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The Blog of Dustin & Mariya Oldfather

Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 44

Do Open Houses Still Work?

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

It's no secret that most prospective homebuyers these days begin their searches on the Internet. In fact, a recent study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® revealed that real estate-related searches on Google.com grew 253 percent between 2009 and 2012, with 90 percent of homebuyers now searching online during their home buying process.

Furthermore, the study broke information down into various categories and revealed some interesting information on our very own state of Delaware. The First State, the study showed, is one of the top five states in the country for online queries from people presuming to be first-time homebuyers.

So with all these people learning online about homes they're interested in, the question when it comes to open houses is simply: Are they even still relevant?

Well they are, when done in the right way and if done in the right market. For our markets here in coastal Delaware, it's an excellent way to drive foot traffic into your home and to show it off in a way that often photos simply cannot do.

It's also, as has always been the case, a way for several prospective homebuyers to view your property all at the same time, and without an appointment.

Of course, open house events should be handled by your REALTOR® and not done yourself. These are the kinds of things you hired a professional to do for you, so let them leverage their years of experience and host this type of event at your home.

At the Oldfather Group, we host Open Houses all the time and would be happy to discuss these, and other, options with you. Call us today at 302-249-5899 to see how we can help.

Nancy Capps Named the Oldfather Group's "MVP" for 2014

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The owners of the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty in Rehoboth Beach recognized local real estate agent Nancy Capps with it's “MVP Award” for 2014 during a brief ceremony at the firm's Rehoboth Avenue office in early November.

Capps, a licensed agent since 2013 but who boasts more than 25 years in the industry, was honored for her commitment to the Oldfather team and for becoming known around the office as the consummate team player.

"From our first meeting with Nancy, we just found her to be a delightful person. She lives a life filled with optimism, gratitude and kindness – always with a focus on the positive and never an ill word,” says Dustin Oldfather, the group's chief executive. “We are so fortunate to have her as a part of our real estate family. Because of her tenacity, dedication and infectious personality she is having an amazing impact in our lives and on her clients."

Originally from a small town in Virginia, Capps also spent a number of years as a licensed Emergency Medical Technician, in addition to being a licensed Realtor.

Her experience includes more than two decades in new home construction and five years working for a major real estate firm in North Carolina, before moving to coastal Delaware and eventually coming to work for the Oldfather Group in 2013.

She said she is humbled by the recognition but remains committed to being a team player and doing whatever is necessary to help the Oldfather Group maintain its ranking as one of the top real estate firms in Sussex County.

“I just do what I do, it's not really something I think about,” says Capps, who specializes in residential real estate along the Delaware coast. “I didn't really think I was doing anything all that special, but it was nice to be recognized. I was surprised by it, but very grateful.”

Headquartered in Rehoboth Beach, the Oldfather Group specializes in real estate sales throughout coastal Delaware, including Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island.

January May Be the Perfect Time to go House Hunting in Coastal Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The holidays are in the rear view mirror, the cold weather has set in and, for many of us, we've begun counting the days until springtime. In the real estate industry, we also have a tendency to sit back during the first quarter of the year and sort of get our ducks in a row for the spring and, eventually, for the busy summer season.

But some shocking news coming out of the annual conference of the National Association of REALTORS® late last year – according to NAR, the period with the highest number of online real estate searches on average is actually the first month of the year!

Seriously, January? Who knew?

But there it is in black and white. According to Google, not only does January feature the highest number of real estate searches annually, but it's also a number that increases an average of 39 percent from December.

Now here in coastal Delaware, we don't think of January as a great month for selling real estate. And there's nothing in this data that indicates these homes are being sold in January – but still, if people like you are out there searching for properties during this time, we need to be here ready and able to serve you.

And we certainly are! If you need help in selling your home or you're in the market to make a purchase, give us a call at the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty.

Come to think of it, January may be a perfect time to take a drive around and look at some of the excess inventory currently on the market. There's less traffic, no crowds and still most of the amenities that makes living in coastal Delaware such a rare find are open and available.

