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New Castle Real Estate Market Watch for June 2015

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle Market Watch for June 2015

new castle county real estate

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

What Every Buyer Should Know About Short Sales

by Tucker Robbins

Buying a property through a short sale can be financially beneficial. But, as a real estate buyer, you need to go into the process understanding your market! That means having a knowledgeable realtor and attorney.

short saleA homeowner is “underwater” with their mortgage when they owe more than the value of their home. The term “short sale” comes from the situation where the proceeds from a sale are less than, or “short” of, the amount of debt.

Lenders are motivated to allow a short sale when they perceive it will create more net income than a foreclosure. Sellers are motivated because it puts them in more control of timing, and causes less damage to their credit than foreclosure.

For the buyer, a short sale means a purchase price that is discounted from the normal sale price. However, the market situation with short sales is very specific to your state and your market. Here are some trends across the country…

25% of US homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. That is 10.7 million homes! That percentage is down from 28% in September 2012. It is important to note that 8.3 million of those homes are on the edge of being underwater with a LTV ratio of 90%-110%. The other 2.4 million have an average LTV ratio of 125%.

A primary factor helping that downward trend is a decline in investors’ interest in short sales. A decline in investors buying at discount means prices are moving upward. Increasing prices means increases in value, which means increases in equity for the homeowners.

However, according to RealtyTrac.com it will take years, not months, for the 125% LTV owners to recover enough equity to allow them to sell. That means the short sale opportunities for buyers will be available for a while.

As a buyer of a short sale, be aware the process takes time. All parties have many more documents to review and approve. Your due diligence will take longer. And the process leading to a closing will take longer.

Make sure you are working with a Realtor and an attorney who have experience with short sales in your market.

At least, make sure your Realtor and attorney have actual experience with short sales. Go into the process with a lot of patience.

Information provided by Wilmington De Realtor Tucker Robbins.

6 Tips For Homebuyers

by Tucker Robbins

If you’re a homebuyer searching for real estate chances are you have found a low inventory of properties.

A low inventory of properties also tends to cause bidding wars to come back. That means homebuyers have to get home buyermore creative. Paul Bishop, VP of NAR suggests going beyond the usual market tactics to help you be the first to find homes. Simply getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is not enough anymore.

Here are some tips for creative strategies…

  1. Head off the competition by finding “pocket listings.” These are listings that have been contracted for, but haven’t reached the market or been posted on the MLS. There are various reasons for this to happen, many times at the seller’s request. However, the listing broker knows the property is for sale. Tell your agent you want to know immediately of any new properties for sale.
     
  2. Get real-time information. Most potential homebuyers depend on the normal flow of information from MLS sites or other sources like Realtor.com. Ask your agent about real-time MLS alerts – emails that go out immediately when a listing goes live. This avoids waiting hours or days before you know about new home for sale.
     
  3. Tell your Realtor you want to be notified immediately when the inventory of properties changes – and make sure he or she knows exactly what you are looking for! That does three things for you: it forces you to be very specific about what you want; it tells your Realtor valuable information about your wants; and, it signals just how serious you are about moving on a purchase quickly.
     
  4. Don’t be too quick to reject what you think are bad listings! Look past the need for paint, or bad lighting, or unflattering photos. Make sure not to superficially reject any listing that could be a treasure that is just packaged poorly.
     
  5. Set your search criteria a bit higher than your actual target price. You are then looking for real estate that is over-priced so you can keep an eye on them to come down.
     
  6. Look out for would-be sellers. Tell your Realtor to check property listings that expired weeks or months ago. Get him to contact the sellers to see if they are considering coming back on the market. They may jump at someone like you who is ready to buy!

Develop a strong relationship with your Realtor, get pre-qualified for a mortgage, make sure your credit is clean, and then let your agent know that you are ready to move quickly when the right property comes along. Read here for more general buying tips.

Information courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtor Tucker Robbins.

