Each season brings different home maintenance challenges. Work done in the fall will help prepare your home for colder weather, and possibly save you money!
Clean the gutters: Gutters will divert more than 1,000 gallons of water away from your home, but if left uncleaned and clogged, can lead to extensive damage. Carefully clean out all leaves and debris and inspect for any damage – especially after all the leaves have fallen!
Check for drafts: Inspect the seals on your doors and windows periodically, as they weaken over time. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing a drafty house can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling bills. Install weather-stripping or caulking around windows or doors that aren’t properly sealed.
How to test a seal: Close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides easily, your weather-stripping isn’t properly sealing the opening.
Check your chimney: As the weather gets cooler, fireplaces are used more often. To avoid an unnecessary house fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned – and if needed, repaired by licensed professional.
You should also get any gas fireplaces inspected as well. There could be blocked vent or malfunctioning and damaged components. Any of these could result in a fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Check smoke detectors: With the increased usage of fireplaces and other heating appliances for the colder weather, you’ll want to check that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operating correctly. Put fresh batteries in to ensure they’ll be good all season long.
Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher as well and replace if needed!
Check your roof: Prevent any leaks by inspecting your roof from top to bottom. Remove any debris and look for any damaged, missing, or curled shingles. These can lead to expensive problems down the road!
Purchasing a home can be overwhelming for any person. Many questions can cross your mind: Is now a good time to buy a house? How do I decide what to offer for a home? Do I need a home inspection? What are my closing costs likely to be?
The right real estate agent will answer all your questions, guide you, and alleviate any problems you can have during the transaction.
Let’s answer a big question: What’s the process for purchasing a home? There are many steps when it comes to buying a home.
Consult with Realtor
First things first, you’ll need to find an agent. Ask your friends and family for a trusted real estate agent. The best kind of referral is from a trusted member of your circle.
Once you have found an agent you’d like to work with, schedule an in-person meeting with them. Get to know who you will be working with. Our agents will want to go over the purchase contract with you – the Delaware Agreement of Sale that is most commonly used by Realtors is a lengthy document with many terms and contingencies. The will help to answer most questions you may have about the process. By reviewing it in advance of touring homes you will be more fully prepared when you find the right home.
Going into this appointment, have an idea of what you’re looking for in a house. Your agent can help guide you to figure out what you your options are within your budget, and will help narrow down your search.
Now that you’ve met with your real estate agent, contact a mortgage company to get a pre-approval letter. If you’re not sure who to use, your agent can refer you to a trusted local loan officer.
Your loan officer will need to review your credit history and your financial documents to get the process started:
Pay stubs, w-2s, or other proof of income
Bank statements and other assets
Once they have reviewed your documentation, they will be able to go over your budget and help you determine the best type of loan that fits your needs. Each type of loan (FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional are most common) have different qualifying criteria for the home itself and your finances. They will also give you an estimate of what your closing costs will be (varies with each type of loan).
Once you have a pre-approval letter, this will be your foot in the door to look at more houses and get a higher chance of getting an offer accepted. Feel free to “shop around” for other mortgage companies to see if there are any better interest rates or loans that you think would work better for you.
You and your agent will look at homes that fit within your budget and criteria. Often times, homes will get sent to your email for you to view first. If you like the house, your agent can schedule a showing for you both to view it.
After viewing the house, think about what you liked and disliked in the house.
It may take a while to find a home you want to purchase! Don’t be dismayed that houses will go under contract or there are none that you like. The perfect house for you will go on the market when the time is right.
Make an Offer!
You found a house that you love!
Your agent will draft a contract for you and send the offer to the listing agent. Your agent will help you determine the best terms – including offer price, any contingencies and a timeline for closing.
Your pre-approval letter will be sent along with the contract. Listing agents and sellers need to know what the loan terms are they are agreeing to before they accept an offer!
Once your offer is submitted to the listing agent and seller, they can either accept, reject or counter. Your agent will begin negotiating at your direction & on your behalf with your best interests in mind.
Your offer will be accepted once an agreement is reached on all terms for both parties. Within the next few days (defined in contract) after the offer is accepted, you will need to pay an escrow deposit (the first initial payment) to solidify the agreement.
