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Community Supported Agriculture - Coverdale Farm

by Tucker Robbins

Last Thursday a friend that is on vacation offered me his CSA half share. This is a program that you sign up for at a local farm and they provide 22 weeks of fresh vegetables for your enjoyment. Everything is "farm fresh" (literally) and you drive out to 543 Way Road once a week to pick up your allowance (either a full share or a half share).

I was blown away! I brought a bag (next week two) and met farmer Dan O'Brian for a very nice overview of the 352 acre farm. Dan only farms 7 acres of vegetables, but that was enough to supply me with an over abundance of fresh veggies - and it's only a half share!

We are now in possession of

1 bunch carrots                                  1 head broccoli

1 red boc choi                                     2 green boc choi

2 Kohlrabi                                           2 heads of lettuce

1 Bunch Turnips                                  1 Acorn Squash

1 head of cabbage

All the people there were helpful and delightful. They were even offering freshly made apple cider!

 

If you are interested, you have to join the Delaware Nature Society in order to sign up for either the $700 full share (intended for a family of four) or the $425 half share. Pick up days are either Tuesdays or Thursdays (your choice) from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.. Prices go up on January 1st. Each week of the 22 week program you will get approximately 6 - 10 seasonal produce items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips to Avoiding Haunting Situations When Buying A Home

by Tucker Robbins

It’s that time of year again, when little ones dress up and go out into the streets looking for tricks or treats.  Many older children as well as adults love to look for haunted houses to visit during this time of year as well.  While haunted real estateHalloween is all good and fun, no one wants to end up purchasing a home that gives them nightmares!  In this article we will look at a few tips on how to avoid haunting situations when buying a home.

  • Avoid buying a home in a bad neighborhood  by going to your prospective place of residence during the weekends.  On the weekends folks typically get outside and do yard work around their homes.  You may even be able to talk to some of  the folks who live there to see what they are like before you make a home purchase in that neighborhood.  It’s also a good idea to drop by on a Saturday night to see if there are any loud parties and such going on.
     
  • If the home you want to purchase is covered in siding, make sure to have it checked for any water issues so that you don’t end up being haunted by mold once you move in. 
     
  • Always have a thorough home inspection   before you purchase a home.  This way if there are problems that need to be dealt with, you might be able to negotiate with the sellers to get the issues fixed before you buy.
     
  • Whether or not your loan officer requires a water test, be sure to have one done before making an offer on a home.  You never know what may be in the water, especially if the home is in a rural area.  Don’t let hard water or water with worse issues haunt you…check to make sure it is safe and clean before you buy.
     
  • Ask your Realtor to see the latest insurance bills for the home you are looking into buying.  This way you will have an upfront idea of what you may be charged each month and you will be able to set your budget around it. If the home you are looking at is in an area with high flood rates you need to definitely make sure you have all of your bases covered so that you don’t end up with a bill that is going to haunt you each month.

Lastly, ask your Realtor as many questions as you possibly can so that you will feel comfortable enough to make an offer without any fears or doubts looming over you.

Information courtesy of Wilmington Delaware Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Photography in Real Estate Makes All the Difference

by Tucker Robbins

In today's market virtually 100% of the buyers are first introduced to a property via a photograph. Knowing that you never have a second chance to make a good first impression, you need that photograph to make that fabulous first impression. It is far too easy to use a smart phone or a point and shoot camera to take the photos, but that will not do justice to your home.

Professional grade photographic equipment is an absolute must here. Keep in mind that in the world of photography, one should spend more on the lenses than they will on the camera. For photographing homes you absolutely want a super wide angle lens. If the home sits on a hill, it is necessary to elevate the camera for that all important front picture. This is done using a pole (camera mounted on top with a remote shutter controller), bucket truck or ladder.

When a room includes a window with sunlight, exposure can be a problem. A technique called HDR (High Dynamic Range) can be the solution. Three photos are taken bracketing the exposure. One too light, one normal, and one too dark. HDR software will combine all three images to present a room that shows at it's best. While HDR techniques are quite controversial in professional photography circles, they work exceedingly well in real estate.

No matter what price range a home is in, photography can and will make a difference when it comes to attracting the perfect buyer.

