A few years ago, the Realtor® website weighed in with some ideas addressing a question that Dewey Beach, DE house hunters face all the time: what house size should they be aiming for?

I have one approach, but the Realtor.com team took another tack—posing five questions buyers should ask themselves. Here they are:

1.      How long do you intend to live in the new house—and what will your family size be during that period?

2.      Ask yourself, “do you really want to clean a large house?”

3.      How expensive will it be to furnish?

4.      Will maintenance costs strain your budget?

5.      How important are your personal preferences? For instance, your desire for “coziness” may trump your wish for extra rooms to accommodate guests.

The five questions are all relevant—but there is a more concrete approach to dealing with your ideal Dewey Beach, DE house size:

Step 1: Measure your current living quarters. Get out the tape measure, list each room and measure it, wall to wall. Don’t bother with the hallways. Now, next to each room, mark a “+” for rooms that you’ve found to be unnecessarily large, “-” for those that have proved to be uncomfortably small, and “=” for those that have proved to be about right.

Step 2:  If you have experienced the need for an additional room or rooms, note them at the bottom of your list. If you currently have superfluous rooms, “X” beside them.

Step 3: You have probably already figured out what Part 3 is going to be—use all that information to make a mental checklist for your ideal Dewey Beach, DE house size. Note that I haven’t recommended adding them all up to get a single “square footage” number to match with the listings’ single figure. What will be more meaningful are the individual room sizes and the number of bedrooms and baths. Listings’ single “sq ft” number often includes less essential spaces. That number is more useful as a ballpark to compare listing-to-listing.

Even if it turns out that your room calculations point you toward unaffordably large properties, knowing what your own experience suggests will provide reference points that can’t help but make your house hunting efforts more productive.

There’s also another way guaranteed to yield productive house hunting: call me! 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

Checking out an online piece dealing with some technical adjustments having to do with mortgage insurance the other day, I came across an indisputable statement:

“Many homeowners are confused about the difference between PMI (private mortgage insurance) and mortgage protection insurance (MPI).”

That, if anything, is a considerable understatement—especially because Dewey Beach, DE homeowners can sometimes find “mortgage protection insurance” abbreviated as well. If your professional duties include distinguishing the finer points of Dewey Beach, DE mortgages for your clients, you are unlikely to confuse “PMI” with “MPI.” But for the rest of humanity, that’s not necessarily the case. Since the difference is substantive, here’s a 30-second primer:

PMI is Private Mortgage Insurance. It’s designed to protect the lender rather than the homeowner. If Dewey Beach, DE homeowners run into trouble—for instance, if they were to lose their job—the PMI coverage will reimburse the lender for any shortfalls. PMI coverage is usually required when Dewey Beach, DE homeowners pay less than 20% of a property’s sale price as the down payment. When the loan-to-value of the mortgage reaches 78%, these policies can usually be canceled (sometimes that’s done automatically).

MPI is Mortgage Protection Insurance—a very different animal. This protects the Dewey Beach, DE homeowners, covering missed mortgage payments for designated periods of time under specific circumstances. Unlike PMI, this insurance is strictly voluntary on the homeowner’s part. MPI policies may pay off the entire mortgage if the homeowner dies—but those who have adequate life insurance policies may find that expense unnecessary.

 Part of my job is to be sure my clients stay informed about how each part of a home buying or selling procedure stands to affect their interests. I hope you’ll call me whenever Dewey Beach, DE real estate matters arise! 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 word is “clutter.” It keeps cropping up whenever a Realtor is asked for advice about selling Dewey Beach, DE homes.

The clutter factor might not seem to be so overpoweringly important. After all, a housekeeping crew can scour and shine most homes in a day or two–and that would seem to outrank the clutter component by a mile. So why all the fuss about clutter?

I believe the reasons are many. Of course, selling any Dewey Beach, DE home requires it to be at least freshly cleaned (best if immaculately so)—but everyone accepts that without a second thought. Clutter is another matter. It goes to what’s meant by the term.

After a home has been prepared in every other way, de-cluttering action means ruthlessly removing just about everything that tends to attract attention, fill the space, or otherwise distract the eye of the beholder.

In the living room, that means gathering up all the books and newspapers and removing them from the scene. It means doing away with the ashtrays, paperweights, and coasters. It means losing the magazine rack by the fireplace and pruning the number of throw pillows that usually populate the big sofa. It means dispensing with unnecessary throw rugs and any hall wall hangings that make narrow hallways more claustrophobic. Importantly, it means removing all the photos and memorabilia that make your house a home—because they make it your home when you want it to become their home. 

The same goes for the kitchen, where it means gathering up all the paraphernalia that’s needed to fix a breakfast or throw lunch together. Salt and pepper shakers, spice rack on the sink, egg timer and spoon rest included. Does this make the kitchen appear less of a functioning kitchen? Yes! And that’s why the de-cluttering needs to be emphasized: the kitchen will be more appealing to most cooks if it looks open, nearly unused—in other words, awaiting their arrival to make it their own!

Now, it is also true that you may well return an object or two to the living room or kitchen just to offset a totally “deserted” feeling—professional stagers often do add one or two modest objects where needed. But check out the best upscale listing photos, and you will see expanses of unoccupied space and barren walls and surfaces. They make any Dewey Beach, DE home invitingly empty—awaiting their ultimate owner.

Selling your Dewey Beach, DE home for at its best price takes strategy and skill—and it’s always good to be able to call on a seasoned professional to bring experience to the effort. I hope you’ll give me that 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

 Normally, December is a ho-hum month for Dewey Beach, DE home sales—and that could well be the case again. Across the nation, 2018’s leadup has performed pretty much as expected. Home sales slowed as the number of home listings stayed in short supply and mortgage interest rates crept upward. So it would surprise no one if Dewey Beach, DE home sales followed the national trend.

But instead of a sleepy year-end market, a year-end surprise might be possible. That’s the studied opinion of CNBC’s respected real estate commentator, Diana Olick. December is “usually the slowest month for home sales,” she writes; “but that might not be the case this year.”

Last week’s pronouncement came on the heels of a dynamic stock market swoon but had little to do with that or other financial jitters. She pointed to three unique dynamics that make this December “one of the better times” to both buy and sell:

1.      Interest rates. After rate increases having turned “what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market,” Olick found that buyers are now likely to seize the moment. With mortgage rates hovering below 5% yet almost universally expected to move higher in 2019, that fact alone is “motivating buyers.”

2.      Prices. ‘Tis the season for bargain hunters. Web titan Zillow reports seeing a “sharp increase in the share of properties with price cuts.” Although the housing market can always be counted on to let up once the kids get back in school, this year “is shaping up to be more favorable for buyers.”

3.      Competition. Quoting Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, “December is the best time of year if you want to avoid competition.” Recent history bears that out, with online views per property normally 21% lower in the final month of the year. After contending with hot competition throughout the rest of the year, buyers may appreciate the reversal.

4.      Motivation. With supply and competition at their low points, for both buyers and sellers “motivation is at its high point.” Because the holidays can be an awkward time to buy or sell, those who step up can be counted on to have good reasons. Per Realtor, “Buyers may have to move, and sellers want to get to their next location.”

I agree that this year presents a unique set of circumstances that could power our December Dewey Beach, DE home sales beyond what is normally expected. In any case, I’ll be by the phone should you decide to take advantage of the moment! 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