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Spacious, Bright Home Located in Mount Vernon Estates!

149 Princess Ann Avenue Viola, DE
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Home has open floor plan that bathes in natural sunlight coming from the large living room window. Sliding glass doors lead to rear deck and wooded backyard. House offers a closet in every room! Additional room downstairs could be used as an office or a spare bedroom. Master features sitting area with french doors and double sink vanity in bathroom. New paint and appliances, as well as new plumbing throughout. House is being offered for sale under the Freddie Mac first look initiative through 07/09/2014. Owner occupants, non profits, nsp grantees and community development organizations are eligible at this time. Investors and second home purchasers may submit offers at any time, however, the offers will not be considered for negotiation until after the 20TH day.
MLS# 6412274
4 Bed, 2.5 Bath
149 Princess Ann Avenue
Viola DE, 19979
Michele Bilow

Beautiful Home in Chimney Hill!

222 North Ember Drive Felton, DE
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This home has beautiful dark hardwood floors. The living room is lined with crown molding. To the left of the entryway are the bedrooms and bathrooms. Additional room with french doors could be used as formal dining room or office space. New paint, carpet and appliances, as well as new plumbing throughout. Sold AS-IS. House is being offered for sale under the Freddie Mac first look initiative through 12/25/2014. Owner occupants, non profits, nsp grantees and community development organizations are eligible at this time. Investors and second home purchasers may submit offers at any time, however, the offers will not be considered for negotiation until after the 20TH day.
MLS# 6494439
3 Bed, 2 Bath
222 North Ember Drive
Felton DE, 19943
Michele Bilow

6 Winter Home Staging Tips

Home staging in winter may require a bit more creativity than at other times of year.

After all, daylight is noticeably shorter, homes are more often shown after dark or on dark days, and even in warm climates it tends to be chilly.

1 – Think outside in

Planning your staging from the outside in is even more important in winter than the rest of the year, particularly in areas where there is snow and ice. You want to check out all the approaches to the home for both visual appeal and ease and safety of access.

It may make sense to add potted plants and flowers in winter to brighten things up. There are colorful and hardy plants available in winter – check with your local plant nursery for suggestions.

Consider adding an outdoor light or two to brighten things up, and to make walking around the outside of the home safer.

2 – Warm and comfortable is the feeling you want

While cooling breezes are a seller in the heat of summer, they can doom a sale in the colder seasons. You want buyers to have a sense they will be warm and comfortable in the home.

Keeping heating on can be more than worth the expense – this is particularly true for the absentee owner. People are unlikely to buy a home where they feel physically cold.

If the home has a fireplace, it can really help to have it burning when you’re showing the home and for open houses. Instant logs work well in this situation.

3 – Light is super important

Making sure the home is light and bright is important. Remember, you have shorter daylight hours and the angle of the winter sun may be such that the home feels dark. Open drapes and curtains throughout the house. Add lights where you need to so the home feels bright.

Adding an up-light here and there, or an extra lamp or two can make all the difference in how warm and welcoming the home feels.

4 – Decorate with sensitivity

Holiday decorations are fine and can even help sell a home provided they add warmth, elegance and don’t overwhelm. This is NOT the time for the owner to try and win the neighborhood ‘best holiday lights’ contest!

While it’s important for sellers who are still living in their home to honor their own traditions, they can do so with an eye toward sensitivity, recognizing that various faiths express the holidays differently. Loudly laughing Santa’s, huge manger scenes, and other large and/or noisy symbols are better scaled down or not used at all.

5 – Add warm colors

If the home is painted in a cool palette, you can do a great deal to update the look by adding warm colors. Throws/throw pillows, tablecloths and a runner in warm colors are an inexpensive way to give a home a cozy, festive look that makes buyers feel at home.

Flowers, provided they are fresh, always add charm and warmth to a home, particularly in winter.

6 – Remember snow removal

If you’re showing homes in areas where it snows, pay attention to snow removal. The sidewalk in front of the home needs to be free of snow and ice as does the walkway and any front step or stoop. If ice is forming, make sure the areas where people walk are salted.

Any back steps, yard, deck or porch also need to be either completely free from snow if possible, or have a path cleared so the prospective buyer can get a real sense of the yard and deck.

It may well be that you need to hire regular snow removal during the selling season. Making the property visible and safe can make the sale. Of course, if you’re not in snow country, consider how lucky you are!

Investor Alert! Great Potential in This Home!

1011 Bennett Street Wilmington, DE
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This property is eligible under the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative through 12/22/14. On 12/23, FMFL has expired and agent would be able to submit investor offers for review. Fixer Upper/Contractor special or investment property, home has potential but needs work. Sold AS IS. Good faith deposit must be minimum $1,000 certified funds no exceptions and presented with your offer
MLS# 6492401
3 Bed, 1 Bath
1011 Bennett Street
Wilmington DE, 19801
Michele Bilow

Pending Home Sales Higher Than a Year Ago

Pending home sales declined in October, but have remained at a healthy pace for six straight months. They’re also above year-over-year levels for the second straight month, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index counts the number of signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops.

Reasons for the healthy pace of signed contracts, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, include:

  • Low interest rates
  • More homes for sale
  • Less competition from investors paying in cash

“Demand is holding steady but would be more robust if it weren’t for lagging wage growth and tight credit conditions that continue to hamper those individuals looking for relief from rising rents,” he said. 

Median Home Price

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300, which is 5.5% above October 2013. Monthly median price growth has averaged 5.8% in 2014 (through October) after averaging 11.5% last year.

