Delaware Packing and Moving: This, Too, Shall Pass
When you first contemplate packing and moving to or from Delaware, it’s advisable to take a deep breath first, then close your eyes and mentally recall the best, most positive moments from past moves.
Okay, if there aren’t any of those, try thinking of some bracing truism like “This, too, shall pass” or “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” Realistically, the packing and moving will be over before you know it. Those visions of jackknifed moving vans and your good china strewn across the Interstate…they’re NOT going to happen!
Not only that, but you can do some painless preparation for the move, whether or not you decide to go with one of Delaware’s professional movers. Here are some reminder do’s and don’ts. Let’s take the don’ts first:
- Don’t procrastinate if there is any possibility that you will be using professional movers. The best movers can be booked up months in advance, especially if you think you’ll be moving near the end of the month. Get on-site written estimates, of course.
- Don’t water plants for a couple of days before the move.
- Don’t buy just one black marker. You WILL set it down somewhere and lose it as soon as the packing gets ferocious (which is when you most need to mark the cartons with where they’re going).
…and my favorite:
- Don’t move boxes you haven’t opened since your last move!
- Take out the measuring tape and determine the dimensions of the destination areas meant to house your furniture. You can avoid going to the trouble and expense of moving furniture that’s too large to fit…(think of it as garage sale fodder).
- Start collecting cardboard boxes early. All sizes come in handy. There can’t be too many of the small boxes for fragile items: well bubble-wrapped, they’ll fit inside the larger ones.
- Leave folded clothing inside dresser drawers. You can move the drawers separately if they make the whole thing too heavy (professionals will just pick up the whole thing).
- Take your time when it comes to unpacking. This can actually be quite fun to do: to arrange things exactly as you want them to be in your new place! Remember these moments, so the next time, you’ll be able to close your eyes and mentally recall the best, most positive, etc.
- Written by Russell Stucki
Deducing a Real Estate Investment Opportunity
When you recall how thoroughly public confidence was shaken during that last financial meltdown, you probably also remember how reluctant most people were to presume that Delaware real estate values would rebound anytime soon. Those who saw nose diving property values as nothing less than a great buying opportunity were in the courageous minority—even though a cool-headed review of the history of home values’ ups and downs made such a conclusion pretty safe.
Today there may be a similar Delaware real estate opportunity—although, in truth, you have to look a lot harder to see it. It’s emerging in the realm of Delaware rental real estate investments. Instead of resulting from a dramatic global financial shakeup, it’s the by-product of a less headline-grabbing phenomenon—namely, an emerging shift in American lifestyle and spending habits.
One piece of evidence can be found in the rapid adoption of “sharing economy” businesses like Airbnb and Uber. Forbes magazine points to their ascendency as evidence of a shift in Americans’ willingness to share goods and services with others—as well as a new attitude about ownership in general. It’s most evident among the younger set: “A fifth of Millennials would consider renting DIY products, clothing or sporting equipment,” one survey found—key drivers being affordability and convenience.
Forbes also looked at attitudes among Millennials about housing. Nearly a quarter who are not yet on the housing ladder said they were not concerned about owning a home of their own and would be content to rent for the rest of their lives. If offered lease terms of five or more years, they would be encouraged to “treat their rented property more like a home.”
Meantime, the widely-respected Pew Research Center found particularly that steep declines in homeownership are only partially due to the difficulty of coming up with a down payment. Even though mortgage approval rates are up, home loan applications are down.
This impact such an attitudinal shift could mean is underlined when you realize that there are 92 million Millennials. They make up the largest generation in American history. If they continue to place more value on the flexibility and convenience provided by the new business models, another outcome could well be the disappearance of the stigma that used to go with renting. Per the Urban Institute’s Laurie Goodman, the dip in homeownership among younger generations “is a permanent shift”—one evidenced by the rise in “lifestyle renters” (those who can afford to buy, but choose not to).
- Written by Russell Stucki
You, Too, Can be a North Bethany Home Buying Genius!
One of CNN’s most popular sites is called CNNMoney. Dollars and cents are its singular focus—no film reviews, fashion statements, or political insights. For North Bethany readers minding their bank accounts, it makes consistently interesting reading.
The other day, an eye-catching ad for CNNMoney appeared on the screens of real estate sites. If you’d been browsing the North Bethany listings, there it was, with this challenge: “Are you a home buying genius?” For anyone who couldn’t be absolutely sure of the answer, the ad led to an online quiz. A simple mouse click brought up the first question.
