At the beginning of any month, Georgetown onlookers can find batches of fresh reports about national real estate market activity. Take October, for instance. We’ve just learned a bunch about what happened across the country. September’s numbers won’t be collected and analyzed for a while, but the fresh real estate market data for August is out, as well as July revisions. Since earlier findings are always being tinkered with as estimates are replaced with hard results, we also get improved readings from the earlier month.

This latest batch of real estate market news was upbeat, downbeat, and, uh…sideways. Thursday was the first day in October, which was when CNN Money came out with some good old-fashioned cheerleading. “Americans went shopping for homes in August,” they headlined. The reason cited was for new home sales: they notched the highest volume since early in 2008: 552,000. It was a nice way to get the month’s data reports started.

Home prices, on the other hand, were not yet available for the August timeframe—but July’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index had pointed upward. It showed a 4.7% rise in prices paid for homes from a year earlier. This made for “moderate, but still above average, price appreciation,” according to Realtor.com’s chief economist. The prices were seen to have edged up just 0.7% from June, which was “barely higher” yet “much higher than last year.” If that summary had been illustrated, it would have merited both a frowny face and a smiley face.

There were other preliminary soundings about what the August price information was likely to be, and they were just as equivocal.

The National Association of Realtors® tracks pending home sales data (homes under contract but not yet closed), and by that measure, there was a slight retreat from July’s level.  Yet although the preliminary number showed a 1.4% drop, that was still more than 6% higher than August 2014’s had been. Which was more compelling? Altogether, the news for sellers was deemed to be stronger. “Demand continues to outpace supply,” according to the NAR. “Shed no tears for sellers.”

If that sentiment is shared by Georgetown homeowners, it might nudge some into listing their home now rather than waiting for the next truly robust real estate market—traditionally not expected until next spring. Although fall and winter usually find fewer buyers on the prowl for new digs, those who do surface are generally regarded as serious shoppers. And since the number of Georgetown listings usually declines as the holidays approach, there’s a good argument to be made that less competition tilts in favor of sellers.

We have to wait until next month to get a read on how September activity fared; but for anyone who sees the advantages this fall’s Georgetown real estate market offers, I share your opinion! It’s definitely worth giving 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

When your family needs more or less elbow room, or a neighborhood change is in order, it’s time to start combing the listings for the right Georgetownhouse for sale. At the same time, though, now that prices have been steadily rising for so long, it’s not unreasonable to ask yourself if this a good time to be looking? The question arises from the investment side of a home purchase; so it’s logical to ask what the investors are doing…

Those who looked upon any Georgetown house for sale only as an investment rather than a place to live tend to fall into one of two groups. The first live by the buy low, sell high school of investing. It’s a philosophy that makes perfect sense—it’s been around since before Wall Street was even paved, and its logic is unarguable. Back when U.S. real estate prices took the express elevator down to street level (and below), this group looked at the chart that showed median house prices, noted the cliff they had just gone over, and started looking for the nearest house for sale to scoop up. Their assumption was that these prices had to go up…eventually—no matter how bleak the future looked. Because that’s always the case.

But that group of canny local investors soon found themselves with unexpected competition. Big investment conglomerates started showing up, suddenly looking for houses for sale at bargain prices. The result was a strange kind of bidding war, where the ‘buy low’ investors who spotted a Georgetown house for sale at a fire sale price had to compete with institutional bidders (and they had unlimited budgets!). A lot of all-cash sales were made, at a few dollars higher than would have been the case if strictly local investors had had the market to themselves.

Although the second kind of investors may have agreed that there is unarguable arithmetic underlying the ‘buy low, sell high’ philosophy, they are unimpressed by it. Buying low and then selling high is a fine abstraction, but since you never know when the lowest price has been reached, nor when the peak high prices have arrived, they ignore the whole price roller coaster phenomenon. Whenever they have accumulated the right amount of money to invest, their single concern is to find a quality Georgetown house for sale, buy it at a fair current comparable price, and then hold on to it. They have confidence that markets rise and fall, but in the long run, a quality residence will appreciate in value. So these are the buy and hold investors.

Now, most of us consider a Georgetown house for sale primarily as a place to live rather than as an investment vehicle. Nonetheless, we don’t offer to pay more than its current market value because we don’t want to lose financially should we decide to sell. But in most cases, we plan to live in the home long enough that we consider a loss unlikely. In other words, we fall into the buy and hold group.

