The topic of preventive maintenance seems particularly timely, given last week’s record-breaking polar vortex and the many tales of household plumbing disasters it spawned.

The best Rehoboth Beach, DE real estate agents do more than just represent their selling clients in the marketing, negotiation, and documentation of their homes’ sale—they also roll up their sleeves to make the entire process less anxiety-producing. One of the ways the best Rehoboth Beach, DE real estate agents keep the process on an even keel is to offer advice on heading off surprises—especially the havoc that a maintenance breakdown can cause when showings are imminent.

There are several areas that Rehoboth Beach, DE households can be threatened by—and you don’t have to have your house on the market to benefit from preventing them. Last month, the National Association of Realtors pointed out a batch of home maintenance areas that need attention—and four of them, if neglected, could cause major headaches:

·         Water heater spill. Water heaters can suddenly cease to function—or even flood an area if corrosion is rampant. The preventive measure many Rehoboth Beach, DE homeowners aren’t even aware of is to “flush” it. Just turn off the power or gas to the heater, open a hot water tap elsewhere for a few minutes to lower the temperature in the heater, then put a bucket under the water heaters drain valve and drain until no sandy stuff is in it. Be careful—the water might still be hot.

·         Test for leaks. Since even slow leaks can cause major damage behind walls, it's worthwhile to be sure none are going on. Read your water meter, don’t use any water for four hours, then take another reading. If the readout has changed, you’ve got a leak.

·         Wash the clothes dryer’s lint screen. Additives from fabric softener and dryer sheets can gum it up. To remove any grease and oil, simply soak the screen in hot water and dishwashing detergent. You’ll save on your energy bill—and might even prevent dangerous overheating.

·         Refrigerator mold. The drip pan below your refrigerator can breed disgusting mold if it’s left unchecked. Remove the kick panel, trace the defrost drain line that runs down to it, and be sure it’s not clogged (if it is, you may be able to clear it with a wire coat hanger). Be gentle when you pull out the drip pan—too often, it’s full!

But the best Rehoboth Beach, DE real estate agents make it part of our service to bring our experience to bear in heading off the kind of household maintenance “surprises” that can push a homeowner’s stress level through the roof—double when your home is up for sale. To keep surprises at a minimum, give me a 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

 Downsizing has gotten a lot of attention as Baby Boomers—many of whom have become empty-nesters—discover that they don’t need the space, expense, and elbow grease required to keep up the family property. But there is a counter-trend that could well explain the popularity (and desirability) of many big ol’ Rehoboth Beach, DE homes. It’s a multigenerational thing.

It was to be expected that multigenerational family households became more numerous following the Great Recession. After all, when jobs became scarce, incomes stagnated, and foreclosure rates skyrocketed, the idea of moving back home with mom and dad became a practical necessity for many Rehoboth Beach, DE families.

Enter the term “multigenerational family living.” It’s defined as the inclusion of two or more adult generations—or including grandparents and grandchildren under 25 years of age—in a single residence. That lifestyle choice had been steadily declining from 21% in 1950 to 12% thirty years later. But beginning in 1980, that trend reversed—sharply so, during the economic turmoil of 2007-2009. Although that rapid increase has since slowed, today it is still on the rise.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 51.5 million Americans lived in multigenerational households in 2009 (that’s 17% of the entire population). Compare that with the latest count from Pew Research, which registered 60.6 million (19%) in 2014.

Pew explains part of the trend as a cultural phenomenon stemming from the growing diversity of the U.S. population. Cultural preferences among some Asian and Hispanic groups—as well as with some foreign-born Americans—tilt toward multigenerational living. But in recent years, young adults make up the age group “most likely” to add to the trend. Previously, the elderly had led the way, but by 2014, for young adults aged 18 through 34, living with parents surpassed other living arrangements for the first time ever.

