Selling your Lewes home is the kind of major undertaking that has so many facets just deciding where to start can delay liftoff. Since there is no actual “right” place to begin, like other mammoth projects, just digging in anywhere will do. The happy truth is that when you’re selling a home, once momentum gets going, the rest of the pieces tend to fall into place.

To get the ball rolling, here is a pre-sale checklist of major activities that selling your Lewes home will entail. To get started, pick any one:

  • Nagging problem elimination. Very few of us attend to every home maintenance problem as they gradually develop. If there were a reliable poll on the subject, I’d guess that 95% of Leweshomeowners have at least a two or three areas that we’ve learned to live with—but which will need to be attended to before we get very far toward selling our home. Identifying them is a pre-sale first step…then fixing them is the action item that transforms the idea of selling your home into reality.
  • First impression inspection. Any time you return from an outing you have the opportunity to get started on what will become your marketing approach. Do this by stopping and seeing what kind of first impression your property makes on someone setting eyes on it for the first time. What seems least fresh and appealing? Is it fencing that could use a quick coat of paint? A planter that needs colorful blossoms? The numerals on the mailbox? Selling your home starts with favorable first impressions.
  • Lights! Camera! Action! An essential element to get prospective buyers clamoring for a tour is the photography that highlights your Leweslisting. To start preparing for that, pick a room—any room—and stage it: clear it of unneeded objects, furniture, etc. This will entail figuring out where to store the objects that you want to keep, but which clutter up the visual appeal…and once you’ve identified where they will be stored, you’re seriously on your way to selling your home.
  • Getting down to business. Educating yourself about the competition means taking a look at this spring’s Lewes listings to get a feel for where the market is. Which comparable homes have just sold, and which haven’t moved for months? Your home may not be ready for market for a while, but the earlier you start familiarizing yourself with today’s Lewes real estate market, you better the odds that your listing price will be right.
  • Exit strategy. (My favorite of all) Be prepared to move! Any action you take in this direction, be it checking out reliable moving companies or beginning the hunt for your next house makes selling your home that much less of a long shot.

Each of these is a step that begins to transform the idea of selling your Leweshome from a looming cloud of uncertainty into a doable certainty. I didn’t even mention the easiest and surest pre-sale checklist item. It’s one certain to get the ball rolling:

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 are Top 10 Lists aplenty that detail just why any Lewes homeowner should think twice before planting one of those For Sale by Owner signs in their front yard. One of them is that when you sell your home all by yourself, the sheer amount of time you’ll have to devote to mastering processes that are already fully handled by full-time real estate professionals is a true waste of time. It’s one wheel that doesn’t need reinventing.

If you are among those considering how you will sell your own Lewes property this spring, since your time is important, let’s start saving it now by cutting those top 10 lists down to the Top 5 Reasons to Avoid FSBOs:

  1. You’re involved. It may sound like a good idea to be your own salesperson since you are the most intimately acquainted with the product—your Leweshouse—but logic rules against it if for no better reason that buyers will be automatically skeptical of your impartiality. Why? Because you aren’t! You also don’t get the benefit of a professionally trained pair of eyes helping prepare your property to appeal to today’s buyers, nor the benefit of honest feedback that buyers won’t share with a FSBO seller.
  2. Legal peril. Throughout this year’s political debate, a frequent refrain from candidates (both local and national) has been the need to cut down on over regulation. Without getting into those weeds, it is certainly the case that federal and state laws require a number of very specific disclosures. If you aren’t a real estate attorney, that lack of familiarity could make a FSBO sale an open door to after-sale litigation. When that happens, there goes any commission dollars saved (and maybe a lot more!).
  3. Expense. That’s right, one of the Top 5 Reasons to Avoid FSBOs is that a FSBO can actually amount to an extravagance. It’s logical, too—because most buyers take one look at your asking price, mentally subtract the commission, and proceed from there (wouldn’t you?). The most recent studies bear out the bottom line: only 8% of successful sales were made via FSBO, and on average, they sold for 15% less than the agent-assisted sales.
  4. Marketing Oomph. We professionals market Leweshomes all year long, 24/7. As a result, we know which marketing approaches are currently bringing in results, and which are wasting time and money. We also have open channels with the media companies we deal with regularly—an advantage that FSBO sellers can’t hope to match.
  5. Expert Opinion. The open secret is that those who know the most about how to get the best results from a house sale tend to rely on expert help. A good example came in 2014, when Al Bennati, the CEO of the “BuyOwner” dot-com (“the strongest For Sale by Owner marketplace”) decided to sell his own St. Petersburg home. He listed it with a Realtor®.

