When Lewes, DE house values—or even only the public’s perception of house values—rise and fall at eye-popping rates, even homeowners who aren’t thinking of selling find it unsettling. The dislocations that resulted from the housing crisis of the last decade are hard to forget. Although some risk-tolerant investors made headway in that environment, the fallout for most was at best nerve-wracking.

That’s why last Tuesday’s National HPPI report may be comforting to Lewes, DE homeowners, as well as to prospective buyers. The Home Price Perception Index is the distillation of data gathered by Quicken Loans. It covers 3,000-plus counties in all 50 states—so it’s national rather than local—but there is little reason to doubt that the gist of the trends it reports are echoed here. The Index tallies the values that homeowners ascribe to their own properties, then compares that figure with the number professional appraisers actually calculate (the one lenders use). The estimates are collected during the refinancing process; and as you might guess, the two numbers can differ. A lot!

Tuesday’s report showed a heartening alignment between the two estimates. In fact, the numbers are the closest they have been since February 2015: an overall difference of only a quarter of one percent!

Some Lewes, DE observers view alignment of those two value estimates as a hallmark of a stable market—one where homeowners seeking to sell or refinance are less likely to be unpleasantly surprised when the bank appraiser weighs in. Since the average professionally appraised value also reported a 4.86% rise in house values year-over-year, it was good news on that front, as well.

Stability—in this instance, predictably improving house values—are one sign of a healthy Lewes, DE market environment. That makes for the kind of atmosphere you’d hope for if the time is nearing for your next residential real estate transaction (and a call to my office!). 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 term “get rich quick scheme” has been held in low regard since before Charlie Ponzi’s pyramid came crashing to earth in the 1920s. Probably that word “scheme” is a problem…sounds too shifty. And the whole idea of sudden riches sounds as reassuring as “something for nothing” or “free lunch.” 

Prudent Delaware residents tend to go a good deal more cautiously when they plan their investments. They usually aren’t even aiming to “get rich.” More like “get comfortable.” Instead of hoping to reap sudden wealth (living off all those tolls after buying the Brooklyn Bridge), they think in conservative terms like “passive income streams” and “lowered risk strategies.” Instead of responding to radio ads for the week’s fastest-growing franchise opportunity, they’re more likely to be scouring the listings for Delaware rental homes for sale.

A week or so ago, The Wall Street Journal published a real estate piece that focused on the building momentum behind this kind of investment strategy. The headline promised to point out ways “to get the best return on a rental property.” It included bullet-pointed tips like “Maintenance costs money” and “Invest for the long term.” The article described the growing number of investors concerned about stock market volatility: they are “choosing a different place to park their money.” The parking place in question? “Buying homes in moderately-priced markets…then renting them out.”

Instead of going high-ticket, one Ohio investor purchased a four-bedroom home for $175,000 in a town with “a strong job market.” After expenses, she nets $350 in positive monthly cash flow. Doing the math, that may be a modest amount, but it’s the cash net after paying for the home loan: she’s simultaneously acquiring the property. It’s a slow but steady strategy. Anyone who finds themselves regularly checking the listings for Delaware rental homes for sale are probably like-minded with investors the Journal describes: “investors who take comfort in the steady income stream.”

With “get rich quick” schemes held in such disrepute, you might conclude that a “get rich slow scheme” would be well-received. Perhaps—but it might be better if we switch out that “scheme” word for one that’s more substantial—like “plan” or “program.” In the meantime, if you are among those looking for this brand of steady-as-she-goes investment opportunity, you don’t need a formal designation to put it into action. For details on the current batch of Delaware rental homes for sale, just phone me at the office! 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.

 

During the overture to the film version of The Sound of Music, before the hills come alive with Julie Andrews, the camera first flies us high above the Alpine peaks. Ever since its premiere in 1965, Delaware audiences have been thrilling to the feeling of being suspended over those mountaintops before ultimately swooping down as Fraulein Maria whirls around for her opening song. It’s a warm-up that works every time—one of the most crowd-pleasing exercises in applied movie magic ever.   

