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 Ocean View 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 Ocean View 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 Ocean View 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 Ocean View mortgage broker’s office terminology. If you went for #3, you got it right.
If you knew that Ocean View 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 Ocean View 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…
In my opinion, you don’t have to be a Ocean View home buying genius to score a spectacular home in this summer’s offerings. The properties are there, and the financing numbers are still historically terrific! It won’t hurt to have a knowledgeable professional clearing the way, either. Just call, anytime! 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.

Now that we are deep into July, with summer in full swing, there might be vague thoughts running through your mind about some potential real estate moves—but certainly not until the fall. Right now all most of us are thinking about is whether another chilled glass of summer-something-or-other is in order. Ocean View mortgage rates and what the folks in Washington might be doing to affect them are not exactly what occupies an idyllic July afternoon.
But if you’ve been paying attention to any newscasts long enough to reach the dull-as-dishwater economic stories they throw in toward the end of the broadcasts, you may also have an inkling that conditions are about to change. And the evidence does suggest that mortgage rates in our area face a likely increase come fall. If your vague suspicion does come to pass, and if you’re among those considering buying or selling a home in Ocean View this year, now should be the time to stop “thinking” and start “doing”.
Exhibit A for that proposition comes from one Michael C. Fratantoni, who happens to be the Chief Economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). When he recently spoke at the National Association of REALTORS® office in Washington, he made no bones about it: mortgage rates will continue upwards, with a first significant Fed hike likely in September. September! The 30-year fixed mortgage, which we all know has lingered at historic lows—below 4%—for several years, is likely to hit 4.4% by the end of 2015 , then move beyond 5% next year.
It’s enough to stifle any thoughts about that frosty beverage.
The good news for Ocean View homeowners planning to list is that Fratantoni doesn’t believe any of these factors will keep the nations’ buyers away. After a pretty lackluster 2014 performance, the MBA forecasts a 14% year-over-year increase in purchase-money mortgage originations in 2015—and nearly 9% in 2016. Nationwide, incomes are also expected to rise, and with new household formations on the rise, the national real estate market looks to remain in fairly good balance.
While it seems there’s no instantaneous need to drop all your summertime activities to rush your home onto the market, with mortgage rates in Ocean View expected to rise sooner rather than later, it’s certainly worth making it a priority to give me a call this week. After that, there will definitely be ample time to finish enjoying that delightful chilled summer beverage. 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.

At first blush, deciding to hire a Ocean View professional property manager may seem counter-productive. Whether you bought the property you will be renting out specifically for that purpose, or else are simply holding onto your former home rather than selling it, the expense of employing a Ocean View property manager will materially reduce the cash benefit your rental promises to throw your way.
In fact, many new landlords don’t seriously consider hiring a property manager. It’s an offshoot of their own long-time home owning experience. They’ve learned to handle the residential maintenance issues that crop up from time to time, so it seems unnecessary to hire a professional manager for the occasional problems they know how to solve themselves. They may acknowledge that there will be twice as much to handle, it still may seem to be a needless extravagance. After all, the two great benefits of becoming a landlord are to build equity and generate income, so why give away part of the latter?
One cogent reason is the principal difference between managing a rental and your own household. In your own home, you aren’t answerable to any outside entity. When a faucet starts leaking or a circuit breaker blows, you are free to ignore it until the weekend or whenever it’s most convenient. That’s simply not true for a conscientious landlord. Even with a cooperative, understanding tenant, in a way, you almost become your tenant’s employee (or at least it can seem that way when the phone rings at an inconvenient moment). A good tenant rightfully expects his residence to be maintained promptly and diligently; it’s your part of the rental bargain.
Another factor that argues for opting for a reputable Ocean View property manager goes to another difference between managing your own residence and a rental. The professional has so much experience in all aspects of property care that he or she is considerably more likely to have dealt with any given situation. Likewise for handling the technicalities of attracting and interviewing tenants, and seeing that contractual issues are completed correctly—tasks that need to be handled with legal exactitude.
There are plenty of reasons that can make hiring a property manager a sensible move, starting with those quality of life issues—your life! For retirees or others with abundant spare time, they may not be as significant; but for fully-employed persons, the time factor and necessity to “be on call” can be crucial. I always recommend giving the professional management option full consideration. Of course it’s always possible for a first-time landlord to test the waters for a while before making the decision—though it’s important to realize that one false step can escalate into costly legal troubles when it comes to national and state civil codes, fair housing laws, and tenant rights. Ignorance of the law will be no excuse for do-it-yourself landlords who are unlucky enough to find themselves on the wrong side of a tenant dispute—so be sure to educate yourself and have access to a reputable Ocean View landlord-tenant attorney
If a Ocean View income-producing real estate investment opportunity is something you would like to explore, this summer has produced some properties with terrific potential. Give me a call anytime to discuss how best to explore what’s out there! 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.

Today’s Ocean View real estate market is an alien landscape compared with what it was ten years ago, when it seemed as if a seller could just plant a sign in the front yard and wait for competing offers to roll in. This summer’s real estate scene is equally unlike that of five years ago, when many properties could languish for long months with few showings and fewer legitimate offers.
It’s been a welcome return to a more stable, predictable area real estate climate. With sale prices rising at a sustainable rate and the average days on market making a return to levels approaching historical norms, Ocean View real estate participants—both buyers and sellers—gain confidence on what to expect on both sides of home selling transactions. Particularly for Ocean View homeowners who are planning to list, that means that their properly prepared property is much more likely to garner a reasonable offer within a reasonable timeframe.
This outcome is only likely when sellers prepare their properties in a deliberate manner. Fix up, de-clutter, renovate, clean—all the common tips that are touchstones for making a strong positive first impression apply. Doing it all before listing is a best practice, just as waiting for buyer feedback to tell you what’s awry is not. Be your own Devil’s Advocate when it comes to repair and maintenance issues as you assess whether you should sell the property as-is, or order repairs. Careful, open-eyed preparation has real value. It makes it much less likely that a pre-closing home inspection will catch everyone by surprise. You put yourself in a solid negotiating position when your home hits the Ocean View real estate scene as ready as you can make it.
Preparing the property is Job One, but Job One-and-a-Half is preparing yourself for what you are hoping to achieve. Make sure you have penciled out what the bottom line financial outcome is going to be, which includes what you owe, what price your home is likely to bring, and how the ensuing costs will work out as you move to your next destination.
The biggest unknown is, of course, your property’s ultimate sale price. While online valuation models like Zillow’s are easy to use, they can yield results that are so wide of the mark as to be seriously misleading. Have your real estate agent create the up-to-the-minute comparative market analysis (CMA) which will set out how homes similar in location and amenities have performed in recent months. Those listing and sales prices are the strongest indicators of how your home is likely to fare in this summer’s market—and provide a realistic pointer to what your asking price should be.
Today’s consumers are inundated with information online. With 92% percent of real estate buyers searching via their iPhones, notepads, computers, and all the rest of our electronic paraphernalia, increasingly the tendency is to make quick decisions, often based on price and photos. In a world where consumers swipe or click through hundreds of pieces of information a day, it’s much more easy to be overlooked if your price seems out of line. That puts a premium on right-pricing the first time out. It’s also not a bad idea to have a firm idea in your own mind of your absolute rock-bottom number should be—one that makes sense when your long term goals are taken into account.
This summer promises to be a fine time to enter our Ocean View real estate market. I’ll be standing by to assist in all the ways that have proved to be most effective—so why not 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.