April 6, 2015

Today’s food for thought is from Baltasar Gracian: “Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.” (Fred) “Humor can be used in many ways, as long as it is not condescending.”

April 6, 2015New from www.fredsporch.com is MLS # 621784 – $260,000. An Ocean View DE, Colonial with 5 BR, 5.5 BA, in 4592 sq. ft. on 1.80 acres is now available. This home needs you to finish it the way you like. The home features 5 master suites, sun room, family room and a 2nd story balcony.

December 29, 2014

Today’s food for thought is from John Wanamaker: “It’s easy to work for somebody else; all you have to do is show up.” (Fred) “You might want to add value to your time.”

Today’s BARGAIN FROM FREDSPORCH.COM IS MLS # 619135 – From $77,000 to $67,000. “Love the look feel of a quaint village.” This 11 room Victorian is for you. Bethel, a 19th century shipbuilding community is nestled on the Broad Creek just outside of Laurel, DE.

Also, the July 2014 average home value in Bethel is $218,220… so our $67,000, plus about $150,00 renovation budget would bring you in at $217,000.A December 29, 2014

November 24, 2014

Today’s words of wisdom are from Jean Paul: “The conscience of children is formed by the influences that surround them; their notions of good and evil are the result of the moral atmosphere they breathe.” (Fred) “If drugs are introduced into this equation, all bets are off.”

Today’s BARGAIN FROM FREDSPORCH.COM IS MLS # 615753 – From $69,900 to $44,900. A Greenwood DE Bungalow with 2 BR, 1 BA on .80 acres has been reduced. The home has a 2 car detached garage and is sold “AS IS”.A November 24, 2014

August 29, 2014

Today’s food for thought is from Immanuel Kant: “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” (Fred) “Well said.”


Today’s BARGAIN FROM FREDSPORCH.COM IS MLS #612645-From $579,000 to $554,000. A Selbyville DE Contemporary with 3 BR, 3BA on .31 acre that boasts, HW floors, Gas FP, Screened Porch and a deck overlooking a Pond with Bay access across the street.August 29, 2014

Electrical System Updates


If you fall in love with an older home, chances are you will need to update the electrical system at some point.  Here are three things to keep in mind.  First, electrical needs have changed significantly since your home was built.  One hundred years ago and even fifty years ago, home just didn’t have the large number of electricity sucking appliances that we have now.  In order to run your home’s electrical system safely and efficiently the average home needs a 200-amp panel at minimum.  Next, you need dedicated circuits for your heavy electronics.  Remember that devices that such a lot of electricity such as stoves, air conditioners, microwaves, and clothes dryers will need their own dedicated circuits.  It is okay for most lights and outlets to share a circuit.  Also, don’t forget to protect yourself.  Be sure that any outlets and switches near water sources (including sinks, toilets, hose nozzles, etc.) need to be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter.  A GFCI shuts off the circuit as soon as water is present.  This safety precaution can prevent shock and even death.  All of the outlets outdoors as well basements, garages, and bathrooms are also required to have this protection.

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.

Winterize Your Home Now


We are well into fall now, and winter is quickly approaching.  Now is the perfect time to winterize your home if you haven’t already.  Here are some winterization steps that every homeowner should take:

1.  Change your furnace filters.  This maximizes your home’s efficiency in one easy and inexpensive step.

2.  Check the roof.  Examine your roof for leaks and replace shingles as needed.  Heavy snow and ice can cause minor leaks to become major leaks in a hurry which is not only dangerous, but also much more expensive.

3.  Check weatherstripping.  Check the areas around your doors and windows to be sure that you are keeping your heat in and drafts out.  Replacing and adjusting weatherstripping as necessary creates a seal and keeps warm air in and cold air out, which effectively saves you money.

4.  Care for your yard.  Rake and bag leaves, put away all loose outdoor tools and furniture, and consider fertilizing your lawn with a winter fertilizer.  This will keep your yard safe when winter winds blow and set you up for having a gorgeous lawn in the spring.

