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New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch for February 2016

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE new listings declined 5.95% in February 2016 with 601 homes for sale compared to 639 in February 2015. The average sales price rose 2.11% in February to $223,952 from $219,325 in February 2015.

new castle real estate

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Selling With Pets? Read On...

by Tucker Robbins


We have all been inside of friends and families homes that have pets and we all know just how smelly pets can make a home no matter how clean you keep your pets.  In fact, most homes these days have at least one pet in them.  If you are trying to sell your home having a pet may make it harder to do so.  Let’s take a look at a few ways pets make things harder on someone who is trying to sell their home.

  • You may have your home staged to the max but if you have a pet inside it is likely that the odor will be noticed by folks who come to take a tour of your home.  You may think that if you give your pet a bath daily there will be no odor, think again.  Pets have an odor that is all their own and it is easily noticed by the human nose. 
  • Cats tend to make the most smell when it comes to having animals inside of your home because they do their business inside, in the litter box.  It is important to take litter boxes outside when showing a home so that the smell may be somewhat masked at least. 
  • Pets that shed are ones that may cause an issue when someone comes to tour your home because there is absolutely no way you can get rid of all of the hair inside of your home.  If you need to have a pet, perhaps opting for one that doesn’t shed such as a poodle is a better option for you.  You can run a lint brush over all of your furniture before a showing but as I said there is basically no way to get rid of all of the hair.
  • An air purifier may be a good idea to invest in if you have pets and you are about to start showing your house.  These types of machines go a long way to helping take the pet smell out of your home. 

Don’t worry, if you want to sell your home and you have pets you don’t have to get rid of your pets just be diligent and do your part to make sure those who tour your home have no idea you have animals living inside.  Once they finish the tour you can go back to normal life until the next showing and then you will repeat the entire cleaning process over again.  Another thing you can do if you have pets and you are trying to sell your home is to look up some tips and ideas online of how to make your home show better and therefore sell faster. 

Courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Don't Let Your Dream Home Slip Through Your Fingers

by Tucker Robbins

dream home

Perhaps you have been searching for your dream home and you have already found the one you really want but before you get a chance to do anything about it you drive by and notice it is ‘under contract’ or ‘pending’.  If this happens to you, don’t give up on your dreams there are things that you can do to make things go in your favor.  Below are a few ideas for you to try if you find that your dream home is about to slip through your fingers.

  • First of all if you find that the home you have your eye on is ‘under contract’ you need to know that you shouldn’t give up.  Under contract doesn’t mean that the sale has taken place it only means that an offer has been made but that it hasn’t closed yet.   There is still a good chance that the home may come back on the market again especially if the buyer cannot come up with the funds needed through financing.  Another reason a sale pending may fall through is if the inspection doesn’t work out.
  • Talk to your Realtor and let she or he know that you are interested in the house that is under contract.  Many times seller’s agents will continue to show a home until the last minute.  They do so because they may be hoping for a better offer than they currently have.  They also do this so that if the funding falls through for the current bidder they will have someone else in line to make an offer quickly afterwards. 
  • If you REALLY want this house and you don’t want it to slip through your fingers you can always make a higher bid than is currently in play.   If you can afford to do this, it can be an easy way to make things go in your favor. 
  • Sending a handwritten note to the seller is a great way to let them know just how serious you are about purchasing their home.  Hand written letters are pretty much a thing of the past these days and a handwritten note may make all the difference in the seller’s decision. 

Some of these tips for snatching your dream home  out of ‘under contract’ or ‘pending’ status are pretty unconventional but if you really want the home to be your own you may be willing to do whatever it may take. In the end if you don’t end up getting the home, there is another one out there that is better for you and your family. 

Courtesy of Wilmington DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

5 Tips To Protect Your Identity and Celebrate Refund Season

by Tucker Robbins

tax refund

Tax refund season is here and there's a lot to celebrate. This tax season, while consumers are eagerly awaiting their refund, tax preparation companies, tax officials and the IRS are working together to combat one of the fastest growing threats for tax season 2016 - tax identity fraud.

Based on IRS data, nearly 3 million people have been victims of tax identity theft since 2010. Every year, criminals use increasingly advanced tactics - particularly geared toward taxpayers filing online - to steal taxpayers' personal information, file fraudulent tax returns in their names and steal their refunds. After fraud occurs, it can take months and multiple steps by the victim to access a stolen refund and regain an identity with the IRS.

Protect your identity - and your refund - with these five tax tips from H&R Block:

 1. File early and be cautious. Filing your taxes early will allow you to claim your refund before a criminal can. Before you file, protect your personal information by installing a security software with anti-virus and firewall protections.

 2. Keep your paper records safe. Shred records you are no longer using and keep your social security card and any sensitive documents under lock and key.

 3. Do not respond to individuals posing as a tax agency. The IRS does not demand immediate payment without sending a bill in the mail first. If you receive a phone call or an email with an external link, do not click on the link or share personal or financial information unless you personally know the person on the other end.

4. Change your password. The 2015 tax season saw a significant increase of tax fraud in the do-it-yourself (DIY) space. When using at-home tax software create a strong password with capitalization, numbers, and symbols or avoid the risk by visiting a tax preparer.

