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Flipping Houses - Not As Easy As You May Think!

by Tucker Robbins

If you watch home-and-garden cable channels, it looks like everyone is flipping houses. i.e. buying a piece of real estate, making minor repairs, and quickly selling it at a substantially higher price.  Basic investing 101: Buy low, sell high.

fliping housesCertainly sounds appealing--and you may be tempted to join the ranks of those who have been successful in this field.  Be forewarned, however, that like most money-making endeavors, real estate flipping requires time, money, patience and skill.

For tips on how to begin, steps to follow, and advice on how to avoid pitfalls, read on…

Do your research and be knowledgeable well in advance:

  • Talk to (and learn from) successful flippers, read up on the subject, follow real estate deals in the newspaper, use the Internet as a teaching resource, attend open houses and auctions.
     
  • Identify possible house locations, size, and style.  Educate yourself on how to recognize promising properties and how to spot a lemon.
     
  • Familiarize yourself with current prices, taxes, utility rates, HOA fees, municipal and restrictions in each area you are considering.   Study your market. Get to know it as well as you possibly can. Understand the trends, the kinds of houses, the neighborhoods, the streets.
     
  • Visit the potential homes and neighborhoods in person.  Talk to residents, Realtors, and repair companies who are familiar with the area.

Set up a budget, a time line, and financing:

  • Figure out how much money you have (or can put your hands on using investors) without borrowing.
     
  • Calculate the cost of repairs, taxes, utilities, materials, contractor/labor expenses, and the like.  Professional contractors advise flippers to add an extra 10% to their repair estimate.  Also, to be on the safe side, make sure that you’ll be able to hold on to the home as a rental property for a while, if need be.
     
  • Experts suggest factoring in the flip time into your budget and your potential profit before you purchase the home. According to investors, a successful flip is one that makes you around a 15% profit.

Be prepared:

  • When you find the right house, you must act quickly to buy it.
     
  • Have appraisers, agents, contractors, skilled laborers lined up so they can start work immediately upon your purchase.  Remember, in flipping, time is money!
     
  • Be ready to make quick decisions, devote a great deal of time (and possibly sweat equity) to this project, and face unexpected expenses.

Two major caveats:  Be patient and don’t get greedy!

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

New Castle County Real Estate Market Watch for April 2015

by Tucker Robbins

new castle county real estate


Curious about your home's current value? Get an instant market valuation here!

Information courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Does Your Foyer Say 'Welcome'

by Tucker Robbins

Most sellers have been advised to be aware of the importance of curb appeal in heightening the interest of potential buyers.  To that end, they keep the lawn mowed and bushes trimmed.  They also adorn the outside entrance way foyerwith colorful potted flowers, updated light fixtures and hardware, and a freshly-painted door—all invitations to potential buyers to go inside.

An effective selling strategy, of course, but the invitations and positive impressions need to continue when prospective buyers actually come into your home.  Be it large, small, or cleverly created, the interior entryway to your house serves as the transition from outdoors to indoors and can set the tone and expectations for the rest of the home.

Some tips to creating a welcoming and attractive foyer or hallway include the following:

  • Use one piece of size-appropriate furniture to anchor the space (and possibly provide room for storage).  Think desk, chest, bookcase, etagere, bench, or comfortable chair, e.g.  Consider function as well as appearance.
     
  • Stress neatness.  Not only does an entryway set the tone of a home, but it can also keep the rest of your home tidy.  Attaching attractive hooks or other hardware to the wall next to the doorway can be an excellent place to hang coats, purses, bags, and keys.  A coat rack and umbrella stand can also be useful items.
     
  • Utilize color to introduce the style of your home and/or to make a statement.  Some designers recommend using bright (red) or dark (chocolate brown) hues to mask the dimensions of a small space.  Others favor neutral shades such as grey, ecru, or white to make the furnishings the central focus.  Still others promote the use of yellow to add light or shades of green to bring the outside in.
     
  • Be aware of lighting and size proportion.  Include a table lamp or sconces—even a chandelier if the area warrants it.  The addition of a mirror helps to reflect light and expand the space.
     