            There! Time saved already—who needed a Top 10 list when you have these? I bet you agree: these “Top 5 Reasons to Avoid FSBOs” are more than sufficient reason to avoid the FSBO route…and to give me a call instead! 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

“Ideal” is a Shangri-La kind of a word. It’s not just because of its feel-good, pie-in-the-sky definition (“a standard of perfection or excellence”)—but because contained right there inside the word itself is a tacit admission. It’s only an idea—not something necessarily connected to concrete reality.

Bethany Beach residents don’t come across “ideal” anything very often in their daily routines, so few would be surprised to learn that even in something as important as determining the value of their Sussex County residence, the calculation turns out to be less than straightforward. The ambiguity owes to the fact that it all depends on how you look at it.

In reality, there are two quite different approaches for determining any Bethany Beach home’s value. Ideally, both methods would produce the same value for the same Sussex County property. That would be the Shangri-La outcome—a fine idea—but it’s seldom the case. The two methods are the Market Value approach and the Replacement Cost approach. Knowing how and why they differ explains why they yield dissimilar results.

When Sussex County homeowners examine their home insurance policies, they may find a breakdown of the replacement cost. The face amount of such a policy is meant to cover what the current cost would be to construct a similar building of equal quality—one that would have the same utility as the one that was destroyed. Such factors as materials, labor, the builder’s overhead, profit and fees are probably part of that calculation. In actuality, some of the costs that might be encountered may not be included, though: things like demolition of the old structure, debris removal, licenses and permits. It depends on the policy.

The market value is an estimate of the amount a buyer would pay in today’s market to purchase the same home in its current condition. Right off the bat, you can see that this would include the cost of the land—so you might deduce that its market value would automatically be greater than the replacement value. Ideally, that might be true. If the home were brand new. But for structures that have been in existence for a while, that might or might not hold true. For a home in less than top condition, the total might be less… likewise, if the local residential market were in a slump. On the other hand, for older homes having architectural details with fine workmanship that is expensive to duplicate today, the reverse would be true. You get the idea: given the vast number of variables that can influence the difference between market and replacement value calculations, it would be miraculous if the two ever came out the same.

When you are buying, selling—or even insuring—your Sussex County home, weighing market and replacement values is more than an abstract exercise. I’m here to help with those and many other issues that will help you determine how to make the choices that serve you best. 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

Last week brought an announcement­­ that should get the attention of a large segment of would-be Lewes home buyers­­—particularly those­­ who have been stymied by the difficulty of trying to build their credit scores by paying all the monthly bills on time while simultaneously saving up a pile of cash for a down payment.

For too many Lewes nine-to-fivers, the two ambitions are achievable—just not at the same time. Although inflation hasn’t been horrendous, even a modest degree of rising prices causes a crunch for those whose incomes are flat. For many Americans, coming up with the down payment has been an immovable stumbling block.

Into the breach came last week’s Bank of America announcement of a new mortgage product. Cutting to the chase, these home loans will be structured to allow qualified homeowners to make down payments of as little as 3%.

Yes, 3%!

If you don’t believe there’s ever any free lunch, you may be wondering why, if this makes sense to a bank, it hasn’t been offered until now. The answer has to do with the way the FHA regulates home loans.

The Federal Housing Administration insures banks against defaults on FHA-backed mortgages (they allow down payments of as little as 3.5%) but sometimes holds the banks responsible when borrowers fail to repay. In fact, the FHA won billions in settlements in recent years when bank paperwork turned out to be inaccurate. The banks were not pleased: they said many of the errors were minor. They also decided to cut back on offering FHA loans. That had the effect of slowing the residential real estate market across the U.S.—and Lewes was no exception.

This new home loan structure is Bank of America’s solution for “families of modest means”—a group everyone agrees has been left out in the cold. It avoids FHA rules by avoiding the FHA altogether, instead relying on the backing of Freddie Mac and a nonprofit fund. Among the guidelines for the new low down payment product are requirements that borrowers have credit scores of at least 660 (FHA allows 580) and incomes that are lower than the area’s median. Because there will be no requirement that borrowers pay for private mortgage insurance, the loans should be less expensive than corresponding FHA mortgages. Great deal!

 It remains to be seen how widely available such loans are going to be for Lewes borrowers. Bank of America will at first be capping the number of loans it issues while it tests the market. But it’s a sure thing that other national lenders will be watching what happens…and very likely rolling out their own low down payment products. It should be one answer for folks who have proved they are deserving and responsible—yet have found themselves closed out of the market.

As the spring selling season heats up, many potential opportunities also open up for sharp-eyed prospective buyers. If you are one, I’m standing by to help!  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