Time is of the essence!” is the kind of everyday phrase you might hear any time in Delaware. Most often it’s tossed off casually—as when someone gets impatient, waiting for a friend who’s been dillydallying. That’s when it means “we’re gonna be late!”

In Delaware legal contract phraseology, it has a more precise (and serious) meaning. To lawyers, including that phrase means that the parties must perform X by date Y or else! It means that missing a deadline will cause material harm. “Time is of the essence” in that connection is literal: the time element has value—it’s essential to the deal.

When you examine an investment in Delaware real estate, the actual phrase doesn’t have to appear in any agreement docs for time to play an important part “of the essence” of the investment. This isn’t just some abstract philosophical notion—integrating it into your buying, selling and management decisions will certainly affect the concrete dollars-and-cents results.

Most basic is a concept common to all investment avenues: the time value of money. The basic principle is that, provided money can earn interest, any given amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received. Most people are painfully aware of the inflationary effect of time on the money they earn—they know darn well that $1-a-gallon gasoline has become a distant memory (the same way great-grandparents used to describe 5¢ hamburgers).

The importance of having not just a nodding-your-head understanding, but of having a believing-it-deep-down kind of understanding of this may be why mature investors can be more stubborn about sticking to spending limits. They’ve experienced the rate at which Delaware properties grow in value over time—which means that if they were to pay 8% or 9% over what they truly believe a home’s value to be, it could take a couple of years before its resale value would reach even a breakeven point. Thinking in terms of its time value—picturing it just lying there, inert, for a couple of years—makes for a less appealing proposition.

For typical Delaware homeowners whose major reason for their real estate investment is as a residence, the time element works on many channels at the same time. The residence may lose some value as daily living’s wear and tear takes a toll, but at the same time, it’s all but sure to gain value through inflation. It might lose or gain as the immediate neighborhood changes for good or ill—although it could gain considerable value through wise decorating initiatives. About those decorating initiatives: it’s a canny homeowner whose first efforts at home improvement come in the garden: the right trees planted today can become hugely beneficial a decade or two from now—and hugely expensive to try to duplicate later. If you’ve ever discussed the cost of craning in a 25-foot shade tree, you understand the reality of “time is of the essence!”

The hot spring-summer selling season is set to start cooling down, but there are loads of great Delaware properties on the market right now. Call me, because time is of…well, you know! 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

The legendary figure of The Wanderer has different connotations in different cultures. English teachers in Delaware high school classrooms have always taught some of the most famous parts of Homer’s Odyssey—the heroic story of Ulysses, the most famous wanderer. Ulysses wandered in and out of a lot of trouble…

Planets are wanderers, too. During ancient night times, ancient shepherds looked up and watched them meandering restlessly among the stars, so they called them planets (“wanderers”). Dion (of Dion and the Belmonts) was the most celebrated wanderer of the 60s—at least his hit song claimed that he roamed “around around around around”).

In today’s Delaware culture, though, wandering is a lot less glamorous than it’s been through most of history. A modern definition includes the bit about moving around, but most dictionaries include less-than-positive modifiers like “aimless” or “without plan or purpose.”

So when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave a recent speech that Delaware mortgage rate observers hoped would signal the direction where rates are headed, they expected clarity on the Fed’s plan and purpose. Last Thursday, The Washington Post headlined the following days’ financial reaction:

Mortgage Rates Wander Higher but Remain Near Yearly Lows.”

When financial writers talk about mortgage rates that “wander,” it doesn’t really matter in which direction. It means that they’re going up and down in what amounts to wandering’s “aimless manner.” If it signals anything, it’s mainly that the signals from all corners are mixed. At Jackson Hole, Chair Yellen had signaled that the central bank “is moving closer” to raising their benchmark rate, but it seemed that the signal was not too convincing: Bankrate.com found that nearly 90% of the experts it talked to think rates will remain unchanged for a while.

As for how the Post could see rates “wandering” higher yet remaining near 2016 lows, it became clear in the paragraphs down below. The average 30-year mortgage rate had changed from 3.43% to 3.46%, remaining stuck in the range that’s lasted all summer (it’s been moving up and down no more than 7 hundredths of a percent). “Wandering” sounds appropriate. Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said mortgage rates have been “hovering;” but “wandering” sounds at least as apt. What this means for Delaware real estate is perhaps the only really clear signal to emerge. For the moment, Delaware mortgage rates remain appetizingly low, keeping the residential market pegged at historical bargain basement levels.

Best of all, that means it’s still a great time to 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

Homes for sale in Rehoboth Beach compete in the marketplace based on the major search criteria that have long been in place: location, architectural style, number of bedrooms and baths, overall size, style, quality, age, etc.

