When it comes to making legal distinctions, the ones connected with buying and selling Frankford houses have lasting consequences—so it’s important that they be the intentional kind. Although Three Dog Night might have sincerely believed that One is the Loneliest Number—that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to the title of an Frankford home.
The majority of Frankford houses are purchased by married couples. Families that remain intact can make property title issues relatively straightforward. But as the second half of the 20th century progressed, the culture became more accepting of people living together prior to marriage. Because of its impact on how people—especially couples—apply for home loans and refinances, the matter of legal title more often came into play.
I don’t offer legal advice, so will simply point out that there are key differences when you hear terms like Tenants in Common, Tenants by the Entirety, or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. Being aware of those distinctions will allow future homeowners to choose which form will serve them best. Couples—especially those expecting to be married down the road—need to consider how things might change should they decide to refinance. It can make a difference if, for instance, a co-signer should later be required. When a Frankford homeowner refinances and adds a spouse who was not named on the original mortgage, the spouse may be added to the title or deed. Those and other changes to a property’s title then has tax implications. Married couples may acquire title automatically through Tenancy by Entirety, as well as through rights of survivorship.
The key is to understand the implication of single and joint ownership. In the event of divorce, as with any material change, other rules may apply, too—which is another reason to recommend a consultation with counsel to clarify all related issues.
It’s always an exciting moment when you are about to take on the ownership of a home—certainly cause for celebration. Yet it’s also important to have an honest discussion with your spouse in order to put any existing issues on the table. It's amazing how many couples embark on home ownership (or refinancing) while dealing with significant relational issues. Some meet the issue by drafting a legal agreement that lays out what will happen with the property depending upon specified contingencies. Such agreements won’t carry weight with a mortgage company to effect removal of a person's name from a mortgage in the case of divorce—in most cases, a home would have to be refinanced again to remove a spouse's name from a mortgage.
Understanding the fine print can’t help but reduce the risk of unforeseen consequences down the line. Titles and title insurance may seem to be dull details that automatically confirm intended outcomes, but those outcomes have to be thought through and specified. The good news is they do get properly addressed every day in the course of acquiring a home. Pointing out the important details are just one element of my service: which is to help you every step of the way! 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 you are one of those Frankford homeowners who has been gladdened to see property values continuing to rebound, you have also been pleased at the steady decline in the wave of foreclosures that were part of the global financial crisis. When the subprime mortgage crisis triggered widespread financial dislocation, many homeowners felt the repercussions. Every Frankford foreclosure that resulted weighed on neighborhood property values, which reflect the dollar amounts paid when nearby homes change hands.
Even most people whose livelihoods were unaffected—who kept their jobs or businesses and continued to make their mortgage payments without difficulty—could have suffered as a result. When the apparent equity of a home dwindled, so too was the amount lenders were willing to lend for refinancing. The comfort provided by fat home equity lines of credit (the HELOCs) suddenly melted when their maximums were cut, or even withdrawn altogether. HELOCs, after all, were a major component in the foreclosure phenomenon. The whole atmosphere caused confidence to be shaken.
But ‘buy low, sell high’ is a proven investment strategy—and ‘buying low’ is an opportunity that typically arises when fear is in the air. Many large institutional investment outfits looked at the situation and apparently asked themselves, what’s more “real” than real estate? They dived into the panic, buying up distressed residences in droves, paying rock-bottom foreclosure prices.
For many homeowners, though, the real effect was psychological. After all, when your major asset is your home, any Frankford foreclosure can be seen as having the effect of bringing your apparent net worth down.
RealtyTrac is the national scorekeeper for foreclosures and REOs (Real Estate Owned, or bank repossessions); and last month they continued to provide comforting news. Although there are ups and downs in the month-to-month stats, the overall trend continues to decline from the high in September 2013. In fact, there was a small uptick in REOs in April, which might seem like bad news; but REOs are actually completed foreclosures—at the same time, foreclosure starts continued their long slide downward.
Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac was quoted with more good news, confirming that “the overall increase in foreclosure activity in April is a continuation of the clean-up phase” of the housing crisis. But even better was this: “Foreclosure starts nationwide are now running consistently below pre-crisis levels.”
It does seem as if this season is a choice time for sellers to enter the revived market. If you would like to explore the possibilities for your own property, or are ready to start the search for a Frankford home of your own, please do give me a 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.