Right now, a dissimilar overture is tuning up in Washington. The cameras aren’t allowed to swoop down into the congressional conference rooms, and Rodgers and Hammerstein are nowhere in sight. Whatever your political views, it’s a possibility that when the first words are sung out, the sound won’t be the sound of music so much as the sound of Delaware homeowners howling in dismay. At least that’s what the National Association of Realtors® is trying to prevent.

The current state of affairs are, as is inevitable, shrouded in mystery. That isn’t because of Congressional skullduggery so much as necessity: while you’re putting together tax changes, if you publicize every separate provision before the whole package is formulated, the whole thing won’t ever get to be formulated. But the original starting provisions are on the record.

What the NAR is not objecting to is one provision that Delaware homeowners will be happy to hear: nobody is suggesting that the tax deduction for mortgage interest payments be eliminated, or even scaled back. It’s going to be retained in its entirety. As one of the financial plusses that encourages homeownership by making buying and selling more affordable, it’s certain to be part of any tax reform package.

The main proposal that has raised the real estate industry’s ire is one that would eliminate state and local tax deductions. That could include Delaware real estate taxes, resulting in what amounts to double taxation. Since U.S. homeowners already pay between 80%-90% of federal income taxes, the NAR is crying “foul.” 

They aren’t alone. The New York Times cites a “raft of organizations”—including the National Governors Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Conference of State Legislatures—which have united to denounced the measure.

At any rate, it’s going to take a while before the Hill is Alive with the sound of anything that’s nailed down for certain. I’ll keep an ear out, and let you know. In the meantime, as the busy Delaware spring selling season heads into what looks to be an equally lively summer, I’ll be by the phone, ready to answer your real estate queries! 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

Selling your Delaware home takes marketing, of course. Highlighting its features—the specific details that the Delaware MLS lists for every property—is only the beginning. The number of bedrooms, square footage, lot size—even the architectural style—all help buyers eliminate offerings that won’t satisfy their housing requirements.

These are quantitative marketing specifics that qualify a residence. Most have numbers attached. They’re also the basis for the “comps” that the bank or other mortgage lender will use to estimate your property’s market value. But they are only the first step in selling your Delaware home. They can (hopefully, will) interest buyers—but they don’t do much more than that.

What’s missing is emotion. A point of view. A brand.

For instance, say yours is one of the oldest homes in your Delaware neighborhood. Was it built before 1917? Then it’s out of the ordinary: a genuine antique! It’s historic. In fact, Turn of the Century craftsmanship can be experienced throughout—so the listing blurb will include that kind of language.

So far, so good. But now all we need is that one more thing that assures that your Delaware home will be the one that sticks in prospective buyers’ memories. We need a brand!

Often, a memorable name does the job handily. If your house really is antique, but whose only identity is its street address, naming it could be long past due! 416 Plover Drive might benefit from becoming “Plover House” or “the 416 House” or if the back yard overlooks a bucolic copse, “Oakview House.”

Naming is only one way to make branding an integral element in selling your Delaware home. For a residences that are less distinctive, branding may touch on some external aspect that make living there desirable. A condominium with club facilities and a particularly lively social scene could be championed as “More Than a Condo: a Lifestyle.” If the location is eminently convenient, its brand could be “Life in the Middle of Everything!” If the opposite is true, the property may well be your own “Private Retreat.”

Branding is a creative exercise, so it’s hard to describe exactly what makes it work best. But there are two qualities that mark successful branding. First, it should emblemize an out-of-the-ordinary facet that resonates emotionally (the intellectual appeal has already been covered in the listing details). The other key ingredient is truth. The brand makes a promise that must be kept. Being memorable is only useful in selling a home when the memory is positive—and that means the brand has to ring true.

Putting in the extra creative effort that adds a brand to your home’s marketing blitz is just one of many ways I bring my clients success in selling their Delaware home. Another one of the reasons to 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