5.  Close foundation vents.  Foundation vents should be open during the spring and summer to let moisture escape from your crawl space and closed during the fall and winter to protect against freezing.  Now’s the time to close them up!

Looking to buy or sell a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

November 13, 2013

Today’s food for thought is from Calvin Coolidge:  “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”  (Fred)  “Today, spending more than you collect is legally robbing your grandchildren.”

November 13, 2013

Fred’s pick if the day is MLS #596113-From$359,000 to $349,000.  A cabin in Rehoboth Beach DE with 1 BR, 1 BA on a 49’x92’ lot is available.  The home has a fenced rear yard.  Call 983 to see this home @ 302 258-6986.  www.fredsporch.com

Go Green To Save Green


Aside from your mortgage, utility costs generally account for the largest portion of the monthly bills you pay thanks to your home.  However, there are several things you can do to lessen the blow a bit.  The first is to take advantage of energy-efficient light bulbs.  Yes, they cost a bit more up front, but you can save a significant amount of money over the course of a year by replacing just one incandescent bulb, so imagine how much you can save if you swap out all of your bulbs!  Additionally, if any of your faucets, pipes, or toilets are leaking, fix it and save yourself a bundle.  Often times these types of leaks are an easy fix such as swapping out a washer, replacing a flapper, or tightening a valve.  Sometimes they require more extensive work, but even then it is best to do the work, even if you have to call in a professional for help.  Changing out your shower heads for low-flow counterparts can help save water too.  Changing and/or cleaning your furnace filters will also save energy in your home.  Lastly, don’t forget to be sure all of your doors and windows are well-sealed and your home is well-insulated.

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.

3 Great Projects To Tackle Now


With the holidays just around the corner and the weather beginning to chill, November is a grea time to do these projects around the house:

1.  Add insulation.  To keep your home comfortable and energy costs down the most important place you can insulate is your attic, and specifically your attic floor.  The basic purpose of insulation is to keep heat from escaping, and to do that there are certain guidelines that you can follow.  With a little research and a little work you can stay warm and save a bundle too!

2.  Seal drafts.  Even a tiny draft can ruin the benefit of good insulation.  Seal gaps around electrical outlets, ducts, windows and doors with foam sealant.  If you live in an older home or have old windows in your home you may even want to consider covering them with a layer of plastic for the winter.  It’s not the prettiest solution, but it will lower your energy costs, perhaps even significantly.

3.  Inspect your ductwork.  This is the perfect time of year to have your ductwork inspected for leaks and other issues.  Repairing faulty ductwork not only helps your energy efficiency, but it also extends the life of your furnace.  An expert can also recommend other ways to improve your energy efficiency and save money on your heating costs, so it’s not a bad idea to have one come out.

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.

Feel Better About Yourself: Organize Your Junk Drawer

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There is one home project that everybody can do relatively quickly and easily that will immediately make you feel better about yourself… organizing your junk drawer!  Nearly everyone has one, and although we say it’s filled with “junk” it is more likely filled with plenty of things you would actually use if you could find it when you needed it!  If you want to feel productive and feel better about yourself in an hour or so then start by dumping everything on a table, counter, or floor so you can spread it out and see it.  Once you can see it, sort it into piles… one pile for things to be thrown away, another for recycling, and another pile for things you need (or want) to keep.  Don’t save everything just because you feel you have to.  You don’t really need to keep the business cards of everyone you’ve ever met… chances are the important numbers are in your phone anyway.  If something broken has been sitting there for months (or years!) waiting to be fixed, toss it.  If you haven’t missed it enough to fix it already chances are you never will.  Test all your pens/markers, etc. if they don’t write, toss them.  (This is an excellent way to get children involved if they’re bugging you!)  After you’ve purged, look at everything in your “keep” pile and decide where it’s permanent home should be.  For example, receipts, old bills, appliance manuals, etc. should be filed away.  Loose change should be put in your wallet or a piggy bank, paper clips/rubber bands/thumb tacks/etc. should be moved to your office, and so on.  Once you’ve decluttered, take everything that is left and organize it.  Ice cube trays make excellent organizers for small items, and empty margarine tubs or Tupperware containers are great for everything else.  Silverware drawer inserts are also a great way to organize without spending too much.  Finally, keep it all organized by adding a quick cleaning of the junk drawer to your monthly to-do list.