Give us a call today and let us show you what we have to offer. Or enjoy your holiday season and we can talk in what may well become one of our new favorite months – January.

Golf Course Living in Coastal Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

So you've moved to the Delaware beaches and you want to enjoy all this area has to offer right? From the boardwalk, to the great local eateries, to the 26 miles of Atlantic coastline, to the abundant signature golf courses? More than likely, this is why you moved here to begin with.

Well, there's no better place to enjoy the last item on that list than the fabulous development of Plantation Lakes, a sprawling community with amenities that include an Arthur Hills Championship Golf Course, more than 26,000-square-feet of clubhouses, swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, walking trails and more.

And there is perhaps no better view in this development than the one at 29458 Glenwood Drive, which sits just a few feet from the picturesque 5th green of the golf course, a hole that features a spectacular water feature and a promise that the view will never change.

Click below to view a short 30 second video featuring this beautiful property.

29458 GLENWOOD DRIVE

Not only does this home come with one of the most spectacular back yards around, but it also features 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, hardwood floors and a full basement. It's a must see for the discerning home buyer who wants to be close to the Delaware coast, but just far enough away to get the best possible bargain for their money.

And isn't that what we all want, when it comes right down to it? We want the best bang for our hard-earned buck while still living the best possible life we can here at the Delaware beaches.

This is southern Delaware living at it's finest, and it's just waiting for you to turn the key and make it your own. So, what are you waiting for?

Call the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty today at 302-227-6767 to see this beautiful home while it's still on the market. 

The Holiday Season could be the Perfect Time to List Your Home

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

With Thanksgiving now officially behind us, Tom Turkey has been put on the shelf for another year and the jolly old man himself can finally take center stage. It's officially the Christmas season, as I'm sure any visit to or drive past a shopping mall can easily confirm.

Now this time of year doesn't always come to mind when buying or selling real estate in coastal Delaware. But, there are many compelling reasons why perhaps it should.

In fact, several arguments can be made in favor of listing your home during the holidays – and I'm going to give you a few right now. Check them out!

  • Buyers are Serious. True, there may not be as many potential buyers out there looking at homes in December as there are in June or July. But the ones who are viewing homes are serious and are often ready to take immediate action.

  • Less Competition. There are typically fewer homes for sale during the holidays, which means less competition for you. Your home is more apt to get noticed and seen during the Christmas season for this reason.

  • The January Rush. When the holidays are over, the supply of listings goes up substantially and the demand for your home will typically not be as great. As always, more competition means less money in your pocket at the settlement table. So why not beat the rush?

  • Holiday Decorations. During the holiday season, homes are festive and colorful and typically show very well. Think of a potential buyer seeing all that holiday cheer or smelling the lingering effects of those Christmas cookies you made last night. Talk about subliminal advertising!

  • More Time. Holiday schedules are typically more relaxed and potential buyers have more time to look at homes than they do during a typical work week. So put that “For Sale” sign out front and see who comes a knocking.

  • Delayed Move. If you sell your home during the holidays, you can remain there until January or February and not have to move during the Christmas season. And think of what a great Christmas present that would be. Your home is sold, you can enjoy one last holiday season there and then, when the presents have been opened and the tree taken down, you can begin the process of moving.

So why wait? Take advantage of those holiday home shoppers and list your property today. And be sure to give us a ring at the Oldfather Group (302-227-6767) so we can put our advanced marketing techniques to work for you.

Professionally trained chef finds new life as one of coastal Delaware's top Realtors

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

For many a night in the shadows of Capitol Hill back in the 1990s, Adam Linder toiled over a hot stove preparing French-inspired cuisine for the Washington, D.C. elite. Politicians, high powered businessmen, international visitors – all have savored his culinary creations over the years.

It was, without a doubt, a good living doing something he had honestly always wanted to do. But it was obvious that something was missing; he just couldn't quite put his finger on it.