 5. Use tax identity protection services. Visit the IRS website to learn more about how to protect your identity.

This tax season, take away the stress and put the "fun" back in "refund" by filing early. (BPT)

home buyers

In a relationship, you count on your significant other to be there with you through the good and the bad. They are your best friend, your confident and your closest ally. And you count on being able to have important conversations with them as well.

One of those important conversations every couple should have focuses on money and each person's respective financial goals, especially if you are planning to purchase a home. However, 33 percent of married or partnered adults have difficulty discussing money with their significant other, according to a Wells Fargo survey. "I think money is one of those topics most couples put off discussing because it can be sensitive," says Arlene Maloney, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. "However, if you don't discuss money before entering into a major credit purchase, like homeownership, you open yourself up for potential problems down the road."

Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments most people make in their lifetime. When two people decide to achieve the goal of homeownership together, it's important to understand not only your own finances and credit profile but your partner's finances and goals as well.

To help you broach this conversation with your partner, here are some things you should discuss before you move forward:

Where you will live and what you want to purchase.

Do you want to live in the city or the suburbs? Are you set on a single-family home or a condo? Do you want to build your home or purchase an established property? Having answers to these questions will help you speak to a lender and learn more about how the type of home you choose may affect loan approval requirements or what options exist if you want to build your home. You'll also learn if any bond or down payment assistance programs may be offered in the municipalities you are considering.

Your partner's credit score.

Lenders use customers' credit profiles to help determine your ability to repay a loan. When purchasing a home with someone else, both of your credit scores are considered. In most cases the lowest middle score between the two of you will be used. If you or your significant other has a very low score this may not only impact the loan amount you receive but also the interest rate. It may even prevent approval. If one of the credit scores is very low, you might discuss only one person applying for the mortgage loan and owning the house in his/her name.

Have an honest conversation about debt.

An important factor that lenders evaluate is your debt-to-income ratio. This varies by mortgage program but a good rule of thumb is to ensure your debt level is at or below 36 percent of your gross monthly income. Having an overabundance of debt could impact the amount of the loan or whether you receive mortgage approval.

How much money can you put toward the purchase?

It isn't necessary for you to put 20 percent down but most loan options require some sort of down payment. In many cases lower down payment options require mortgage insurance, which will increase your monthly payment.

Will one or both of you be on the note?

If purchasing a home with someone else, each of you must qualify in order to be on the note, and both of you are responsible for the debt. If only one person is on the note, the other may not engage in any transactions regarding the loan, including refinancing, or application for modification. You should also consult your state's attorney general's office to see if any community property laws exist in your state. Such laws could make a spouse legally responsible for any debt acquired by the other spouse after marriage. If such a law exists in your state, it's important you are aware of it.

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and, for many people, a sign of success. But while you may want to rush out and start the shopping process now, take your time. Having a conversation with your significant other about the topics above beforehand will ensure you're both on the same page and set you up to make the most of your future and the home it includes. (BPT)

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch for January 2016

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE new listings declined 9.25% in January 2016 with 559 homes for sale compared to 616 in January 2015. The average sales price rose 6.73% in January to $236,667 from $222,745 in January 2015.

new castle county real estate

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Making Your New House a Home

by Tucker Robbins

people in house

Congratulations! You’ve survived the process of leaving one home and finding another and the onus of packing everything up and then unpacking the same boxes.  You’ve found a new bank and a new doctor; you’ve investigated trash pick-up times, licensing requirements, and car registration; and your mail is being forwarded on a regular basis.  So far so good, but now that you’re somewhat settled in your home, it’s time to become familiar with your new environment.

The following tips are designed to help you become part of your new community and re-create the sense of belonging you had in your previous location.

  • Go online to learn about the new area and what it has to offer. Look at the city or chamber of commerce website. Research religious facilities, cultural opportunities, parks and outdoor activities, and so much more!
  • Acquire a regional map and drive around. Explore shortcuts and pinpoint the location of shopping malls, medical services, libraries, the post office, city offices, etc.
  • Talk to neighbors. Ask advice about home maintenance companies, babysitters, doctors, or the civic league or homeowners’ organization association.
  • Take a walking tour of your neighborhood. Introduce yourself to and initiate conversations with neighbors who are outside. Compliment their yard or ask directions, for starters.
  • Attend garage/yard sales in the vicinity of your home. Shoppers at these events are generally friendly and gregarious, so talk to them.
  • Read the local newspaper to discover places of interest and happenings in the area. Look for clubs or group meetings that focus on your interests--art, gardening, books, sports, crafts, e.g.
  • Join a recreation center or gym. Attend classes there or work out with a group that you know will share your interests.
  • Volunteer. Check with a church or synagogue, a hospital, library, or school near you. Volunteering is a terrific way to meet people and to make you feel an integral part of the community.
  • Give a house warming party and invite all your neighbors. Such an occasion is a good reason to finish unpacking and decorating your new home and a wonderful way to make friends..

Before long you will become familiar with your new environment and be comfortable there. Best of all, you’ll “belong” once again! 

Courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Contact Information

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