 

 

 

Smart Money Magazine Recommends Retirement in New Castle, Delaware!

by Tucker Robbins

For the more than 36 million Americans who will turn 65 in the coming decade, the best cities and towns to retire in now have a much higher bar to clear: They can't just be great places -- they have to be affordable. Each week, SmartMoney.com tours a different state to find less-expensive alternatives to the most well-known golden year destinations.

wilmoington deTiny Delaware is often forgotten on lists of places to retire, but residents say many of its cities and towns offer many of the things retirees are looking for in a community, including beautiful beaches and relatively low taxes. Indeed, the state has no sales tax, Social Security benefits are tax-exempt, income tax rates max out at 6.95% and seniors can exempt $12,500 of investment and pension income from state taxes. Plus, it's located just a short drive from Philadelphia, and just a couple of hours from Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York. Delaware residents enjoy a high quality of life, especially in the beach towns, says Thomas McGlone, the managing partner at Heirloom Wealth Advisors in Lewes.

That said, retirement pros recommend that seniors looking to relocate to The First State (it was first of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution) pick their spots. Residents point out that the medical services in many towns across the state haven't kept up with the growing number of older Americans moving there. Travel can be an issue too: you may have to drive to Philly, D.C. or New York to get a direct, international flight, says McGlone.

On top of that, the state's cost of living is about 14% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling's Best Places. Some of the more popular retirement towns like Rehoboth Beach, with its many boutiques, boardwalk and restaurants, are even pricier. The median home costs $650,800 and the cost of living is 81% higher than the national average.

But for retirees, there are cheaper alternatives than Rehoboth. Here are three places advisers say to consider.

New Castle: For the history buff

By the numbers

  • Population: 4,830
  • Median home cost: $210,300
  • Cost of living: 11.1% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 8.1%

This historic town, with its cobblestone streets and historic homes, draws comparisons to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. It's home to five museums, including the Old Library Museum, which houses thousands of classic books, and the Velocipede Museum, which displays vintage bikes, tricycles and related memorabilia. "A lot of people in the older generation work or volunteer at the museums," says mayor Donald A. Reese. About 15 blocks in New Castle are designated a "National Historic Landmark Area" so all home renovations and restorations must be carefully supervised -- one of the reasons this town has retained its historic charm so well. Plus, "it's a very friendly and warm town where everyone knows each other," says Reese.

Retirees looking for more action may be disappointed: Restaurant and shopping options are pretty limited, though residents point out that it's only a 15-minute drive to nearby Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware.

Bethany Beach: For the beach bum

By the numbers

  • Population: 1,236
  • Median home cost: $431,900
  • Cost of living: 46.4% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 8.7%

This community isn't exactly a bargain, but it's still less expensive than its coastal neighbors Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, according to Sperling's Best Places. Nicknamed one of the "the quiet resorts," (along with Fenwick Island), Bethany Beach prides itself on its ability to take life down a notch or two on the intensity scale -- a quality that certainly appeals to many a retiree, says Carrie Subity, the Executive Director of the Bethany Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, the clean beaches are a major draw, but so is the "ecofriendly" lifestyle. One major downside of a beach town is that some of the local businesses shut down in the winter. That said, "with the miles of bike friendly roads, walking trails, great kayaking and tons of other outdoor activities where one can experience the beautiful scenery and wildlife, it is a great place for anyone to spend their retirement," says Carrie Subity, the Executive Director of the Bethany Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. The quaint boardwalk and downtown area, which is lined with restaurants and shops, are another big perk, she adds.

Newark: For the young at heart

By the numbers

  • Population: 29,931
  • Median home cost: $269,600
  • Cost of living: 20.5% higher than average
  • Unemployment: 6.4%

Retirees pick Newark, home to the University of Delaware, for "the college town experience" says Dana Johnston, the community affairs officer for the city. The university helps bring in "good theater, college sports, lots of entertainment programs and adds to an already vibrant downtown," she says. In the downtown alone (which is walkable), residents have their pick of 30 to 40 restaurants, she says, as well as a variety of shops. One warning, say residents: The town can get a little rowdy when school's in session.

The town also has a lot of outdoor activities. There are bike-friendly areas like the James F. Hall trail and the Pomeroy Newark Rail Trail, which is under construction and scheduled to open this year and runs through downtown. In addition to the city's fifteen miles of trails and thirty three parks totaling over 650 acres of parkland, there are roughly 12,000 acres of parkland surrounding the city, which offer walking, biking and birdwatching opportunities. Newark is right off Interstate 95, so it's an easy trek to New York City and Washington D.C., and there's a train stop in town that can easily whisk one away to both places in less than two hours. And there are eight 55 and over communities here and two major hospitals within 5 to 10 miles of town, adds Johnston.

The information above was reprinted from SmartMoney.com.

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Report - August 2014

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County Delaware Real Estate Market Report for August 2014.

new castle county de

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)