Worst 9 Delaware Home Improvement Notions
When it’s one of those weekend days when the Delaware weather has refused to cooperate with outdoor plans, one way to fill the idle time is to go online in search of home improvement ideas. You may not follow through with any for your own Delaware home—but it’s amusing to review the almost unlimited number of clever and inventive notions people have put online.
When it comes to the kitchen, for instance, there are bounteous home improvement ideas. There’s the herb garden wall (in addition to a green thumb, a powerful sunlamp in the ceiling is required) or the pool table top that slips right over the center island. That one wouldn’t work if your kitchen’s island is plumbed: the water faucet would stick up and ruin everything.
But among the clever and innovative home improvement ideas you will also find some that are totally impractical—or just plain terrible. Here are nine of the silliest I’ve found—
- Hammock Over the Stairs. A space-saver, yes. An attractive idea? Just, no.
- See-through Bathtub. Glass walls for the tub = a housekeeping nightmare (among other drawbacks).
- Fire Pit Coffee Table. Again: just, no.
- Ping Pong Door. This one is complicated: the closed door has pins halfway up that allow it to tilt horizontally, whereupon the plastic net is slid into notches provided in the door frame…anyway, it’s a really small ping pong table.
- Cat Transit System. A CTS consists of 8” diameter tubes running throughout the house just below ceiling level. Exit openings are provided at various points. Added feline-pleasing features: windows cut into the tubes at various key viewpoints.
- A Wall That Plays Music When it Rains. This is an exterior wall idea. You install metal tubes, funnels, bamboo water chimes and tin pans to route rain water down the side of the wall as noisily as possible to splash and bang through twists and turns and waterfalls. This looks to produce the same quality of music a vacuum cleaner makes.
- Beach Sand Under Work Desk. Like an on-the-job vacation; facilitates barefoot computer working. But—alas—another housekeeping nightmare.
- Forest Chandelier. This one is a chandelier that looks like dozens of snakes coiled around one another: when lighted, it casts creepy shadows on ceiling and walls that “turn your room into a forest.” In a bedroom, certain to cause sleepless nights.
- Glass Floor Over an Open Shaft. This home improvement idea is available only to Delaware condo dwellers in buildings with abandoned elevator shafts. Since there aren’t any, we’ll never have to experience the horrendous effect (there’s actually a picture of this, in a bathroom, on a site called boredpanda).
- Written by Russell Stucki
Liquidity Dimension for an Investment in Delaware Real Estate
Buying a home as a place to live certainly has important financial implications, but they are only part of an equation that has major lifestyle implications. A given house may be a really terrific deal—but if it turns out that you aren’t comfortable living there, buying it will probably wind up being a mistake.
When the motivation for an investment in Delaware residential real estate is purely financial, it’s a less complicated decision. Taking all factors into account, when a property pencils out as a likely financial winner, it’s a matter of weighing it against the risks and rewards of available alternative investments. In one risk-minimizing longer-term strategy, for instance, the risk that a rental property might go vacant is minimized by setting its monthly rental at little more than the cost of maintenance and mortgage payments. The plan is to patiently await the blissful moment when the mortgage is paid off—at which point a substantial net income begins to flow.
In all cases, any real estate investment in Delaware should be part an overall strategy. It’s likely to represent diversification within a mix of other investment vehicles. Equities and bonds don’t have the “reality” that a deed conveys, but do have the advantage of being less complicated to buy and manage. To the extent that they can be sold more quickly, they are rightly thought of as being more liquid…which brings up the point, here.
Knowing when you can cash out to free equity for other purposes is a positive, for sure—but there are liquidity options for Delaware real estate investments, too:
- Home Equity Loans. Carrying a fixed or variable interest rate, “seconds” are usually easier to arrange than primary home loans—and are often free of closing costs.
- HELOCs. These tap home equity to collateralize a line of credit. They are often described as functioning like low-interest credit cards—amounts are borrowed in increments the borrower wishes up to the credit limit; then paid off over time.
- Cash Out Refinance Loans. These are like home equity loans taken in amounts more than the amount owed. The difference is freed for investment elsewhere (or for any other purpose).
As Investopedia’s Robert Stammers writes, “increasing concerns about the future long-term variability of stock and bond returns” explains why a tactical investment in real estate “is known for its ability to serve as a portfolio diversifier and inflation hedge.”
- Written by Russell Stucki
What the Election Could Mean for Delaware Real Estate
If you weren’t among those who were surprised by last week’s election outcome, you were among very few. Opinion leaders in every corner of the media are still scrambling to explain why their prognostications had been so wide of the mark. When your job is to help people understand the fine points of current events, it’s just plain embarrassing when you get the big picture 180 degrees wrong!