Apply for a Loan
Once the contract is signed by all parties (ratified), you will have to formally apply with the mortgage company of your choice for the particular home you are contracted to purchase. This can be the initial lender you received your pre-approval letter from in the first place, or another company you found afterwards. They may need to update your financial documents to get the process started and will require additional documents:
Updated Pay stubs & a formal employment verification
Updated Bank statements and other assets
Gift letters & possibly other letters of explanation for credit items
Address verifications & Renting history
Details on any long term debts, such as car or student loans
Your real estate agent will schedule any applicable inspections for you through your choice of company. Typically, we use Delmarva Inspection Group and AmeriSpec.
There are many types of inspections:
Home: a visual inspection of all parts of the property that are readily accessible. This includes the floors, wall, ceilings, stairs, decks, porches, roof, plumbing, heating and A/C, fireplaces, windows, and much more
Radon: typically a 48-hour test that measures the amount of radon, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause lung cancer.
Wood-Destroying Insect: ensures the home does not already have termite or other insect damage
Septic: makes sure the sewage system is functioning properly without need for repairs.
Well/Water Test: The Water will be sent to a lab to be checked for hazardous substances and potability
Structural: an engineer will make sure the foundation, basement/crawl space, framing, roof, and more are all up to code and structurally sound.
Once all inspection reports come to you & your agent, you will both go over what repairs may be deemed as major defects, safety concerns or minor maintenance items. Your agent will negotiate, on your behalf, with the Seller’s Agent to have these repairs completed prior to closing.
Your mortgage lender will order a land survey of the property. This will confirm the property’s boundary lines and legal description, as well as any other restrictions and easements.
An easement is a situation in which you may have to share access to some part of your property, like a utility company who has the right to install electrical wires on your land, or a private road or beach that needs to be shared with your neighbors.
This cost will be paid at closing.
You will get to choose your attorney for settlement. Your Agent will have recommendations for high quality Real Estate attorneys.
The attorney will do a title search of the property to examine public records for various things including to confirm the seller has full legal right to convey the property to a new owner.
This will also reveal if there are any other claims or liens on the property that could affect the purchase.
There could be unpaid property taxes, homeowner’s association fees, and bills that might become your responsibility if a title search is not completed.
Your agent will give you a referral to a Homeowners Insurance company or contact your current insurance carrier for a quote.
Compare different policies to find the one that suits you best. Be sure to look at the terms, rates, and deductibles for all policies.
Once you have selected the best option for you, the policy information will get sent to your lender, they will need to accept that the coverage is sufficient.
As you approach settlement, the date, time, and place will be confirmed with all parties involved.
Your agent will assist your mortgage company and attorney for the final preparation for settlement.
A few weeks before closing, you will contact all utilities to make sure they are put in your name the day of settlement.
Final Closing Costs
At least three days before settlement, your loan officer will provide your Closing Disclosure. This document will include all costs associated with your home purchase.
You and your agent will go over the details to ensure everything is correct before settlement.
Within 48 hours before closing, you will complete one final walkthrough of the property to ensure everything looks good. You want to make sure all items included in the contract are still present and there is no damage to the home.
Last but not least… Settlement!
You made it!
Make sure you bring your photo ID to closing and verify any funds you still need to bring to closing.
You will go to the place of settlement to sign all documents. The attorney will go over everything with you.
The seller receives the funds, and you receive the deed and keys to your new home!
The sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming here in Delaware – it’s Spring! Time to get outside and explore what Delaware has to offer across the state. There’s plenty to do and see! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
New Castle County:
Like sports? Check out the best athletes to come from Delaware at the Delaware Sports Museum. Every year, new athletes are being added to the Delaware Hall of Fame.
The du Ponts, who were a prominent family of Delaware, were devoted patrons of the arts and dedicated conservationists.
Winterthur: Take in the vast acreage of the beautiful gardens and what is considered the most influential museum of American decorative arts, completely amassed by Henry Francis du Pont.
Nemours: The home of Henry’s cousin, Alfred I. du Pont. 222 acres of garden and home stand next to the internationally known pediatric hospital, A.I. DuPont.
Halloween is quickly approaching! Are you ready? Whether you are a parent of little ones, or just want to have a good time, how should you celebrate? This year is a little different due to Covid-19, but we have compiled a list of some ideas to help you keep the spirit of the Great Pumpkin alive while social distancing.
