Now that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, whether or not he proves to be right, the persistence of the Groundhog Day silliness does prove a point about seasonal weather: it matters. People have kept the tradition alive for centuries because the point at which our days turn from more- to less-dreary is keenly anticipated by just about everybody.  

It makes a point that future South Bethany, DE home purchasers sometimes overlook: how strongly seasonal changes may affect the properties they are evaluating. A house that shows beautifully on a sunny afternoon in springtime might be considerably less inviting when the weather turns stormy—particularly if there are hard-to-detect drainage issues.

It's one of a number of qualities first-time South Bethany, DE home purchasers may not think about, yet which they’ll be wise to keep in mind. These might best be called “variable” variables—transient qualities that impact a property’s livability. Notable among them:

Traffic. At ten o’clock in the morning, a house in town overlooking a fairly quiet corner can turn considerably less idyllic once the frenetic afternoon commute begins—and it could continue past sunset.

Light. A house with too little window coverage might not reveal that deficiency at high noon in July. But at this time of year, given the shortened duration of the daylight hours—depressing effects could be striking.

Noise. Sound pollution from a busy airport would be self-evident to any South Bethany, DE home purchaser—but the impact of a smaller nearby airfield might be less obvious. Especially if weekend flight patterns intensify overhead commotion, the result could be as unsettling as it was unexpected.

The way experienced homebuyers head off variable variables is by combing the available photograph (particularly those showing the property in different seasons) as well as by visiting the neighborhood at different days and times. Casual conversations with future neighbors in restaurants and stores can add useful insights about the area, too—and whether it will be a good fit for your family.

Right now, ahead of real estate’s busy season, it’s the perfect time to beat the crowd. 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

As soon-to-list Bethany Beach, DE home sellers may tell you, tracking the national home sales trends is one pastime that’s been less than exciting of late. The National Association of Realtors® monthly compendium of activity has long been mired in utter predictability. For month after month, the reports have been variations of familiar themes. The pace of sales is mildly positive, or stalled, or mildly negative. Prices inch up—but barely (owing to a seeming perpetual lack of inventory). And the future? That looks like more of the same

It's been enough to make the most dedicated Bethany Beach, DE real estate trend-watcher skip the reports. That’s why, for those still paying attention, last Wednesday’s NAR recounting of key indicators for home sales must have come as a jolt of unexpected good news:

·         December’s home prices rose 7.8% compared with the previous year’s. Per the report, “Price appreciation has rapidly accelerated.”

·         Pace of Sales. Forty-three percent of homes sold last month had been on the market for less than a month. On average, properties remained on the market for five fewer days than in the previous year.

·         Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) accounted for just 2% of activity.

·         Investors (including 2nd home buyers) accounted for 2% more activity—now comprising 17% of all sales.

·         Only inventories remained at the same yawn-producing shortage levels—but there, too, was a glimmer of activity: housing starts ramped up to 1,600,000 on an annual basis.

The summary from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reflected the buoyant turn of events. It was just short of a sea change—but definitely a turn to optimism: “If these factors are sustained in 2020,” he wrote, “we will see a notable pickup in home sales in 2020.” That prediction would well justify Realtor Magazine’s headline: “Home Sales Climb, Sellers are in a Good Position.” For soon-to-be Bethany Beach, DE sellers accustomed to news that’s really no news, that change of perspective should be music to their ears. If you have been waiting in the wings to list your own Bethany Beach, DE home, 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

 January has often been a month when Bethany Beach, DE homeowners decide to get serious about projects they’ve put on hold during the past year. It’s only logical: most of us tend to regard the annual calendar changeover as a kind of mental departure point. “Out with the old! In with the new!” is more than just a greeting card motto: January has long been a month for committing to major initiatives.

Deciding to sell your Bethany Beach, DE home can be such a project—and when you combine that January milestone idea with the popular acceptance of spring as the key home-selling season, you might think that right now—in mid-January—is the ideal time to begin preparations. In the past, that was often the case. But if the National Association of Realtors®’ latest research is on target, that notion may be passé. For the buyers, at least, the wait is over. For them, spring is already here!

 Research shows that most people think that April is when home buyers start home searches in earnest, but the latest statistics from 2019 show that February was the leader. It racked up the most monthly views per listing. And January was only 1% behind February. In other words, as far as serious homebuyers are concerned, this year’s Bethany Beach, DE homebuying push may already be underway!

The NAR believes that it’s the more competitive housing market that was responsible for the shift to an earlier start last year—and they have reason to believe that trend will continue this year. Their economists speculate that low inventories and rising prices caused searchers to begin their house-hunting early last year. That is only an informed guess, but the practical advice for both Bethany Beach, DE home sellers and buyers who have been thinking about selling this spring is clear from the NAR’s final summary: “the earlier you get started, the better.”

The ‘get started’ part is simple—especially if January is your “in with the new” time of year. Just 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 your Bethany Beach, DE house has a working fireplace, but you’re less than adept at the fine points of dealing with it, there are a few basics that veteran fire builders observe without fail. Especially if you like to keep the household temperature on the crisp side, there’s nothing like a crackling fire to take the chill out of the air without overheating the place. Here are five valuable pointers:

1.      Have the chimney inspected. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a yearly check-over by a licensed Bethany Beach, DE inspector. For sure, if yours gets frequent use, that’s appropriate. If a sweep is called for, hold off on that first fire of the year until it’s completed.

2.      Gather your wood. Dense hardwood (oak, hard (sugar) maple and birch) logs burn at a temperature that produces coals that radiate heat for a long time. Pine, tamarack, spruce, or cedar are softer woods that burn hotter—but for a shorter time. They are especially handy for kindling when you’re getting the fire started. There are conflicting opinions about whether softwoods result in greater creosote buildup in the chimney, but no controversy about the value of “seasoning.” Seasoned wood (aged for at least six months) makes for less smoke—and less soot and creosote.

3.      Build your fire. One way is to wad up newspaper below the grate, crisscrossing narrow, finely split wood (or commercially available fatwood) on the grate, then three smallish seasoned logs on top.

4.      Prime the flue. Prevent smoke backup by preheating the cold chimney a bit. Light a tightly rolled sheet of newspaper and wave it gently under the damper. In a minute, the flame will generate enough heat to draw the smoke up and out. Now you’re ready to light the wad of newspaper beneath the grate.

5.      Keep it going. Fire is stoked by air movement, so keep things going by creative structuring of the gaps between logs. The narrower the gap, the greater the air velocity that feeds the flame.  

A working fireplace adds value to any Bethany Beach, DE house. Call me to chat about maximizing your Bethany Beach, DE house’s market appeal! 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