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The Blog of Dustin & Mariya Oldfather

Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 38

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.

The Oldfather Group Awarded as 2013 Top Producing Team

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The Oldfather Group's impressive performance in 2013 secured them one of the brokerage’s Top Producing Team awards, as well as a spot as one of the top 10 Realtors in Sussex County. The team successfully closed 85 transactions valued at over $30MM in 2013, with 23 additional settlements already on the books for early 2014. The group now includes recently promoted Chief Buyer Consultant Adam Linder who has helped select and train four new agents - Jamie Haldas, Nancy Capps, Celia Benjamin and Donna Atsidis. Chuck Seaman, who sold 20 homes in 2013, is focusing on listings and, along with Amy Pietlock, will be taking on more responsibilities in 2013. Grace Nelson, Cheryl Vogl and Janice Fendrock round out the team and will continue providing client support and exceeding expectations.  "This is an exciting time for real estate, as the market continues to climb,” remarked Dustin Oldfather. “We are so blessed to work with such an amazing group of people, which allowed us all to meet our goal of helping 100 families buy or sell in 2013. Hopefully, we can assist even more good people next year." One of the fastest growing Realtor teams in the county, The Oldfather Group is poised to assist well over a hundred clients buy or sell homes in 2014.

USDA Releases 2014 Funding

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The USDA has released 2014 funding:  Funding for Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program is now available for fiscal year (FY) 2014.  The funding received is based on a Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-46, H.R. 2775).  Loans that were issued Conditional Commitments “subject to” commitment authority will be obligated on the Agency’s Guaranteed Loan System (GLS).

Also, we are pleased to announce that the USDA has extended the use of previously eligible areas until January 15, 2014.  This update retracts our September 4 announcement in which we announced that certain areas may have become ineligible. 

Check for eligible properties here:


Discover Delaware's 3M!

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Most folks aren't aware that Delaware residents can boast of their own local 3M.  The communities of Milford, Millsboro and Milton are all located in Sussex County and have a unique charm exclusive to them.  Let's discover why you should make your home in one of these three neighborhoods.

The city of Milford features a beautiful river walk, affordable housing, and an active city recreational program.  They offer an old-fashioned Main Street with stalwart fixtures like Lou's Bootery.  Be sure to saunter through the local museum for a taste of Milford history. Indoor exhibits include an historic doll collection, Delaware ladybugs, and the chronicles of early Milford baseball. Priceless!

Next is the Millsboro community, renown for its lovely waterfront homes along the Indian River.  And just outside Millsboro sits the beautiful golf course at Bayside. The area is the preferred location for young families as well as the active retired.  And choices for your dining pleasure are a newly built restaurant called the Luca as well as the already existing Georgia House. Amazing!

The final triangle of our 3M is Milton, Delaware. Longtime residents say they love the beauty of Milton from the Broadkill River to the Preserve. In addition the close proximity to the area beaches is a huge drawing card for homeowners of any age and gender. There are year round garden and home tour and annual events such as the Horseshoe Crab, Shorebird Festival and Bargains on the Broadkill.

Milton is also a veritable home show, with an artful mix of skillfully preserved homes from several eras - Victorian, Gothic, and Colonial. With an abundance of reasonably priced town homes and subdivision dwellings that feature first-floor master suites, Milton is a great place to retire. But with its proximity to Cape Henlopen district schools, it's also a wonderful place to raise a family. Awesome!

Because community is such a big part of life in Milford, Millsboro and Milton, we welcome you to discover Delaware's own 3M.

With so much to see and do in Milford, Millsboro, and Milton and with the most favorable real estate climate we've had in years, now is the perfect time to make the move. If you are ready to buy or sell real estate in the 3Ms and the surrounding area, please contact Dustin & Mariya Oldfather, The Oldfather Group - Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty at 302-249-5899 or 302-227-6767 x 211.


What Elements Make A Neighborhood Great?

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

If you asked an urban planner, a geographer or an architect to pinpoint an area that has the elements to make a neighborhood great, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware should pop right into their heads.  Why does Rehoboth Beach stand out among the rest? Simply because the City of Rehoboth Beach offers its residents the three main fundamentals to awesome living…location, elements and people. 

You can enjoy the small town feel of Rehoboth Beach while still being within close proximity to the bustling cities of New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia.  To add to its location appeal, Rehoboth Beach has a sparkling and tranquil oceanfront that offers spectacular scenic beauty.  The state of Delaware also has amazingly low property taxes that save their homeowners thousands of dollars each year.  It is the perfect locality for families and individuals alike! 

The next aspect that creates a great neighborhood is its elements.  To put an area on the map, it has to encourage interaction.  Rehoboth Beach oceanfront features a mile-long boardwalk, a variety of parks and public plazas that encourage people to mingle together and enjoy each other’s company.  There are theaters and galleries to browse, restaurants and cafes to visit and festivals to attend.  Attractions for the kids include pizza parlors, bumper cars and a water park. Rehoboth Beach has it all!