The first and most obvious activity you can still do is trick or treating. Be sure to check that your local area is allowed to participate. It’s on for Kent County!
The CDC recommends that you avoid participating in the traditional trick or treating where treats are handed to kids at the door. While you can still hand out candy, here are some ways to help limit exposure for both yourself and the kids:
Keep it simple and leave a bowl of candy out on your front porch or down by your driveway for the kids to grab themselves.
Take the bowl of candy a step further and prepare individual bags for each trick or treater. You can even consider having a small hand sanitizer station set up for them (they may not use it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?).
Construct a candy chute like this one pictured! Check out this easy tutorial to make one yourself. The cool thing is that it’s easily customizable to fit your needs and style.
Set up a fun scene in your yard with candy all over for the kids to pick themselves. It helps you social distance and gives the kids a fun experience!
Check out this cool website that’s been put together for this year. It gives you an idea of who in your neighborhood will take part in trick or treating, and how they will be participating.
If you’re looking for a safe trick or treating event, stop by our complex on Friday, October 30th anytime from 9:00am-5:00pm as we hand out candy with C&M Custom Homes and Diamond State Pole Builders (7344 S Dupont Hwy, Felton, DE 19943).
Complete a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Walk around the neighborhood with a list and see how many you can check off. You can easily do this while trick or treating, or if you want a take an evening walk with your family. To make things even easier for you, check out this list we made for you!
Stay indoors and have yourself a Halloween movie marathon. Here is a list of some classic Halloween films to watch while you eat your way through popcorn and hot cider. Plus, let us face it: You cannot ever go wrong with Hocus Pocus!
With coronavirus still affecting our communities, pump up the Halloween flare by decorating your home! We are not just talking about some pumpkins on your front porch – deck the halls with spooky décor. Nothing is wrong with having a little too many ghosts or spider webs here and there. Here are some ideas to give you some inspiration.
Carve pumpkins! Make a day out of it – head over to your local pumpkin patch, eat some apple cider doughnuts, drink some cider. Get creative with your pumpkin carvings. Below are some ideas on what you can create!
These are just a few ideas on how to celebrate Halloween this year! Take photos and post them on our wall! We’d love to see what you come up with!
It’s the first day of Fall! Are you ready for fallen leaves, apple picking, hayrides, bonfires, pumpkin carving, and everything else Fall has to offer? I know I am! With coronavirus still impacting our communities, and events getting canceled, we thought it’d be a good idea to fill you in on some fun things still happening in Kent County!
Fifer Orchards is continuing to offer their yearly Fall activities, but with social distancing in mind! Here’s what they’ll have:
6-acre Corn Maze (September 21-October 31 | Monday-Saturday): Think you can find your way through this Pac-Man themed corn maze? Reserve your spot online to find out!
Apple Picking (now until mid-October | Thursday-Saturday): Online reservations are required!
U-Pick Pumpkin Patch (late September-October 31 | Monday-Saturday): What kind of crazy pumpkin can you carve with the pumpkin you pick out? No reservations are needed!
Check out these recipes for some delicious pumpkin seeds afterwards!
Killens Pond: Be sure to call (302) 284-4299 to find out more information and register!
Private Wagon Rides (now until end of October | Weekends): For a minimum of $25 or $5 per person, you can book your own wagon ride for you and your friends and family!
Spooky Spiders Tour (October 3rd & 4th): Think you can handle eight legged creepy crawlers? Delve into the world of spiders and learn all about them!
Local Legends: Supernatural Thrills (October 10th & 11th): Learn all about the supernatural side of Kent County at this family friendly event!
Homeschool: Fall Colors (November 10th & 12th): This fun educational program will teach kids (ages 6-12) why some leaves change color and even takes them on a walk to see it in action. Pre-registration ($5 per child) is required.
Biggs Kids Workshop: Scary Portraits (October 3rd): In this virtual workshop, kids get to learn how to make their own spooky portraits inspired by the portraits found in the Biggs art collection.
Adult Flashlight Tour (October 9th): Using only flashlights, explore the Biggs Art Museum and discover the darker side of the art world. Dress up in your favorite art inspired costume to get a free drink too!
Children’s Flashlight Tour (October 10th): Recommended for ages 8 and younger, kids get to explore the Biggs Museum at night in their PJs.