“The increase in median prices for existing-homes has leveled off, representing a healthier pace that has kept affordability in check for buyers in many parts of the country while giving more previously stuck homeowners with little or no equity the ability to sell,” said Yun.

The typical seller has been in his home for 10 years before selling — an all-time high, according to a recent NAR survey. 

2015 and 2016 Housing Forecast

Yun is forecasting that existing-home sales this year will fall slightly below 2013 (5.1 million) to 4.9 million, and then increase to 5.3 million next year and 5.4 million in 2016. He expects the national median existing-home price to rise 4% both next year and in 2016.

To read the full article: 

Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?

Home owners may be doubtful that the months of November and December will bring about a home sale. After all, aren’t potential buyers sidetracked with the holidays and likelier to postpone their house hunt due to bad weather and shorter days?  

But sometimes the “off-peak” time to sell can actually be the perfect moment for sellers. Several studies show that, on average, homes listed in November and December are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and more closely approach the asking price, according to an article at

A 2011 study conducted by® found that 60 percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell. Nearly 80 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that more serious buyers emerge during the holidays, and 61 percent say less competition from other properties makes it an ideal time to sell.

Thanksgiving is particularly good, the article notes. Buyers may have held out through the busy summer months hoping to find a better deal, but now they may be searching with increased urgency. Some buyers may be motivated to close before the end of the year for tax purposes. They can purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes, such as points, interest, and property taxes. Also, certain sellers who sold their homes during the summer season may be facing a capital gains tax. They may be highly motivated to buy in November to avoid paying capital gains tax (since closing on the purchase of another house is required within 180 days).

Source: “Why November Is the Best Month to Sell Your Home,” (Nov. 14, 2014) 

3 Tips for Selling Your House During Fall

Here are three tips to help make your home more attractive in autumn, so you can sell your house before winter comes.

1. Clean Up

As many regions slowly shift from a sellers’ market to a moderate or buyers’ market, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your house look its best.

Pay particular attention to eliminating clutter and safety hazards that can crop up with cooler weather:

  • Make sure your yard, walkways and gutters are free of leaves and debris.

  • Mow your lawn so it looks neat.

  • Trim trees so unexpected winds don’t knock down branches that could damage your home or hurt anybody.

  • If it is rainy, be sure you have a good doormat so visitors can wipe their feet and not traipse mud and water through the house.

  • If you already have snow, be sure stairs and walkways leading to your front door are not icy.

  • Wash decks and wipe down windows so they sparkle instead of appear streaked by rain.

  • Vacuum and wash down the fireplace, especially if it hasn’t been used in months.

  • If you live in a region where it’s still warm enough to use the patio, make sure the area is inviting and arranged with the views from indoors in mind.

  • Above all, make sure your doorway and the rest of the house is clear from knick knacks, bicycles and toys that make your home appear cluttered.

2. Create Autumn Curb Appeal

If your house’s exterior looks drab, you may want to consider painting it a warm color, planting seasonal flowers, or placing pumpkins strategically along your walkup to accent your home’s appeal with instant color.

Potential buyers will make an instant judgment when they see your home, and you want to be sure it’s positive.

While you don’t want to go overboard with fall decorations that detract from the home itself, a few displays like a festive front-door wreath—and lighting so people can clearly see the path to your front door—can make your home feel fresh, even in the fall.

3. Keep the House Cozy

Entering a cold house could leave an unfavorable impression. So warm up your home with a fresh coat of paint and set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.

Another way to warm up a home is with light, especially as days get shorter leading into winter. Be sure to open blinds and curtains so plenty of light illuminates the home’s interior.

A few embellishments like red, orange or golden yellow pillows can breathe new life into dull sofa—or a fall centerpiece can highlight a certain area of the home.

While you don’t want your home to look like the latest department store display, well-chosen embellishments that give potential buyers the impression you’ve paid attention to the fine details and taken care of any problems with the home will help you put your best face forward.

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with trying to sweeten the deal with the comforting aroma of a freshly-baked, cinnamon-laced apple pie or pumpkin cupcake to leave a lasting impression of your home as the potential buyer takes a bite.

Landscaping Boosts Home Values Up to 12%

You might want to take a closer look at your listing's curb appeal: Upgrading a home's landscape from average to excellent can raise its overall value by 10 percent to 12 percent, according to research from Virginia Tech.


Researcher Alex X. Niemiera with the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech found that a $150,000 home with no landscaping could fetch an additional $8,300 to $19,000 by adding a landscape with color and large plants.

The value of landscaping differed greatly from state to state. For example, the change in value from a home with no landscape to well-landscaped ranged from 5.5 percent in Louisiana to 11.4 percent in South Carolina. Michigan homes saw the biggest difference in landscaping appeal, with a home's value being increased by 12.7 percent.

"The most preferred landscape included a sophisticated design with large deciduous, evergreen, and annual color plants and colored hardscape," according to Niemiera. Adding different plant sizes to a front yard, for example, can boost curb appeal, as well as mixing fruit trees and flowers for added color.

The following landscape elements were found to be most important to survey respondents:

  • Design sophistication
  • Plant size
  • Diversity of plant material type

"Survey results showed that relatively large landscape expenditures significantly increase perceived home value and will result in a higher selling price than homes with a minimal landscape," Niemiera writes in the paper. "Design sophistication and plant size were the landscape factors that most affected value. The resulting increase in 'curb appeal' of the property may also help differentiate a home in a subdivision where house styles are similar and thereby attract potential buyers into a home. This advantage is especially important in a competitive housing market."

Source: “Does Landscaping Increase Your Homes Value?” Realty Times (Oct. 13, 2014)

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