When corporate leaders seek to communicate good news on their company’s performance, they frequently reach for the ‘R’ word: “robust.” Sales are robust; production is robust; future prospects are robust, etc. The ‘R’ word performs the near-miraculous feat of conveying strength, energy, and accomplishment —all without having to come up with specifics.

Especially in earnings guidance season, you see the ‘R’ word a lot.

So it was surprising that last week’s widely quoted tidings about existing home sales (which were very good tidings, indeed) included the ‘R’ word at all. The news—at least as cited by The World Property Journal—hardly needed the vocabulary assist. The details alone were astonishingly favorable. “U.S. Home Sales Spike in August, Highest Levels Since December 2006” was the 30-point headline—followed by the equally striking subhead: “Median home prices nationwide also hit record-setting $310,000.

The supporting statistics described existing home sales that, per the National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun, “continue to amaze.” The median $310,000 price amounted to an 11.4% increase from a year earlier—which also marked the 102nd straight month of year-over-year gains. The volume of sales as a whole wasn’t just up from the previous year—it constituted an increase of 10.5%!

The reason the ‘R’ word had been summoned at all was in the course of explaining the gang-busters performance: “Housing demand is robust,” said Dr. Yuan, “but supply is not.” It might have been the first time the ‘R’ word had ever been reported Missing in Action.

With prices said to be rising “in every region,” existing South Bethany, DE homeowners can be forgiven if they suspect that their own property’s market value is likely to have been growing, as well. That could incent some into looking harder at the outlook should they decide to put their homes on the market sooner rather than later. If that makes sense for you, the simple first step is to see what the local comparables are achieving. Call me for a thorough up-to-the-minute report—I’d be pleased to assemble one for you—of course, with no 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 www.beachrealestatemarket.com

By definition, the best South Bethany, DE real estate agent for you is the one who sells your South Bethany, DE home soonest, for the highest price, and with a minimum of hassle. Because you have to designate the one who will be your exclusive listing agent, you can’t ever prove how all the others would have fared.

So, what’s a homeowner to do when it’s time to sell? Going it alone isn’t a good idea—statistics show that homes represented by a licensed real estate professional sell for more, even considering the agent’s fee. But how can you know which agent has the highest probability of turning out to be “the best” for you?

The solution to this dilemma most commonly recommended by real estate commentators is this:

Interview at least three agents before choosing one of them.

That doesn’t sound so difficult (and it does sound smart)—so why doesn’t every home seller do it? Research tells us that 61% of sellers only ever contact one agent. The reasons most often cited are that 1) sellers can’t settle on the questions that will yield the best basis for evaluating the answers, or 2) they aren’t fond of being subjected to sales presentations (or having to evade requests for a commitment), or 3) they stop interviewing the first time they hit it off with a candidate.

Of the three reasons, the third is the one that has the surest chance of success. Assuming the process begins by interviewing only qualified, experienced South Bethany, DE agents, once a homeowner feels informed and comfortable chatting with the interviewee, there’s a strong likelihood that the team will do well. On the other hand, not knowing the exact questions to ask shouldn’t be necessary—the best agents will be adept at bringing up those issues themselves—and addressing them directly. Likewise, sales pressure shouldn’t be an issue: the best real estate agents understand when to sell and when not. Financial pundit Dave Ramsey is credited with this memorable quote about selecting an agent—wisdom worth repeating:

Look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Identifying and teaming with a local agent who’s likely to be best for you is a solid first step for selling your home. I hope you’ll give me a chance to discuss today’s market—and the ways we can go after the results you’re looking for. 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

 There was a sort of silly article last summer, “What You Can Do if Your Air Conditioner Breaks Before Selling Your House”—a title designed to ensure that South Bethany, DE readers who plan on selling their South Bethany, DE house will put everything on hold while they find out “what they can do” if their A/C goes AWOL.

A more recent article—also a must-read for home sellers with broken A/Cs—was titled, “Can You Sell A House with a Broken Air Conditioner?” The answer was ‘yes’—but with a resulting “severe impact” on the sale price. The author pointed out that “it is wiser and safer to get your A/C fixed” before listing it.

Both rate a solid “10” on the duh meter.

But both bring to mind some serious surveys. South Bethany, DE homeowners can find dozens of online lists showing the costs and probable Returns On Investment that various maintenance upgrades are likely to garner. For instance, a weather-beaten front door is one item that merits refinishing (or even total replacement) due to its prominence in setting the stage for successful showings. Less likely to pay for its cost is a “major kitchen remodel.” The National Association of Home Builders authored a study which showed that minor remodeling efforts—like replacing cabinet fronts with more stylish ones—are likely to return 25% more of their cost than do more comprehensive kitchen projects.

Nowhere in these lists do broken air conditioners—and what to do about them—make an appearance. Perhaps that’s due to the way seasonality can affect their value. In January, disclosure of a broken central air system could seem a lot less important than a roofing defect. But in July and August, a showing that turned out to coincide with one of South Bethany, DE’s heatwaves could be a very short (and disastrous) one.

I’m afraid that the more accurate answer to “can you sell a house with a broken air conditioner?” is probably, “not until winter!” And the answer to the original “what can you do?” question is, “Just fix it!”

Of course, the busted A/C issue is a simple one—but determining which of all the possible fixes and upgrades merit action is a lot more complicated. I bring my wide experience to assist clients with those and the many other choices that create a successful sale. 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 www.beachrealestatemarket.com

Last Thursday was the regular release date for ATTOM Data Solution’s quarterly Home Equity report. This year, ongoing events created the need for some additional commentary.

As the “curator of the nation’s premier property database,” ATTOM’s figures can be relied upon to gauge the nation’s residential real estate equity levels—South Bethany, DE homes included. This latest report covered 2020’s first quarter. It takes a while to collect and verify all the data—but last week, for optimists, the wait was worthwhile: the report card was a “rosy” one.

But, needless to say, a lot has changed since the end of March—hence the additional commentary.

 The report showed that about one in four homes in the U.S. qualified as “equity rich,” defined as a property with outstanding home loans totaling less than half of their estimated market value. When compared with the meager 6.6% of homes considered “seriously underwater” (those with loans totaling at least 25% more than their market value), the overall health of homeowners’ balance sheets looked strong.

But spokesman Todd Teta had to admit the obvious: this “rosy” first-quarter report needed “to be taken in the context of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.” In other words, at least in the immediate near term, the share of equity-rich homes could be expected to suffer—at least until business activity (and paychecks) return to more normal levels. That’s something not expected to happen until at least the end of the third quarter.

 All in all, looking for precise guidance on future conditions is even less fruitful than usual. As Norada commentator Marco Santarelli put it, “housing market predictions run the gamut from optimistic to pessimistic.” South Bethany, DE home sellers may continue to gain leverage due to low mortgage rates and tight inventories (both are expected to continue)—but with national economic factors in flux, housing market predictions are necessarily unreliable. For a concrete reading on the latest local South Bethany, DE real estate activity, 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 www.beachrealestatemarket.com