The numbers are in!

If you are among the local homeowners counting the days until Milford, DE’s hot selling season begins, unless your house is already in perfect showing shape, you might be pondering which—if any—possible remodeling projects would be wise to take on before you list.

The answers aren’t simple. The first consideration is the calculation for whether your property is likely to attract top dollar in its as-is condition. If not, you need a prospect’s-eye take on which areas are most likely to detract from the apparent overall value of the property. Then comes another factor: identifying which of those projects will go furthest in recapturing their cost.

Even if leaving everything as-is doesn’t inspire much confidence, it might be tempting to “test the market” just to see what happens. Unfortunately, the most common result is that offers (if any) will be lowered to reflect the cost you saved…less a premium, of course. Experienced bargain hunters look to be compensated for the value they’ll have to add.

A number of remodeling associations attempt to alleviate at least some of that guesswork via annual assessments. These survey current national data to compare average costs for remodeling projects with the average value they return at sale. These figures are difficult to pin down with precision, but the folks at remodeling.hw.net take on the challenge annually. As noted above, the numbers are in!  

Their 2018 national survey names the top 4 remodeling projects earning the best returns:

·         Garage door replacements returned 98.3% of its average $3,470 outlay.

·         Manufactured stone veneer brought in 97.1% of its $8,221 cost.

·         Entry door replacements drew 91.3% of its $1,471 cost (specified: steel doors).

·         Deck additions returned 82.8% of an average $10,950 outlay.

Next in line were minor kitchen remodels, siding replacement, vinyl window replacement, and bathroom remodels—all of which averaged five-figure costs and all of which returned smaller percentages than the leaders. Milford, DE results could, of course, differ—but the national averages are food for thought.

Selling your Milford, DE home for the maximum price depends on marketing and presentation factors, too; yet everything begins with the value of the “product” being sold. I hope you’ll give me a call for feedback on what we are finding about what today’s Milford, DE buyers consider most important. 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 artist who conceived and painted the opening scene in Disney’s masterpiece, Pinocchio, was an old-world perfectionist. The opening shot was to employ an imaginative technical breakthrough that made it appear that the audience was swooping down out of the night sky into Geppetto’s workshop. The painting had to be distorted just so—in a way that had never been attempted.

The story goes that, after many frustrating delays, Disney’s producer had sent word that he would double the artist’s fee if he’d just hurry up. The artist refused, simply sending word, “I didn’t ask for more money. I asked for more time!”

For Milford, DE real estate, it’s a story that can have analogous meaning. Everyone has his or her own reasons for listing their home, and sometimes timing is of overriding importance. When professional imperatives call for an immediate change of location or when family matters create the same urgency, a speedy sale can take on primary importance. But there can be a variety of reasons why the market fails to produce a buyer. When just lowering the asking price fails to bring about the desired result, it can create a real conundrum.

Particularly for distinctive Milford, DE homes that have one-of-a-kind appeal, it might make sense to wait for a rare one-of-a-kind buyer to appear. In such situations, unlike the Disney example, it can be possible to “buy” time. One way is to examine the possibility of renting out the property. Even if the monthly rent doesn’t quite cover the mortgage, the loss can sometimes make financial sense if it allows time for the ultimate buyer to enter the market.

There are serious issues associated with such a stop-gap solution—and financial details that might make it impractical. In addition to the credit implications, there are tax repercussions— as well as the extra layer of complexity that’s added when a renter-occupied home is offered for sale. In any case, as the Washington Post noted in a feature on this solution, “…most sellers in this situation fail to think through all the factors…” that go into that decision.

It’s my job the be certain my clients are aware of the factors that are at play in not just this unusual situation, but in all Milford, DE real estate dealings. I will always be ready to discuss the trade-offs and solutions to your particular circumstances. Call me for 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

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