The season for New Years’ Resolutions is barely underway, but if history is any guide, many have already met their Waterloos. For future Lewes, DE homeowners resolved to make this the year they make the leap from renter to homeowner, there are some incremental moves that will make that leap less daunting. Here are three:   

1)      Starting now, keep monthly tabs on your credit profile. The three credit bureaus (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) are required by law to provide your credit reports once every year. But due to COVID-19, right now (through April), the federally authorized annual credit reporting firm is offering free weekly online reports (but beware of sites that have similar URLs). If you find errors in your report (they are pretty common), the sooner you correct them, the better. Many credit card companies are now offering a “your credit score” perk that tracks your current score from one of the companies. It’s free, so after the April offer expires, you can a good habit to cultivate is checking your score every month.

2)      Open a separate “Down Payment” account at your bank—and schedule regular transfers into it from your checking account. Most of us have at least partially automated the household bill-paying, so adding the Down Payment account to the list of regular creditors with a “due date” that falls early in the month (and a payment amount that’s substantial but realistic) will make coming up with a down payment that much easier.

3)      Know what you’re spending—and decide what’s unnecessary. Owning a home means spending to maintain it—expenses renters largely avoid. But that’s not as burdensome as it sounds. Most Lewes, DE homeowners would agree that a side benefit of homeownership is that when you make purchases “for the house,” it feels like contributing to your own future—more like saving than spending. Non-homeowners can usually identify at least some habitual spending that’s really more to “feel good” than for a true necessity. Behavioral science has a name for it: “retail therapy.” Getting in the habit now of avoiding gratuitous spending sets up future homeowners for a more fulfilling “feel good” kind of spending.

I have a good deal of experience helping aspiring Lewes, DE homeowners turn wishes into reality. Why not start the year with a call to me for a no-obligation preliminary chat! 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

In any other year, when Lewes, DE homeowners read an opening line like, “For the 13th time this year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage set a record low…,” their reaction would most likely be something like, “Wow! They cut rates again! How great!”

Not this year. Most of 2020 has seen gun-shy Lewes, DE residents, having rebounded from one unexpected obstacle after another, take one look at that sentence and be more apt to focus on the unlucky number ‘13’ and think, “Uh-oh! Now what?”

But Lewes, DE homeowners can relax. The news flash is, indeed, good news (unequaled news, actually). As Realtor Magazine noted, when it comes to 30-year fixed mortgages, “home buyers and refinancing homeowners have never before locked in a rate this low.” When the previous all-time record low was set on November 5, rates averaged 2.78%. As Lewes, DE headed into the extended Thanksgiving weekend, the new record beat that one by .06%.

For Lewes, DE homeowners who are thinking of selling, the progression of incremental rate lowerings was largely responsible for what some called “a national home-buying spree.” Realtor credited “ultra-low mortgage rates [that] are boosting home-buying activity to the highest level since 2006.”

The effect was contagious, as well. The chief economist at government-chartered Freddie Mac credited strong housing demand for “a domino effect on many other segments of the economy.” Strong demand plus sub-bargain basement mortgage rates are a potent mix for any Lewes, DE homeowner who has been waiting for the right time to put his or her home on the market. If that describes you, now is the time to 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

Every profession creates them—an ever-expanding vocabulary of specialized terms, followed by the list of acronyms they spawn. Lewes, DE real estate is certainly no exception

Fortunately for the numerous house-hunters who have been out prospecting for Lewes, DE homes this fall—and for the homeowners whose properties are their quarry—there’s really no need to memorize them all. Your Realtor® (ideally, that’s me) will acquaint you with all the definitions you need to know, if and when they crop up.

Even so, since some of the most common ones do occasionally creep into blogs, ads, and various other Lewes, DE real estate communications, here is an abbreviated list of some common ones. Anyone with personal home buying and selling experience will recognize many of them, but may not remember the literal definitions. You can make this into a quiz by covering up the column on the right—if you get more than half of them, consider yourself a REV (Real Estate Virtuoso):

ARM ………………………………... Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

ASP ………………………………...    Accredited Staging Professional

COE………………………………....  Realtors® Code of Ethics

CMA ………………………………...  Comparative Market Analysis (aka, a “comp”)

CPM ………………………………...   Certified Property Manager

DR ………………………………......   Designated Realtor® (a member of the NAR)

DTI ……………………………….....  Debt-to-Income Ratio

FHA ………………………………...   Federal Housing Administration

FICO ………………………………...  Fair Isaac Corporation’s creditworthiness rating

FMV ………………………………...   Fair Market Value

FSBO ………………………………... For Sale By Owner

GAA ………………………………...   General Accredited Appraiser

HOA ………………………………...   Homeowners Association

HUD ………………………………...  Federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

L/O ………………………………...     Lease Option

LTV ………………………………...   Loan-to-Value ratio

MFH ………………………………...   Multi-Family Home

MLS ………………………………...   Multiple Listing Service

NAR ………………………………...   National Association of Realtors®

NOO ………………………………...  Non-Owner Occupied

OO ………………………………...     Owner-Occupied

PMI ………………………………...    Private Mortgage Insurance

REO ………………………………...   Real Estate Owned (a property owned by the lender)

RTO ………………………………...   Rent-to-Own

The difference between REO and RTO is only significant when they are fixtures in your everyday professional life. Call me whenever it’s time for you to capitalize on my extensive Jamestown real estate experience! 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 U.S. News & World Report weighed in last week with a quite useful list: housewarming gift ideas that are both thoughtful and practical. The entire list ran to 15 entries—some less appropriate than others (right now, the “hummingbird feeder” might be more appreciated come springtime)—but for most Lewes, DE readers, on the whole, it presented a very useful compendium.

It spurred a wider search for other lists that have appeared in recent years. Here, in addition to some of the U.S. News ideas, are ten good ones:

1.      Customized return address stamp or stickers.

2.      Personalized doormat.

3.      A choice item from a favorite local Lewes, DE business.

4.      Cooking herb planter.

5.      Step stool.

6.      Keyholder (a tray, bowl, or set of hooks).

7.      Personalized wine opener.

8.      Engraved cutting board.

9.      Pineapple candle (there are all sorts of these, from shaped candles to beautiful glass-enclosed varieties).

10.  Decorator measuring cup or spoon sets (Google these: many are really handsome).

Keep in mind that these ‘housewarming’ gifts can also be thoughtful ‘thinking of you’ gifts for any occasion—even for just dropping by for a socially-distanced-but-too-long-delayed visit. These days, considerate gestures are more welcome than ever. And remember, when you’re looking forward to becoming a recipient in your own future Lewes, DE housewarming situation, I hope you’ll call me to help create it! 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