Ask The Broker Mailbag Edition

Welcome to Ask The Broker: Mailbag Edition!

Active Adults Realty Broker/Owner, Kathy Sperl-Bell Answers More of your Delaware Real Estate questions.

Welcome to the mailbag edition of Ask The Broker! We asked our Boomers & Beyond newsletter subscribers for questions submissions and they answered. Check out some of their great questions in this week’s Ask The Broker video.

Welcome to Ask the Broker. Hi, this is Kathy Sperl-Bell of Active Adults Realty in Delaware, and today’s video, I’m referring to as The Mailbag. If you recall, I asked in our last newsletter for some suggestions, “Send me your questions. Send me your ideas for future Ask the Broker videos.” Well, I did get quite a few. Some were quite funny, some were really, really good, and I thought I’m going to put it into two different piles. So this pile, I’m going to do future detailed videos and articles, and this pile, I’m going to give you some answers and suggestions today.

So, I want to start with a couple that are pretty easy. This one comes from Lisa, and Lisa was wondering if there was any new construction, smaller homes, anywhere in Delaware, around 1,000 square feet. Lisa, I have to tell you, there is a lot of conversation about tiny homes out there, you know, on the internet and on TV, but nobody is building tiny homes here in Delaware. The cost of construction, the cost of land, plus the planning and zoning requirements are a little bit complicated to be building small homes profitably.

Then, I got a fun question from Joe. “What do you recommend if you want to move to Delaware, but your partner/spouse/significant other is not on board?” And Joe, I’ve learned one thing in 18 years in real estate. If your partner/spouse does not want to move, I don’t think you’re moving, but I hope that’s not true.

Then, let’s move on to some more serious questions. This comes from Elisha, and Elisha’s asking, “Which communities in Delaware include the land as part of the sale? I understand,” she says, “that some communities only include the house, but not the land.” Elisha, that’s very true. There are basically two types of ownership, leasehold or land-lease communities and what is referred to as fee simple, which means you own both the land and the house.

I did do a video and a supporting article back in March of this year, answering the question, “What can you tell me about leased-land communities?” so I suggest you go back and take a look at that, and in that article, it also tells you, when you perform a home search on our website, on Active Adults Delaware, how you can find the field that says “fee simple” or “leasehold,” so it ought to be pretty easy to see. On our neighborhood pages, for example, it does identify whether or not it’s a fee simple or a leasehold community, but if you have any questions, pick up the phone and just give me a call. So, that should answer those questions.

Then we move on to a question submitted in two different ways. Here, Bruce asked, “How can you best determine what developments could have spiraling HOA fees in the future, that could hurt your chances of reselling or even affording to live there yourself?” And then Mary Anne asked a question about, “How can you be sure that you’re going to avoid special assessments in the future?”

Really, really good questions, and again, I can refer you back to an article I put on the blog back in January of 2014, which says why you should read those HOA documents, especially in Delaware, because Delaware is a very consumer-oriented state, and there are specific requirements for sellers and builders, developers, to provide you with a complete set of documents that will explain not only the rules, and the regulations, and what the fees cover, but effective … A new bill that was added in September 2009 and went into effect the following August, with some revisions, that really clarifies what type of information you, as a buyer, are entitled to receive, with time to review, prior to going to final contract.

These new obligations imposed on developers and communities include things like repair and replacement reserves, reserve studies, budget adoption procedures, audits, public offering statements, and resale certification. There’s a lot of detail, but what this requirement for the additional documentation is about is just that, so that you can be confident you’re not going to be subject to future special assessments for things that should have just been included in the fees that you’re already paying to that community, whether it’s a condo or a homeowners’ association. So, I know that’s a lot of information, but please understand that at least the agents here at Active Adults Realty are pretty familiar with what each community provides, does not provide, what the fees cover and don’t cover, and they’re going to be very prepared to talk to you about that as you’re narrowing down your selections from here to here.

So, just in conclusion here, there were a couple of good questions that are going to require a little bit more detail. One came from Lewis, where he wants me to compare the Delaware income tax, the state income tax, to neighboring states, and I realize I did that back in April, May of 2014, but obviously, that needs some updating, so thank you, Lewis. I will be doing an update.

I also got an interesting question from Janet. She was asking about capital gains tax. It seems that she has been in her home for a very long time, and no longer has a mortgage, and has some pretty significant capital gains. So, I sent her a quick answer, but I’m going to do some more research with my accountant and do a more detailed video and blog post about capital gains.

So, thank you, everybody. I really appreciate the suggestions. Trying to do these weekly videos is challenging without some help from my friends, so keep those questions coming. See you soon.

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