Buying a home in Lewes, DE– especially if it’s your first – can seem like it’s just a magnified version of any other major purchase. You’re the buyer—which makes you the boss. It can be as straightforward as that—but there are also several parts of the process where it’s all too easy for Lewes, DE buyer mistakes to cost not just time and frustration, but real money, too. Here are some common home-buying missteps:

1. Looking for a home before speaking about a mortgage.

Many first-time buyers make the mistake of viewing homes before making contact with a mortgage lender. This puts you behind the ball if a home you love hits the market, or if you wind up spending time and energy looking at homes that you can’t afford.

2. Talking to only one lender.

This one is a biggie! Buyers who get a mortgage from the first (and only) lender or bank they talk to are potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table. The more shopping you do, the better basis for comparison you’ll have for ensuring you’ve landed the best deal.

3. Being careless with credit.

In the months leading up to a mortgage application, don’t open new credit cards, close existing accounts, take out new loans, or make large purchases on existing credit accounts. Maintain that practice through closing day.

4. Assuming you need 20% down payment

Delaying your home purchase while you save up for a 20% down payment can take years. That’s tying up cash at a time when you might be putting it to better use: maximizing your retirement savings, building an emergency fund, or paying down higher-interest debt. Today it might be possible to arrange a conventional mortgage for as little as 3% down. Even though that would require mortgage insurance, given today’s bargain mortgage interest rates, the result can make for a sensible bargain.

I’m here to help all your real estate transactions close smoothly. Call me anytime this summer to discuss your search! 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

 Long before well-prepared Lewes, DE homeowners arrive at the signing table, they will have been aware of the factors mortgage lenders pay attention to—foremost among which is their bill-paying history. For years, they will have avoided making late payments—or underpayments. They will have corrected erroneous negatives on their credit reports and straightened out any historical inaccuracies.

If they have read up on how home loans are originated, they will know that a second weighty factor is “amounts owed”—but that’s a term that can be easily misunderstood. It turns out to include more than the term implies.

You’d think that “amounts owed” would be a simple dollar amount. If John and Jenny Smith have credit card debt totaling $8,000 and a car loan with a remaining balance of $12,000, any Lewes, DE home loan application would trigger a credit report detailing that $20,000 owed. If their incomes made that an easily sustainable debt load, John and Jenny would probably assume that their “amount owed” wouldn’t be a problem. That could well be the case—but what the lenders are more interested in is not the $20K.

Instead, they see a percentage.

To the mortgage decision-makers, “amount owed” also includes a debt-to-credit ratio. If the sum of the credit limits on all of their credit lines totals $60,000, that ratio would be a comfortable 1:3—that is, two-thirds of the amount they could have borrowed remains untapped. But if their credit limits total something closer to the amount they actually owe, it makes adding to that debt a riskier proposition. In the most extreme case—if they had borrowed almost all of their credit cards’ limits—it would understandably create a question mark in the lenders’ minds. It would mean that high-interest rates would be attached to any home loan offers (if any offers were forthcoming).

The implications for Lewes, DE real estate borrowing is straightforward. 1) Accept credit limit raises when offered—even if you have no intention of tapping them; and 2) Keep credit accounts active by using them from time to time—but keep the balances owed modest. Observing those two simple rules will make for a debt-to-credit ratio lenders love.

Early preparation for future home ownership is certain to pay off when that future arrives. Call me whenever a question about Lewes, DE real estate matters arises—I’d love to 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

Before a first-timer has experienced the complete home-buying process, given the number of unknowns that seem to be dependent on one another, they’re bound to be at least a little baffled. What if there are unseen problems with the house? What if the home loan company decides not to cooperate? What if—well, who knows what other snags could pop up? Common sense tells them there must be ways to address all the unknowns; otherwise, no one would ever be able to buy a home.

The most common way to deal with the unknown possibilities is to seek the help of an experienced Lewes, DE Realtor® like yours truly. And in fact, the majority of the greatest risk factors can all be tamed by a single concept—one that is built into almost every formal offer to buy. The concept is the “buying contingency”—a built-in fail-safe every homebuying veteran knows well. There are usually multiple contingencies built into every offer to buy. Each one addresses a what-if circumstance that allows the buyer to either opt out or alter the offer. Here are five areas where contingency clauses serve to alleviate buyer anxiety:

1.      Financing. If a buyer isn’t planning on paying with cash, a home loan will have to be arranged. If it cannot be arranged in a timely manner, a financing contingency may relieve the buyer of being penalized for the failure to close.

2.      Appraisal. This is usually part of the financing situation. If the Lewes, DE lender’s appraiser arrives at a value lower than what would warrant a sufficient home loan, this contingency may allow for a renegotiation of the price and/or a cancellation of the deal.

3.      Inspection. If the buyer’s professional inspector’s report discloses interior or exterior faults that were previously unknown, depending on the extent of the problems, this contingency addresses what happens next. If negotiations fail to yield a satisfactory solution, the buyer can back out of the sale.

4.      Title. This contingency addresses possible “clouds” or undisclosed liens or judgments against the property.

5.      Home sale. First-timers don’t need to worry about this one—but for existing homeowners, this allows a buyer sufficient time to sell their own home. If no buyer surfaces, it allows the buyer to avoid having to pay for two homes at once. The downside is that the seller may choose a competing offer (even one for a lower sale price) if it doesn’t contain this contingency.

Multiple contingencies are effective ways to relieve buyers of risks that would otherwise prevent a free-flowing market. When you give me the nod to help you find and negotiate your first Lewes, DE home, they are among the many details that I’ll be able to clarify as we encounter them. 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

There aren’t a lot more important aspects to selling a home than the Big One: pricing.

Pricing Lewes, DE real estate—setting an asking price that attracts a horde of qualified buyers without having set a figure that leaves too much on the table—is often referred to as an art. But when you think of pricing as art rather than science, I think that shortchanges its mathematical underpinnings. “Science” may even play a greater role—but it’s a soft science, one hedged by experience. In real estate, it’s one of those areas where experience is vital—but communication is important, too.

The starting point for pricing is the research that goes into a comparables inquiry. The “comps” yield hard numbers: prices paid recently for similar Lewes, DE homes, prices asked and paid per square foot, days on the market spent at different price points, etc. Only after those figures are known is it possible to integrate experience—the “art” part of pricing. This comes with accurately assessing the temperature (depth and momentum) of the current marketplace.

There is one more step before setting the final asking price—one that takes into account the seller’s level of motivation. If speed is a very high priority, it will be an adjustment aimed at PTSN!: “Priced to Sell Now!” If absolute top dollar is most important, TOM pricing will prevail: “Top of Market.” Determining a price that accurately captures the seller’s intention is the blend of art and science that’s at the heart of setting optimal pricing.

When you choose the real estate professional who will bring your own Lewes, DE property to market, it pays to be mindful of how art, science, experience, and the ability to listen all play a role in the process of correctly pricing Lewes, DE real estate. I hope you’ll consider me when the time arrives! 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