Real Estate Information

The Blog of Dustin & Mariya Oldfather

Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 48

To Do or Not To Do - That is the Question

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The home buying process can be a scary and daunting one, but most of us already know this right? That's why you use a REALTOR® and pay for his or her expertise and personal service. I mean, if it were easy, everyone would do it and there would be no need for real estate professionals.

The fact is that buying a home is not easy, from the initial contact with a REALTOR®, to searching for homes, to going through the escrow and financing process and finally closing on and moving into your very own piece of the American Dream.

But there are several things you need to be aware of, which range from common sense items like not buying a home in a depressed neighborhood to more advance concepts like searching for a home with the greatest investment potential or for a loan with the most favorable terms.

But there are also some relatively new tips for buying or selling a piece of property, ones brought to us from the good folks over at Zillow, one of the nation's leading real estate databases. Two “dos” and two “don'ts” that maybe didn't enter your mind before.

Let's take a look:

  • DO buy a home near a Starbucks. Sounds crazy right, but homes in close proximity to the coffee giant are increasing in value. Zillow compared home values before and after a Starbucks was built in a neighborhood and found a 31 percent greater increase in value between 1997 and 2014.

Who knew that a good cup of coffee could equate into greater equity in your family home? Now, go grab a latte and thank your local Starbucks manager, if you're lucky enough to live near a store. If you're not one of the fortunate few, keep this little tidbit in mind the next time you're out shopping for a piece of property.

  • DON'T say your home is “nice.” A 3 percent raise from the boss is “nice.” Your favorite football team winning on Sunday is “nice.” Finding your favorite pair of jeans on sale is “nice.” Your family home is “charming” or it's “appealing” or it's “contemporary.”

Your home is an original, a one-of-a-kind. Take a little effort and describe it adequately and with a little bit of flair and passion. If you're not a writer and don't feel comfortable with this task, don't worry – that's what your REALTOR® is for.

  • DO list your home during the magic window. Unlike trying to time the stock market, choosing just the right moment to list your home for sale can not only be profitable, but it can also be a lot less stressful in the long run.

This magic window is different around the country, but in coastal Delaware, the best time statistically to list a home is in the early spring in advance of the summer tourist season.

Which means the best time is – well it's right about now.

  • DON'T automatically pick the lowest mortgage rate. There are many variables to consider when choosing the best financing option, and this is where utilizing the expertise of a REALTOR® can prove invaluable.

For example, is a 15 year, 20 year or 30 year mortgage the best fit for you? Also, the lowest rate might not always be the best choice, as there are many other factors to consider before signing on the dotted line.

As always, consult with your REALTOR® and with your financial advisor before choosing a payment plan that could well take you as long as three decades to pay back in its entirety.

There are countless more items to consider before purchasing any new piece of property, but these are a few to get you thinking about it. Happy hunting!

Oldfather Group Chosen for Exclusive Training Program

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

The Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty, based in Rehoboth Beach, was selected recently for a special project overseen by the nation's top real estate coaching team, one of only 75 real estate offices nationwide picked for this exclusive honor.

Headed by Dustin and Mariya Oldfather since 2004, the small, tight-knit group of real estate professionals was chosen by Tom Ferry Coaching because of its “record production for Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty” over the last several years.

For a boutique type real estate company in the nation's second smallest state to be chosen for a program of this magnitude is obviously a big thrill for us, as well as a huge honor,” says Dustin Oldfather, the group's chief executive officer. “We're excited to work with Tom Ferry and Carl Ruzzuto so we can continue improving to better serve our clients. Consumers in Delaware deserve a better real estate experience, and this is part of how we will meet that higher standard.”

With more than a quarter-century of experience in the real estate industry, Ferry has influenced hundreds of thousands of real estate professionals through his coaching programs. He was also named the top real estate educator in the country by Swanepoel Power 200 and is the best-selling author of “Life! By Design.”

The Swanepoel Power 200 is the most comprehensive list of influential CEOs, thought leaders and senior executives in the residential real estate brokerage business. It analyzes more than 1,000 individuals in the industry and ranks them based on various criteria including their personal influence, their tenure in the industry and the organization’s significance and contribution to the industry.

Training with a team of this caliber is only going to help us and our team members moving forward and we're excited to be traveling on this exciting path,” says Dustin Oldfather. “We have our whole team involved and it's created a level of excitement around the office that is truly fun to watch.”

The Oldfather Group has quickly established itself as one of the top real estate firms in Sussex County, helping more than 150 clients either buy or sell a home in the last calendar year.

According to broker metrics, a leading analytical tool for brokers, agents and Multiple Listing Services, the firm is number two in the county in terms of “buyer represented sales” and number three in Sussex County in total overall transactions.

With it's main offices in the heart of Rehoboth Beach, and satellite locations in Lewes and Bethany Beach, the Oldfather Group specializes in real estate sales throughout coastal Delaware.

The Retirement Craze in Southern Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

So you live in another mid-Atlantic state and you hear about friends, neighbors and even former co-workers retiring to tiny little Delaware, and you wonder why? Why on earth would you move to the second smallest state in the country, and in particular, the most rural county in said state?

Well, there are many reasons to move to coastal Delaware, reasons we've found over the years to be extremely compelling. Whatever nickname you decide to give to tiny Delaware, and believe me there are plenty going around, the First State has plenty to offer.

So if you know of people moving here to live out their Golden Years and you can't figure out why, well here's hoping you'll understand the appeal after reading this blog entry.

