Sussex County Real Estate Update Fall 2014

Sussex County Real Estate Neighborhood News-Fall 2014

By Kathy Sperl-Bell

Active Adults Realty Coastal DE buttonSussex County, a.k.a. “Coastal Delaware,” is where Boomers look to move for not only a primary residence in retirement but often for a second home/vacation home even while they are still working. This is the fastest growing county with the smallest population of the three. Due to its close proximity to the beach resorts in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, land costs higher in this county and prices are higher than in Kent County and often higher than the northern part of the state as well.

On the western side of the county, you can find a single family home in the $300s. The closer you get to the beach, the higher the price of a new home and the range will be in the $400s and $500s.

We do our best to keep current with available listings in the state’s most popular neighborhoods, inventory changes daily. If you are serious and ready to pursue your dream in Coastal Delaware, please call me at 302-542-1203 or Email me for the most current Sussex County information.

Updates, QDHs and Resales

According to our Agent Elliot Welan, they are pouring concrete for the clubhouse and pool at HERITAGE CREEK! Fernmoor Homes also added three new townhome floorplans to the neighborhood… the Adams, The Franklin and the Hancock. Pricing and floor plans for their new Single Family homes will be debuting shortly with the standards and features updated to include granite countertops, 2X6′ exterior wall construction and 9′ ceilings included in the basements …$10k in options. CLICK HERE to View Available Listings in the Neighborhood.

At INDEPENDENCE in Millsboro, there are no new homes available and much of the scheduled new construction for the next 1 1/2 years is already pre-sold. What do we suggest? We suggest a quality pre-owned home in the community. We have 5 fine quality pre-owned homes for sale. In most cases, the Sellers have had a choice of lots. They have purchased the Boomers’ most popular options and upgrades. Some come with their own solar power systems, beautiful exteriors with curb appeal; and will include many post-purchase upgrades like those tasteful Plantation shutters or blinds, sound systems and other fixtures when they sell their homes. Email me today if Independence is for you!

At 55+ HERITAGE SHORES, our Agent/Heritage Shores resident Linda Chick is thrilled that the community has just released a new section for development featuring some lovely premium lots with water and golf course views. CLICK HERE to View Available Listings in this Neighborhood.

Last chance for buying in the 55+ BAY CROSSING neighborhood. When they’re gone, they’re gone. If 55+ in Lewes, East of Route 1, is on your shopping list, take another look at these existing homes for sale.

Our agents still have a few quality listings in the 50+ VILLAGE OF CINDERBERRY, neighborhood, a mature community with only 170 homes just outside Georgetown. CLICK HERE to View Available Listings in this Neighborhood.

Our agent Al Willis tells us that KHOV has 2 QUICK DELIVERY HOMES available for December delivery in the VILLAGES AT RED MILL POND and will follow up with 5 more which will deliver by February 2015. KHovanian continues to offer an incentive of 20% off the first $40,000 on structural upgrades. CLICK HERE for available listings in this Neighborhood.

With incentives being time sensitive and inventory turning over quickly, feel free to call me at 302-542-1203 or Email me for current Southern Delaware updates.

Compare Buying a Pre-Owned Luxury Car to an existing Luxury Home

New home sales people refer to existing homes for sale as “used homes”, as in

“Why would you buy a used home when you can buy a new home with everything you want?”

I always found that reference rather self serving but then I thought about buying a car and realized that I can use the same thought process to favor buying an existing home.

KSB_101814 webA few years ago I bought a low mileage, pre-owned Avalon and it had all the bells and whistles. It has leather seats that are both heated and cooled. It has a sunroof. It has an upgraded sound system and Satellite Radio. It has some things I know I would not have added if I had sat down with the salesperson and priced it out in a brand new car. But, with only 10,000 miles on the car it was a tremendous value and I have now had that car for 130,000 miles!

Compare Buying a Pre-Owned Luxury Car to an existing Luxury Home Listing and change your Buyer’s Mind Set…“Why would you pay full sticker price for a new home when you could get everything you want and more for a little less in a pre-owned home?”

Let’s talk about communities where you have a choice of new construction and existing homes for sale. Delaware has seen an explosion of new home communities since 2004. Anticipating the Baby Boomer boom, new communities have sprung up in all parts of Delaware offering lots of options and upgrades. Over the last 10 years, despite the terrible market from 2008 through 2010, sales have been brisk and many communities sold out. As the market gained strength and we ran out of inventory, we are finally seeing some new communities breaking ground.

“I want a new home but I need to sell my current home first” -Plan A

If you want a new home in Delaware, where you get to make all of your selections to personalize it exactly to your own taste, you will need to go to contract, with no contingencies as much as 6 – 12 or more months in advance of your move. What? Read more.