It was an always prevalent frustration that festered for many years.

Linder's career is one that began with training at the renowned L'Academie de Cuisine in Washington and wound its way through the popular Red Sage Restaurant in Northwest D.C., and the more-relaxed Bailiwick Inn in Fairfax, Va. But the fast-paced life in the nation's capital just didn't leave the Alexandria, Va., native feeling satisfied.

Then one day, now working in the furniture industry, he realized the missing piece to his own personal puzzle. He remembered that some of the best days of his life had been spent as a youngster at or near the “Nation's Summer Capital” of Rehoboth Beach, taking in the rays and the tranquil beauty that a life in coastal Delaware affords on a regular basis.

The beach was calling and Linder, after much soul searching, finally decided he was going to answer that call. Even if it did take him the better part of a decade to pick up the metaphorical phone.

I know so many of the people who live here now have a similar story to my own, coming here with their families in their youth and then longing later in life to recapture those feelings,” says Linder, who today makes his living selling real estate for the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty. “But I've never regretted my decision. I may not be cooking professionally anymore, but I love my life here and have definitely found my calling in the real estate industry.”

Over the last several years, Linder has made quite the reputation for himself in the coastal Delaware real estate industry. Since 2012, he has worked for the Oldfather Group, quickly working himself up to the position of Chief Buyer Consultant.

He may not be whipping up fancy French meals anymore, but every day now he's out on the streets cooking up deals on a regular basis, bringing buyers and sellers together for mutually beneficial relationships.

Adam has been a real shining star for us, with his engaging personality and his willingness to do whatever it takes in order to please his clients,” says Dustin Oldfather, chief executive of the Oldfather Group. “It's amazing that he's been able to completely change careers and be so successful at it. He's been a real Godsend to all of us here at the Oldfather Group.”

In 2013, Linder received a special commendation from the Oldfather Group, earning recognition for the difference he's made for the organization since his arrival. In the last two years, Linder has been responsible for more than $15 million in sales volume for the company.

The Oldfather Group specializes in real estate sales throughout coastal Delaware, including Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island.

Don’t “99″ Your Way Out of a Sale

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Real estate agents have used the old $9.99 marketing gimmick forever. Newspapers, magazine ads and flyers theoretically enticed more buyers by listing a $500,000 house at $499,999 or some other similarly insignificant lesser price.

That same home, listed online, is actually losing buyer traffic because of its pricing gimmick. The reason is simple, and it should be an obvious reason to never use the “99″ pricing model again.

Online buyers search in zeros. Buyer A searches for homes from $400,000 to $500,000. Buyer B searches for homes from $500,000 to $600,000. That’s the way MLSs, portals and agents’ websites have set up the pricing parameters. With a listing priced at $500,000, both Buyer A and Buyer B will see the home. Priced at $499,999, Buyer B won’t see it.

It’s tempting to believe that you’d miss out on only a small percentage of buyers or that most buyers won’t set a “lowest price” in their search, but it’s simply wrong. Our company has a database of around 10,000 users, and we track their searches on our websites. While there are a few “bargain hunters,” the vast majority of users set a fairly tight price range in their searches. They know what they can afford and don’t want to waste time looking in a price range that they know won’t fit their needs.

Don’t let your listing miss out with a $1 gimmick. Ninety percent of buyers are searching online. Price the home the way buyers search.

2014 Spring Market Update

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

We want to give you a quick update regarding the Spring 2014 Real Estate Market in Delaware as the shift from buyers to sellers market appears to be underway.

So, what’s happening in our market? Well, for the third consecutive year - home sales in Sussex County have increased by double digits - up 13 percent in 2013, listing days on market for 2013 decreased from 198 to only 168, while the number of homes on the market fell to just 44 weeks. (This is the lowest it’s been in more than two years.) So, Real Estate Recovery in Sussex County is clearly gaining momentum.

