details that you’d better read at once!

But, had your eye fallen on the second headline before you clicked on that first, you would have seen the Mortgage Reports blog top line, which was not even slightly conspiratorial-sounding: “Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to new 2016 lows.”

Taken together, mortgage rate “news” like this could save you the trip from Lewes to Disneyland. Why stand in line for the spinning Mad Tea Party ride, when all you have to do is ask Google for “mortgage rate news” to get dizzy?

What’s really going on???

Googling further would have helped explain. Bankrate told “home-shoppers” that they should “be cheerful: Job growth in June was surprisingly high”—but since that news hadn’t affected mortgage rates “much,” there was a confluence of good fortune: an economy that was perking up but not enough to raise interest rates.

The most encouraging mortgage rate news was actually sounded by The Wall Street Journal, which claimed to explain “Why banks aren’t giving you a 3%, 30-year mortgage…yet.” “Yet”??? The WSJ went on to explain how current “super low” rates could head even further south—but it called for a super robust reader attention span. If they stuck with it long enough, though, Lewes readers discovered that bank profit margins (the “spreads”) were rising while mortgage rates fell because government bond yields had fallen even faster.

You might recall that at one point, Disney put a limit on how fast riders are allowed to spin the Mad Hatter’s tea cups—but apparently nothing of the kind is planned for the financial world. So the first two Google finds for “mortgage rate news” are correct: the rates are even lower than before (per Freddie Mac, 3.41% last Thursday) and it’s reasonable to suggest they could be lower.

All in all, it looks like there is even more reason than ever to take advantage of this particularly rewarding era for Lewes’s real estate offerings. Getting started is easy: just give me a call!  Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

Making the Most from Bethany Beach Home Inspections

Jul 17, 2016

When you are buying your first Bethany Beach house, understanding the way a home inspection helps facilitate the process will help you to get the most out of the opportunity it represents. It might seem as if the home inspection step is one of those technical legal formalities that only serve to slow down the purchase. Like an automobile inspection the Department of Motor Vehicles demands when all you want to do is get your car legally registered, it can seem like an irritating and time-consuming bureaucratic hurdle. But, like those auto inspections, if it turns up a problem you didn’t suspect, it can be a godsend!

Your Bethany Beach home inspection and the home inspection professional who conducts it are charged with performing a function that is specifically tailored to protect your interests. For first-time Bethany Beach home buyers, making the most of the process doesn’t take any study or preparation. The best Bethany Beach home inspectors (they’re the only ones I recommend) will make it easy to look over their shoulder during the inspection. It’s not required that you be there, but it’s a very good idea to do so. When you follow along—see what they are looking at, and find out why—you will be taking advantage of this first chance to acquaint yourself with some of the inner workings of your future home.

Most normal-sized home inspections take somewhere between 2 ½ to 4 hours. The ultimate work product will be a written report, which may be computer-generated (those are usually completed quickly—sometimes even onsite) or based on a handwritten checklist. Where specific issues are uncovered, photos may be included for illustration. The plumbing, heating, A/C, electrical, exterior and roof will be examined, with a professional’s opinion on their condition. The object is to give you an unbiased view of the complex items that lie beneath the surface of your future home. Eventually, every house has systems whose components will need maintenance or repair—and even the most candid seller isn’t likely to have a professional quality estimate of what their longevity is likely to be. The home inspection procedure is designed to provide a general idea of what to expect (and how soon to expect it) …although it’s good to remember that the inspector is only able to form an opinion based on what is visible and accessible.

One last important aspect of the inspection process: the written report should be read! Even if you have accompanied the inspector for the entire tour and have discussed the findings, consider the written report “must” reading. It encapsulates all of the findings under one cover—in later years, it can be a valuable reference.

We’re lucky in Bethany Beach to draw from a variety of skilled home inspection resources. When the need arises, I’ll be happy to recommend the best from which to choose!   Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at

For Rehoboth Beach Homes for Sale, Sustainable Landscaping Gains

Jul 17, 2016

Homes for sale in Rehoboth Beach compete in the marketplace based on the major search criteria that have long been in place: location, architectural style, number of bedrooms and baths, overall size, style, quality, age, etc.

It’s a given that curb appeal and the property’s other photogenic qualities also make a difference for how much buyer interest is generated, and how soon serious offers roll in. We who deal in the marketplace also keep an eye on any emerging or strengthening trends and that could impinge on our Town clients’ properties’ popular appeal. One of those factors might be in the process of becoming more important—it has to do with landscaping.

In any year, this is the season when landscaping makes the biggest impact on potential buyers.  If January is prime time to show off a home’s outstanding fireplace or welcoming radiant heating setup, July does the same for a property’s outdoor living attributes. A welcoming yard or leafy patio can be the final extra feature that propels a house for sale in Rehoboth Beach into the ‘sold’ column—but now it seems more important that the effect be due to the right kind of greenery!

That’s the takeaway from the ASLA’s latest query to its membership. The American Society of Landscape Architects is its members’ pre-eminent professional association. Part of their charge is to track the trends and innovations in what is called residential outdoor design elements—exterior features that can make a home for sale more saleable—or, it now seems, less so.

In their latest poll, landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of backyard design elements based on what they are hearing from the field. Needless to say, we might expect those factors to show a commensurate impact on their popularity with prospective buyers of our Rehoboth Beach homes for sale.

Among the Top Ten project types that registered the highest expected consumer demand, all but two reflected some element of the same theme: water sustainability. Scoring highest was “Rainwater/graywater harvesting” with 88%. The next three most popular project types also showed an awareness of water conservation. “Native” and “Drought-Tolerant” plants and “low maintenance landscapes” each weighed in with more than 80% of respondents. “Permeable paving”—which can be a method of avoiding water wastage through pavement washing, came in next. Also in the list were “rain gardens”, “drip/water-efficient irrigation,” and “reduced lawn areas.”

Water conservation has long been a serious concern for those with a keen green awareness quotient, but when responses on this kind of popularity list reach eight out of ten, that awareness and concern must be notching up considerably. It’s something to bear in mind for those whose Rehoboth Beach homes will be up for sale in the future—particularly if any landscape beautification projects are being considered. I hope you will feel free to call me whenever a question arises about how to prepare your own property for Rehoboth Beach’s active real estate market! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at, visit more listings at