Connect with us

Real Estate

Beach market is heating up like the weather

Find an agent and start your house hunt

Published

on

beach home, gay news, Washington Blade
Buyers in nearby coastal Delaware are looking for a wide array of homes, from rentals to downsized retirement properties.

Probably the No. 1 question I hear from clients, both brand new customers and clients who have bought and sold multiple beach properties (and there are quite a few!), is: “How’s the market?” I love answering this question because I really love talking about real estate. Also, responding to this question helps real estate agents like myself consider not only buyers’ interests and expectations, but how best to market our sellers’ homes. So, it’s win-win!

The answer to “how’s the market” really depends on what you’re looking for: People buy and sell beach real estate to retire, downsize, move into a bigger home, get closer to the water, buy a primary home, second home/beach house, or purely to invest for rental income. The answer to this question at any given time depends on your specific real estate goals.

Generally, the answer today is that the market is heating up like the weather. It may seem like beach Realtors make this claim like meteorologists to draw people to the beach (sunny all weekend), however homes that are priced well are in fact going quickly this spring, probably much like the D.C. market. As an example, in the past few weeks, we have had several properties go under contract within days of going on the market and have been involved in several multiple offer situations. In-town Lewes and Rehoboth Beach homes are in demand, as are pristine, move-in perfect homes. Spring and summer are great times to look since inventory tends to be highest this time of year.

My team tracks statistics annually on Lewes home and lot sales, including the average ‘days on market.’ In 2018, this number shrunk by 50 percent – from 160 days in 2017 to 81 days in 2018. That trend continues so far this year. Given the recent ‘days on market’ for well-priced, well-located homes, I would recommend contacting a local real estate agent as soon as you see something you like online.

Here are a few of the other great questions buyers ask:

“Do I need an agent if I’m looking at new construction?” I wish I would hear this question more often – because the answer is YES! And you have plenty of new communities to choose from if you are shopping for a brand new home. As a buyer, it costs you nothing to work with a Realtor but you get someone working for you – with your interests in mind – paid by the seller (or the builder, in the case of new construction). Many on-site sales representatives work exclusively for the builder, and are not required to be licensed Realtors. At least in our relatively small beach market, most agents have worked with these sales centers before and already have a rapport with these folks.  

“Should I call my own (out of town) bank or should I use a local lender?” Most real estate agents would prefer that you work with local lenders and other professionals that know the nuances of our coastal Delaware market. Of course, some lenders in D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc., may understand and have experience here, but if you have a relationship with someone you want to use for your Delaware home purchase, it is really important that he or she keeps close contact with your Delaware Realtor. Finding the home is often the ‘easy’ part. A lender who’s up to speed on things unique to our Delaware market (leased land, for example) will help you get to closing. Ask your agent for a few recommendations for mortgage lenders – they’ll be glad to help.

“Where do I start?” If you are starting to dip your toes in the waters of beach real estate, you will naturally begin with an online search. Last year, the Sussex County Association of Realtors switched to Bright MLS, which feeds to all of the local real estate company sites like ours (LeeAnnGroup.com), as well as to Zillow, realtor.com, etc., and casts a wide net of properties available in Delaware and into Maryland. Of course, searching online can give you a great overview of price ranges in different communities and towns, and virtual tours. By the time new buyers call or email us, they have often picked out a few specific homes to see. Technology is a great supplement to home buying, but we invite you to reach out to our local real estate agents. Especially in our fast-paced spring market, we know what is going under contract and we know about homes that are about to go on the market and can get you a first/early look.

Our team’s focus and specialty, like many of our local colleagues, is to keep the “real” in real estate – and nothing takes the place of an actual conversation to understand what you are looking for and how we can help you get that home at the beach.

Lee Ann Wilkinson is a Realtor and CEO of The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty, the top-selling real estate team in Delaware and #4 nationally for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Visit LeeAnnGroup.com, email [email protected], or call her at 302-645-6664 for information on living at the beach.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Real Estate

Chores for the fall before the chill arrives

Clean gutters, replace smoke detector batteries, and more

Published

on

Get busy now on house projects before the winter chill sets in.

While it may not feel like fall is in the air yet, it won’t be too long before pumpkin spice will explode everywhere — in food, drinks, candles, and body lotions, to name a few places. If you’re not a fan, you’ll find air freshener plug-ins in scents like Frosted Cranberry, Fresh Fall Morning, and Sweater Weather among the offerings at Bath and Body Works.