Even with the government shutdown throwing a wet blanket on our fall market, as the snow begins to melt, we are seeing well priced turn key homes sell quickly – often with multiple offers, sellers holding their ground and getting their price often above highest recent comparable sales, new construction communities continue with frequent price increases. Buyers anticipating interest rates climbing further are booking showings way in advance of their visits. Just, this past weekend our team wrote 7 offers and we sold a property in house buyer prior to completing the paperwork. 

Although REO, Short Sale and Foreclosure inventory is down there are still some great opportunities for investors in the market. So, if you see an opportunity you should grab it!

The good news though, is that you still have a opportunity in this last chance market as a buyer, and an opportunity for a quick sale at a fair market price as a seller. While well priced turn key homes are selling quickly and often with multiple offers, mortgage rates are still near all-time lows. But, now is the time to act if you are a buyer or a seller who needs to move.

So, If you know need to get an idea of your current home value, have given any thoughts to selling, need information about a property, or know someone who may be a little behind on their mortgage, give us a call email, tweet, or Facebook us.

Closing Costs in Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Thank you for your interest in beautiful Coastal Delaware!

Most people are excited to find out how low taxes are in Delaware but you probably would like to know more about the costs associated with buying a home and the closing costs. Once you decide to write an offer and it is accepted by the seller of a home you like, your deposit will be held in an escrow account. Then you will make application with a lender and then you will decide on the necessary inspections and your Realtor will get them scheduled for you. In Delaware you can expect to pay between $350-$500 for the home inspection depending on the size of the home. If there is a well - a water test will cost about $140-$250 (re-tests $100-250.) If the property has a septic system- septic inspection costs on average $450-500. Radon is not frequently found in Delaware but a Radon Test is always a wise test just in case, expect $100-$150. In most cases you will usually have a termite inspection. Expect $100-200. Most home inspection companies in our area will bundle all of these tests together for convenience. 

Transfer Tax is the largest portion your closing costs. The transfer tax in Delaware is 3% (1.5% to the state and 1.5% to the county) of the purchase price and it is customarily split between buyer and seller evenly at 1.5% each. However, if you are purchasing new construction, many builders will request that the buyer pay the full 3% transfer tax tieing this condition to an attractive incentive. Please be aware this can be negotiated! And, we can usually negotiate this down for you. Title Insurance is the next biggest portion of the closing costs. Title insurance protects you from any future claims of ownership. 

Lender costs do vary depending on rates, but be careful agreeing to work with a builder’s “preferred lender” in order to get an incentive without getting competitive bids. In the past we have seen some lenders buried origination fees into the HUD and there is no recourse for the buyer one they agree to accept the incentive. As part of the mortgage process your lender will order an appraisal ($400-$600) and survey ($400-$600.) The seller typically pays for the preparation of the HOA docs and DUCIOA/Community Docs. 

In all, if you are taking a mortgage you can expect to pay 3-4% of the purchase price in closing costs for your new Delaware home. If you pay cash, you can expect to pay 2.5-3% of the purchase price. 

Coastal Delaware is a wonderful place to live and enjoy life. If you’d like to receive more information about the area, please let me know your mailing address and I’ll be happy to send it out to you.
 

US Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

On January 30, 2014, the United States Senate voted 67-32 to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926), sponsored by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Isakson (R-GA). 

This bipartisan legislation calls for a 4-year timeout on rate increases triggered either by a property's sale or a flood map update for a property with previously grandfathered rates.  The National Association of Realtors provided Congress with expert testimony suggesting that many of these increases are excessive and inaccurate. The bill also creates a flood insurance advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) to investigate home owner complaints of multiple different or excessive rate quotes.

The Senate vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) have already built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total that is 30 votes shy of a House majority.  

The "companion bill" to S.1926 in the House is H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 44

Contact Information

Dustin & Mariya Oldfather, The Oldfather Group
Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's Internation Realty 302.22
330 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach DE 19971
302.249.5899
302.227.6767 x 211

© MMXI Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. A Realogy Company. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a licensed trademark to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office is Independently Owned And Operated.