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Georgetown Real Estate Law Blog

Efforts to resolve landlord/tenant matters

Being a landlord is more complicated than buying a building and collecting rent. It is important for property owners to know and understand how Delaware laws apply to them, especially when faced with landlord/tenant matters. Disagreements with renters are common and can escalate quickly. A landlord who knows the options for resolving those disputes may reach a faster, more satisfying outcome.

A tenant who disagrees with a policy or action may react with high emotion, even rage. When a landlord matches that emotion, the issue is not likely to reach a resolution. Difficult as it may be, the best quality a landlord can develop may be to remain calm and reasonable under pressure. Making an effort to talk through the problem face to face with the tenant may allow the parties to find a mutually beneficial answer. Even if a landlord is justified in being angry with a tenant, keeping those reactions in check may give a property owner an advantage over a ranting tenant.

What to know about down payments

Those who are looking to buy a home in Delaware or any other state may need to make a down payment as a condition of getting a mortgage. The down payment is simply the amount that a buyer contributes to the purchase price when the transaction closes. Buyers can use savings, money acquired after selling assets or other sources of funding to make this payment.

In some cases, lenders will allow gifts from family members or friends to account for some or all of this payment. Lenders might also have down payment assistance programs that make it easier for buyers to afford this cost. Mortgage companies require down payments because buyers who have spent their own money to purchase a home are less likely to default on future payments. In the event of a default, the lender won't lose the entire amount of the purchase price.

It's important to research a neighborhood before buying a home

Prior to purchasing a home in Delaware, buyers are encouraged to learn more about the neighborhood it is located in. They are also encouraged to learn more about the town or city where the home is located. This can help an individual feel more confident about his or her decision to make an offer on a home. Ideally, those who are looking for a home will find out ahead of time if there are young children in a given neighborhood or a high rate of crime.

If a neighborhood is filled with individuals who make a lot of money each year, it could be a sign that the homes are expensive as well. This may tempt a buyer to purchase the home that is the least expensive on the block. However, this may not be a wise decision. While most homes will appreciate over time, those that aren't properly maintained won't appreciate as much.

What to consider when buying a home on a busy street

Homes on busy streets in Delaware and throughout the country are often seen as less than desirable. However, there may be good reasons to purchase a home in an area that is highly active. For instance, it could be closer to a major highway or a bus line. This can make getting to work, school or local attractions faster and less stressful. It can also be closer to grocery stores, which means that an individual won't have to travel several miles just to get milk.

Perhaps the best reason to consider buying a home on a busy street is that it will likely be priced lower than a home in a quieter neighborhood. A buyer could pay up to 20% less for homes in busier neighborhoods compared to those that are farther away from civilization. Of course, it could be harder to sell that home again in the future.

Mortgage delinquencies fall to their lowest level in 20 years

Mortgage delinquencies in Delaware and around the country have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years according to data released by CoreLogic. The consumer and business analytics company's latest Loan Performance Insight Report reveals that about 3.7% of the nation's mortgages were at least 30 days past due at the end of October 2019. This figure represents a 0.4 percent month-over-month drop.

The CoreLogic report contained even rosier news about mortgage foreclosures. The data reveals that the foreclosure inventory rate has fallen to just 0.4%, which is a level that was last reached in early 1999. The percentage of mortgages between 30 and 59 days past due, between 60 and 89 days past due, and more than 90 days past due also fell in October. Experts say that rising home values are likely responsible for falling mortgage delinquencies as homeowners with equity are less likely to default on their loans. Home values across the country rose by 3.3% between October 2018 and October 2019 with an average increase in equity of $5,300 according to CoreLogic.

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.