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3 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

by Tucker Robbins

There are a few mistakes that many first-time home buyers make. Here are three of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them when purchasing your first home.

Mistake #1: Assuming your credit is good.

The information in your credit report determines whether you can get a loan — and how much interest you will have to pay – so it pays to be certain your credit reports are accurate.

Check your credit reports for free from all three credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to make sure everything is correct. If you find errors, contact both the credit reporting company and the information provider (the person, company or organization that provided information about you to a credit reporting company) involved in the errors and ask them to fix the credit report errors.

Mistake #2: Getting pre-qualified, not pre-approved, for a loan.

It’s far better to be pre-approved for a loan than to be pre-qualified. Here’s why…

With pre-qualification, your lender does a preliminary evaluation of your ability to pay for a home and gives an estimate of the mortgage amount they’ll give you. The lender does not verify the information you provide.

Mistake #3: Allowing emotions to influence your decisions.

Buying a home is an investment. It needs to be treated as any other investment. You don’t buy stocks because they are pretty and you shouldn’t pick your home that way either. Make sure the home you buy fits your needs and allows you room to grow over the next few years. As with any sound investment, time is the key to a good return.

If you are a first-time home buyer, we would be happy to help you find (and get the best price for) your first home.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Selecting Plants and Flowers for Your Home Garden!

by Tucker Robbins

Many of us select plants for the garden at our New Castle County DE home based on their visual effect—color, height, size of blooms, etc. And so we should, as the sight of our plantings should be pleasing to our sense of sight. As we plan our garden, however, we should also be aware of the other four senses—and include plants which appeal to each of them.

SMELL: Aromatherapy is a powerful practice. With nothing more than a simple scent, the brain can be triggered to remember long forgotten memories, emotions, and feelings. With that being said, it is important to carefully select the flowers you want in the garden of your New Castle County DE home. With a few simple choices, you can create your own "memory lane' or relaxing oasis. In terms of fragrance, it’s hard to beat roses or lavender. Wisteria and jasmine are scented climbers which can really enhance the sensory pleasure of a garden, and amaryllis belladonna and spirea both add pleasant scents.

SOUND: Few of us associate the sense of sound with our garden, but the rustling of long grasses and the chirping of birds add a much-appreciated dimension. To attract songbirds, use fruit-bearing understory trees like dogwoods and service berries and shrubs such as viburnums and hollies and introduce low growing perennials and dwarf shrubs like creeping juniper and cotoneaster. You can also plant vines, ground covers, and sunflowers to increase chirping and tweeting.

TOUCH: Texture in garden design refers to the surface quality of the plant. Plant textures range from delicate and fine to coarse and bold. The feel of the foliage in your New Castle County DE home’s garden is not the only element of texture, however, as the texture can change with the play of light and shadow and even with viewing distance. Plants with thread-like leaves call out to be touched, so consider adding cosmos, baby's breath, asters, and grasses. In addition, iris and lamb’s ear will each provide softer tactile experiences.

TASTE: The world of herbs is nearly without limits. Think about basil, chives, rosemary, chamomile, cilantro, mint, and parsley, to name just a few tasty garden additions. Consider, too low bush blueberries or ligonberries. Lesser known, but equally valuable as salad additions are the flowers of the hibiscus shrub, columbine, and daylilies.

Some of the plants you have selected for your garden will serve more than one purpose and will appeal to more than one sense, so be sure to sniff, feel, taste, listen to, and view each of them!

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For April 2017

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE listings decreased from 1010 new listings in April 2016 down to 920 in April 2017. The average sales price climbed 0.57% to $237,012, while days on market dropped by 6 days.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Now is the Time to Buy a Piece of Real Estate

by Tucker Robbins

So your life circumstances indicate that now is the time for you to buy real estate. Perhaps this will be your first home or you need a larger space to accommodate a growing family. You may be in search of a better school district or be forced to move because of your job. Whatever the reason for your housing search, there are four basic areas you need to investigate and specific questions you should ask before making a final decision on any house.

WISH LIST:
Before you actually tour any homes, you should determine exactly what you are looking for by asking yourself (and your family members) questions such as “What type of house do I want”? How much space will I need? What type of community and amenities are important to me? How much can I realistically afford to pay?

LOCATION:
Once you have narrowed down your neighborhood choices, do further exploration of these locations by asking about zoning, since apartments and commercial/industrial buildings lower the real estate value of homes. Is the appearance of the community appealing? Does the school district have a good reputation/rating? What about noise? Consider nuisance factors such as traffic sounds, barking dogs, railroad tracks, etc.--anything that will disturb or annoy you on a recurring basis. Ask, too, about property easements, commuting time to and from work, and demographics. Will you be the only family with young children or the sole 50+ resident in the neighborhood?

CONDITION OF Home:
In order to determine any structural or maintenance issues, ask about the age of the house, roof, and appliances. What kind of foundation and insulation does the home have? If you’re looking at an older property, ask if the plumbing and electrical systems have been updated. Has the house been inspected or appraised recently, and, if so, were any problems documented? Will the exterior of the residence require annual maintenance?

COST:
Asking the right questions in this area is extremely helpful in determining your offer on the Wilmington DE real estate. Inquiring about neighboring comps, what the seller paid, and how much he owes will give you an idea of the rise/fall of nearby prices and alert you to possible short sale or foreclosure status. Ask how long the house has been on the market and if there have been any offers; perhaps the seller will be willing to negotiate price or offer incentives. Additional inquiries should be made re: the cost of insurance and property taxes on the property and the amount of any homeowners’ association fees.

Arming yourself with answers to questions such as these should help you make an educated decision as to whether or not a particular piece of real estate is for you.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

How to Clean Your Grill

by Tucker Robbins

Spring is here and that means that summer is right around the corner!  Summertime brings with it many things but one of the awesome things about summer is that it means many meal prep times will move from inside of the kitchen to outside on the grill!  Yum!  You will have to do your part to get your grill ready for all the outdoor cooking that is about to begin!  Below are a few ideas on how best to clean your grill for the upcoming season! 

 

  1.  The first place to start whebeginning to clean your grill is to clean the grates.  These can get quite dirty during the outdoor cooking season.  If you were smart when the last season ended you cleaned them and wiped them down with cooking oil, however if you didn’t, there is still hope. One good and easy way to clean your dirty grill grates is to place them into your self-cleaning oven and let it do the work for you.  Another way to get your grill grates clean is to simply put them in the dishwasher.   
     

  1. Clean the burner tubes by simply brushing them and wiping them clean.   Be sure not to use any metal brushes as these have been deemed unsafe if the metal pieces come off and get into your food.   
     

  1. Clean the grease collection tray by scrubbing it with a clean damp cloth.   
     

  1. If you happen to have a charcoal grill, your cleaning process will be a bit simpler than with a gas grill.  Scrub the grill with a nylon brush and then clean the grates and that is it!  If you have old charcoal simply throw it out and buy some new for the season.  
     

These are just a few ideas on how to clean your grill to get it ready for the upcoming outdoor cooking season.  The best way to clean your grill is honestly just to clean as you go. If you do your part to clean up after yourself after each and every meal you will have a much easier time when it comes time to get the grill out again for the next season.  If you don’t do your part to clean as you go, at least now you have a few ideas on how to get rid of the grit and grime easily.    

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott 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)