Yahoo’s “Money” tab is a source Ocean View, DE readers can visit for non-technical reportage on the latest U.S. economic developments. Last week it led with a surprisingly upbeat look at residential real estate: “Homebuyers rush back in droves despite coronavirus pandemic.”

There was ample evidence to support the description—a rush from homebuyers attested to by a 44.3% jump in pending home sales. The leap from April to May set an all-time record. And for those still unconvinced, there was further verification via the sustained volume increase in home purchase mortgage applications. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications had been on the rise, year-over-year, throughout the previous four weeks.

Given the backdrop of uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic, some observers were at a loss to explain such pronounced activity. Not so the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®. The NAR’s Lawrence Yun emailed Yahoo a statement explaining the surge—the same phenomenon that has buttressed Ocean View, DE home sales a while: “Homebuyers are rushing into the market to take advantage of the low-interest rates.” A shot of consumer optimism was added with the “steadily reopening” of major sectors of the economy.

The “droves” of buyers were being hampered by one factor, though. Many found themselves confronted by the “the same headwind” that had existed before the pandemic: the scarcity of homes for sale. The pandemic hadn’t helped. Realtor.com’s latest survey showed total listings down by 29% year over year—a dip compared with 2019’s already scarce inventories.

For Ocean View, DE homeowners considering listing their own properties, last week’s Yahoo and other national reports were clearly encouraging. Reported just ahead of the weekend, Thursday’s surprisingly bullish economic news was similarly supportive. For a precise picture of this summer’s Ocean View, DE market activity for homes like yours, get in touch today! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Today's Lewes, DE house hunters are using the web more than ever—and more than ever, they're running into seemingly omnipresent "Zillow." It's unavoidable because Zillow ads are everywhere—often in the first and/or second position on the search engine results pages. With annual revenue topping $2 billion, the e-commerce mega-company can afford it.

From its national data processing centers, Zillow uses automated formulas to "mine" local multiple listing service entries for data, which it then displays in its own format, making it appear as if the properties are connected with Zillow.

Although it can be argued that for the most part, there's no harm in this form of robotic data repackaging, it can be a mildly annoying detour for house hunters who would prefer directly looking in on the listing agent's own presentation. That Realtor® has devoted much hands-on personal effort visiting the property, working with the seller, and creating an accurate and comprehensive description of it. Zillow, on the other hand, is a computer—and computers can't visit anything!

 For the most part, Zillow's approach may cause no harm, that's less true for one facet of its approach: the Zestimate®— Zillow's brand name for its automated estimate of a property's value. Although Zillow has admitted the shortcomings of publishing a dollar figure for properties without conducting basic research, "such as visiting the home," the Zestimate figure (along with an "estimated sales range") is often displayed under a "Home Value" tab.

It is a fact of human nature that the first price a person sees is a hard one to forget. For a house hunter who is exposed to a Zestimate figure that's unexpectedly (and perhaps, undeservedly) low, it's likely to become embedded as the top price the property deserves. For a seller who sees an overly generous figure attached to the family home, that too easily becomes the minimum it deserves. When a "value" is put on screen, it had better be a reasonable one—lest mayhem ensue.

Last month, thebalance.com analyzed the accuracy of several Zestimates and, to no one's surprise, found them wanting. Especially in older neighborhoods, "it won't be that close at all." One home was estimated to be worth $389,733, but sold at $349,000; another was valued at $983,097, yet sold for $1,085,000. For one high-end property, the actual cash closing price differed by more than a quarter-million dollars (the Zestimate was more than 20% too low).

Now and for the foreseeable future, there's no substitute for the many hands-on services buyers and sellers benefit from when they team with an experienced Lewes, DE Realtor like me. Explaining why errant automated estimates can safely be ignored is only one of them. Do give me a call! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

 There was a sort of silly article last summer, “What You Can Do if Your Air Conditioner Breaks Before Selling Your House”—a title designed to ensure that South Bethany, DE readers who plan on selling their South Bethany, DE house will put everything on hold while they find out “what they can do” if their A/C goes AWOL.

A more recent article—also a must-read for home sellers with broken A/Cs—was titled, “Can You Sell A House with a Broken Air Conditioner?” The answer was ‘yes’—but with a resulting “severe impact” on the sale price. The author pointed out that “it is wiser and safer to get your A/C fixed” before listing it.

Both rate a solid “10” on the duh meter.

But both bring to mind some serious surveys. South Bethany, DE homeowners can find dozens of online lists showing the costs and probable Returns On Investment that various maintenance upgrades are likely to garner. For instance, a weather-beaten front door is one item that merits refinishing (or even total replacement) due to its prominence in setting the stage for successful showings. Less likely to pay for its cost is a “major kitchen remodel.” The National Association of Home Builders authored a study which showed that minor remodeling efforts—like replacing cabinet fronts with more stylish ones—are likely to return 25% more of their cost than do more comprehensive kitchen projects.

Nowhere in these lists do broken air conditioners—and what to do about them—make an appearance. Perhaps that’s due to the way seasonality can affect their value. In January, disclosure of a broken central air system could seem a lot less important than a roofing defect. But in July and August, a showing that turned out to coincide with one of South Bethany, DE’s heatwaves could be a very short (and disastrous) one.

I’m afraid that the more accurate answer to “can you sell a house with a broken air conditioner?” is probably, “not until winter!” And the answer to the original “what can you do?” question is, “Just fix it!”

Of course, the busted A/C issue is a simple one—but determining which of all the possible fixes and upgrades merit action is a lot more complicated. I bring my wide experience to assist clients with those and the many other choices that create a successful sale. Call me! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com