You could say that selling a home—in Delaware or anywhere else in the nation—is in large part “a light show.” When you dissect marketing statistics that trace the path of the vast majority of buyers, it’s clear that the first sense that comes into play in the selling of a home is sight: either a first view of the online listing, a glimpse of a property with a “for sale” sign out front, or an image in an ad or printed handout. As the saying goes, “the eyes have it.”

Selling Delaware homes really begins with the photography. Professional photographers know that whenever they aim their cameras at something they intend to capture, as important as the actual object itself is the quality of the light that illuminates it. They talk about the “shape” of the light and whether it’s “hard” (meaning shadows are prominent) or “soft” (shadows innocuous). It’s why the pros will time a listing’s emblematic “curb appeal” shot for the sun to be in the most flattering position.  Inside, they may use as many as three or four hidden slave strobe lights to brighten larger rooms where the natural light is photographically uneven.

With few exceptions, light and bright is the rule of thumb for what succeeds best in selling a home. That guideline explains why most agree that the preferred wall colors are variations of “pale” this or “light” that. The perennial favorites are light beige, pale taupe, and pale gray-blue. The common denominator for room color recommendations is high to moderate reflectivity—in other words: light and bright! A recent published analysis of over 32,000 photos of sold homes seems to have been a largely unnecessary exercise: the leaders were (you guessed it) pale gray blue and light beige.

The same thinking leads to the good practice of preceding every showing and open house with a quick trip through the home, opening blinds and curtains and turning on lamps and overheads.

But there are exceptions, of course. Delaware homes with media rooms can often benefit from dimmed lighting that accentuates media screens. Likewise, a rich, darkly paneled study can do the same. Both make an interesting contrast with the rest of the home (and a dramatic break in the whole presentation). When showing a client’s property, some agents lead the guests on a predetermined route through the property. The idea is to manage the progression of impressions to achieve maximum impact.

When you begin to contemplate selling your own Delaware home, even if it’s not being planned for a while, I hope you will give me a call. I’ll come out so we can chat about some low-intensity preparations that will pave the way for a quick and easy eventual sale. There’s never any obligation—and there are often some early steps you can take that result in meaningful results! 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

As summer approaches, Delaware homeowners may also recall the challenge of retaining a reasonably comfortable home environment during the inevitable spells of hot weather. Everyone has a different relationship to heat and its evil twin, humidity, which dictates how much attention and budget needs to be dedicated to house cooling.

One old-fashioned solution is out there that many Delawareites may not have considered.

For most heat-sensitive Delaware residents, house cooling is synonymous with some form of air conditioning—if not central, then some assemblage of window A/C units. Evaporative coolers have economic and environmental advantages, but are really most effective in dry conditions: in other words, when the air gets soupy, their effectiveness fades. These were the “swamp coolers” of yesteryear—and they do have plusses that keep them around today. They allow open windows, so unlike air conditioners, fresh air is part of the house cooling action. They also use relatively little energy.

Swamp coolers used to be more popular in pre-air conditioner days—but there’s another cooling solution that is sometimes overlooked today. It’s the “Whole House Fan” system.

The basic idea is to fight the buildup of heat inside the home by pulling air up and out of the structure, expelling heat and allowing cooler breezes to enter. The house cooling is forced by a powerful fan in the attic combined with appropriately installed ventilation ports. It’s the fan that was the culprit behind the unpopularity of yesteryear’s versions. They were called “attic fans,” and they earned an unfortunate reputation for being extremely noisy. Sounded like a helicopter was taking off on the roof. Not okay.

Today’s whole house fans are the exact opposite: engineering advances make them whisper quiet, yet powerful and effective. Because they are quiet, homeowners don’t mind leaving them on for extended periods, which maximizes their effectiveness in ridding homes of summer heat buildup. It is true that on really hot days—when the outside air, even in shaded areas, can become oppressive—air conditioning is simply more effective. But for Delaware residents who don’t mind an occasional heat spell, the savings in electricity consumption can make whole house fans a modern strategy worth considering.

