January 31, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Algernon Sydney:  “Liars need to have good memories.”  (Fred)  “Lies tend to come full circle.”

January 31, 2014

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS # 598665-From 799,000 to $599,000.  A unique property in Historic Lewes DE has been reduced to Bargain status.  The first floor is for your business or studio while the second floor is a 2 BR apartment with a separate entrance, plus parking for 10.  Call me to see this property at 302 258-6983.  fredsporch.com

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Tips For Retiring


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retirement-ahead

Retirement often means moving.  After retiring, many people wish to move to a smaller home or a home that requires less maintenance.  Others finally have an excuse to move to their dream location after years of being stuck in a certain area because of their job.  Still others choose to make a vacation home their full-time residence.  There are many reasons to choose a purchase a home to retire to, but moving can be tricky and it can be difficult to feel like you’ve made the “right” decision when it comes to a retirement home.  Here are some tips that might help make the decision easier.

“Active Adult Community” vs. Traditional Community

They can be called active adult communities, 55+ communities, or a myriad of other things, but the truth is that these types of communities can be a great option.  If you are interested in having a lot of recreational and social activities to choose from then an active adult community might be for you.  These communities usually offer golf, tennis, swimming, and/or other recreational activities for a monthly fee.  This fee is usually a fraction of what it would cost you to pay for all of the individual amenities yourself.  When you are trying to decide whether or not to look at 55+ communities or purchase a home in a more traditional community seriously consider how often you think you will use amenities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool, or a clubhouse.  If the answer is “not often” then it might be worth it for you to live in a more traditional community and pay a-la-carte for the things you desire, such as someone to mow the lawn or take care of snow removal.

Location

Make a list of all the things that are most important then look for a home that is located near all of the amenities.  This list might include the beach, quality healthcare, shopping, golf, restaurants, and much more… whatever is on your list, do your best to find a home that is in the vicinity of your top choices.

Amenities

If you choose an active adult community the amenities should be part of your consideration, but don’t forget to consider amenities if you choose a more traditional path as well.  Is it important for you to have a garden?  Do you dream of sitting on a porch in the evenings?  Do you plan to host large family dinners? Consider what is most important to you and look for a home with these amenities or the ability to add these amenities easily and within your budget.

Monthly Upkeep

When you are determining where to buy a home be sure to factor in the “hidden” costs of ownership.  For example, how much will it cost you monthly to have someone mow your lawn and keep up with the yard maintenance when the time comes that you no longer want to do it yourself?  If you choose an active adult community, be sure you know what the monthly fees are, what they cover, and when they were last raised and by how much.

Safety and Layout

Not only do you want a house in a safe and secure neighborhood, but you also want to consider the future.  If there comes a time in the very far future when you need a wheelchair or other medical equipment, will the home you choose be able to accommodate you.  These are things that nobody wants to think of when they retire and have plenty of life left in them, but the time to plan for these things is before they happen to you.

Cost

Everyone’s goal should be to retire debt-free, so the overall cost of your home is, of course, something to keep in mind.  Be sure you can afford your home.  Just think of the freedom you will have in retirement if you are living mortgage-free!

Above all, when considering where you will live after retiring, be sure to evaluate and consider both your current desires as well as your long-term needs.  And, of course, hire a real estate agent to help you through the process!  A couple of years ago, Delaware Today published this article about why Sussex Counties is such a great place to retire, and it’s as true today as it was then.

If you are thinking of retiring to Sussex County give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266!