As for the last element that puts an area on the map, founder and president of the Project for Public Places validates that it is people who create the next big place.  The residents of Rehoboth Beach verify what a vital role they play due to their incredible sense of community.  They truly care about their city and demonstrate their passion by involving themselves in its growth, maintenance and culture.

People really do attract people. So, if you are looking for an area that offers the three basic elements to a great neighborhood for you and your family, look no further.  Come to Rehoboth Beach…you’ll be glad you did!

With so much to see and do in Rehoboth, and with the most favorable real estate climate we've had in years, now is the perfect time to make the move.  If you are ready to buy or sell real estate on Rehoboth Beach or the surrounding area, please contact Dustin & Mariya Oldfather, The Oldfather Group - Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's Internation Realty at 302.249.5899 or 302.227.6767 x 211.


Delaware’s Quiet and Affordable Place to Live!

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Tranquil, economical living is paramount at Broadkill Beach waterfront in Milton, Delaware. It offers a cheaper and more peaceful alternative to the larger beach areas of Delaware, while still being close enough to the action.  Uncover the secret to a comfortable existence in Milton!

Milton was first settled in 1672 and was named after the English poet John Milton.  It has a very diverse population, with a mixture of retirees from the East Coast and many young, middle-aged folks looking for a moderate place to settle with their families.  In addition, there are many reasonably priced cottages available for those who may be interested in a second home investment.  We invite you to come and check it out!

Milton has a distinctive historical past as a hub for shipbuilding.  Its legacy of seafaring craftsmanship is still evident in the intricate woodworking designs seen in area homes.  In these modern times, unique businesses continue to thrive with the famous King’s Ice Cream and Dogfish Head Brewery.  Stop by and taste some samples for yourself!

Broadkill Beach in Milton is a quaint waterfront community surrounded by Delaware’s Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.  It is the perfect sanctuary to explore if you are an avid nature lover and bird watcher.  What If you would like to improve your golf game?  By all means, visit the greens at the Rookery Golf Course.  Don’t forget both your binoculars and your clubs!

What about activities for the kids?  For a fun night of camping, visit the Yogi Bear Campground where you can pitch your tent and enjoy boating, kayaking and whitewater rafting. If you are more inclined to just make it a day trip, nearby Cape Henlopen State Park offers bicycling, swimming and fishing.  Awesome fun for the entire family!

So, will you uncover the secret to quiet and affordable living?  Join the thousands in the Milton Delaware community who already have!







With so much to see and do in Milton and Broadkill Beach, and with the most favorable real estate climate we've had in years, now is the perfect time to make the move.  If you are ready to buy or sell real estate in Milton or the surrounding area, please contact Dustin & Mariya Oldfather, The Oldfather Group - Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty at 302.249.5899 or 302.227.6767 x 211.


The Oldfather Group Announces Promotion of Adam Linder

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty is proud to announce that Adam Linder has been promoted to Chief Buyer Consultant. With the brokerage since October of 2012, Adam has assisted in no less than 24 buyer transactions, achieving an impressive $7.75 million in sales volume.

Growing up in Alexandria, VA, the nearby Delaware beaches have always been a big part of Adam’s life.  He purchased and renovated his first property in Rehoboth Beach in 2001 and set a goal to move to the beach permanently.  At that time, he had a successful career in design and space planning within the residential and contract furniture industries in the DC Metro area, but felt strongly about making the move to the Delaware Coast.  Adam prides himself in providing exceptional customer service, and prioritizing the needs of his clients.  He understands that while most people purchase beach properties with rest, relaxation and fun in mind, the real estate transaction always needs to be handled with the utmost professionalism.

"In every person's career, there are shining stars of people that you have the good fortune to be associated with. Adam is one of the brightest talents our brokerage has ever seen,” says Dustin Oldfather, CEO of The Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty. “From the moment he walked in the door, he "wowed" client after client with his extraordinary attention to detail while making them feel at ease and having fun along the way. Every client he works with, raves about his style and service. For this reason, he has quickly ascended to the Chief Buyer Consultant position in unprecedented fashion. So, along with continuing his impeccable work with select buyer clients, he will be generously sharing his gifts and guidance with our incoming agents to ensure they have the finest training in our area." 

Client Karen Payne gave a glowing review of Adam’s customer service: After my first conversation with Adam Linder, I knew that he was the REALTOR for me!  He immediately displayed honesty, professionalism and dependability.  Adam was very interested in helping me find the home that I wanted and didn’t try to push me towards a home that wasn’t exactly what I preferred.  He knows his market extremely well and worked hard to find a home that matched all of the features and qualities that I desired in a home. I really liked the use of email and text to keep in touch throughout the entire process.  Adam was always quick to respond and really made me feel like I was his only client.  He continuously reassured me that he was there for me whenever I needed him.   He never let me down! Adam is a very caring real estate consultant and I felt very fortunate to have him assist me with the purchase of my new home!  I highly recommend him to anyone looking to purchase their next new dream home!”

In business since 2005, and fully staffed by a knowledgeable, friendly and professional team, The Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty specializes in the sale and purchase of extraordinary properties in Lewes, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and coastal Delaware. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 38

Contact Information

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

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