Last month’s U.S. News article headline looked promising: “The Guide to Understanding Your Home Value.” What Ocean View, DE homeowner isn’t at least curious about that? Written by U.S. News’s real estate editor, the piece addressed a slew of informational tidbits, some of which are not as commonsensical as you’d think.

Chief among them was a description of “the process of calculating” your home’s appraised value and how that relates to its market value. The relationship between the two—and the reasons they are different—is illuminating. A couple of the tidbits:

·         FALSE: “…your property value is based on what a buyer is willing to pay for it…” This sounds like it should be true, but it’s not. Unless the buyer is able to buy it singlehandedly, the truth is, the bottom line (literally) for its value is based on the financial backing the property can attract. If a lender can’t be found to foot the bill, a buyer’s estimate of its value is beside the point (despite the heartening vote of confidence, that isn’t a real buyer).

·         USUALLY TRUE, but…: “Hiring an appraiser can help you get a realistic estimate.”  In most circumstances, an appraiser’s professional estimate not only helps—it’s required. But the author undercuts the “realistic” by citing the high demand and low supply currently present in many U.S. markets, where “multiple offers are expected, and homes often sell well above asking price.” Those situations “make it easier to prove to an appraiser” that the market value is higher than the “exact value based on a large number of factors” of the formal appraisal (the Chicago Tribune’s definition). After all, that means that a realistic estimate was what the market indicates rather than what the appraisal calculated.

Knowing your Ocean View, DE home’s value is more than a matter of idle curiosity for area homeowners who are determining whether to put their property up for sale. Drilling down to estimate its value on today’s swiftly changing market is a balancing act combining comparable recent neighborhood sales, the facets of the property that are uniquely its own, and the temperament of the buyers we speak with daily. Call me for a readout for your own Ocean View, DE home—I’ll be pleased to compile a written report for you (of course, without obligation)! 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

Ocean View, DE residents who will be buying a home, refinancing their mortgage, or even just financing a car anytime soon, should think twice before making abrupt credit moves. Even some actions intended to reflect positively on their creditworthiness can backfire.

As everyone learns, your individual credit score determines not just whether financial institutions will grant your application for a home or auto loan—they also play a decisive role in the interest rate you will be quoted. Your score is calculated by using various historical data to determine the degree of risk the proposed loan would subject the lender to—an arithmetic calculation projecting the likelihood that repayment will proceed on schedule. As you can imagine, millions upon millions of recorded transactions tell the tale, giving the scoring companies plenty of data to make their projections pretty dependable.

Ocean View, DE consumers aren't privy to the formulas that are used, but can still observe some less-than-obvious actions to take (and not take) in order to maximize their credit scores and their power as credit customers. One of them is simply to act with caution.

Whenever you are seized with the urge to pare down your complicated financial life, go carefully. Especially when your billfold begins to bulge with plastic, or your mailbox and email box keep getting clogged up with too many credit card company statements, the rule is usually, do nothing.

There are three solid reasons why closing down little-used accounts can be counterproductive:

1.      You shorten the combined length of your 'open credit' record. The oldest accounts are the most valuable for demonstrating that you are a veteran credit user instead of a Johnny Come Lately.

2.      You bring down the total credit available to you. The higher that total, the more creditworthy you show yourself to be. Closing an account brings down the total.

3.      Likewise, the percentage that you owe of the credit available to you goes up when you close down an account—even though you haven't borrowed a penny more.

The ins and outs of adeptly navigating the credit system are the opposite of credit itself: it's like money in the bank! When you apply for a home loan, that becomes apparent—even when mortgage interest rates are as low as they are now. Feel free to call me for help and advice whenever Ocean View, DE real estate matters are in the offing! 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

 Local news continues to be dominated by Ocean View, DE public school openings—headed by the hotly debated subject of the advisability of in-classroom learning. The fact that good intentions are present on all sides of the issue hasn’t helped us to arrive at a universally agreed-upon plan. That’s predictable enough, due in large part to the fact that individual risk tolerances vary greatly—especially when children’s safety and welfare is involved. It doesn’t help that the data which could help clarify the risk is subject to interpretation—including the complicating factor of developmental risks that many experts agree will result from not opening.  

The deep concern that this year’s school opening has aroused is evidence of something that Ocean View, DE real estate agents have long known: the importance of schools in the hierarchy of homebuyers’ priorities. We have all witnessed how the desirability of a property’s Ocean View, DE school district can be a decisive factor influencing prospective buyers. Early on, database designers reported that the top feature consumers requested was a “search-by-school” capability. That may be because school district maps can change—so relying on mere proximity can be misleading.

Nailing down exact numbers on the importance of public school quality is a difficult task, but Bob Vila’s popular home improvement website was able to quote some illuminating research on the topic. It shows that just under 10% of prospective buyers say they would pay 11%-20% above budget for entry to “a desirable” school district. Another 17% say they would pay extra for a home close enough that their kids could walk to and from school. finds that when it comes to weighing the relative importance of adult amenities vs. the kids’ education, schooling comes out on top. For instance, 62% of buyers say they would choose to locate in “the right school district” over a home spa—and 50% would pass up a highly valued adult favorite: easy access to shopping.

Both buyers and sellers are well served by keeping in mind the impact Ocean View, DE school districts can have on a property’s value—not just immediately, but downstream, when it comes time to sell to the next family. Call me anytime for experience-based guidance for buying and selling in Ocean View, DE! 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

Back in February, the housing market’s watchdog observed that a good way to judge the strength of the housing industry is to “Look at how often people move.” That makes perfect sense. Logic would seem to dictate that a strong housing market would mean good times for movers.

If industry analysts at IBISWorld’s publicly available “Moving Services” page are to be relied upon, the best estimates expect there to be “strong growth in the housing market.” If you’d expect that to mean a prediction of boom times for movers, though, you’d be wrong. Disruptions due to the pandemic are expected to force consumers to dial down the amount they will be willing to pay professional movers.

For local buyers and sellers seeking reliable Ocean View, DE movers, there could be a relevant side-effect: a reported increase in the activity of moving industry black hats—the rogue operators who prey on buyers and sellers facing moving deadlines. According to the Better Business Bureau, an average of 13,000 complaints and negative reviews are lodged with them every year—and more than 1,300 moving companies have earned their “F” rating.

Consumers’ points to “an organized group of crooked movers.” They frequently have “nice websites” and courteous phone presentations. They quote a lower price than any competitors, but once they’ve loaded a customer’s household goods into their (frequently rented) trucks, that price changes. They won’t deliver until a doubled or tripled price is paid because “the size of the move” is more than was quoted. Frequently, the situation leaves consumers little choice other than to pay.

The BBB warns that anyone doing web research is likely to encounter one or more of the scamsters. They advertise heavily on the internet, so they frequently have prime placement on search pages. The solution for anyone looking for Ocean View, DE movers is to thoroughly vet them well in advance. When you’re under the gun because of moving deadlines, that pressure is exactly what the rogues play on. A great source for planning tips—including a database showing properly registered movers—is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. It details ways to “spot the red flags” of moving fraud.

Making sure my clients anticipate all the advance steps that will smooth the way for a successful transaction is just part of the service I provide. Call me! 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