It’s a given that curb appeal and the property’s other photogenic qualities also make a difference for how much buyer interest is generated, and how soon serious offers roll in. We who deal in the marketplace also keep an eye on any emerging or strengthening trends and that could impinge on our Town clients’ properties’ popular appeal. One of those factors might be in the process of becoming more important—it has to do with landscaping.

In any year, this is the season when landscaping makes the biggest impact on potential buyers.  If January is prime time to show off a home’s outstanding fireplace or welcoming radiant heating setup, July does the same for a property’s outdoor living attributes. A welcoming yard or leafy patio can be the final extra feature that propels a house for sale in Rehoboth Beach into the ‘sold’ column—but now it seems more important that the effect be due to the right kind of greenery!

That’s the takeaway from the ASLA’s latest query to its membership. The American Society of Landscape Architects is its members’ pre-eminent professional association. Part of their charge is to track the trends and innovations in what is called residential outdoor design elements—exterior features that can make a home for sale more saleable—or, it now seems, less so.

In their latest poll, landscape architects were asked to rate the expected popularity of backyard design elements based on what they are hearing from the field. Needless to say, we might expect those factors to show a commensurate impact on their popularity with prospective buyers of our Rehoboth Beach homes for sale.

Among the Top Ten project types that registered the highest expected consumer demand, all but two reflected some element of the same theme: water sustainability. Scoring highest was “Rainwater/graywater harvesting” with 88%. The next three most popular project types also showed an awareness of water conservation. “Native” and “Drought-Tolerant” plants and “low maintenance landscapes” each weighed in with more than 80% of respondents. “Permeable paving”—which can be a method of avoiding water wastage through pavement washing, came in next. Also in the list were “rain gardens”, “drip/water-efficient irrigation,” and “reduced lawn areas.”

Water conservation has long been a serious concern for those with a keen green awareness quotient, but when responses on this kind of popularity list reach eight out of ten, that awareness and concern must be notching up considerably. It’s something to bear in mind for those whose Rehoboth Beach homes will be up for sale in the future—particularly if any landscape beautification projects are being considered. I hope you will feel free to call me whenever a question arises about how to prepare your own property for Rehoboth Beach’s active real estate 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

 Last week brought June (and the first half of the year) to an end with a lot of happenings—any one of which could have a significant impact on Rehoboth Beachreal estate in the months ahead. The biggest event was another unpredicted swoon in mortgage interest rates.

On Wednesday, the first event came when the National Association of Home Builders released their quarterly Eye on the Economy commentary, which projected “little risk” of a financial crisis from the events in Europe. And in fact, global markets did a good job of rebounding from the previous week’s dips, ending the week pretty much in pre-Brexit territory. NAHB’s view of the stateside situation retained its optimistic tone, noting that “housing remains a bright spot for an economy overcoming yet another soft first quarter…” That was borne out statistically, with housing’s share of the economy on the increase.

CoreLogic’s MarketPulse for June supported that view, showing a home price index that rose 6.2% year-over-year, and completed foreclosures down nearly 16%—which put foreclosures at pre-Recession levels. They noted another interesting fact: cash sales as a share of the market fell to 33% of all sales, a level that matched what it was before the housing crisis. That’s the first time that has happened, and could well signify a final end to real estate’s recovery phase.

The National Association of Realtors® reported on home resales for the previous month, and it was more good news for sellers. Resales rose to a more than nine-year high, with median house prices soaring 4.7% from the same period in 2015. The annual rate was projected at more than 5 ½ million units, “the highest level since February 2007.”

Next, Harvard University released a State of the Nation’s Housing report, with findings that sounded similar. One standout item might be of special interest to local real estate investors with an eye on the rental market. Nationally, the rental market continued to grow in 2015, comprising “the largest one-year increase in renter household” ever.

But the main news had to do with mortgage interest rates and the hangover from the previous week’s vote on Britain’s exit from the European Union. Trulia’s Chief Economist wrote about what Brexit means for the U.S. housing market: “The answer is no one really knows…”

That view was countered at CBS’ Moneywatch with its bold headline, “Brexit will keep U.S. mortgage rates in the basement.” The opinion was grounded on a “powerful though indirect” correlation between the two factors. Citing Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst’s complex reasoning, CBS followed by spotlighting Friday’s market verification: “Mortgage rates are tumbling…to rates not seen since 2013.”

If CBS is right, Rehoboth Beachhome buyers could benefit. “Mortgage shoppers are often beneficiaries of market volatility and uncertainty,” according to CBS. Of course, that only comes to pass when the right home at the right price has been found…which is where a timely call to my office enters the picture! 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