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New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch for April 2016

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE new listings declined 5.03% in April 2016 with 52 homes less homes sold than in April 2015. The average sales price dropped 1.31% in April to $212,000 from $216,495 in April 2015.

new castle county de real estate

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

How To Make Your New House Your Home

by Tucker Robbins

home

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 Wilmington DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

4 Hacks for Moving Into Your New Home

by Tucker Robbins

moving tips

The big day is almost here!  You and your family are moving out of your old house into a new home! It’s an exciting time, however moving can be a huge headache if you go into it unprepared.  Below are a few tips and ideas on how to make your move a success.

  • If you plan to hire a moving company to take care of your move for you, don’t be afraid to do your homework on the different moving companies.  There are some moving companies out there that will help to make your move a lot easier while there are others that can simply make the entire process a nightmare.  You owe it to yourself to do a bit of research and to find the best moving company you possibly can.
  • Another bit of advice for moving from one house to another is to prep for the move ahead of time.  Make sure that your movers know if they will be moving heavy things such as kitchen appliances and have them unplugged and cleaned out before the movers arrive so that they can easily and quickly get the heavy objects taken out of the way. 
  • Get your packing done before the big moving day arrives.  Moving companies do not want to be tripping over you while you are frantically packing last minute items into boxes that have yet to be taped and ready to move.  If you have your job done before the movers arrive, they will be able to get their job done in a quick and successful manner.  It’s also a good idea to stack your boxes against the walls of the rooms so that the movers can easily move about as they are working.  Again, if your job is done, their job will be easier and all will be happy. 
  • Label your boxes so that movers will understand what room it goes in.  If you label the boxes with your kid’s names, it’s likely the movers will have no idea which room the box belongs in once they arrive at your new home.  Keep it simple and label the boxes accordingly. 

If you do your part to make sure you have done all you can do to make the move an easy process,  the moving company will be free to do their job and do it right.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Real Estate Broker Tucker Robbins.

Know What's Below Before You Dig This Spring

by Tucker Robbins

before your dig

With the snow gone and the ground thawed, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country are rolling up their sleeves and reaching for their shovels to start projects that require digging this spring.

During the transition into "digging season," Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step towards protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.

Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one call utility notification center.

According to data collected by CGA in a phone survey in late February, more than half (46 percent) of American homeowners said they plan to do DIY projects involving digging this year, but 40 percent of them do not plan to make a free call to 811 before digging. Extrapolated to the full population of U.S. homeowners, approximately 51.8 million people will dig this year without first calling 811.

A utility line is damaged every six minutes in America because someone decided to dig without making a call to 811 to learn the approximate location of buried utilities in their area. Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors and repair costs.

As a result, CGA offers the following tips to make sure you complete your project safely and without any utility service interruptions, so you don't become a statistic.

Here's how the 811 process works:

1. One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint.

2. When you call 811, a representative from your local one call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project.

3. Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.

4. Only once all lines have been accurately marked, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.

There are nearly 19 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States that your family depends on for everyday needs including electric, gas, water and sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet and landline telephone. That equals more than a football field's length of utilities for every person in the United States. With that much critical infrastructure underground, it's important to know what's below and call 811 before digging.

To find out more information about 811 or the one call utility notification center in your area, visit Call811.com. (BPT)

Courtesy of Wilmington DE Real Estate Expert Tucker Robbins.

3 Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

by Tucker Robbins

tax refund

The average tax refund in 2015 was approximately $2,800 according to the IRS, and similar refunds are expected in 2016. For those getting a refund, there are many options to consider in deciding what to do with this unexpected income. The big question is what is the smartest option?

While you may want to splurge with your refund, careful management for the majority of the funds is a smart financial move. A tax refund or any unexpected income can be used to help reach your financial goals without impacting your current standard of living.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) suggests three things to consider for this year's tax refund:

1. Pay down debt. Take a look at your current debt. Find out which have the highest interest rates and consider paying those down first to help prevent interest from continuing to add up. Another common strategy is to pay off your smallest debt first, then work your way up to the larger ones.

2. Build an emergency fund. Consider using at least a portion of your tax refund to give your emergency fund a boost. Make a goal to stash away three to six months' worth of expenses in cash in an emergency fund you can easily access if you need to, such as a savings account, and use your refund to work toward that goal.

3. Pay the future forward. The positive news is that Americans are living longer. The challenge is that their health may change with aging, and people are now faced with saving for a retirement period of up to 30 years. So if you haven't started to save or want to boost your retirement savings, consider putting your refund in a retirement savings plan. You may also consider taking a portion of your refund for higher education - whether for yourself, a child or grandchild. Or, if you haven't considered life insurance or disability income insurance yet or need to revisit your plans, now's a good time to talk to a financial professional.

A tax refund is money you've worked hard for, and it is OK to do something fun with it. Just make sure you consider committing at least a portion toward your short-term and long-term financial needs and goals. (BPT)

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Real Estate Expert Tucker Robbins.

Ways To Eliminate Pet Odor When Selling Your Home

by Tucker Robbins

pet odor

If you have pets you know all too well just what a mess they can make, what you may not be aware of however is that they have a smell all their own that others who walk into your house may be able to smell more than you can.  If you have your house on the market you may need to do your best to eliminate the pet odor before you home starts showing so that you will be better able to sell your home.  Below are a few ideas and tips to help you get a head start on eliminating pet odor.

  • If your pet has an accident inside of your home douse it with baking soda as quickly as you possibly can after you soak up the urine with a towel.  Allow the baking soda to dry and then pat the area with a dry towel.  Once you have done all of this, be sure to vacuum the area.  The smell that once would have lingered behind after cleaning the soiled area will no longer exist.   
  • Another great way to rid your home of pet smell so that your home may have a better chance of selling is to make a fabric spray out of white vinegar and baking soda.  1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar will do the trick.  Put these ingredients together in a spray bottle and you will have a great way to get pet smell out of your furniture and other fabrics.  Spraying this concoction over your furniture before a showing is a great way to know that your potential buyers will not be able to smell that you have pets living inside of the house with you. 
  • A  HEPA  air filtration system is also a good thing to have if you have pets and you are planning to try to sell your home.  These types of systems cost as little as $100 and can make all the difference when it comes to the sale of your home.  One hundred dollars may sound like a lot of money but when you think that it may make or break the sale of your home it is nothing.  Be sure to always clean you’re air conditioning filtration system as well so that you will have clean air flowing throughout the house at all times just in case you have someone who wants to take a tour of your home at the last minute. 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Real Estate Expert 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)