A couple of storylines have dominated national real estate news outlets for more than a year. Long Neck, DE homeowners who are less industry-focused have been hearing the same thing from the national news media, too. Last week, they both staged a partial about-face.

The storylines are interconnected. The dominant one dealt with the national trend toward a weakening in the number of homes being sold. About a year ago, both new and existing home sales numbers began to falter. This wasn’t enough of a drop to cause genuine consternation—but it was persistent enough to generate headlines.

The reason that potential Long Neck, DE home buyers and sellers weren’t overly concerned was partially due to the second storyline, which focused on the fact that fewer homes were being offered for sale. That seemed to be a reasonable explanation for the falloff in the number of closings, rather than an underlying loss of public confidence in the value of residential real estate. More evidence was the continued rise in prices paid.

Last week came word that, for the first time in a long while, a change of direction was in the wind. On a month-to-month basis, both trends reversed. According to the press release from the National Association of Realtors®, the Pending Home Sales Index for January registered “a strong rebound”—rising 4.6% above December’s levels.

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates,” according to the NAR’s Chief Economist. This was noteworthy—for months, Dr. Yun’s pronouncements had sounded considerably less optimistic.

The same release registered the first apparent reversal of the inventory pinch. Gauged by the number of properties tallied nationally by realtor.com, in January, the number of residential properties listed for sale grew by more than 14,000.

Neither of the two turnarounds was gigantic from a statistical point of view, yet they did portend good things to come, at least in the NAR’s view. It’s hard not to agree with that opinion. Incomes are rising faster than home prices in many areas. If mortgage rates hold steady and job creation continues, all trends should combine “to boost home buying.” All in all, these could be enough to nudge undecided Long Neck, DE homeowners into joining what is traditionally Long Neck, DE’s most active home sales season. If that’s your inclination, I hope you’ll 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.

The Long Neck, DE homeowners and prospective buyers who frequent this space regularly know that the topic of selling your Long Neck, DE home yourself doesn’t appear here often. For one reason, do-it-yourselfers are generally too busy to spend time reading their local Realtor’s® latest commentary—they’re fully occupied with trying to duplicate everything professional offices are organized to do.

The other reason is that the arguments for not selling your home yourself are so often reiterated in other places. They point to “peoples’ choice” statistics like the 92% of homes that sell aren’t FSBOs (For Sale by Owner), or to the 24% higher average selling price typically achieved when a Realtor is on the job. Since the U.S. average real estate commission is 6%, that one is usually decisive.

But there is a third possibility that’s doesn’t get much attention. It falls outside of the selling your home yourself route or the Realtor-assisted one: it’s called “Direct Sale.” When you see ads with promises like We buy your house for cash or We’ll Buy Your Property Fast, they probably lead to one of the direct sales operators. These can be legitimate (although it’s certainly a good idea to make certain that’s the case). When successful, these help owners escape the too-common FSBO result of a home that fails to sell at all.

But in direct sales, the inevitable compensating factor is where you’d expect: at the bottom line. As Bankrate.com politely puts it, “No offense to the owners of such businesses, but they are the lowest of lowball buyers…” Bankrate estimates that they can be expected to offer an average of about 65 cents on the dollar—if an offer is forthcoming. Since most concentrate on markets with the fastest resale potential, homes that may be in disrepair or are otherwise unlikely to sell easily in the traditional open market frequently get their attention.

Given the alternatives, it’s no wonder why teaming with a licensed real estate professional offering the full range of Realtor services usually gets the nod. Since it’s the speed of sale that is the key attraction for Direct Sales outfits, the surest way to escape a painful bottom line is clear: get going early! Call me to discuss! 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

Once we have marketed your Delaware home successfully, there follows the delightful interlude during which the eager buyer awaits your response to his or her offer. It will be 100% delightful if, in evaluating the offer, all details are as you hoped and expected. But many times, evaluating an offer results in more than a simple “Yea” or “Nay”—the details can be crucial:

Offer Price. Suppose the top line number is close enough to your asking price to bring a smile to your face. Your Delaware property’s value has been acknowledged by the buyer—it’s in line (or better) with neighborhood comparables, and your net after expenses will enable you to move on to your next residence without financial strain. Evaluating an offer only begins with that eye-catching number, but it doesn’t end there. There are all the other elements, many of which boil down to the level of risk going forward.

