Last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey reported that the majority (52%) of Americans consider their home to be a family’s best investment at the same time that the number of people who are choosing to remodel their home is on the rise. According to the Houzz & Home survey, the number of people who planned improvement projects rose a dynamic 12 % last year. Of those, 40% wanted to remodel their home or build an addition.  

While remodeling may be becoming more popular, there are still plenty of advantages to the alternative route: purchasing a new home in Bethany Beach. Here are some of the pros and cons of each route:

  • Before you start your remodeling project you should take a personal inventory. Do you have the experience and skills to manage the project…and is the prospect appealing? Remodeling your home will require that you deal directly either with tradesmen, contractors, architects— or the whole bunch! It may be the greatest advantage to purchasing a new Bethany Beach home: getting the additional space and amenities without the work.
  • The loss of privacy during a remodeling project is not something to be underestimated. Depending upon the scope of the project, it may be months before the dust settles and you have the house to yourself again. There is also the inconvenience of not having access to multiple areas of your home while work is proceeding
  • For most of us, there really is no place like home. If you’re like me, even when you’ve been on a terrific vacation, eventually you begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of your good old home base. Although one or two irksome features of your current house make moving seem like a no-brainer…before you commit to a move, be sure that you really want to leave. History, a sense of community, and the roots you’ve established in your current neighborhood are all reasons to opt for a remodel rather than a new home.
  • Selling your existing home and buying a new Bethany Beach home is a sizable financial commitment. Moving costs, transaction fees, commissions and taxes are part of the equation to weigh against remodeling costs. A sharp pencil is definitely in order before the dollars and cents can be realistically reckoned—particularly if your finances have improved, and the remodel is meant to bring your home up to an improved standard of living.

The danger lies in overcapitalizing a property in a location where the resale won’t support the expense. Even a great home will still fetch a price that’s relative to other properties in the neighborhood, obliterating the wished-for ‘investment’ value of extensive remodeling.

While it’s important to be informed about the factual tradeoffs of your decision, it’s likely the end choice will also be influenced by what just feels right—as it should be. Whether you’re considering a remodel or a purchase, if you’d like to run some numbers, call me today for a confidential price evaluation!

Property management for Sussex County landlords can be the key to circumventing what can otherwise become growth-limiting factors. If you are one of those who acquired a few rental properties as a reliable way to earn easy, hands-off income, you may have been surprised when your hands turned out to be a bit more ‘on’ than you had planned.

Or perhaps you are an experienced landlord looking for a way to expand your business—but already fully occupied with the status quo. The solution may be one you considered before, but decided against for cost reasons. But now that you have more predictable cash flow expectations, you might take a harder look (clearly, many others have done so: according to the international analysts at IBIS World, the property management industry does $55 billion worth of business in the U.S. every year!).

Here’s a back-of-the-envelope look at why property management in town makes sense to so many thrifty landlords:

  • Complete landlord/tenant law knowledge. You can imagine the cost in time, aggravation, and dollars for finding yourself on the wrong side of a legal dispute. You may think that you know the ins and outs of Sussex County applicable laws, but changes do happen. A property management company has the pooled resources to keep abreast of legal strictures. What your rental business doesn’t need is for the owner (you) to have to wrap your head around legal loopholes and legalese!
  • Task delegation. Tending to rental maintenance issues, tenant complaints, and the host of other property management tasks eats into time you could spend earning a living, or enjoying life. A good Sussex County property management company handles collections, maintenance, and the occasional problematic tenant. 
  • Avoiding paperwork. A Sussex County property management company is classified as a contractor rather than an employee, helping you to escape payroll tax and other hiring fallout. It streamlines, rather than complicates your rental business.

Whether you need help in getting started or want to offload some of the busywork, property management companies may be able to provide benefits that easily outweigh the cost. Call/text 302-228-7871 or email me, Russell Stucki, REALTOR ® of Beach Real Estate Market to provide detailed information on Delaware homes for sale, investment and commercial properties, luxury and  waterfront homes, condos/townhomes, new construction, lots and land, farms and equestrian properties located in but not limited to Bethany, Bethel, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, Delmar, Ellendale, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Laurel, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Ocean View, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, Selbyville, Delaware. 

When it comes time to sell your home, you know most of the factors that determine North Bethany home prices. The number of bedrooms, condition of the yard, updating (or not) of the kitchen and bathrooms: they all influence final home prices in North Bethany.

But what are some of the lesser-known factors that can drive up Delaware home prices?

