The Rorschach (or inkblot) test is the one where a psychologist shows you a series of pictures that seem to be random black-and-white splatters. The shrink asks you what you think they look like. What you “see” in the inkblots tells something about who you are—how you look at things.

If someone were to create a pack of inkblots to test for who would be best suited for the tasks facing Delaware homebuyers, they’d be designed to pinpoint character traits that come in handy during a typical homebuyer’s quest. I don’t know how Dr. Rorschach came up with the shapes he chose (what was he thinking?)—but at least four characteristics to look for would be:

  1. Low financial anxiety. One trait that’s common among those who are well prepared to go after their first Delaware home is command of their financial affairs. If that’s not present—if finances are amorphous or if creditworthiness is shaky—potential first-timers are almost certainly jumping the gun.
  2. Patience. The probability of winding up with exactly the right Delaware home increases in tandem with the ability to resist hasty impulses. The first or second property visited might ultimately turn out to be the best one—but there is wisdom in verifying that through comparison with a range of other possibilities. Patience in house hunting makes for an informed homebuyer.
  3. Flexibility. Having a firm list of requirements is helpful to get a house hunt off to a productive start, but if those requirements are set in concrete, some of what might turn out to be the best candidate properties can be missed entirely. I can’t tell you how many great finds have resulted when we took a little extra time to check out what had seemed to be an iffy prospect.
  4. Openness. Homebuyers increase the likelihood of winding up with the most suitable Delaware home in their budget range when they aren’t shy about sharing their ideas and reactions with their agent. Being talkative is perfectly okay for engaged homebuyers—just as being closed-mouthed is something of a drawback. The more feedback that’s freely exchanged between the boss (you) and your Realtor® (me), the better!

For Delaware homebuyers of all stripes, another kind of “inkblot test” occurs when you walk through the front door of what ultimately becomes “the one.” That’s an experience it doesn’t take a shrink to interpret: it’s the feeling that you’ve found your home!

When the time is right to start looking, 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

Riddle: What do saltwater pools and saltwater aquariums have in common?

Answer: Water.

That’s about all. When some house hunters see “saltwater pool” in Delaware listings, the first thing apt to come to mind is that last trip to the ocean seashore or swaying palm trees—or perhaps some NatGeo TV show about endangered species on the Great Barrier reef. Visions of having their own playful pet dolphin in the backyard might flit through their consciousness (training: easy; maintenance: not so easy) before the practical questions begin to intrude— like having to rinse salt off after every dip, worrying about salt spray wrecking the lawn. Ultimately, the question would probably be, who in their right mind wants a saltwater pool instead of freshwater?

 The answer: some practical-minded Delaware homeowners might. Saltwater pools aren’t filled with seawater (sorry, Flipper and Shamu: you’d find the accommodations unsuitable). The “saltwater” moniker refers to the way the fresh water is filtered and recirculated. There is a slight amount of saltiness to the water, but nowhere near what’s found in the oceans.

In a way, it’s really a shame that the name is what it is—especially when it causes potential buyers to make the connection with saltwater aquariums. People who’ve dealt with one of those know how difficult they are to maintain. Dedicated fish fanciers go to the effort because most brilliant varieties of fish inhabit the world’s oceans rather than freshwater rivers and lakes. But the price hobbyists pay for having all those bright colors on display is having to keep all sorts of chemical balances in equilibrium—and that takes constant vigilance.

Saltwater pools sidestep that drawback. They use electricity to manufacture the chlorine needed to battle microorganism growth—then continually monitor the result. These systems automatically start the pool pump when needed, resulting in less demand for homeowner monitoring. 

That same convenience has a downside, however, because pool pumps have to run longer than they do in manually chlorinated pools. The reason is a complicated technological explanation having to do with the difference between the filtration systems (electrolysis vs. added cyanurates)—the long and short of which is fewer expensive chemicals (traditional) vs. higher energy costs (saltwater systems).

Whenever Delaware homeowners consider an improvement, I can help with advice regarding the impact on future resale value—even if that future sale isn’t an immediate prospect. The type of filtration system in a pool (or even the addition of a pool itself) is part of that equation. Whenever you consider major value-building improvements to your Delaware home, I hope you will give me a call. Let’s chat! 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 an unplanned and unwelcome financial situation develops, a Milford mortgage-holder can find himself or herself in the onerous position of being unable to keep up with the monthly home loan payments. If the unhappy situation continues long enough, the likely result is a foreclosure or short sale. In addition to losing the property, the impact on personal credit then takes years to undo. That means it takes that much longer for a consumer to acquire a new home and start to build equity again.