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All About Home Inspections


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Home inspector

After you’ve found your dream home comes the scary part… inspection!  Home inspections are meant to educate the buyer about the home they are interested in and ultimately give them piece of mind about the decision they make.  Inspections are scary because they are not intended to uncover every nitty gritty detail about the house, so even a home that passes inspection with flying colors still might have an issue that was undetected.  Home inspectors are not always able to pinpoint specific problems, but they are trained to examine the details of a home and determine if there might be any serious underlying issues.  At the very least, a home inspector should be able to suggest that you get the expert opinion of a plumber, electrician, or other specialized contractor if they feel there might be a problem.  When the home you love is being inspected, you should keep in mind that there are many problems that are fairly easy and cost efficient to take care of – these types of issues can even be bargaining chips in your negotiations with the seller.  There are several key problems, however, that can be a matter of safety.  If your inspector reports any of the following issues, you definitely want to keep in mind that these can be very costly and time consuming to fix.  Here are the issues that might cause you to reconsider the house, or at least reconsider how much you are willing to pay for it, considering you will most likely have costly repairs to make:

  • Foundation problems
  • Roof problems
  • Structural problems
  • Moisture issues (pooled water, wet basement, moisture in crawl spaces, improper drainage, etc.)
  • Mold issues (usually caused by moisture issues)
  • Fire, carbon monoxide, and/or safety hazards
  • Electrical hazards

In addition to finding out whether or not the home is plagued with any big problems like these, you should also be sure to find out how old the roof is, how old the furnace and water heater are and the condition they are in, whether or not the routine maintenance of the house appears to have been kept up, and whether or not the home’s exterior has proper drainage, which is especially important if the home has a basement.

Thinking of buying or selling a home?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266!

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Marketing Language For Your Home


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download (1)

When you are working with your agent to write the listing for your home you should put more than a few moments of thought into it.  Your online listing is your advertisement to potential buyers.  If you want buyers to come and look then you will need to pique their interest.  The first and most important thing you should do is include a handful of pictures.  The second thing you need to do is write the description.  To help you, begin by avoiding general “filler” words.  Examples of such words are things like fantastic, gorgeous, spacious, charming, great, etc.  In addition to avoiding those types of filler terms, you should also avoid overly-common “code language” such as “cozy” and “up and coming.”  Buyers in today’s market know that those terms just mean “small” and “not a great neighborhood,” so it’s better to just avoid them entirely.  So, what should you say?  Think of your description as the best way to shine a light on the very best that your home has to offer.  If your home is in a desirable neighborhood, name it specifically.  If your home has top-notch finishes (marble, granite, etc.) name them specifically.  If your home has any largely desirable built-ins or custom work such as cabinets, bookshelves, etc. you should list them.  You should also take the time to list any little luxuries that your home includes that appeal to a wide range of buyers.  These types of luxuries include gourmet kitchens, spa-like showers, breakfast nooks, walk-in closets, etc.  If your home is in a walkable neighborhood, list nearby “walkable” places.  Really take the time to paint a picture of your home’s ideal location.  Additionally you will want to list anything that separates your home from the rest of the competition.  Use your listing to make potential buyers come to your home instead of the home next door, across the street, or around the block!  Lastly, no matter what you say in your description, make sure to prove it with pictures!  Whatever you do, be sure that your written description and your photos match.  Do not give potential buyers any reason to doubt your honesty or question your description.  Make them come check it out in person!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County? Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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January 29, 2014


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Today’s words of wisdom are from Alexander the Great:  “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”  (Fred)  “I am afraid of any army, they tend to be used.”

And it snowed again!

January 29, 2014

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS #593627-From $589,000 to $560,000.  Here is a Dewey Beach DE home with 4 BR, 2 BA, and only 1 block to the Beach.  The home is sold furnished and has a brick FP, a Huge Family Room with a wet bar, vaulted ceilings and a great rental history.  Call me @ 302 258-6983 to see this home.  fredsporch.com

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January 28, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Alexander the Great:  “I am dying from the treatment of too many physicians.”  (Fred)  “Alexander was a young man, if he could see us now!”

January 28, 2014

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS #592778-From $298,000 to $289,000.  Here is a Seaford DE Colonial with 4 BR, 3 BA, in 2940 sq. ft. on 1.14 acres.  The home features a 2 story Foyer, a formal Dining and Living Rooms, a possible 5th bedroom on the first floor and a private rear yard.  Call me to see this home-302 258-6983.  fredsporch.com.

