The One “Perfect House” Feature Missing from the List of 9
It has been largely unchallenged since its debut in 2014: the list of nine elements that make up the “perfect” house. Originally formulated for a Houselogic feature by builder John Riha, the nine features that comprise an “ideal” house make a more meaningful list than most similar compilations. It can serve a thought-provoking checklist for house hunters weighing today’s Fenwick Island, DE offerings—if for no other reason than deciding which listed items are personal priorities. The nine (with a few of my parenthetical asides):
1. Single level (unless there is a killer view from a higher floor)
2. Nine-Foot Ceilings (except in grand rooms)
3. Southern Exposure
4. Outdoor Living Spaces
5. Maximized Insulation
6. Separate Master Bedroom (understood to mean“suite”)
7. Low-Maintenance Siding (for practicality, certainly—but aesthetically, maybe not)
8. Great Storage (absolutely!)
9. Ergonomic Touches.
Author Riha cheated, though, by adding as a postscript an unnumbered 10th feature. It’s one that I agree with (and I bet most Fenwick Island, DE house hunters will, too). The extra element for the perfect Fenwick Island, DE house is an “intangible” dimension—defined as the quirks that provide individuality and personality. They serve to “keep a house from being cookie-cutter.”
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
For the Real Estate Market, a Moderate & Less Muddled 2019
Dewey Beach, DE homeowners who had to decide whether or not to put their home on the market this year have had an easy time sizing up the real estate Big Picture. Across the country, prices have been rising steadily but moderately. Sales may be down, but that’s because too few properties are being offered. And the financing picture remains favorable.
Putting it all together, the prices news is good for sellers, the lack of inventory is less good news for buyers—while the low home loan rates is good news for both buyers and sellers. That combination may be a little muddled, but is certainly encouraging for sellers. The big question about the future is what’s likely to change in the coming year?
The single individual who is probably best situated to make the most educated guess about that is Dr. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist and often-quoted soothsayer. He speaks in the guarded words that Chief Economists tend to favor, but at this summer’s end, his projections were more than usually sure-footed.
Long story short for the three trends that have defined the past few years’ markets:
· Price increases at heated levels will self-limit: in 2019, expect price growth to moderate (in the sustainable neighborhood of 3.5%).
· The years-long trend of seeing “too few” properties hitting the market should soften: in 2019, anticipate a rise in inventory.
· Reversing the 2018 sales level slump, 2019 overall sales are projected rise by 2%.
Those predictions make for a rosy picture—particularly for Dewey Beach, DE observers who recall the aftermath of overheated price and sales levels. Dr. Yun sounded notes of confidence for them, expecting the hottest local markets to moderate not from weak buyer demand, but because of insufficient supply. With mortgage default and foreclosure rates near historic lows, the bottom line of his forecast comes with the reassurance that concerns that the housing market may have peaked—and be headed for a significant slowdown—are “unfounded.”
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
When Lewes, Delaware Phone Ring With Free Vacation Calls
Free free free! It’s familiar to every Lewes, DE resident with a landline or mobile telephone: the call from an unknown source offering the free vacation come-on. Sometimes the gal at the other end of the line explains the windfall is the result of a lottery, or of a random drawing; sometimes it’s connected to a valid account (there actually ARE some legitimate drawing giveaways).
In many cases, though, the “free” vacation has a few strings (some of them can turn out to be costly)—and often involve the obligation to experience an hours-long sales pitch for an exotically sited timeshare, condo, or some variation of same.
Now, however, this same tactic seems to be migrating to the highest tier of vacation home proprietors. According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the world’s most luxurious resorts are adopting a similar free sample tactic. It spotlights one Belizean island resort which won’t be completed until 2021. Its proprietor is The Four Seasons, the outfit famous for its top-end hotels and resorts. Now developing a private island community, it faced a sales dilemma: how to demonstrate the finished vacation home experience before ground is even broken?
The answer, in one word: tents.
The developer has erected four “tricked-out beach tents” on their Four Seasons’ Caye Chapel beach “that have every luxury.” Teak-floor showers. Espresso makers. Air conditioning. The tents enable potential vacation home buyers to experience what are called “bite-sized luxury getaways.” The Journal is only half kidding when it characterizes the tactic as having been borrowed from a Costco free sample aisle.
Whether your idea of a vacation home is right here in Lewes, DE or in some far-flung corner of the globe, the free trial gambit does embody an authentically useful concept—the value of actually experiencing a location. When deciding on a place you might want to call home (or vacation home), it’s always worthwhile to do your best to experience it as fully as possible—even through more than one season, if possible.
- Written by Russell Stucki