New Castle Market Watch for May 2015

by Tucker Robbins

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

Fix It Or Leave It When Selling?

by Tucker Robbins

I am often asked, “Should sellers fix up their home before selling?” First, let’s talk about the stuff any Realtor is going to tell you so you have context for the rest.

home improvementIt is easier to sell a house that is attractive to buyers and shows as being well-maintained. That is a matter of doing a little fix-up, but mostly clean-up. Make sure pipes aren’t leaking, for instance. That is relatively easy and not expensive. If your home really needs painting consider doing that. These are not high priced issues. Below we are talking about the expensive items.

If your house has structural defects or other problems that are expensive to fix you have more challenging decisions to make. First, remember that every house has defects! That is simply the nature of a complex structure. Second, savvy buyers know to expect defects so don’t try to hide them. Don’t kid yourself that if a problem can’t be seen easily it won’t be found out.

Most buyers assume there are some problems with any house. If they make an offer that you accept they will pay for a professional home inspector who knows real estate. Good buyer inspectors are very thorough. They are being paid by the buyer and are looking out for the buyer’s interests, not yours. It is not unusual for an inspection report to be in excess of twenty pages…in small type! Being honest with yourself about defects will prepare you better when you are faced with that inspection report.

So, the question becomes “Do I fix the problems before going on the market, or do I make it clear that I am selling “as-is” and discount the price accordingly?” The obvious follow-up question is “If I spend the money before selling, will I get that money back in the final sale price?” The general answer is that it depends on the nature of the defect and magnitude of the likely cost of repair.

Potential buyers are most likely to overestimate the cost if they have to make the repair and under-estimate the cost if the seller is paying. Cost versus value then becomes a negotiation to establishing a final purchase/sale price. If the cost of repair is major, such as a septic system, it makes the most sense to repair it before selling.

The best way to go about making these decisions is to pay a professional home inspector in your real estate market to make an inspection on your behalf as the seller. Their report will give you a thorough list of issues you might be faced with. It will also give you the tool to get estimates from contractors to make the repairs. Then you have a sound basis for making decisions.

An added benefit to having your own inspection on hand is that you have a professional document that you can use when negotiating with a buyer. Be practical and be prepared with your own inspection.

Information courtesy of Wilmington Realtor Tucker Robbins.

Ideas When Taking It Off The Market

by Tucker Robbins

If you have recently taken your house off the market and have decided to wait until a better time for you and your family to sell, you have come to the right place.  Here are a few ideas on how to make your house more enjoyable while you stay there.  If you are like most people, once ideayou decide to put your house on the market you naturally start to go ahead and distance yourself from your current home.   This doesn’t have to be the case.  If you take your house off of the market for a while, you are going to want to enjoy the time you have left in your home and there are several ways in which you can do that.  

  • Deep clean your home. This may not sound like fun and perhaps it may not be but it will be helpful for your mood while having to live there.  It is also a good idea to deep clean before you sell so that your prospective buyers will notice how clean everything is.  Start with the dirtiest room and move your way to the cleanest. 
  • Change your paint colors.  If you have lived in your home for a long time, it is likely that you are tired of the colors that you stare at day in and day out.   Brighten your home up by adding a splash of light color such as a pretty pastel.  You don’t have to change the color in every room, just sprucing up the bathroom will likely make a huge difference. 
  • Change your furniture around  and also the pictures on the wall.  You may be surprised at just how much of a difference this little bit of change can make towards helping you to be content in your home.  Again, you don’t have to rearrange every room, why not start out with the living room. 
  • Bring some fresh flowers home after a long day at work and set them on the kitchen table.  I know for a fact that fresh flowers will put most any woman into a better frame of mind. 
  • You could purchase a few things that you want to use in your new home and go ahead and use them in your current home while you are waiting to list your house back on the market.  A large piece of art should do the trick! 

Hopefully this blog has given you a few ideas of how to make the interim time of being between listings more enjoyable.  Remember also that anything you do to make your home nicer for yourself while you wait to sell it, will also make it nicer for the potential buyers that will be coming to look at your home. 

Information provided by Wilmington DE 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)