Real Estate Information

The Blog of Dustin & Mariya Oldfather

Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 53

Weekend Happenings in Coastal Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

With the Memorial Day holiday now officially behind us, the summer of 2015 can begin in earnest. Traditionally, the couple of weeks between Memorial Day and the end of the school year are not exceptionally busy in terms of local gatherings and events.

We do, however, have a few things you can do this weekend with your friends and/or family, highlighted by an exciting skimboarding championship at Delaware Seashore State Park.

Check below for some of the happenings during the last weekend of May, courtesy of your weekly Oldfather Group “Weekender Blog.”

  • South Side Shoot Out Skimboarding Contest (May 30-31). The South Side Shoot Out is a pro/am skimboarding competition presented by Alley-Oop and Skim USA. Watch the top amateur and professional riders from around the world compete in Delaware's famous shore break.​ Photo from skimusa.org.
 
  • Exploring Flora & Fauna at Prime Hook (May 30). Join a nature hike along some of the trails through the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Led by an experienced naturalist, the group will not only examine the vegetation along the trail, but also check natural signs left by plants and animals that suggest a high diversity of the environment. More information HERE
  • Eating Rehoboth Walking Food Tour (May 29-31). Embark on a three-hour culinary adventure through historic downtown Rehoboth Beach, where you will enjoy exclusive food and beverage tastings at five of the resort's best eateries. The tours run from Friday to Sunday and feature a different set of restaurants and shops each day. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.eatingrehoboth.com.
  • Sail Aboard Delaware’s Tall Ship (May 29-30). The Kalmar Nyckel offers a wide array of sailing opportunities from April through October. Guests are invited to haul lines, set sails and enjoy tales of the original Kalmar Nyckel  — or become a "pirate" with the crew on special pirate sails. Delaware’s tall ship is docked at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal this weekend.
 
  • RBFS Presents Festival Film Reviews (June 1-6).  Beginning on Monday, film enthusiasts can enjoy a unique opportunity to screen film submissions for the 18th anniversary of the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival. Each session will include the screening of a documentary or a feature and a short, time permitting. Reviewers are asked to complete a rating form and to join a post-film discussion.

These are just a few of this weekend’s fun-filled events here in coastal Delaware. For more ideas on what you can do with your friends and/or family, contact your local chamber of commerce or town hall.

And be on the lookout again next week for more great ideas from the Oldfather Group. Now get out there and enjoy all the things that make living at the Delaware beaches such a wonderful experience!

Weekend Happenings in Coastal Delaware

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

While summer doesn't officially begin until June 21 on the calendar, everyone familiar with coastal Delaware knows that the real start to the summer season is Memorial Day weekend. Here at the Oldfather Group, we want all of our friends and clients to be aware of what's going on here at the Delaware beaches, so we're beginning this weekly blog to help you in planning your weekend activities.

There is certainly no shortage of family-friendly things to do at the beach, as well as in the greater Southern Delaware area. So keep an eye out for this weekly informational blog entry, which we will distribute via our Website, our Facebook page and/or in your inbox via your Oldfather Group representative.

This weekend will certainly be busy here at the Delaware beaches, when the summer tourist season officially kicks off for 2015. But if you want to leave the sand and surf for a little while, here are a few events to consider.

  • Just Flip ‘Em Walk at Slaughter Beach (May 22) - Kick off Milton's Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival with a beach walk to help flip stranded horseshoe crabs, while learning more about these unique creatures. Light refreshments will be served at the Slaughter Beach Pavilion after the walk, which begins at 5 p.m. Call the Milton Chamber of Commerce at 302-684-1101 for more information.

  • The Third Annual Maritime Festival in Lewes (May 23). This free annual event will be held at the historic Zwaanendael Museum on Kings Highway and includes local organizations, games, activities and more. For more information, call 302-645-1148 or visit www.leweschamber.com.

  • The Annual Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival in Milton (May 23). In partnership with the Milton Chamber of Commerce for 12 years, this festival celebrates horseshoe crabs, shorebirds and other natural resources while encouraging citizen awareness and participation in wildlife-dependent recreation. Activities occur at the Milton Municipal Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. More information HERE.  See Cape Gazette photo below.

Cape Gazette Photo

  • Eating Rehoboth Walking Food Tour (May 22-24). Embark on a three-hour culinary adventure through historic downtown Rehoboth Beach, where you will enjoy exclusive food and beverage tastings at five of the resort's best eateries. The tours run from Friday to Sunday and feature a different set of restaurants and shops each day. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.eatingrehoboth.com.

  • Events at Historic Fort Miles (May 22-23). Events at the historic fort this weekend include free artillery demonstrations, a “history hike,” a guided tour of Battery 519 and a lantern tour of the bunker, where visitors have the rare opportunity of viewing the steel fortress at night. Call 302-645-6852 to register for programs or for more information.

  • The Annual Towne and Country Fair in Seaford (May 22-24). Held at the historic Governor Ross Plantation and co-sponsored by the Seaford Historical Society and the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, this annual event features the Historical Vintage Car Club of Delaware's "32nd Annual First State Meet,” crafters, exhibitors, food vendors, demonstrators and music. The Governor Ross Mansion will also be open for tours. Visit www.seafordhistoricalsociety.com for more information.

These are just a few of this weekend’s fun-filled events here in coastal Delaware. For more ideas on what you can do with your friends and/or family, contact your local chamber of commerce or town hall.

