If you’ve ever had the kind of neighbor who is apt to borrow something (like your hedge trimmer), only to later complain about how it performed, you know how much patience it takes to hold your tongue. The Mortgage Bankers Association would be justified if they felt that way about me: I read their website, and sometimes quote it in posts about current Sussex County mortgage rates—but it sure makes for dull reading!
Anyway, with apologies to their (undoubtedly hard-working) writing staff, last week’s blog about national mortgage rates was as numbers-heavy as usual, yet still held a contradiction…but one that actually makes perfect sense. It also flags what could be seen as a bellwether that Sussex County home buyers and sellers would be hard-pressed to ignore.
The apparent contradiction was that mortgage rates were on the increase: national mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans rose to 4.17%, which is the highest they’ve been since November. This is for conforming loans; the jumbos (greater than $417,000) went north as well, up to 4.15%.
As everyone knows, low mortgage interest rates are terrific for our Sussex County residential home sales. The low monthly payments that they create make homeownership more affordable for a greater number of buyers. So when rates increase and monthly payments go up, it should create a drag on the market. The apparent contradiction in the MBA release was that the increase in rates was accompanied by an increase in mortgage applications. And it was a big one: up 8.4% from the week before.
Most commentators were united about the phenomenon, and it’s hard to disagree. In addition to the natural surge that comes with the season (spring and summer are always expected to be quite active), consumers are seeing the uptick in mortgage rates and suspecting that rates will head higher. That’s nudging them to action, causing them to jump in now, while rates are still attractive—especially compared with historical averages.
CNBC’s Diana Olick agreed that such sharp increases actually help the home-buying market. She quotes one lender’s take about the buyers: “They understand that ‘wait a minute, rates are at an all-time low, let’s react now, let’s react before they go higher.’”
It’s far from a certainty that rates will continue to take off. Lots of us remember last year, when almost all the experts predicted a rise, yet mortgage interest rates headed in the opposite direction…and stayed there! But you can hardly blame area buyers if they go with the national trend and decide that locking in today’s rates is a prudent move: it’s a bird in the hand.
If you have been thinking along the same lines, I hope you will give me a 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.

Sussex County residents don’t have to be pet owners to get a sense of just how nutty Americans are about our animals. Just a few minutes of watching TV will do it. After you’ve been bombarded with the images of happy/sad/exuberant/listless cats and dogs who are saved/rewarded by the pet products in the commercials, you won’t doubt that $60.59 billion is being spent on pets this year. It becomes clear how Fido and Kitty can afford to foot the bill for so much of today’s prime time television.
Another fact—one that directly relates to Sussex County real estate—is that slightly more than 56% of all American households are said to include a pet. The ASPCA says that 37%-47% of households have a dog, and 30%-37% of households have a cat (as far as the cats are concerned, it’s the cats that have the households, not the other way around). Whether or not Fido and Kitty are part of your own family, this does give rise to how important the real estate concept of “pet-friendly” homes has become.
Consideration:
Does your finicky cat need a room of his or her own? Does your MegaDog require a large yard? Space is always a leading qualification when you go to assess minimum real estate requirements for your Sussex County family, but since 68% of families include pet needs in their calculations, that is one of the basics that qualify a property. That’s why it makes increasing sense to emphasize pet-friendliness. For instance, if the back yard has a low or not very restrictive fence, a proactive seller might research the cost of installing an invisible fence. Even if they don’t go ahead and actually put it in, having a bid in hand showing that the cost is reasonable could be enough to sooth pet-owning prospects’ concerns.
Consideration:
Although pet owners are unambiguous about considering the four-footers to be family members, that’s not a universally shared concept. If you don’t see (or hear) any signs of pets in a prospective neighborhood, buyers should make certain that a property they are thinking about buying doesn’t carry restrictions that could cause pet turmoil. Local ordinances and neighborhood associations can enforce restrictions on the number and kind of pets.
Consideration:
Along with the growing popularity of pets have come a number of pet perks that have real estate implications. Pet amenities like dog parks are becoming more and more common in newer communities (in some areas, a movement is afoot to feature dog- and even cat-friendly cafes and public buildings).
I hope you will give me a call if you are embarking on an Sussex County house-hunting exploration­­, or are preparing to list your own property­­­­­ this summer. Pet accommodation is only one dimension I’ll help you make sure is fully addressed! 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.beachrealestate.com.