For both Delaware homeowners who will be considering putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign within the next year or so—as well as for potential Delaware real estate buyers they will need to attract—any shift in the currents in Washington are very likely to affect the market conditions they’ll encounter. There are three areas that can have profound impacts on the strength or weakness of residential home sales:
- Economy and jobs. The economic recovery of the past few years has been a major factor in the bounce-back of Delaware home values—just as the global financial crisis of 2007-08 had been the key ingredient in the real estate crash. It’s also evident that the recovery has been slow to gather momentum and feebler than hoped. The change in administrations is expected to bring major reversals in federal economic policies. If changes in tax and health care policies are forthcoming, if they succeed in boosting small business job creation, homeownership rates can be expected to climb. (Note those two “ifs.”)
- Mortgage scene. As the L.A. Times noted on The Day After, the President-elect’s campaign rhetoric included “unprecedented” criticism of the Federal Reserve. There can be miles of distance between what is said on the campaign trail and what happens when real decisions have to be made, but the calendar makes major shifts in monetary policy possible—and that is all-important in determining mortgage interest rates. The Trump White House will be able to appoint as many as five new members to the Fed Board of Governors (there are seven altogether)—including a new chairperson at the beginning of 2018. If the new Administration follows through on relaxing bank regulations, it’s expected to make real estate financing less cumbersome.
- The vibe. What can be every bit as influential as anything else is the sense of optimism or pessimism that permeates the national debate. Oh, yes; the election may be over, but the chatter is a permanent fixture. It’s also the hardest to quantify—in part because a major part of it is created by the spin that attaches to hard facts. But beneath everything is the way people feel about their own futures: promising or threatening? To create that, everything comes into play, including totally unforeseeable factors like international events, technology surprises—even the weather!
- Written by Russell Stucki
6 Budget-Minded Fixes that Add Delaware Curb Appeal
Conscientious Delaware homeowners keep on top of all the regular maintenance items pretty much automatically. Once you have lived in a place for more than a year or two, you know what you should be keeping an eye on. You have a handle on when major fixes and updates have to be addressed.
When you begin thinking about moving on to new digs, though, the focus shifts. Your Delaware property is about to enter a beauty contest, after all—so more attention will have to be paid to moving it toward the dazzler category. The floor plan, interior décor, mechanical functions, and the other features that prospective buyers will delve into may all come into play eventually—but only after initial interest has been piqued.
Call it what you will: “first take,” “initial impression,” or “curb appeal”—whatever you name it, if it’s positive, everything else can follow. If it’s negative for any reason, all the other factors will be fighting an uphill battle—or worse, a battle that’s never fought at all.
Given that most homes that are about to go on the Delaware market have basic maintenance issues solved, some of the most important home improvement items are those that boost the first impression. Here are six that are universally cited:
- Clean. This one is not as obvious as it sounds—owners are used to the way the front of the house looks, and more often than not, don’t even notice subtle loss to a home’s “sparkle.” When years of almost-invisible grime are cleared away, the difference can be startling. Every surface has its own effective cleaning techniques: they’re easy to find on the web.
- Spruce up the yard. If lawn dominates, dollars spent to bring as much life as possible will be well spent. If the season makes a quick enough turnaround impractical, professional lawn paint spraying services are a temporary fix.
- Mulch. If fall has given front yard flower beds too much of an overgrown look, be prepared to cut them back into shape—then mulch the newly-exposed soil. The look that emerges can transform unkempt into elegant.
- Entryway. If there is an entry lantern overhead, make its glass panes sparkle. Front door fixtures should gleam—and if they are beyond polishing, replacing them is not a budget-buster. It can also be transformative to paint the door itself with an inviting color that accents the exterior’s tone—an idea that could be the most cost-effective curb appeal assist of all!
- Driveway. If there are major cracks, they will need to be filled (quick! Winter’s on the way). But if the only problem is blemishes on asphalt, a sealcoat service when the weather allows can be well worth the dollars spent.
- Identity. The house numbers, whether simply on the side of the mailbox or elsewhere, are more important than most Delaware homeowners realize. After all, prospective buyers are certain to look closely at them—which can be turned into an opportunity to forge a distinctive identity. Search the web for images showing “house number design ideas” to see how many interesting looks are out there—then seriously consider if a change might add drama and distinction to your home’s curb appeal.
- Written by Russell Stucki