It was a good thing CNNMoney isn’t called CNNGrammar, because the first question was “How will a bad credit score effect (sic) your ability to buy a home?” The choices were four, starting with “I may not qualify for a mortgage.” Then came, “I may need a bigger down payment;” “I’ll have to pay a higher mortgage rate;” and the last, “All of the above.” They all looked possible, so North Bethany home buying geniuses had an easy time with that one.
But others could have tested the neurons of any home buying Einstein.
“What’s the most surefire way to get the financing you need?” was one. “Play the Powerball” was clearly not the right answer, but the difference between “Get pre-approved for a mortgage” (choice #2) or “Have the mortgage pre-underwritten” (#3) might depend on the North Bethany mortgage broker’s office terminology. If you went for #3, you got it right.
If you knew that North Bethany closing costs usually run between 2%-5% of the selling price, you had another right answer. Likewise, if you chose the standard “28% of your gross monthly income” as the most you should budget for a mortgage payment. By now, it had become clear that this quiz had been put together by someone with an interest in promoting mortgage loans. All the questions were dealing with mortgages, and now ads for national mortgage outfits were beginning to appear at the bottom of the screen. Since this is nothing new when it comes to web quizzes, most readers would have kept at it.
They would have run into one question about how much savings you “should have left” after you buy a home—the kind of question that could start a debate. This one could challenge any genius. For instance, if you are The Donald, you really wouldn’t need the “at least six months’ worth of savings” that was ruled the right answer. The explanation sounded reasonable (“you’re probably spending freely to furnish or update the place”), but what if you had just bought a new home or one of the spotlessly renovated North Bethany listings that are now on the market? The amount it would cost to move in could just as easily be next to nothing!
Such quibbling in internet quizzes isn’t allowed. If you got all the answers right, you were pronounced a home buying genius (with an exclamations point)…and an offer to tell the world via Facebook or Twitter. If not, you could retake the test before you told anyone anything, which does seem a little bit like an offer to peek at the teacher’s answer sheet…
- Written by Russell Stucki
North Bethany Listing Prices Reflect the Market (or Wishful Thin
A North Bethany listing can be a smash hit when the pictures show a property that’s cosmetically appealing, the copy rings true, and the details hit the sweet spot where features and value are a match for the best the area has to offer. But it still might not be as effective as it should be if one other detail is a little bit off. It’s a detail that can cause qualified buyers—the ones who should be a home’s most interested prospects— to miss the whole show.
I suppose that calling that part of a North Bethany listing a “detail” is like calling the end score of the NBA’s final playoff a detail—or calling the final vote count in an election a “factor.” It may be just one element of many, but it is uniquely important. In a North Bethany listing, it’s often the first element that shoppers specify when they’re picking which area homes they will consider. If it’s not thoughtfully calibrated to fall within the parameters they name, the results may suffer considerably.
Of course, the “detail” we’re talking about is the price on the listing, and choosing the “right” one is the object. We’re looking for a number that will help a home sell quickly at the highest price possible. If the neighborhood comps—the prices paid and asked for nearby area homes with similar features—were all that mattered, coming up with the most suitable listing price would be a cut-and-dried affair. But there are other factors that need to be taken into account. Some are easy to determine, some…not so much.
· the North Bethany residential market is a moving target, sometimes building from a lower level, sometimes echoing the latest transactions, sometimes losing momentum.
· competitive North Bethany listing prices reflect either other sellers’ best estimates of that market for their properties, or else their personal opinions of what they think the market should be--but there’s no way to verify which!
· the final selling price of any home is determined not only by the seller’s situation, but by the buyer’s, also, which is a factor which cannot be determined in advance.
That’s why there is no universally agreed-upon formulas to rely upon, and since there is no way to determine what outcome would have resulted if a different price had been chosen, there’s also no way to verify after the fact if the absolute “best” one was chosen—even if everyone considers the sale a great success! Web titan Zillow says, “if the home sells within a few days of listing, chances are you listed too low” yet if a higher price had been chosen, causing that home to linger for months on the market, it wouldn’t have been listed too low. On the other hand, if the listing price were set to court multiple offers, a quick sale could mean a higher selling price was achieved. There’s simply no way to know for sure.
- Written by Russell Stucki