Soon after, hordes of December holiday decorations will appear in the stores, often bypassing a smidgen of items for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Except candy. Halloween candy will always figure prominently.

But before you hibernate and chow down on mini-Snickers bars, there is work to be done to prepare your home for the winter.

Inside the home. To ensure your safety, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries or buy new detectors if they are more than 10 years old. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned, and make any necessary repairs, then test your fire extinguishers. Seal doors and windows that might allow drafts to enter with weatherstripping.

Now is the time to take advantage of the discount prices on heating system tune-ups that some HVAC companies are offering. As little as $59 for a check-up will help your equipment function better and extend its life. 

A furnace tune-up should include cleaning all components, lubricating motor parts, checking electrical parts for rust or corrosion, making sure your thermostat is working properly, and replacing the filter. You may want to take this opportunity to have your vents cleaned as well. 

A heat pump inspection includes cleaning and lubricating the blower and fan motors, inspecting indoor and outdoor coils, flushing the condensate drain, and testing the controls.

If you have a boiler instead of a furnace or heat pump, you can expect your serviceperson to inspect, test and calibrate all gauges and safety mechanisms, measure and record the flame pattern concentration and carbon monoxide, check electrical connections, and more. 

Don’t forget to bleed the radiators to release air in the pipes and enhance the circulation of warm water. And if you’re like me, cross your fingers that your 47-year-old boiler will last one more season.

Outside the home. While the leaves haven’t started falling yet, the recent rain and winds may have blown yard debris into your gutters, so make sure they, and your downspouts, are clear. Position the downspouts so they will take any water away from your foundation and regrade the perimeter of your house, if needed.

Check your roof for lost shingles. Look for missing flashing or bricks in need of tuck-pointing or parging on the exterior of your chimney. Walk around your house and note any foundation cracks or unsealed openings. Check retaining walls for missing mortar. There is still plenty of time to make these repairs before the cold sets in.

Now that 90-degree temperatures have receded a bit, plan the power washing and painting of exterior surfaces that you have been putting off tackling. And since the Labor Day barbecue is now over, it’s time to winterize your gas grill.

In the garden. Far be it for me to profess to be an expert in the garden. I’m the first one on the phone to a landscaper to seek help. In fact, there is a barrage of weeding going on at my home this week. Nonetheless, here are a few suggestions.

Prune trees and bushes to promote future growth. Water, aerate, and fertilize the lawn. Select any bulbs you want to plant and enjoy next spring and consult a source such as Better Homes and Gardens magazine for tips on how and when to plant them. 

Drain garden hoses, detach them, and drain the pipes that run to the hose bibbs as well. If you’re lucky enough to have underground sprinklers (I am not), follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing them, or call a professional.

Store lawn furniture and cushions in a shed, garage, or basement. Or do as I do – throw away the cushions that are dirty or moldy and buy new ones next spring. And when the leaves fall en masse, rake them, bag them, and recheck your gutters and downspouts to be sure they’re clear.

Finally, head to the hardware store to buy a snow shovel, some windshield de-icer and washer fluid, and a few bags of salt or pet-safe, snow-melting product before the rush. You’ll be glad you did.

And if you happen to live in a condominium or cooperative, when you have completed any relevant interior chores, relax for the rest of the season and enjoy some candy. I stash mine in the cabinet above the refrigerator. 

Continue Reading

Real Estate

What to expect during a home inspection

Foundation, windows, heating, outlets, and more to be checked

Published

on

Before you buy, consider an inspection.

As we get into the fall market, home inspectors will find that their phones and inboxes are becoming a bit busier. And if you have never bought a home, or the last purchase was during a very competitive period where a home inspection was waived, here is your chance as a buyer to find out what they are all about.  

There are several types of inspections. The inspection for a condo is different than an inspection of a single-family home (SFH). Then there is the length and intent of the inspection.  A quick “walk and talk” inspection is cheaper and faster than one in which the inspector generates a detailed report with photographs and comments or suggestions. As a home seller, you may want to have your home inspected before putting it on the market, to get in front of any concerns a potential buyer may have. A buyer may want to inspect to confirm that the home is worth submitting an offer, or they may want to negotiate based on the results of the inspection report.

