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Rehoboth Beach & Lewes Real Estate

Bill Mann - Broker Associate / Owner of Mann & Sons, Inc. REALTORS®

By Bill Mann | Broker in 19971
  • Remembering Rehoboth Beach Homes’ Long-Term Value

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Rehoboth Beach  |  December 1, 2012 7:53 AM  |  151 views  |  No comments

    When you search through the latest listings of Rehoboth Beach homes, you first find those that fit your top-line needs. Then you winnow down that list. Some of the candidates will seem more appealing than others; and some will seem to be over- or underpriced.

    Before making a final judgment on which homes bear a closer look, the most successful homebuyers also factor in qualities that may not be at the top of their own personal priorities list, yet which make a difference to the majority of homebuyers. In other words, they keep in mind the most important qualities that add value in market terms – that add investment value to homes that are principally your personal residential choice. Some of the more important ones:

    • Location has a huge impact on a property's long-term price. Are amenities close by? Close enough to walk. Are homes in the immediate area well maintained? Is the property on a desirable block, or located next to a busy road?
    • Taxes impact the overall cost of long-term cost – and when homes are listed, those figures are significantly displayed. Also important is whether there are any pending issues you should be aware of -- like a sewer bond or other pending taxes.
    • Condition will become a major factor in years to come -- forward thinking will pay off in terms of overall value. A 20-yr-old water heater, for example, is going to cost sooner rather than later.  Homes with excellent roof and foundation condition can add exceptional long-term value.
    • Rehoboth Beach homes with potential are homes with unrealized value. With smaller properties, it’s worthwhile to consider how doable it would be to add rooms or expand its square footage.  Even if you don’t end up adding square footage, if homes are small for the neighborhood, a future buyer might. 
    These historically low mortgage rates make it a terrific time to give me a call. Together, we’ll find the Rehoboth Beach homes that are good fits for your family – as well as great long-term values.
  • A Lewes Real Estate Agent Pegs More Than Prices

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Lewes, Home Selling in Lewes  |  November 19, 2012 3:21 AM  |  141 views  |  No comments

    I think every Lewes real estate agent shares my overall sense of optimism as national housing prices continue to revive. While the nation’s economy could definitely be in better shape, this growing stability in the residential market is one of the few economic indicators to provide a steady stream of positive news. The rest of the economy can certainly use some of that: since the real estate market is so massive, upbeat reports from our industry provides a steadying influence on the others.

    Real estate agents nationwide know that the current basement-level interest rates for home loans are part of the reason. Especially because of the public commitment to hold rates down into the future, other outside influences (like widely fluctuating gas prices) have less effect on the greater trend. 

    What does that mean for us, in our neighborhood -- on our block?  After all, here in Lewes, we don’t buy and sell real estate nationally.  Since home sales are the ultimate local product, to get the most accurate applicable economic information, we have to go local. That’s where a Lewes real estate agent makes all the difference.

    An experienced real estate agent is the single expert most familiar with the nuances of Lewes neighborhoods. For a buyer, that means providing guidance on where to look to find the best value that matches requirements. For a seller, we are able to get started in the right direction by compiling an up-to-the-minute competitive market analysis. The fact is, a price may seem fair -- seem ‘right’ – yet, if the rest of the market has moved away from ‘right,’ still fail to produce interested buyers...or to create more of a bargain than was actually called for.  The information that pegs the current local market is the surest way to save precious time.

    A knowledgeable Delaware beach real estate agent helps a client develop winning strategies for selling their home quickly – and that’s something that entails more than just finding a price that attracts buyers. Because markets are always changing, marketing must change with them. For example, when the market is heavy with investors (who are looking for a deal), it’s a different situation than when it is dominated by traditional homebuyers (who are looking for a home).

    In any case, whether you are buying, selling or investing, a real estate agent in Lewes will be an invaluable asset.  I am here to help my clients make sense of it all -- call me anytime to discuss what’s doing!

  • When Renters Buy: The Lease Option Route

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Rehoboth Beach, Rent vs Buy in Rehoboth Beach  |  November 12, 2012 4:47 AM  |  157 views  |  No comments

    When you have survived a career loss or made it through a foreclosure, it can take a while before you have picked yourself up and dusted yourself off. At that point, you may have been momentarily relieved to find that you have a lot of company. Nevertheless, sooner or later, it’s time to bounce back.

    One of the universal hurdles almost everyone in this position faces is how to go about stepping up to secure their next home. One of our Rehoboth Beach rentals is always a choice, but for many, an unsatisfying one. As always in any other than boom times, cash is king -- and if you don’t have it, your options are limited.  Today’s would-be buyers who lack funds for a down payment (or have a credit deficit) do sometimes have another alternative: a lease option.  

    A lease option is essentially two transactions rolled into one. Terms can vary, but commonly a Rehoboth Beach lease option goes something like this: the tenant pays the landlord an option fee in exchange for the right to purchase the home after an agreed-upon period of time (in the Delaware Resort area, often one to three years). During that period, the tenant pays extra rent, which the landlord credits toward the eventual down payment.