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Suggestions for Small Spaces


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download

If you’ve got a small living space, try some of these suggestions to make your room feel cozy and not cramped:

1.  Go neutral.  Stick to neutral walls and curtains to make a small space appear larger.  Keep patterns neutral and use accent pieces to bring in color.

2.  Utilize multi-use.  In a small room an ottoman should double as storage, built in bookshelves provide unity, and any multi-function furniture you can utilize helps create space!

3.  Scale down.  Rather than a full-size sofa, consider a large love seat or scaled down couch.  Forgo the coffee table, keep end tables narrow, and play with layout until you find the best use of your space.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County? Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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January 27, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Alexander Hamilton:  “Man is reasoning rather than a reasonable animal.”  (Fred)  “The human condition is unpredictable.”

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the Day is MLS #598168-From $249,000 to $237,000. A Millville DE Contemporary with 3 BR, 2 BA, built in 1999 has been reduced to Bargain Territory.  The home is located in a gated, Golf Course Community.  Call me to see this home @ 302 258-6983.  fredsporch.comJanuary 27,2014

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Fix Aesthetic Issues To Sell Faster


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images

When you are selling a home there are a lot of details to pay attention to.  Buyers can be picky and many complain about a lot.  But there are several simple aesthetic fixes that can stop buyers from being turned-off from your home.  The first is overgrown and/or dead landscaping.  Pruning and raking only cost a bit of time and can add some serious curb appeal.  The next thing that you can easily fix to appeal to a wider variety of buyers is paint.  Painting is a relatively inexpensive and simple fix to make.  Ugly wallpaper and paneling can also turn-off buyers.  Although it’s more difficult to take care of, replacing unattractive wallpaper with paint will make a huge difference.  If you have options to remove your paneling and paint those walls too, you should take it, although removing paneling can be very tricky, so be sure to consult an expert before you begin any projects.  Although there are many more buyer turn-offs that sellers can easily take care of, the final one I am going to mention are doors.  Make sure all of your doors are on, hung straight, moving freely, and working properly before you begin showing your home.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Stage Your Home To Sell


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empty stage

Staging your home is one of the best ways to help it sell.  Staging is about creating a mood giving the illusion that your home is brighter, warmer, and sometimes even larger than it might otherwise seem.  Done correctly, staging helps create an environment that makes potential buyers want to bite the bullet.  Staging is the final stage in prepping your home for sale.  It should follow de-cluttering, cleaning, painting, and making any necessary repairs.  To dress a room you can use a variety of items.  Some popular ones are mirrors, lamps, flowers and plants, area rugs, pillows, throw blankets, baskets, etc.  Most stagers recommend using sparse furniture and accenting to make the room’s purpose apparent.  For example, in your kitchen you can rub orange oil into dry cabinets to revive them and make them shine and put out large bowls of bright, polished fruit such as apples and oranges.  It helps your bathroom to add spa baskets with towels tied with ribbon, scented soaps and lotions, etc.  Stagers also recommend that you stage your yard too.  Add plants and flowers as necessary, and remember that potted plants work too.  You can also dress any patio furniture that you have with a fun tablecloth or other bright solution.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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January 24, 2014


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Today’s words of wisdom are from Alexander Hamilton:  “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”  (Fred)  “We must stand for something or accept anything. Live your life but keep your head out of the sand.”