And be on the lookout again next week for more great ideas from the Oldfather Group. Now get out there and enjoy all the things that make living at the Delaware beaches such a wonderful experience!

Home Sales Surging Nationwide

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

There's been more good news recently from national leadership regarding the current and future state of American real estate, though there are also words of caution moving forward and changes that need to be made.

First the good news! The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported recently that existing home sales for the month of March rose more than 6 percent, the sixth consecutive month that year over year home sales have risen from 2014.

NAR leadership asserts that the main reasons for this are the core fundamentals of an improving economy, including job creation and “amazingly low" mortgage rates, as well as a delayed reaction from the bitterly cold winter months.

Adding to the good news, the national Association reports that more than 1 million people who lost their properties during the recession have now become homeowners again, while 1.5 million more are expected to do so within the next five years.

While this is all good news, there is still work to be done nationally, and we're keeping a close eye on these developments here in coastal Delaware. One issue at the forefront is lending requirements that still keep homeownership out of reach for many credit worthy applicants.

NAR leadership believes, and we concur, that the right balance needs to be struck between regulation and opportunity so that these households can also realize the American dream of homeownership.

One idea floated about by NAR includes adding utility and rent payments to credit scoring criteria so that young and minority households can more easily establish a solid track record of long-time payments, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for a mortgage loan.

With the warm weather season now upon us, more people are going to be looking for new homes. In our opinion, this is a perfect time to make some of these important changes.

Follow us here at the Oldfather Group, either via newsletter, blog or social media, or even give us a call at our Rehoboth Beach office, to stay up-to-date on all local, regional and national issues involving the world of real estate. We stay informed so that you can stay informed.

 

Land Lease Communities Offer Many Benefits

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Land lease communities haven't exactly received an abundance of good press in recent years and, truth be told, there are more than a few challenges and considerations when it comes to building your home on someone else's land.

But there are a number of benefits as well to those who choose to pursue buying or building a home within the confines of a land lease community. Let's examine a few of them, then you can determine for yourself whether or not this type of residential experience is right for you:

  • Less Taxes. While it's true that coastal Delaware already boasts some of the lowest property taxes anywhere in the United States, owning a home in a land lease community will save you even more when it comes time to pay the piper. That's because if you own a home in one of these exclusive communities, you pay taxes only on the home, not on the actual home site. And because most of these properties are in communities near the beach, where the price of land has skyrocketed in the last decade plus, this can save you a good deal of money in the long run.

  • Less Cash at Closing. With the high cost of home sites, owning in a land lease community requires significantly less cash when you sit down at the closing table to sign on the dotted line. This allows you more cash on hand to furnish your new home, buy appliances and even take the family out to dinner to celebrate your new purchase.

  • Amenities. In many of coastal Delaware's land lease communities, the amenities are second to none. And the use of these amenities is nearly always included in your monthly fees, so get out there and enjoy! Amenities in our area include beautiful golf courses, walking and bike paths, tennis courts, swimming pools, playgrounds, even private beaches and/or private marinas in some communities.

  • Value. When you consider the initial investment and weigh that against the amenities and the spectacular location of many of these land lease communities, it can equal an incredible value compared to other options. You are, after all, paying for the lifestyle these types of communities can offer you. So take a look and see – it may just be the right fit for you.

Every home buying experience is unique and we at the Oldfather Group encourage you to sit down with your Realtor and discuss all options available to you and your family. What's right for you will not be right for someone else, so take a few minutes to weigh all your options and decide on the best course of action.

If we can help, give us a call at 302-227-6767 or visit us online at www.extraordinarydelawarerealestate.com. We'd love to accompany you on your journey to home ownership here at the Delaware beaches!

2015 on track for record year!

by Dustin Oldfather & Mariya Oldfather

Spring has arrived, which means the warm weather (i.e., tourist) season is kicking in and things are about to get real busy here at the Delaware beaches! We've definitely experienced a rough patch of winter weather at the coast, but the good news is that the Oldfather Group is on pace for a record number of transactions this year in Sussex County.

As of April 15, the real estate professionals at the Oldfather Group have further solidified the company's standing as one of the top three firms in southern Delaware, having already sold 45 homes in 2015. There are also 45 additional transactions in process and the firm now boasts an impressive 76 home listings on the books.

All of this means there's a new goal for the year – instead of the former goal of 250 transactions, the company's new goal is to help 300 families either buy or sell a home before the end of 2015.

In the last calendar year, the Oldfather Group increased it's standing as one of the top firms in the county by closing 150 transactions valued at more than $40 million. This nearly doubled the team's output from 2013 and gave notice to the rest of Sussex County that the firm is taking aim at coastal Delaware's top producers.

While many members of the team remain from 2014 – professionals like Adam Linder, Teresa “T.C.” Cason, Nancy Capps, Celia Benjamin, Donna Atsidis, Amy Pietlock, Cheryl Vogl, Jamie Haldas, Grace Nelson, Diana Harbert and Atilla Nyerges – there are also some new faces for 2015. These include agents Marian Campo, Bob Burton, Lisanne Kane and Kristen Brough, and transaction assistant Stephanie Moyer, as well as a new staff of virtual assistants and other industry professionals to help the team achieve it's lofty annual goals.

We are very excited about the team we've put together here at the Oldfather Group. We feel this group of professional men and women will help us become an even stronger force here in coastal Delaware real estate circles,” says Dustin Oldfather, the team's chief executive. “When all is said and done, I have no doubt that 2015 will be the banner year we all expect it to be.”

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 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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 53

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.