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.

Things to Consider Before Refinishing a Basement


Basements are versatile rooms that add useful living space to any home, but refinishing them poorly is not only a waste of money, but can also detract from the value of your home.  Spending time planning, researching, and fixing any existing issues before you begin work will save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run!  Consider these five basement refinishing tips…

Safety Standards and Zoning Codes.  Make sure all access points meet safety standards – do the stairs from the inside of the house meet building codes?  Are there any exterior entrances or does there need to be?  Is the ceiling high enough?  Will any structural support be altered?  Is there enough airflow?  Have you gotten any permits that you need for the work you’re planning to do?  And if you’re planning to refinish your basement as a rental unit, you will need to check with your local municipality to be sure that rentals are allowed in your neighborhood.

Have a Plan for Keeping It Dry.  Lots of basements flood.  If you want to finish your basement, you need to make sure the exterior of your house has good drainage.  If you have an older house, this is especially important.  If you’ve recently purchased your house, consider living in it for a year before making any plans to finish the basement.  See what it’s like in all seasons, so that you know what kind of moisture issues you are dealing with.  If your basement has moisture issues, take care of them before you do any finishing work.  Whether you need to install a drain, re-landscape for better drainage, reroute your gutters, install a sump pump, or waterproof the exterior of your house, not taking care of the issue before you finish your basement is like throwing time and money down the drain.

Know Your Purpose.  Finishing a basement just to have it finished is a bad idea.  Decide beforehand how the space is going to be used.  Will it be a family room?  An office?  Converted into bedrooms?  A media room?  A game room?  Your plans for the room will factor into your design and ultimately the amount of time and money it takes to do the work.  For example, a game room might just need some walls, flooring, and paint.  But more extensive projects will require you to think about electrical wiring, plumbing, and ventilation well in advance of starting the project.

Decide How To Weather-Proof.  There is no sense in refinishing an area that is too cold to use in the winter and too hot to use in the summer.  There are many different methods of insulating, and you should research them to decide what type will work best for your house.  In addition to insulation you want to make sure you have the proper heating and/or air conditioning installed in the space as well.  This might mean rerouting or adding duct work to your home, installing small wall units, or even upgrading your home’s existing system if it is not equipped to handle heating or cooling the extra space.  Again, you will want to do all of this research before you start any work so that you don’t end up with any big, unexpected costs, or worse, a lovely finished basement that can only be used for a few weeks out of the year due to climate control issues.

Choose the Finishing Touches.  There are so many options for finishing the ceilings, walls, and floors of your newly improved space that you will want to do some research ahead of time.  A lot of these choices will depend on what you plan on using the space for (see #3), and I’m not suggesting you have every last detail down to your paint colors chosen before you start any work.  It is in your best interest, however, to do some research and narrow down your decisions ahead of time.  Putting this thought in before any work begins will prevent your costs from skyrocketing at the very end of the project.

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.

October 29, 2013

Today’s food for thought is from John Kirkland:  “If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.”  (Fred)  “There is hard work and smart work, successful people work smart.”

