Lewes home owners don’t have to live in the kind of January landscape that features blizzards and snowdrifts to want to winterize their home before the onslaught of the chilliest temperatures. In even the mellowest of climates, winterization is a way to shrink energy bills. And even if the recent shocking downward spirals in world oil prices have sent your home heating costs to the bottom of your budget-tightening "to do" list, remember that if and when you eventually put your Sussex County home on the market, low utility expenses can be a strong selling point. Regardless of how you set your internal thermostat, theBig Three of energy cost reduction always include the following:

Raise the Air Temp; Lower the Water Temp

Two tips that could seem counterproductive will cut energy costs in many an Sussex County home. You’d think you should just switch ceiling fans off until spring, but not so. For cooling, the blades are set to spin counterclockwise so that cool air won’t be wasted down near the floor. The tip is to reverse the fan’s rotation to clockwise. That will act to push warmer air down from the ceiling. Wait until the blades come to a stop, then slide the small direction switch (it’s usually next to the pull cord). The second tip is actually one you can do any time of the year since hot water heaters are usually set to heat to 140 degrees. In truth, most of us don’t need it that hot. Try resetting the temperature to 120 degrees, and see if it’s sufficient. If so, in the course of a year you’ll save more than a few dollars!

Block Air Creep

For a few dollars, a tube of caulk can be a final defense against the creep of cold outside air. Use caulk to seal cracks in the walls and gaps around your windows and doors. In extremes, there are inexpensive extra measures, such as see-through plastic sheets to cover windows with a second seal (doing both would keep the most remote Siberian cabin as buttoned-up as a baby kangaroo). If a drafty door will have to wait until spring for full renewal, an interim trick is to roll up a bath towel and place it against the threshold. This temporary fix keeps out the worst drafts and doesn’t cost a dime.

Take Care of Your Air Conditioner

If you have water-served central air, during the colder months when it’s out of service, good maintenance requires draining the water hoses. Split air conditioners don’t have that issue, but some of them need an exterior cover for preventing drafts (if you haven’t felt any on chilly evenings, it’s not necessary). If you haven’t already removed any window units, better go to the hardware store to buy exterior covers: a lot of chilly air can make its way in through uncovered vents.

The Big Three tips alone comprise a Sussex County home winterization program that costs less than a burger and fries—yet can result in measurable energy savings. If you have found any other simple energy savers, I hope you’ll share: drop me an email, or give me a call at the office!

By virtue of their purchasing experience, homeowners have necessarily become familiar with the basics of real estate. A Bethany Beach homeowner may not consider her- or himself an expert in the matter, but history does allow them all to share a degree of confidence in real estate markets and the factors that are important when it’s time to make a buy or sell decision.

Real estate is real estate, after all — whether it’s here in Bethany Beachor anywhere else, right? Not exactly, commercial real estate is a horse of a different feather!

If you are thinking about buying commercially for the first time, understanding not only that there are differences from the residential market, but how those influence the other buyers and sellers (they make up the ‘market,’ after all) will be good preparation when the time arrives to put together a solid offer.

From a purely ease-of process perspective, buying a piece of commercial real estate in Bethany Beach is substantially more involved than buying a typical residential property. Though not always so, there are more opportunities for extra complications: lien and title issues, rules about hazardous materials, and zoning considerations are just some.

The language used in real estate documents for commercial properties can be complicated and obscure, so of course it’s especially useful to coordinate with an experienced Delaware commercial real estate agent.

Due to lending costs, a commercial property that is the same size as a residential one will usually be more expensive. You can still buy residential homes in the 3.5% range via an FHA loan, but banks are often (rightfully!) stringent about lending on commercial real estate purchases. Expect stricter qualifications and more money down. That’s due to the risk of doing business: the potential to make money with a commercial property is greater than with a residential property — but the risks associated with owning it are also higher. Needless to say, it’s valuable to keep those risks in mind when evaluating any commercial real estate purchase.