    Sounds simple enough, right? The landlord gets to take the home off the market, and the future homeowner has solved his immediate cash crunch. His rental feels like his own property, with equity building up…

    There are, however, realistic planning details to which both parties should give attention. Too many lease options wind up not ending in a purchase. I think that is because of a failure by one or both parties to realistically take a couple of factors into account.

    First and foremost is the buyer’s credit status at the end of the lease option. The tenant has to be prepared to actively use the option period to improve his or her credit and financial profiles. Neglecting that means mortgage lenders will be AWOL when they are needed.

    Tenants also need to be prepared to maintain the property. Depending upon the terms spelled out in the agreement, although the landlord may still be responsible for some expenses, the tenant is usually expected to keep the home and yard in good condition; and sometimes also to cover minor repairs. If that turns out to be an expense that wasn’t foreseen, it can lower the property’s appraised value -- or cause additional credit problems.

    A lease option is a legally binding contract and – like all contracts – should be thoroughly reviewed and understood before signing. As a real estate professional, I am here to assist my clients with important real estate decisions like these.  If you are considering buying or selling a home and are considering a Rehoboth Beach lease option, contact me anytime to go over your choices.  Sometimes a solution may be closer than you think!

  • Lewes Property Owner’s Safety Net Uses Banking Jujitsu

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Lewes, Home Buying in Lewes  |  November 7, 2012 9:14 AM  |  144 views  |  No comments

    Rare is the Lewes property owner who doesn’t remember at least one budget-busting maintenance emergency. It may have been a roof problem; perhaps a plumbing or electrical mishap…whatever the cause, unforeseen cratering of the household bank account can furrow brows and send blood pressures soaring.

    For the very wealthy, it’s a non-issue. For all the rest of us, there is one foolproof method of avoiding the problem: create an emergency fund.

    Everyone does his and her best to save for the future – for everything from the great events in life to more modest occasions, like family vacations. But making a clear distinction between those kinds of savings and a special emergency fund is worth the effort. For one thing, you remove the temptation to reach for a credit card – and create months or years of extra payments (plus sky-high interest). Nor will you be forced to dig into a major long-term savings account.

    So, what is the secret that other Lewes property owners use to somehow amass such an emergency fund? Where does anyone get the extra money to create it?

    The answer is to engage in a form of financial jujitsu – a sort of monetary trick you decide to play…on yourself!  The key is to start putting away cash each month. Subconsciously.

    The most common method is to set it and forget it.  Tell the bank to take four or five percent of your paycheck and place it in a savings account automatically. After the first couple of months of slightly painful adjusting, most people barely miss the subtracted money (which is also building interest). You might also choose an online-only bank to house the account. Although they may require a minimum balance to begin, online banks often offer higher interest rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Additionally, when the fund is distinctly separated from day-to-day banking, it just sort of disappears: out of sight, out of mind -- until you need it!

    You can also trick yourself with other pain-reducing tactics. Some banks allow customers to round up all their charged purchases to the nearest dollar -- then route the excess change into a savings account.  Or when you finish paying off a car loan, credit card, or some other debt (like that hot tub you bought last year to improve the property), why not re-direct its monthly payment to the emergency fund? You’ve already budgeted for that expense!

    Owning Lewes property -- and building equity in it -- can be one of life’s greatest satisfactions. When you plan ahead to insulate the family budget from unexpected financial drains, it adds another positive. When it comes to real estate, I’m here to help my clients move toward their long-term financial goals. Creating one of these emergency funds is a step in that direction.

  • Rehoboth Beach Listings Tell Much – But Not All!

    Posted Under: Using Trulia in Rehoboth Beach, Home Buying in Rehoboth Beach  |  November 6, 2012 10:59 AM  |  163 views  |  1 comment

    The other day I was with a client -- together we were going over some of our Rehoboth Beach listings. She had emailed me a few possibilities that had caught her eye, and from that I had earmarked some others that shared features with her original picks.

    We take it for granted at this point, but digitized listings have to be the greatest of all the advances technology has brought to real estate. For both prospective Delaware Beach homebuyers and sellers, the ease and efficiency that has resulted puts past practices back there with horses and buggies. 

    There are some unintended side effects, too (isn’t it always so?)

    The way the search features work, future home owners find themselves thinking objectively much sooner than they used to. In order to narrow down any search, prospects have to decide which features are important right off the bat. Is it price? Neighborhood?

    Those first tentative choices provide a preliminary direction for how the house hunting will proceed. Nevertheless, it’s only a direction, not a roadmap. The truth is that listings -- no matter how precise and well written -- can’t tell the whole story. They describe details about the features that are important, but not necessarily decisive.

    That is because there are real, three-dimensional elements that even the most eloquently-pennedRehoboth Beach listings can’t convey. Ultimately, we will do it the old fashioned way – visiting properties to widen or narrow the field. And there never fails to be a surprise or two once we set out on those tours.

    Some decisive elements fall outside of what listings reveal. In terms of location, for instance, exactlywhere within a town or neighborhood a property lies makes a big difference. What about views, the neighbors, traffic, access to … well, everything!