Fred’s pick of the day is MLS # 607185-from $145,000 to $127,600.  Here is a Milton DE HUD home.  The home has 3 BR, 2 BA and id sold AS-IS.  A cash buyer is needed.  Call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.  www.fredsporch.comOctober 29, 2013

Update Your Kitchen Cabinets


Kitchen cabinets can really be the thing that make or break a house.  If yours are in need of an upgrade, but you don’t have the money to replace them, consider refacing them instead.  When you reface cabinets you replace the cabinet doors and fronts but keep the frames intact and just refinish any showing pieces, such as end pieces to match the new cabinet doors.  Refacing takes less time and is less expensive than a complete replacement.  Even less expensive, is refinishing all of the cabinetry yourself, although this is not a project for those with little patience.  Refacing or refinishing cabinetry won’t do anything to improve the layout or functionality of your kitchen, but it can be a good facelift for a tired, but otherwise useful kitchen.

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.

Save Money on a Kitchen Remodel


Last week I wrote about tips for budget friendly makeovers.  All of those still apply here, but there are also some specific tips that apply only to kitchen remodels that can be of use if you are trying to stick to a budget.

First, in addition to prioritizing, make sure to consider your culinary needs when choosing appliances.  If most of your cooking consists of reheating or calling for takeout, then choosing an expensive, top of the line stove just for looks is not your best use of money.  Another way to save money on your appliances is to skip options and extras that aren’t necessary for your needs.

Additionally, rather than focusing on buying things such as a light fixture or faucet at a discount, do your best to take advantage of savings on your big-ticket items such as cabinets, counter tops, and appliances to get the most bang for your buck.

Another great tip is to mix and match high and low end products for an affordable blend.  For example, affordable cabinets with decorative high end hardware can have the look of custom cabinets, or since the eye is drawn up rather than down, put your money into a beautiful backsplash and scale back on the countertop material.

Another way to save on cabinetry is to forgo custom and retrofit the cabinets that you choose with roll-outs, dividers and other similar items from storage shops for a far less expensive solution than custom work.

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.

Tips for Budget Friendly Makeovers


Whether you’re looking for a quick makeover or a complete renovation, here are a few tips to help you stick to your budget.

1.  Negotiate.  Ask everyone if there’s any flexibility in the price and negotiate your heart out!  You’d be surprised where you can get discounts.

2.  Prioritize.  If you have a limited budget chances are you won’t be able to do everything on your “wish list,” but you can do the ones you care most about if you prioritize before you begin the work.

3.  Shop Surplus.  Ask vendors and showrooms about overstocks, floor models, closeouts and other sales and be flexible with your vision to include these deals when possible.

4.  Shop Secondhand.  Salvage yards, flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales and stores like Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore are great places to source inexpensive makeover materials.  You never know what you might find, so they’re definitely worth checking out.

5.  DIY.  Do-it-yourself is a good way to stick to a budget.  Doing your own grunt work can save you a bundle, just don’t try to do things you can’t handle, because then you’ll end up paying someone extra to come in and fix your mistakes before they can do the work.

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.

5 Simple Tips to Maximize Kitchen Storage


No matter how large your kitchen is, it always seems that every kitchen needs more storage.  Here are five tips for maximizing the storage your kitchen already has:

1.  Corral your lids.  By mounting a drawer for pot lids directly under your pot shelf you will be able to corral your lids and create a more efficient kitchen.

2.  A second utensil drawer.  Utensils drawers tend to be a deep jumbled mess of interlocking utensils and other handy tools.  By building a sliding tray that creates two shallower spaces in one drawer you can organize your utensils more efficiently.

3.  Add upright storage.  Keep baking trays, cutting boards, and other difficult to store items that take up a lot of flat cabinet space upright by adding a divider to one of your cabinets and creating an upright storage space.

4.  Add shelves.  Take a look in your kitchen cabinets… is there a lot of wasted space?  If so, add an additional shelf to your cabinet by cutting some plywood to fit and purchasing a bag of shelf supports.

5.  Utilize cabinet doors.  Your cabinet doors offer many storage options such as a built in knife rack, hooks for storing measuring cups or spoons, narrow racks for storing spices, and more.  Depending on what would best suit your space, a quick internet search is bound to bring up many suggestions for cabinet door storage that I would recommend taking a look at.