What this means for Rehoboth Beach, DE home sellers is simply that there is a measurable counter-trend to the more widely publicized downsizing phenomenon. Whether your own residence is right-sized for multiple generations or single ones, there are buyers out there eager to take a look tour. 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

Unless you are among those who are currently focused on the search for a new Rehoboth Beach, DE house, this week’s Halloween celebration has probably captured a goodly bit of your attention. As Halloween night draws near, most other Rehoboth Beach, DE residents find themselves preparing kids’ costumes, carving suitably horrifying jack o lanterns, stocking up on goodies for the onslaught of the costumed throngs, or, alternatively, making plans for going dark convincingly enough to avoid the wrath of the trick-or-treaters. But actively engaged house hunters can be forgiven if they’ve been preoccupied with their more urgent real estate pursuit.

That doesn’t seem fair, so in order to preserve the spirit of Halloween week for house buyers, here is a theme-appropriate tale with half a dozen shriek-producing plot twist endings:

(Turn down the lights).

Imagine an innocent couple—after an uneventful series of house showings, they finally find the home of their dreams! They apply for the home loan; all they have to do is await approval…

It’s a dark and stormy night. Now the phone rings! It’s the bank; the phone is on speaker as we hear the bone-chilling voice that says:   

1.      “Is it true that you just changed jobs two weeks ago?”

2.      “Soooo, last Tuesday you decided to buy a bunch of furniture for the new house—on credit?”

3.      “That big one-time deposit into your bank account. It came from…where, exactly?”

4.      “Looks like you forget to list that personal loan balance of $12,315?”

5.       “I see you bought a very nice car last week. Very. Nice.”

6.      “Eight credit inquiries in the past two months? Really—eight?”

 Credit missteps like these can turn into trap doors on the path to owning a home. But such scary Halloween plot twists will just be make-believe—especially for Rehoboth Beach, DE house buyers who have the benefit of teaming up with a licensed Rehoboth Beach, DE real estate professional. Whether buying or selling, I hope you’ll give me a call—the earlier, the better!   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

Inflation has been barely noticeable for quite a while, but as Rehoboth Beach, DE shoppers have begun to notice how it’s been creeping up lately. For Rehoboth Beach, DE landlords, that triggers a subject that directly impacts the profitability of their real estate investment.

Managing rent increases properly—and communicating them in a manner calculated to preserve your tenants’ goodwill—is a subject estate author Kevin Ortner writes about in Realtor Magazine. A few of his insights:

·         Raise rents on a regular schedule—usually, this will come at each lease renewal period (or when the agreement specifies)—but for month-to-month situations, once a year is recommended. Small increments on an annual basis are more predictable (and agreeable) than “catch up” raises scheduled less frequently.

·         Be competitive. The “sweet spot” you are looking for is the best price you can get for your rental—which is also actually “how much tenants are willing to pay.” That’s subject to compliance with Rehoboth Beach, DE and local laws in accordance with the terms of your lease. Research by starting with a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual calculation of Shelter Cost Changes—most recently, 3.4% at the end of August. The national trends are good to know but are not as significant as the more important data: the rates similar Rehoboth Beach, DE rentals are currently advertising.

·         Give extra notice. You’re required to abide by the law and your lease, but when you give tenants more time, it makes any raise less burdensome. If the raise is competitive, tenants will have ample time to shop around and see that it’s reasonable.

·         Work to keep good tenants happy. The most successful landlords frequently take their best tenants’ situations into consideration. If you decide to cut them some slack as a way of cultivating the relationship, you might even do what Ortner suggests: “show them what the rent increase was going to be”—but with that number crossed out and a smaller one in its place. You should also have determined the operating cost rises behind the rent increase, and be willing to share those facts.

The Ortner prescriptions are aimed at maximizing profitability by keeping rent increases rational—and tenant-landlord communications open. If you have ever considered the investment potential of becoming a landlord yourself, right now is a terrific time to investigate the opportunities our Rehoboth Beach, DE market is offering. Give me a call—I’ll show you what I mean! 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