Here as elsewhere, there were a raft of such Milford mortgage defaults following the global financial meltdown. Even those who had no trouble servicing their area mortgages could have suffered when they found that falling property values prevented them from refinancing—even when the purpose was to improve their property. Although those events happened years ago, it’s only now that their aftereffects are finally working their way out of the system.

A recent article in NMP—the national Mortgage Professional’s magazine—delved into the changing status of those who lost homes in the turndown. The details they researched are interesting in themselves—details that are bound to have an impact on Milford residential sales.

First off is the fact that enough time has elapsed for those who weathered a short sale or foreclosure to begin to return to eligibility. They’re called “Boomerang Buyers”—and nationwide, there are estimated to be 7,300,000 of them! In 2016 alone, more than a million will become eligible to return to the home-buying market. According to NMP, “they’re returning to the market in droves.” The hardest-hit states were Nevada, Florida and Illinois—but there are plenty of Boomerang Buyers scattered across the rest of the nation.

The improving mortgage eligibility landscape extends beyond those who suffered the actual loss of their homes. To the more than 7 million “distressed” homeowners whose properties are still underwater (those who owe more than market value), the government’s HARP 2 program is one possible remedy. Its guidelines encourage lenders to relax the loan-to-value caps that had prevented refinancing for many of those homeowners. Reports are that it has already resulted in an increase in such refinances.

Other program combinations are helping loan originators and Realtors® get more bank-owned homes back into homeowners’ hands. These are properties that make up the ‘shadow inventory’ of unsold homes, many of which have fallen into disrepair. Because of that, they’ve been difficult to finance—and therefore difficult to sell. Through FHA 203K and Fannie Mae’s Homestyle® renovation mortgages, more ambitious prospective owners—including investors—are discovering they now have mortgage options that can put those fixer-uppers within reach.

For those who have previously found it problematic to secure a Milford mortgage with acceptable terms, it may be worth looking into today’s improved financing alternatives. Especially with mortgage interest rates at the levels we’re seeing this fall, what you find may be a pleasant surprise—one that puts you into the house of your dreams. Call me to discuss first steps!    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 way the media treated last week’s federal funds rate announcement by the Federal Reserve Board was a convincing demonstration of how much importance is placed on that singular piece of the financial puzzle. That rate may not be directly tied to Milford mortgage interest rates, but since it determines lenders’ borrowing costs, its effect is considerable.

For many years now, Milford mortgage interest rates have been comfortably nestled near the bottom of their historical range. Many Milford homeowners have enjoyed the resulting low monthly payments on their mortgages. Milford home sellers have likewise benefitted from home loan interest rates that make their properties more affordable than would otherwise be the case.

 Real estate repercussions are a major part of the reason that the Fed’s announcement, which came midday last Thursday, had the national media holding its collective electronic breath. With ten minutes to go, one cable network talking head could add little illumination. “Wall Street will be watching the announcement very closely,” was her understatement. Channel flipping with five minutes to go, viewers found the streaming banner at the bottom of one network trumpeting BREAKING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS… before the fact. On CNBC, “the most highly anticipated announcement in years” was awaited by four commentators who had the unhappy challenge of predicting the decision mere seconds before the fact. Above the ever-moving streams of real-time data (oil was down, the stock markets up) panelists chattered about China (“it’s big and mysterious”), inflation targets (“missed again”), and optimism (“a rate hike won’t hurt the economy, it will help”). Only if the Fed “saw something down the road,” it was agreed, would they not raise rates. Then, just 5 seconds to go…then-

The Fed left rates unchanged.

Citing concerns over global this and financial that, the Fed said they were going to be monitoring them. The economy expanded at a moderate pace, and housing improved moderately, they said. But since global conditions might cause trouble...  

The media’s excitement level flat-lined within minutes. “The markets are not panicking,” said a gentleman in a snappy suit. He looked irritated. “I blew it,” said another, who moments before had thrown in with the majority predicting a rate rise. “They cited uncertainty,” he frowned; then blurted, “The Fed is the biggest source of uncertainty!”

The stock markets didn’t react at all at first. Later, they closed mixed.

The next day, mortgage interest rates crept downward.

 What seemed to be an excitement bust for the media was good news for many of the viewers. When the Fed funds rate continually hovers close to zero, there’s ample reason to suspect that Milford mortgage interest rates might stay put for a while. TheStreet website later reported that they expected rates to rise a bit before year’s end. Given the recent record of expert predictions, it might be safer to stand behind one with a better chance of success: the next Fed announcement, I predict, will be the most anticipated announcement in years.

Meantime, if you have been mulling over whether to take advantage of the current balmy mortgage interest environment, 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.