Summer is also the second half of Delaware’s busiest home shopping season. Kids are out of school, and summer vacations give more families a chance to do some serious house hunting. If you have been considering a real estate move of your own, it’s not too late to join in: 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

You might have had a science teacher who explained to the class why perpetual motion machines aren’t possible. He would have had some common sense to back up his point  (everybody knows nothing lasts forever). But the actual scientific explanation had to do with physics and Newton’s Laws: in the end, perpetual motion just isn’t in the cards.

When it comes to real estate, however, for a lot of happy residents, their Delaware home equity comes awfully close to being a kind of perpetual income machine.

There may not be a Newton’s Law of Retirement Motion, but for anybody planning their long-term future security, there should be. It would be straightforward:

For every mortgage principal payment, there is an equal and opposite addition to your home equity.

This simple Law has a profound effect in the real world. The PEW Research Center tells us that the typical median family’s expenditure for housing = 23% of after-tax income. That figure is for households with two earners and two children. If retirement will mean a reduction in those two earners’ income (as is usually the case), unless they reduce the size or quality of their housing, the percentage of income it claims will have to rise further. Not a very desirable outcome.

But apparently the majority of Americans have already taken our fanciful Law of Retirement Motion into account. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, among American homeowners who are 65 and older, a whopping 65.3% have no mortgages payments to make. They own their residences free and clear. For them, the home equity effect is, as financial adviser Robert Christman describes, “…almost as if you had saved enough extra to provide a monthly income equal to your mortgage.” It’s like a Newton’s Law of Perpetual Income.

The practical effect of owning your Delaware home outright isn’t as fanciful as are the non-existent Newton’s Laws—it’s darned real! Which is one reason my job helping clients land the right home at the right price ends up being so satisfying.

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.

Delaware real estate—like all real estate—is a supremely local activity. Area homeowners who like to keep an eye on Delaware and national trends do so because some of them may surface in future buyer preferences. For Delaware homeowners in a remodeling frame of mind, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of “what’s hot.”

When it comes to nailing down the latest home design trends, there’s no shortage of commercial firms whose publicity departments are determined to make convincing arguments that their products are in the vanguard. Since the National Association of Realtors® isn’t selling anything, that’s one good reason to give special attention when Realtor Magazine puts out its annual “Home Design Trends” roundup.

This year, though, much of what they reported had more to do with American community and social environments than with the kind of details Delaware homeowners will find very useful. Those wider trends included a continuation of consumer preferences for “walkability”—in suburbs as well as in urban areas. Homes “far from everything” lose out in the “walk scoring” calculation. In a similar vein, as more and more people spend more and more time on social media and in front of computer screens at work, there is growing awareness that typical Americans crave more actual live human interaction: hence, proximity to social gathering places (clubs and clubhouses; community centers) is being newly emphasized in real estate sales materials.

But some more traditional kinds of home design trends were mentioned, as well, such as the finding that “taupe is the new gray” and a movement toward “naturally renewable, warmer surfaces.” Taupe’s slightly rosier tone conveys a friendlier feel than plain gray, which fits in with the turn away from colder black, white, and metallic palettes. Natural cork is one low-maintenance material offered as an example: it adds aesthetic appeal to walls and flooring. (Besides, it bounces back when dented)!

Other specifics include a shift toward away from traditional log-burning hearths to natural gas and even alcohol-burning fireplaces. Delaware homeowners who have done without fireplaces entirely may take note: since they don’t require vents, alcohol burning hearths can be installed just about anywhere with minimal construction expense.

One home design trend that is definitely applicable in Delaware is a consequence of the ever-diminishing size of today’s electronic technology tools. For those whose careers make working from home at least part of their professional work week, it means that the necessity for a full-room home office is gradually waning. Now almost any corner of the home can suffice. When designers speak of “dual-purpose areas” with “dual-purpose furnishings,” they probably have this trend in mind. A further step into the future is the “movable wall concept.” That’s not here yet: it’s projected for the futuristic Home of 2050. (I, for one, am willing to wait).

One trend that’s unlikely to change is the advantage to both buyers and sellers of being able to count on the services of an experienced Delaware Realtor. I’m always just a phone call away! 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