We hope you get to enjoy some of these activities, but more importantly, we hope you stay safe doing them!
Come out this Saturday for Diamond State Pole Building’s Spring Open House and take a sneak peek of our new office! NextHome Preferred is super excited to get into the space and tell you more about the amazing people of NextHome! There will be FREE Food from Mission BBQ and plenty of activities, bring the whole family!
Pleasanton, CA — February 7, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Preferred. The brokerage represents the very first office location opened in the state of Delaware for the NextHome franchise.
The brokerage will be led by broker/owner Bobbi Slagle. She and her administrative team will handle all day-to-day operations for the company.
The team at NextHome Preferred will handle all types of residential property sales such as first-time home buyers, investors, military and veteran services, land, relocation, foreclosures, short sales, and all forms of residential sales of 1-4 units.
Located in central Delaware, the Dover-based NextHome Preferred brokerage is located within a 90-minute drive of most major cities in the region such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlantic City. Dover is the capital of Delaware and is the second largest city in the state, with nearly 40,000 residents.
The brokerage will service various areas throughout Central Delaware including all of Kent County, which encompasses the cities of Dover, Magnolia, Harrington, Milford, Camden, Bowers Beach, Clayton, Farmington, Felton, Smyrna, Hartly, Houston, as well as parts of the bordering counties of New Castle and Sussex.
Dover is home to the Dover International Speedway where various NASCAR events are held yearly. Additionally, the Dover Air Force Base is one of the most heavily used military bases on the Northern East Coast and a large part of the community of Kent County.
A REALTOR® since 2004, Bobbi started her career in Dover with a large nationally franchised office for the first three years. Doing very well, she moved on to the boutique firm, First Class Properties, where she used the company’s innovation and community commitment to further advance her personal business.
In 2009, Bobbi attained her broker’s license and was promoted to be the broker/manager for the 15-agent brokerage from 2011 until 2016. Even though she led the company as the broker and office manager, Bobbi was still able to sell real estate at a high level. From 2007 on, Bobbi has ranked in the top 10% of all REALTORS® in Kent County.
“Leading my colleagues taught me a lot about how to help others achieve their goals by adapting to various personalities and learning how to best communicate with different agents with different needs,” said Bobbi. “I’m most proud of our agents who worked extremely hard and pushed through what was a down market in the early 2010s.”
In January 2016, when the local Brokerage affiliated with a franchise, Bobbi felt the need to make a move to RE/MAX Horizons in Dover to free up some time to focus more on her family and lead a small team. In the two years at the company, Bobbi increased her personal sales to more than 30 transactions a year and grew her property management business, 5 Star Property Management, as well.
“Our 5 Star Realty Group team was doing really well, but I saw an opportunity and a need in our local market for a brokerage that would provide guidance, leadership, accountability and growth for real estate agents.”
After a lot of discussion and research, Bobbi found NextHome by accident.
“I was actually trying to research a different real estate franchise when I stumbled upon NextHome,” she said. “Other companies didn’t make me feel good about what they offered. But after taking some time and looking at NextHome.com, I was very intrigued.”
“Since the moment I was able to speak with the team at NextHome, I’ve been extremely happy with every step along the way since. It’s been very exciting to be aligned with a company with the same consumer focused values at the core of what they do.”
Bobbi loved the clean branding, the standardization of marketing, the high-level technology, and the professionalism the company created and maintained.
Bobbi has spent years perfecting her craft through education and certifications. She has earned accreditations such as Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE), the Military Residential Specialist (MilRES), and the Military Relocation Professional Designation to name just a few.
She has also made a commitment to volunteering in her local real estate board as not only a member of the Board of Directors but she’s served on the Kent County Association of REALTORS® (KCAR) Professional Standards Committee, the Education Committee, the TREND MLS Board of Directors and in 2018, Bobbi was awarded the REALTOR® of the Year.
Bobbi and her husband Charles have been married for 15 years. Between the two of them, they have three children – daughters Amber (19 years old) and Madison (15) and son Wesley (18). The family loves to travel and recently took a trip to Costa Rica and Jamaica.
Please join us in congratulating Bobbi and the rest of the team at NextHome Preferred on their new NextHome office in Dover, DE!
Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.
Each office is an independently owned and operated business.