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.

3 DIY Fixes for Plumbing Problems


Some common plumbing problems can be easily fixed with just a few dollars and a little bit of elbow grease.  Here are three common problems that you can fix on your own:

1.  Stop Sprayer Woes.  If your sink sprayer always seems to be caught, it’s probably getting caught on the shut-off valves below.  Covering the pipes and shut-off valves with ½ inch foam pipe insulation will take care of the problem for just a couple of dollars.  If it won’t stay on, just add a bit of tape to keep it in place.

2.  Get The Creak Out.  Copper piping can creek a lot when it expands and grinds against joists and other things above it.  If this is your problem, just purchase some adhesive-backed felt at the hardware store, cut it into strips, remove each hanger and wrap the pipe in the felt before refastening it to the hanger, which will silence the creaking.

3.  Fix Your Toilet.  If something hard like a toy, toothbrush, or other foreign object is dropped in your toilet, using a plunger may only lodge it further down.  Using a wet/dry vac instead to suck out the water and the object is a much better option.

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.

Tips for Maximizing A Small Bathroom


If you have a small bathroom, try these tips for maximizing your space:

  • Brighten it up.  A space that is light and bright always seems larger, and light actually improves functionality, so adding both recessed and task lighting to your bathroom will help maximize your space.  Task lighting around the mirror and over the shower are particularly important.
  • Utilize your medicine cabinet.  Choosing a medicine cabinet that is flush with the wall will offer just enough storage for essentials and open up the space at the same time.  Choosing a deeper medicine cabinet might store more, but it also protrudes into the room and takes up space.
  • Wall mount your sink.  A wall mounted sink can be stylish and take up far less space than traditional sinks.  If you don’t like the look of a wall mounted sink, choose a pedestal sink over a full vanity for greater space efficiency.
  • Get rid of the tub.  Unless you absolutely need a tub, consider getting rid of it and opting for a walk-in shower instead.  You can build a comfortably sized shower in fraction of the space that a tub takes up, and in addition to giving the room more space, the convenience of comfort of this type of shower is often underestimated.
  • Use your corners.  Corner sinks can make the most of your space, adding both form and function without taking up too much 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 – 302-856-6434.

Home Projects You Can Handle Yourself


If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself project that will be usefull in the long run, consider one of these tried and true projects that are relatively easy and inexpensive:

Motion Detector Lights.  Motion Detector Lights are not just for outdoor use, you can install them indoors as well to make your life easier.  For example, install one in your laundry room so that the light goes on and off automatically when you enter and exit.  Many of these light fixtures are easy to install and can be found at your local hardware store.

Rollout Cabinets.  Nothing is more convenient than rollouts in your cabinets, especially if they are deep and hard to access every inch.  You can convert cabinets in your kitchen, bathroom, garage, or really anywhere that you have a cabinet that could be more convenient.

Garage Shelving.  If you need more storage in your garage, don’t disregard the space near the ceiling.  Installing a high shelf all the way around the perimeter gives you a lot of added storage.

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.

5 Ways To Utilize Wasted Space Under Your Stairs


The space under stairs is often underutilized, if not wasted.  Here are five ideas for creating practical storage in this space.

1.  Shelves.  Building custom shelves into this space is a relatively simple, but practical way to create storage without much effort.

2.  Drawers.  Creating custom stairs where each step is also a drawer can add a significant amount of storage to your home.

3.  Pull out shelves.  This idea is a combination of the first two, but creating shelves that pull out give you both decorative storage and hidden storage.

4.  Closet.  You can turn the space under your stairs into closet space by adding a door in the back for a deep storage space, or doors on the side for a long storage space, depending on what is more practical for your situation.

5.  Office space.  By opening up the space under your stairs, you can build an office directly into this space and create it in such a way to flow into the rest of your room.

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.