 

You pronounce it “FIZZ-bow.”
That’s FSBO: For Sale by Owner, and it’s the Road Less Travelled by area homeowners bent on selling a home in Frankford as economically as possible. It does seem to make common sense, after all. It’s the homeowner who knows the ins and outs of their own home best—so who could be more qualified to show it off to the buyers who’ll be lined up, waiting to take a look?
And even more to the point, why lose any part of the sale proceeds to some Frankford real estate agent? It can’t be rocket science to fill out the paperwork and complete the sale. Isn’t that just common sense?
For those considering selling a home themselves, even cursory research is likely to result in one nagging question. The latest sampling from the NAR shows that the vast majority—88%, in fact—of today’s successful sellers are assisted by a real estate agent. That proportion has been growing, lately, too: it’s up 19 percentage points since 2001. This has to give rise to the nagging question: “If it’s common sense, how come the vast majority eventually wind up going with a real estate agent?”
What actually happens in a sale plays a large part, starting with an examination of the bottom line of actual sales. It reflects the fact that the customary commission percentage that goes to real estate professionals is split in two, with half going to the seller’s and half to the buyer’s agent. So the net “savings” a FSBO seller stands to realize is half of the usual initial assumption when the buyer is professionally introduced by the buyer’s representative.
Unless the buyer just appears on his or her own.
Which brings up a couple of other potential problems. If the buyer shows up on the seller’s doorstep, who has qualified him or her? (Short answer: nobody). It’s awkward and practically impossible for a homeowner to interview every prospective buyer in depth before showing the home, but having strangers in your Frankford house with no outside record of the event is at best an iffy prospect. The fact is, most qualified home buyers see the advantage of teaming with a licensed Frankford real estate agent, whose market knowledge is up to the minute, and who will assist them every step of the way at no cost to themselves. Those qualified buyers stand to be a FSBO’s likeliest prospects, in which case the potential ‘savings’ from a do-it-yourself strategy are halved.
But as a working reality, FSBO sellers run a substantial risk that those hoped-for calls from active agents may be slow to materialize. It is often the case that local agents, noting that the home is a FSBO, place it low on the list of properties their clients have time to tour. Among other indicators, a FSBO listing on the MLS signals to the Frankford real estate community that the owner is not truly serious about selling the home—else why is it not part of a professional office’s marketing package? Too, buyers’ agents work to protect their clients from difficult situations, and many FSBO sellers are not well-versed and experienced in negotiating and selling houses. Problems can erupt. All things being equal, it means that FSBOs get few showing requests.
Plus, any advertising costs will be paid for out of the owner’s own pocket—an expensive strategy.
It’s pretty clear why almost 9 out of 10 homeowners selling a home go with a qualified real estate agent. I hope you agree—and decide to give me a 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.

Just as with movie credits, the features you find in Frankford listings have a “billing order.” The “stars” may not be printed in gigantic superstar type—but the order in which they appear do reflect changes in current buyer priorities. For a homeowner soon to add their property to this summer’s Frankford listings, it’s important to learn which features currently tend to attract the most favorable attention from prospective buyers. It’s of more than marketing interest, as well: knowing what’s in and what out can also help determine where improvement dollars should go.
The question is, which features are most desirable, and which formerly popular features have become passé: “so Twentieth Century!”
New answers to these questions usually appear a couple of times a year—and 2015 is no exception. The latest one I found was on the Realtor.com website. It went into recent history, describing in detail how listings’ features for newly-built homes have been undergoing rapid change over the past few years. In general (and probably as a reaction to the difficult economic times that only lately have seen improvement), over-the-top luxury details are fading, being replaced in favor of features centered on efficiency, organization, and pragmatism.
Examples of the kinds of details less likely to be found in today’s listings are two-story foyers, master bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, and luxurious details like outdoor kitchens. (“NOPE” in capital letters is shown stenciled over a picture of one of those outdoor kitchens…which, I have to admit, really does look like it belongs in a hotel). Whereas ten years ago, those outdoor kitchens with fancy wine racks might have been found near the top of a listing, today it might be replaced by ‘walk-in closets’ or even, simply, a ‘laundry room.’
“It’s not sexy,” says one industry executive, “but that’s what people want.”
The most extensive survey of home builder trends is conducted by their national association, the NAHB. By quizzing nearly 400 builders, they concluded that other features on the decline include outdoor fireplaces, sunrooms, and media rooms. Taking their places (and likely candidates for what we’ll soon see creeping toward the tops of some of our Frankford listings) are the walk-in closets (since people want to get out the door efficiently first thing in the morning) and well-organized and well-lit laundry rooms (to improve the efficiency of the household).
As part of a “post-recession cultural shift toward pragmatism,” this makes perfect sense. But that word “post-recession” may offer a clue to what could be the temporary nature of the NAHB’s 2015 findings. For example, granite countertops—once a ‘luxury’ item in area listings—are now more popular than the laminate alternatives. And those supposedly unpopular media rooms are not vanishing totally. They’re simply being replaced by spaces that are “more flexible.”
If you’re soon to be scrutinizing your own home to determine which of its best features to emphasize, I’d be pleased to furnish an opinion—it will be based on the results we’re seeing from today’s Frankford listings! 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.beachrealestate.com.