Just a few of the reasons:

  1. THE BEACH. Yes, I had to put that in all capital letters because it is clearly the most popular answer we receive to this question. With 26 miles of Atlantic coastline, five (5) top notch beach resorts, two (2) beaches named among America's cleanest by the National Resources Defense Council, entertainment galore during the summer months, tranquil beauty year-round and some of the best locally owned dining options anywhere along the East Coast, the beach is definitely the top draw here in coastal Delaware. And the best part is, these are still, for the most part, small town beaches devoid of many of the problems you see in larger Atlantic coastal resorts like Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach and even Ocean City, Md. So come here and enjoy all the Delaware beaches have to offer – and catch a glimpse of what your neighbors are talking about.

  2. THE TAXES. If the beaches are reason Number 1 for retiring in coastal Delaware, then the low taxes are clearly Number 1A. Featuring no sales tax, no Social Security tax, no inheritance tax for most residents and some of the lowest property taxes in the country (Sussex County property taxes in 2014 are just 44.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value, the same as it has been since 1990), living at or near the Delaware beaches makes great sense from a financial standpoint. Oh, and those assessed values the property taxes are based on – home values have not been reassessed since 1972, so you're actually paying a low percentage based on what your property was worth more than 40 years ago! Are you understanding now why people want to retire here?

  3. The Proximity to the City. Backing away from the all caps here because the two (2) reasons above are clearly the most popular ones for retirees moving to the area. But another reason is the close proximity to several metropolitan areas, including Baltimore (about 2 hours), Washington (about 2 hours), Philadelphia (about 2 hours) and New York City (between 4-5 hours). So, if you feel like escaping the small town lifestyle and partying it up in the big city for a day or two, you can do so relatively easily.

  4. Low Stress. Hey, you're at the beach, which automatically means a lower amount of stress in your life, right? But living in southern Delaware also means a slower pace of life, neighbors who you will get to know and become friends with and even a less expensive cost of living. So come on over to the beach and relax. Slow down and enjoy life for a bit.

  5. Retirement Communities. There are now plenty of communities in southern Delaware reserved for those over the age of 55. Heritage Shores in Bridgeville, Cinderberry in Georgetown, Independence in Millsboro and Cedar Valley in Rehoboth Beach are just a few of the communities where seniors can relax and enjoy life with people their own age.

So, there you have it. Just a few of the reasons why southern Delaware has become such a popular retirement destination over the last couple of decades, and why it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

Come for a visit and see all that what some have begun calling the “Florida of the North” has to offer those of retirement age. You may just decide to stay for awhile.

And as always, feel free to call the Oldfather Group today at 302-227-6767 to see how we can help you find that perfect retirement home.

Oldfather Group Realtor makes lives a little more "Sunny" for nursing home residents

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

A doctor can prescribe all the revolutionary medicines he wants, family members can visit regularly and filet mignon can even be served each and every day in the cafeteria – there's still perhaps no better method to cure what ails us that the loving embrace of an animal.

The “Pets on Wheels Delmarva” program takes that belief to heart, regularly sending southern Delaware residents and their pets to visit with patients in area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It's a program near and dear to the heart of Celia Benjamin, a Realtor with the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty.

When you're out with your dog and you're visiting with folks, you're kind of like a rock star,” says Benjamin, who visits with residents along with “Sunny,” her 11-year-old black labrador retriever. “People just love it when Sunny and I come to visit and it really is a lot of fun.”

As with many animals in the Pets on Wheels program, Sunny has a history of helping people who struggle with the daily rigors of life. He was a seeing eye dog for five years and, according to Benjamin, really enjoys interacting with nursing home residents.

Visits are regularly scheduled at nursing facilities throughout southern Delaware, including Brandywine Assisted Living in Rehoboth Beach, where Louise Enright works as the front desk concierge.

After working for 11 years at an area animal hospital, Enright realizes more than most how much a loving animal can impact the demeanor and the health of a house-bound patient.

It's a known fact that when people touch or hold an animal, it lowers their blood pressure and can just change their whole attitude,” says Enright, who brings her two miniature dachshunds to work with her on a regular basis. “They are good for whatever ails you, especially if you already love animals. It just makes our residents feel wonderful to sit there and play with them, while telling stories about their former pets.”

Dr. Frank Folke Furstenberg, a retired allergist and Sinai Hospital physician, founded Pets on Wheels in Baltimore, in May of 1982. Originally, the program was meant to measure the effectiveness of pet visitation on shut-ins, with four volunteer teams visiting four nursing homes.

Furstenberg noted that the stimulation of playing with animals benefited the patients by getting them back to a higher quality of behavior. He noted that pets love unconditionally even when a person is no longer attractive, even-tempered or agile and that their warmth seems to make a difference in those they visit.

It can be really wonderful when people who seem kind of lonely and depressed, and are sitting in a corner by themselves, just perk right up when a dog comes in,” says Susan Bennett, former coordinator of the Delaware program and now the newsletter editor for Pets on Wheels Delmarva. “I'd like to think that they're making a real connection and maybe remembering a dog that they had in the past.

It's people like Celia and her dog who make a real impact when they come to visit. She has such an outgoing personality that people just love seeing her come through the door.”

The feeling, says Benjamin, is mutual, both for her and for her beloved Sunny.

Says the coastal Delaware Realtor: “There is no greater joy than making a difference in someone's life. If Sunny and I can do that in some small way, then we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.”

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 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.


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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 48

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

© 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.