Many new home builders here in Delaware are selling homes faster than they can build them and almost all only build to their sales. Sometimes you can get lucky and we can find a builder with a Quick Delivery Home that is ready exactly when you are ready to buy. It does happen, and if you are willing to make a few compromises, you might get a very good value. Continue reading

Excellent News for Home Buyers: US Prices Stabilizing

Home Selling 6If you’ve been weighing whether now is the right time to enter the local housing market as a home buyer, we have some news to share with you that will help you decide.

According to a recent report from real estate data provider CoreLogic, U.S. home price gains are slowing down, despite an increase during the month of August.

This is great news for home buyers because it means that you have a fantastic opportunity to get a reasonable price on your next home before prices continue to rise!

What Every Home Buyer Should Know About Recent US Housing Market Activity

CoreLogic reported that home prices increased 6.4 percent in August when compared to last year.

Still, that figure is actually down slightly from the annual gain of 6.8 percent in July.

Here’s what else the recent housing market report revealed:

  • The increase in home prices is also down when compared to how much they had been rising toward the end of last year. During that time, prices were rising as much as 12 percent.
  • Home sales have been mostly stable throughout 2014, as have price gains.
  • All states showed home price gains during the month of August, save for Arkansas where prices were stagnate.
  • Home values rose 11.1 percent in Michigan, which led the pack. And values in California and Nevada came in second place with 9.2 percent.
  • In terms of specific cities, the Houston area saw home values increase 11.1 percent compared to the previous year. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas and Riverside also saw large gains.
  • Home prices nationwide remain about 12.1 percent below their peak average in April 2006.
  • Home purchases decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million in August.
  • Home sales decreased from a July rate of 5.14 million.
  • Meanwhile, the pace of home sales dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year.
  • Experts say that an annual sales rate of 5.5 million is considered a healthy market.
  • Meanwhile, the median sales price has increased 4.8 percent over the last 12 months to $219,800, although that average dropped slightly during the month of August when compared to July and June.

Experts say that most of any uptick in sales activity (and thus, values) on the national housing market would depend on wage growth. That’s because wages are currently neck-in-neck with inflation, making it hard for home buyers to increase in buying power.

Still, there’s hope on the horizon:

Although hourly wages have only increased 2.3 percent over the last 12 months, there are signs that that activity will pick up in 2015.

Use Recent Activity on the National Housing Market to Your Advantage

As you can see, the market has stabilized itself enough where you could purchase a home and get a pretty good return on your investment as values eventually continue to rise.

So if you’re thinking about investing in real estate anytime soon, now is the time to do so!

And be sure to check back here soon as we continue to discuss with you important real estate trends that impact you!

Can You Handle The Truth or Should We Tell You What You Want To Hear?

Deciphering Builder Speak: Can we talk?

builder signsHomes starting in the Low $300s!

Luxury townhomes in the high $200s!

Does that mean you can buy a new home in that community between $300,000 and $325,000? Probably not.

Can you handle the truth?

If I tell you that you will end up spending 30% or more above the base model price of that new home, will you believe me?

As part of our buyer services, we make it our business to know what people end up spending, in almost any community you will like, anywhere in Delaware. Having worked in the most popular Boomer Communities in Delaware, we also know what is included in the Builders’ “Base Models” and how much people typically spend on upgrades and even what options they choose to create their ideal home. Do you?

Are they (the builder’s sales people) lying to you? Are the ads that say “starting in the $300s,” correct?

You need to understand that “they” work for the builder and the new home sale process is designed to allow each of you to personalize your home with the options and upgrades that matter most to you. You may be able to buy the “base model,” but any personalization will have a price above that base!

To some of our clients, picking and choosing every little thing that will go into their home is fun. To others however, the process if stressful and keeps them awake at night.

Can you buy a new home without going through all that?

Yes. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a Quick Delivery home that is close enough to your wish list. A new home that is ready for immediate occupancy is typically priced well to incent you to purchase sooner rather than later. Email us for available QDHs.

The truth is…

The truth is the house is only a small part of the picture. Where it is located? What’s the history of the neighborhood and the reputation of both the builder and the developer? These are all critical elements in making a good purchase decision.

Try to keep an open mind and let’s concentrate on finding you a home in a good location that will help you get your new life in Delaware off on the right foot! A good start is determining your optimum Location, Location, Location!

  • Location 1: Narrow down the Delaware county/town that interests you
  • Location 2: Zero in on New Home Communities and find an agreeable Neighborhood
  • Location 3:  Find a place within that Neighborhood that meets your needs

Once you begin your search, you may find an existing home that is actually better than a new one! Delaware is a small state and we are familiar with the communities in Delaware’s Sussex, Kent and New Castle Counties that have appeal for many of our active adult clients. Use us as an expert resource for ALL of your questions regarding any community anywhere in the state. Are you ready today? We are… email us.

Buying A House? Why So Much Paperwork?

“I’m getting a Mortgage, why so much paperwork?”

Gail Alm, Mortgage Planning Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. in Rehoboth Beach offered this information courtesy of Keeping Current Matters.