January 24, 2014

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS # 605807-From $775,000 to $749,900.  A stunning Coastal Contemporary in Millsboro DE (Gated Community) has been reduced.  This home features 3 Master Suites, Hickory Floors, a Gourmet Kitchen and 5 balconies.  Call me to see this Gem at 302 258-6983.   www.fredsporch.com

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Tips For Avoiding The Flu


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I recently got over a nasty bout of the flu that had me out of commission for over a week.  (That’s the reason I didn’t update the blog at all last week!)  My doctor told me that the flu is hitting hard this year, and that about half of the individuals coming down with the flu have also received the flu shot.  Flu season is far from over, so here are a few tips my doctor gave me on flu prevention for yourself and your home:

  • Avoid contact with sick people – this seems obvious, but many people think it’s okay if the other person “just has a cold.”  It’s not.  Limit your contact to prevent germs from spreading – what may not manifest in the flu in one person may turn into a raging case in another.
  • Don’t just cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.  Cover your nose too, and do it with a tissue or hankie.  Then immediately throw out the tissue or wash the hankie.  Avoid covering your mouth/nose with your hand or arm unless it’s an emergency.
  • Wash often.  Use a moisturizing antibacterial soap so you don’t dry out your skin.  Wash your hands all the time whether you’re sick or not.  If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer throughout the day.
  • Disinfect surfaces that many people come into daily contact with such as doorknobs, faucets, countertops, television remotes, etc.  A disinfecting wipe makes this super easy although you can use traditional cleaners as well.
  • Change your toothbrush.  My doctor told me this is the biggest thing that people forget.  Throw away your toothbrush or otherwise disinfect it so that you don’t re-infect yourself.
  • Clean your cell phone.  There is a study I read recently that showed that cell phone surfaces are covered in more unhealthy bacteria than the inside of an average toilet.  How disgusting is that?  Cleaning your cell phone thoroughly at least once a day should become a daily part of everyone’s routine to promote good health.
  • And of course, don’t forget to get as much rest as possible.  A rested body promotes a healthy immune system much more than a tired one.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Off Season Activities To Keep You Busy


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Off season at the beach can be very relaxing.  If you’re looking for something to do in the Lewes/Rehoboth Beach area, check out the following activities:

1.  See a movie.  Check out Movies at Midway for a popular feature film, or check out rehobothfilm.com for a more artsy choice and schedule of events.

2.  Visit an Art Gallery.  Lewes and Rehoboth are both brimming with art galleries and many of them are open during the off season.  They are definitely worth a look.

3.  Visit Cape Henlopen State Park.  There’s a lot to do there and it’s always worth a visit!

4.  Shopping.  Route 1 through Rehoboth Beach is brimming with outlets that are much more pleasant to shop at when they aren’t filled with beach-going tourists.

5.  Walk on the beach or boardwalk.  Walking on the beach in the winter, when it is all yours to enjoy alone, is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.  If walking on the sand doesn’t thrill you, you can stroll the Rehoboth Boardwalk instead.  The view is equally lovely.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you — 302-644-2266.

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Financial Advice For Homebuying


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Just because the bank offers you a $400,000 mortgage doesn’t mean that it is wise for you to take the full amount.  Generally speaking, you should take at least 20% less than the bank offers you in order to protect your financial security.  By purchasing a home at the very top of your budget, you risk being in a tight financial position for very many years in the future if anything should go wrong.  Additionally, unless you are willing to take a risk, you should always go with a fixed-rate mortgage for a set period of time.  A traditional 15 or 30 year mortgage will protect you against a jump in your monthly payment in the future.  Finally, don’t get caught off guard by unexpected costs.  In addition to the down payment and closing costs be prepared to pay appraisal fees, broker fees, loan application fees, inspection fees, plus ongoing costs like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, homeowner’s association or condo fees, and hazard/flood insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payment.  To be best prepared for all of these costs, be sure that you keep a significant portion of cash available rather than using it all toward your down-payment.  This will help insure better financial security for your family and your future.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you –302-629-6693.

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January 22, 2014


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Today’s words of wisdom are from Albert Pike:  “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”  (Fred)  “Fend for yourself and your family first, then for others, then for the world.”

And then it SNOWED  only2 ½ inches but its cold, 9 degrees.

January 22, 2014

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS # 607620-From $699,000 to $674,900.  A “Painted Lady” Victorian in Lewes DE with 3 BR, 2.5 BA is now available.  This home has restored Victorian architecture with modern conveniences and an oversized lot with expansion possibilities.  Call me to see this Gem @ 302 258-6983.  www.fredsporch.com

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January 21, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Albert Pike:  “War is a series of catastrophes which result in victory.”  (Fred)  “NFL football is a series of catastrophes which result in victory.”

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS # 607835-From $169,900 to $159,900.  Here is a Seaford DE Colonial is a nice neighborhood with 4 BR, 2.5 BA, in 2688 sq. ft. on .65 acres.  The home needs some updating but features a double sided fireplace and an unfinished dry basement.  Please call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.   www.fredsporch.comJanuary 21, 2014

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Simple Home Improvements To Make Now


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Improving your home is helpful if you’re trying to sell, but it’s also beneficial for you and your family if you intend to stay in your home for the long term.  An improved home helps you feel more organized and just all-around better.  If you’re looking for relatively easy and inexpensive ways then start by going around your home and fixing everything that’s broken.  Repair the broken leg of your coffee table, clean out your showerhead so that you get a complete flow, reseal windows and doors that are drafty, take your broken toaster to the repair shop (or throw it away!), etc.  Spend a week taking care of all the little things in your home that need some TLC and throw out what you don’t need anymore.  After you’ve done that, take it a little further and purge your home of the items you no longer need, want, or use.  By getting rid of all the excess in your home you will remove stress and create space that will improve your quality of life in your home.  If you’re not sure where to start, begin by donating clothes that no longer fit or you no longer wear, get rid of books that you’ve already read and movies that you’ve already watched, and move on from there.  Finally, as I’ve said a thousand times before, a good paint job really can improve the quality of your home.  There are studies that show that certain paint colors in certain rooms actually make people happier.  Do a little research and spend some time painting your home.  Begin with the two or three rooms you spend the most time in and see what a difference it makes!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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January 20, 2014


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Today’s words of wisdom are from Albert Pike:  “A man should live with his superiors as he does with his fire:  not too near, lest he burn; nor too far off, lest he freeze.”  (Fred)  “We always gravitate toward our own comfort zone:  sometimes greatness commands us to leave that zone.”

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS #600296-From $79,000 to $60,000.  Here is a Seaford, DE Rancher under Guardianship of the Court-Sold AS IS.  The home has 3 BR, 1 BA, in 1100 sq. ft. on .22 acre.  The neighborhood averages about 135K.  Call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.  www.fredsporch.comJanuary 20, 2014

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To Pay Extra or Not To Pay Extra?


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Paying down your mortgage early is a great thing to do, and can be considered a good investment for many homeowners.  I, myself, am not a financial advisor, but I have culled several interesting articles that outline the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage early from several finance and real estate experts.  First, check out this article, which outlines the benefits of mortgage repayment.  Then, check out this article, which says basically the opposite thing!  Finally, check out this article, which dispels some confusion over whether or not paying off your mortgage early is a good idea.  Whether or not you should pay off your mortgage early is a personal decision that requires a lot of thought and discussion before it’s made.  I know what my decision is, what’s yours?

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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January 17, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Adam Smith:  “The robot is going to lose.  Not by much.  But when the final score is tallied, flesh and blood is going to beat the damn monster.”  (Fred)  “We are approaching this conflict,  my money is on us, as it should be.”

Fred’s (The Bargain Man) pick of the day is MLS # 609321-From $164,900 to $139,900.  A Millsboro DE Freddie Mac End Unit Town Home with 3 BR, 3.5 BA in 1800 sq. ft. that has new paint, carpet, and the third floor has a BA and could be a 4th BR.  Call me to see this Bargain at 302 258-6983.  www.fredsporch.comJanuary 17, 2014

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