  • Utilize accessories tastefully.   Add a colorful area rug, a favorite painting or poster, and plants, perhaps even a ficus or palm tree if space permits. Display a few pieces from one of your collections.  Include a variety of textures, shapes, and colors in your selections.  Remember that fresh flowers, in addition to pleasantly scenting the foyer, always send a welcoming message.to would-be buyers of your home.

Information courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

The Impact of Divorce on Your Real Estate

by Tucker Robbins

If you are considering a divorce or are currently going though one, it is important that you learn as much as you can about divorce laws and how they can impact your real estate holdings.  To learn about those laws in Delaware, click here.

divorceAlthough a divorce eventually involves the distribution of all of a couple’s assets, generally the most pressing issue (other than child custody) is the division of your real estate. To make this potentially complicated and emotion-laden process work as smoothly and civilly as possible,  consider the following suggestions to help combat volatile issues and strong feelings:

  • Consult with your divorce attorney.  A well-crafted settlement agreement can help to avoid many types of disputes. The agreement should be quite detailed, including all potential issues that could arise during the sales process.  The agreement should ensure that the interests of both parties are aligned towards selling your real estate so that you both can move on with your lives.  Have the property sold or refinanced into one name, while all of the other details of the divorce are being negotiated.  Even if your divorce decree assigns possession of those assets to one party, or if one of you voluntarily transfers title to the other, the liability for the loan will remain for both if you do not sell or refinance the asset.
     
  • Find a real estate agent who specializes in selling property for divorcing couples.  With divorce rates continuing to rise, many Realtors are beginning to market themselves as specialists in selling homes for couples who are divorcing.  These agents understand the complexities of a pending divorce case and will work with you on an individual basis.

Before you can decide how your real estate is to be divided, you must first determine its value.  If both parties are unable to agree on the current market value, there are several valuation methods that can be used, including current tax assessed value, request for a new appraisal, or an evaluation by a Realtor.  Determining equity in order to equitably divide assets is a complex process which can become quite complicated.  For more information about this topic, click here.

Information courtesy of Tucker Robbins, Wilmington DE Realtor.

6 Foolproof Ways to Make Your Summer Move Easier

by Tucker Robbins

Each year around 65% of all household moves take place between May and September, so obviously you need to plan ahead if you’re moving to a new home this summer.

While the act of relocating to a new place can certainly be exciting, there are, of course, challenges to be met, especially during a hot, busy summer season.  Although there are no foolproof ways to make the experience totally stress-free, there are, thankfully, actions you can take to make your “adventure” a more positive one.

movingSage advice to heed includes:

  • Plan ahead!  Contact moving companies or truck rental firms at least six weeks in advance if possible. Try to schedule your move for a weekday and at a time when traffic is less heavy. Make prior arrangements for the care of young children and pets on moving day—for their sake and yours!  Line up commitments from friends and family if you’ll need their assistance for the move.
     
  • Be strategic about packing.  Gather necessary supplies and start packing early.  Whether it’s one room, one cabinet, or a drawer at a time, weed through what may be years of accumulation.  Decide what to donate to charity, give to a friend, recycle, trash, pack now, or keep handy until moving day.  Label boxes as to contents and intended room in the new home.
     
  • Take care of logistics in advance.  Ideally, you should contact your future utilities provider at least two weeks before you move regarding turning on your electricity, gas, phone, cable, and internet before your arrival, if possible.  Contact any new school for a list of documents needed for registration.  Do not pack these materials away it’s better to hand carry them for easy retrieval.  If you’re going to need to spend a night in a hotel, make those arrangements early.
     
  • Make life simple.  Keep all small parts labeled, in plastic bags, and all together in one box.  Likewise, take pictures of electronic hook-ups for future use.
     
  • Consider the heat.  Dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and refrain from placing certain items in a hot truck—candles or wine, e.g.  Click here for tips on packing cleaning products and toxins.
     
  • Stay calm.  Relax, whistle, smile, and anticipate the pleasure of living in your new home. 

Information courtesy of New Castle County Realtor Tucker Robbins.

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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)