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Georgetown Real Estate Law Blog

More women pursuing solo home ownership than ever before

For generations, couples represented the typical home buyers in Delaware and elsewhere in the United States. As of 2019, a new trend has become clear: Increasing numbers of single women are buying homes by themselves. Approximately 17% to 20% of home buyers were single women compared to 9% of single men in 2019. A survey conducted by Bank of America indicated that 73% of women considered home ownership a top priority above marriage and having children whereas 65% of men had similar feelings.

Women of various ages and income levels bought homes during the year. When two magazines collaborated to collect demographic data about single women home buyers, they discovered that 23% of them had annual incomes from $25,000 to $49,999 and another 20% earned between $50,000 and $74,999. Only 2% made over $200,000 a year. Fifty marks the median age of single female home buyers, but 55.8% of the buyers were between the ages of 18 and 39.

Equity can play a role in timing a home sale

Those who own property in Delaware and throughout the country may sell their homes even if they owe money on their mortgages. Ideally, a homeowner will owe less on a home loan than his or her home is worth at the time of the sale. This is because the primary lender is the first to be paid when the sale closes. If there are any other home loans or lines of credit attached to the house, they will be paid off next.

Finally, any taxes, fees and commissions owed to a real estate agent or other parties are paid from the proceeds of a home sale. The seller gets to keep anything that is left over after all other financial obligations have been fulfilled. Usually, that money is used to make a down payment on a new home. Those who are trying to buy and sell a home at the same time are encouraged to sell their current property first.

Reasons to sell a home during the winter months

Traditionally, the Delaware housing market is stronger during the spring than in winter. However, there are several reasons why it may be worth the time and effort to list a home while there is still snow on the ground. Oftentimes, buyers won't attend a showing when it's cold and dark outside unless they are legitimately interested in a property. Typically, those who are just looking will wait until the weather is nicer and more suitable for leisurely trips to various neighborhoods.

Sellers should understand that there is a market for a home regardless of what the calendar says. There is always the possibility that a person needs a home quickly before starting a job or after getting divorced. Individuals who have gotten married or just had a child may also be interested in obtaining more living space as soon as possible.

Pros and cons of buying the most expensive house on the block

Delaware house hunters may feel tempted to purchase the most expensive house in their favorite neighborhood. They do not necessarily want to do this in order to show off, but the most expensive house may be the house that they fall in love with. Before going through with the purchase, there are a few things they should understand.

There are several advantages that a homeowner could experience if they purchase the most expensive house in a neighborhood. This usually means they are getting the nicest home in the neighborhood, so they may not need to spend a lot on improvements. Another benefit is that if they decide to sell the home in the future, they may benefit from higher resale value. Of course, there is the other benefit of not feeling the need to constantly keep up with the neighbors.

What to research when buying a home

Buying a home in Delaware or any other state can be a stressful event. This may be true whether someone is buying a home for the first time or has done so in the past. There are several variables that a person needs to consider prior to making such a purchase. For instance, an individual will ideally consider where the home is located and which mortgage product best fits his or her needs.

When searching for a mortgage, it may be a good idea to do so with the help of a broker. A broker may be able to find a variety of mortgage products from multiple companies that service a given area. Getting approved for a mortgage before making an offer could improve the odds that it is accepted. Of course, buyers should only spend what they think that they can afford when buying a home. In some cases, this could be less than what they were approved to borrow by a lender.

Sellers generally don't tell ghost stories

A survey from Realtor.com found that 60% of those polled said that they didn't know that their homes were haunted before moving into them. However, Delaware residents and others may not even care if they are sharing their homes with ghosts. Furthermore, the survey found that buyers weren't too concerned about living next to a home that was rumored to be haunted. The survey also found that 20% of respondents said that they thought that they had lived in a haunted house in the past.

There are many reasons why an individual may believe that a house is haunted. For instance, people may take the presence of hot and cold areas in the home as the mark of a ghost. Homeowners may also think that shadows or creepy noises may indicate that they're sharing a property with a spirit. In some cases, homeowners may believe that items were moved by an invisible presence without their knowledge.

How to sell a home during the winter months

Homes don't traditionally sell quickly during the winter months in Delaware and other states with cooler climates. However, this doesn't mean that a homeowner can't get top dollar for his or her property. A smaller number of houses on the market may make those that are listed hotter commodities due to lack of competition. In some cases, it may actually be possible to list a home at a higher price point in the first two months of the year.

This is because buyers may need housing as they start new jobs or otherwise make changes in their lives that can occur right after the holiday season. Ideally, sellers will focus on making sure that they upload quality photos of their homes online. This is because buyers are less likely to travel during the winter months. Therefore, it is important to make a home so attractive that a buyer is willing to venture out on a cold or dark day to see a property.

How to go about updating an older home

Homeowners in Delaware may not be able to sell their houses for top dollar without renovating them first. This is because younger buyers aren't likely going to want to spend money to do so themselves while also trying to pay down student loans and other debt. Those who have been in their homes for many years or decades can start by painting or putting in LED lights.

It may also be worth the money to purchase stainless steel appliances as they are appealing to those looking for their first homes. If a home only has one bathroom, adding another can make it easier to sell. However a person chooses to upgrade a home, it is important that he or she get a positive return on the money spent to do so. It may seem overwhelming to spend thousands of dollars to renovate a property before putting it on the market.

Why escrow accounts are helpful

Individuals who are seeking to buy a home in Delaware may need to put money in escrow before their transactions close. Putting money into escrow can provide incentive for both a buyer and seller to act in good faith until a home sale closes. A lender could also take a portion of a down payment or mortgage payment and put it into an escrow account. In such a scenario, the money would likely be used to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance.

In some cases, landlords and renters will use escrow accounts to transact business. For instance, if a landlord refuses to make a necessary repair, a tenant could decide not to make a rent payment directly to that person or entity. However, the tenant would still be required to make the payment as called for in the rental agreement. The payment itself would go into an escrow account until the issue between the property owner and the renter can be sorted out.

Fixer-uppers aren't necessarily less expensive

According to a study from Porch.com, individuals who buy fixer-uppers will likely spend just as much on these houses as those who purchase a turnkey property. If a homeowner goes over budget when renovating a fixer-upper, that person could spend $25,000 more than someone who bought a home that didn't need work. Overall, homeowners in Delaware spent an average of $246,891 on a fixer-upper and $250,496 on homes that were ready to live in from day one.

Individuals who bought fixer-uppers said that saving money on the purchase price was their main motivation for doing so. This was true among buyers among all age groups. Of those who purchased turnkey homes, 35% said that they did so because they didn't want to spend time making repairs. The survey found that 28% of respondents who bought a home in good condition did so because they didn't have money to make repairs.