What are the items an inspector will be checking? Many of the items can include all or a combination of the following:

  • Structure – foundation, crawlspaces, framing (SFH)
  • Exterior – doors, windows, steps, walkways, decks, gutters (SFH)
  • Roof, drainage, chimneys, skylights (SFH)
  • Plumbing and distribution systems, faucets, hot water heaters, sump pumps, hose and water main valves.
  • Outlets, proper wiring within the outlet, GFCI’s, 
  • AC systems
  • Heating systems
  • Insulation, walls, ventilation
  • Chimneys – (separate chimney inspections are available)

A condo inspection is usually just an interior only inspection, where a single-family home includes more of the exterior and evaluation of the surroundings. If a report is generated, the items will be divided into categories such as the ones listed above, and then usually subdivided into priority levels of concern. 

The agent that is writing the offer for their client can also indicate whether the inspection is just for informational purposes for the buyer, or whether the inspection will inform any repair requests or credits in the negotiation process. Many qualified home inspectors can also recommend home maintenance tips for the buyer going forward. In this landscape of higher interest rates buyers frequently have more time typically to decide, seek an inspection, and negotiate their terms, due to less competition being in the market. When the rates are lower and buyers are out in full force, this more relaxed environment can quickly turn into a competitive and more rushed experience. If you are interested in purchasing or selling a home, please let me know and I can help you find the right resources to help you reach your goals.

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with the Rutstein Group of Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or [email protected].

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Navigating the 3-2-1 mortgage in a changing market

Tap into affordability and leverage projected rate shifts

Published

on

Navigating the path to homeownership is a milestone that holds immense significance for everyone. However, for members of our LGBTQ community, the journey often carries unique considerations that demand careful thought and planning. 

With higher mortgage rates on the horizon and the Federal Reserve poised for policy changes, coupled with the ongoing challenge of rising housing prices due to low inventory, finding a mortgage solution that aligns with both financial goals and community values is paramount.

1. Initial Financial Advantage: With a 3-2-1 Mortgage, you initiate your homeownership venture with initial payments set significantly lower than the prevailing mortgage rates. This positions you favorably in the market, allowing you to commence your homeownership journey with manageable monthly payments, freeing up resources for other essential expenditures.

2. Anticipating Rate Adjustments: As the Fed recalibrates its policies and the mortgage rates embark on a downward trajectory, the 3-2-1 Mortgage structure strategically aligns you to harness this shift. Your payments remain highly competitive, ensuring that you gain a competitive edge as the rates transition into a more favorable range.

3. Flexibility Amid Changing Circumstances: The early years of homeownership can be a period of change. The reduced payments in the 3-2-1 structure provide you with financial agility to navigate potential shifts in your life, both personal and professional.

4. Navigating the Refinancing Opportunity: As mortgage rates dip due to anticipated Fed policy changes over the next 12 months, the door opens to explore refinancing. This could lead to further payment reductions or a shorter loan term, enabling you to maximize financial gains in the long run.

5. Long-Term Financial Security: Fixed-rate mortgages ensure stability in a fluctuating market. With a 3-2-1 Mortgage, the consistent payments offer a shield against potential rate fluctuations throughout the loan term.

6. Leveraging Property Appreciation: With housing prices poised to continue their ascent due to constrained inventory, your investment gains momentum. The accrued equity in your home provides options for future endeavors, such as refinancing, capitalizing on a profitable sale, or utilizing the enhanced home value for other financial pursuits.

7. Guidance from Real Estate Experts: Consulting a real estate professional at GayRealEstate.com remains a prudent step before any major financial/housing commitment, including your choice of mortgage. Their insights will help align your unique financial situation and objectives with the optimal decision.

Considering the 3-2-1 Mortgage option in the current dynamic may be a savvy choice, allowing you to tap into the affordability at the outset, leverage projected rate shifts, and stay ahead in a housing market characterized by climbing prices and limited inventory. 

Whether you’re seeking a welcoming neighborhood, navigating the intricacies of mortgage options, or aligning your homeownership dreams with your LGBTQ+ identity, a specialized Realtor is your dedicated advocate.

Don’t hesitate to reach out today for a free, no-obligation conversation with the finest LGBTQ+ Realtors at GayRealEstate.com, and a referral to an LGBTQ+ friendly mortgage lender. Your path to homeownership is a story that deserves to be written with care, authenticity, and unwavering support. Together, let’s make this chapter one of triumph, belonging, and prosperity. Your dream home awaits – let’s embark on this journey together.

Jeff Hammerberg is a distinguished entrepreneur and broker, renowned as the founder behind GayRealEstate.com. With an impressive journey spanning more than 25 years, he has played a pivotal role in championing the mission of fair, transparent, and just representation for every member of the LGBTQ+ community in the realm of residential real estate.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular