March 31, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Ezra Cornell:  “Idleness is to the human mind like rust to steel.”  (Fred)  “Humans need work to be whole.”

March 31, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 609481-From $241,500 to $209,500.  A Selbyville DE Bank Owned Contemporary which has 3 BR, 2.5 BA in 1455 sq. ft. on .46 acre.  The home is 5 miles from the Beach, with a large family room, WB Fireplace, front and rear decks a 2 car garage and an electrified storage shed.  Please call me to see this home 2 302 258-6983.  Home sold AS IS!

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Garage Organization Tips


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Tired of barely having enough room in your garage for your car?  Check out some of these tips for organizing.  With a little organization, you might find yourself hanging out in your garage, “just for fun!”

Two Words:  Adjustable Shelving
Hang several layers of shelving around the perimeter of your garage and stow away off season equipment, boots, buckets, etc.  By getting as possible off the ground and onto shelves, you eliminate clutter and gain a more organized space.

Peg Boards
Hang a few pegboards and use a variety of hooks instead of just one type and you’ll open up all kinds of storage opportunities!  Pegboards are great for hanging most tools and a whole lot more.

Garbage Cans
If you store large quantities of dog food, salt, sand, birdseed or other items that come in heavy bags, dump them in a garbage can (or put the whole bag inside), put the lid on, and label it.  Your storage will look much neater than if you have open, half-used bags lying around.  Throw a scoop inside and everything you need will be at your fingertips when you need it!

Canisters
Small kitchen-type canisters are useful for storing nuts, bolts, screws, nails, and more.  You can even get magnetic canisters and secure a magnetic strip to the wall for out of the way storage.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Let us help!  Give Cooper Realty Associates a call today – 302-629-6693.

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Reasons To Buy A Fixer-Upper


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There are several reasons you may want to forgo a fixer-upper for a finished home, but fixer uppers can be a great option for many people.  Today, here are five options that you may want to consider a fixer-upper for your next home:

You are looking for a home in a specific neighborhood.  If you’re looking for a home in a very specific area and there just aren’t very many available considering a fixer-upper may help you settle into your ideal location.

You live for do-it-yourself projects.  Turning a fixer-upper into a dream home requires a lot of time and money.  The ideal situation is to do as much work as possible yourself.  So if you don’t mind giving up your free time for the foreseeable future to get your hands dirty, or if you even enjoy hands-on work then a fixer-upper may be just what you’re looking for!

You have financing in order.  If you are prepared for the cost of your fixer-upper to be much more than the cost at settlement and you have financing in order to cover the cost of renovations either through cash-on-hand, a renovation loan, or other lines of credit then you are probably ready to consider a fixer-upper.

You have extensive repair knowledge.  If you don’t have the extensive knowledge base necessary to successfully bring a fixer-upper into dream-home territory you at least need the willingness to learn and the time and money to “practice” with since there is a large margin for error when you are leaning these things.

You can see your dream house potential.  If you can walk into a home and envision it just as you’d like, then you probably have the vision to walk through the remodel a step at a time.  Just remember that fixer-uppers take time to renovate.  If you’re willing to wait months, or even years for your dream home then go ahead and offer on that fixer-upper in the perfect location!

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 – 302-856-6434.

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Reasons To Re-Think A Fixer-Upper


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Buying an fixer upper can be a great way to move into your ideal neighborhood or buy more home than you could otherwise afford, but it’s definitely not for everyone.  Here are three reasons you may want to skip the fixer upper and put an offer on something that needs less work:

The home needs significant structural improvements.  Replacing or repairing major things such as plumbing and electrical systems, foundation upgrades, etc. are expensive, time consuming, and rarely ever offer a return on investment that actually increases the value of the home enough to make it worth it.

You shy away from getting your hands dirty.  The most cost-effective way to turn a fixer-upper into a dream home is to do as much of the work as you can yourself.  You don’t have to do everything yourself, of course, but the more you contract out the more time and money you will spend turning your home around.  If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer you may want to skip it.

You aren’t prepared to spend money.  Sure, the price on a fixer-upper seems like a steal, but once you add in the (often extensive) costs of renovation the total cost of your home goes way up.  If you’re not prepared for that bottom line going in, you should probably walk away.

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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March 28, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus: “The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going” (Fred) “Knowing where one is going puts you way ahead of the pack.”

 

Today’s BARGAIN from fredporch.com is MLS # 608974-From $385,000 to $374,500.  A Selbyville DE Contemporary with 3 BR, 2.5 BA in 2340 sq. ft. on .18 acre boasts an open floor plan, front deck, rear screened porch with a pond view and only 3 miles to Fenwick Island Beaches.  Call me to see this home @ 302 258-6983.March 28, 2014

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What To Expect: Home Inspection


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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.

*image credit:  www.stockmonkeys.com

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Little Projects For An Energy Efficient Home


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Going green is trendy and good for the environment, but it can also be overwhelming.  There are many projects you can do to make your home more environmentally friendly, starting with your insulation.  Installing energy-efficient insulation will help maintain a uniform and comfortable temperature in your home, lowering your utility bills.  Installing a high-efficiency water means using 10-50% less energy than a standard water heater.  If your appliances need replacing, choosing Energy Star rated versions will conserve both water and electricity.  Replacing windows and doors with energy efficient versions will prevent air leaks and improve insulation, saving energy and lowering your bills.  Adding solar panels to your home is, perhaps, the greenest choice in the long run, but with the most up-front cost.  All of these improvements mean more green in your wallet and in the environment.

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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March 26, 2014


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Today’s food for thought comes from Epictetus:  “The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.”  (Fred)  “Glory is a most interesting word, do we need it?”

March 26, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 604807-From $500,000 to $449,900.  A Milton DE Horse Farm with a 4 BR, 3BA updated Farmhouse with 5 acres which also has a 3 car garage with workshop and horse stalls, a storage barn and a fenced pasture.  Call me to see the mini horse farm at 302 258-6983.

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March 25,2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus:  “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.”  (Fred)   “The art of dying is much misunderstood.”

Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 608795-From $179,900 to $165,000.  Here is a Georgetown DE Farmhouse with 6 BR, 2.5 BA, in 3056 sq. ft. on .40 acre that boasts HW floors, a formal DR and a 3 season room.  Please call me to see this Home at 302 258-6983.March 25, 2014

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Red-Flag Issues For Buyers


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In the past, I’ve listed “red flag” issues that should give you pause as a buyer.  Here are some more:

1.  Locked Doors.  If there are any areas of a home that are off limits during your tours, be sure that you arrange to see them at some point before you put any kind of offer on the house.

2.  Missing Walls.  If there has been any major remodeling to the home keep in mind that moving walls can shift the weight of the house around, which will cause issues if load bearing walls were not properly cared for.  Be sure to check for signs that there aren’t any structural issues.

3.  Window Issues.  Check out all the windows, make sure they work and don’t stick, check to make sure that there isn’t water damage between window panes.

4.  Pests.  Check for signs of unwelcome pests – roaches, mice, termites, etc. do not make good house guests!  Look for traps, scat, and other tell tale signs that pests might be an issue.

5.  A Questionable Area.  If a home you are interested is in an area where there are lots of boarded up homes or businesses or if it’s in a neighborhood where there are many other homes for sale, ask around and find out what’s up.  If there’s a reason that so many people are leaving the area then you will want to know about it before you buy.

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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Viewing Houses Smartly


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If you’re house hunting the last thing you want to do is waste your time looking at a bunch of properties that are wrong for you.  To make the most of your time and effort, start by working with a realtor.  Find someone you trust, but also someone you like since you may be spending a lot of time with them!  Once you have a realtor and they have your wish list you can start touring homes.  If at all possible drive with your realtor when you go on tours.  This gives you time between homes to discuss and debrief so that your realtor can help you narrow your search, and insures that nobody will get lost or separated.  When you go on a buyer’s tour make sure you have plenty of time free.  If you have to rush back to work or on to your next plans you won’t be able to spend time truly exploring homes that you actually like.  And while we’re talking about exploring, if you don’t like a place a cursory once-over is plenty of time to spend, but if you really like a place open every cabinet, drawer, and door in the place.  After you’ve looked at a home, be sure to discuss all the details with your realtor.  Voicing any concerns and criticisms that you have can help your realtor narrow down your home search so that you can use your time and effort much more efficiently.  And finally, if you want to make your life easier wear shoes that you can slip on and off.  Often homes with new carpet also have signs that ask you to remove your shoes, and being able to slip your shoes on and off will make the whole process much faster!  Happy house hunting.

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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March 24, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus:  “Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempest.”  (Fred)  “Pilots and other endeavors gain their skill from adversity and instruction.”

March 24, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 609988-From 139,900 to $129,900.  A Seaford DE Modular Rancher (to be built) with 3 BR, 2 BA in-town home is now available at a bargain price.  Call me so you can pick out the colors, carpet, cabinets and countertops at 302 258-6983.

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Hiring A Cleaning Service


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If you’re like most of the people I know, you probably love your home but hate cleaning it!  More and more people are hiring maid services to help them out – some people hire help with the day-to-day cleaning and others hire help to come in once a month, or even less frequently.  And with Spring cleaning around the corner, this is the perfect time to hire someone.  The truth is, no matter who you are, hiring a maid service can give you a little extra time to spend on more enjoyable things!  If you’ve been thinking of hiring a maid service, here are a few things to keep in mind…

Insurance & Bonding
Make sure the company you hire is insured.  Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover an accident that occurs while I maid is working for you – for example if she slips and falls while mopping the floor, so the company you hire should have coverage that protects both the company and employees, but also your home.  Bonding is different than insurance – be sure that the company protects you and not just themselves in case of a problem like theft.

Hiring & References
Make sure the employees references and criminal background have been checked.  Find out if the maids are employees or subcontractors – generally speaking, you want a company that has employees.  If the workers are subcontractors be sure they are trained and insured.  Find out how long the company has been in business and ask for a list of references.  Call references and ask how long they’ve used the company, if they’ve ever had complaints and how they’ve been handled, and how highly they would recommend the service.

Customer Satisfaction
When calling references, find out how satisfied they are as customers.  Also ask if the company has any measures of customer satisfaction (but be sure to find out how they collected the data – it doesn’t mean much if the only customers they report are the ones that have given glowing testimonials!).  If the company cares about customer satisfaction and goes out of their way to measure it, they are probably the kind of company that will care about you.   While you’re at it, you should also find out how the company measures quality of service and how they assure that quality is maintained.  You want to make sure that whoever is working for you is working up to the standards you expect.  In the case of complaints, you will want to know if there is some kind of guarantee.  Make sure any guarantees are in writing and whether or not there are limitations.  Find out before you hire a maid or a service how complaints are handled and how long issues usually take to be resolved.

Products & Equipment
Find out who is responsible for providing products & equipment.  Some services provide their own supplies, while others expect you to provide everything.  If products are provided by the company keep in mind that many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals and/or poisons.  Be sure that everything the company uses is safe for pets and kids.  Even if you don’t have pets or children running around your house, as a rule you should avoid unsafe products for yourself too!  If the company uses environmentally friendly products, be sure they will still be effective for cleaning and disinfecting purposes.  Find out exactly what equipment the company expects you to provide (mop? vacuum? broom? rags? buckets? – and the list continues) and make sure you have it.  If the service provides their own equipment find out their policy for keeping things clean and up to date.  For example, if they use a vacuum with a dirty filter it isn’t going to do much good.  Similarly, you don’t want them using dirty rags that have only been rinsed clean to wipe down your kitchen counters.  If the company provides products and equipment, but you would rather provide your own, make sure that there is a policy in place for you to do so.

Legality
When you hire a cleaning service you want to be sure that everything is above board.  Know both the federal and state tax laws for your situation and follow them.  You should also be sure that you are hiring legally documented workers.  Finally, know the ins and outs of any contract that you sign.  Understand your rights as a consumer and the recourse that you have if you are unhappy with the service that is provided.

And if you are not one of the people who love your home, give us a call at Cooper Realty and let us help you find a new home – 302-644-2266.

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March 21, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus:  “It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.”  (Fred)  “Our friends’ confidence in our endeavors provides physical as well as mental help.”

March 21, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 608850-From $350,000 to $275,000.  A Georgetown DE Rancher with 3 BR, 2BA on 4.72 acres is being SOLD AS IS, the seller will do no repairs.  Call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.

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Quick Tips For A Cleaner Home


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With spring in the air, spring cleaning is on the mind.  Whether you’re selling your home and trying to keep it as clean as possible, or just desire a cleaner home, here are some chores you can do in 5 minutes or less:

  • Swiffer/sweep/vacuum the floor in any room
  • Make the bed
  • Fold laundry
  • Clean the toilet bowl & wipe down the bathroom sink
  • Dust the television and wipe off the screen
  • Open the refrigerator or freezer and throw away everything that needs to be tossed
  • Choose a room and dust all surfaces with a once-over
  • Wipe down kitchen counters
  • Clean out the kitchen sink
  • Load or unload the dishwasher
  • Wipe down door knobs and/or cabinet handles and/or light switches with disinfectant
  • Open a drawer and clean it out
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet
  • Recycle old magazines and newspapers
  • Wipe down sofa or other upholstery and fluff pillows
  • Choose a room and clean any spots on the wall with a magic eraser
  • Sort laundry and start a load
  • Enjoy your cleaner 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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Happy Spring!


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5455559471_182c819fa6_zHappy Spring everyone!  Here’s hoping that the weather gets springier from here on out.

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

 

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March 19, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus:  “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”  (Fred)  “Things are things, but having the intangibles is having the Best.”

 

Today’s Bargain from fredsporch.com is MLS # 611139-From  $251,000 to $241,000.  A Lewes De home with 4 BR (2 master suites), 3.5 BA in 3100 sq. ft. on .29 acres boasts a large country kitchen, a screened porch and a fenced back yard.  Call me to see this home at 302 258-6983. March 19, 2014

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Budget Makeovers For The Kitchen


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Yesterday I talked about kitchen makeovers, but the thing about totally redoing a kitchen is that it can be very pricey.  If you’re wanting to give your kitchen a face lift in a more budget-friendly way, consider some of the following suggestions.

Stick to the Ws.  Window and walls that is.  There are basically endless options for wall coverings that can be easily cleaned.  A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a room!  Changing up the window treatments can also give the room a whole different feel.

Keep what you have.  Installing new cabinets can be expensive, but your whole kitchen can feel like new if you refinish your existing cabinets.  Just make sure you do your research and use high-quality prep products.

Repurpose other pieces.  Consider using an armoire as a pantry or a unique table as an island.  Repurposing individual pieces of furniture can save you money and add interest to an otherwise neutral room.

Appliances only.  If you have some money to work with, but not enough for a full makeover, consider replacing only your appliances.  Especially if they are showing signs of wear and tear.  And remember that appliances can be expensive if you get all the fancy gadgets, but basic appliances that will fit your requirements can be just as nice if you are on a budget.

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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March 18, 2014


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Today’s food for thought is from Epictetus:  “No Great thing is created suddenly.”  (Fred) “All things in their time, haste is the enemy of greatness.”

Today’s Bargain from fredsporch.com is MLS # 611353-From $239,900 to $230,900.  A Millsboro DE Double Wide with 4 BR, 3 BA in 2026 sq. ft. on .98 acre boasts 2 BR with en suite and a wood burning fire place.  Please call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.March 18, 2014

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Tips For Efficient Kitchen Remodels


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It is no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, but they are also the centerpieces of family life too.  A kitchen makeover can give your home a whole different feel.  Whether you want a kitchen update to help sell your home faster or just to enjoy yourself, here are some helpful tips for design planning.

Plan for space.  Kitchen design pros recommend walkways of at least 36 inches in all kitchen areas with 42 inch pathways in cooking areas and more if there is more than one cook.

Plan for traffic.  Place the refrigerator accessible to anyone wandering in looking for a drink, but still convenient to cooking and cleanup areas.

Plan your corners.  Keep all cabinets and appliances fully functional by planning space for the doors clearance and swing.  Keep appliances away from corners and make sure doors won’t bang into each other if they are open at the same time.

Plan your landings.  Landing space is work space for cooking.  There should be a minimum of 15 inches of counter space on each side of the refrigerator and stove top as well as 15 inches near the microwave.

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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