    Another element is what you might call ‘description vs. reality.’ Many times a picture just can’t do justice to the real thing: photos in listings can undersell homes…or oversell them.  What potential buyers really want to know often cannot be pinned down in words or photos. Is the property well utilized? How about the way the sunlight plays through the trees in the backyard -- or how that maple tree so perfectly shades the front porch? Listings alone cannot tell you whether the closets are spacious enough for your family.  

    Ultimately, buyers employ the whole of their judgment – the sum of their personal experiences and preferences -- when it comes to buying a home.  Whether you call it instinct or something else, the truth is that listings that look perfect onscreen are only broad approximations of what someone experiences in real life. Extensive descriptions of the neighborhood can’t approach one afternoon spent walking its streets.

    That is the kind of detail that might just steal a potential buyer’s heart. If you are considering buying a home soon, I would love to help you explore the options – through the Rehoboth Beach listings, and then in real life! 

  • Making the Most of Lewes Home Walkthroughs

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Lewes  |  October 28, 2012 3:17 AM  |  138 views  |  No comments

    Everyone brings their own priorities to the table when checking out the Lewes homes for sale. Some folks drive street-by-street through their favored neighborhoods, eliminating or accepting through that first curb-appeal impression. Others trawl through the web listings, prioritizing by price, or lot size, or by number of bedrooms. Regardless of how they determine which Delaware resort homes for sale get a second look, savvy buyers eventually compare the amount of repair work each will need. They try to think like an inspector.

    This is not to suggest that anyone except an experienced professional will be able to complete a thorough inspection – you need a pro for that. Nevertheless, while you are first comparing properties, putting on your inspector’s hat can help you whittle down the field.

    If you watch an inspector at work, you will first notice that he or she spends an inordinate amount of time looking upward, so that’s a good place to start. An older home may have roofing issues, since some materials are made to last only about 15 to 30 years. Homes for sale with ceilings that show staining, corners with peeling paint, or buckled plasterboard are tip-offs that damage might already have taken place.

    An exterior walk-around to check for irregularities in the roof could be an indication of needed repair or replacement, and that can get expensive. Look for cupping or blistered shingles or exposed matrix (the stuff under the shingles).

    Then look down. Again, the usual suspect is water damage -- an initial cause of foundation problems, mold and rot issues. Inspect the walls and exposed foundation for discoloration or patching.

    Then, before you take off your inspector’s hat, look for poor drainage: sloping which leads toward rather than away from the house itself. Drainage that leads toward the home can cause water damage you may never have suspected without crawling under the house -- damage to crawlspaces, walls and foundation.

    If you think you see something and hear an explanation that leaves questions in your mind, we should compare notes: it might be time to engage an expert for a detailed assessment.

    These are only a few examples of elements that are sometimes overlooked when weighing the merits of Lewes homes for sale.  If you choose me to collaborate in your search, I will be sure to bring my experience to bear in helping you avoid unexpected expensive repair work – from first walk-through to the final professional inspection you will want before signing on the dotted line.

  • Foreclosure Price Rise Signals Market Move

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Lewes, Home Buying in Lewes, Foreclosure in Lewes  |  October 2, 2012 5:58 PM  |  179 views  |  No comments

    In August, the number of new foreclosures listed nationally barely crept upward -- even as average sale prices leapt dramatically. Realtytrac compiles the numbers, and they show a sizeable 10%+ jump in foreclosure sales prices from July to August. Of course, homes listed as foreclosures and short sales still close at prices markedly lower than homes sold in traditional transactions, but that rise in price seems to say that more buyers are feeling confident that a home purchased now will look like a wise move in the future.

    If you have been looking at the distressed property market in the Delaware Resort area, these numbers suggest that the short sale and foreclosure possibilities are still being created -- and that the value they represent is getting a boost of market verification. But before anyone rushes out to take advantage of that market, it’s a good idea to consider enlisting the help of a buyer’s agent. It’s no exaggeration to say that a great buyer’s agent can help make or break a short sale. 

    Helping you find a price that works is one of the most valuable services a buyer’s agent will supply. Banks will turn down a short sale if they determine it is possible to sell a home at a price closer to its market value. Nobody wants to overpay -- but you won’t get a house by overplaying your hand, either.  A knowledgeable Lewes buyer’s agent with a local market track record can be invaluable when it comes to determining how the price you are contemplating is likely to be received at the bank.

    As Realtytrac’s report suggest, it’s a fast-moving market. Anyone who has fallen in love with a house only to learn that theirs was the least attractive offer knows the sting of underestimating the market.  An experienced buyer’s agent can help you determine if it is likely that there are multiple offers on a home -- and whether a bidding war is likely to ensue.  If you want that house, a savvy buyer’s agent can be your secret weapon.

    In the larger picture, stepping back from the sometimes emotional side of the process, a well-versed Lewes buyer’s agent can help you determine if a home offered as a short sale is a good buy overall. Even when a home is priced well below market value, some wind up needing costly repairs that consume the cash saved on the purchase price. You need to compare apples to apples -- a great buyer’s agent can help you compare the potential real cost of buying a home that initially might have appeared to be available at an irresistible discount.

 
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