When respected observers like the editors of Barron’s are able to report that more than 10% of the country’s residential sales are now due to house-flipping, it’s a clear indication of the continuing strengthening in flipper activity. It’s now nearly back to 2006 levels.

By definition, house-flipping is the act of selling a home that has been owned for less than two years. Back in the early 2000s, the rapid escalation of residential prices created a hard-to-resist opportunity for anyone with enough cash for a down payment. There were ample examples of inexperienced Lewes, DE do-it-yourselfers who found success and quick profits with relatively little effort. Throughout the nation, holding periods could be brief as long as price appreciation reached runaway levels—right up until the bubble burst.

Needless to say, the global financial meltdown and resulting fallout quickly squelched the allure of house flipping. According to the industry trackers at CoreLogic, U.S. quarterly flipping rates slumped for the next five years. Although experienced professionals were able to profit from sharp-eyed buys and skillful rehabs, for the most part, the practice labored under something of a public relations cloud.  

But there’s little reason to worry that this go-round could cause another housing crisis. Experts agree that this time, the impetus for house flipping should be “less of a concern” (the Wall Street Journal). House-flipping “has evolved”—now dominated by pros who are buying older homes and converting them into the move-in ready residences today’s buyers prefer. According to CoreLogic, short-term flipping (6 months or less) is on the wane, partially due to more extensive renovation undertakings.

 The likely takeaway for Lewes, DE buyers and sellers should be encouraging. For owners of older properties who are unenthusiastic about undertaking renovations but anxious to move on, a healthy corps of house-flippers should provide prospective buyers. For house hunters eyeing this season’s previously owned Lewes, DE homes, the difference in value added by a thoroughgoing renewal can be well worth the premium asked—especially considering today’s low home loan terms. Call me to chat about this spring’s lively 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

Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell your Lewes, DE house, you will have looked over the listings of neighboring properties and taken all the necessary steps to see that your own home stacks up well beside them. Before you go on the market, there’s one extra step that can make a sizeable difference in what happens next.

Now, if you have already recruited an experienced Lewes, DE agent, this next step won’t be necessary. But if you are still in the pre-consultation stage, having already brightened and lightened and de-cluttered, etc., here’s the immediate extra step that will serve you well:

Don’t even think about anything connected with your plans to sell the house for a few days. Do anything else. Disconnect from real estate entirely. In other words, try to take a clean break from everything connected with selling your house.

Then, reenergized and with an open mind, imagine you are one of the house hunters who will soon be crossing your threshold as actual prospects will be doing before long. Pretend you have just come from another house showing. You may have set up another appointment, too, so you won’t dawdle (but don’t rush, either—give it, say, 20 minutes).

And put yourself in a slightly skeptical frame of mind. Assume a slightly critical mindset; many prospective buyers will be suspicious of the possibility of hidden flaws. It’s why minor blemishes can generate undue concern. These are the “hidden dissuaders.”

·         The object of this pretend showing is to identify such blemishes. You may know that a long-standing stain on the kids’ bedroom ceiling isn’t anything to worry about (it’s been there forever)—but to a prospective buyer who spots it, that comfortable knowledge doesn’t exist.

·         If the utility mechanicals are tucked away in a dim, hard-to-examine corner, they could invite unnecessary apprehension. Adding simple overhead lighting will solve that—and help you spot the cobwebs you need to get rid of, too!

·         The scratches on the foyer flooring may be only natural for a house that’s been lived in—but if they’re too obvious, they can create a mood-killing first impression. Often, a few simple touchups can make them disappear.

Bottom line: after you’ve succeeded in making the obvious fixes, it will be money in the bank to attend to the minor flaws that were invisible before you readied the property.  

If you’ve already enlisted me to be your Realtor®, this particular exercise won’t be necessary. Together we’ll have discovered and found economical ways to do away with the hidden dissuaders before your listing goes online.

