The importance of “curb appeal” as a factor for selling Fenwick Island, DE homes has never been questioned. It’s as important as packaging is to breakfast cereal makers—or to any manufacturer whose products compete for shelf space in a supermarket. “Curb appeal” produces a potential homebuyer’s first impression—and that has a way of influencing a lot of what follows.

Yet just exactly the degree to which curb appeal determines any Fenwick Island, DE home’s sales success is—like most of the other factors that go into the art of selling—not something that you’d think would lend itself to scientific study.

Not so, as the slogan on the masthead of the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics proclaims. The editors of that periodical take an opposing view: namely, that recent advances in the “theoretical and empirical research using the paradigms and methodologies of finance and economics” can be applied to real estate.

That promise made some headway in a recent article authored by two college professors: “Valuing Curb Appeal.” The academics used newly developed Artificial Intelligence advances (“a deep learning classification algorithm”) to rate Google Street View photos, then combined that with sales data from nearly 89,000 properties. The result was a determination that homes with excellent curb appeal “sold for 7% more than similar houses with poor curb appeal.” Furthermore, in slow markets, that figure rose to as high as 14%.

As a Wall Street Journal reviewer acknowledged last week, the idea that buyers prefer a nice yard isn’t exactly surprising. Still, the way the researchers came up with the results could be important—at least in terms of putting numbers to what has until now been impossible to measure with any precision.  

Practically speaking, what it means to Fenwick Island, DE homeowners thinking about listing their properties this spring is less earthshaking. The WSJ’s takeaway was concise: “Mow the lawn.” Even more important (in my opinion): 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

In case you haven’t heard yet, you’d better watch out for 2020’s date-noting anomaly. This quirk was widely publicized on January 1, but for Fenwick Island, DE residents whose holiday focus was limited to Rose Parade floats and football games, it’s worth another mention.

As USA Today scolded, “Stop abbreviating 2020.” That is, if you (like most Fenwick Island, DE check writers) are accustomed to shortening the date by writing only the last two digits of the year (so you would have written “11-15-19” instead of “11-15-2019”), you’d better stop doing that; at least for the remainder of this year. According to legal authorities, the shorthand version could “cost you big.”  

The problem is that in 2020, a date written with just the “20” for the year can easily be altered by simply adding two digits. A check written in 2020 could, by appending “19,” appear to have been dated a year earlier. That creates an easy opportunity for fraud. As one example, a current purchase contract could be made to appear to be a year or two older, with the extra payments now long overdue. Even though you might find it unlikely that you could be victimized, ruling out the possibility is as easy as jotting down the two extra digits.

For anyone transacting Fenwick Island, DE home sale this year, that’s a particularly good idea. The paperwork that flows across the closing table is voluminous—and the importance of seeing that the dates are unassailably accurate goes without saying. However remote the chance that nefarious characters might one day take advantage of the 2020 anomaly, remembering to remove the possibility entirely is well worth doing.

Attending to the myriad details that go with a client’s Fenwick Island, DE home sale is what makes for a successful conclusion. Whether buying or selling, I hope you’ll 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

 This year, Fenwick Island, DE’s winter begins officially on Saturday—the 2019 winter solstice up here in the Northern Hemisphere. As children learn in school, this is the solstice marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. For the kids who want to know why, since the sun makes its shortest appearance, the solstice isn’t also the coldest day of the year, their teachers have a ready answer: seasonal lag. The heat stored up in the Earth’s rocks and oceans continues to warm us up for a while.

When you look up “solstice,” you find much information about celebrations that date back to ancient times. Saturday’s Fenwick Island, DE winter solstice won’t cause nearly as much fuss as it used to in those ancient civilizations—probably because science has taken the mystery out of whether or not the sun will return.

The ancient priests used to promise that it would return, but sometimes they added conditions: “The days will get longer if [fill in the blank].”

The Incas, for instance, added sometimes unpleasant sacrifices to coax the Sun god to come back; the Hopi performed purification rituals and welcomed a whole host of kachina spirits; ancient Persians stayed up all night so they could welcome the morning’s sun—which would mark the beginning of the gradual lengthening of daylight hours.

When you check into these details, you find that it isn’t quite right to blame all scientists for the demise of solstice celebrations—at least for Antarctica. According to Newsweek, the researchers at the South Pole (where the winter solstice arrives in July) are definitely all-in. The Aussies at Casey Station in Antarctica exchange handmade gifts, perform plays, sing songs, and saw a hole in the ice so they can take a dip in the sub-freezing water.

The leader of the researchers is quoted as saying that midwinter is “really important for us…because it means the return of the sun…” Apparently, the odd fact that the day of the solstice in Antarctica has neither the earliest sunrise nor latest sunset (because the Earth is off-center on its axis) doesn’t dampen the scientists’ party going.

Here in Fenwick Island, DE, neither the Earth’s off-center axis nor seasonal lag plays a large part in the local experience. Around here, it’s the promised reversal of progressively later sunrises and earlier sunsets that gets the most appreciation. In any case, whenever Fenwick Island, DE real estate matters appear on your calendar, I hope you’ll 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

Since Halloween comes around with ‘nary a difference from one year to the next, you’d think that editors eventually would be stumped to come up with a new topic for their writing staffs. This month, Fenwick Island, DE subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s real estate pages were treated to a creative solution: The Journal simply dug up some scary stories about real estate.

The first was “Home Renovation Horror Stories,” a chilling retelling of just how wrong remodeling attempts can go. These spooky construction nightmares that happened in real life lived up to the premise, starting with readers’ complaints that, rather than the good old days when a kitchen renovation was a huge ordeal, today “just finding qualified workers to do the job is a huge ordeal.”

The various renovation horror tales included one contractor who tried to remove the cabinets he’d just installed when a progress payment was delayed (because the work was behind schedule) and crews who “showed up and immediately began to destroy our home” (because their skill sets had been “overstated”).

Just as spooky for Fenwick Island, DEfamilies with dogs or cats was “Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value.”­ The headline may have been a little misleading since most of the horrifying details didn’t have much to do with selling a home. They dealt with pet hi-jinx whose consequences would surely be addressed before any marketing could begin. One example was the puppy who found a bottle of red food coloring, which he chewed and then…(well, some horror stories are scariest when details are left to the imagination).

Beyond the “stains, chips, rips, scratches, watermarks” and other minor signs of pet habitation that Fenwick Island, DEpet lovers will recognize, there were teeth-chatterers like “insurance claims are the costliest to repair” and “dogs can have a big impact on home values.” There was one panic-quelling caveat, though. Direct damage “doesn’t necessarily affect the value,” according to one Rhode Island agent—yet chewed furniture and scratched floors may “send a message about how the homeowner is taking care of the house.” That’s true enough—but needn’t result in horrendous outcomes. They’re eminently fixable.

Here’s wishing your Halloween is only appropriately spooky—but also one that has no frightful Fenwick Island, DEreal estate details. Those are best addressed in the daylight hours. That’s when 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