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New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For August 2018

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE active listings are down 21% from last year and did not change from the previous month. The median listing price was just under $270,000 and the median sales price was just under $230,000. Compared to last year, the average days on market is down 19%. The number of units sold was consistent year-over-year and decreased 14% month-over-month. 

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

For Sale and Secure in New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Sometimes it’s necessary to leave your old home before it sells, and even if it’s in a safe community, there are steps that should be taken to make sure the home and its components are secure.  Criminals are pretty savvy these days, and you don’t want your home compromised, especially when potential buyers are there for a showing. 

 

  • - First and foremost, make sure all your doors and windows are locked.  Most of those who are looking for easy access will find it.  They don’t care to draw attention to themselves by smashing windows and creating a lot of noise. 

  • - Check with your insurance agent and make sure you’re covered properly for a vacant house. 

  • - Talk to your RealtorⓇ about the lockbox that will be placed on your entryway.  Make certain it’s electronic, because the agent can not only get in without a key, but can keep track of who’s used the lockbox to enter, and when. 

  • - If you don’t already, have motion sensor floodlights installed around the perimeter of your home.  This will help deter anyone who is creeping around after dark. 

  • - Ask a relative, trusted neighbor or hire someone with good references to keep an eye on things, especially if you’ve moved more than a short drive away.   If you have a neighbor whose driveway is close by, ask if they would be willing to use your driveway to park in. 

  • - The landscaping should be maintained to keep any suspicion that you’re not there, and it should be taken care of by a reputable landscaper.  Your RealtorⓇ should be able to help you find someone for this job.   

  • - Secure outdoor components--your light fixtures and even the HVAC unit can be stolen, and it’s not as uncommon as you’d think. The light fixtures can be motion-detection activated, and the HVAC unit circuit box can be locked, and make it more difficult to get to with fencing or a security cage. 

  • - A home security system is now more affordable than ever, and you don’t have to pay a monthly service fee to a company. Do some online research and find a system that connects wirelessly and has a coordinating smartphone app.  You can keep an eye on things yourself, and if there’s anything suspicious, call your contact and ask them to check your house for you.   

 

The cost of keeping your electricity and Wi-Fi connected to the vacant house can’t compare to the peace of mind and protection it can offer while selling your home.  That doesn’t count the money you would save from repairs for damage or stolen items to be replaced.  Protect your investment by protecting your vacant house while it waits for new owners. 

 

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

Photo credit: protecsecuritysystems.com

Home-Buying After Foreclosure or Bankruptcy

by Tucker Robbins

If foreclosure or bankruptcy has been part of your past, and you’re ready to jump back into buying a new home, welcome to the “boomerang buyer” club!  There are several factors to buying a home after these losses, so before you start house-hunting, make sure you’re not only emotionally ready, but financially ready! 

 

  • - Be absolute certain your credit has been rebuilt by paying all your bills on time and in full. Check your credit score, and keep an eye on it.  Aiming for a minimum score of 580 improves your chances of qualifying for a home loan. 

  • - Get every penny you can into savings! 

  • - Consider taking a course in financial management.  Not only does this help you become more financially stable, it shows a lender that you’re serious about it. 

  • - If your last home went into foreclosure, there are waiting periods for applying for a mortgage: three years for FHA loans, seven years for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loans, two years for Veterans Affairs loans, three years for USDA loans, and other lenders have different waiting periods. 

  • - Buying a home after bankruptcy depends on what type of bankruptcy was filed, so there are different factors when it comes to each situation. 

  • - If you have experienced a short sale with your last home, depending on the lender, the waiting period to apply for a mortgage is two-seven years. 

  • - Some lenders may ask you to write a letter explaining the circumstances for the foreclosure or short sale, as well as what you learned during the process.   

  • - Extenuating circumstances that caused a foreclosure or bankruptcy, such as a major illness or job loss can make a difference in how long you must wait to apply for a mortgage, depending on the lender.  Be prepared with any paperwork that shows your loss of income or increase of debt. 

 

Before you begin this second chance on homeownership, talk to a RealtorⓇ who is experienced with assisting those who have experienced financial hardship and lost a home in the past.  They have a wealth of knowledge to help you every step of the way on the path to a fresh start! 

 

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

 

Photo credit: homes.com

Budget Bathroom Updates

by Tucker Robbins

You love your new home--everything about it.  Well, almost everything.  Your bathroom decor is stuck in 1983 with its gingko leaf-etched shower doors, mauve and Colonial blue wallpaper complete with coordinating border, and ornamented brass fixtures.  If a complete overhaul isn’t in your budget just yet, there are plenty of options that are easy on the wallet.  Check out these tips for inspiration! 

 

  • - Paint over the wallpaper!  Benjamin Moore suggests you start by sealing any peeling spots with adhesive, applying clear caulking around the room where the wallpaper meets the ceiling and floor, then priming the wallpaper with an oil-based primer.  Using your choice of latex interior paint, paint as you would any other wall surface.   

  • - Switching out the dated sink fixtures is as simple as finding the correct pieces to go into the configuration for the existing fixture in a style you like.  Once you’ve made your decision, confident do-it-yourselfers can switch them out themselves, and Home Depot shares this step-by-step video how-to for sink faucet installation. 

