New Castle County, DE Real Estate News

By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  Whether you’re thinking of selling your house this year—or just like the idea of a return on your investment (who doesn’t?)—certain ROI home improvements can not only make your house look better, but also increase its market value. “The value of making a home improvement varies significantly by two dimensions: your current home value and your location,” says Beatrice de Jong, broker and consumer trends expert at Opendoor, whose home improvement calculator can help you determine which renovation and remodeling projects might have the biggest impact on your house’s value. “Understanding how much a project could potentially add to resale value is the first step in determining whether or not the investment will pay off,” she adds. Read on for a few DIY projects that have proven their wor...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
The c. 1800 George Read II House in Old New Castle, Delaware is trying to shed the "stuffy museum" image with its "Lit for the Holidays" exhibit.  Last night, I visited this after dark special activity and found the really off center to the beautiful on exhibit.  We start out in the garden with a holiday themed greenery work designed by artist/guide Heidi Benson (sorry but not all the artist info is online and someone corrected the name I had here. Wish they would have had it on their website.) who told the story about a couple of children living in the servants' quarters who missed the holiday trees which had not yet become popular in this country.  She created a contemporary version of outdoor Christmas greenery which brought an element of beauty to the exhibit.   As we entered the ho...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
I took a walk on New Year's Day in the old Colonial Capital of Delaware. It took on a whole different look in the late day fog. Battery Park on the Delaware River was like a scene in a movie (with lots of dry ice in the picture). The old ticket office from the 1830's New Castle and Frenchtown railway  had a ghostly appearance. Or was it that this new day for a new year, 2022, was trying to tell me to remember the ghosts of past events on this spot?  Your guess is as good as mine!
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
Last night, a friend and I went on a twilight tour of the 1803  Eleutherian Mills, the duPont mansion on the Brandywine River above the old powder works.  It was decorated for the holidays as it might have been when Louise duPont Crowninshield and her husband, Frank lived in the 1920's and 30's. Having grown up in what is now Winterthur Museum, this gal knew her stuff when it came to architecture and antiques. The house tour included the morning room, set up for cookies and tea, surrounded by train related items beloved by the master of the house, including a steam engine shaped tea caddy.  The dining room was ready for a fancy dinner with the best china (including a plate on the floor for the family dog) and scenic wallpaper of American scenes painted by an artist who had never been he...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  A new year usually means new resolutions. From exercising more to changing career paths, New Year’s resolutions are completely personal—so there’s no right or wrong goals to have. To help you ring in 2022 with a fresh set of goals, we chatted with Takia Richardson, a licensed independent clinical social worker. She gave her best tips for making New Year’s resolutions that'll have you looking forward to the days ahead. So whether you're setting gardening resolutions, home decorating resolutions, or something a bit more personal, we can help you make (and keep!) your New Year’s resolutions in 2022. 1 - Reflect and Reset     After the stress of the pandemic for the past almost two years, you may feel the need to totally reset—and that's OK. Take the time to truly reflect on where you've...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
Nancy McDaniel's dollhouse, built in 1985 was again featured during the Yuletide tour at  Winterthur. The dollhouse's late owner's portrait is hanging in the miniature dining room. This 18 room replica contains over 1000 objects, including needlepoint rugs she made for the rooms.  It was not easy finding an opening to see the tour this year--people are starved for activities and this masked only self-guided tour with stationary guides in each room was very popular.  But if you came to see if the tour incorporated any changes this year, you would be pleased to see that you get to see sections of two floors and some new types of trees are featured.  There is still a tree decorated with preserved flowers in the conservatory, and a colorful azalea tree is in the Readbourne stairhall (althou...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  The most critical things to do to increase your home’s value before putting it on the market. As a smart seller, you'll want your home in tip-top shape — but you don't want to eat into your profits by overspending on home improvements. You won't be around to enjoy them anyway. The key is to focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house to ensure every dollar you spend supports a higher asking price. "Smaller and less expensive updates in combination with good staging will have a great return," says Colorado Springs agent Susanna Haynie. But how do you know what things to do before putting your house on the market? Prioritize these updates — and consider letting the rest go. #1 The Most Important Repair to Make Before Selling: Fix Damaged Flooring   Scratched-up w...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  It's closing on that time of year again.  As temperatures start to drop, it becomes more and more evident that the cold of winter is right around the corner. In many areas, this means it’s time to start prepping for low temps and all the ice and snow that often accompany them. There’s one thing that people often forget to prepare for, though: the deluge of road salt that often comes with the winter.   Road salt is obviously used to help keep the roads safe by melting snow and ice before it can become dangerous. Many homeowners use salt and salt alternatives around the house as well, keeping walkways and steps ice-free during harsh weather. If you aren’t careful, though, having too much salt can cause a lot of problems with your landscaping and even some home fixtures. If you want to ...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