If you are business-minded and thinking about the advantages of owning instead of leasing, give me a call! I’ll be standing by to discuss some standout opportunities in this year’s market!

If you’re looking for a superior deal on a new home, you may find that a Sussex County bank-owned home is a serious contender. Today’s real estate market includes a variety of foreclosed homes, some of which can be had at prices well below baseline levels.

Adding to the activity in that sector is the virtual disappearance of any degree of the stigma formerly attached to the bank-owned home market. By May of 2012, Realtor Magazine was already reporting how the rise in distressed inventories had brought about an increased appetite for the sector: “Nearly 65% of buyers say they’re likely to buy a foreclosure today compared to 25% who said that in October 2009.” And 92% of those surveyed were interested in a bank-owned home as their primary residence, rather than as an investment vehicle.

If you think a Sussex County bank-owned home could be a serious contender for your attention, you should be aware of how to best prepare for the opportunities to be had among them.

 Get Pre-Qualified

Pre-qualification not only speeds up the purchase of a Sussex County bank-owned home, it also produces a concrete range for your home-buying budget. Some banks charge a fee for the credit-checking procedure, while others simply build that into the bottom line.

Beware Potential Property Issues

The biggest issue facing the buyer of a foreclosed home is the potential for damage to the property. If it’s been vacant for some time, issues tied to improper weatherization or pest infestation can have resulted. A bank-owned home is typically sold as-is — so ordering a thorough, professional home inspection is an absolute must. 

Be Patient!

Buying a bank-owned home in Millsboro can precede on a different timetable than does a regular home buy, so be prepared to be patient. It’s also particularly helpful to have a buyer’s agent on your team to help answer questions as they arise.

If you are in the market for a new home in 2015 whether it is a bank-owned home or not — I’m here to advise my clients from beginning to end. Getting started is just a phone call away!

Congrats! Your offer has been accepted and you are officially in escrow. Now what?  Usually the first order of business is to arrange your Sussex County home inspection. When you were house hunting, you were weighing so many factors it was next to impossible to thoroughly examination of every nook and corner of every one of the serious contenders…in fact, it wasn’t necessary. But now that you’re moving forward to a purchase, you want to do more than kick the tires. It’s time to get under the hood!

Here is a taste of just some of the areas you and your inspector will be examining during your Sussex County home inspection:

Plumbing

You will be taking a close look at the tiles around the handles on the bath tub or shower. If they are a different color, it could indicate a plumbing problem. A look under the kitchen sink for stains beneath the pipes can also indicate leaks—something you’ll want to know more about from the seller.

Mold

HGTV’s home inspector Rick Yerger lists water as enemy #1. "Of the many homes I have inspected," he says, "water damage to the structure has been the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold."  He recommends close examination of exterior grade for sloping (or draining) back toward the home; stucco issues where they’re applicable, and roofing materials.

Inspect the Yard

If there is a yard on the property, take the time to do a thorough walkover. Look at the condition of the shrubs, grass and flowers. Check the irrigation, the lighting. You should also look closely at the fencing and gating: they can be expensive to repair.

Electricity

Exposed wires can result in a house fire or other devastating damage. Open splice wire (where wire is conjoined using only electrical tape and/or wire connectors) is a common do-it-yourself mistake often seen in attics, garages, and crawlspaces. Any issues found with the wiring should be corrected ASAP.

These are only a few of the many areas your Sussex County home inspection will cover, so when you are scheduling the day, don’t make other appointments that might rush the process. Of course you hope that everything will be found to be flawless, and if only minor problems are uncovered, the seller may simply volunteer to correct them. But if the home inspection reveals that a significant amount of work will have to be done to bring it up to an acceptable standard, you and your agent will probably be submitting additional terms reflecting the requirements. As always, if you’re looking for that agent—the one you will want by your side throughout the entire home-buying process—I hope you’ll give me the call!