Creating a happy home would have to weigh in as among the most rewarding of all endeavors—and, you’d have to believe, one that requires a goodly dose of what lifestyle gurus call “the art of good living.” That’s why one general interest article in Realtor® Magazine deserved at least a double-take with its headline, “The Scientific Secrets of What Makes a Home Happy.”

Really? Happiness is not generally thought to be something that lends itself to scientific scrutiny: graphs and charts and mathematical precision. If there truly are scientific ways you can make Milton, DE homes happy ones, it promised to be worth looking into.

In fact, the piece did have a scientific basis—research findings that identified conditions that produce high levels of self-reported “contentment.” The “secrets” may not be shrouded in mystery, but four of the leading ones seem sensible:

·         Long commutes are mood killers. Researchers found a strong correlation between easy access to workplaces and contentment.

·         Clutter costs happiness. UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families found that “high densities of objects in the home” raised female subjects’ stress levels (measured by presence of the hormone cortisol). Men apparently didn’t notice.

·         Know your neighbors. Relationships with neighbors leads to a sense of well-being—as anyone in Milton, DE can probably tell you!

·         Pay down the mortgage. Even the researchers admit that this one is easier said than done, but when the “debt dwindles” the “mood rises.”

There was one tip to a happy home that I might question: “paint your walls green or yellow.” The source was a university in Holland—but since it might be true that color preferences vary by continent, there’s cause to hesitate. For the record, the study suggests yellow walls for playrooms (to spark “creativity and playfulness)” with green for bedrooms (engendering “comfort and serenity”).

One tip that’s no secret at all is that happy Milton, DE homes start with the choice of the right property—which is where I help. Do 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 is one persuasive reason why Lewes, DE homeowners (and prospective homeowners) don’t hear much about the likelihood that a new “housing bubble” could be in the making.

For any Lewes, DE homeowner who’s had the comfort of watching their property’s value grow steadily for years, a mere mention of the words “housing bubble” can squelch the enthusiasm. Even though real estate is “real” in a way few investments can equal, there was the last decade’s property value nosedive. Momentarily, at least, it rained on residential real estate nearly everywhere.

“Housing bubble” was the derisive term that described the previous run-up in prices that subsequently “popped” when sellers could no longer find buyers. A large part of the chaos was due to the home loan industry’s inability to finance mortgages at the previous valuations. In fact, for a while, even well-heeled buyers could scarcely find financing at any valuation.

 In 2008, the bubble metaphor seemed especially apt because the “pop” came so abruptly. When things go south suddenly, it’s particularly unnerving. But today Lewes, DE homeowners can take comfort in at least one reason why today’s circumstances bear little resemblance to what happened ten years ago.

  The Mortgage Bankers’ Association charts something called the “MCAI.” It’s a reliable measure of the availability of home loans, measured on a scale from 1 to 1,000. The higher the number, the easier it is for applicants to obtain home loans. A chart shows how, in the three years leading up to the height of the bubble, the MCAI traced an almost vertical line from 370 up to more than 850—which then nosedived to 100 in the following 20 months. You could almost hear the “pop.”

Looking at today’s much more comforting MCAI, it shows a shallow, nearly horizontal line extending from 100 to just 183. That’s what’s been happening over the last 10 years, from 2008 to today. No bubble on the horizon—it looks more like a stable foundation.

When credit it too easy to come by, true values can float upward without restraint—and the result is a “pop!” According to the Mortgage Bankers Association data, it looks like that lesson has been learned—and today’s Lewes, DE homeowners can breathe easier as a result. Call me for expert guidance in today’s market! 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

 Fenwick Island, DE ears that were attuned to some of the nation’s commentators might have heard that last year’s gradual slowdown in residential sales might signal a dawning “buyer’s market.” That may be true or not, but as for its impact on your own home-buying plans, there are a couple of realities to bear in mind.

First is that any shift from seller’s to buyer’s market is at best barely discernable. Its basis would be determined by national averages, where a slowdown in residential closings is usually taken to mean that sellers are having a hard time finding customers. That wouldn’t fully take into account the effect that tight inventories might have. When fewer sellers are willing to put their own Fenwick Island, DE homes on the market for whatever reason, the result on bottom line sales volume is the same as when buyers think homes are overpriced. When there simply aren’t enough properties available for any given price range, the number of closings falls.

The second reality is that since buying or selling a home is such a major economic decision, it is your own particular situation that matters most. Forbes.com had this in mind in a recent article when they pointed out that what “third-party indicators say” should have little bearing on the course of action either buyers or sellers follow.

For buyers, when the time is right—that is, when you have put yourself in the financial position to be able to buy comfortably—that’s usually the time when it makes sense to buy. The term “buyer’s market” too easily conveys an image of actively falling prices. If that’s true, it would seem to make the most sense to wait for those prices to fall further. Yet the latest numbers available (NAR® existing-home sales through November) show median home values have continued to rise. And just about all observers expect them to rise further in 2019. As Forbes put it, buyers who wait on the sidelines “may be in for a rude awakening if they are waiting for the bottom to drop out.”

The age-old truism holds the answer. When you can afford to buy, that’s usually the right time to buy—or at least to start looking at the offerings that fit your budget. When you find the Fenwick Island, DE property that fits your needs, waiting for more of a buyer’s market could mean your best long-term interests aren’t being served. Buying or selling winds up being first and foremost all about you—your current and future plans, prospects and resources.

It does happen that now is the time of year where bargains can be found—opportunities that tend to vanish once the peak selling season sets in. If you have been thinking that 2019 looks like a promising year to take a look, I hope you’ll 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