Some of them are truly surprising—

The words “Boulevard” or “Avenue” sound somewhat more prestigious than the humble “Street,” so you may not be totally surprised to learn that home sales for properties with these address suffixes are higher. According to a massive (10,000 sales) Trulia study, houses located on a “Boulevard” sold for an average price per square foot of $117, while those on a “Street” sold for only $86. The difference is a breathtaking 36%. Other expensive-sounding address suffixes were “Place” at $110 per square foot, and “Way” at $107. It’s enough to make someone want to go out and paint over the corner street sign…

Politicians have made smoking an ever-more-expensive habit. Now we can add on its effect on home prices. A Canadian survey conducted by Event One found that homes with at least one regular smoker may result in a predictably lower price. Forty-four percent of the agents surveyed thought that there was at least some effect on home prices, with two-thirds of them placing the amount between 10%-30. A “whopping” 88% said it’s more difficult to sell homes with resident smokers. Cigarette smoke is not the only odoriferous culprit: I would have to agree that dampness, pet and cooking smells can all have an effect on North Bethany home sales.

Homes within easy walking distance of schools, shopping, parks and other amenities will draw higher prices. A recent survey “Walking the walk: How walk ability raises housing values in US cities” looked at 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 different markets. Homes were rated on a walk ability scale of 0 to 100. A score of 70 meant you could get by without needing a car. It was found that (at least in metropolitan areas) a single point increase in the score correlated with a rise in home prices of $500-$3,000.

If you are about to sell your Delaware home, you won’t be able change the address suffix or make it more walk able (odor control is another matter). But be it Street, Avenue, or Boulevard, I’d love to provide a no-obligation property valuation for you. Let’s make this spring’s selling season one that fetches your home the right price! Call/text 302-228-7871 or email me, Russell Stucki, REALTOR ® of Beach Real Estate Market to provide detailed information on Delaware homes for sale, investment and commercial properties, luxury and  waterfront homes, condos/townhomes, new construction, lots and land, farms and equestrian properties located in but not limited to Bethany, Bethel, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, Delmar, Ellendale, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Laurel, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Ocean View, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, Selbyville, Delaware.

It’s a little like fashion in men’s ties. The really wide or narrow ones you laugh at today will be back in style sooner or later. There’s an analogy in our North Bethany listings.

After the financial crisis in 2007, the average size of homes began to shrink. One major casualty was the “specialty room.” Specialty rooms (or special function rooms) are any room that serves a non-standard purpose. In the North Bethany listings, you find them described as gyms, saunas, home offices, laundry rooms, home theaters, au-pair suites, “man-caves” and outdoor living rooms.

These are extras: desirable, but not really necessary. Once home sizes began to shrink, buyers demonstrated that they were willing to do without. But today, as the real estate market recovers and budgets loosen, home sizes are sharply on the rise. New home builders report year-over-year square footage growth of 10% to 13%...and listings have already begun to indicate that specialty rooms are on the way back, too.

Mud Rooms: More Popular

The American Institute of Architects 2013 Home Design Trends survey noted that mud rooms and outdoor living areas are increasing in popularity, with 45% of the residential architects who responded noting increased interest in mud rooms—and just 1% claiming a decline.

Au Pair and In-Law Suites Increase

Another interesting trend is the increase in Sussex County listings that include au-pair or in-law suites. Aging family members who require assistance account for part of the trend, as do dual breadwinning families for whom live-in childcare is a necessity.   

Home Office Popularity: Slight Decline

In prior years, the AIA Survey found the Home Office rated as the most popular special function room. In last year’s survey, home offices fell into third place, with only 22% of the architects reporting interest in them. Whether that reflects in North Bethany listings or not remains to be seen, but if so I suspect it could be due to the improved technology and portability of laptops and tablets: they simply no longer require a dedicated room in the house.

With the economy showing strength and house prices expected to rise this year, we’ve probably just seen the beginning of the resurgence of listings in North Bethany featuring more specialty rooms. And if you are thinking of buying or selling yourself, don’t wait to contact me to discuss taking advantage of the upcoming spring market!

Savvy shoppers and sellers; don’t sit on the sidelines, call/text 302-228-7871 or email me, Russell Stucki, REALTOR® of Beach Real Estate Market to provide detailed information on Delaware homes for sale, investment and commercial properties, luxury and  waterfront homes, condos/townhomes, new construction, lots and land, farms and equestrian properties located in but not limited to Bethany, Bethel, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, Delmar, Ellendale, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harbeson, Laurel, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Millsboro, Millville, Milton, Ocean View, Rehoboth Beach, Seaford, Selbyville, Delaware.