Deposit. High on the list is the pledged amount that accompanies the offer. Whether it’s called a deposit, earnest money, or pledge, this serves to instill confidence that when you are evaluating the offer you know that it’s backed up with more than wishful thinking. If the amount is greater than the customary minimum, it’s a signal that the would-be buyer is more than minimally serious about completing the transaction, that their financial ability to execute is demonstrable—or both. Evaluating this detail of an offer does, however, involve factoring in whether it would be unduly easy to “de-commit” the committed amount, as well as the true liquidity of the pledge (overseas bank deposits, for instance, raise eyebrows).

Inspection provision. Almost every serious offer will be contingent on the property’s condition passing inspection—but this is a risk element that’s largely controllable by the seller. It’s the reason some Delaware sellers get ahead of the game by investing in their own inspection before listing. Twelfth-hour discoveries of maintenance issues that could have been fixed beforehand are apt to throw a disproportionate amount of cold water on a transaction that had been proceeding smoothly. If a condition has been properly disclosed in advance, evaluating an offer will include verifying acknowledgment of disclosures.

All the rest. An offer may have any number of other provisions, so properly evaluating an offer means carefully weighing the practical impact each may have. The timing elements can be  crucial. Too lengthy a closing can be inconvenient and add a degree of uncertainty. Too swift a closing may create an interim “no-place-to-live” situation—and wow—can that be awkward and expensive! An offer that is contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home adds a degree of uncertainty that needs to be evaluated with knowledge of that area’s specifics. Any detail that introduces uncertainty adds to the ultimate risk.

Success in evaluating an offer for your Delaware home—or comparing multiple offers when that auspicious situation occurs—often means a lot more than a simple yes or no decision. Coming up with a strategic counter-offer is often called for—and that’s when there’s no substitute for having an experienced agent by your side to help fashion a strategic win-win counter offer.

To discuss these and all the other steps that will result in the successful sale of your property, give me a call to arrange a no-obligation consultation. 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

Whenever the words “reverse mortgage” are uttered, any Long Neck TV viewer immediately makes the connection with one of several celebrity spokesmen who blanket the airwaves with commercials touting the concept. If you listen carefully, those reverse mortgage ads do actually describe the product with legal accuracy. If you have the standard degree of sales resistence most of us have developed after years of exposure to Madison Avenue pitches, you probably guess that instead of relying solely upon the celebrity spokesman’s trustworthiness, you’d better investigate further before running out and applying. Most people do.

So it was surprising when the government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found it necessary to issue a special advisory on the subject. Potential Long Neck reverse mortgage applicants—that is, Long Neck homeowners who meet the minimum age requirement of 62 ½—were warned “not to be deceived” by the “late night TV ads that seem too good to be true.” Without quibbling with the CFPB about when those commercials appear (you can see them almost any time after about 3 p.m.), it is easy to see how they might create broadly mistaken impressions on at least two counts. And it’s too bad, because although a reverse mortgage can be a useful instrument, it really can have nightmarish consequences for someone who doesn’t fully understand the concept and its ramifications.

The warnings were the result of the consumer watchdog organization’s focus group study that showed many viewers coming away with misimpressions following screenings of the ads. Many did not understand that a reverse mortgage is a loan. Others got the impression that a reverse mortgage is a government benefit—and worse, some thought it guaranteed that consumers could stay in their homes for the rest of their lives.

The fact is, these loans are simply a specialized way seniors can tap into their home’s equity: the value that has built up over the years. It’s true that they are designed so that the homeowners do not have to repay the loan until he or she passes away, sells or moves out—but it’s no guarantee that other factors (like taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance expenses) might not still cause a default should the borrower run out of money.

There are other fine print details that are not mentioned in most of the ads…and they’re every bit as important as the terms of any loan. Among those that are barely touched upon are the fact that there are costs and interest provisions attached to reverse mortgages—and the CFPB finds them to be relatively expensive.

Most Long Neck homeowners are probably skeptical enough of any “too good to be true” pitch to automatically take a harder look—especially when it involves their Long Neck home’s equity. If you have questions about financial matters having to do with that equity, your best bet is to discuss the details with a trusted financial advisor or a federally-approved housing counselor. And for any other questions about Long Neck real estate, you needn’t hesitate 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 www.beachrealestatemarket.com