  • - Updating your light fixture can be a huge improvement, and the choices are almost endless at local home stores.  Changing the location of the light, or adding wall sconces may require a call to a reputable electrician, so don’t forget to budget those extra costs. 

  • - Ugly linoleum can be covered with adhesive-backed vinyl tile or painted with porch paint, and if you’re feeling creative, you can have a custom look likthis striped floor from 1915 House. Supplies may cost a bit more than other paint jobs, but it beats the expense of replacing the flooring. 

  • - Replacing the cabinet can be expensive between the new cabinet and labor, so the best way to improve it is to paint it and add new hardware.  Countertops, depending on what material they are, can be painted or even tiled for a fresh look. 

  • - Add style to a plain mounted mirror with a frame! Framing kits come with everything you need for this quick update, and are available at home centers and online for less than $100. 

  • - If your budget is tight, just the purchase of a new shower curtain, window treatment, inexpensive framed prints, and one nice coordinating towel set can make a huge improvement to your dated bathroom.   

 

According to homeadvisor.com, the average bathroom remodel costs about $10,000.  If your new home needs updates, choose what you’ll do first according to your budget.  Tiding over with a few inexpensive updates to your bathroom will ease the anxiety of getting it done sooner, because it will be more pleasing to the eye.  Save yourself some stress and money by holding out just a little longer, and when it’s time, you’ll have the perfect bathroom! 

 

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

 

Photo credit: StateFarm

Selling Your Home vs. Renting in New Castle County, DE

by Tucker Robbins

Accepting a new job, moving closer to aging parents, or looking for a fresh start, you’ve decided to relocate. You haven’t chosen a real estate agent to get your house sold, because you’re considering using your house for extra income as a rental.  There are pros and cons to becoming a landlord, so look through these tips to get you started on making the decision. 

 

  • - You need to first look at the financial aspect of renting your house. 

  • - Landlord’s insurance premiums may cost more than your homeowner’s insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about the differences in these policies. 

  • - Do the math--if you have a loss after all your expenses (insurance, repairs, property taxes, etc.) are deducted from the rental payments, it’s a better idea to sell. 

  • - If the money that a home sale would generate will help you buy a new place, by all means, sell. 

  • - One factor to consider is that if your move is temporary--you know you’ll be returning in a few years, and it may be a good idea to lease while you’re away, so you won’t have to house hunt upon your return. 

  • - Take into consideration that in larger areas, there may be times of a vacancy.  Can you handle the old mortgage and the new?  If not, put the house on the market. 

  • - If there are improvements that need to be done to the home before you can sell it, and you’re not financially able to make them, then renting may be a good option.   

  • - Keep in mind that most tenants will not care for your house like you, and, after moving, it could be at a great cost when you have to make the repairs.   

  • - Things can happen, and you may get tenants that can’t pay the rent on time, or stop paying rent, and you’re stuck with the mortgage payment, as well as having to go through the eviction process.  

  • - Do you really want to become a landlord?  Talk to a few people who are experienced in renting and leasing property, writing down questions to ask, and get their thoughts on the process. Experience is the best teacher. 

 

Renting or leasing your home is a big decision to make, especially if you know you may be coming back.  The stress of renting just might be greater than house-hunting when you move back.  Talk to other property managers in your area and look at your financial information before you make the final choice. When you decide to sell, call a trusted RealtorⓇ. 

 

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

Photo credit: homevestors.com

Ready to Buy a Home?

by Tucker Robbins

Buying a home is likely the largest investment you will ever make.  There is plenty of preparation before you start house-hunting, so make the process as smooth as possible with this guide to buying a home. 

 

  • - We can’t say it enough:  mind your credit!  Unless you have the funds to pay for a house in cash, then you need to keep an eye on your credit. Get a report from all three credit reporting agencies from the Annual Credit Report website. 

  • - Know what you can afford.  Make a budget and stick to it, recording everything on paper or using budgeting software.  Once you see where your money is going, it’s easier to cut some unnecessary things to put towards your down payment. 

  • - That said, start saving now, not only for your down payment, but any other expenses associated with a home purchase:  inspections, closing costs, and taxes are a few to expect. 

  • - Once you are close to having all of your down payment, start shopping for the best mortgages, and get pre-approved.  Being pre-qualified is great, but it’s not much help if you’re not approved for the loan. 

  • - Be ready to compromise on certain home aspects:  square footage, having to make minor repairs, or even living on a busy street.  If the price is right, the house fits your needs and wants, then put the it on your possibilities list. 

  • - Just because you’re approved for a certain home loan amount doesn’t mean you have to max that budget.  You need as much leeway in your finances for emergencies and unexpected costs. 

  • - Prepare yourself for possible let-downs:  some perfect-for-you homes are also perfect for others who are on the search for a new house.  If there are several offers on a house, you may have to walk away from it and keep hunting. 

  • - Don’t go through it alone!  Find a Realtor that you trust and like.  These real estate professionals are your ultimate guide through the home-buying process, and will make it so much easier for you.   

 

The house-buying process for most Americans takes a bit longer than what we see on the home-buying television shows. It takes planning and patience to find what you need and want.  So, do your “home” work, and you’ll soon be on your way to being homeowners! 

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

Photo credit: Realtor.com 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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