So what does that suggest about whether it’s wise to be looking at Georgetown houses for sale when prices have risen as they have? I may be a bit prejudiced, but a ‘yes’ isn’t hard to come by. For the ‘buy low, sell high’ folks, we haven’t even hit the previous high water mark when you take inflation into account. For the buy and hold adherents, it’s always the right time to buy a quality home at a fair price—especially when mortgage rates are low. Which means that now is also the right time 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

Last week’s reporting showed the same kind of upward movement that’s become commonplace for Georgetown real estate investment news watchers. A standout: Corelogic’s finding that national home prices in May increased by 6.3%, marking the 39th consecutive monthly year-over-year increase.
Actually, to a lot of us, that looked stronger than expected: the steady increase in U.S. sale prices had seemed to have leveled off in the 5% range for the most part…Corelogic’s own Chief Economist had prognosticated, “We expect house prices in our national index to be up about 5 percent in the next 12 months” just 30 days ago.
Those who track U.S. real estate investment performance for its Georgetown implications, two other interesting observations were noteworthy. First, even including distressed sales, prices have now risen to within 8.4% of the April 2006 peak—what is generally considered an unsustainable “bubble.” Yet it’s impossible to find any expert who believes the current price levels are indicative of anything of the kind; nor that the expected continuing rises would expose those making residential real estate investments to equivalent risk levels. Except in a very few localities, there is scarcely any “bubble” speculation to be found—even as national price increases continue to outpace inflation.
Part of the reason is that supply continues to be tight; distressed property sales continue to decline; and overall U.S. economic conditions are perceived to be improving, however gradually. Corelogic also keeps track of sales and momentum for different price ranges, which perform differently, as real estate investment analysts know. The lowest-priced tier, which represents to most modestly priced 25% of homes, has now actually surpassed its pre-crisis peak…and the highest end of luxury residences (the top 25%) are within 5.7% of their peak.
The second point made in last week’s reporting was continuing good news for those whose real estate investment portfolios include rental properties. Apartment vacancy rates “are down to their lowest level since the 1980s” according to Economist Frank Nothaft. “Rents are up, and apartment building values are at or above their prior peaks.”
The robust performance wasn’t confined to multiple-unit housing, either. Following the housing crash—between 2006 and 2013—3,000,000 detached single family homes were added to the nation’s rental stock. They now make up 40% of the market. In terms of their real estate investment performance, the combination of rising rental rates and shrinking vacancy rates are exactly what investors hope to see. For regular homeowners, too—even those with no plans to sell anytime soon—those 39 straight months of steady price appreciation is comforting news. And if you are watching this summer’s Georgetown real estate listings for the investment opportunities they represent, I hope you’ll 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.

As soon as you decide that you will be putting your Georgetown property up for sale—whether soon or at some point in the foreseeable future—it’s also time to get strategic about growing your property's value—starting with a generous dollop of objectivity.
The difficulty stems from a truth about how everybody perceives much of their property’s value. We escape from hurly-burly of daily living by retreating to the comfortable confines of our home—our place. A good part of its value to us and to our family is its sheer familiarity—the “hominess” that makes it our personal haven. But some of the very things that make it so comfortable to us will be off-putting to outsiders—and they are the prospective buyers.
Our great leather easy chair (the dark brown one that’s gotten a few shades lighter where we sit, and a little off-color where the spills happened) may look a bit peaked to the untrained eye, but it’s been that way for years: who cares? The back door needs to be bolted to stay shut…we do that without even thinking about it—hardly an issue! The sofa may sag, but it sags exactly right (for us)! The bathroom window that’s sort of stuck (okay, maybe it’s painted shut)…etc. etc. etc.
Professionals are of one voice about the real value you add to a property when you go to the trouble of systematically depersonalizing it. It helps to approach doing that seriously and deliberately—to tackle it in an organized manner. There are any number of ways to go about that, but here is one way that will pay off:
Step 1
Make a list. Starting from one end of your Georgetown property, note with pencil and paper every nit-picky detail that is other than what you would expect to find if it were a brand new home. This is not as easy as most people assume, because there will be such a great number of details, that
a) it will be very tempting to start skipping some of the minor ones, and
b) you will find it hard to resist the urge to start fixing the easy ones as you go along (don’t do it: you’ll derail the list-making!)
Step 2
After a decent interval, sit down with the list and re-classify each item into an Easy Self-Fix List and a Professional-Attention-Needed List.
Step 3 Get bids from the appropriate Georgetown professional tradespeople, calculate which fit your budget, then schedule the work.
Step 4 Get started on your own endeavors to address the Easy Self-Fix List. You’ll be able to organize your own efforts to finish up about two weeks after the last of the tradespeople are scheduled to finish their projects (a two week grace period is realistic: you are aiming to finish everything about the same time).
Following these four steps will put you well on your way to increasing the value of your Georgetown property. And at any point in the process—from before Step 1 to the satisfying moment that closes Step 4—give me a call to discuss how to convert all that increased value into a profitable home sale! 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.