Do 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

If Lewes homeowners search the web for anything like “surprising things that decrease your home’s value,” they will be answered with literally millions of links. Some of the “surprises” are anything but. "An Outdated Bathroom,” for instance, is hardly surprising. Likewise, “Brightly-Colored Kitchen Cabinets” (especially if it’s accompanied by a picture of a blinding expanse of fire-engine red cupboards)—or any other similarly daring design statement that has the effect of limiting the prospective buyer pool.

But Lewes homeowners could find a selection of more thought-provoking answers in a recent Sunset magazine spread. The leading “thing that decreases your home value” were these:

·         An Expensive Kitchen Remodel. How could this actually decrease any Lewes homeowner’s property? The answer (Sunset admitted it was counterintuitive) was apt: because the owner, even if only fractionally raising their property’s asking price, would run the risk of overpricing the local market—and losing prospective buyers to neighbors who chose to let their new buyers decide if and when to undertake the kitchen remodel. Sunset’s prudent recommendation was to see if “a few small changes”—like removing cabinet fronts, swapping out the faucet, or replacing hardware—might suffice.

·         Sacrificing a Bedroom. Because the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are basic qualifiers when prospective buyers go house hunting, the idea of turning a spare bedroom into a gym or home office can be a prospect-limiter. These days, every Lewes buyer already knows that any bedroom can become a home office.

·         Wallpaper. Hard to get right; easy to get wrong.

·         Textured Walls & Ceilings. It’s really true: such design additions are too often design minuses for many buyers—and actually can be such a turnoff that they disqualify an otherwise leading candidate.

·         High-Maintenance Exterior. Before adding extensive landscaping or a pool, Lewes homeowners should consider the possible buyer-dampening impact any high-maintenance feature might have. Sunset added “lots of trees” to that list, but I might differ there—especially if the homeowner plans to stay in Lewes long enough to see the saplings established (2-3 years for most species).

Improvements that might actually decrease the sales potential of your home isn’t something most Lewes homeowners think about—but it’s certainly something to bear in mind. For any Lewes real estate questions, I’m always delighted to share the current market overview. 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

There is one persuasive reason why Lewes, DE homeowners (and prospective homeowners) don’t hear much about the likelihood that a new “housing bubble” could be in the making.

For any Lewes, DE homeowner who’s had the comfort of watching their property’s value grow steadily for years, a mere mention of the words “housing bubble” can squelch the enthusiasm. Even though real estate is “real” in a way few investments can equal, there was the last decade’s property value nosedive. Momentarily, at least, it rained on residential real estate nearly everywhere.

“Housing bubble” was the derisive term that described the previous run-up in prices that subsequently “popped” when sellers could no longer find buyers. A large part of the chaos was due to the home loan industry’s inability to finance mortgages at the previous valuations. In fact, for a while, even well-heeled buyers could scarcely find financing at any valuation.

 In 2008, the bubble metaphor seemed especially apt because the “pop” came so abruptly. When things go south suddenly, it’s particularly unnerving. But today Lewes, DE homeowners can take comfort in at least one reason why today’s circumstances bear little resemblance to what happened ten years ago.

  The Mortgage Bankers’ Association charts something called the “MCAI.” It’s a reliable measure of the availability of home loans, measured on a scale from 1 to 1,000. The higher the number, the easier it is for applicants to obtain home loans. A chart shows how, in the three years leading up to the height of the bubble, the MCAI traced an almost vertical line from 370 up to more than 850—which then nosedived to 100 in the following 20 months. You could almost hear the “pop.”

Looking at today’s much more comforting MCAI, it shows a shallow, nearly horizontal line extending from 100 to just 183. That’s what’s been happening over the last 10 years, from 2008 to today. No bubble on the horizon—it looks more like a stable foundation.

When credit it too easy to come by, true values can float upward without restraint—and the result is a “pop!” According to the Mortgage Bankers Association data, it looks like that lesson has been learned—and today’s Lewes, DE homeowners can breathe easier as a result. Call me for expert guidance in today’s 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