When you’re selling a home, you only have a few seconds to make an impression and convince buyers to look further. That’s why home staging is so important, especially in a market with tough competition. Home staging presents your home in its best possible light, and if done right, gives it an advantage over similar homes in the area. But if done wrong, you could actually be turning potential buyers away. So here are six home staging tips every seller should be aware of and avoid.  Curb Appeal - Get Buyers In the House Don’t get so wrapped up in staging the inside of the home that you forget about the outside. No matter how beautiful your home is, if it looks unpleasant from the outside, you’ll have a hard time getting people in the door. But if you make the front of your home look welc...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
Although I never did find a written program for today's Delaware Art Museum celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the sights and sounds were vivid enough to keep me interested.  Recorded music was playing in the park behind the museum and the parking lot was full (got the last parking place back in the woods), and people were visiting the tents of the exhibitors with their colorful wares of jewelry and textiles.  Soon a  mariachi band was playing lively music--I love it when the trumpet joins in. They started a groovy beat that brought out line-dancing bystanders and costumed people, all grooving in a Mexican conga line, except with heel tapping beats. Then a woman introduced what sounded like a Mexican Ballet group. Wow. Ages probably from preschool to mid-50's. The costumes were beautifu...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
Round about this time of year, some of us are gathering around the old fire pit, roasting marshmallows and telling a few tall tales.  Lucy might well be one subject spoken about in these parts.Back in 1993, the local Crossroads paper published a story about a certain little girl and an historic home, the Penny House, at 235 Philadelphia Pike in Wilmington, Delaware. Well, the family who lived in the house for 20 years has put the home on the market, and this could be an appropriate time to mention this tale. The original Penny Farm stretched for many acres and reached Brandywine Blvd. in Bellefonte. Mr. Penny farmed most of the land until his death in 1797, when he left it to his sons, both cabinetmakers who could make you a coffin for $8. The brothers died in 1832 and 1843. For years l...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  As a kid, Halloween was one of the most magical days of the year. I got to dress up as my favorite character, snack on candy corn all day, then run around the neighborhood with my friends collecting free candy—the dream! And since trick-or-treating was canceled last year, this year's festivities are sure to be extra special. But before you get too far into spooky season, there are a few Halloween safety tips your family should consider. Pumpkin Carving Safety     Carving jack-o'-lanterns is one of our favorite Halloween traditions, but there are a few safety precautions you should know about before you begin carving. These pumpkin carving safety tips will make sure you get through the spooky season with all your fingers intact. Most importantly: Always supervise children while carvin...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
With the final quarter of 2021 upon us, mortgage rates remain low and just above the all-time lows seen at the outset of the year when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 2.65%. As the U.S. economy grew and the labor market strengthened throughout the year, rates increased slightly, which is natural in an improving economy. Rates were held low due in part to the Fed's massive asset purchase program where it purchased up to $120B worth of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities each month to promote lending. But with the improvement in both the economy and the jobs market along with an uptick in inflation, the Fed is now ready to begin scaling back or tapering those purchases. The taper announcement could come at the November 3rd FOMC meeting but, as Fed Chair Powell has stated, any tap...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
According to the Hockessin (Delaware) Historical Society,  if you’d passed a certain plain, stuccoed house in Hockessin in the 1990s, you probably wouldn’t have noticed it, I certainly never did. And I certainly didn't suspect that it contained a 1790s log tavern. But in the years around 1800, Tweed’s Tavern was an important layover stop for carters and others traveling between the Delaware River and the grain farms and gristmills farther inland. (photo-Tweeds on right, museum on left) In 2000, assessment work ahead of road construction uncovered Tweed’s Tavern, hidden within a house that had been modified regularly in the two hundred years after the tavern was built. The Hockessin Historical Society stepped in to help preserve the structure. It moved the log tavern to a nearby site, a...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
It seems like it's been weeks since we had a sunny day, and I didn't want to waste it by not taking a long walk at Winterthur Museum and Gardens.  Not yet looking like fall as far as the leaves were concerned, everything was green. The viburnums, however, did sport bright red berries. And the forested areas still were showing all green leaves.  But there was all kinds of live action going on, with the chipmunks appearing all over the place, and the koi in the ponds carrying on a swirly circle of activity.  And lets not forget all those hawks circling in the sky.  