Woman-overwhelmed-by-pile-of-files“We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago. There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history. Continue reading

US Real Estate Saw 6-Year High in August

We’re breaking records on the U.S. housing market!

Evidently, during the month of August, US real estate saw 6-year high when national home sales reached their highest levels in more than six years, according to a recent report from the Commerce Department.

This is incredible! That means that sales activity has returned to the levels it was pre-bubble burst. And this spells great success for anyone interested in listing their home on the market.

A Closer Look at US Home Data

According to Commerce Department figures, new home sales jumped 18 percent to a 504,000 annualized rate, which is the strongest it’s been since May 2008. Continue reading

Delaware Tops Kiplinger’s Most tax-Friendly State List!

It’s been no secret that Delaware is one of the most tax friendly states for retirees. In an recent article on Yahoo Finance, Kiplinger’s Sandra Block lists the top 10 most tax-friendly states in the U.S. and I am proud to say,

AAR Welcome to DE“It’s no “small wonder,” Delaware remains #1 on the most tax-friendly state list!

“These ten states impose some of the lowest taxes in the U.S., according to Kiplinger’s 2014 analysis of state tax rules,” says Sandra Block. “State taxes and the ways they are collected vary significantly across the country. For example, some states with low income taxes impose above-average sales or property taxes — a big consideration if you intend to own your house. Most states allow cities and counties to add their own sales taxes, which can boost combined sales taxes in some cities to 10% or more.”

It’s also important to consider the potential trade-offs. Low tax revenues may give a state less money to spend on education, transportation, public safety and other quality-of-life services important to you and your family.

1. Delaware

State income tax: 2.2%-6.6%, State sales tax: None, Gas taxes and fees: $0.23 per gallon (National average is $0.31)

The First State is first on our list. Known for its tax-friendly treatment of corporations, Delaware imposes no sales tax on consumers. Its income tax rates cap out at 6.6% on taxable income above $60,000.

Delaware also has some of the lowest property tax rates in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation. The median property tax on the state’s median home value of $249,400 is $1,078, low compared to other states.

Excise taxes on beer and wine are also modest: 16 cents per gallon for beer and 97 cents for a gallon of wine. Continue reading

Never judge a builder by its stock performance

I am an avid CNBC watcher but not as much as I used to be. They have gone from reporting hard news to advocating for their own positions and favorite companies. If you only evaluated companies based on their stock performance or the comments of a CNBC on air personality, would you end up with the best product?

Never judge a builder by its stock performance

If that company is a home builder would their stock performance guarantee you the best home? a large publicly-traded company better than a local builder?

That depends. If you are buying a new home from a production builder, bigger might be better in some cases. Sometimes I find that the public accountability is a plus. Maintaining a good reputation can be very important to a company in business for the long haul. Good press, positive online reviews and satisfied customers can contribute to happy shareholders as well as happy homeowners. Continue reading

What will a new home cost in a 55+ community in Delaware?

How much will a new home cost? What will the taxes be? Will I have public water and sewer? These and other questions are important to ask and evaluate when you are buying a retirement home in another state. Statistics say that most people downsize and stay within an hour of their existing home when they retire.AAR Welcome to DE

An AARP survey in 2010 showed that people over 45 prefer to live near family, and within reach of basic services. The desire to stay close to the people and services that they rely on may be one factor keeping seniors in place.

If they do relocate, there are usually specific reasons and a lot of it has to do with taxes and cost of living. Weather may also play a role.

They will relocate to areas with a lower cost of living. Still, many boomers dream of relocating in retirement, leaving behind traffic, cold weather and high taxes. A quarter of a century ago, the most important consideration in choosing where to relocate in retirement was climate. Today, the primary drivers are the cost of living and access to affordable healthcare. US News

So, what will a new home cost in a 55+ community in Delaware?

In an improving real estate market I thought it would be a good time to talk about the relationship between lower taxes and the price of a home in Delaware. It has become no secret that Delaware is one of the most tax friendly states for retirees. (FAQ’s on DE Taxes) Depending on where live now, that does not necessarily mean that our home prices are lower. Continue reading

Report: Big Homes Are a Hot Trend on the National Real Estate Market

US Construction Big homes are a big deal on the national housing market, according to a recent article in USA Today.

Evidently, big homes are a hot trend and a growing number of home buyers are looking for larger homes to accommodate their every need and desire.

In fact, of the 569,000 homes built last year in the US, about 33 percent (or 188,000 homes) had three or more bathrooms. That’s the largest share since tracking of new construction homes started in 1987.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of last year’s total new homes (or 251,000 homes) featured four or more bedrooms – which is the largest share it’s been since 1973.

These homes also tend to come with a lot more amenities:

  • 53 percent of the homes built last year (301,000) had a patio
  • 63 percent (361,000) had a porch
  • And 22 percent (127,000) had a deck

It’s quite an interesting trend, especially given that at the same time, home ownership rates are remaining stable and the size of families and households is actually decreasing. Continue reading