Some folks live for our Sussex County winters. For them, the brisk air is a tonic; longer night times are invitations to enjoy the warmth and cheer of fireside camaraderie; the prospect of winter sports is something they look forward to all year long. For everyone else it may be more of a drag—particularly when a succession of storms seem to conspire to make their lives miserable.

It can also be a tough time to sell a Sussex County house—but only if you allow it to be! Winter does tend to make most Sussex County houses look drab and barren; and, in general, potential buyers tend to be scarce for a number of reasons. But those who are in the wintertime hunt are apt to be quite serious, so it’s worth remembering that sales can be kindled on even the bleakest February day—especially for owners who keep in mind some simple guidelines:

1. Create your own warmth

Whether it’s turning up the thermostat, lighting a crackling fire, or arranging for that batch of chocolate chip cookies to have just emerged from the oven, thinking cozy is the antidote to gloomy days. The object is to make the entrance from the cheerless outdoors a passage into a welcoming environment brimming with welcoming ambiance. To sell a house in foul weather, make the contrast with the outdoors as stark as possible!

2. Light their way

To compensate for the dimmer sunlight on some winter days, dispel the gloom by turning on all the lights: lamps, overheads, chandeliers—any and everything to brighten the place. To sell an Sussex County house (especially in later afternoon showings), be certain to open shades and curtains, too.

3. Have summertime pictures on hand

Be sure to lay out a picture or two of the property in more attractive months. While potential buyers may not be able to see the home when the sun is shining, a picture can help them envision what the house is like during most of the year.

4. Plus—the regular drill!

And don’t forget the basics: carefully tidied, sparklingly polished, spotlessly cleaned, etc. It may be a little bit more of a chore to disperse the clutter (it does seem to multiply when you’ve been cooped up for days!), but it’s every bit as important as ever. Aromas are important anytime you sell a house, so obliterate stuffy winter air with strategically placed potpourri and candles.

The fact is, when it’s properly priced, you can sell a house in Sussex County at any time of the year. To get the ball rolling, I hope you will make my number the first one you call!

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!