 


There are two kinds of situations that homeowners looking at Sussex County comparables run into:
1. THE SIMPLE COMPS: Your Sussex County home is part of an area that’s more uniform than not, in a neighborhood where there are a sufficient number of similar houses to have produced several sales recently. Your street may not be part of a literal development with models that have near-duplicate floor plans—but the area is, in general, homogenous. When it comes to selling your Sussex County home, you’re in luck!
2. THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE COMPS: AKA, the incomparable situation. Your area home is one of a kind, almost totally unlike any other in the neighborhood (two bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths) or unlike any other in any neighborhood (who else has a swimming pool built into the attic?). All right, maybe your house isn’t quite that weirdly incomparable, but it’s still the case that no similar home has sold within a 5-mile radius within the last year or two. When it comes to selling your Sussex County home, you may still be in luck—but not because of ‘the comps’!
When your property falls into the first category, one whole part of your selling situation becomes a piece of cake because of the comparables. Sussex County comparables from previous sales make the ultimate, convincing case that your home has at least $X value, because the market says so. In writing. Real people have plunked down their hard-earned dollars as proof. Even better, real banks have backed them up with their also very real dollars. It’s all verifiable in the public records.
When your property falls into the second category, in terms of the comparables for our town, it really doesn’t matter if you have the most attractive house or the best bells and whistles and bathroom renovations that will take a buyer’s breath away. If no other home within a reasonable distance has sold with a reasonable period (say, six months) that are close to the same size as yours, or if none has anything like similar features, you and your Realtor® are going to be pretty much on your own even settling on a listing price. Here’s a few lesser known reasons why paying attention to comparables is important when selling your home.
· Unique amenities won’t always guarantee a higher comparable value. If the amenities are unusual for Sussex County, it might make it that much more difficult to find enough comparables in your area to come up with a listing price.
· School districts factor heavily into value. You might have grumbled about paying school taxes if you aren’t sending your own children off to school, but the quality of the school district has a large influence on comparables.
· Scarcity of housing inventory in your neighborhood can be either an advantage or disadvantage. It’s a plus if the housing inventory is low due to high demand (there will be enough recent sales information to set an accurate listing price). It’s a negative if scarcity occurs because no one is buying nearby homes—and appraisers will find it more difficult to place a value on the property.
It’s my job to get your home the best offers in the shortest amount of time for either category of Sussex County comparables. Give me a call—regardless of which one yours falls into, we’ll discuss how we can produce results that are truly incomparable! 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.beachrealestate.com.

One strategy for selling your Sussex County home is to recognize the segment of the general public most likely to appreciate its inherent features, then be sure your sales approach will appeal to them. That doesn’t mean you will turn your back on all the other groups of buyers, of course—but it does mean you will make a deliberate effort to be especially sensitive to that group’s preferences, and highlight the features that are most likely to top their wish lists.
When the Target Audience is Empty-Nesters…
The majority of current Sussex County empty-nesters belong to the baby boomer generation. They are somewhere between 50 and 68 years of age, and there are about 75 million of them in the U.S.—nearly a quarter of the population. Empty-nesters are parents who currently don’t have any of their kids living with at home. Most empty-nest buyers are looking for a permanent address to settle down in as they hit their later years. The question is, what features make a home most desirable to empty nesters?
Moderate Space
What can be slightly tricky about general rules for selling a home to this population is that although most are set on downsizing, they don’t want to feel shoehorned into their space, either. Empty-nesters are often moving out of a home that has become demonstrably too large after the kids moved out. But that can also mean that they are used to a lot of space—probably don’t want to be crammed into a tiny house that can’t accommodate children and grandchildren when they do come to visit.
It’s going to be a compromise. “Moderate space” would most likely be no more than 3 bedrooms and no fewer than 2—with two bathrooms the norm. This description offers nesters the possibility of catering to hobbies on a day-to-day basis, while still allowing some accommodations for guests. More significant properties—those with 4 or more bedrooms— are more likely to find success by marketing messaging that points toward growing families.
Easy to Maintain
As always, it’s a selling ‘must’ to ensure that your Sussex County home is shipshape! When prospects are able to see how much care you’ve put into your property, they are that much easier to interest than when it’s clear they will be required to come up with their own extra sweat and budget dollars. When you know that part of your preparation will include replacements, it’s a good idea to emphasize ease of maintenance in your choices. Examples are gutters that are shielded, windows that tilt up for easy cleaning inside and out, etc.
Whether or not your home is likely to attract Sussex County empty-nesters, knowing what part of the market will have the most likely prospects—and how to shape the sales messaging accordingly—is part of the no-obligation consultation I offer everyone who is deciding how they will go about selling their home. Give me a call to schedule one this week! 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.beachrealestate.com