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  No matter how old you are, where you live or how many people you have in your family, moving is never easy. All that packing, sorting, labeling, finding a new home, and starting a new life in a new place is more stressful and exhausting than you could ever imagine. That’s why people generally don’t like moving too often — or at all. But, sometimes you’re forced to do it, so you’d better have a plan and get it over with as soon as possible. If this sounds like your current situation, here are a few tips that might help make your move a little easier and quicker. What Stays & What Goes Determining what you will and won’t take with you when moving could easily be the most important step of this entire process — although most people overlook this one. That’s because you probably won’t be...
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By Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS
(Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate)
A visit to the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens the other day turned out to be a colorful trip. The Trial Garden showed what could be done given the restrictions imposed by the gardeners. The plants are watered and fertilized for a week or two after planting, but that's it. Also on display are winners of the All-American Selections award given nationally. Then, every 2 weeks, a UDBG staff member ranks all plants and lists the last few years' winners on their website.  Here are some of the winners in my book!  Clockwise top left: Salvia (my parents always planted these in a border in front of their house along with white alyssum), Ornamental peppers, and 2 Datura or Angel's Trumpets.  First photo: not labeled but looks like an echinacea or coneflower.     
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  Whether or not you believe in ghosts, there’s no denying that a cemetery is a spooky place—especially after dark. Some people also fear the potential of criminal activities taking place in the various hiding spots between tombstones. But despite those possible perils, it turns out buying a home near a graveyard may not be such a scary idea. America is home to more than 144,000 graveyards and cemeteries, according to Redditor and data visualization expert Joshua Stevens, who mapped out all the graveyards and cemeteries in the contiguous United States in a map titled “The Geography of the Dead.” With so many cemeteries, it’s little surprise that many are located in bustling neighborhoods. “I’ve had clients who both were not wanting to be near or next to a cemetery and others who didn’t...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  Home inspections are scary. Just when you swear you’ve found the house of your dreams, a home inspector comes along and tells you everything’s that’s wrong with it—which might lead you to think you should run for the hills! But rest assured, most things turned up during a home inspection aren’t deal breakers. Still, there are certain red flags that really should make you very, very afraid. So how can you tell? For starters, you should try to attend your home inspection to see firsthand how your inspector reacts as he checks out your house. “If your inspector comes to an abrupt halt when entering a room, or their whole demeanor changes, it’s possible they’ve just run across something very bad,” says Welmoed Sisson, a Maryland home inspector from Inspections by Bob, and author of the b...
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By Christopher Pataki, Hockessin Delaware Real Estate
(RE/MAX Associates)
  Like most major milestones in life, becoming a first-time homeowner comes with quite a few learning curves. Even after you close on the house and it becomes officially yours, there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to taking care of the place—and setting yourself up for long-term success. Having recently purchased my first home, I’ve had a front-row seat to all the trials and tribulations that come with learning how to be a homeowner. Here are seven of the biggest mistakes first-time homeowners make (myself included), plus some helpful tips from the experts on how to avoid them.     1. Calling a repair person with the wrong specialty This might not sound like a big deal, but it can actually end up costing you quite a bit of time and money—especially if there are significant househ...
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